Look at nearly any science fiction show since Herbie and you’ll see cars that drive themselves. If you buy certain models, today your car can even park itself. But we’re a long way off from being able to call our cars on the phone and have them pick us up, according to Dr. Abidin Yildirim, Director of UAB’s Signal Processing and Embedded Systems Laboratory. Dr. Yildirim and his laboratory work on the most important part of any autonomous car: the programming that allows a car to interpret and react to its surroundings. I interviewed Dr. Yildirim and visited his lab to learn more about what is being pushed as the future of transportation.