LIVE FROM CES 2016: Society cannot expect autonomous vehicles to deliver zero accident rates said Amnon Shashua, CEO of Israeli firm Mobileye, during a keynote on the topic of smart cities and urban mobility. The session showed no one can yet agree on the impact of such vehicles.
“Any reduction in fatalities by an order of magnitude will be a big service to society but we cannot expect zero accidents with autonomous cars,” said Shashua. “It’s important to manage expectations.”
Earlier in the same session, Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said: “I believe we will not see autonomous cars this decade. We might see them in 2020 to 2030.” However he added that parking and highway travel in driverless cars might be possible in the 2018-2020 timeframe.
Mobileye’s Shashua agreed autonomous parking is “within reach” but argued “it is not exciting”. More generally on autonomous driving, he said there are two markets for such vehicles. One is acting as an autopilot for car owners. The second, and more interesting aspect, is shared mobility, essentially Uber but with no driver, he said.
Also on the panel was Anthony Foxx, the US transport secretary who answered a question about the world’s leading car sharing app diplomatically: “There is a debate around the world about Uber. That’s the first wave of a wider debate. When it comes to the deployment of autonomous cars our department has a fundamental mission to ensure products are safe.”
Cars were not the only mode of transport under discussion; so were drones. But again this is an area where consensus is hard to find, not least on the regulatory front and what people are comfortable with. “Hundreds of drones in Manhattan? Much easier to do than get people to accept,” said Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm’s CEO.