SAN ANTONIO, Texas (NBC News) – The technology in cars seems to continue to grow, but what about a self-driving semi-truck? Self-driving vehicles are being tested at various locations across the country including at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
On the outside, the truck looks like the typical big rig, but with the simple push of a button, it turns into something that most might compare to a Transformer movie.
The institute tested a real life self-driving semi-truck on the grounds.
Southwest Research Institute, along with several other research organizations, are helping the U.S. Department of Transportation create guidelines for developing automated vehicle technologies.
The end goal is to make the streets safer.
“I think 90 percent of all accidents are caused by human error,” Chris Mentzer, SWRI manager of research and development said. “So robots don’t get sleepy or tired or drunk or anything like that.”
While these vehicles are being controlled by robots, a simple touch of the steering wheel will give back control to the driver.
“Some people are a little worried about it and it’s kind of scary in some ways, but I think the ultimate goal behind all of this is safety,” Mentzer said.
Right now the self-driving car is able to leave the controlled area and hit the real roads on the Institute campus, as long as someone is behind the wheel.