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.