While you read, sleep or watch TV, a robotic car drives you to work, talking to highway sensors to monitor road conditions and communicating with other cars to maintain a safe distance and speed.

AUVSI is spearheading an effort that could make this a reality in the not-so-distant future. The association has taken up the Transportation Technology Transfer Initiative (3TI), formerly known as the Intelligent Vehicle Technology Transfer, which in the past has been supported by a number of US government agencies including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

However, "This is not just a US-focused program," says Kyle Snyder, AUVSI's director of knowledge resources. "We are looking at doing this around the globe."

The IVTT-to-3TI change began at a meeting earlier this year in Michigan, hosted by AUVSI's Great Lakes Chapter.

"The future is predicated on our ability to solve some very strategic issues, such as integration with humans, and making the use of the technology something that really doesn't require a lot of training," says Dave Thomas of the US Army's Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, who is also president of the Great Lakes Chapter.

Snyder said 30,000 people each year are killed in automobile accidents in the USA alone, many attributed to driver inattention. T3I will seek to make driving safer by promoting "smart car" technology sharing between the military and commercial worlds.

Automobiles on the market now can park themselves and take over partial control of a car if a driver seems inattentive, such as by weaving between lanes. General Motors has predicted that it will have a car that can drive itself on the market by 2015. "The commercial sector already sees the benefit of these technologies," Snyder said.

Source: Flight Daily News