Although today’s roads aren’t filled with self-driving cars (aka autonomous vehicles: AVs), billions of dollars are being bet — by car companies from Ford to Tesla, tech companies from Alphabet’s Google, to Apple and the U.S. government — on the proposition that they soon will be.
If and when the bets pay off, the basic features — good and bad — of AV systems will already have been established, hence hard to change.
It is time to start thinking about the rules of the new road. Otherwise, we may end up with some analog to today’s chaos in cyberspace, which arose from decisions in the 1980s about how personal computers and the Internet would work.
One of the biggest issues will be the rules under which public infrastructures and public safety officers may be empowered to override how autonomous vehicles are controlled.