I’m afraid Alain Kornhauser *71’s work on the driverless car (Life of the Mind, Oct. 22) has been trumped by Tesla Motors. The car of the future described in this short article is almost here, and with additional advances will be driverless long before 2020. The company’s Tesla Model S P85D’s standard hardware package enables autopilot functionality. Every Model S rolling out of the factory includes a forward radar, 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors positioned to sense 16 feet around the car in every direction at all speeds, a forward-looking camera, and a high-precision, digitally controlled electric-assist braking system. It can park itself in a garage and greet the driver in the morning at his or her front door already programmed for a destination in the driver’s calendar. Better yet, it’s all-electric and consumes no fossil fuels.
Kornhauser and his students might benefit by spending some time at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif.