If cars didn't exist and someone said, "Hey, I invented a two ton block of metal that can travel at 80mph and which is controlled manually by human beings with no automatic overrides to stop it ramming things. Let's make 90% of the adult population pilot one every morning when they're half asleep," it would be considered too ridiculous for fiction.
Additionally, self-driving cars only get better with each passing year as their technology gets better. Humans aren't evolving nearly as quickly. (sorry for repeat replies; Newsblur doesn't allow me to put paragraphs in my comments with, say, Shift+Enter)
100% of the interest and investment in self-driving cars is for the cost savings. Period. Safety is a sideshow. Once they are "safe enough", we'll adapt our environments to accommodate the self-driving cars. It will be too lucrative not to.
Yes, replacing a human driver with a robot that can't ever sue you is a HUGE cost savings. I'm not saying self-driving cars won't be safer. I'm saying it is at best a minor concern for anyone who is paying to develop them.
robots don't drive drunk, don't get tired, don't "race" because they think its "cool", don't have road rage and don't try to commit suicide by vehicle. pretty certain before too long that they'll be 100x better than we are at driving.
artmoney, llamapixel: It doesn't need to be perfect to be worth it. It just needs to make fewer mistakes than human drivers. Reducing accidents is always better than not reducing them, even if it's not enough to eliminate them completely.
Also, every possible type of self-driving car crash will probably happen no more than ONCE; once it happens, they push out a patch and no self-driving car will ever get into that kind of accident again.
I love that this thread is still going. So many of you are forgetting that self-driving cars do not exist in a fantasy world. As soon as they are mostly as safe as a human driver, the human drivers will be phased out. Patches will be put out to correct for errors when it can be shown that the cost of developing the patch will be lower than insurance and legal settlement costs. After lots and lots and lots of people die, we might get some government regulations. Also, the "comfortable living room on wheels" will be the expensive first class ticket version. If you don't own your own (and that was the point, fewer cars needed, right?), you'll be commuting with the same level of comfort afforded to bus and airplane passengers today.