It sounds like something out of sci-fi and resembles it a bit too. But self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles are already on the road. Google has about a dozen/
“A Google car can literally sense what’s around the car and what kind of obstacles are coming up,” said Ed Hellwig with Edmunds.com.
The average person won't be able to buy a self-driving model any time soon. It would be too expensive at that point. But that doesn't mean you can't try out some of the technology today. Take the updated adaptive cruise control, for example.
“Adaptive cruise control can bring the car to a complete stop as well as start the car when traffic gets moving again, so you can literally be in stop and go traffic and not put your feet on the pedals at all,” said Hellwig.
There are also lane departure warnings that auto correct when you veer outside the lines. Headlights that adapt to changing weather conditions. And there's new blind spot technology, too.
“It’ll give you an audible or visual warning in your mirrors letting you know that a car is there," said Hellwig.
These options aren't just popping up in luxury vehicles anymore. When Aimee Goodman went new car shopping recently, she was sold when she realized she could get high-tech for a low price.
“It became a significant factor in choosing a car,” she said.
The car she picked was priced in the mid 20s, but offers blind spot assistance and she said, "The windshield wipers will turn on as soon as it senses moisture on the windshield.”
What could be wrong with all of that? Well, some complain that all this high-tech will put drivers at a disadvantage.
“It might make drivers a little too relaxed in terms of being vigilant about what’s around them,” said Hellwig.
Goodman disagrees, saying she feels more confident.
"It doesn’t replace a drivers attention to detail but it gives you an added level of security,” she said.
Some automakers are now working on creating cars that will take over the wheel in an emergency. There are still many obstacles on the road to self-driving cars and autonomous features, many of which would require laws to be drawn up to deal with things like who might be at fault if an accident happened in a self-driving car.