When can we have autonomous vehicles? Once there’s a business case

Conditional autonomy is already possible, but achieving meaningful scale requires a profitable enterprise. COVID-19 could accelerate that, writes Xavier Boucherat

In late 2019, Waymo achieved something which bucked the increased scepticism around autonomous vehicles (AV) seen in recent years: it put driverless taxis into operation on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona, and made its services available to a select group of customers. The Waymo One service originally launched in 2018 with safety drivers behind the wheel, a prudent move given the self-driving Uber crash which killed Elaine Herzberg in nearby Tempe earlier that year. But Google’s leading position in AV development, with millions of miles’ worth of experience, has given it the confidence to make the leap to driverless….

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