CARS THAT LEARN AS THEY GO
THE PUBLIC IS UNLIKELY TO ACCEPT SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES UNTIL THEY ARE much safer than human drivers and that could take a while to happen. But once it does and they begin to hit the roads in numbers, they will collect more and more data and start improving much more rapidly. Like a gigantic hive mind, every car in a company’s fleet will learn from every other car, receiving over-the-air updates to improve their software.
Nidhi Kalra from the Rand Corporation has controversially suggested that self-driving cars should be allowed on the road before they have even reached human levels of competence. This would allow them to become super-safe a lot more quickly than they would otherwise, and save many lives in the long run.
But it would cost more lives in the short term, at least in the jurisdictions that agree to be the guinea pigs. For that reason alone it seems unlikely any country will follow this suggestion. No one will want to take the hit so others can benefit.