Self Driving Vehicles: Are Autonomous Cars Almost Here?

Timothy Alcock June 25, 2013 0
Self Driving Vehicles: Are Autonomous Cars Almost Here?

When you were little did you dream of owning a Knight Rider-esque car that did all the driving for you?

Well, the wait may finally be over. Almost.

Richard Parry-Jones, who was once the Chief Technical Officer at Ford and is now a co-chair on the UK Automotive Council, let everyone know just what he thinks will happen with autonomous cars.

He revealed at a conference in London that people will soon start handing over control to autonomous vehicles as populations migrate into ever-denser city centres.

But, is that really going to happen, and if so, how soon are we talking? Although we might not be there just yet, the auto industry is certainly making great strides in the arena of computer controlled driving.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class


While the 2014 S-Class will still require a person to sit behind the wheel, it boasts autonomous steering, braking, acceleration, parking, lane guidance, accident avoidance, and driver fatigue detection up to 120 mph. It uses radar, infrared and optical sensors to map out the road and can even turn corners unassisted.

It’s designed to take away some of the boredom associated with going on long car journeys, and it’s been compared to today’s autopilot options in planes that still require a person to keep an eye on things, but essentially do the job for them.

These cars are likely to be fairly expensive, but if you’ve got your heart set on one you’ll be pleased to know that they’ll probably be available for Mercedes Benz contract hire.

BMW i3


This new car from BMW is set to be released in 2014. It’s said to come with:

  • Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, a system designed to stop cars at a safe distance from one another and to accelerate to maintain this;.

  • Front Protection, which can detect potential collisions ahead

  • Parking Assistant, which, unlike alternatives from competitors, can park a car without any human assistance and can even work out parallel parking difficulties.

  • Traffic Jam Assistant, which uses the same system as Stop & Go but also steers the car to stay in the correct lane.


A company known for its safe cars, Volvo is in the process of developing a car that can park itself, to be released in 2014.

The idea is that users can drop their car off at a car park and activate the smartphone app. The car then searches out a parking space, while interacting with pedestrians and road users, and parks itself. It then sends a notification to the user through the app. Users can then ‘call’ their car to them through the app.

So, by the looks of it, we’ll only have to wait until next year to get three pretty snazzy autonomous cars.

What do you think of these self-driving vehicles, though? Do you think they’ll ever really be popular and, if so, would you want one?

(Images courtesy of and