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Robot Car

  • The company that started as a search engine is making a big leap into the auto industry. Scientists at Google X are building self-driving cars they plan to debut (at least in test mode) this summer.
  • Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing the ultimate in automotive sophistication: the driverless car. When NPR's Brian Naylor went there to check it out, he thought he'd be going for a spin on a test track. Instead, the car drove itself through suburbia.
  • Technology isn't the only hurdle for computer-driven cars.
  • New technology is getting us closer and closer to the point where cars will drive themselves. Automakers are testing and refining systems that will make this happen. But our love for control may keep us from riding in these cars anytime soon.
  • NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Jon Kuhl, public affairs and media manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures, about new laws going into effect Jan. 1. The laws include three tech-related rules in California — one about texting, another about driverless cars and a third about social media passwords.
  • Supporters of the technology say it will save a million lives a year and prevent a global carmageddon. But among the questions still to be worked out: If a self-driving car runs a red light and gets caught, who gets the ticket?
  • A fleet of Google's robotic cars has been tested more than 200,000 miles over highways and city streets. And Nevada has finalized rules that give special driving permits to the self-driving cars.
  • Cars can do all sorts of things automatically these days — parallel park, adjust headlights, and sense when you're tired and sound an alarm or vibrate the driver seat. Cars also exist, albeit not yet on the consumer market, that can operate entirely free of a human driver. Two states, Nevada and Florida, are already considering regulating the operation of driverless cars. Audie Cornish talks with Bryant Walker Smith, who studies driverless car technology and policy at Stanford University, for more.
  • Google has been testing driverless cars on the roads of California. It may be years yet, but the ultimate goal is to have cars be completely robot driven.