Have Driverless Cars Hit Too Many Roadblocks?

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More than 30,000 road deaths occur each year in the United States. The vast majority of these are caused by driver error.

Driverless cars offer a potential remedy, along with some significant costs savings. Adam Ozimek, who blogs at Forbes.com, conservatively estimates that $189 billion could be saved in accidents that cause injury, $37 billion for prevention of non-injury accidents, and $99 billion could be gained in productivity as drivers free-up their time, transitioning to multitasking passengers. That’s a total of $642 billion.

Many so-called advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are already available in production vehicles. Tesla models can read the speed limit shown on road signs and automatically adjust the vehicle accelerator in response, for instance.

But there are still some major obstacles to achieving fully autonomous operation. Some of these are technical, like the need to develop highly detailed maps that can show, for example, the condition of a shoulder or…

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