In 2004, 2005 and 2007, DARPA asked researchers to create driverless vehicles in its Grand Challenge and Urban Challenge races. Several vehicles came close to what we could perceive as an autonomous vehicle, even if it was clear that the technology used in all cars would have to mature, along with a new idea how traffic can be managed.
Several years later, consumers can purchase especially luxury vehicles with a truly overwhelming number of gadgets, some of which appear to be going the route of the driverless car. If you head over to luxury manufacturer websites, you will find features such laser- or radar-guided active distance cruise control, complex camera systems, advanced navigation systems as well as lane departure warning systems that are evolving to be much more than passive tools that simply warn drivers of particular dangers. They are now actively participating as an assistant driver. A few videos on Infiniti's website are especially enticing as they suggest that such technology may be able to drive your car (almost) by itself. Can it?