The industry is racing ahead to develop autonomous cars that not only promise to alleviate the chore of mundane driving but also, potentially, reduce crashes to zero. Whether performance fans and classic car enthusiasts will be able to manually operate their vehicles on public roads, in amongst all the self-driving cars, remains to be seen, but what is known is that the road to autonomous cars is being paved, and it’s closer to being completed than you think.

The strongest argument for autonomous cars is their safety--research has shown that human error is the main cause of crashes. By taking control away from the driver, driving could be made safer, or so the proponents of the technology claim.

Those proponents include governments, safety groups and even automakers, such as Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, which are committed to accident-free driving. Now Volkswagen has announced its own pledge to reduce accidents through its new Vision Zero project.

Vision Zero represents all activities that contribute towards significantly reducing traffic accidents. So what type of activities are we talking about? So far, Volkswagen has only mentioned the implementation of new driver assistance systems, for both piloted parking and driving. Features like automatic braking, smartphone-controlled automated parking and advanced pedestrian detection systems are all promised.

Volkswagen is a leader in this field, having already demonstrated a prototype Temporary Auto Pilot system used for autonomous highway driving several years ago. It looks as though the automaker is now advancing the technology but we still don’t known when we might see it in the showroom.


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