It’s only a matter of time until we’re all riding around in self-driving cars, texting our hearts out without having to worry about running anyone over. With all the companies working on the technology, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before you can slip into your automated automobile and say, “Carrie, take me to the bar!”

Unfortunately, “a matter of time” could very well be a few decades for all we know. So maybe we need to limit our dreams a bit. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could, at the very least, get our cars to pick us up outside the mall with an app on our phones? Yeah, that’ll probably never happen.

Or will it??

Panasonic, a company better known for the audio equipment it puts in cars than anything that actually has to do with driving, has unveiled a collaboration with automobile companies from around the globe–including GM–to develop technology allowing drivers to control their vehicles remotely. With their smartphones!

▼It will be exactly like this.


Or to put it in a way that will drive five-year-olds (and us) mad with glee: Panasonic is going to turn your vehicle into a giant RC vehicle!!

While this is still obviously very much a work in progress, the company is hoping to have an experimental car ready within the year and be ready to implement the technology for real in 2016. Their plan is to make the technology compatible with both iPhones and Android phones–sorry for the ten of you with Windows phones out there.

The current aims for the project include automating a variety of tasks like turning on the air conditioner/heater remotely, opening/closing doors, and parallel parking. Finally! An end to that driver’s education misery forever!


However, that’s not the end of the list of Panasonic’s goals: They also plan to make it possible for users to remotely drive their cars with their smartphones. That way you could, for example, pilot your car from a parking space to the entrance of a supermarket to allow you to easily pack your groceries, open and close the trunk, and preheat your vehicle without having to even dig out your keys! We imagine some folks in Michigan would really appreciate that preheating feature right now.

While all of this might sound a bit fanciful, it’s actually based on current accident-prevention technology, like sensors and cameras. In fact, Panasonic might actually be a little late to the game already. In the video below, you can see a Nissan leaf being remotely driven using a smartphone at a convention in 2012. Obviously, the biggest difference would be that Panasonic seems to be aiming to make their technology available to a variety of manufactures and vehicles–not just the all-electric Nissan leaf.

Alright, Panasonic, you’ve seen the competition, now you know who to beat! Including a clone of David Hasselhoff with each car might be something to consider.

Now, our only concern is someone hacking our smartphones in order to turn our cars into blood-thirsty, people-hunting Demonomatons (Demon Automatons). But if that happens, we suppose we can just call in some Kung Fury help. See? Nothing to worry about!

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News, Hachimakikou
Images: Wikipedia (1, 2, 3)