The Road to Self-Driven Cars

Imagine it's 2020, and you're walking down the city streets, and you stop on the sidewalk as you prepare to cross the street. You look to the car coming your way. There's no one in the driver seat, and yet, this does not come as a surprise to you. That's because, by this, self-driving cars will be the mode of transportation.

At least, according to the experts.

In the now, we still have four years before a team of self-driving cars become a significant part of our lifestyles. But that isn't isn't really all that far off, and we are getting steadily close each day. Case in point, Changan Automobile Co., Ford Motor Company's partner in China, just announced that their self-driving car has just driven approximately 1931 km  (1200 miles) across the planet.

Starting from Congqing, where Changan is based, the driver-less car drove up to Beijing for six days. Employing a radar, cameras, and direct communication with Changan, the car arrived at the designated location safe.

Changan Automobile Co.'s self-driving car cruising on the road. Credit: Chongqing Daily

With this technology, the company was able to test automatic cruising, lane-keeping and changing, and assisted driving through traffic congestion. The vehicle is also capable of speed reduction through both traffic sign recognition and voice control.

A Global Competition

Changan is just one of the many companies that are globally competing to develop and produce vehicles that can operate on their own. The company's tests with this self-driving automobile is part of their plans to manufacture highly automated vehicles by at least 2020.

However, for China specifically, accomplishments such as the self-driving car are part of a state-initiative to urge local manufacturers to upgrade their technology as other countries join the world in low-cost labor supply.

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