A pedestrian dies in a collision with a self driving car and the news media goes berserk. CNN touts this as a disaster, seeing this as the end of the line for self driving cars.
Human drivers kill about 100 people every day in the US, including about 12 pedestrians. Where is the outrage for that? Where is the news story about each and every one of those precious lives?
Those of us who understand the situation immediately suspected that this collision was completely the fault of the pedestrian. I went so far as to be willing to bet $100 that the pedestrian was jaywalking. Humans make terrible decisions as drivers and terrible decisions as pedestrians. But it’s pretty rare that a pedestrian who is scared of traffic and deeply concerned about self-preservation will put him or herself in harm’s way. In case after case, a dead pedestrian made a stupid decision and believed the cars would stop anyway.
And of course, guess what? The pedestrian was at fault. SF Chronicle This was not even remotely shocking. And CNN immediately buried the story because it did not fit their clickbait goals.
How much responsibility does a human driver have when their car hits a pedestrian? It varies from total to zero depending on the speed of the car, whether the pedestrian was in a crosswalk, whether the car was entering the cross walk during a red or yellow light, weather, visibility, whether the driver was texting, etc. In short, there are perhaps 100 factors which influence the culpability of the driver.
Similar discussions must apply to self-driving cars. And when they do I promise you a human cannot match the safety of a self-driving car. Let’s just look at the most common situation today: humans can text while driving and a car cannot.
I leave you with this: What’s a lot more dangerous than a self driving car? A human driving a car!