There have been an increasing number of statements by car company bosses to lower expectations of autonomous driving. Is the euphoria ending?
Just two years ago, the German Parliament hastened to pass a law on the automation of traffic. But so far there is not a single model even with Level 3. It seems, fully autonomous vehicles are moving into the distance. The euphoria about the rapid successes seems to have evaporated.
Ford: The former Ford boss, Mark Fields, had already warned against an early market launch in 2017. Should difficulties arise, the reputation of the entire technology would be at stake. Now the current boss, Jim Hackett, made similar remarks at an event in Detroit. The vehicles will be limited in their capabilities and development will take time. Actually, Ford wanted to bring automated vehicles to market in 2021.
Aptiv: Already in January, on the occasion of the CES, the boss of Aptiv, Glen De Vos, saw the faltering development. 2021 would be too early for Level 4 vehicles. In two years, it might be possible to launch a limited service on the market. Only in 2025, according to de Vos, will Level 4 be available.
Uber: Recently, one could get insights into previous conceptions of the driving service provider Uber. Waymo’s trial records against Uber revealed the idea that Uber already wanted to be on the road with thousands of autonomous cars by now. But this is obviously not the case. Since the IPO is imminent, it has even been announced that it will be quite some time before autonomous driving dominates the roads.
Volvo: Volvo boss Håkon Samuelsson also warned in March of this year against a premature market launch. Safety should come first. This was a dig at electric car manufacturer Tesla, who have now also changed its predictions and mentally shifted autonomous driving into the future.
In connection with the crashes of the Boeing airplanes, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche also made statements on the subject. If this were to happen with automated vehicles, the industry would come under strong pressure. Therefore, the development should progress one step at a time.
About the author:
David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: www.autonomes-fahren.de