The Implications of Self-Driving Cars


EXCERPT: [...] One of the main selling points of driverless cars is that they are supposed to be significantly safer than humans. [...] Assuming that the significant increase in safety pans out, this means that there will be significantly fewer accidents and this will have a variety of effects.

Since insurance rates [...] might [...] go down. In any case, insurance companies will presumably be paying out less, potentially making them even more profitable.

Lower accident rates also entail fewer injuries [...] On the minus side, this would mean less business for hospitals, therapists and other medical personnel [...]

A reduction in the number and severity of accidents would also mean fewer traffic fatalities. [...] On the minus side, funeral homes will see their business postponed and the reduction in deaths could have other impacts [...]

[...] less and lower repair bills for vehicle owners, this also entails reduced business for vehicle repair businesses. [...]

Another economic impact of self-driving vehicles will be in the area of those who make money driving other people. [...]

As a final point, if self-driving vehicles operate within the traffic laws [...] automatically, then the revenue from tickets and traffic violations will be reduced significantly. [...] the policing of roads might be significantly reduced...
Nothing is ever that simple when it comes to manufacturing electronic hardware.  

You can look at a few near recent occurrences where large electronic manufacturers have had significant problems with the production of their goods.  Such as the Iphone, Xbox (360 and One) and PS4 on release.  In each of these instances components that make up those products were produced "cheaply" with a low QA (Quality Assurance) target.  This means that they allowed more of a margin of error at the time, possibly during the first 100,000 units to help in revising and developing the product through those faults being exposed.

If the same methodology of business is applied as a model to the production of seld-drive vehicles, it can be applied that breakdowns and errors will be rampant within the first couple of batches.   There is also the point that technology forever is changing and what is placed into a car today could well be obsolete by tomorrow.

A recent news article pertains to how two different automated cars had a "Near one" when they met each other on the road.
Quote:A self-driving Audi owned by Delphi Automotive took “appropriate action” to avoid one of Google’s self-driving Lexus cars after it cut it off on a Californian road in a rare meeting of driverless vehicles. [...]
One of the main problems currently with the development of Self-Drive cars is there doesn't appear to be a unified "Industry Standard" (ISO) for building how the cars interact with the world.  If an ISO was developed and it used a similar licensing to an Open Source framework, it would allow all companies and even private self-drive enthusiasts to build systems that actually work with each other on the road rather than attempting to adjust defensively, since that is where accidents currently occur.
Until there is an ISO I would suggest that self-drive isn't going to be any safer than someone that has driven for years.

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