Will Children Born in 2017 Never Learn to Drive?

The pace of technology is accelerating at a rate faster than Lewis Hamilton off the Formula One grid.

In the world of motoring in particular self driving cars, while often talked about, still seem to be in the realms of science fiction. However within the next 20 years, they will be totally common, says Dr. Henrik Christensen.

Manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz have been actively designing semi-autonomous features in their cars, while technology giants Google and Apple have been experimenting with their own self-driving vehicles. The results have made for good headlines, but what does the future hold?

Speaking to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dr Chistensene remarked: "My own prediction is that kids born today will never get to drive a car"

Dr. Christensen is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and the KUKA Chair of Robotics at the Georgia Institute of Technology in America. He contributed to the widely read "Roadmap for US Robotics," which lays out the case for robots being invaluable in solving problems we may encounter in the future.

He went on to say:

"Autonomous, driverless cars are 10, 15 years out. All the automotive companies — Daimler, GM, Ford — are saying that within five years they will have autonomous, driverless cars on the road.

"I love to drive my car, but it's a question of how much time people waste sitting in traffic and not doing something else. The average person in San Diego probably spends an hour commuting every day. If they could become more productive, that would be good."

While this is a tantalising glimpse into the future, don't rejoice just yet at the thought of saving money on driving lessons for your children. Some predictions don't always go according to plan. Back in the 1990's many speculated that mobile phone technology wouldn't catch on - and look how that turned out!

By Tracey McBain

"With autonomous, driverless cars, we can put twice as many vehicles on the road as we have today, and do it without improving the infrastructure."

He also echoed predictions from Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Lyft co-founder John Zimmer that the current car ownership model is set to change. He predicts that in about 20 years, a car will be a service people call on when they need it rather than something they own.