This started as a large rant, i'm now condensing it to a smaller one, apologies for inconsitencies
Even with smart cars on the road, drivers are still idiots, and until we have a certain saturation of smart cars, none of the economical, environmental, or safety features will mean jack
I think it would be better if they started implementing more forced economical features into cars anyway.
If the legal speed limit is up to 80mph, then why are we selling cars that go 130mph?
If it's unsafe to accelerate from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, then why are we selling cars capable of that?
Heck, the number of cars with built in GPS and cruise control, why haven't they hooked the two together? You're on road X, speed limit is 30mph, cruise control sets a limit of 30mph while you're on that stretch, move to a 20mph zone, cruise control slows you down, or 40 it lets you speed up. Suddenly having an automatic gearbox becomes even more useful.
That's not too large a stretch, and suddenly all new cars are now incapable of breaking the speed limit.
And that's just one feature smart cars are likely to have, just start implementing smart features in new cars gradually, by force if need be.
combine the above with front and rear proximity sensors, you're stuck in a traffic jam? Just keep your foot on the go button, car in front starts to inch forward, you match it almost instantly, and they already have these sensors for parking in most new cars anyway.
If we gradually drip feed in more smart features to cars, the more useful ones at least, it'll become easier to legislate for a driverless car in the future, The above points, to me, are the features that are already available, already workable, and frankly I'm confused as to why they aren't in already.