It is predicted that by the year 2040 every car could be riding on the road without a key part of todays cars. This aspect is the driver. With advances in technology this feat of having cars functioning without drivers, previously only seen in futuristic movies, appears to be the way of the future. What would these autonomous cars be able to do for society?
If these cars can function in the way they were designed they could significantly decrease the amount of accidents, and therefore deaths, that have become all too common with the use of automobiles. autonomous cars basically use spacial relationships between themselves and other cars and objects. With the use of an extensive network "smart cars" could use satellite imaging information combined with constantly updated information on other cars around them to safely and efficiently drive. The key concept is "human error" can be eliminated which eliminates unpredictability and will lead to fewer accidents.
Google, better known for it super fast browsing speeds and internet superiority, has been experimenting and developing the technology to one day have completely autonomous cars. As described in the video the technology now is only meant to be a supplemental help to drivers to help them with the unexpected, it is not meant to drive all by itself. It has obviously made a good impression as it has led to new legislation in California allowing self-driving cars to legally be on the road. So even though cars aren't at a point where they can drive all by themselves, it appears that that day may not be too far away.