Self-driving cars of one sort or another have been the staple of science fiction for decades. CES 2015 has taken the concept of self-driving cars from science fiction to reality with car makers including Mercedes Benz and Audi demonstrating their newest hands-free vehicles.
Mercedes Benz’s self-driving F015 made its public debut by rolling onto the stage at CES in Las Vegas on Monday. When the vehicle rolled to a stop, the doors opened to reveal Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, the organizer of the CES.
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Audi Motors self-driving car named “Jack” also drove into Las Vegas on Monday, having completed a 560-mile trip from California’s Silicon Valley with nobody behind the wheel.
Self-driving cars: Comments from Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche at CES 2015
“We need to get from technically feasible to commercially viable,” Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche commented at CES 2015 on Monday. “The time is right to think about the car of the future.”
Zetsche also noted that while advocates of self-driving cars often point to the potential benefits in traffic safety (fewer driver errors and, therefore, fewer accidents), autonomous vehicles also promise giving people “more time and more space,” he said. “Cars will turn into mobile homes in the very best sense of the word. This is the redefinition of automotive luxury.”
There are a number of issues that need to be resolved, questions about driver information, legal ramifications and ethical questions about how a self-driving car would decide how to avoid a collision, but Zetsche emphasized the technology is moving forward quickly. He also added that with other car makers also developing autonomous vehicles, “it’s good that we are not alone in this race anymore.”
More on Audi’s self-driving concept car
Audi’s concept car “Jack” drove into CES 2015 in Vegas after a 560-mile drive from California without human intervention. As required by California law, a test driver remained in the passenger seat during the trip, and a several journalists came aboard for 100-mile ride alongs.
“The results of the test drive underscores our piloted driving competency,” commented Ulrich Hackenberg, a member of the Audi BoD involved in Technical Development.