Driverless Concept Cars

07/28/2011 07:17 AM ET

Driverless Cars - Many cars in the future will be driverless, but how do they work? We've all had those days: rushing around, trying to get errands done. You finally got the dry cleaning, and now you've got to get to the post office before it closes.

So you go, pedal to the metal, thinking about what you need to get at the grocery store for dinner, when it hits you -- or, you hit it. While your mind was some place else, the car in front of you stopped, and you rear-ended it.

What could have prevented the accident? The obvious answer is that you could have -- by paying attention. But that answer isn't so simple. Driver error is the most common cause of traffic accidents, and with cell phones, in-car entertainment systems, more traffic and more complicated road systems, it isn't likely to go away.

But if drivers aren't going to concentrate on the road, who is? If technology continues on its current course, your car will do the concentrating for you. Automakers are developing complex systems that allow cars to drive themselves.

They're also developing future technologies that we can enjoy today. Some of them include self-parking and pre-safe cruise control. One of the main impetuses behind the call for driverless cars is safety.

Anti-lock brakes perform a function that drivers used to have to do themselves. When a car is braking hard and doesn't have anti-lock brakes, the wheels can lock up, sending the car into an out-of-control skid. These are the same technologies (as well as self-parking) that will drive automobiles in the future.

Cars will soon use GSP and sensors to drive. It's easier than one may think. If the vehicle understands where to go and has a mind of its own, as computers do, it's not so difficult to see these future vehicles in our lifetime.

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