I’m not what you would call a “car guy,” but upon strolling up to Ford’s flashy new autonomous research vehicle today, I found myself nodding my head with great satisfaction like, “huh, this shit’s really gonna work!”

The tricked-out Fusion Hybrid is on display at CES, and it’s set up to illustrate the technology that’s actually going to make autonomous cars possible.

The car has four LIDAR sensors that are spinning super fast...

...the data is crunched by loads of computing power that’s in the trunk...

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...and then it’s used to create a real-time map of the area around the car.

Self-driving cars are coming, I know that. But it’s always felt like a far-off fantasy that won’t arrive until I’m long gone. It took seeing this in action for me to really comprehend the reality that I might one day get around in car that drives itself.

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Contact the author at maguilar@gizmodo.com.