SAN FRANCISCO — Although 2015 was packed with self-driving car updates from technology companies, the truly eye-popping industry strides were made by traditional auto manufacturers.
As Google presses ahead with its development of a futuristic car without steering wheel or pedals, automakers such as Ford, Audi and electric-car upstart Tesla added sensor-based features to conventional automobiles that relieve drivers of certain driving chores.
Using varying combinations of traditional radar, laser-based radar, cameras and ultrasonic discs, Tesla's Autopilot software update allows its Model S and Model X sedans to steer themselves down a highway and even change lanes with the flick of a blinker stalk. Audi's newest Q7 SUV boasts a suite of Pilot Assist technology that can take over braking chores. Mercedes-Benz offers similar lane-control technology, as does BMW, which has demonstrated a self-parking feature that represents where car manufacturers are headed.
Looking ahead to 2016, confirmation may come that Apple is indeed moving briskly into auto manufacturing. Ford definitely will turbocharge its autonomous-car efforts, both through its program at dedicated Michigan testing ground Mcity and its new license to test self-driving cars on public roads in California. At the Consumer Technology Association's big show in January, we'll see a prototype revealed by a mysterious new electric car company, Faraday Future, which recently announced it would pour $1 billion into a Nevada manufacturing plant.
The upshot of this growing application of technology to automobile manufacturing is that the day is fast approaching when the car will simply be a computer on wheels requiring less and less of our attention. Some may be thrilled by that prospect, others terrified. Either way, buckle up because it's coming.
Original Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2015/12/22/car-tech-took-wheel-2015/77290898/