Driverless Cars Are the Present, Not the Future.

Serious driverless R&D has been bubbling for a long while, with Carnegie Mellon’s Navlab and the Mercedes-Benz Prometheus project both yielding successful tests back in the ’80s. But despite the potential for business innovation, the field went stagnant after those early triumphs, until the last 10 years.

Since 2010, nearly every big manufacturer has announced a driverless car development program, including General Motors, Volkswagen and Nissan. Volkswagen’s efforts have been typical of such programs, with incremental steps like its Temporary Auto Pilot (TAP)system, which requires driver supervision while the car handles itself at speeds up to 80 miles per hour.