Why Autonomous Vehicles (AV's) should NOT scare you (hint: humans are horrendous drivers)
After working directly in the autonomous vehicle industry for the past year, I believe I have an insider look at what is coming to your streets sooner than you think. I also believe one of the biggest hurdles the autonomous vehicle industry is/will face is public misconception and doubt due to a lack of public education. Speaking in general, it seems autonomous vehicles are on the negative side of today's public opinion. Many struggle with the idea of trusting a "robot" with human lives and the ability of these vehicles to remain safe in all driving conditions.
While gaining public trust will only come with years of research & development, millions of test miles driven, and the public simply seeing autonomous vehicles on the road; the reality is that Autonomous vehicles will be infinitely safer than human-driven vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are not prone to human driving error/distraction, they can react significantly faster than any human physically can, and well, they don't drink alcohol. To put the atrocity that is human driving into numerical perspective, the U.S. averages 6 million car accidents a year! In 2016 alone in the U.S., there were over 40,000 traffic deaths and roughly 4.6 million people seriously injured on the road. Studies from around the world over the last 30 years have concluded human error/behavior accounts for over 90% of vehicle crashes. 90%!! To make it even worse, road crashes cost over $500 billion USD globally each year.
No Autonomous vehicles won't be perfect, but I can tell you if we were to deploy our test-level AV's tomorrow they wouldn't come close to causing 5.4 million traffic accidents in one year.
I am limited (by non-disclosure agreements) in the amount of specific details I can give you about current AV's technology, specs, and performance. But I can tell you I've been in an AV many times and I've felt safer than I do with any human behind the wheel. They've been driving around my city for the past 2 years and there has yet to be an accident caused by AV error. The accidents will come eventually, as no human created machine will be perfect. But I firmly believe when fully deployed, AV's will reduce traffic deaths by tens of thousands and traffic accidents by millions. Not to mention saving hundreds of billions of dollars across the globe.