America’s automakers and technology companies want to sell you a self-driving car by the end of the decade.
But AAA Media Relations Manager Robert Sinclair, Jr., wants to know, “What’s the rush?”
Sinclair said he’d rather see self-driving cars that are “100 percent effective,” instead of something rushed to market that could injure or kill an occupant.
He expressed this opinion at this year’s World Traffic Safety Symposium at the New York International Auto Show. Sinclair was part of a panel discussion on the future of American mobility, and the potential impact of self-driving cars.
As the rest of the panel agreed that they were “extremely eager” to see self-driving cars hit U.S. roads, Sinclair said he was “cautiously optimistic.”
Sure, Sinclair knows self-driving cars could prevent as many as 94 percent of car crashes, which are the result of some form of human error. He also pointed out how they could help seniors maintain their mobility as their driving abilities diminish.
But as it stands, no advanced driving systems are effective 100 percent of the time.
“If we’re just going to trade people killing people for machines killing people, that’s not progress,” Sinclair told the rest of the panel and the audience.
And because there is not a standardized approach to designing these features, there is often a gap in how well a feature might work in one vehicle compared to another, he said.
AAA is working with automakers, regulators and lawmakers to make sure safety is at the forefront of self-driving car development, Sinclair said.
His appearance at the panel discussion came on the heels of a new AAA survey that showed three-quarters of Americans are “afraid” to ride in a self-driving car.
Richard F. Simon, deputy regional administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, moderated the panel. Sinclair was joined by Niki Christoff, head of federal affairs at Uber; Paul Steely White, executive director of public transit group Transportation Alternatives; and Jennifer Stockberger, director of operations at the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center.
Do you have an opinion or concern about self-driving cars? Let us know in the comments section. To read about AAA’s self-driving car research, click here.