ROBOTS OF THE ROAD

AUTOMAKERS ARE RACING TO BUILD DRIVERLESS CARS FOR TOMORROW'S SMARTWAYS

The Grand Cherokee wends its lazy way along the gently curving road, cruising at 25 m.p.h. through rural Michigan's autumnal landscape of gold-and-orange-dappled trees. I'm reclining in the rear of the car with Jeff Zyburt, a Chrysler project manager. As we chat, the Jeep changes lanes from smooth asphalt to rough cobblestone, which sets us passengers bouncing around in the back seat.

And who's steering the car? Nobody. In the front, where the driver should be, is a hulking metal contraption that looks like an out-of-place engine part. It is bolted to the Jeep's brake pedal, accelerator and steering wheel. Thick...

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