Executive Summary Driverless cars have been a dream for drivers around the world since the invention of the automobile more than 100 years ago, but have yet to be realized on a mass scale. Recent demonstrations and competitions, utilizing corporate and government investments, have shown that driverless car technology is maturing to the point where such vehicles may be commercially viable within a decade. In 2010, more than 35,000 people died in crashes in the United States, costing the economy $230 billion per year and consuming a greater share of national healthcare costs than any other cause of illness or injury. Traffic congestion is an $87 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy, including 4.2 billion lost hours or one work week for every traveler. The U.S. consumer car market is a potential market for early adoption of driverless cars. With a strong desire for safety and large amounts of congestion, driverless cars offer solutions to a variety of problems for consumers. Adding in gasoline, taxes, insurance, and loans, a U.S. consumer pays on average $9,000 per year on his or her car, with 10-16 million cars sold annually in the U.S. A variety of non-technical issues remain in order to field driverless cars. Legal, liability, regulatory, culture, and privacy concerns all need to be addressed in order for consumers to be able to use, and desire to use, driverless cars. Once these issues are sufficiently addressed, consumers will have the final say as to whether they trust and desire the capability of driverless cars enough to give up control and embrace the many potential benefits that driverless cars present.
AUVSI: The Case for Driverless Cars