Self driving cars are not the solution to the huge traffic snarls that plague our cities. Self driving cars are, indeed, a really interesting use of technology. The way they can avoid accidents by taking human error (and distraction) out of the equation is amazing. But the problem is not solely one of bad driving. The issue is too many cars on the roads, not too many cars with humans driving them. To solve our traffic problems, there needs to be a shift in the way that we think about traveling around. The issue is not just car accidents, not just lowering emissions, a fleet of self driving electric cars is not going to solve the problem, because the problem is too many cars.
*I think self driving cars could be an amazing innovation, particularly for folks that cannot get around easily by any other way. For example people that have lost the use of one or both of their legs, individuals that cannot drive because of epilepsy or other medical conditions that would make driving unsafe, and elderly individuals that due to vision problems or slow reflexes would have problems driving safely. Self driving cars could be life changing for all these individuals, particularly if they are living in areas where public transportation options aren’t good.