Road to the driverless car

As computers and sensors become smaller and more sophisticated, cars are handling more of the tricky and boring work of driving a car. Someday, they could handle virtually all of it.

It knows what it's doing
Sensors
It knows what it's doing
Even the simplest car today can be filled with electronic sensors that monitor everything the car does from one fraction of a second to the next. Some monitors check how far the wheels are moving when you turn while others see what the car itself is doing when the wheels turn - if there's a mismatch, that's a problem.

Sensors in the brakes time each spin of each of the car's wheels. If you hit the brakes and a wheel slows down more quickly than it should, that's a sign your brakes are locking up and the sensors trigger the anti-lock brakes to start pumping to regain traction.

Other sensors will lay dormant for years, probably the entire life of your car, waiting for an impact that may never come. But if that impact ever does come, they'll trigger the airbags.

There are monitors watching your behavior as well. They watch how far and how hard you press the gas and how far you're turning the wheel.


Self-awareness

Spatial awareness

Seeing

Deciding

Communicating

Drivers

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.