The Current

Driverless cars set to be on public roads in 5 years. Are we ready?

After years of futuristic speculation, the self-driving vehicle may be just around the bend. We speak to a lead engineer at Volvo who wants to take driving out of your hands. And we ask about the ethical concerns driving on autopilot and how to integrate these cars into our cities.
Google's self-driving car needs no gas pedal or steering wheel. So with the self-driving car just around the bend, what will it mean for life on the road?

​Automated driving and driverless cars.  

They were once just the stuff of science fiction, but as you're likely aware, a number of automotive and technology companies have been tinkering away on them. 

What might surprise you is just how soon we might actually be sharing the road with them.

Just yesterday, Ontario's Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca told a business crowd in Toronto that the province needs to start planning its driverless car regulations.... now. 

And already this summer, drivers on public roads in California could spot Google's driverless car prototype in their review mirrors. Carmakers Mercedes and Audi have models on the way... and so does Volvo.  

The director of Volvo's "Drive Me"  self-driving car project, Marcus Rothoff joined us from Gothenburg, Sweden. 

If driverless cars really are on their way -- then that means we better be prepared for them. Stephen Buckley has already been working on answering practical questions of how to integrate self-driving cars into our traffic ecosystems. He's the general manager of Transportation Services for the City of Toronto.

As we prepare for driverless cars, there are also some ethical questions to deal with. Because self-driving cars introduce some new forks-in-the-road there too.  Jason Millar is an engineer and a philosopher. He teaches a course in robot ethics at Carleton University and he is a member of the Open Roboethics Initiative. He was in our Ottawa studio. 

Are you looking forward to getting around in a self-driving car? Do you trust them?  

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This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli.