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Why Self-Driving Cars will Fail

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There is growing enthusiasm that self-driving cars will take over the roads and highways. Not so fast. While automatic braking and other self-driving car features will help increase safety, self-driving cars, cars without human drivers, have severe and possibly insurmountable barriers to their adoption.

Accidents will Happen

First of all, accidents with self-driving cars are bound to happen. Most will probably be the fault of humans driving other cars into the self-driving vehicles, or cutting them off with not enough room to stop. In the event of an accident, how does a human driver exchange insurance information and driver's licenses with a self-driving car? Possibly, this can be worked out, but it will not be easy. If the self-driving car is badly damaged, its electronics will likely be impaired so that it may not be able to respond to a request for information (will self-driving cars hear you?). You could put insurance and other information on the car's window, but this could be destroyed in an accident as well.

Ice and Snow

No car, whether self-driving or not, can control itself on black ice and other exceptionally slippery surfaces. This will lead to more accidents. Did you ever go down a hill that was icy and you could not stop? An experienced human driver might know that certain routes are hilly and subject to slippery conditions. Are self-driving cars programmed to deal with ice, snow and hills? Can these be programmed to get around dangerous conditions?

Drives Like an Old Lady

Self-driving cars will drive no more than the speed limit; that's how they will be programmed. Most humans drive much faster. These slow-moving vehicles will likely interfere with the flow of traffic, cause impatient humans to pass them and probably cause more accidents.

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Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation, economist and lawyer, author of ten books and hundreds of articles.
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