New study on self-driving cars

We have covered the question whether self-driving cars would benefit consumers by making driving easier and reducing injuries and deaths from crashes. California has enacted legislation setting up a framework for the regulation of self-driving cars in that state. At the federal level, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration announced a new policy in late May of this year for researching and regulating self-driving vehicles. That
policy covers

  • An explanation of the many areas of vehicle innovation and types of
    automation that offer significant potential for enormous reductions in
    highway crashes and deaths;
  • A summary of the research NHTSA has planned or has begun to help
    ensure that all safety issues related to vehicle automation are explored
    and addressed; and
  • Recommendations to states that have authorized operation of
    self-driving vehicles, for test purposes, on how best to ensure safe
    operation as these new concepts are being tested on the highway.

Now, the Eno Center on Transportation has released Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles, which discusses in some depth the potential benefits and costs of self-driving vehicles and their regulation. AP reporter Joan Lowry has this story on the Eno report. Here is an excerpt:

In some ways,
computers make ideal drivers: They don't drink and then climb behind the
wheel. They don't do drugs, get distracted, fall asleep, run red lights
or tailgate. And their reaction times are quicker. They do such a
good job, in fact, that a new study says self-driving cars and trucks
hold the potential to transform driving by eliminating the majority of
traffic deaths, significantly reducing congestion and providing tens of
billions of dollars in economic benefits. But significant hurdles
to widespread use of self-driving cars remain, the most important of
which is likely to be cost. Added sensors, software, engineering and
power and computing requirements currently tally over $100,000 per
vehicle, clearly unaffordable for most people, the study said. But
large-scale production “promises greater affordability over time,” it
concluded. Questions also remain about public acceptance,
liability in event of an accident, and the ability of automakers to
prevent car computers from being hacked.

0 thoughts on “New study on self-driving cars

  1. (elsten) Elmer Stenger says:

    The digital age has produced some great products since it’s inception, and will probably continue in that direction. There will be flubs like The Affordable Care Act, but it’s progress will continue, as long as engineers stick to the task ahead, rather than bask in glory of past performances. It will help too if investors stop expecting their wealth to go off the charts while demanding more and more from the ones that actually do the work required to make sure it does what is expected.

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