Self-Driving Cars Will Transform Everything – Wall Street Journal

Posted: Monday, September 26, 2016

Scott Keogh (“The Dangers of ‘Self-Driving’ Car Hype,” op-ed, Sept. 20) claims that automated vehicles will virtually eliminate human error and will have the potential to prevent an estimated 90% of collisions, saving about 30,000 lives annually. What he doesn’t discuss is the liability the auto manufacturers will be exposed to for the other 10%. If it isn’t human error, I would have to blame the manufacturer, wouldn’t you?

Joe Patrico

Hot Springs, Ark.

Americans should be concerned that the replacement of the U.S. automotive fleet will make cash-for-clunkers look like a yard sale; the crony capitalists are salivating. They should be concerned that, absent taxpayer subsidy, low- and middle-income drivers will be priced out of the market. The universal law that centralized power corrupts never having been repealed, people should be concerned that they will lose the freedom to drive when and where they choose.

But hey, roads to utopia inevitably are littered with broken eggshells.

Steve Adkins

Fairfax, Va.

Both traffic safety and efficiency should be improved by removing the source of unsafe driving behavior plaguing the roads today: speeding, tailgating, texting, rubbernecking and aggressive lane hopping. The road system might finally have a chance to operate as designed.

Stephen Weeks


The current guideline of having one car length of separation for each 10 miles of speed to allow for driver reaction time will no longer be required with automatic breaking with its instant response. In theory, cars could be operated with almost bumper-to-bumper separation, greatly increasing the capacity of all roads.

Henry Schmid

Sonoma, Calif.

The data derived from self-driving technology will have far-reaching implications on how we think about risk, error and fault associated with automotive accidents.

Current accident laws are based on the assumption of paltry data—accident outcomes, police reports and individual post-hoc testimonies—where fault and cause are difficult to establish. Big data from autonomous vehicles changes everything.

Consider this: The physics associated with every accident will be recorded in minute detail. Not only will this asset of driverless-car technology be able to establish fault unequivocally and therefore resolve disputes more efficiently and correctly, it will also become a critical tool for coaching purposes and improving driving practices.

Prof. Vasant Dhar

NYU Stern School of Business

New York

If the hype for the self-driving car includes taking a passenger from point A to point B without his or her interaction, shouldn’t one recognize that solutions for this already exist: trains, buses and taxis? Regarding safety, how much consumer software is glitch free?

Today it seems that innovation is hyped because it’s something new, not necessarily because it solves a real problem.

John Williamson

Ellijay, Ga.


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