Over the last few years, we’ve heard claims that we’re very close to having self-driving cars. Several of the big automakers are investing in Uber and Lyft in hopes of developing robotic vehicles that can transport us — and companies like Google continue to do research into autonomous vehicles. But my guest Steven Shladover, head of Partners for Advance Transportation Technology at UC/Berkeley, said in a Scientific American piece that while self-driving cars may be coming, they won’t be in the way you’ve been led to think. Among the questions I asked him:

  • Do automated cars have trouble with unpredictable road problems like construction, a parked car pulling out, and severe weather?
  • Will we ever get to the point where we don’t even have to own cars, just order a robot driver?
  • Siri doesn’t always understand voice commands — what if self-driving car’s computer doesn’t?
  • Is this a software problem?
  • Are humans better than computers at driving?

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