Google has had a fleet of 10 or more driverless cars on the roads in Florida, Nevada, and California for a couple of years that by now have logged over a million driverless miles. The latest cars from mainstream vehicle manufacturers already include intelligent functions such as keeping in lane while adjusting speed to the vehicle in front, automated parking, and crash prevention.
According to a recent report form Navigant Research there is an industry consensus that the first vehicles with comprehensive self-driving features will be brought to market by 2020. The technology to support autonomous vehicles such as image processing and sensor fusion are now ready for production use, and supervised decision-making software is in trial on public roads. Navigant Research forecasts that 94.7 million autonomous-capable vehicles will be sold annually around the world by 2035.
The human toll from highway accidents is immense. It has been estimated that a total of 3,551,332 motor vehicle deaths have occurred in the United States from 1899 to 2012. Every year there are an estimated 1.2 million deaths worldwide in automobile collisions - over 30,000 in the U.S., over 240,000 in India, over 270,000 in China. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to dramatically reduce the number of fatal accidents on the world's highways.