Self-Driving Car FAQ - What is a self-driving car?

This Self-Driving Car FAQ consists of Frequently Asked Questions related to self-driving cars and associated topics.

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General Questions

What is a self-driving car
A self-driving car (a.k.a. autonomous car, driverless car, robotic car) is an automobile that is capable of sensing its external environment and safely navigating without human input. Self-driving cars typically rely on GPS to guide their navigation and employ various sensors to provide information about their immediate environment. Advanced sensors commonly employed include cameras, radar, and lidar, Advanced control systems analyze sensor information to identify appropriate navigation paths that are safe and efficient.
Why do we need self-driving cars?
Self-driving cars are needed because of the following reasons:
  1. Reduced accidents
  2. Improved mobility for elderly and disabled
  3. Increased highway speed and capacity; reduced traffic congestion
  4. Reduced parking problems
  5. Reduced fuel consumption
  6. Reduction in traffic enforcement personnel
  7. Enhanced human productivity
Are self-driving cars legal?
Self-driving cars are legal in the United States because they have never been explicitly outlawed in the United State. (A basic legal principle in the U.S. is that anything that is not explicitly illegal is legal.)

However, as automakers and others prepare to introduce self-driving cars on a large scale both federal and state legislators and regulators are racing to prepare new laws and regulations. in September 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued Federal Automated Vehicles Policy guidelines for the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Also in September 2016, California’s department of motor vehicles released a revision of draft regulations that opened a pathway for the public to access self-driving cars, prototypes of which automakers and tech companies are testing.
Are self-driving cars safe?
Proponents of self-driving cars commonly argue that, in general, they are safer than human-driven vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) human error is the cause of 94% of car crashes, where human errors include drunk driving, speeding, distraction, and fatigue.

However, a recent report from RAND Corporation says autonomous vehicles would need to be tested “hundreds of millions of miles and sometimes hundreds of billions of miles” to gain enough information to compare its safety to human-driven automobiles.
How much doe a self-driving car cost?
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Where can I buy a self-driving car?
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