Re: PR stunt
@James Brown (no body),
So, the pedestrians are not walking to the conditions then?
No they're not walking to the conditions: Green Cross Code. Nor are cyclists: Cycling Proficiency Test. Still the owner of the shiny new Tesla is highly motivated to not crash into other road users, careless or not.
A lot of people (mostly townies) seem to get stuck on hazards being caused only by those pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, farmers and drivers who are not following the rules. And of course to some extent they're right (though I've not once seen badly behaved horse rider).
However for drivers there's plenty of hazards not subject to the rules of the road to worry about. Trust me, wild life is far more prone to running out in front of you than any pedestrian. You don't want to hit a pheasant, fox or a badger, it'll cause a lot of damage. And you really, really don't want to hit a deer; one of those coming at your windscreen will really ruin your day, especially if it ends up inside. You especially don't want to hit a fallen tree - it's an easy way to be killed.
So even if every pedestrian and cyclist was the very model of the perfect road user, you'd still have to drive taking account of the unpredictable pheasants, foxes, badgers, deer and trees that will ruin your day anyway.
Wild Life and Self-Driving Cars
This is probably going to be a major problem for true self driving cars that require no passenger oversight. A deer jumping out in front of a speeding self driving car is a major health hazard to the car's occupants. The car manufacturer will have to take account of that in the software that will decide how quickly the car will drive itself down a country road. And a car is no more capable of seeing through hedges and undergrowth than a human driver.
So a self driving car almost certainly would drive itself far more slowly down that road than any human driver ever choose to. Reason: it'd be hard for a company like Tesla or Google to defend choosing a road speed of 60mph down a country lane if that has led to passengers being killed by a deer. No passenger oversight means the manufacturer is liable. They won't take the risk, whereas actual human drivers routinely do.
But if a self driving car ends up driving itself timidly down that road, it's going to be a very frustrating experience for the passengers. It's bad enough getting stuck behind the slowest car in the world when you're driving home from work, etc. Think how frustrating it'll be if the car has a mind of its own and refuses to put its foot down despite there being an empty road in front of it, just in case there is a deer lurking in the shadows.