Originally Posted by Gatorguy
You're correct. Future autonomous cars are expected to be much safer than current cars driven by human beings. You're much more likely to be injured by human error behind the wheel, either yours or another drivers.
The problem is the reliability of these systems if/when they get massed produced and the level at which they are maintained by the owner.
How many cars on the road are properly maintained? I've been in a lot of other people's cars that have problems because the owner can't afford to fix them. it doesn't take much to get into an accident and these driverless cars are going to require a substantial amount more maintenance.
Think of it this way, if the car is in immaculate condition and it's designed properly, it might do OK, but it's STILL a ways off.
How much safety checks and maintenance does Google do on their test cars before they drive them in a parking lot?
How much additional maintenance are they going to require?
I'm usually pretty anal retentive when it comes to maintaining my own cars and even as often as I would do things, I think it wasn't in brand new showroom condition after the first year. Brake pads, brake rotors, tires, wear. After about 100,000 miles and taking my car in with a perfect maintenance record, it stated to have little issues and little things that just make the car not drive exactly as it did off the showroom and having all of these additional things involved would make it more expensive to maintain because the computer has to always take any changes in the car's abilities into account.
When mfg like Mercedes were working on their PreSafe technology they rolled out about 10 years ago, they were in development for at least a decade and they are STILL making small improvements to the high end system. I just think Google and the media is making this out to be a media promotion and that it's a LONG ways off from your average Joe buying one of these things.