Univerity of Oxford researchers think we may see sensor packs to make cars autonomous for as little as $150.
At the moment the system costing around $7500 relies on a memory of a regularly travelled route that gives the driver the option to hand control over to the system. This is ideal for daily commutes or regular delivery runs taking the tedium out of travelling.
Using these relatively cheap inputs, the car uses the same visual cues people use to navigate and does not rely on less than pinpoint-accurate GPS systems.
This can decrease the cost significantly as well as remove the dependance on internet based services that are not always available on the road. Even driving at night or in poor visibility (in most cases) should not pose a problem since the system can make use of Infrared and laser imaging to watch the road ahead.
The day where I can kick back and relax for a commute any more than I do now (thanks to audiobooks and podcasts) can not come soon enough.
I can feel the smugness washing over me now as I enjoy videos, read email or work on by blog while other stress heads around me are working out how to get ahead of the person in front of them.
Read the engadget story here – http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/16/uk-university-of-oxford-autonomous-car/