Self-driving cars: The 21st-century trolley problem

If the goal is to get autonomous driving assistance to the masses, Tesla is closer. If the goal is to have cars that safely drive themselves, Waymo is winning…

But by selling its vehicles to the general public, Tesla is able to collect lots of real-world driving data that will be useful in helping solve autonomous driving challenges. Raj Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and an autonomous vehicle pioneer, calls Tesla’s data collection an “incredible advantage” but warns that data is “part of the answer, but it’s not the entire answer.” Still, he thinks Waymo ought to collect more of it from regular drivers in regular conditions.

“We should be driving them whenever they can drive themselves and, when they do not, humans drive themselves,” Rajkumar said. “And for a time we collect experience. We understand what works, what does not work, and we refine.”