How Close Are We to a Self-Driving Car?

2020 Jaguar I-Pace with Waymo customizations
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The Autonomous Tech Available Now and in the Future

Some of us dream of climbing into the comfy back seat of a driverless car in the morning so we can check our email or read the news on the way to work. Others cannot fathom the idea of ever giving up control of our cars to some robot or algorithm. 

The fact is, many of the cars on the road today have some level of automation already. SAE, a group for professional automotive engineers, has created six levels of autonomy for vehicles. It’s a little confusing because it starts at zero, for technologies that merely provide warnings, and goes to five, for a car so autonomous you could put a sleeping baby inside and send the car on its preprogrammed way to Grandma’s house.

Automakers have developed several partially autonomous and even a few experimental autonomous vehicles. Many of these technologies have already made it into mainstream and even inexpensive cars. As the technology evolves, SAE updates its expectations for each level of autonomy as well.

Let’s take a look at the latest steps toward self-driving vehicles and what’s actually available on the market today.


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