This Is What Autonomous Driving Will Look Like…

…according to Volvo, anyway.

Personally, I like this approach because it makes the technology optional. Despite a good bit of real-world data showing just how safe autonomous cars can be, many people are nervous about handing the keys to HAL. By making the autonomous system opt-in, it gives motorists a chance to accept and adapt to the technology in their own time. (Even though, as Google has shown, drivers are far more likely to have accidents when they’re not using it.)

I also think it’s interesting that the self-driving feature is only usable at certain times. Volvo hasn’t given us any details about when and why it might not be available — the press release was literally just this video — but I’m curious. Will it only work on highways? Or in stop-and-go traffic below 40 mph? I’d like to know more.

My only real concern about Volvo’s autonomous car technology — dubbed IntelliSafe Auto Pilot — comes from watching the driver behind the wheel, while the car is in autonomous mode. Like so many things, autonomous cars promise to give us more free time to do the things we love, but you can’t fool me: that woman’s looking at expense reports. If I’m letting the car take over, I’m gonna nap.