McKenna on KIRO: Driverless cars in the near future

KIRO 97.3’s Dave Ross talked with Rob about Google’s ambitions to build and sell driverless cars. Ross reported that the NHTSA “said this week that, for purposes of the regulations, Google’s software can be considered as the ‘driver’ of the car.”

Ross: “Wouldn’t that be sort of like flypaper for personal injury lawyers, considering that when you have Google as the driver, this is a driver with bottomless pockets – I mean, talk about deep pockets – and this is who lawyers go after, right?”

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  • BenSlivka

    SDVs are coming and will have massive positive benefits: lowering costs, reducing accidents and congestion and travel times. My long essay on this last May: http://benslivka.com/2015/05/30/self-driving-vehicles/

  • Dave and Rob: Thanks for an interesting conversation.

    Automated driver assistance is the near term future of what will be available from car dealers. The consumer-owned high-tech cars of the next ten years will have steering wheels and brake pedals, and the licensed driver will remain largely responsible for what happens. The Google pod car without operator controls is unlikely to be available to consumers in the next decade, but rather will evolve into a new kind of on-demand, Uber-like transit service for low-speed urban environments that have been digitally mapped in detail, like Google is now doing in Kirkland. See http://aboutcates.org and http://endofdriving.org for research-based prognostication and policy recommendations.

    While focusing on driver-caused accidents, don’t forget that what human drivers mostly do is avoid accidents minute by minute by driving carefully and obeying traffic laws, to the tune of 3 trillion miles per year in USA. 100 million miles between fatal accidents is the track record for human drivers, a strong record. Good drivers are avoiding and preventing accidents every day. Getting computers to drive as well as the best humans is the challenging standard to be met, just as important as hitting the relatively small target that is driver stupidity.

  • Fred Chittenden

    One big hurdle for driverless vehicles is how to secure/prevent them from becoming driverless WMDs of some sort. Seems it would be all to easy for some terrorists or malcontents to get their hands on one, load it up with something explosive and send it off to do it’s deed.