Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a large organization dedicated to the advancement of technology, recently chose autonomous vehicles as the most promising opportunity for intelligent transportation. IEEE predicts that driverless cars will make up to 75% of cars on the road by 2040. That offers plenty of time to find out if government regulators and consumers accept and embrace the radical shift to autonomous vehicles.
In the meantime between now and 2040, or at least until states like Nevada and California test and accept driverless cars, automakers like Volvo are quietly moving toward autonomous vehicles through what’s being placed in cars going to market. Volvo will soon be offering a new traffic jam assistance system, designed to cut down on the stress of driving in heavy traffic. The car will automatically follow the vehicle in front of it in slow-moving traffic of up to 50 kilometers per hour (about 31 miles per hour). Volvo says the system will be ready for production in 2014.
Control is not taken away from drivers – the driver has to activate the feature by pressing a button. The new feature will be coming from Volvo’s current Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Aid technology and it allows the engine, brakes, and steering to automatically respond. Volvo sees added technology features like this one to be essential for boosting consumer confidence in self-driving cars. Volvo is also lobbying for a federal regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles, as the legal situation for the technology remains unclear – and states are going about it their own way, for now.