The first injury accident involving a Google self-driving car was — surprise, surprise — the fault of an oblivious driver in the other vehicle. Self-driving technology offers a potential future where these sorts of incidents hardly ever occur.
Here is what I expect will be the prime place for self-driving cars getting around in urban centers, most likely replacing buses. A fleet of cars that can be called at the touch of an app.
Why use a personal car and deal with parking and the frustrations of traffic when you can call a car to wherever you are to take you wherever you need to go? No need to find a bus stop that is blocks from where you want to go and then wait for it to arrive.
I expect these will be specially designed for rapid urban travel – small and lightweight.
Heck, instead of having public transportation by a fleet of busses, the city could provide a fleet of personal cars.
I bet traffic in a city center would move a lot easier. Wonder if anyone is looking at this idea?