The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Wilmot explains the time and capital it will take to make driverless cars a reality. He writes:
Driverless cars are moving out of science fiction and onto U.S. roads. But this is just the start of a long journey before they fulfill their transformative potential.
Signs of very early-stage commercialization are emerging from the corporate science projects that want to remove human drivers from vehicles. Alphabet’s Waymo seems furthest ahead with its “robotaxi” project in the suburbs of Phoenix. Customers used to have to sign a nondisclosure agreement to hail a ride with no backup driver, but Waymo opened the service up in October.
Others aren’t far behind. Motional, a $4 billion joint venture between South Korean car giant Hyundai and automotive supplier Aptiv, said last month that it will take safety drivers out of its test vehicles in Nevada “in the coming months.” Cruise Automation, the driverless-car business controlled by General Motors, GM -1.04% has said it would remove backup drivers from its test cars in California by the year-end.