Go slower to go faster with autonomous vehicles

I’m still hoping we get to see the day with fully autonomous vehicles. The technology is still not there, but we are getting closer. Can we turn down the actual speed of the vehicles.

Some statistics on speed:

  • At 40 mph, a driver has a 15% risk of serious (or worse) overall injury. 
  • At 55 mph, the risk is 78%.

According to the Netherlands government:

  • collision speed of 20 km/h nearly all pedestrians survive a crash with a passenger car
  • about 90% survive at a collision speed of 40 km/h

I think these are stats people would make people feel more confident in allowing their cars to be in autonomous mode.

So on highways, have them go slower, like under 50 MPH. On local streets, have them go 25% slower than the max speed. And anytime the car senses any kind of ambiguous or dangerous situations, it would slow down and maybe broadcast problems it senses for other surrounding cars to use. This would give more confidence to the riders to turn on autonomous vehicle mode often.

Cars going slower may annoy some people in the beginning, but overall it would help speed up the transition to autonomous vehicles. Also it would give people more time in their cars to do things like work, read, rest, or study.

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