The idea of a car driving itself isn’t new. You can look to the 1939 World’s Fair to see how long automakers have been dreaming of a fully autonomous car. In 2014, we’ve advanced so far to ride in auto-piloted aircraft (a major feat) and the monorails found in airports around the country (granted, not so amazing).

Autonomous cars exist today as small experiments, and only four states have granted automakers the right these cars on public roads.


But driving doesn’t require as much attention as it did before the second World War, and it’s not because we’re much better at it. Many new cars, if you’re lucky enough to be in a new car, have three safety systems that actually correct our mistakes.


Let’s make one thing clear. Unlike airbags and anti-lock brakes, these three features below are a long way off from showing up on the majority of the U.S. car fleet. Stability control, arguably the most important advance since the seat belt, wasn’t required by U.S. law until 2012. And when you do find a late-model car with these features, you’ll pay for them, either as standalone options or as part of more expensive packages on pricier, upper-level trims. They’re also imperfect. But price and imperfection doesn’t make their capabilities any less impressive.


Note: All prices include destination for the specific model listed. Factory incentives are not included and can potentially reduce the price.


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The idea of a car driving itself isn’t new. You can look to the 1939 World’s Fair to see how long automakers have been dreaming of a fully autonomous car. In 2014, we’ve advanced so far to ride in auto-piloted aircraft (a major feat) and the monorails found in airports around the country (granted, not so amazing).
Autonomous cars exist today as small experiments, and only four states have granted automakers the right these cars on public roads.

But driving doesn’t require as much attention as it did before the second World War, and it’s not because we’re much better at it. Many new cars, if you’re lucky enough to be in a new car, have three safety systems that actually correct our mistakes.

Let’s make one thing clear. Unlike airbags and anti-lock brakes, these three features below are a long way off from showing up on the majority of the U.S. car fleet. Stability control, arguably the most important advance since the seat belt, wasn’t required by U.S. law until 2012. And when you do find a late-model car with these features, you’ll pay for them, either as standalone options or as part of more expensive packages on pricier, upper-level trims. They’re also imperfect. But price and imperfection doesn’t make their capabilities any less impressive.

Note: All prices include destination for the specific model listed. Factory incentives are not included and can potentially reduce the price.

(more…)