New rules of the road for robot cars coming out of Washington this week could lead to the eventual extinction of one of the defining archetypes of the past century: the human driver. While banning people from driving may seem like something from a Kurt Vonnegut short story, it’s the logical endgame of a technology that could dramatically reduce — or even eliminate — the 1.25 million road deaths a year globally.

Human error is the cause of 94 percent of roadway fatalities, U.S. safety regulators say, and robot drivers never get drunk, sleepy or distracted. Autonomous cars already have “superhuman intelligence” that allows them to see around corners and avoid crashes, said Danny Shapiro, senior director of automotive at Nvidia Corp., a maker of high-speed processors for self-driving cars. READ MORE