Even suboptimal self-driving cars safer for society

In a new report, the RAND Corporation argues that autonomous cars do not have to be perfect to make our streets safer. “Our work suggests that it is sensible to allow autonomous vehicles on America’s roads when they are judged to be just moderately safer than having a person behind the wheel,” said Nidhi Kalra, co-author of the study.

The report, entitled The Enemy of Good: Estimating the Cost of Waiting for Nearly Perfectsuggests that even cars that are only moderately better than humans at driving would safe thousands of lives, and that society should not wait for self-driving vehicles to become flawless.

“This may not be acceptable because society may be less tolerant of mistakes made by machines than of mistakes made by people,” says David Groves, a co-author of the study and co-director of RAND’s Water and Climate Resilience Center.


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