It’s a sunny Friday afternoon and traffic is moving slowly in the southbound lanes of the A9 highway between Munich and Nuremberg. The summer vacation period has just begun and it seems like everyone in Germany is headed to the beaches of the Mediterranean. However, when one looks again it becomes clear how orderly the colorful lines of cars rolling down the highway are. All of the vehicles are maintaining a safe distance from the cars in front and traveling at a constant speed, and none of the trucks are attempting any dangerous passing maneuvers.
This is actually a vision of the future, one that might become a reality by 2025, when nearly all vehicles may well be equipped with laser scanners, and cameras, as well as radar and ultrasound sensors – essentially making them autonomous. Indeed, in this scenario, drivers have turned over control of their vehicles to autopilots because of the heavy traffic. The vehicles are now coordinating their movements with other cars and networked traffic guidance centers via WiFi signal towers along the road.