Self-Driving Revolution Stalls Out
The future is not here just yet. According to Uber, it seems we may have to wait a little bit longer than we expected before the roads are ruled by self-driving cars. C’mon guys what’s the hold up?
Uber’s chief technology scientist gave a more cautious tone in her remarks about the future of automation in the auto market yesterday, which was quite a departure from the company’s aggressive comments three years ago. Uber has now fallen back in line the rest of the self-driving industry, which has tempered expectations and dragged out deployment timelines – but why?
It seems the technical challenges of creating machines capable of predicting complex human behaviour, and associated legal accountability issues, were a bit more tricky than previously anticipated, even for some of the world’s brightest minds. After Uber’s autonomous SUV killed a pedestrian last year, the industry took a step back to really grapple with the challenges and dangers of having autonomous cars on the roads.
Uber’s overt change in tone, however, is drawing some serious attention as the company gears up for its Initial Public Offering (IPO). Self-driving technology is one of the company’s largest investments, and a prolonged timeline means many more years of debt and unrealised potential. This does not bode well for investors, nor for its IPO, which is set to raise upwards of $120bn.
However, if Lyft’s IPO is anything to go by, Uber may be in a tougher time than they’re anticipating. Tick tock.