Re: Dead wrong
"If you can create urban trackways (Minority Report style) withour pedestrians, with common speeds et al, then you could automate that fairly easily, but I don't see that happening anytime soon for simple reasons of cost."
Yes, that's what I was thinking too. There's too much traffic and just too many variables to expect a current tech JohnnyCab to work safely or reliably. It would require a complete change from manual to auto. Sweden switched which side of the road they drive on from Left to Right many years ago. With the population increase and massive car ownership increase, not to mention many more buses and lorries, would they consider an overnight switch now? I suspect not.
It may be that in certain cities or very large towns, there may be a case to ban traffic from the city/town centre and have JohnnyCabs available. Most city/town centres have pedestrian only zones in the main shopping areas these days. Expanding them and allowing only JohnnyCabs in those areas. Maybe even surround those areas with another zone with a 15 or 20mph speed limit where automaric and manual traffic can mix. We have guided bus lanes too, so that's another option to allow JohnnyCabs a larger roaming range, possbly even between otherwise separate pedestrian/JohnnyCab areas.
Note I keep using the term JohnnyCab. I think we are still many, many years away from privately owned autonomous car trips to the Alps. I suspect if we do eventually move to autonomous cars on any significant scale, only the wealthy or essential users will have or own their own cars. (essential may include rural users)