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A Car That (Really) Drives Itself

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Link: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=107011

RUSSELSHEIM, Germany — General Motors is preparing to launch a revolutionary self-driving system on the 2008 Opel Vectra.

The car will be capable of piloting itself at speeds up to 60 mph in heavy traffic without any input from the driver sitting behind the steering wheel.

GM claims the system, called Traffic Assist, will make driving safer and more relaxing. It uses lasers, a video camera and plenty of computing power to "see" signs, bends, other vehicles and lane markings, and to control the engine, steering and brakes to keep the car in the correct position on the road and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

The system is to become available on more models by the end of the decade — initially other cars on the Epsilon platform, including the next Saab 9-3, Cadillac BLS and Saturn Aura. Whether it will be launched in the U.S. will depend on whether administrators deem it safe — product liability laws are different in America.

GM expects the package to be about 50-percent more expensive than conventional active cruise control radar equipment, which controls distances but cannot steer the car.

What this means to you: No, it's not April Fool's Day; GM really has developed a self-driving system. Great for traffic jams, but we're not sure about a car driving itself at 60 mph!

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I would have thought self drive would be safer on a freeway at over 60mph - at least then the speed is steady and the traffic flows predictable

Anyone who can build a computer system that can drive in peak hour traffic in Rome of Paris without being cut to pieces by kerb jumping maniacs should really be on the Shuttle program

Have you ever seen Paris "braille" parking? They physically shove other parked cars up to 4 metres out of the way. There are signs there that actually say leave the handbrake off when parking.

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This is a great idea! Although, it will be a cold day in hell before I will trust this system to my life. They should keep researching the tech though! Atleast GM is doing something different (if it is true).

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