MrSeb writes: "Mechanical engineers and roboticists working at MIT have developed an intelligent automobile co-pilot that sits in the background and only interferes if you’re about to have an accident. If you fall asleep, for example, the co-pilot activates and keeps you on the road until you wake up again. Like other autonomous and semi-autonomous solutions, the MIT co-pilot uses an on-board camera and laser rangefinder to identify obstacles. These obstacles are then combined with various data points — such as the driver’s performance, and the car’s speed, stability, and physical characteristics — to create constraints. The co-pilot stays completely silent unless you come close to breaking one of these constraints — which might be as simple as a car in front braking quickly, or as complex as taking a corner too quickly. When this happens, a ton of robotics under the hood take over, only passing back control to the driver when the car is safe. This intelligent co-pilot is starkly contrasted with Google’s self-driving cars, which are completely computer-controlled unless you lean forward, put your hands on the wheel, and take over. Which method is better? A computer backup, or a human backup? I'm not sure."