During Hod Lipson’s Guild 21 presentation about autonomous vehicles, hosted by Verifacts, the author and Columbia University professor of engineering and data science highlighted 10 common myths about self-driving cars.
1) Myth 1: There is going to be a gradual transition of driverless technology into fully autonomous vehicles. Lipson said the technology is not an evolutionary development of conventional driver-assist technology. Instead, it is a very different technology and the vehicles are built to be fully-autonomous from the ground up.
2) Myth 2: Humans and computers can cooperate and a car can drive itself 95 percent of the time and humans will drive five percent of the time. “Human/computer cooperation is a great thing but not for driving,” said Lipson. He said when it comes to driving, it isn’t practical (and is dangerous) for humans to be on call for just five percent of the time.
3) Myth 3: Driverless cars will need a lot of infrastructure changes. Lipson said the only necessities include having good roads, and good technicians.
4) Myth 4: Cars will communicate with one another to move around. “They might benefit a little from talking to each other but really they get everything they need from the cameras on top of the vehicle and from stored data,” said Lipson.
5) Myth 5: People aren’t ready for driverless cars. Time and time again, Lipson said surveys show that most people would like to use driverless cars if they could be assured of their safety. According to a Cisco Customer Experience Report for the Automobile Industry conducted in May 2013, 57 percent of the 1,511 consumers asked in 10 countries said they trust driverless cars.
6) Myth 6: Driverless cars have to be 100 percent safe before they can be allowed to drive on the road. “We don’t need 100 percent safe cars, we just need them to be slightly better than the average human drivers,” said Lipson. He said when driverless cars become common, similar to having a miles per gallon (mpg) rating and horsepower (hp) rating, there could possibly be a third rating to let people know how safe the vehicle is compared to a human—twice as safe, three times as safe or even more.
7) Myth 7: Cars will not be able to determine during an impending crash whether to crash into a mother and two children or a building. Accidents are predicted to be so infrequent, said Lipson, that it will most likely be a moot issue.
8) Myth 8: There are not going to be many cars. When driverless cars become more common, Lipson said it's expected that there will be more miles driven per capita. “Everyone in the automotive business should rejoice,” he said. “That means more cars being manufactured, maintained, and more mechanical work, road construction and repair.”
9) Myth 9: No more car ownership. While some people will no longer purchase a vehicle, many will buy one for the additional benefits included such as a bed or a working desk. It is also expected that there will be a wider variety of cars available.
10) Myth 10: Self-driving cars are going to be expensive. Lipson predicted that autonomous vehicles will be cost effective, especially since many of them are going to be electric. “All of the smart technology is AI, and the software and sensors are very inexpensive,” said Lipson.