Re: Questions that bugs me....
Yeah, this is where I see this falling over badly - Human drivers are bad at this as it is.
Case in point: On Sunday Oxford City Council, in its infinite wisdom, closed one of the major arterial roads into the city so that there could be a half marathon run along it. They diverted the traffic onto a small residential side street that runs parallel to this road. This street, also in their infinite wisdom, they filled with single-lane constriction points every 150 yards or so in order to "Slow traffic" a few years back. As it's residential, people are also permitted to park on it for most of its length.
Here's the street in question
Imagine what happens when a queue of traffic going in one direction hits a queue of traffic trying to go in the other direction on a road like that. All it takes is for one person to pull out into that little constriction without there being room for them to leave it again on the other side and the whole thing locks solid.
I was stuck in this for two hours, and had to get out of my car several times and go direct traffic - and I was by no means the only one doing that - because people kept trying to move into spaces that were gone by the time they got there.* The only way out was for chains of people - sometimes 10 cars long - to back up.
Now, in a perfect world with only driverless cars then this presumably would be preventable because they could all negotiate with one another and you wouldn't get that one dick head in an XC90 that decided everything was taking too long and repeatedly tried to force his stupid oversized piece of crap into places where anyone with eyesight could tell it wasn't going to fit and nearly taking people's mirrors off!**
The answer "That problem will go away once driverless cars are in the majority" or "Driverless cars will use telemetry from other cars" isn't good enough. It's like the bit where you open the box with the number 4 wrench (included in the box!) Until there is some critical mass of the things out there feeding one another data it just won't work.
Don't think I'm against the technology, but this is a hard problem, and there's a lot of handwaving when it's raised. Until someone has a very clear plan about how to get from where we are now to where we want to be, it's going to be hard to sell the things.
*And if the people organizing this wonderful public disruption had any brains they'd have seen this coming and sent some traffic police down there to do this professionally, but predictably, they didn't.
**Sorry, that's a rant, but that one guy was probably responsible for 45 wasted minutes on what should have been a 10 minute drive home