42 Primers On Driverless Car Innovation And Disruption
Commercialization will throw trillions of dollars of economic value up for grabs. There also could be huge positive or negative effects on health, transportation, pollution, congestion and resource usage, depending on how industrialization unfolds.
“Baloney” and “nonsense” captured the zeitgeist of many reactions to my early articles on the potential of Google’s self-driving car program. But, that was in 2013, when many viewed driverless cars as nothing more than a high-tech dalliance by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
How times have changed! Since then, Google’s self-driving car program has spun out into Waymo, an independent business unit valued at more than $100 billion (down from an earlier estimate of $175 billion). Waymo’s cars have driven more than 10 million miles autonomously on public roads and 10 billion miles in simulation mode using real world data.
While many technical, business, and market hurdles remain, Waymo’s efforts have sparked a global arms race to develop autonomous driving technology. As one auto industry executive told me:
None of us would be paying this kind of attention to autonomous driving if Google had not made the progress that it did, and scared us into believing that it might make even more.
A host of industry leaders, adjacency aspirants and new entrants in both the automotive and high technology ecosystems are now investing billions in a high-stakes race to enable (and dominate) a driverless car future.
General Motors, for example, has invested billions, taken on billions more in partner investments, and reshaped itself to refocus on AV (autonomous vehicles) and EV (electric vehicles) production. Ford, Toyota, Daimler, Tesla and also every other major carmaker and tier 1 supplier are forging ahead with their own…