Spotlight: Will Computers Take Over Your Car?

Will Computers Take Over Your Car?

Smart cars already boast wi-fi, GPS, cameras, radar and other sensors and, in the not too distant future, may drive themselves

By Julia Pyper and ClimateWire

Climatewire

Americans will soon be able to surf the Internet, hold a video call and connect with friends on social media all via the dashboard of their car while sitting in the driver’s seat. Further down the road, no one may need to be in the driver’s seat at all.

Humans have been at the helm of the vehicle for the past 120 years. But now cars are starting to think for themselves and talk to smartphones, intersections and each other through what are broadly called intelligent transportation systems, or ITS. Cars are connecting through a combination of Wi-Fi, GPS, cameras, radar and sensors. And as technology improves, vehicles will take increasing control of their own mobility.

Advances in in-vehicle technology could save lives or create a whole new set of distractions. Photo courtesy of the Transportation Department.

“It’s happening faster than you think,” said Peter Sweatman, director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, during an interview at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s annual meeting and exposition last month in Nashville, Tenn.

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