Q: I was saddened to read that a self driving Uber car had been involved in a fatal collision in Arizona last week. What I cannot understand is why there is all this talk of banning self driving cars behind this unfortunate occurrence. There is no hue and cry to ban cars with human drivers every time they kill someone.
This technology has the potential to prevent the vast majority of collisions. Shouldn’t we be embracing it and pushing it forward as rapidly as possible?
A: Yes, embrace it after safety folks have their final say. There’s a lesson here for pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers. Follow the rules of the road, because autonomous vehicles will.
And be alert — now! On April 2 California plans to start issuing state permits for public road operation of AV cars without operators.
Q: Not many years from now people will wonder how we did without self-driving vehicles. There will be a major reduction in traffic deaths. It will make driving at night, in the rain or when you are tired much safer, especially for older drivers.
A: Or disabled drivers like me.
Q: Many of your readers are advocates of self driving cars. Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable with them. For myself, I would need a sedative to be able to ride in a car with no driver at 65 miles per hour and with no gap between cars. Even though I am a fallible human being, I simply do not trust the technology as much as I trust my own driving skills.
Rudy Van Pel
A: Trust will be slow to come to many drivers. But within maybe within 5 years, more folks will gain that trust.
Q: You recently summarized accidents involving AVs and all involved the AV getting rear ended. If you’ve been in traffic with one, you know they can be really timid and cautious. After waiting for a left turn all the way through the green, will it make the turn on yellow? Or sit there through any number of cycles? Will it squeeze through for its free-right turn on red when there isn’t quite a whole lane available? Guessing not.
So it will really slow things down and frustrate lots of human drivers. Maybe it’ll work out when most cars are AVs, but until then, more super careful drivers will probably cause more accidents.
A: There will be a learning curve for all of us.
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