Waymo, Cruise and other players in the autonomous vehicle space talk a lot about how much safer and easier driving could be if cities embraced self-driving cars. But if the future is so bright, why hasn’t it been a smooth road?
Tech historian Peter Norton says self-driving cars don’t properly address the underlying issues that make driving a dangerous, cumbersome activity – and actually divert attention away from solutions that have worked elsewhere. Take claims that self-driving cars can fix California’s trademark congestion. If everyone who drives themselves around now started using AVs tomorrow, we’d have the same number of cars on the road. Plus, recent research concluded traffic would actually get worse in urban areas as more people opt for self-driving cars over public transit.