As much as I love driving, I know a lot of people aren’t all that fond of it. Need proof? Look at all the people who talk, text, read, or are otherwise distracted from driving behind the wheel. The Next Great Thing just might be cars that drive themselves, as so many sci-fi films have teased us with. The idea may still be rather far off, but a team of Italian engineers is taking a big step towards the future with a long-term, self-powered test of driverless capabilities.
Two pairs of vans, powered by the sun, will trek from Italy to China during a 3-month excursion to test the capabilities of self-driving technology. Will they make it?
Failure is a certainty along the trip, and the vans are more like followers than actual drivers. The lead van of the pair will be driven by a person, while the second van will “drive” itself to follow the leader. The point of this test is to collect data on what works and what doesn’t. Who knows, maybe one day sooner than we think, cars might actually be driving themselves so we can kick back and enjoy the view.
Even so, I don’t relish the idea of giving up my driver’s seat to a computer. Would you rather drive yourself, or let a computer do the work for you?
Source: NPR | Image: Antonio Calanni/AP
Chris DeMorro is a car enthusiast, blogger, and all-around crazy man who is as passionate about hybrids as he is about Hemis. You can follow his constant misadventures at Three Months In A Mustang.