As the video above demonstrates dramatically, speed limits are a well-meaning regulation that’s going to have to be rethought in the era of self-driving cars. Eric Schmidt’s on record saying that a major problem with the current design of the Google self-driving car is that it obeys speed limits. But a computer that can safely drive can do so at faster speeds than a human. Further, a car specially designed from the ground up to be piloted by machine could have acceleration and braking systems optimized for the machine’s much faster reaction time, so cars that use self-driving technology might become rapidly faster and more efficient.
We need to establish an objective procedure, by which autonomous vehicles can demonstrate safety at various speeds, and if we are going to continue to have speed limits (I think we should!) they should be designed to maximize safety and efficiency while keeping up with current-generation technology.
(H/t +Wayne Radinsky for the video)