TO THE EDITOR:
Keith Crain opposes testing driverless technology on public roads seemingly because of one accident resulting in the unfortunate death of one pedestrian (“Why automakers should use proving grounds to test unproven technology,” autonews.com, March 20). Is he aware that in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cars driven in the U.S. by humans killed an average of one pedestrian every 1.6 hours? A number that has likely increased in the intervening years, as have all traffic-related deaths.
Does he believe in this case that the human “safety driver” whose sole responsibility was to prevent such a technology failure was any more alert than are all the humans driving every day? The technology failed, but so too did the human backup.
The two-year increase in U.S. traffic-related deaths from 2014 to 2016 was 14 percent, to more than 40,000 people a year.
I accept what experts say is the best way to test driverless technology, but that will inevitably include testing on public roads. It’s past time to use technology to do a better job driving than do we humans.
WILLIAM MATTHIES, CEO, Coyote Insight, Dana Point, Calif. The writer is a planning consultant advising companies on change strategies.