The trip, which received international attention, was announced in conjunction with Tesla disclosing all of its vehicles were being equipped with “full self-driving hardware” that would “be substantially safer than a human driver.” The company had previously spent a year testing the new hardware.
But the trip never happened and now – more than three years later – Tesla’s vehicles with its Autopilot driver-assist system still require driver monitoring. The system has also been criticized for allowing for driver misuse and its role questioned in at least three fatal crashes.
In the past decade, there has been no shortage of optimism from automakers and companies like Uber and Lyft over emerging technologies in transportation – and in the case of Tesla, unmet goals. But after years of hype, automakers and tech companies in the space will look to deliver on ambitious promises around both autonomous and electric vehicles in the 2020s.
Autonomous vehicles have yet to hit the road beyond test phases and limited pilot programs while electric vehicles are commercially available but not yet widely adopted.
The companies see both segments as multitrillion-dollar business opportunities. They’ve also touted the technologies as ones that will create a safer, more environmentally friendly way of transportation. That has led Tesla, General Motors and others to announce plans for a future with significantly lower, even zero, auto accidents and vehicles with zero emissions.
Companies in the next decade are expected to invest more in the two technologies. A report by AlixPartners earlier this year estimated the industry’s spending on autonomous driving and electric vehicles will reach a cumulative $85 billion by 2025 and $225 billion by 2023, respectively.
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