Nidhi Kalra, who has a doctorate in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, researched the subject for Rand Corp. before taking a job as senior technology policy advisor with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Kalra told the Los Angeles Times this year that, statistically, “when it comes to injuries and fatalities, we won’t be able to know [the answers] until we’ve had hundreds of millions or billions of miles” of driving history.
Driverless-car laws must be established in the face of uncertainty, Kalra said. Banning the cars until the answer is clear would mean never deploying them, even though they may prove to be far safer than human drivers. But she emphasized that statistics about safety should be used honestly and accurately to reach the best policy decisions.