Demonstrably false. Please try again.
Would you use a transporter machine as is currently understood to be possible, i.e. destructive scanning of source and remote reconstitution from local matter?
Science plows fertile high ground when it humbly insists that all of its assertions are up for debate and will be constantly changed to adapt to new knowledge. Don't give that up by crowding out contrary views.
Becoming dogmatic in the face of dogmatism means that real problems with biology won't be addressed honestly, such as the taxonomy mess, the mysteriousness of gene expression, etc.
I'm in the same boat. I try to use google now, and >50% of "hands-free" interactions eventually require hands. Many times, voice control requires more looking at the phone because you have to watch it like a hawk to catch all the errors.
Probably got caught on tape admitting to voting for Reagan in 84. That's a fire-able offense in tech.
Standards are probably the best thing to come out of regulation. I would love it if those standards were written after anyone knew what the heck the new industry was going to look like! It would be like the 1910 CA legislature mandating turn-crank starters because that solution made the best sense at the time.
I bet Google has plenty of skeptical safety guys there just like you. And I bet they're under a lot of pressure from the suits to prevent incidents in the field.
So far there have been zero problems, but that didn't stop them from setting up a regulatory framework. Guessing the problems of an entirely new technology and mandating rules for an entire industry is the kind of hubris that can hold up widespread adoption by 10 years.
If you were running this I bet you would sign yourself up for an ATE-heavy 100%, a sample plan of trips around town, and an exhaustive DVT (verification in the lab and validation all over the country). You'd hit all the points on the FMEA and performance requirements doc, then throw some gonzo tests in there to add a little spice.
I would say that's sufficient and you acted prudently, and engineers with production experience would say the same. Things would turn out just fine UNLESS some idiot decided to turn it into a political talking point--then common sense and a workable time-to-market flies out the window.
You make an excellent argument for simulated testing. A real world test will only give you a few scenarios, simulation will throw millions at each individual unit.
Of course you're right about real life constantly surprising people--that's why the development team is performing continuous algorithm development in the real world. I hope my automated car has a real-world-tuned algorithm in combination with a moslty-simulated per-unit system test.
It also the height of hubris for the geek to allow Google to be the sole judge of its own work.
Manufacturing in a regulated industry is a constant battle between operations an quality. Operations (with an eye toward revenue) tries to speed things up, Quality (with an eye toward recalls and audits) tries to slow things down. Both report through different paths to the CEO. The Geek in R&D will see his work checked over by a different department with a different set of metrics.
You can pick your exceptions, but the overwhelming result of this organizational method is safer and better products.
A test track may break the bank for a start-up with a great new algorithm
This is (typically) the most dangerous thing people do all day.
Gov't won't mandate this type of car anytime soon. For the time being, it's up to consumers to adopt and the gov't to get out of the way.
The real story is an unbroken 50-year streak of improvements in safety driven and executed by engineers. A series of recalls is nothing compared to the 60% decline in traffic deaths brought about by new safety technology and it's rapid adoption. Driverless cars are a new safety technology. Let's adopt them already!
Would 2014 America hold up seat belt installation for ten years just to make sure they are totally, exactly, 100% safe?