Tesla hopes to greatly reduce the crash risk with improvements to its Autopilot system. CEO Elon Musk says the company aims to get rid of 90% of crashes by the time Autopilot is fully developed. If it can accomplish that goal, full autonomy will presumably receive more public and governmental support.
Car crashes in the US kill over 30,000 people each year and injure millions of people. The widespread use of advanced Autopilot-like systems could conceivably save thousands of lives every year.
Improved safety while driving is one of the greatest selling points of autonomous driving systems.