"Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
"I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that."
That type of belligerence might be coming to your car under the guise of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Many cars can already be had with the necessary hardware like GPS navigation systems that help a vehicle determine its position, and stability control that can already fire individual brakes to effect course corrections. Is the next step writing the software to interconnect those systems into an active safety net? This would effectively enable the car to steer you out of trouble if it compares your trajectory with the nav system and determines you're off-course.
Passive safety systems have seemingly hit a wall, and the mass that all that crash safety adds must be either offset through the use of more exotic and expensive materials, or the result is a stupendously heavy vehicle. The next step will be active safety, a baby-step that has already been made with stability control and active cruise control. Current maps in navigation systems aren't adequate for driver aids, as they're mainly bird's-eye-view positional representations. Once maps with more data become available, the possibility of your car bringing all its situational awareness equipment to bear so that it can execute lane changes and warn you about a blind hairpin curve coming up might not be such fantasy.
[Source: Automotive Design Line]
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