I tend to pooh pooh predictions regarding new technology and how it will utterly revolutionise our lives. And it seems to me such predictions have a very poor track record.
But I think self-drive cars -- more specifically those that do not allow humans to take over control -- will eventually completely replace human driven cars and utterly revolutionise the world. Which is not to deny there will be many problems to solve before we get there. For one thing they'll initially encounter a lot of resistance due to the fact that many people -- predominantly men -- just simply love to drive. In addition we presumably will see a mixture of self-drive and human driven cars on the roads at first, and this will create formidable problems. And what of problems such as kids jumping out in front of the cars to see them automatically stop! And I question whether a car which looks like one that Noddy might drive, such as the google self-drive car depicted in the photograph above, will ever become popular.
So ironing out all the problems will take a great deal of time, and we're talking here probably of a few decades. But I'm going to be bold here. I predict that by 2060 no one will drive cars anymore on public roads. And practically no one will die anymore on the roads.
Update 23/10/14 A very negative article I've just come across:
But the biggest issue with the Google car is one that has bedeviled computer researchers for as long as computers have been around: how to endow the machines with the sort of everyday knowledge that humans acquire and use from childhood on.It's going to be incredibly difficult -- albeit not impossible -- to endow them with that sort of knowledge because they are not conscious and never will be. But presumably people were aware of all these problems. I myself hint at them above.
I certainly don't agree it will never happen. A mixture of normal and self-drive cars will be very problematic. But all cars being self-drive is altogether a different issue. But how do we get to the scenario whereby all cars are self driving without going through the problematic situation of both normal and self-drive cars being on the roads? Perhaps in reality there will be a gradually transition with cars becoming more and more autonomous until the point where they become fully self-driving.