There’s no doubt that self-driving vehicles are very much on their way, particularly as changes to the emissions regime make electric vehicles with these features more attractive to purchase.
Tesla, for example, has had it’s Autopilot for years, and it constantly evolves with wireless updates, and with their vehicles holding residual value much more strongly than expected even in a market where most vehicles are under-performing, more and more firms are looking for a slice of the action.
Audi has now released it’s new A8, claimed to be the most autonomous vehicle in the world – the first vehicle to hit Level 3 Automation (there are five levels, the fifth of which is full automation).
What most people don’t realise, however, is how widely autonomy is slipping into ‘normal’ cars. Many models now have some form of Level 1 autonomy; if your car can self-park, has Lane Assist, City Braking, or Adaptive Cruise Control, it meets this level. That would have been unthinkable ten years ago, so it would be no surprise to see mainstream cars offering Level 2 features (Like Tesla Autopilot) within the next five years.
However, I should caution – Autopilot does not yet mean you can take your hands off the wheel!