Gets political really quickly, doesn't it?
On the face of it, if an Autonomous Vehicle (AV) can't run without a human minder, it's ultimately the responsibility of the human minder to keep people safe. But if an AV can't roll without a chaperone, what's the point of having an AV?
veen could give you chapter and verse on this, but there are different levels of autonomy and everybody but google is going for the fuzzy middle where people are supposed to intervene if things go pear-shaped. Google argues (correctly, I think), that this is exactly the wrong way to go about it - because now you're not trying to determine whether you're safe or not, you're trying to determine if you know better than the car or not. And if the car is doing fine for an hour, we're naturally going to assume the car is fine for another hour.
Waymo has crossed 4 million miles. Their record is, I believe, 4 million miles and one accident, that one accident being where someone backed into them. I personally don't expect that record to get much worse because Waymo is taking an extremely conservative, extremely data-intensive approach to "self-driving car." However, their cars aren't improvisational. They operate in markets the way restaurants operate in markets. Google's cars won't come to your city until they've driven the shit out of it.
Uber has crossed a million miles but they've also been kicked out of California.
Right now, US traffic fatalities sit at about 1.25 deaths per 100 million miles. Uber is at 100 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles, which puts them on par with back when these things were the shit:
From an armchair analysis standpoint, it's going to be interesting what tack Uber takes here because at 38mph on a clear road, the human minder should have taken over. So does Uber blame their driver? Because that makes their program look like a sham. Does Uber take it on the chin? Because that makes them look incompetent. Does Uber blame the pedestrian? That sure seems where they're going. But that makes Uber look like a bunch of bloodsucking ghouls. Which they seem to be cool with based on past performance.
From an emotional standpoint it fucking sucks 'cuz some lady was walking her bike across the street at night and got fuckin' creamed by a robot and now everybody is trying to figure out a way to blame the lady.
It's like we want so much to believe in our bright and shiny future that we refuse to believe the tech ain't ready.