Aug. 18, 2014

Self-driving cars are believed to be able to make the vast majority of accidents go away, since it relies heavily on complex technology. While driverless cars are becoming a reality for everyday users, some people believes the improved safety will cause some new problems. In a recent interview with Fortune, MakerBot founder Bre Pettis said that the take off of self-driving cars could lead us to more organ shortages than ever, since a major source of organ donations come from car accident victims.

"We have this huge problem that we sort of don't talk about, that people die all the time from car accidents," Pettis told Fortune reporter Erin Griffith.

"Right now, our best supply of organs comes from car accidents. So, if you need an organ you just wait for somebody to have an accident, and then you get their organ and you're better." Pettis said.

"It's kind of insane. But the most interesting thing is, if we can reduce accidents and deaths, then we actually have a whole other problem on our hands of, 'Where do we get organs?' I don't think we'll actually be printing organs until we solve the self-driving car issue. The next problem will be organ replacement."

Statistics shows that each year 30,000 people die in traffic collisions in the U.S. and 90% of U.S. auto collisions are blamed on human error, and 40% are the result of factors such as alcohol, drugs or fatigue. Therefore robotic cars, such as Google driverless Car, are designed to navigate roads and keep passengers safe.

According to Griffith's article, if 10% of vehicles were self-driving, it would reduce the number of accidents by 211,000 and in turn save 1,100 lives. And if 90% of vehicles were autonomous, 21,700 lives would be saved.

So if there is less car deaths, organ donations would be adversely impacted. Then the 3D printed organ might be a solution. Although this is a dark way of looking at it, Griffith also agrees that Pettis has a point. Pettis pointed out that 3D printing organs will not be the focus of development until the self-driving technology causes the shortages.

The self-driving cars are just around the corner: next year we could see first self-driving cars on British streets. Hopefully by then scientists can come up with a better solution for implantable 3D printed organs.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications

Maybe you also like:


Jim-Bob wrote at 9/5/2014 9:46:32 AM:

I doubt very seriously that this will be a problem in the near future. Most people are not going to abandon driving their own car the minute a self-driving option comes into play. Many people, myself included, would NEVER purchase a self-driving car because of the lack of control and because doing so would mean giving up the pleasure of driving. Plus, if they look anything like that Google car thing then I would rather be seen driving my 25 year old Geo Metro. It's less embarrassing. My guess is that it will take at least 15 years for them to become common, and in that time the issues with 3D printed or other kinds of synthetic organs should be solved.

Adam wrote at 8/22/2014 1:54:07 PM:

Nah, that's what 3d printed guns are for Lando. and that's why Bre is talking about decreased fatalities, to make you forget about that nasty 3d printed gun thing that was negative press for makerbot. hey look! over here! shiny things! jingle jingle!

lando wrote at 8/21/2014 10:09:06 PM:

what about the increase in global population due to the decrease in traffic fatalities? won't that be an issue also?

TobyCWood wrote at 8/21/2014 8:02:44 AM:

Bert Go to Makerbot Users Google Group. Same people, same good stuff, no MBI to unilaterally delete messages they do not like.

Bert wrote at 8/19/2014 10:20:35 PM:

What Adam said. I am surprised I have read so little about them shutting down the google groups. Now they have eliminated a very valuable channel for customers to share their experience, which with the gen5 for example isn't very good... On the other hand.. what is stopping people from opening up a new google group? they can not shut it down if someone else starts it, right.

Adam wrote at 8/19/2014 3:12:11 PM:

I agree with Andy Cohen's comments 100%

alidan wrote at 8/19/2014 6:57:29 AM:

as bad as he sounds "mike", the statement is true... when you know someone or are on the transplant list, you are hoping for an accident that just rips the persons head of, and they are the same blood type as you.

Andy Cohen wrote at 8/19/2014 1:07:15 AM:

Interesting how 3Ders pubs this waste of bandwidth, yet ignored the story about how Makerbot shut down it's support forum in Google Groups, then announced a pay for only support service. You guys also seem to be completely ignoring how the new Gen5 machines do not work all too well if at all.

John wrote at 8/18/2014 8:32:47 PM:

It's Bre.. If there is a camera/microphone/reporter.. He will be elbowing his way to the front. Proclaiming how what ever is being talked about will advance 3D printing, no matter how outlandish. Best strategy.. Shake head, and when a friend asks for advice. steer them away from Makerbot.

Mike Hunt wrote at 8/18/2014 6:35:35 PM:

Why did this idiot not filter himself? Pettis comes across as insensitive at the least and a total ass at the worst. The comments may be out of context and combined here for the least flattering combination. Then again he is the guy who screwed his open source fan base.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive