It’s not just that those cars would be less prone to errors than humans are. Autonomous cars will likely also be able to communicate with one another, ensuring that they could coordinate their movements on the road to avoid accidents. Another factor harkens back the old adage, “practice makes perfect”: As self-driving cars get more driving time on the road, they can use that experience to more effectively learn how to be safer. And unlike with humans, the experience of one vehicle could be shared with practically every other autonomous vehicle on the road.
That is, if we’re willing to take the leap. The main obstacle impeding this future starts with humans. People have to learn how to be OK with the notion that autonomous vehicles will be involved with at least some portion of accidents and that machine error might even be the root cause for some of those collisions. But while it’s easy for humans to understand why a fellow human being can make a mistake that results in an crash on the road, it’s a lot more difficult to sympathize with the mistakes of an artificial system made of wires and sensors—especially when it only really has one job to do.