I don't believe that it will be successful, although I am certain that it will be done for a while. Then the truth will become obvious, which is that they will be much slower and not much safer, and both more expensive and less reliable. And just like prohibition, eventually driverless cars will go away, because they are fundamentally a bad choice. What we need instead is much better drivers with way fewer distractions.
And how about additional tests for drivers: reaction time and attention span. Nobody with a response time of over 5 seconds gets a license, and nobody with an attention span of less than a minute allowed to drive.
Suddenly the roads would be uncrowded and much safer as well. But tha city busses would be full.
I guess eventually cars will drive them selves. I don't know if that is good or not, but I don't know if I want to lose control. I guess it will happen after my time, so it is up to the younger generation to decide.
If I were in that situation and not driving a car moving through traffic, either I would be thinking about how slow and stupid and ultra cautious the computer was, or else my mind would be on other topics and I would not be watching the driving at all. It is quite a challenge to watch something that one is not involved in, although sometimes the involvement may be an intense interest, such as watching an active sporting event. But watching driving while not driving is not very interesting and drivers minds would certainly wander. Couple that tendancy with thye large portion of younger people having the sevem millisecond attention span and you would not see any of them being even slightly aware of the driving process if they were not driving.
So if any would like to be in a driverless vehicle, take a traain or a bus, where one does not need to pay attention because another person is handling all the driving. And, at lleast on trains, usually they have much better safety systems. Busses crash to often for me to believe that they have many safety extras.
@Andrezej11, I doubt that it was a reduction in reaction time, but that it was a reduction in RESPONSE time. I see that frequently, the drivers whose attention wanders while stopped at a traffic light, and the 17 second reaction time for starting up. And my concern is always more about their response time for stopping. After all, slow ans stupid is generally a constant condition, not a momentary affliction.
Bryant Walker Smith's analysis is indeed the most often cited, arguing that the Geneva Convention treaty would not probably stand in the way of self-driving cars. But how each state in the United States would allow autonomous cars on the road is entirely another story.
Your example of AF 447 is really an interesting one. I wonder if anyone did an extensive study on potential impact on human psychology by drawing a parallel between autopilot on airplane and that of a self-driving car.
I think the driver is totally terrified as he is driving it what some have characterized as the "Valley of Death". This is the point when cars have not quite reached the Level 4 level(fully autonomous) but require a driver to assume driving responsibility on relatively short notice on those rare occasions when the car encounters situations it cannot handle.
While the ADAS system may fool you to believing it is a Level 4 system causing our thoughts and senses to drift off elsewhere, the driver is struggling to maintain situational awareness knowing that a lapse in alertness at the wrong time may not only result in an accident but his sudden demise as well. An example of this would be Air France 447 in which the autopilot automatically disengaged when the Pitot tubes froze over. The pilots who had lost situational awareness, panicked and drove an aerodynamically sound airplane into the ocean killing all aboard.