LETTERS: Will driverless cars be as dangerous as inattentive drivers?

LETTERS: Will driverless cars be as dangerous as inattentive drivers?

Letter-writer wonders, would autonomous vehicles recognize when a pedestrian wants to cross?

Editor:

I pressed the button to make the bright amber lights over the pedestrian crosswalk start flashing. Eastbound traffic stopped, but the driver of the westbound gray Toyota breezed right through. I yelled, “Good morning!” even though it was well into the afternoon.

She screeched to a stop several metres past the crosswalk, then looked behind her and realized that she had broken the law and had put my life at risk. She said, “Sorry,” to which I replied, “You should wake up before you drive!”

As I continued on my walk, I started thinking about autonomous vehicles, and how they would behave in such a situation.

Would they know that the lights are flashing? Would they recognize the fact that I wanted to cross the street, or would they just assume that I was a pedestrian who had stopped for a moment beside the road? Would they stop, or would they continue through the crosswalk – just like the inattentive driver who would have smashed into me if I had stepped into the crosswalk?

I would love to have the above questions answered by people in the know.

Jerry Steinberg, Surrey