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Smarter Cars (Annotated)

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GPS was introduced to personal vehicles in 2001 with in-car navigation devices and has since become a fundamental part of the transportation infrastructure.[19] GPS assists drivers while providing large-scale information to technology companies and cities about transportation patterns. Widespread adoption of smartphones with GPS technology further increased connectivity and the amount of location data shared by individuals.

Current vehicles are also equipped with a wide range of sensing capabilities. An average automobile in the US is predicted to have seventy sensors including gyroscopes, accelerometers, ambient light sensors, and moisture sensors.[20] Sensors are not new to vehicles. Automobiles built before 2000 had sensors for the internal state of the vehicle such as its speed, acceleration, and wheel position.[21] They already had a number of functionalities that combined real-time sensing with perception and decision-making such as Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS), airbag control, Traction Control Systems (TCS), and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).[22] Automated capabilities have been introduced into commercial cars gradually since 2003 as summarized in the following table.


Automated Functionality

Release Date


Intelligent Parking Assist System

Since 2003[23]




Since 2016[24]


Arterial & Highway

Lane departure system

Since 2004 in North America[25]


Arterial & Highway

Adaptive cruise control

Since 2005 in North America[26]



Blind spot monitoring




Lane changing



These functionalities assist drivers or completely take over well-defined activities for increased safety and comfort. Current cars can park themselves, perform adaptive cruise control on highways, steer themselves during stop-and-go traffic, and alert drivers about objects in blind spots during lane changes. Vision and radar technology were leveraged to develop pre-collision systems that let cars autonomously brake when risk of a collision is detected. Deep learning also has been applied to improve automobiles’ capacity to detect objects in the environment and recognize sound.[29]


[19] Mark Sullivan, “A brief history of GPS," PCWorld, August 9, 2012, accessed August 1, 2016,

[20] William J. Fleming, “New Automotive Sensors - A Review,” IEEE Sensors Journal 8, no 11, (2008): 1900-1921.

[21] Jean Jacques Meneu, ed., "Automotive Sensors: Now and in the Future," Arrow, September 24, 2015, accessed August 1, 2016,

[22] Carl Liersch, "Vehicle Technology Timeline: From Automated to Driverless," Robert Bosch (Australia) Pty. Ltd., 2014, accessed August 1, 2016,

[23] “Intelligent Parking Assist System,” Wikipedia, last modified July 26, 2016, accessed August 1, 2016,

[24] The Tesla Motors Team, “Summon Your Tesla from Your Phone,” Tesla, January 10, 2016, accessed August 1, 2016,

[25] Lane departure warning system," Wikipedia, last modified July 24, 2016, accessed August 1, 2016,

[26] "Autonomous cruise control system," Wikipedia, last modified July 30, 2016, accessed August 1, 2016,

[27] "Blind spot monitor," Wikipedia, last modified April 20, 2016, accessed August 1, 2016,

[28] Dana Hull, "Tesla Starts Rolling Out Autopilot Features," Bloomberg Technology, October 14, 2015, accessed August 1, 2016,

[29] Aaron Tilley, "New Qualcomm Chip Brings Deep Learning To Cars," Forbes, January 5, 2016, accessed August 1, 2016,

Cite This Report

Peter Stone, Rodney Brooks, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ryan Calo, Oren Etzioni, Greg Hager, Julia Hirschberg, Shivaram Kalyanakrishnan, Ece Kamar, Sarit Kraus, Kevin Leyton-Brown, David Parkes, William Press, AnnaLee Saxenian, Julie Shah, Milind Tambe, and Astro Teller.  "Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030." One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence: Report of the 2015-2016 Study Panel, Stanford University, Stanford, CA,  September 2016. Doc: Accessed:  September 6, 2016.

Report Authors

AI100 Standing Committee and Study Panel 


© 2016 by Stanford University. Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030 is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 License (International):