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Hell Just Froze Over – JVH Right Again!

As you may remember, I have been railing against panic over autonomous vehicles for the past two years. The mainstream media has been calling me out and has jumped on board the AV express. Speakers at “non-PIE” events have been extolling the virtues of AV and the potential end of parking as we know it. This is particularly true in Europe, as major automobile companies have been investing billions in the process.
Plus tech companies like Alphabet (read that Google) and Uber have signed on. But wait…
Today we find an article in the Wall Street Journal basically repeating my voice in the wilderness. AV is hard. AV is expensive. AV is going to take decades before it comes to pass.
The money quote:

Hardly a week goes by without fresh signposts that our self-driving future is just around the corner. Only it’s probably not. It will likely take decades to come to fruition. (Even a car like this Mercedes is more a sketch of what’s to come than an actual blueprint.) And many of the companies that built their paper fortunes on the idea we’d get there soon are already adjusting their strategies to fit this reality.
Uber, for example, recently closed its self-driving truck project, and suspended road testing self-driving cars after one of its vehicles killed a pedestrian. Uber’s chief executive even announced he would be open to partnering with its biggest competitor in self-driving tech, Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo. Meanwhile, Waymo CEO John Krafcik recently said it will be “longer than you think” for self-driving vehicles to be everywhere.

These are people who follow the money. They aren’t impressed with 20 year old technocrats or egoist auto moguls who believe they can make something happen overnight. They understand that technology like AV takes time to come to fruition. Even when it does, there are constraints. Consider this quote:

In Chandler, Ariz., Waymo actually set up a self-driving car service. It deserves credit for solving an enormously difficult problem—creating a driverless, fully autonomous taxi service. But the company accomplished this in part by carefully constraining the circumstances under which their vehicles drive.
The service only operates in an area the team has thoroughly mapped. Chandler is “well laid out and has modern roads and conditions,” says Nathaniel Fairfield, principal software engineer at Waymo.
Self-driving cars generally rely on the lidar detection system, whose lasers can be foiled by inclement weather. “It doesn’t rain a whole lot there and there’s no snow,” Mr. Fairfield says. Chandler also has less than 4,000 people per square mile, making it about 1/20th as dense as Manhattan.

So the Wall Street Journal agrees with Dale Denda, a myriad of computer scientists, and even JVH. You can read the entire article on parknews.biz.
Remember this when you scoff at a JVH prediction. You read it here first.

JVH

H/T Barbara Chance

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One Response to Hell Just Froze Over – JVH Right Again!

  1. rta says:

    The reality of the real world can be harsh, will be interesting to see how much longer the VC money keeps flowing once they realize there is no big return coming at any time in the near future.

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