Will You Hand Over the Wheel?

Experts say driverless cars will one day be common

5 November 2012
Photo: Volvo

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Several IEEE experts predict that autonomous driverless cars will account for up to 75 percent of vehicles on the road by 2040. They called such cars “the most promising form of intelligent transportation” in a recent IEEE press release, and cited several benefits including minimizing traffic jams, energy efficiency, and faster highway speeds. However, the biggest barrier to widespread adoption is no small thing—acceptance by the public.

“Drivers and passengers are hesitant to believe in the technology enough to completely hand over total control,” says IEEE Member Jeffrey Miller, associate professor of computer systems engineering at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, whose research is in intelligent transportation. Despite that concern, the way to driverless cars is already being paved. In September, California became the third U.S. state to affirm the legality of driverless cars—which allows for further testing of autonomous vehicles, like those Google, for one, has been developing.

Do you think most cars will be driverless by 2040? Would you trust an autonomous car enough to ride in one?

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