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The Costly Pursuit of Self-Driving Cars Continues On. And On. And On.


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A tire, representing autonomous vehicles, is rolling in money.

The pursuit of autonomous cars is undergoing a reset, as only the deepest-pocketed outfits are managing to stay in the game.

Credit: Shira Inbar

The development of self-driving vehicles, after many costly setbacks, has become a goal that only the most well-heeled companies, auto giants, and a small number of startups are currently pursuing.

Chris Urmson at self-driving technology company Aurora described the mainstream adoption of autonomous cars as "a transformation that is going to happen over 30 years and possibly longer."

The hype surrounding driverless cars has attracted billions of investment dollars, but also fostered unrealistic expectations, and now the deepest-pocketed firms are banking on science advancing the technology.

Self-driving technology developer Waymo in October launched the first-ever "fully autonomous" taxi service in Phoenix, AZ, which co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov touts as a test case.

The technology is still insufficiently agile to reliably accommodate the diverse challenges human drivers contend with every day.

From The New York Times
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