Driving Into The Future

High-tech extras are making new cars smarter. But are these gizmos keeping us safe behind the wheel--or just busy?

Derek Lipscombe can start his car without taking the key out of his pocket. When he shifts into reverse, he can see if anything is behind him without glancing in the rearview mirror or turning around to take a look. And he can keep pace with the car ahead--no matter what the speed--without tapping the accelerator, hitting the brakes or fiddling with the cruise control.

A prototype of some supercar of the future? Nope, it's just Nissan's Infiniti FX35, a cross between a sports car and an SUV. Lipscombe, 36, an attorney in Santa Barbara, Calif., opted for a series of...

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