If you follow the news around driverless cars, the articles are constantly citing the key obstacles/challenges associated with driverless cars’ introduction to society. Standard obstacles cited include: technology readiness, cost of the vehicles/technology, government regulations, liability, privacy and data protections, and security protections. While these are significant hurdles, I believe that they will all be addressed….especially since they are receiving so much international attention. There are a few additional obstacles/challenges that I believe are worth considering:
Obstacle #1: The Media! A google driverless car hit a bus while it was driving at 2 miles per hour and it caused no injuries and yet this incident made international news! A sample article can be found here. Google’s driverless cars have traveled thousands of test miles and this is the first accident that Google has cited as being the fault of their car; these statistics are incredibly positive when you compare that to human drivers’ accident rates. I fear that messaging coming from the media could only perpetuate people’s fear and uncertainty around driverless cars….and delay and/or eliminate people’s willingness to get in them.
Obstacle #2: Other Industries’ Lobbying Efforts! Driverless cars are going to have a huge (potentially negative) impact on many seemingly unrelated industries, such as the trucking, hotel, and retail industries. If and when representatives of these industries acknowledge the significant consequences to their industry, their lobbying folks may put significant pressure on regulators to slow and/or block their usage.
Obstacle #3: The Technology Developers Themselves! Government agencies at all levels are grappling with how to regulate the industry and they are getting potentially conflicting input from many of the technology developers (e.g., Google, Honda, Volvo, etc). Government’s role in regulating this technology continues to be contested because the government is getting different messages from the industry. Should steering wheels be required? Should vehicles and/or people require licenses? The technology developers do not have a unified perspective, which only makes developing regulations that much more complicated!
Any other obstacles to add to this list?