THE DRIVERLESS RACE IS ON
;e Nissan-NASA project’s testing phase,
expected to begin at the end of 2015, will involve
moving autonomous vehicles out;tted with cameras, lasers, scanners and radar systems around the
Ames Research Center site. It has a wide variety of
terrains ranging from rural roads to urban streets.
Such tests, says Mr. Fong, will help the project
team determine “what’s needed to turn the car of
today into the self-driving car of tomorrow.”
A Four-Wheel Disruption
While self-driving cars may sound like a distant
promise of the far-o; future, the technology
behind them exists in the here and now, according to Morgan Stanley’s research division. ;e
project leader of the Mercedes-Benz Future
Truck 2025 agrees.
“We’re using assistance systems that already
exist, as well as next-generation sensor technologies whose reliability we’re extensively testing,” says
Georg Stefan Hagemann, senior manager advanced
engineering, Daimler Trucks, Stuttgart, Germany.
Google’s self-driving car.
Still, to successfully produce a commercial
vehicle that “ensures maximum road tra;c safety,”
Mr. Hagemann says, his team has to overcome the
technological hurdle of linking all the assistance
systems together so they react correctly to di;erent situations, especially unfamiliar ones.
As with the Nissan-NASA project, the
Daimler team sees the testing phase as
paramount for establishing the project’s
safety. “Production requires, above all,
extensive safeguarding measures, including testing over several million kilometers,” Mr. Hagemann says of the Future
Truck 2025. As its name indicates, the
vehicle is scheduled to be on the market (initially for use on major highways
only) by 2025.
If successful, such initiatives could
revolutionize the transportation industry, he adds. “Goods tra;c in the future will be
safer, more e;cient and more connected as a
result.” —Novid Parsi
—Georg Stefan Hagemann
Ever since the first traffic jam, people have been dreaming of self-driving cars. Carmakers and tech companies alike
say they’re finally on the horizon.
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Google launches its
self-driving car project.
Early prototypes customize Toyota Priuses.
French tech company Induct releases the
electric, eight-passenger Navia shuttle,
considered the first commercially avail-
it can only travel
up to 12. 5 miles
( 20 kilometers)
SAIC Motor Corp.
Group are slated
to release a
Model year of Cadillac cars to
be released by General Motors
featuring semi-automated “super
cruise” technology, offering
hands-free driving during stop-and-go traffic or highway travel.
Renault-Nissan scheduled to release Next Two, an autonomous
vehicle offering driverless operation in heavy traffic at speeds
of up to 30
( 18. 6 miles)
Large-scale tests of
slated to begin in the
at reducing pollution
and improving safety.
U.S. electric carmaker Tesla is
scheduled to debut autonomous
technology in its Model S sedans, allowing drivers to put the
car on “autopilot” on highways.