Humans Will Bully Mild-Mannered Autonomous Cars

Discover points to a study carried out by the London School of Economics, which found that drivers who are “combative” on the road are more welcoming of autonomous cars. That could be because they think they’ll be pushovers.

Pedestrians may think similarly. A new study from the University of California, Santa Cruz, has modeled how pedestrians and autonomous vehicles might interact using game theory—in essence applying a little academic thinking to the everyday game of playing chicken with traffic. The conclusion? “Because autonomous vehicles will be risk-averse … pedestrians will be able to behave with impunity, and autonomous vehicles may facilitate a shift toward pedestrian-oriented urban neighborhoods,” writes the author, Adam Millard-Ball.