You are making some good points.
However we should not criticize a technology based on some outlier scenarios (going off the beaten path to reach the vineyard in Napa valley). Most likely those will be addressed, but not at the beginning. It will start with the routine routes: airport-downtown, downtown-conference center, campus transportation, museum-restaurant area, etc. Infrastructure will also evolve, if the hotel entrance is in a small secondary road they will either move it, or put a beacon to signal it. Moreover our current mapping technology is very basic. I’m sure those Uber and other self driving car are collecting high-resolution maps of their surroundings as it drives around town (that’s what I would do). They definitely don’t lack the sensors to do that…
It seems to me like the ride sharing technology (read Uber and Lyft) has been very welcomed by the users… mostly because of cost and convenience. No so welcome by the industry it affects (read: drivers). I can see autonomous car only improve those two factors (reduce cost, increase convenience). Plus they will play a major role reducing traffic congestion.
Drivers will not disappear completely but it will become a niche scenario.I definitely would not invest 100’s of thousand of dollars to buy a Taxi medallion nowadays. I’m sure prices of medallions have already taken a big hit. Definitely sad to hear, especially for who has invested in it recently, but that’s progress. The solutions relies on finding a way to integrate growing autonomy, reduction of manual labor, and transformation of employment opportunities, into a modern society.