We ll have digital assistants in our vehicles to book last-minute restaurant reservations, and we ll never have to touch a steering wheel again because our cars will drive themselves.

At CES, I got a glimpse of how this technology is coming along, and though it was in the context of a carefully designed demo rather than a real-life experience on the city streets, I walked away thinking that a driverless society is a long, long time away.

My big realization came during a self-driving car experience that was put together by six big companies: Microsoft, NXP, IAV, Swiss Re, Esri, and Cubic Telecom.

The ride-along was pitched as a demonstration for how future vehicles will communicate with infrastructure like street lights and rely heavily on artificial intelligence to give people like me—a tourist in an unfamiliar town—a fully automated cruise around an unfamiliar city and suggest places to visit.

The concept was freaking awesome, and I should have had a great time taking the tour.

I was supposed to jump in the car and have it drive me down the Las Vegas Strip as the AI system pointed out a bunch of interesting locations that I could potentially visit.

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