How much longer do we have to wait for cars that drive themselves?

Google Self-Driving Car

Today Greater Greater Washington blogged about the prospect of self-driving cars.

Whether we are prepared for it or not, the next revolution in transportation will be here soon, and it won't be streetcars, monorails, segways, or electric vehicles. It will be self-driving cars, and the adoption of this technology will change everything we accept as a given in the field of transportation planning.

They also link to a Washingtonian interview with Michael Pack, director of the CATT Laboratory at the University of Maryland, and noted transportation technologist. He sees autonomous vehicles as a potential solution for congestion, "Completely automated cars that take the driver out of the equation, communicate with one another, and can travel at high speeds within six inches of one another."

Will Hansfield on Greater Greater Washington projects that we might see self driving cars commercialy viable in the US in the next 7-12 years. Given the clip of research, it might not be far off. Looking at "intelligent vehicles" research in TRID, automation is trend that has been becoming more common over the years. From cyber cars to intercontinental van journeys, integrated systems for autonomous vehicles are coming.

The PATH program from ITS Berkeley has been looking at autonomous vehicles for quite a while now. Though the most famous driverless cars might be the new fleet from Google. Sorry KITT.