It could be twelve years until a fully self-driven vehicle becomes available for purchase by the general public.
That was the popular opinion among a chorus of experts this week at the 2013 Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress.
While cars appears unlikely to drive themselves until around 2025, semi-autonomous vehicles are expected to grow in both intelligence and volume between now and the arrival of a completely driver-less car.
"2025 is the time frame where we see cars driving themselves," said Christian Schumacher, head of Continental Automotive's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for the NAFTA region.
Semi-autonomous features such as adaptive cruise control, reverse park assist and emergency braking are available on many variants right now and new features such as pedestrian recognition, traffic jam avoidance and the ability of a vehicle to self-steer in order to avoid lane deviation are just around the corner.
Several US states have already issued licences for fully self-driven cars but Tuesday’s meeting of the minds has again raised issues about what will happen if the technology fails.
"If one accident happens as a result of automation, then we're having a totally new discussion," Mr Schumacher said.