We’ve seen the future, and quite frankly it scares the hell out of us. Although BMW insists its autonomous car experiment was “primarily a technology study” designed to “improve already existing assistance systems,” we’re not buying it.
Sooner or later (preferably much, much later), autonomous cars will be a fact of life. Given the basic mathematics of increasing driver populations, combined with the relatively static number of available roadway miles, humans eventually won’t be capable of driving themselves efficiently (although some would argue we’re already there).
Computers, guided by radar, camera, laser and ultrasonic sensors, assisted with real-time GPS data, will whisk us from home to office in the most efficient manner possible, leaving us with free time to update our Facebook status and disseminate witty sound bites on Twitter. Driving, if not illegal, will be ill-advised.
For those of us still clinging to manual-gearbox sports cars, that vision of the future is the outermost circle of hell. The technology exists today (developed by companies as diverse as Volkswagen and Google) to create self-driving cars, which require human intervention only in the most dramatic of system failures.
You can see BMW’s system explained in the video above, but we’ll warn you in advance: if you’re a driver at heart, it will send a chill down your spine.