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The uncertainty of driver less cars

I am always amazed when driver less cars are being mentioned. The technology is good and we are ready to embrace it but can anyone convince me about the safety? casualty! casualty! casualty!

The articles about autonomous cars are generally written by people with limited knowledge about the technology and they believe the hype in imminent delivery of products. Manufacturers will make very certain the systems are safe before releasing them as they will be sued out of existence if they are not!

As for me… you can pry the steering wheel out of my cold dead hands!


Outside the articles written by people which we see and read daily online, there have been series of casualties already recorded. Can this technology be trusted?

Here’s a question: If driverless cars kill half the number of people per passenger mile, are they worth it? Will they be accepted? I think many folks are fine accepting ‘accidents’ caused by human error, but will not accept computer-caused deaths, even if the net is a big drop in accidents.


Where are you getting this information ? The lady that was killed by one also had a person in the test vehicle. She was wearing dark clothes crossing in the middle of the block. I doubt if anything could have avoided that one. Are you including the Tesla accidents where the driver was trying to make the system do something it was not designed for.

Heh heh heh. When humans become redundant, some will be pleased.

Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Dave Bowman: What’s the problem?
HAL You know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL.
HAL I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave? You’re going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

It’s not where you want to go, it’s where I want to take you.

“Are you including the Tesla accidents where the driver was trying to make the system do something it was not designed for”?


The only uncertainty about autonomous vehicles is when they will ready for mass deployment. Not if they will.

We’ll find out. Waymo is deploying autonomous vehicles in Phoenix for hire real soon now. They think highly enough of it after ten million miles that they are ready to go prime time.

Autonomous cars are programmed by people. All they have done is move the human error from behind the wheel to behind the keyboard. That my friends is why it will take a long time for such vehicles to be accepted.


You did not answer the question. Tesla is not a driverless vehicle , it has driver assist programs . Frankly I don’t see the need to get so upset because it will be years before the only thing sold will be driverless vehicles if ever. There are just to many places where it might not be feasible.

Except there will be only a few thousand at most, well trained and disciplined people involved in the coding, verification and validation whereas there are 10’s of millions of marginally trained, completely unconstrained drivers bombing about on the roadways today. I’ll take my chances with the coders once it has been properly vetted…

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This is why airliners have autopilots. Greatly reduces human error, along with pilot strain.

You fall into the category of looking at the technology as it is NOW. As of now - no state allows autonomous cars on their roads without someone behind the wheel to take over if there’s a problem. Some states are going to allow a very limited test of fully autonomous vehicles in very restricted areas. But the technology is changing and improving every week. So don’t look at the technology NOW…but look at it 10-15 years from now.

Even when the autonomous vehicle meets the IEEE and ACM standards there may still be problems. But what types of problems will they eliminate? I’d rather live in a society with autonomous vehicles then what we have today.

There were over 35,000 people killed from drunk drivers in the US last year. Autonomous vehicles don’t drink.
There were 421,000 people killed from distracted drivers in the US last year. Autonomous vehicles don’t get distracted.

The biggest thing you have to worry about are JOBS.

Besides the obvious professional drivers loosing their jobs (estimated 300,000 a year) - there will we many other jobs that can/will be effected.

Traffic cops - far less accidents, and since all autonomous vehicles will be obey all traffic laws at all times.
Auto Insurance - Not needed - at least not the extent it is now.
ER - Less accidents means there won’t be the need for as many people in ER…or other health fields related to car injuries.
Personally Injury lawyers - Traffic accidents account for 90% of their business.

It’s not just the people, but the Best Practices that will be enforced to ensure good programming. And also QA, and the tools to ensure good programming. These types of standards are being enforced in the Medical technology field today. In fact it’s part of the FDA standards you must meet.

If self driving vehicles just eliminate this ( I am really tired of looking in my mirror and seeing someone braking at the last second and I think they are going to hit me ) then I am all for the technology .

Exactly right. That’s why I mentioned well trained and disciplined. I am quite familiar with medical standards having spent more than 15 years developing embedded code for that industry from class I to class III devices. Ten years before that in industrial controls where it was the equivalent of the wild west. I have expressed concern about the standards being applied in this industry some years back on this site. Now almost everything is standards based. Spent 20+ years developing mission and safety critical systems for on orbit and terrestrial military applications and those are even more rigorous than medical…

While there will be less accidents I don’t foresee ER admissions dropping that dramatically. I work in an ER at a level 2 Trauma Center and while we do see a large number of MVAs, cutting them down even by 95% wouldn’t take jobs away from ER staff or the hospital at large

May not…but traffic accidents account for a substantial portion of the US medical treatments in ER and others like physical therapy.