Re: Option to drive manually
It's not over-thinking. There's a lot to think about. If the car was brand new now, it would be a lot more tightly regulated - given how easy it is to kill/injure yourself and other people with one.
Just how reliable are we expecting self-driving cars to be? At the moment planes can fly themselves, and have been able to for years. But we still don't let them. For example, auto-landing systems can't lower the undercarriage or flaps. Even though I'm sure that could be done with some pretty simple software changes. And the pilots are supposed to take over for the last bit of landing anyway.
We're now having the debate about using the automation a bit less, so that the pilots have more hands-on experience for those times when the automatic systems get out of their depth and dump control onto the pilot.
Now admittedly driverless cars shouldn't ever be going faster than 70mph on the motorway, and ideally shouldn't be airbourne. So this makes the safety easier. But safety people tend to be cautious. So there'll be a big debate about whether driverless cars should just have a default braking behaviour - or whether they should dump control to the meatsack when they don't know what to do.
If they decide that non-professional meatbags will be too distracted and confused to take over - then they'll have to come up with a bunch pre-programmed stopping behaviours. If they can't think of safe ways to do that, then they'll either ban the cars, or allow the fiction that control can be handed over safely and hope for the best. On the assumption that the automatic systems will prevent more accidents than they cause.
As someone who can't see well enough to get a licence, this is of direct interest to me. If they go the hand control over route, you'll still need a driving licence to be allowed to operate one. My feeling is that it'll be at least 5-10 years from them being legalised for hands-off driving for normal plebs - before someone like me is legally allowed to use one.