Seven years ago, Waymo discovered that the spring flowers made his self-driving cars shake on the brakes. Soap bubbles too. And the flares.
New tests, after years of testing, have revealed more and more distractions for driverless cars. Their driving skills improved, but it was difficult to match the skills of human drivers. America’s congested roads turned out to be an intimidating place for a robot.
The wizards of Silicon Valley said people now travel to work in self-driving cars. Instead, there have been court fights, injuries and deaths, and tens of billions of dollars spent on fickle and frustrating technology that some researchers say is still far from becoming the next big thing. Of the industry.
Now the pursuit of self-driving cars is being reset. Companies like Uber and Lyft, worried about wasting their money on standalone technology, have pulled out. Only the richest outfits like Waymo, which is a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet; automotive giants; and a handful of start-ups manage to stay in the game.