Overall it's about costs with car as a service, offering much more value to people that can already afford cars and ,beyond that, expanding the market to serve billions more.
But that's not what I wanted to address here, technology already assists drivers in many many ways. A fully autonomous car can allow for human drivers to take over and make sure that the human driver doesn't mess up. Today only parts of the driving experience are assisted, tomorrow will be fully assisted. That's how I frame this particular issue, won't take long before full autonomy is as normal as traction control is today.
I, on the other hand, might like to have a self-driving car since I don't like driving.
I think that, in addition to truckiing and busses, there is a market for self-driving taxi/uber replacement.
The other application that I haven't seen talked about much is for people who can't (or shouldn't) drive themselves. For instance, self driving cars would be a great help to the blind and elderly.
Ultimately the market will have to decide on this. All the efforts to date have been supported and coddled by industry insiders, govt agencies, and investors thinking this is the next big thing. I for one will never want to have a self driving car. I enjoy driving.
The only place i can see this working is for long haul trucking and possibly for buses. The cost of moving goods is fairly high and if the human in the loop can reduce costs I see that happening. Every day vehicle driving... sorry I just don't see it happening. Way to many aggressive drivers will game the system to get ahead
We have a lot of these prototype self-driving cars driving around Mountain View (with people in them for monitoring purposes). There are those fools who take advantage of them and cut them off, etc, and if there's a policeman nearby, those people get the same tickets as people who cut drivers off. The difference is that the self-driving cars have cameras, so there is good recorded evidence of the bad driving.
I am looking forward to having AV's driving on the streets with me. It will be great sport. For example, I will be able to pull out onto a street right in front of them and cut them off, with full confidence that they will not hit me, nor will they chase me down and shoot me after. Love it! ;-)
The 1T$ auto bubble is going to burst and people will not afford cars any more when the next recession hits (its sooner than you think). the car companies know this and want to be ready for an automated 'pay-as-you-use' shared resources market. theres not much money to be made in the traditional markets.