The promises of self-driving cars include fewer accidents, fewer deaths, more free time, less traffic, less pollution, fewer cars, and lower insurance rates. These are all very alluring promises, but whether they can be kept is another issue. Tech companies and traditional car manufacturers are both championing the driverless car, but safety advocates and researchers are both raising flags of concern about the promises.
While some aspects of driverless cars already are mainstream (self-parking cars) serious doubts exist as to whether the many promises can be kept about safety, and whether the public is in fact willing to adopt the self-driverless cars. The ultimate mix of automated and traditional cars on the road may well increase safety concerns rather than decrease them. According to Peter Frise, University of Windsor researcher,
"the average lifespan of a car in North American is 11 years, Frise notes. Even if every car sold in 2026 was driverless, that would replace just 5 per cent of the cars on the road",
meaning it will be a long time before all cars on the road are self-driving.
It is predicted that self-driving cars will suffer push back form many older drivers. Insurers are trying to determine how the cars would alter their businesses, and of course regulators are trying to look ahead to establishing standards of performance and safety for the vehicles. It may be a long road to the self-driving car yet.