In my personal opinion the concept of the self driving car, though technically feasible, is a very bad idea. I have several reasons for saying this. They include the issue of responsibility and liability, the fact that not everyone will instantly switch to this product, the risk of hackers, and just plain old mistrust on my part.
Some have equated it to the 'fly by wire' technology that is presently used in aircraft today but despite how crowded our skies are becoming they are no where near as crowded as our streets and highways and aircraft don't have to deal with pedestrians and errant mammals that wander into the paths of vehicles.
First lets talk about liability. Sure technology will insure that every self driving vehicle operates in a very safe and predictable way; always adhering to posted speed limits and never passing on yellow lines and so forth. However technology can fail and when it does the manufacturer bears the full responsibility for that failure as is presently done when it is proved to be the cause of death in air crashes.
You can swear that automation is better than human action all day long but that didn't help the passengers of the Malaysian airliner that flew into oblivion recently or the private jet being used by the late Payne Stewart not so long ago. In both cases there is evidence that the automated systems and all of their highly touted backups failed resulting in the deaths of the pilots and all passengers.
Now add to the possibility of tech failures the fact that initially not everyone will convert instantaneously to the new technology and suddenly your self driving car will be thrown into the mass confusion of drunk or impaired drivers, beginning drivers, texting drivers, and just plain old reckless drivers not to mention sudden sink holes, falling objects like trees or light poles, collapsing bridges and overpasses, and large big rigs with sleepy drivers careening toward you at highway speeds. Just how autonomous will your software and hardware be in dealing with such a range of uncertainties? I am not willing to surrender complete control in such a variable environment because I value my life and well being too much. You are gambling that your programmer has thought of every possible thing that could happen and so far they really don't have that great of a track record because failures occur every day because of a software oversight.
Today hackers break into everything from bank accounts to airliners in flight and Pentagon and defense systems. The Iranians supposedly hijacked one of our highly sophisticated drones not long ago. I would not put it past some nut to disrupt a bunch of vehicles just for the entertainment value of a huge pileup on the freeway. People can be very deranged sometimes as is evident in everyday news reports.
Then there is the risk of EMI or electromagnetic interference. We are already surrounded by a world filled with all kinds of electrical waves and signals and it is possible that while speeding along the freeway at seventy miles per hour you suddenly get an errant signal to turn left. Massive rollover accident ensues with major trauma and injury. No thanks.
I like and enjoy the benefits of the newer technological discoveries just as much as the next person but I fear that we as a society are putting entirely too much trust and faith in it and abdicating our responsibility for self reliance and accountability. I worked all my career in the electronics industry and I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is no such thing as 100% failure proof technology. It all fails and when it does there is usually little or no warning. It tends to fail like a light bulb giving you the tell tale flash before leaving you in total darkness desperately fumbling for another light source.
So that is why I just plain would never trust it. I use cruise control yes but like auto pilot I remain at the controls ready to instantly reassume control as needed and ready to react quickly to any unanticipated events. With self driving cars you would without any doubt encounter people who have never driven a car before and don't even have a license tooling down the freeway while happily texting or connected to the in vehicle wi-fi completely oblivious to what is going on around them.
That happens today with pedestrians for goodness sake as they stroll along staring at their cell phones or Ipads and not paying a bit of attention to their surroundings. So the bottom line for me is thanks but no thanks. I would rather walk, ride a bike, or get a horse, before I would trust a self driving car.
Despite our weaknesses and human foibles there is no other system that is capable of reacting and adapting to every possible situation in an instant. That is because we have been programmed over eons and across hundreds of thousand of generations so our software is far superior to what is available off the shelf at Best Buys et al.