“We wanted flying cars; instead we got 140 characters,” is venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s famous credo.
But though a freeway in the sky seems as fantastical as ever, we are going to get something even better: a self-driving car.
Such a robot, fully aware of its environment, with 360-degree vision and peerless driving skills, is a matter of when, not if. Humans’ fascination with these machines seems limitless, even though autonomous cars could turn us into mere cargo. And unlike airborne cars, self-drivers could prevent the 1.2 million deaths caused by traffic accidents every year.
It’s no utopian fantasy. Among our Top Ten Tech Cars this year are a robotic Audi that tears around racetracks like a professional driver and an electric Tesla whose impressive autopilot skills are as close as the nearest showroom.
Booming sales should also help accelerate the technological pace. Americans parked 17.5 million new cars in their driveways in 2015, more than any year in history, and the Chinese bought even more. That left the industry awash in profits and able to spend heavily on R&D to bring pioneering cars and technologies to market.
So, carbon-based life form, the message is clear. If you enjoy driving, get your fill while you can. In our list of the 10 cars that are rocking our technological world, we’ve included more than a few choices to help maximize your motoring pleasure. After all, we’re only human.