Self-driving vehicles would be part of that evolutionary step from pre-programmed AI to cognitive mechanics. These vehicles would still require the rider to physically interact with the car. But instead of driving, the pilot would merely step in and select a destination with an oral command. The vehicle would then deliver the rider using an auto-pilot system.
This would mean that the AI would need to have complex cognitive skills in order to make quick decisions, such as avoiding lost puppies wandering around in the middle of the road or letting the rider exit the vehicle while in motion. According to General Motors, the first driverless car could be on the road by 2018. The company revealed its plans a few years back, and said it would begin testing by 2015. Former General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said the biggest hurdle wouldn't be the technology, but rather liability laws and government regulations. “This is not science fiction,” Larry Burns, GM’s vice president for research and development, said in 2008. Since the report, other car manufacturers, including Nissan, Honda, and Audi have begun development of automated cars.