Are we there yet?
We're on the road to driverless roads, but how long of a trip will it be? While we're probably a decade away from full regulatory and public adoption of autonomous vehicles, the big-name companies developing them are only years out from delivering -- and even sooner in some cases.
Below is a list of who is making self-driving cars and when they'll be coming out with them. Enjoy the ride -- err -- read.
Uber and Volvo
Thursday, Uber made public its plan to begin the launch of a fleet of self-driving ride-share Volvo SUVs this month. The cars, first being released in Pittsburgh, will be standard XC90s, augmented with special driverless equipment by Uber. Volvo is developing an autonomous model of the XC90 for its own consumer purposes, separately.
The new Silicon-Valley-oriented version of Ford announced Tuesday that it will have self-driving cars ready for ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft by 2021. Unlike today's semi-autonomous cars from Tesla and BWM, Ford's vehicles will be built without steering wheels or pedals, 5-year plan was announced alongside the company's new investment in
In partnership with Lyft, GM is developing self-driving cars that could be ride-sharing people around as early as later this year. Before the company's all-electric Chevy Bolt self-drivers roll out to streets at large, they'll be dispatched in the Lyft app in yet-to-be-named pilot cities.
Though Tesla's Autopilot feature is already semi-autonomously driving many of its cars today (for better or for worse), founder and CEO Elon Musk says Tesla cars will be fully autonomous by 2018. Tesla's approach to self-driving may have leaked last week when alleged info of its Autopilot 2.0 system was obtained and published by Electrek.co.
Not much is known about Project Titan, the Apple team within which the iPhone maker is supposedly working on a self-driving car. The latest reports say leadership within the Titan has been shaken up - Apple Watch exec Bob Mansfield now at the wheel -- and the "Apple Car" should be released in 2021.
Though Google said earlier this year that its partnership to make 100 self-driving vehicles with Fiat won't yield any cars that consumers can buy, its own bubble-top, self-cruising two-seater has been testing-driving all around California for a couple of years (even getting pulled over by police). Google's latest timetable for some kind of real release for its self-driving car: 2017 to 2020.
By the year 2020, Nissan wants to be leading the automotive front on "zero emissions, zero fatalities" by getting its self-driving, all-electric Nissan LEAFs on roads. To develop autonomous tech for its cars, Nissan has teamed with MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and other bastions of tech engineering prowess.
The CEO of German automaker Volkswagen said in March of this year that his company is aiming to bring self-driving cars "to market faster than the competition." Since, in the same statement, he predicted that autonomous vehicles will be "commonplace" by 2025, we're guessing Volkswagen's plan, then, is to launch its self-drivers sometime in the next nine years.