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The long road ahead to self-driving cars

quartz/alicia gearty
By Dasia Moore
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The autonomous vehicle industry is in the process of rerouting. Early AV leaders said fully autonomous cars would hit the mass market by 2020 or 2021—Elon Musk even promised a self-driving Tesla by 2017. But with the end of the decade in sight, two things are certain: The autonomous future remains a long way off, and AV-makers are going to have to change their plan for how to get there.

In this presentation, we show you what this new path looks like and lay out the step-by-step changes we’ll see on the way to full autonomy. We make the case that AV developers’ early shortcomings have ushered in a new era of collaboration and realism. We highlight key industry partnerships and explain what incentivized companies to start working together.

Here’s a preview of our presentation on the long path ahead to self-driving cars:

One clear factor driving the shift towards collaboration is the wide range of expertise that building AVs requires. Cars and trucks, sensors, high-powered AI chips, communication technology, and consumer services platforms are all part of a successful AV business. Increasingly, tech companies and legacy automakers are realizing they can’t master all of these skills alone.

The end goal of an autonomous future is also shifting. Increasingly, companies see ridesharing as the most likely—and most profitable—use of AVs. Indeed some experts caution against individually-owned AVs, which they warn could create a dystopia of increased pollution, congestion (pdf), and car-dominated roads.

To see all of the slides, you can view the PDF version or download the PowerPoint file, which includes our sources and notes. This is one of an ongoing series of member-exclusive presentations, which you can read, reformat, and use as you wish.

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