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“Perfect is the Enemy of Good”: Study Urges Early Mass Rollout of Self-Driving Cars

Posted on : November 22, 2017
by : Carlos Alvarez Tostado


We all know self-driving cars are coming; in fact, they are already here. But are we ready for a world when most of the cars on the road are driverless? The general consensus, especially among nervous state lawmakers, seems to be that self-driving technology is not yet “good enough” to allow widespread use on our roads and highways. Yet a new research study makes the point that not only may the technology be “good enough” now, but that waiting until it is nearly perfect can waste thousands of lives to needless car accidents caused by human error.

The study in question was performed by nonprofit research group the RAND Corporation. The premise of the research was to compare the likely outcome on traffic safety among the introduction of self-driving cars at various stages of advancement. The study looked at the results projected for traffic safety when driverless cars are 10% better than human drivers, 75% better, and 90% better than people-driven cares.

The conclusions drawn from the research were that delaying a mass rollout of self-driving cars until the technology is “nearly perfect” will cost thousands of lives over the next 15 years, or hundreds of thousands over the next 30. Study co-author Nidhi Kalra summed up the effects of postponing the introduction of driverless cars as “perfect being the enemy of good.” Another study co-author, David Groves, reminds us that “autonomous vehicles are never drunk, distracted, or tired, so they could reduce the huge number of crashes involving these factors.”

The jury is still out in the court of public opinion whether self-driving cars are safer than those driven by a conscientious, capable human. But one thing is certain. The story of how the law will handle accidents involving self-driving cars, or between driverless cars and human-driven vehicles, is yet to be written.

If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Southern California, contact the professional and determined San Diego personal injury lawyers at the Banker’s Hill Law Firm for a consultation, at 619-230-0330.

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