Who is designing, testing self-driving automobiles? 'Everybody'

Friday, August 2, 2013
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

There are more reports these days about self-driving cars, but just how close are we to seeing them on our roadways? 

Sharon Carty of AOL Autos says "everybody" is working on such projects, and automated cars will be on the streets sooner than a lot of people realize.

"Some estimates say that automated cars will be available for the public by 2018,” she says.

Carty is currently test-driving a Mercedes with something called “adaptive cruise control.” She gets on the highway, sets the cruise control and the technology does all of the braking, slowing down or speeding up, allowing Carty to commute to work without ever touching a pedal.

Toyota logoStill, when it comes to electric vehicles or hybrids already on the market, some consumers are driven away by the price.

The Ford Focus Electric has an MSRP starting at $35,200. The Chevy Volt, which offers "electric when you want it, electric when you need it," advertises an MSRP “as low as $31,645."

Meanwhile, the Toyota Prius, which Toyota calls the “hybrid that started it all,” has a starting MSRP of $24,200.

Carty says the Mercedes she is test-driving costs $130,000 but she notes that Ford has “adaptive cruise control” in its Explorer.

“It's a $40,000 SUV,” says Carty, “but it's an SUV that people are willing to buy."

Carty adds that this is how all technology works, where things start off at the higher end and come down in price when the manufacturer can make it in greater numbers, and when there is higher demand for the product.

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