Our auto experts kicked off 2017 by taking the “Talking Cars” video podcast on the road to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). This special episode delves into the autonomous-vehicle technology in today’s cars, as well as what we can expect down the road. The Consumer Reports panel shared the stage with Jim Sayer, director of UMTRI, in front of a live audience.

In a wide-ranging discussion, the group touched on what goes on at the UMTRI facility, the current state of autonomy, and potential problems or challenges manufacturers face with self-driving vehicles. The panel also talked about how vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications will play a necessary part in the future of self-driving vehicles.

Plus, thanks to the loyal fans who attended the recording of this episode, we were able to extend our favorite part of each podcast: answering viewer questions. As you'd expect, we had a wide variety of questions, ranging from autonomous technology to how we test vehicles.

Check out all this and more in our expanded-length video above.

Learn more about self-driving cars.

Jake Fisher, Jon Linkov, Jen Stockburger, and Jim Sayer
Jake Fisher, Jon Linkov, Jen Stockburger, and Jim Sayer at UMTRI.

As with other "Talking Cars," this episode on popular cars is also available free through the iTunes Store. Subscribe to the video or audio. You'll also find the video on YouTube.

Share your comments on this show below, and let us know whether you need any advice about choosing a car.

2017 Detroit Auto Show, episode 107
Highs and Lows of 2016, episode 106
Lincoln Continental, episode 105
Subaru Impreza, episode 104
Chevrolet Bolt
, episode 103