With nearly 800 million miles "driven" with Tesla's Autopilot steering down the freeways, almost all major automakers planning to unveil driverless vehicles, and regulators and auto insurance agencies in a tizzy over what will happen when these cars hit the roads, a driverless future is our reality.
Want to keep up with what's happening in the world of autonomous vehicles? Follow these 10 insiders on Twitter to learn when, and how, your presence controlling the car will no longer be necessary.
Tesla Motors: @teslamotors
The king of the electric car world, and the leader in developing, and releasing incrementally, advanced autonomous technology, including Autopilot and Summon. With a simple download, your Tesla can start navigating the freeways on its own; and via the Tesla app, it can parallel park itself while you stand to the side, watching in disbelief.
As executive chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent company, Schmidt's account is a good resource for more news on what Google's plans are with its Self-Driving Car Project, arguably one of the most advanced—and adorable looking—projects in self-driving vehicles. Google's employees have been spotted zipping around all over California, Texas, Washington, and Arizona, testing out car tech.
Elon Musk: @elonmusk
Become one of Musk's 4+ million followers, and you might get an inside peek into the billionaire-genius's next big idea. Musk, founder of Tesla, is also the head of Space X, the creator of high-tech rockets. His tweets sometimes poke fun at himself, like this one, in reference to an article: "At this point, I'm really running out of crazy things to say. Any suggestions?"
Thrun, founder and president of Udacity, a company that has created an online university, is also a professor at Stanford University and is known for inventing Google's autonomous car. He's a leading thinker in the area of driverless cars, and an important follow.
Alex Davies: @adavies47
As Wired's transportation reporter, Davies is constantly keeping up with the latest in autonomous vehicles. Follow Davies for some insightful commentary and to see what news in the driverless car world is worth paying attention to.
Want to know more about the tech that powers autonomous driving? Mobileye, an Israeli company, is one of the top companies in creating advanced cameras, sensors, and maps for driverless cars. They've got Nissan, GM, and VW—three major automakers—as clients.
US Department of Transportation: TransportationGov@USDOT
You can't talk about autonomous driving without circling back to the laws that will allow, or inhibit, these vehicles access to the roads. Follow this account for some insight into how the government is handling the dawn of the driverless era.
Bryant Walker Smith: @bwalkersmith
Walker Smith, at the University of South Carolina School of Law and School of Engineering, is one of the leading thinkers in the autonomous vehicle world, specifically focusing on the legal aspects of having driverless vehicles on the road.
Kymeta Corporation: @KymetaCorp
Interested in how autonomous vehicles talk to each other? Check out Kymeta, a company that offers a flat satellite antenna that connects cars to...well, other cars, infrastructure, and more. Since driverless cars are data-driven, the satellite technology is pivotal in how information is collected. Toyota recently announced a partnership with the group, investing $5 million for the new tech.
Driverless Now: @DriverlessNow
Driverless Now helps bridge the gap between the regulations and the machines themselves, and their Twitter feed is full of interesting articles on new advances in these areas. Follow this account to stay on top of the latest in the regulatory, legislative, political and policy issues in the autonomous car world.
- Toyota launches new AI lab in US, calls autonomous cars 'robots on wheels'
- Photos: A list of the world's self-driving cars racing toward 2020
- CES 2016: Carmakers kick off the year with big moves in autonomous vehicles (TechRepublic)
- How driverless cars will transform auto insurance and shift burden onto AI and software (TechRepublic)
- Autonomous driving levels 0 to 5: Understanding the differences (TechRepublic)
- Toyota to accelerate big data to and from cars with satellite technology running 50Mbps (TechRepublic)
Hope Reese has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Hope Reese is a journalist in Louisville, KY. Her writing has been featured in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Playboy, Undark Magazine, VICE, Vox, and other publications.