The Driverless Car Singularity

Thoughts about an opinion piece in The Guardian on the unpredictability of people with self-driving cars.

The opinion piece, The self-driving car is a marvel doomed by unpredictable humans, got me thinking. I’m less pessimistic about the autonomous future than the author, but it brought up something I’ve thought about for a while with driverless cars and its viability/safety on the streets. This passage highlights the main problem pretty well:

And of course, people are often the biggest issue. Even the most complex algorithm can’t hope to match the chaotic, unpredictable, baffling behaviour of the average human. Or “pedestrian”, as they’d be considered by autonomous vehicles.

I’d extend this even further to say that other drivers are also similarly chaotic and unpredictable. But I wonder if that will always be the case? Certainly as more autonomous vehicles appear on the road it’ll only become more safe, right? After all, if we remove the baffling behavior of people behind the wheel the algorithms of future vehicles can play out uninterrupted.

The Driverless Car Singularity

Fewer drivers, more safety.

My guess is that there will be a point at which driverless cars become safe simply because there are fewer unpredictable human drivers on the road.