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How Self-Driving Cars Can Gain Public Acceptance

In February, Google’s self-driving car caused an accident. Although it was a minor fender bender, any issue can erode public trust in the technology, making it that much harder for Google to push through regulatory measures and bring their product to market.

This doesn’t mean the game is over, though. Below, seven members of Forbes Technology Council explain how they think companies working on automation solutions are going to regain (or keep) public trust.

Google self-driving car. Photo credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/GettyImages

1. Showcasing The Benefits Over The Costs 

Every technology has to prove that the benefits it creates outweigh the costs to society. This is even beyond the idea of the industry maintaining or building trust, first the issues of privacy and security need to be addressed. The example of the journalist who had his car hacked while driving is a great example. – Davin Sufer, WowWee Group Ltd

2. With Data And Good PR 

Google’s self-driving cars have been on the road since 2009, driven over 1.3 million miles, and just now caused their first accident. Tesla is adding 1 million miles of data every 10 hours. Even in infancy, the tech for autonomous vehicles has arguably surpassed the safety of human drivers. I think the trust will be easy to keep. I’d prefer a software bug to a texter-and-driver any day. – Nicholas Thompson, Grit

3. By Using Independent Safety Organizations 

We need independent vehicle safety organizations, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), to expand remits for vehicle safety to the assessment and measurement of self-driving vehicles. The industry needs to clarify the issue of liability, e.g., Volvo’s move to accept all liability for self-driving cars. – Tim Barker, DataSift

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