Self-driving mixed thoughts

Listening to Dithering this morning, which was a longer discussion following up on John Gruber’s post about the self-driving accident in San Francisco last week, I remembered a near-accident I was in a few weeks ago.

It was the usual morning traffic on the highway when cars stopped in front of me and I had to stop quickly. I watched in the rearview mirror as the car behind me narrowly missed me, moving to the side slightly, but the car behind that person swerved and clipped another car. Traffic kept moving around them and there was nothing I could do, just thankful that it wasn’t worse and that I wasn’t in the collision.

These kind of small crashes or near-accidents must happen hundreds or thousands of times a day. They don’t make the news, except as part of an update on rush-hour traffic. The same accident with self-driving “beta” software is more notable.

I guess I’m of two minds about self-driving: the technology enthusiast in me thinks autonomous vehicles will generally be safer than cars driven by humans, but I also think it’s largely a waste of resources to prioritize this effort. I’d much rather see the money and time put into better public transportation. It’s gotta be more efficient and safer to move people on a train.

Manton Reece @manton