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Why I want autonomous cars

In 2005 2.9 million people were injured and 42,636 people killed in the US from automotive crashes. About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States -- one death every 13 minutes.

Given how much scofflaw driving I see I would much rather trust a machine that other humans. Every intersection I see drivers cutting corners, every commute I see hordes of drivers who don't yeild right of way, I see speeding basically all the time, everywhere. I see lots of aggressive, dangerous driving as well. Drivers are nearly universally scofflaws and almost all drive unsafely.
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Richard Bolt's profile photoHarry Lieben's profile photoDuncan Watson's profile photoCon Healy's profile photo
20 comments
 
It's a very small number of deaths and injuries, there is risk in everything

You are way way more likely to die from something else, anything else
 
Now add everything up ... How many people die a day in the us? Now work out your chance of death by automobile ...

Infinitesimal 
 
+Jak Charlton you are showing why people are so bad at risk assessment. They just get used to things and then discount it. It is amazing how common car crashes are. Check the link.
 
Lol no I am demonstrating why risk is relative and inevitable

You are demonstrating why obviously horrific deaths seem disproportionate to all the others

Now balance cost for each death reduced in car accidents, compare to cost per death reduced in, say, malaria.

Now which is better value for money?
 
Jak seems to be in Australia, ,which has about half the road fatality rate that the United States has. Australia is comparable to northern Europe, while the United States looks more like some of the better third world countries in traffic safety.
 
Risk is inevitable yet areas like San Diego won't even investigate a car/bike crash unless there is a death. The cost to start enforcing our own traffic laws is a pittance compared to medical research. Currently there is no justice if you are a pedistrian or cyclist in the US. You don't count.
 
Australia also has better public transportation than the US.
 
I am, but I'm comparing US rates here ... For example your chance in the US of dying of a gunshot wound is probably 1000 times that of Australia, far more disproportionate than car death statistics

My point is more about the diminishing rate of return on attempts to reduce deaths for any given cause. Car fatalities have already been massively reduced, each saved death is now very hard to achieve, and very expensive


Personal experience, as in the actual post made, is a terrible way to decide whether something is a problem worth tackling


 
+Jak Charlton you're correct that there are diminishing returns WRT risk, but the United States isn't even comparable to much of the rest of the developed world. We can do much better.

As +Duncan Watson alludes, much of this can be achieved by reducing miles traveled by, for example, funding public transportation. The USA fatality rate on a per mile (or per km) basis is about the same as, say, the Netherlands, but we also drive three times as far as anybody else.
 
Gunshots are less likely in all 50 states than car accident deaths. But you are more likely to get injured in a car accident in the US than get assaulted.
 
+Richard Masoner you drive 3 times as far primarily due to scale, not public transport. Again, public transport has a massively reduced rate of return as distances increase

Public transport is easy in Europe, small distances, crowded populations. The us and Australia both have large distances and sparse populations, and we both have very limited public transport because of it


New York has a public transport system to put any Australian city to shame, but it is a densely populated area, Sydney for example is massive by land mass comparison, but with around 1/3 to half the population 
 
Ditto what +Richard Masoner says. I also think better, more efficient public transport and cycling infrastructure in the US would help reduce fatalities, CO2 emissions & cost less than continuing to build/maintain/widen roads in our urban areas. The greater #portlandoregon metro area has been a good model for how to do this well. That said, personal vehicle use isn't going away anytime soon and +Duncan Watson is right - we need better enforcement - and I would add better designed roads too.
 
True, true +Richard Masoner - I guess I mean urban roads designed to make drivers to go the designated speed (or slower) without them knowing it. For example keeping lanes & intersections narrower, curb extensions at intersections so pedestrians are easier to see, green painted bike lanes, round-abouts, etc. There are certainly a lot of highways/parkways out there that are accidents waiting to happen.......like Rt 17 as you found out recently. :-)
 
Autonomous cars look like they could have a major impact on environmentally friendly transport. When I think about all the reasons I get frustrated with public transport, transferring between different lines, walking to bus stops etc. I also find using public transport with luggage or large amounts of groceries a real pain.

If there was a service which allowed you to rent an autonomous car from a large fleet of electric vehicles, all the inconveniences of public transport are removed.

Of course I guess it remains to be seen how much a service like that would cost........and you would have to expect a lot of angry taxi drivers!
 
I like the idea of automotive cars too for these reasons (although I do not believe that most drivers are bad, just to many) They cars could be lighter too, because when there are no more accidents because of human failure, they do not need to be built so heavy. One thing though, trucks should also be automotive.
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