The LIDAR mount on a Google self-driving car (Credit: Simon Bisson)

2013: The rise of the robot cars

Summary: Will 2013 see robot cars on our roads? The future is closer than you think, especially with the advances in technology pioneered by the likes of Google.

By Simon Bisson for 500 words into the future | December 21, 2012 — 16:06 GMT (08:06 PST)

William Gibson once noted, “The future is here, it’s just unevenly distributed”. You may not have a jet pack, or a protein pill, but they’re out there, somewhere. And there is one bit of the future that’s on its way to you sooner rather than later: the robot car – or at the very least, a lot of robot assistance in how you drive.

Industry analyst Mark Anderson recently made a set of predictions for 2013, one of which focused on the commercial arrival of autonomous vehicles, the robot cars of our fictional tomorrows.

Of course, automated driving has been the stuff of science fiction for decades. There have been novels set on the automated highways of a future America, with poets in retro-fitted Volvos on the managed roads in Orange County, in cities and on freeways all across the world. But tomorrow’s ubiquitous robot cars owe more to the defence industry than works of fiction.

Read more: 2013: The rise of the robot cars | ZDNet.

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