Of course, they’ll get better. Sensors will improve and multiply, control algorithms will become more robust, and perhaps the robots will begin talking amongst themselves, warning each other of imminent danger. But the leap from a crash-reduced world to a completely crash-free one is an assumption, and not well-supported by the harsh realities of robotics in particular, and mechanical devices in general. Machines break. Software stumbles. The automotive environment is one of the most punishing and challenging in all of engineering, requiring components to stand up to wild swings of temperature, treacherous road conditions, and the unexpected failure of other components within an intricate, interlocking system. There’s only one way to assume that robots will always know that a tire is about to blow, or be able to broadcast the emergency to all nearby cars, each of which will respond with the instant, miraculous performance of a Hollywood stunt driver. For that, you can’t be a roboticist, or someone whose computer has crashed inexplicably, or whose WiFi has ever gone down, or whose streaming video has momentarily stuttered. To buy into the myth of robotic competence—or hyper-competence, really—you have to believe that robots are perfect, because SF says so.