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Car Talk

When the technology is perfected, a car would even be able to valet itself. It would drop you at your destination, go find parking, and then come back to collect you when you call for it.

The deluxe version is at least 10 and probably more like 25 years away. Ralph Robinson of the University of Michigan says two big challenges are getting enough cars equipped with the appropriate wireless communication devices, and liability: Who gets sued if an automated car runs into another one that’s supposedly accident-proof? Coughlin added that consumer acceptance might be difficult. “If you spend $30,000 on your vehicle, you’re unlikely to want to relinquish control or give up the thrill of driving,” he says.

Then again, it may be better than giving up the keys.

Julie Halpert, who has covered the car industry for two decades, lives and drives in Michigan.

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