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Driverless Cars Ready to Hit Our Roads

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Autonomous Prius

A Toyota Prius, equipped with autonomy-enhancing technologies created by Google, undergoing testing this spring in California.

Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times

Driverless cars are moving closer to becoming a reality, as politicians in several U.S. states rush to get such cars on the roads. Driverless cars offer several advantages, including improved safety, better fuel efficiency, and freedom from the boredom of long drives.

Nevada currently allows driverless cars to operate on the state's road networks as long as they have a special license plate, and similar legislation is being considered in California, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Oklahoma. Meanwhile, German and British researchers are developing driverless automobile technologies and pushing their respective governments to consider autonomous vehicle legislation.

Although autonomous vehicle technology has a bright future, researchers say there are still several obstacles to overcome. "The size and price of these systems needs to come down," says Free University of Berlin researcher Tinosch Ganjineh.

Another challenge is getting the cars to recognize the precursors to dangerous events, says University of Oxford researcher Paul Newman. He says driverless cars will need to be independently smart and aware of the risks around them at all times.

From New Scientist
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