Remember when you would ride around the block and take your hands off the bike's handlebars and make all your friends envious of your skills? It was awesome, right? Now fast forward to when you met a crazy friend who takes his hands off the steering wheel while doing 100mph just to have you all screaming in the backseat. It would seem that someone in the car manufacturing industry was so impressed by this stunt that he or she decided to make it possible to do this without attracting screams, or tickets. There are many names for the result of this dream; autopiloted cars, autonomous cars, self-driving vehicles and so on. As Eddie Griffin would say, the important question is, "Did you get the message?"
The whole point is that these machines are on the verge of letting us not drive our cars. This might beat the purpose for some of us. There are already cars that scan and park themselves in parking zones. And they brake autonomously to avoid collisions and even maintain the correct lane using inbuilt technology. Whether you are a driver who needs to take some rest behind the wheel or you are just a tech-junkie, the time to embrace the future of driving is here. Have a look at some of the best cars with autonomous capabilities.
What does the Tesla Model S offer?
Model S Teslas, the P90D, and P85D are built with a button that enables them to maneuver down the highway, change lanes, adapt to traffic conditions as well as enabling parallel parking. Their "Autopilot" mode is assisted by a system of cameras, radars, and sensors that provide rapid electronic feedback to be combined with road data.
How good is the BMW 740i ?
The 740i starts at an MSRP of $81,500, and it requires an extra fee to get the autonomous packages. For $1900, you get the Driver Assistance Plus Option which has city collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and daytime pedestrian detection. There are two other packages that add Traffic Jam Assistant and proactive reaction to road irregularities.
What about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan?
On top of the relatively high starting price of $96,600, you have to part with an extra $2250 to get the semi-autonomous technology on this Benz. This package gets you DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive control with active lane keep assist, stop and go, forward brake assist with pedestrian detection and active blind-spot assist. There is also a $2260 Night View Assist package which uses infrared to identify animals and pedestrians after dark.
What stands out about the Toyota Corolla?
This might just be the cheapest option on this list with a starting MSRP of $18,500. The Corolla has a Toyota Safety Sense package as standard tech. This package gives you dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams, a pre-collision system warning with pedestrian detection and lane departure warning with steering assist. It's cheaper than candy yet more effective than a Mike Tyson punch.
What about the Chevrolet Volt?
The Volt currently carries a $33,220 price tag, but for semi-autonomous tech, you will need to cough out around $495. This will get you the Driver Confidence II option which has active lane keep assist, forward collision alert and IntelliBeam headlights. The forward crash prevention technology saw the 2017 Volt receive a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS.
What's special about the Chrysler Pacifica?
This will definitely be one of the most interesting minivans to, errrr, not drive. Equipped with optional frontal crash protection and the appropriate headlights, this is the only minivan that has won a Top Safety Pick+ rating by the IIHS. To enjoy the semi-autonomous features, install the Advanced SafetyTec option package.
What is the Bottom Line?
While it is true that the day we can stream a Katy Perry videos on YouTube as our cars drive themselves is getting closer, we are not yet there. The term "Autopilot" as used by Tesla means that you can take your hands off the steering for a short while, but you need to re-establish control soon after. The cars listed above only have a certain level of driver-independent operations, and drivers still have to be keen on the road.