Volkswagen's TAP Takes Driving To a Whole New Level

By Sam Grossman | August 02, 2011
It's another day of sitting in traffic, eyes half-shut, wishing there was some way to get to work without the extended focus driving requires. It's a thought that has likely crossed the mind of every commuter at some point, and automakers have spent much time brainstorming ways of making the driving experience easier. While many brands are still in the brainstorming stage, Volkswagen is close to making it a reality. Last June, Volkswagen introduced its Temporary Automated Pilot (TAP) system at the Highly Automated Vehicle for Intelligent Transport (HAVEit) event in Boras, Sweden. The introduction of this system signals that taking a snooze in the driver's seat may not be as farfetched, or far into the future, as people might think. Active cruise control, which monitors your distance to the vehicle in front of you, is already commonplace on luxury brands, and gaining popularity in mainstream cars, too. TAP moves this kind of technology even further by taking complete control of the car using all its active safety systems, leaving the driver keep a look out and make sure everything is working properly. The system can drive the car up to 80 mph, automatically keep a safe distance from the car in front, drive at a speed selected by the driver, reduce speed before an upcoming bend, and keep the vehicle centered in the lane. As if this wasn't enough, TAP also obeys listed speed limits and other rules that may be displayed. Those who enjoy driving themselves can override the system at anytime, if they chose to use it in the first place. This is sure to be a convenience to the driver, but Volkswagen says it will also provide increased safety on the road, since people won't be dividing their attention between operating the vehicle and using cell phones or a navigation system. "Above all, what we have achieved today is an important milestone on the path towards accident-free car driving," said Dr. Jurgen Leohold, Executive Director of Volkswagen Group Research Professor who presented the TAP system at the HAVEit event. The introduction of this highly technological system isn't the only evidence self-driving vehicles may be closer than we think. The question is: Do people really trust their vehicles enough to let go of the wheel? Sound off in the comments below and tell us what you think. Source: CARSCOOP, inhabitat

Really interesting but I don't think I can take my hands off of the wheel, just goes against everything my body tells me.