By almost all indications – including government projections – it isn’t so much a matter of if, it’s only when: Self-driving cars are coming to traffic stops and intersections near you. With over 90 percent of car accidents stemming from driver behavior, experts believe that the autonomous vehicles are bound to result in fewer accidents, saving hundreds, if not thousands of lives each year.
However, one of the auto industry’s foremost authorities isn’t so sure that at the end of the day, driverless automobiles will reduce the loss of human life – and people may be to blame.
Mercedes-Benz CEO Dietmar Exler recently spoke at AutoConference LA, an annual event that takes place in California every November, drawing automotive executives and gearheads from around the country, co-hosted by J.D. Power and Associates and the National Automobile Dealers Association.
While acknowledging that autonomous vehicle are the wave of the future, Exler warned that the transition may not go very smoothly because motorists by their very nature are resistant to change, The Los Angeles Times reported.
“The real issue is humans,” Exler explained.
Will drivers ‘bully’ autonomous functions?
The chief executive officer for the Germany-based luxury automaker elaborated, noting that it’s not as if autonomous vehicles will be operating in isolation. For instance, even if autonomous vehicles become mainstream in the next 10 years, there will still be drivers who operate their own automobiles. Furthermore, because motorists will presumably be able to disable the driverless function at their will, this may result in a “bullying” effect – where motorists assert control and take command from the on-board computer system.