Cyber View; September 1997; Scientific American Magazine; by Gibbs; 1 Page(s)
On August 7, if all went as planned, eight high-tech Buicks drove themselves and their idle passengers down a short stretch of San Diego freeway. The second part of the plan was for the media and public to ooh and aah at the feat, intended, according to the consortium of transportation agencies and carmakers that organized it, to "show that the vision of an automated highway system can be made a practical reality."
Technically, "smart" cars are indeed practical--or soon will be. Sensors can read magnets, nailed into the pavement, that indicate the direction of the road. Radars can spot obstacles ahead (at least those made of metal). Digital radios can converse with surrounding vehicles and the road itself to avoid surprises. And computers, digesting all this information, can calculate where to go and how fast.