Whenever I enthusiastically talk about how excited I am for driverless cars becoming commercially available in the near future, inevitably there is always at least one person who says something about "what happens when the technology fails and runs somebody over" or one of any number of comments along the same lines. My response is always the same, "Have you actually been on the roads lately?"
I literally just got home from a drive of about 0.3 miles to run out and grab a cup of coffee for my wife and myself, during which all of the following happened: First, seeing some fire trucks in a large parking lot, the driver in front of me slammed on his brakes, then swerved off the road just to take a look at what was going on.
Then, pulling up to the next intersection, there was a car in left-hand turning lane so I pulled into the lane to go straight. The woman in the car then proceeded to go straight when the light turned green, and flip me off as if it was my fault.
On the return trip, I got to the first intersection to make a right turn. The light turned green as I was approaching and both I and the guy in the car going straight entered the intersection. Obviously, the guy waiting to make a left across the intersection decided he needed to beat everybody through the intersecction, cut off both of us on our side, and forced me to slam on my brakes instead of making my right turn just so I didn't hit him.
Finally, I entered the traffic circle that is right near my house where I needed to take the second exit. It's a single lane circle and the road coming into the first exit is a 35 MPH zone. Of course, as I was about to cross the entrance/exit, a car comes flying down at about 50 MPH, blows through a yield without so much as pausing, and luckily I was able to slam on my brakes just in time not to get T-boned.
So if you ask me, driverless cars can't come fast enough. There's simply no way that once the tech is ready for commercial use that it could be worse than the people that are already out there. In fact, in August Google's self-driving cars hit an amazing milestone of covering 700,000 miles without a single accident. The video below was produced at the same time:
You've probably seen the press coverage that Mercedes' concept F 015 self-driving vehicle has received lately (the main video attached to this article). And while the possibilities and the changes our world will experience when driverless cars become the norm are unbelievable to think about (and the topic for another article), I think the biggest improvement is removing emotion and bad judgment from our roads.