Futurists can be a fun bunch to listen to. From Ray Kurzweil's predictions on The Colbert Report to Michio Kaku's frequent specials on Discovery and The Science Channel, followers of futurists get frequent flashes of fate's final frontiers. Being the auto-obsessive types, naturally we're most curious to see what the future holds for automobiles.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers thinks it knows what kinds of cars we'll be driving in 2040, or, rather, what kinds of cars will be driving us.

"[IEEE members have] selected autonomous vehicles as the most promising form of intelligent transportation, anticipating that they will account for up to 75 percent of cars on the road by the year 2040."

That's right, folks. According to this panel of experts, by 2040 we'll be leaving our homes (in the sky) and settling comfortably into the recliners of our autonomous automobiles. May as well take a nap, eh? After all, there won't be any traffic lights to contend with, says IEEE. Think that's something? How about this little prediction, then: Not only may you not own a car in 2040, you may not even have to have a license. What is the world coming to?

More predictions can be found at IEEE's official website.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Smart people are such morons.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Probably would prevent the constant traffic jams and accidents... but it will never make it to Houston because the morons here think it restricts their "freedoms"....
      • 2 Years Ago
      I honestly don't know what the rabid obsession is with self-driving cars. I can't imagine a worse motoring future than one dominated by self-driving cars. If you really don't want the responsibility of driving your own car, get a bus, or a cab. This seems like a pointless waste of time pursuing this particular aspect of technology. It's going to be fallible - all computer systems are - and the first time a self-driving car kills a pedestrian or motorcyclist (which it will), the lawsuit alone ought to be enough to put this nonsense back in its place. After all - when your self-driving car crashes (which it will), who's to blame? You, the owner? Surely not - technically you weren't driving. So the manufacturer then? No - they've got an iron-clad legal disclaimer that waives all responsibility. So sure - in Nirvana world, car insurance rates would drop because "computers are safer than humans" (another fallacy), but then the insurance rates would skyrocket to cover all the legal cases. Meanwhile, we the drivers are left with faceless, joyless machines that take us everywhere of their own accord. Ugh. No thanks.
      Shiraz Ali
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hahahaha, smart people say lots of things!!
      Andrew Cook
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would be so malicious weaving between autonomous drone cars on the freeway...
      • 2 Years Ago
      The title should really say a group of smart people can claim anything and getaway with it because in 28 years whose gonna care.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Everyone mark your calenders. We will be 28 years older and more bitter by then.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Considering that two years ago this wasn't even a glimmer in people's eyes, and now there actually ARE autonomous cars being tested....I don't think this is that far off.
      • 2 Years Ago
      A good idea for NJ drivers. Recommended. However, such a thing would be completely impossible to implement in a city like NYC or Philly.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Then they're gonna have to change from the word "driving" to "hauled". And bye bye fun driving experience... in 2040.
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's going to happen faster then that. Imagine what the safety nazi's will say when they discover automated driving is much much safer. 20 years from now you will need a special license to drive yourself. Book it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      In other news today http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/09/robot-cars-now-officially-legal-in-california/ It's funny ready all the naysayers comparing this to "jetpacks and flying cars." Autonomous cars are a reality now. Google's cars have driven over 300,000 miles in California, driverless. A lot of new cars have the option of lane monitoring and adaptive cruise control right now. 25 years is a very reasonable timeline for autonomous cars to become mainstream especially considering we're currently right on the cusp of it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Um. DARPA (you know, the government/military people who brought us the internet thingy upon which you post your blog), and their academic/corporate partners like Stanford, Carnegie Mellon University, Volkswagen, GM, Google, Microsoft, Oshkosh, et al., have been working on this for two decades now. It works, so we shouldn't be surprised that it will be standard by 2040. Sadly, most people who don't read AutoBlog (the vast majority of people) also don't LIKE to drive at all. They would (or scarily enough, are) rather text, talk, eat, play, read, you name it. They buy Malibus, Camrys, Accords, Civics, Corrollas, Passats and Jettas by the millions. Driving will become a luxury activity for those able and willing to join motorsports clubs, which will be like country clubs, only with costlier memberships.
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