Despite the recent negative news about self-driving cars, some autonomous companies are pushing forward.
- Self-driving companies Cruise and Waymo are pushing forward with plans to expand robotaxis to more cities despite the recent setbacks in the autonomous driving industry.
- Many investors and automakers have pulled the plug on self-driving cars saying that the tech is too advanced and the timeline is too far out.
- That isn’t the case for Cruise and Waymo who already have self-driving cars operating in San Francisco and Phoenix and have decided to expand into other cities, and build on their momentum.
Why it’s news
Self-driving cars have been a topic of discussion for years as the futuristic cars have officially begun to get in the final stages of acceptance.
Many automakers raced to create self-driving cars, but recently nearly all of them have pulled the plug on the operations stating that the timeline is too far off and the companies are losing money trying to create them.
For GM-backed Cruise and Waymo it is a different story as the two companies move ahead with its self-driving operations. The companies already have self-driving cars operating in San Francisco and Phoenix and are attempting to take the vehicles to more cities.
“We’re going to continue to make sure we don’t constrain the commercialization because we have the lead right now,” says GM CEO Mary Barra. “Those who are writing that it’s not going to work and that it’s decades off haven’t taken a ride in the vehicle—I mean, we’re doing it right now.”
Cruise is hoping to expand its services to Phoenix and Austin, Texas, by the end of the year with several other cities planned for 2023.
Waymo is also expanding its service with the next stop being Los Angeles. California recently gave Waymo permission to send its driverless cars to San Francisco, but the company can’t charge for the service until it receives a separate permit.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt believes right now is the golden years of AV expansion.
“It’s right in front of everyone,” he says. “But I think it’s one of those things that won’t really be fully comprehended until a year or two from now—when AVs are practically commonplace and people are looking around and saying, ‘Where did this come from?'”
Backing up a bit
Recently many big automakers dropped out of the race to build self-driving cars saying the tech is too far from being ready.
Ford and Volkswagen ended their joint project Argo AI and startup Nuro fired 20% of its workforce.
“Profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are a long way off,” says Ford CEO Jim Farley.