The driverless car of the future is getting closer every day, as more and more technologies come along that take critical jobs away from the driver and put them in the hands of lightning-fast, all-seeing computers. One of the latest and most ambitious of these systems has just been successfully demonstrated in the UK; the Sentience system is a kind of hyper-intelligent cruise control system designed specifically to minimize fuel consumption and emissions. It calculates the best route for you based on traffic, topography, curves, speed limits and a host of other information, and then actually takes over the throttle and brakes for you for the entire journey. It keeps you strictly within speed limits, slows down for corners, speed bumps and roundabouts, and it even knows when the lights ahead are about to turn red, so you don't waste petrol accelerating towards a stop point. Fuel savings in testing have been between 5% and 24% - a very significant figure - and Sentience is expected to be available on production cars, for a minimal cost, as soon as 2012. Incredible stuff.