If the projections of a consulting firm are correct, and testing phases continue on schedule, more than 30 U.S. cities could have self-driving cars and even busses!

Comet LLC, a consulting firm that focuses on automated vehicles and their commercialization, says it's not a pipe dream anymore.

According to the New York Observer, numerous pilot programs are already running in Britain, and the U.S. a combined total of at least 20 cities involved.  Comet says by 2016 a variety of sizes of vehicles, ranging from small pod-like cars to larger units that can carry up to 70 people, will likely be in operation.

One of the early testing sites is slated to be the U.S. Army base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  According to Corey Clothier, an automated vehicle strategist with the Comet Firm:

(we are)... " focusing on semi-controlled areas and that the driverless vehicles will serve a number of different purposes—both public and private. The vehicles themselves—which are all developed by Veeo Systems—will even vary from two-seaters to full-size buses that can transport 70 people. At some locations, the vehicles will drive on their own paths, occasionally crossing vehicle and pedestrian traffic, while at others, the vehicles will be completely integrated with existing cars."

Clothier has a backround that includes automated vehicles since the time they were considered military-only projects, and says he's been cruising down the freeway at 65 mph in such cars - without any worries.  He says there will come a time in the very near future, once people get used to the technology, noting "how happy we'll be to be able to just watch Nexflix while our cars drive use around."

California, home to Google, has actually passed legislation furthering development and implementation of such vehicles.  Google's done the lion's share of the R&D on self-driving technology, but other companies are getting involved a lot more.

Sounds fascinating, but here's hoping that technology never makes it's way to NASCAR.  Then crew chiefs would just put a bigger, more "aggressive" control chip in the car, and away you go.