Aftermarket Add-Ons Will Make Any Car Smarter, for a Price

A vehicle equipped with Cruise Automation's car-top sensor pod.

When we talk about driverless cars, we're often starting with the concept of a whole-package model — such as Google's now famous laser-and-sensor prototype — one that's already navigating selected routes in California. But there's another frontier in the technology-driven space of advanced driving systems, and it's starting to make inroads in the aftermarket.

Witness the emergence of add-ons such as Cruise Automation's RP-1 radar-based advanced driver assist system (ADAS) — it actually takes control of a conventional car in specific and limited ways — and also Safe Drive System's Premier system and anti-collision technology from Mobileye.
Among the tech coming to market that can be added to cars after they're already on the road, each of these innovations suggests a future — perhaps a near future — in which operators can graft elements of the smart- and driverless-vehicle experience onto their present-day equipment. And so, taking a closer look, let's consider what this aftermarket technology does, and what it stands to change about driving, going forward.