Nevada is the center of the autonomous driving universe because the government encourages it and for a hefty fee, any car company – or tech company – can obtain a shiny red license plate to let the world know this is a self-driving car. Even though the Hyundai Ioniq Electric Vehicle has not hit the showrooms yet, the mad scientists from Korea have been working on a self-driving version and we were there first-hand to see it work. What makes this experiment unique is that unlike other self-driving tests, Hyundai’s took place in downtown Las Vegas just outside of the Convention Center during the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show.
Keeping in mind that this is still in experimental phase, our three laps on a pre-programmed loop required minimal intervention from our human safety engineer who sat in the driver’s seat as a safety precaution. We might have hit a couple of curbs had he not intervened, but that’s par for the course when I typically get in a taxi or Uber these days. Is this technology ready for the general public, no, but it’s a strong demonstration by Hyundai that it’s coming and we better get used to it. I really don’t have a problem with it. With two parents in their eighties, I’d rather see them driven by a high-tech car than getting behind the wheel themselves and taking a bigger risk.