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The Myth Yet to Come

Eventually, there will be self-driving cars. When they will hit the road safely is another question. Former guesses on when they hit the road have been wrong so far. Every year there is a new prognostication about this being the year of the self-driving car. And each year, the big expectation had to be walked back. Usually, this embarrassing walk back gets a lot less attention than what Elon Musk said in the first place.

Wired reported that 2016 was the tipping point for self-driving cars. Who knew? If only the cars on the road bore out such an assertion. Instead, ever large promise about self-driving cars has fallen flat on its face.

Many car companies promise a route to self-driving cars. However, each one is finding that the technology and infrastructure needed is incredibly expensive. Furthermore, the timing is always off. Pilot programs and flashy videos aside, the project is stalled out. Not many drivers want to give up control over the wheel. There are certain no-goes for the public.

Overstated and Under Delivered

Hype is an incredible thing. It can make even the shoddiest of projects look like it’s ready to go. It can attract millions or billions of dollars into projects that make no sense in hindsight. Self-driving technology will come, but should Ford or Toyota spend billions for a project thirty or fifty years in the future?

Many of the self-driving cars of the next decade will be prototypes. As we’ll find out, cell range and bandwidth issues will severely reduce these cars’ effectiveness. In many cases, SDCs will fail.

We need to be honest about the future of such technology. Much of that responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of Google and Tesla. Thus we as consumers have a fair vision of where this tech will– or won’t– take us in the near future.