I cannot WAIT for self-driving cars to become the norm! I actually don't drive day-to-day, which is a luxury afforded me by decent public transit (for the US, anyway), a supportive employer who provides shuttle service linkage to said public transit, and my husband being the one with the relatively more flexible schedule so he could drop off/pick up the kids when they were small and it was necessary, and is continuing to do so now to be nice, even though they can walk/bus to everywhere they really need to go.
I loathe driving, but I also just dislike cars, because I can't read in them the way I can on a train/tram, and also the start/stop of traffic in the Bay Area is AWFUL, and I hate the unpredictability of it, which self-driving cars may help a little bit with, but won't fix fully, I expect, so I'd rather still do public transit whenever I can. Thus I probably wouldn't need a full-time self-driving car, but would happily sign up for a service of some kind and/or take a self-driving taxi (honestly, I use taxis quite a bit, and those drivers are on average pretty terrible! Robots could only be an improvement!)
(We would likely still need to own a car, but I don't see my husband giving up control to self-driving cars, so it'll likely continue to be a manual control.)
It's so nice not having to drive every day. I loved living in London for that.
I think the implementation of self-driving capabilities will be slow for privately owned vehicles. Newer models have things like the self-parking options, for instance. But for things like taxis and heavy goods vehicles, I think the takeover of self-driving will be pretty swift. I imagine there'll still be a requirement for a human to be on board on HGVs and taxis/fleet vehicles, mostly for security purposes to prevent vandalism and theft.
I think that's probably one of the options that will become available the earliest, in urban areas.
Going car-free for me was much like the stages of a traumatic romantic breakup. The day I sold the car and it rolled away with some other owner, I sat down on the pavement and cried because HOW WILL I LIVE WITHOUT YOU I WILL NEVER HAVE A LIFE EVER AGAIN. Six months later and it was like, why did I ever think a car was a good idea? I thought it equalled freedom, but there's so much more freedom without it. Now, on the rare occasions when I have to hire a car for some reason, it's just me counting down the minutes until I can hand this burden back over again, because it's such a frickin pain to find parking, and you have to deal with traffic and terrible drivers, and you have to worry about getting petrol and driving in bad weather and blah blah blah the list goes on. Everywhere you go, you have to take the damned car with you, and I'm always so glad to get rid of it so I can just move about freely and not have to take the car into consideration.
That said, at this very moment I'm out in the middle of nowhere and kind of stranded for the next week, but I don't have a job and there's a pretty beach here so whatevs, stranded is fine. Worst case scenario I could ring for a taxi, but I get why that wouldn't be a workable everyday solution. If I lived rural and had to be somewhere every day, yeah, I'd probably spring for a driverless service of some sort.
They're so expensive, and if you buy one they depreciate the instant you get behind the wheel and start the ignition. And maintenance is so tedious (petrol, MOTs, tyre checks). And parking is such a pain. It puts me off going places I haven't been before, not knowing where I'm going to park.
I really love driving ... well, more or less. I don't want to give that up and I'm not all that sure that the self-driving cars are all that safe? I don't know ... I don't even use the self-parking thing on my car!
Self-driving cars aren't as safe as they could be yet, and probably can't be trusted with many "edge case" decisions that could result in an accident. But even now, a self-driving car won't drive when drunk, tired or otherwise impaired, it won't exceed the speed limit in school zones, it won't run red lights, etc. It won't do a lot of the stupid things that cause human drivers to kill thousands of their fellow humans and themselves every week.