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A $20,000 Self-Driving Vehicle Hits the Road

The Obama administration has said to spend $4 billion to speed up autonomous car innovation during the next years. For $20,440, you can get a Honda with the ability of driving itself quite well on a highway today.

Honda Motor Co. HMC, -1.03 % is releasing automated security functions on its entry-level car Civic LX sedan, a step that takes some of the most sophisticated innovation on the marketplace readily available and makes it easily accessible to considerably more purchasers, consisting of more youthful ones. General Motors Co. GM, -0.26 %, set to introduce a brand-new version of its little Chevrolet Cruze this year, is the next compact car in line to include advanced-safety bells and whistles.

This shows a growing accessibility of advanced-driver assistance systems, or ADAS, such as lane-keeping help, automatic braking or adaptive cruise control in the market. As car makers offer the elements needed to power these functions in option packages as low as $1,800, they are being bought at a far greater rate than electrified automobiles.

After a decade of spending much of its time and billions concentrated on enhancing fuel-efficiency, Washington is enhancing its concentrate on innovation that might save lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is thinking about methods to make ADAS features more ubiquitous, and Congress will hold a hearing Tuesday from Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG, +0.50 % GOOGL, +0.72 % Google X group and General Motors.

A test drive in Honda’s fairly low-cost brand-new Civic shows how today’s innovation convincingly and economically attacks a growing issue.

On a 25-mile commute in City Detroit in Honda’s new Civic, much of the drive can be completed with hands off the wheel and foot off the accelerator as long as lane markings remain visible and another lorry remains in front of the car. A camera mounted at the rearview mirror watches the roadway, and the car’s main nervous system tells components when to slow down, swerve or knock the brakes.

Car makers advise against dealing with ADAS-equipped cars as self-drivers. Concerns about liability and a thicket of regulatory ambiguities cause a cautious approach by marketers afraid of suits or embarrassing situations.

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