The technology needed for driverless cars is here and could be ready for the market in less than a decade. Automation holds the promise of revolutionizing the automobile industry and making our streets safer, but will it spell the end of Fahrvergnügen?
A Lexus drives down the eight-lane highway outside Palo Alto, California, in heavy rush-hour traffic. Except for the rotating cylinder perched on its roof like an oversized tin can and the word "Google" on its doors, it looks like any other car. In reality, though, it's a search engine on wheels.
The Lexus steers itself down the highway all by itself. The man in the driver’s seat – Dmitri Dolgov, a software engineer for Google -- never actually touches the wheel.