Is The Great Autonomous Future just a promise?

In 2016 about half of our automotive articles were related in some way to The Great Autonomous Future, or at least it seemed that way. Many automakers claim that by 2020 everyone will be driving around in self-driving cars. But what will they look like, how will we make the transition from driven to driverless, and how will laws and infrastructure adapt? We got very few answers to these questions, and instead were handed big promises, vague timelines, and a dose of misdirection by automakers. There has been a lot of talk, but we still don’t know that much about these proposed vehicles.

So instead of concrete information about autonomous cars, 2016 has brought us a lot of promises, many in the form of concept cars. They have popped up from just about every automaker accompanied by the CEO’s pledge to deliver a Level 4 autonomous, all-electric model (usually a crossover) in a few years. It’s very easy to say that a static design study sitting on a stage will be able to drive itself while projecting a movie on the windshield, but it’s another thing entirely to make good on that promise. With a few exceptions, 2016 has been stuck in the promising stage. The truth is we just don’t know what the autonomous landscape will look like, and a lot of these attempts to appear to be getting out in front of things seem to be motivated by fear.Read more

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