I was thinking along those lines earlier too. I see no way that mandating driverless technology is going to fly politically, especially with already-made cars. The cost of a conversion kit just has to be expensive, considering it inolves modifying the entire control system. How many people are going to opt to shell out fat stacks for something that isn't required? I don't know about the rest of you, but I live (and am myself) in a heavy blue-collar-job area, backed by unions that afford a very good wage compared to average. Essentially, what's left of true middle-class. And even my colleages, I firmly believe, would not opt-in in large numbers. And any new cars that have this technology will surely cost more than the ones that don't. Even furthermore, we already have a glut of non-driverless cars on the road that (a) aren't old, and (b) are being driven less since overall driving is in decline, thanks to Cash for Clunkers. The bottom line is that I see no reason to believe this is going to spread fast.
I'm more sanguine and optimistic about more scaled-back systems that primarily control the braking to improve safety. Still, there are a million better ways to spend limited resources - compact, walkable communities, mixed-use development, bike infrastructure, and transit primarily.
Now, where's that jetpack I was promised when I was 8?? I hope Google is working on that too.
Originally Posted by Matariki
Car ads crow about the driving experience: The thrill of great handling at speed, the growl of the exhaust, the expectation of owning the road (with their product, of course). So who do you think will buy a self-driving car? Eliminate the "fun" of being behind the wheel and you alienate a huge proportion of car buyers.
Folks that don't want to drive can already:
Take a cab or a bus
Carpool with someone who wants to drive
Use your chauffeur
Another observation about cabs: I bet in a lot of cases the cost of ownership for a self-driving car will be more than taking a cab when needed.