In May of 2012, a car and a truck dove along highway in Spain. The one thing they were missing? Drivers.
The convoy drove 120 miles without human intervention during the experiment in which Sarte project – driven ahead by European Commission – aims to develop autonomous road trains to lead these convoys and reduce traffic, accidents and improve flow.
This was a small milestone in a year that saw large leaps in the field of self-driving cars.
Google’s self-driven vehicles have famously gone 30,000 miles without an accident or incident, and are now licensed in both Nevada and California for road use.
Stanford University designed a car that drove at 115 mph, flawlessly and driver-less on a test track, and Michigan and Germany both successfully tested systems that allow conventional cars to update and share information on traffic and weather conditions.
2012 quickly became the year that cars drove themselves – leaving drivers and passengers to eat, drink coffee, catch up on the news and even work while reducing traffic, accidents, and all manner off issues. With cars that could simply drive themselves from destination to destination, no minimum or maximum ago for safety of driver could exist, drunk driving could be a thing of the past, and traffic jams caused by ‘volume’ would be mere memories.
It a true test of the theory, Google’s self-driving car got into a fender bender in California – when a real life person was at the helm driving the car.