Aftermarket autonomous vehicle tech enters testing in California

Autonomous vehicles are the future of driving and there is no way we will get away from that. Like most cool new features, initially the only way to get the ability for your car to drive autonomously will be to buy a new car that has the tech built-in from the factory. The good news for folks who don't want to buy a new car or have a car they love currently is that there will be aftermarket autonomous vehicle tech such as the offering that Cruise Automation is working on.

Cruise Automation is a start up from Silicon Valley that is developing an aftermarket system called the RP-1 Highway Autopilot. Right now, the system is expected to sell for about $10,000. The system will take over driving on freeways and keep the car within the lanes and has the ability to avoid other cars using lots of sensors.

The most visible component of the system is a pod that sits above the windshield and has millimeter wave radar inside, stereo video cameras, GPS, and other inertial sensors. This setup lacks the laser-ranging system that is found in Google autonomous cars.

The external systems are paired with actuators inside the car for controlling steering, throttle, and brakes. The main brain of the system is in the trunk of the car. Right now, there are a pair of these cars in testing in California with the California DMV handing out permits for the cars in June. To use the system the driver presses a button on the dash after placing the car in a lane on the highway and the tech takes over. There is no word on when the product might be available commercially.