We all have read about the self-driving cars and then there are cars capable of parking themselves. But how close are we to the future where autonomous cars will become a regular thing? Many automakers are aiming for 2020 when such cars will make their debut and become a ‘thing’. Ambitious plans if you ask us but doable though. However, what about the transition phase that the users will go through? Considering this, a company known as Cruise Automation has decided to help the self driving movement by unveiling a new gadget, which allows the car to transform into semi-self driving car.
The gadget basically allows the driver to delegate the control of steering wheel, accelerator and gas pedals to the car with some limitations (better safe than sorry). The sensor has been named as Cruise RP-1 and is basically an aftermarket gadget that you can purchase for $10,000 and works as a ‘highway autopilot’. The sensor will not transform your car into a smooth self-driving car but will relieve you of some of the boring tasks when you are driving on highway. It is more like an enhanced version of the cruise control with some added features.
According to the company, ‘The RP-1 uses a combination of sensors, radar, and cameras to drive safely down the highway. Using advance computer vision and obstacle detection, the RP-1 keeps you in your lane and a safe distance from vehicles in front of you.’
The Cruise Automation’s website states that the RP-1 is capable of pointing out to the user if the car is unable to ascertain lane markings or is in doubt over what it is seeing by engaging audio and/or visual alerts. The company has repeatedly stressed that safety is of highest priority over here. Cars equipped with the RP-1 shall be legally allowed in California, however, drivers will not be allowed to text or use cell phones while making use of the RP-1.
Company is currently taking orders for 50 initial units set to be delivered in 2015 and are compatible with Audi cars. However, CEO Kyle Vogt has pointed out that Audi is merely the beginning and that the company will soon be releasing sensors compatible with other cars as well.