There’s a number that is all the buzz these days in the world of autonomous vehicles: 94 percent. That’s the percentage of car crashes caused by driver error. The implication: Once cars become driverless, there will be hardly any crashes at all.
Not so.
As fully autonomous cars become a reality, there will be collisions between them, and there will be collisions with conventional cars. Fewer than before? Yes, but there will be crashes nevertheless.
The speed with which driverless cars are accepted by the public may well be determined by this question: How safe is safe enough?
“Is ‘safe enough’ 10 percent safer than where we are by manually driving?” said Bryan Reimer, associate director of the transportation center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “One thing that I think is really going to limit our ability to see this technology proliferate is a societal acceptance on the definition of what is safe …