We all thought it would be part of the distant future: you get in a car, tell it where to go, and the vehicle itself takes you there. No Uber drivers, no awkward Taxi driver conversations – get in and go.
And then companies like Tesla began pumping out promises of “driverless” (self-driving) cars coming sooner than you’d think. Investors jumped on the idea, pouring nearly $100 billion into the industry.
And yet, six years after they first started taking to the streets, driverless cars still remain rare.
That’s because they struggle with a few primary road conditions that scientists are still struggling to overcome. Such as left turns into oncoming traffic, animals, weather, and other conditions they can’t process in real time.
One Analyst at market research company Gartner Inc. says, “Long term, I think we will have autonomous vehicles that you and I can buy. But we’re going to be old.”
Technology is slowly getting there, but it won’t be something taking over the streets tomorrow or even next year.
Comparing what driverless cars cost to develop and improve to what they sell for doesn’t look like an excellent short-term investment. So the people bringing them to fruition will need to be “long game” types, which can be tough to talk investors into when profits aren’t materializing here and now.