Self Driving Cars - Yes or No

Over the past few years there have been a flurry of OMG self-driving cars are going to be bad articles across the media landscape. I’ve been doing an informal survey for about 18 months by now.

“Are you willing to ride in a self driving car?”

The yes/no seems highly correlated with distance from Silicon Valley. I for one am wishing and a hoping for the day when I can get in the car and do important things like napping and binge watching Netflix. I’m pretty convinced that it would significantly change what my weekends look like. Get up at 3:30. Hop in the car. Go back to sleep. Wake up in Buffalo before lunch. Maybe with a properly designed interior, I’d just wash up, brush my teeth, put on jammies hop in the car. I suspect it will eventually completely change the landscape of under 500 mile transportation - probably in my lifetime.

I’m also hopeful the timing will be such that I avoid the fate faced by my father. His vision and motor skills have ruled out driving. He’s house bound unless one of the nearby family members comes over. With a self-driving car, we could have made him stop driving a decade earlier. Which would have been much safer for those around him. I have great expectations of giving up my license long before DMV would want to take it back.

My last prediction is that my grandchildren (yet unborn) will never learn to drive.

So back to the question - “Are you willing to ride in a self driving car?”


Sure, but I’d much rather a decent effort with bus/train/metro mass transit as a resource spend.

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I kinda like driving my sporty car (I’m in NJ) so… I’m ‘meh’ on this one. I do like the idea of hopping in a car and sleeping while it takes me somewhere 10+ hours away. That seems cool. But to use it on a daily basis (e.g. grocery store, commute to work, etc.) doesn’t seem like a general net win to me.

Sure. As long as a mainline insurance company is willing to provide adequate liability and medical expense coverage for it at rates similar to what I pay now.

The general belief is that in 20 years you’ll pay more for insurance if you want to be able to drive it yourself.

Weren’t we suppose to have flying cars by now? A self driving car will be controlled by a program; we’ve had problems with code in everything we’ve written. It always seems like it should be easier than it actually is.

Airlines have been at programmed control of movement longer than auto’s. They should take out the pilots long before we take out the drivers. A sort of canary in the self-driving mine. When is that expected to happen?

Computer driven cars are the only way we will stop killing people on our roads. They will turn hours of traffic into hours of sleep, or entertainment, or work. They will eliminate the need for traffic signals and ambulances. For some time in my professional career I constructed and reconstructed accidents.

We have become immune to the tragedies that occur every day on our highways.

“In 2013, 32,719 died–Almost 90 people on average lose their lives each day – and more than 250 are injured every hour – due to drunk driving, not wearing a seatbelt, and the many other factors associated with traffic crashes”–NHTSA.


Self driving cars are ridiculous. A computer glitch can become deadly in an instant. The misinterpretation of one crucial road sign may cause an “accident” that will kill people inside or outside of the car.

All they will do is fill the courts with cases in which blame can be assigned only to the car.


I remember in 1999 moving into a new building as my then employer was expanding. One of the benefits of the new building was that there would be an ATM on the Concourse (which was the basement in a feat of doublespeak legerdemain). They posted a bunch of signs around the building that the bank would be in for an “ATM Training” session. I remember laughing out loud (in 1999 it wasn’t an acronym yet).

And then on the day of the training I happened to go down to the cafeteria to grab a cup of coffee and there was something on the order of 30 people down there participating in the ATM training. I was pretty shocked. Given that ATMs emerged around the late 70s, this was a sizable group of folks taking training on really simple tech 25 years later.

So, back to your question. I don’t think we’ll take the pilot out of the equation for a long time on passenger airplanes. It wasn’t that long ago that I remember comments expressing honestly (but stupidly) held fears of female pilots. Those folks who felt that they needed ATM training won’t feel good about not having a person up front. I do expect that we’ll see FedEx and UPS start moving to single pilot and no pilot flights starting in 10 years and completing in 20 years.

No-pilot passenger flights? I think we’ll start to see much of the flying taken away from the pilots in the same time period (since its the same software). Things like Germanwings murder/suicide will make that marketable.

I’m not particularly worried about the system challenges for self-driving cars. And I think as a species we overestimate our aggregate ability to drive. So developing the systems that can drive at least as well as humans is in my mind imminently achievable.

No. In fact I would go out of my way to avoid them on the road. I will not, for example, drive in the proximity of any Tesla without trying to move away. I certainly would rather be ahead of one than behind one.

I remember in the 90s when they’d report accidents involving SUVs as the vehicles being to blame. Now the vehicles to blame are increasingly gonna be their precious EVs.

Better the dangers of the road than turning the people into ever more freedom and risk-averse chickencraps

I look forward to owning a self-driving vehicle as long as it also has a manual driving mode. I can’t count how many times I’ve driven 300 miles or more just to visit someone. As much as I enjoy driving, there are so many things I can do in 5+ hours and anything that limits the limitations of my options has always proven to be a plus in my life.

I suspect within the next 10 years, we will see autopilot-only lanes on virtually every interstate and US highway.

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Maybe in 20 or so years when I’m too old to drive myself. :smile:

Good thing people never have accidents.

I want self driving lawn mowers first.

Then we can talk highway vehicles.

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Brother, your wish has been granted! :wink:

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What interests me the most in this topic is the idea that in this self-driving future, we will still be required buy a license. lol

I’d settle for remote controlled ones to start.

And by the way, we already have self-driving cars on the road, any car with lane centering and adaptive cruise control is effectively a self-driving car, at least on the highway.

Meh, not quite there yet if you have a challenging lot. Slopes are still a challenge for them.