Self-driving technology is not just for luxury cars anymore

If you thought self-driving technology was just for luxury cars, think again. If you're in the market for a new car, expect to see some big changes in 2019 models.

Many manufacturers of more affordably-priced cars and SUV's are upping their game when it comes to automated technology.

"They are your mid-range vehicles that the everyday person would be buying," said Rochelle Salinas, the executive Vice President of the Houston Auto Show.

The 2019 Toyota Rav4 comes standard with a lane departure alert system to help keep you from drifting across the road. This model also comes with blind spot monitoring and four cameras for a 360 degree view. Those cameras also help detect objects, enabling automatic emergency braking.

During our test, we used a gate to test the automatic emergency braking. We found that the RAV4 came to a complete stop within inches of gate automatically as we backed up and let off the brake.

The MSRP on the 2019 Toyota Rav4 starts at $25,000.

The Volvo XC60, a midsize SUV, offers adaptive cruise control that adjusts to traffic around you.

"The blind spot awareness is great. It has radar and cameras on the back to detect cars coming on either side," said George Wilkinson of Volvo.

The XC60 can even help you park. The driver has to put the car in gear, but it does all of the steering for you.

Volvo is also one of the first manufacturers to offer steering support. At certain speeds, it will automatically steer you away from a potential crash with a cyclist or pedestrian.
The 2019 Volvo XC60 starts around $40,000.

The 2019 Honda Accord comes with a bird's eye camera system that helps when backing up and parking. Its collision mitigation system brakes automatically if the car detects that a crash is about to happen.

The 2019 Honda Accord starts around $26,000.

Technology has come leaps and bounds in the last three to five years, so even if you decide to purchase a pre-owned car, you can still take advantage of many of these features.

Self-driving technology is quickly evolving, but there are still barriers to overcome before fully self-driving cars will become commonplace.

"The technology is very close, but the infrastructure for an autonomous vehicle to drive in a metropolitan area like Houston is probably going to be a long way off," said Salinas.

Laws also have to evolve to prepare for self-driving cars to hit the road safely. In the meantime, it is still the drivers responsibility to maintain control of the car and avoid distractions.
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