(WXYZ) - It sounds like something out of sci-fi... self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles. Google has about a dozen of them.
"a Google car can literally sense what's around the car and what kind of obstacles are coming up," explains Ed Hellwig from Edmunds.com .
The average person won't be able to buy a self-driving model anytime soon because it's too expensive at this point. But that doesn't mean you can't try out some of the technology today. Take the adaptive cruise control, for example.
"Adaptive cruise control can bring the car to a complete stop as well as start the car when traffic gets moving again, so you can literally be in stop and go traffic and not put your feet on the pedals at all," Hellwig says.
Or there are lane departure warnings that auto correct when you veer outside the lines... headlights that adapt to changing weather conditions... and new blind spot technology that gives you an audible or visual warning in your mirrors letting you know that a car is there.
And guess what? These options aren't just popping up in the luxury market anymore. When Aimee Goodman went new car shopping recently, she was sold when she realized she could get high tech for low price.
"It became a significant factor in choosing a car," she says.
The car she picked is priced in the mid 20's, but offers blind spot assistance and windshield wipers that will turn on as soon as it senses moisture on the windshield.
Some complain that all the high tech help will put drivers at a disadvantage. The concern:
"It might make drivers a little too relaxed in terms of being vigilant about what's around them," Hellwig says.
Aimee says it makes her feel more confident.
"It doesn't replace a driver's attention to detail, but it gives you an added level of security."
Some automakers are now working on creating cars that will take over the wheel in an emergency. There are still many obstacles on the road to self-driving cars and autonomous features, many of which would require laws to be drawn up to deal with things like who might be at fault if an accident did happen in a self-driving car.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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