5 things experts say about self-driving cars

There’s lots of excitement about self-driving cars and trucks, which are already on American roadways.

But for now, there is a human operator inside, ready to take the wheel of the autonomous car. And experts say it will be as decades before all the cars on the road are truly autonomous cars, meaning the person inside is not controlling the vehicle at all.

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Here’s what five experts had to say about autonomous cars and trucks.

Richard Wallace, director of transportation systems analysis, Center for Automotive Research, Ann Arbor

“It could be 2040. It could be later than that. There is going to be a time when if you want to drive a car yourself there will probably going to be some pretty severe restrictions on when and where you can do that. Because you and I are going to be considered a pretty inadequate driver compared to that artificial intelligence.”

Randy Cole, executive director, Ohio Turnpike

“There are a lot of people who are really beginning to equate this with the advent of the horseless carriage and the emergence of both the telephone and the automotive industries. It’s disruptive. It’s exciting. And it has the potential for great economic benefit and quality of life issues.”

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Carla Bailo, assistant vice president for mobility research and business development at Ohio State University

“You’ve probably heard the statistic that traffic fatalities and incidents are going up. And the vast majority, in fact 94 percent of those (accidents) are caused by human error. So really eliminating that human brain from the equation should come close to creating vision zero - zero traffic accidents and fatalities.”

David E. Cole, co-founder and chairman of AutoHarvest.org, Ann Arbor

“Companies are saying ‘we’re going to have something here in 2021 or 2019. It’s leading the public to believe it’s really close. The people who think, ‘I’m going to take a trip while sleeping in the back seat,’ that’s probably 20 or 30 years away.”

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Joanna Pinkerton, chief operating officer of the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty

“With our research we do have some of the really ‘out there,’ (things) that you wouldn’t even recognize as a vehicle in its current state. It just looks so different, with tires that instead of being circular they are spherical.”

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