Plans for self-driving cars have pitfall: the human brain


WASHINGTON (AP) — Experts say the development of self-driving cars over the coming decade depends on an unreliable assumption by many automakers: that the humans in them will be ready to step in and take control if the car’s systems fail.

Experience with automation in other modes of transportation like aviation and rail suggests that the strategy will lead to more deaths like that of a Florida Tesla driver in May.

Research shows that people have a difficult time keeping their minds on boring tasks like monitoring systems that rarely fail.

Automakers are in the process of adding increasingly automated systems that effectively drive cars in some or most circumstances, but still require the driver as a backup in case the vehicle encounters a situation unanticipated by its engineers.