Google Baidu Tesla and Uber Race for Driverless Prize
Originally posted on Forbes Magazine
As Google, Baidu, Tesla, Uber, General Motors and others race to shift driverless cars from fantasy to reality, a host of real and imagined objections are also coming to the fore.
Will driverless cars be safe? Will they be secure? Can they coexist with human-driven cars? What are the implications for liability and accountability? Will they infringe on personal freedom and privacy? Will they destroy jobs and cause economic chaos?
These questions are serious and mandate that we approach deployment with deliberation and caution. At the same time, however, the potential benefits are so large that we must not hinder development.
Every day by which we accelerate success can be measured in lives saved (more than 100), injuries prevented (more than 6,000), and dollars better spent ($3.5 billion). And, that is just in the United States. Worldwide, the numbers are even more staggering. In addition, millions could have speedier access to more affordable transportation. Congestion, pollution and dependency on oil could be reduced.
“Context is worth 80 IQ points,” says Alan Kay. Mindfulness about the context of the societal benefits enabled by driverless cars is critical. Only then can we have a smarter, holistic view of the complex web of strategic, public policy and regulatory decisions that might help or hinder the development of this technology.