One day we'll all be able to get into a car that will take us to where we want to go without us doing a thing.
We won't have to touch the steering wheel, hit the brakes or take control in any way.
It won't matter if it's raining, if traffic is congested, what obstacles are in the car's path or where it is in the world.
But that's one day ... not today, not tomorrow and probably not within the next few years.
In fact, one of the world's leading experts in vehicle automation says nobody is even close to such "level five" technology in the global auto industry and other companies entering the fray.
But James Kuffner, chief executive of Toyota's global research division, says the answer is much different for lower-level autonomous driving.
"Suddenly you're adding restrictions. It's geo-fenced, it's lighter traffic, it's lower speed, it's good weather," he said.
"We can do that now if you restrict it enough. We could deploy that today.
"So the real question is how much are you restricting it and whether or not that's providing good value."
Mr Kuffner is at the forefront of the most recent advances in automated vehicle systems, with a background as one of the world's leading roboticists.
He was among the team at Google that developed its first self-driving car and now has charge of a multi-billion dollar development budget at the Toyota Research Institute - Advanced Development, or TRI-AD.
Toyota has just given a select group of journalists a rare glimpse into the top-secret facility and has detailed its plans and ambitions for future autonomous motoring.
By 2020 it plans to have vehicles capable of self-driving on freeways, what it calls "ramp-to-ramp" technology.
TRI-AD expects to expand into large-scale field tests on surface-level or regional roads by the early 2020s, with other systems to help manage traffic jams on freeways.
Then by the late 2020s, it expects to have conquered autonomous driving on surface-level roads.
Yet barriers remain to what Toyota and other companies are trying to achieve, not least of which is the myriad of differing laws and regulations for self-driving cars around the world.
Public perceptions of driverless technology are also affected by what Mr Kuffner said was "over-promising" by some operators in the sector, and failures that attract global attention.
"Unfortunately, it isn't that hard to make a demo ... but it would be nowhere near a product," he said.
"It's very hard to sell a product to a customer.
"We try to let our products speak for themselves. People trust our brand and we want to ship a product that we feel confident in.
"So over-promising by other people does sometimes hurt us. But we will keep working and we do believe that this technology is going to have a huge impact.
"And let's face it, a million people dying every year because of traffic accidents is a travesty and we know that technology can help."
One question around all this development which remains is what levels of automation the world wants and what levels are actually best.
Toyota's philosophy centres on introducing technologies that bring advantages to motorists, but maintains and even enhances the joy of driving.
The company also points to wider benefits for the community as the technology is perfected.
That can mean allowing people to be more active and social as they age and keeping some in the workforce longer, providing significant benefits to personal wellbeing.
It could also be as simple as providing mobility for the disabled and others who find it difficult or even impossible to get around.
In the end, widescale introduction of autonomous vehicles could come down to how car makers grapple with a key ethical issue, sometimes referred to as the "the trolley problem".
That centres on how to program a car to choose who or what to hit when a collision appears unavoidable
Does it swerve to avoid hitting a child on the road, if it means hitting a pedestrian on the footpath?
Mr Kuffner said he believed the answer was to build a system that always tried its best, given all the information it had, to optimise safety at every point in time.
"That's what human drivers do all the time," he said.
"So we think that our goal is instead of the endless debate about ethics, let's build a system that will try to always make the optimal decision.
"That's really the best we can do."
Australian Associated Press