Driverless cars are coming. They are eventually going to be a mainstream part of our streets, highways and express ways. How soon they come is up for debate. But what is also not decided is how driverless cars will co-exist with cars that are driven by human beings.
Indeed, the whole notion about driverless cars being safer than cars driven by humans does have some truth to it. After all, autonomous cars don’t get intoxicated and have their judgment impaired by alcohol. They don’t succumb to road rage and drive aggressively in order to show who’s boss. They also don’t make mistakes regarding the interpretation of the rules of the road. So with these in mind, riding in a driverless car should be exceptionally safe.
But there are two things that may debunk this notion. First, the market may not fully embrace the ability to have fully autonomous cars. Remember how it was expected that the Segway was supposed to eliminate pedestrian traffic? Now the only people who use them are mall cops and people on dedicated tours. It may be that people enjoy the individual freedoms of driving at their own speeds and on their own terms. This is what the American auto industry is built on. So people may not embrace fully automated cars.
Also, in order to be safe, self-driving cars need to be able to talk to each other. This means that they will be able to identify each other and tell each other what they will do before it’s done. This communication may not be available between self-driving cars and the majority of the driving public. And with the unpredictability that comes with human drivers and their needs, it leaves serious questions about how self-driving cars can be integrated.