Less than a week ago, California unanimously passed a bill that essentially sets the standards for self-driving cars of the (evidently) not so distant future. California’s act does not open the highways to self-driving cars yet. Instead of following in the footsteps of neighbor Nevada, California has merely paved the way for these cars to be tested. If these tests have favorable results, it could lead to the issuance of drivers licenses to driverless cars. Google has made it widely known that they were in the process of designing such an automobile and recently announced that their autonomous fleet had exceeded 300,000 miles. Several other states have considered similar laws concerning driverless vehicles.
Proponents point to the safety, utility, and efficiency of driverless vehicles for support. One would think that, eventually, self-driving cars would become mainstream and allow for more efficient use of commuters’ time and potentially make rush hour traffic on Highway 75 a thing of the past. Would this allow police officers to maximize their efficiency and increase their workload with criminal matters that have a greater impact on the community than speeding citations? Would this eliminate those annoying “1-800-I-Just-Got-Hit” commercials on the radio? Perhaps more importantly, why haven’t we seen a similar increase in interest toward high-speed rails? If the human variable used in the loss models were to become a constant used for insurance companies, how would this affect the insurance industry?