It would take a few more years before self driving cars can be released for public use. The most logical time is by 2020 as there are still regulatory hurdles and technology challenges which yet to be solved. Google’s project lead for autonomous car, Chris Urmson, mentioned that his goal was to make sure his 11-year-old son did not need to get a driver’s license. Apparently this comment sparked a debate whether the future generation should never have to drive a car?
A long time ago when calculator could not calculate algebra for us, we had to learn algebra by hand. However, as the calculator became more advanced, there is no reason for us to learn algebra by hand, all we need to do is to press the calculator and it will calculate for us. Is it going to be same with driving and roadway? Does it mean that once self driving cars able to be used on public road, we do not need to learn how to drive or how to get into our destination? All we need to do is to enter our destination and the self driving car will take us to there.
However, driving cannot be equated with algebra as driving is a specialized skill that is used to use a tool while the latter is a fundamental set of learning which is necessary to understand and useful across a wider variety of disciplines. On top of that self driving car is generally safer as generally accidents are caused by human driver who is distracted and not paying much attention to the road or in a worse scenario a drunken driver. With self driving car, it will massively eliminate this kind of scenario as the driving is controlled by a system which could not be drunk or distracted.
Another argument is that as modern cars are equipped with technology such as pre-collision sensing, dynamic cruise and lane keep assist which is good enough to reduce the possibility of accident to almost zero. However, with self driving cars, there is no more congestion or you do not have to go through the process of finding a parking lot and park your car as it is all is done by the autonomous cars.
The conclusion is that it might take a few more years for self driving cars to be able to release in the market, and there is a transit period whereby there will be a mix of self driving car and manual car on the same street at the same time. However, carmakers seem to guarantee that the self driving car that they release is going to be safer than the manual car even though it is equipped with the latest technology.