In some ways a self driving car is the ultimate embedded system (my definition of an embedded system is one where the user doesn't have access to the OS) and they have been in the news recently because Google has decided to release accident data on their fleet starting with May 2015 (their first report is attached below). Google has been experimenting with self driving cars since 2009 and they just had their 13th (non-injury) accident after covering 1.011 million miles. The 13th accident like all the others wasn't their fault, they were rear ended by a driver who didn't notice the big white vehicle (Lexus RX450h) stopped at a red light with all of its brake lights on!
Google started with Toyota Prius (gen 2) as the vehicle platform and now use the Lexus 450h SUV as the current mule but are transitioning to the bland looking generic bubble car you see in the video below.
Self driving cars and these remarkable results are on mind mind right now for 2 reasons; first I was in Mountain View last week and saw one of the Google Lexus vehicles turning off El Camino onto San Antonio road and there was someone in the drivers seat but not sure if they were driving and second I have a pair of teenage drivers which definitely focuses the mind on safety.
At the risk of alienating a few friends and family members I have been listening to a litany of stories of young drivers rear ending stopped cars (note the Google accidents), running red lights (ticket with pictures arrived in the mail) and very sadly drunk driving. Teenagers are built to be risk takers, its in their DNA but should we really be giving them guided missiles and unleashing them on our roads? My theory is that the faster we introduce at least some rudimentary driver assistance capabilities the better. I realize there will be many purists who will lament the end of manual transmission cars and the "skills" we learned as drivers but isn't human life more valuable? ARM and its partners are enabling the technology to make cars much safer with software like the Cortex functional safety package which was announced for Cortex-A class processors in April by richardyork who pointed out that we will need major upgrades to processors in cars to achieve advanced safety goals but its coming fast.
Self driving cars should be a major boom area for Embedded developers irrespective of what happens in IoT so I'm optimistic we can make progress and save some lives, what do you think?