But then, Rick, when I look into some software bugs and electronics glitches that might have caused Toyota's electronic throttle control to play a role in unintended acceleration ( see my other story http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1319897&), i can't help but wonder how safe those software-packed autonomous cars will really become.
"How do we communicate that to the mainstream media and avergae driver?"
A tough call, but not because it should be. Even on this august site, there are many who seem to believe that driving a car is the ultimate impossible task for automation. And yet, if it's so difficult, how come so many barely competent (or for that matter mostly irresponsible) people seem capable of it?
@Junko and Frank: Agreed. There is a pr nightmare waiting here of the distopian future of automated crashes very like the burning Tesla. But the reality as we know it is automated systems and EVs willbe safer than distracted human drivers and gas cars.
How do we communicate that to the mainstream media and avergae driver?
Bert, I am in total agreement with you when it comes to "the safety card" being played by anyone in the auto industry. I cringe. I just hope that marketing folks don't push this safety angle too hard, every time when they talk about autonomous cars. Because in the end, it will come back to bite them back.
I'm glad to finally hear someone say that no safety system is 100%, and it is concerning that anyone would play the "zero fatality" card. As mentioned, the first fatality in an autonomous vehicle will probably set the technology back 10 years -- even if the overall safety record of autonomous vehicles is far superior to human-controlled vehicles.
If anyone doubts the negative impact that the first autonomous vehicle fatality will have, just consider the viral response we witnessed to a video of an EV getting burned to the ground, despite the fact that this was a very rare if not unique event, and despite the fact that a great many gasoline combustion engine vehicles catch fire every single day.
What happened to driving talent and driver training? Am I to believe the ultimate goal is to issue a drivers license right along with the birth certificate? Sure would save a lot of time and money. Especially standing in line at the motor vehicle department. I have driven cars that no teen could drive today. Must be for "freedom" from learning.
It is quite easy to realize. Trucking industry. Especially long distance trucking. And in order to simplify navigation through narrow complex cities, it maybe that just truck can go on autopilot from one specially designed meeting lot on the outskirts of the city to another one like that in other city. From that lot to final destination inside the city, human driver can drive the truck. Big economic and safety benefit (software never sleeps behind steering wheel).
I think that truly autonomous driving should probably not occur on the same roads as manual driving. Driver assistance, sure. Or if autonomous driving does occur on regular roads, then the margins for error, stuff like distance between vehicles, should be way increased compared to efficient autonomous driving.
"Safety" is always the who-can-possibly-argue-against-it excuse for whatever people want to push. The painfully obvious example being, "safety" is the excuse why so many people drive obese, wasteful, SUVs. When people "play the safety card," I can feel my eyes rolling.