While it is good to continue to improve AI for use in autonomous vehicles we do need to keep in mind that they don’t need to be perfect in order to be a huge improvement over the typical human driver.

I speak as someone who’s taken multiple advanced driver training courses over the years. The average driver (who, amusingly, thinks of themselves as “above average”) is absolutely abysmal. Practically zero skills, so correcting for a slide or any other event is out of the question. Practically zero awareness, so most problems aren’t detected until they’re occurring. Practically zero forward thinking, so when an accident situation begins they have no clue what to do. And most often, when faced with an unexpected incident, the human driver merely freezes and thus plows straight into whatever the car was pointing at. Most people can’t even hold the steering wheel properly.

Frankly, until we have 100% autonomous vehicles we’re not going to see any major improvements in road safety. Engineers have given us crumple zones, pre-tensioning seatbelts, airbags, cages, and lane-departure systems as well as automatic braking and anti-lock brakes. But still we humans keep doing stupid things with our very limited driving skills.

Like texting while driving.

So let’s hope the day when human drivers are banned and only autonomous vehicles are permitted on the road comes sooner rather than later.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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