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Despite high hopes, self-driving cars are ‘way in the future’

Posted by   /  July 22, 2019  /  No Comments

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Argo AI’s self-driving technology will be used by Ford and Volkswagen in ride-sharing /CreditJeff Swensen for The New York Times

Ford and other companies say the industry overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles, which still struggle to anticipate what other drivers and pedestrians will do

By Neal E. Boudette | The New York Times

A year ago, Detroit and Silicon Valley had visions of putting thousands of self-driving taxis on the road in 2019, ushering in an age of driverless cars.

Most of those cars have yet to arrive — and it is likely to be years before they do. Several carmakers and technology companies have concluded that making autonomous vehicles is going to be harder, slower and costlier than they thought.

“We overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Ford’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, said at the Detroit Economic Club in April.

In the most recent sign of the scramble to regroup, Ford and Volkswagen said Friday that they were teaming up to tackle the self-driving challenge.

The two automakers plan to use autonomous-vehicle technology from a Pittsburgh start-up, Argo AI, in ride-sharing services in a few urban zones as early as 2021. But Argo’s chief executive, Bryan Salesky, said the industry’s bigger promise of creating driverless cars that could go anywhere was “way in the future.”

He and others attribute the delay to something as obvious as it is stubborn: human behavior.

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