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Auto buzz of 2016: self-driving cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The hottest topic in the auto industry in 2016?  It's no contest, says Michelle Krebs of Autotrader. 

Self-driving or autonomous cars captured most of the biggest headlines, from a deadly accident involving a semi-autonomous Tesla car, to General Motors' announcement last week that it would test self-driving Chevy Bolts on metro Detroit roads in 2017.

Krebs says some of the buzz is just that - buzz.  But she has been impressed by the pace of developments, with Google, Uber, GM, and others all in some stage of testing autonomous vehicles on public roadways.

"If you had asked me a couple of years ago if we'd be this far along, I'd have said no," says Krebs.  But she cautions, "We aren't all going to own a self-driving car in the next five years.  They'll be here very soon, but not sitting in your driveway or your garage."

Rather, self-driving cars will appear first in fleets on campuses and in other controlled environments. 

Krebs also expects autonomous vehicles will also be the hot topic at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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