With reports of Apple taking a hard look at developing its own line of cars, it’s time to look at the car of the future.

But the shocking thing is many of the advanced systems that were the stuff of science fiction are actually here now.

Click the video above to see my conversation with fellow USA TODAY reporter Jefferson Graham about cars and tech, or click below for the complete audio chat.

Cars have become dramatically safer because of computer-based systems like electronic stability control, which is now standard equipment on cars. Forward collision warning detects if your car is about to run into another vehicle or obstacle and in many cases can apply the brakes. Even middle-market cars now have steering systems that can correct if the car drifts out of its lane. Cars can parallel park themselves.

By the end of the decade, more safety systems involving computers and sensors could be required by the government on cars.

Taken together, they are building toward the era of the self-driving car. Some Mercedes-Benz models can drive themselves at low speeds. Some Infiniti vehicles stay in their lane, handle the steering and brake as needed at freeway speeds.

Clearly the future is here now.

source: usatoday