Well, I wasn't really talking about adaptive cruise control, which has actually been available for quite a while. But those only control throttle and braking. I was thinking more like fully autonomous steering on freeways within a decade.
I was poking around to see if I could find some other predictions, and ran across this Wikipedia article. The section on predictions by major automobile manufacturers and others in the industry was really interesting. It looks like it may only be a year or two until cars can drive themselves on the freeway. Some highlights:
By 2016, Audi and Nissan plans to market vehicles that can autonomously steer, accelerate and brake at lower speeds, such as in traffic jams.
By 2016, Mercedes plans to introduce "Autobahn Pilot" aka Highway Pilot, the system allow hands-free highway driving with autonomous overtaking of other vehicles.
So, damn... it's probably going to happen in just a couple of years. No way they'd make those predictions if they weren't already well prototyped and gearing up for production. So, how about fully autonomous?
By 2020, Google autonomous car project head's goal to have all outstanding problems with the autonomous car be resolved.
By 2025, Daimler and Ford expect autonomous vehicles on the market. Ford predicts it will have the first mass-market autonomous vehicle.
Again, faster than I would have predicted. Possibly optimistic, but who knows? And longer term predictions?
By 2035, IHS Automotive report says will be the year most self-driving vehicles will be operated completely independent from a human occupant’s control.
By 2040, expert members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have estimated that up to 75% of all vehicles will be autonomous.
Awesome. We may never see flying cars ourselves, but self-driving cars won't be a bad runner-up.