New Zealand Listener - - FUTURE OF MOTORING -

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.

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