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Driverless cars by mid-century our likely future, says technology group

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers claims that autonomous vehicles will likely make up 75 percent of cars on the road by 2040.

drive less carEnlarge
A technology group says that cars will be driving themselves by 2040. Above, a driverless car 'Made in Germany' (MIG), which from the outside looks like a regular Volkswagen Passat with a camera on top, is being put through its paces at Berlin's disused Tempelhof airport. (Odd Andersen/Getty Images)

Remember that driver's test that caused so much dread?

Well, it will soon be a thing of the past if predictions are right.

Automated or driverless cars are coming to streets near you, likely making a license to drive a relic of the past.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a technology professionals association, announced that autonomous vehicles will likely make up 75 percent of cars on the road by 2040.

IEEE went further, stating that road infrastructure like lights and signs may disappear, along with the need for driver's permits.

The organization has already put its theory to the test with senior member and professor of computer engineering at the University of Parma, Alberto Broggi, having piloted two self-driving vehicles on a trip from Parma to Shanghai, reported Wired.

Car companies have also made advances.

Cadillac, Audi and BMW have created automated cars with the former predicting that it will be rolling out production of them by the end of the decade.

Google has also been testing a fleet of cars that drive themselves, while lobbying Washington to get behind the technology.

The Mercury News reported that California is already on its way to automated vehicles on its roads.

The legislature has sent a bill to Governor Jerry Brown that would allow for driverless cars on the roads by late in the decade - a bill that if signed might spur even more innovation by major technology companies.

That said, automated cars in one form or another are not necessarily new.

The mining industry in Australia, Rio Tinto in particular, are already using driverless trucks and are expading their fleet, said WAToday.com.

The Rotterdam ParkShuttle in the Netherlands, which connects a metro station with a business park, is another example.

Now if only automated cars could find parking spots with ease, more people would sign on.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120923/driverless-cars-mid-century-our-likely-future-says-technology-associati