Our safety drivers routinely see people weaving in and out of their lanes; we’ve spotted people reading books, and even one playing a trumpet.
A self-driving car has people beat on this dimension of road safety. With 360 degree visibility and 100% attention out in all directions at all times; our newest sensors can keep track of other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians out to a distance of nearly two football fields.
Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car program, pinned an article on Medium1 about the accidents they’ve encountered while testing the car—none of which were the fault of the car.
Would you trust Google to drive your car for you? I would absolutely.
Without regarding to privacy/datamining/Google-knowing-everything concerns, which are valid, the actual technology of a self-driving car would be a great thing for me. I’m getting four hours of sleep a night. Wake up, down coffee, then an hour in traffic taking the kids to school and back. I consider myself an excellent driver—never been at fault for a crash, no moving violations in ~10 years, I stop for birds who are slow to fly out of the way.
Be it as it may, I realize I’m at an intersection and don’t truly remember driving on the upper-deck or taking the exit. Where was my mind? What would have happened if someone slammed on their brakes in front of me? What if someone was running across the exit lane? How slow would my reaction time have been?
I’d need to adapt to a day where I sit in the backseat and Google does it all for me, but a fully aware, adaptive system that provides me relevant alerts and notices for things to be aware of while correcting me when I lane-drift or someone else starts to lane-drift into me would be invaluable. I’d sign up in a heartbeat as soon as I could afford it.