A Few Thoughts About Self-Driving Vehicles

My husband and I have had several conversations recently about the feasibility of self-driving/autonomous vehicles / automated driving.  At a high level, it seems like a fascinating, helpful feature/technology, and a good idea for use on highways, but the more that I consider the various aspects of it, the more that I doubt that the technology will work on all roads and in every weather condition.

We live in an area where horse-drawn buggies/carts/wagons, people riding non-electric scooters, and slow-moving farm vehicles are common on secondary roads. (Plus we have the bicyclists who refuse to ride on the shoulder and who rarely actually stop at stop signs or even red lights….)  There are so many variables to consider in these situations.  Have these self-driving vehicles been tested in such areas with such obstacles?  (What about stopping for school bus stops?)  Every article/report I’ve read, every video I’ve seen, has been about automated driving on a highway.  Automated driving might be helpful on a limited-access highway where drivers can set their speed and let the vehicle steer (cruise control of the future), but I don’t see it being feasible on other roads.

Personally, I would not benefit (much) from having a self-driving vehicle because I do very little highway driving; most of the driving that I do is on secondary roads, where I almost always encounter at least one of the slow-moving vehicles mentioned above.  Even if my current vehicle had the self-driving feature, I would not chance using this feature in those circumstances.