Auto Official: “Self Driving Cars Could Kill Hundreds, But Save Thousands” Nice Trade!
Many understand the point he was trying to get at, but perhaps a better phrasing would reassure people.
At the New York Auto show last week, a Toyota Executive was speaking about the future of self-driving cars, as well as the safety factor. This came about after the incident in Arizona earlier this month, when a pedestrian was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber car.
According to USA Today, Toyota North American CEO Jim Lentz said it's likely as the technology continues to develop and grow, there will be more accidents and deaths. He said there may be hundreds, or "even a thousand" people who lose their lives in such incidents, but while self- driving cars could kill hundreds they could "save thousands" of lives.
The question is, are Americans willing to accept that possibility in exchange for one day saving as many as 35,000 lives? He doesn't think we're there yet. Self-driving vehicle supporters say they could eventually eliminate up to 98% of driver-error related accidents, saving that many people across the country.
But for now, critics continue to point to what has become a steady stream of accidents, ranging from mostly fender bender or minor events, up to deadly even fatal crashes such as that one in Arizona.
In the wake of the Uber self-driving crash in Arizona, Toyota has temporarily suspended it's self-driving program, but hopes to have a system for partially driving a car by the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Since 2014 in California, where the vast majority of self-driving cars have been tested or operate, there have been 34 reported crashes. In January, a GM Chevy Bolt and a Tesla Model S were involved in accidents as well. There have been other crashes as well, or instances when self-driving cars drove off onto what the guidance system thought was a road. But supporters say that was more of a digital satellite mapping system.
Other critics say the insurance and liability issues are unexplored. Who will be found at fault if a self-driving car hits another vehicle or person? It may sound rediculous, but self-driving vehicles open up a whole new 'can of worms' insurance-wise.