A little over a decade ago, two technologies were rushing toward an undefined goal. The adoption of one did not preclude the use of the other because they did not compete. But the order of the finish mattered to avoid climate catastrophe.
It was inevitable that electric vehicles would triumph over autonomous ones.
There was some uncertainty about who would be awarded the victory flag. Since the first autonomous vehicles cautiously completed the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2007, they have made significant progress. In another ten years, it seemed like every company would have a separate self-driving department.
The introduction of EVs, meanwhile, was a sluggish process. The batteries in the earliest models cost as much as a third of the car itself, and the range was less than 100 miles. When Tesla released the Model S in 2012, it was a radical departure from the norm, but the car was too expensive for the vast majority of consumers in the United States. The situation hadn’t changed much by 2017 at that point.
Wow, look how far we’ve come in the last five years
Despite the rapid growth of EVs, the autonomous vehicle industry has largely plateaued. While autonomous vehicles have made great strides toward solving many everyday driving problems, they are still frequently defeated by the same pedestrians, bad weather, and construction zones that human drivers face on a daily basis.
Publicly available taxi services from Waymo and Cruise do exist, but they are currently limited to certain areas of Tempe and San Francisco, respectively, which the companies have been mapping and testing in for years. It’s common knowledge among drivers that every major city has its own set of rules and regulations. The transition to a new city will be challenging. John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, once predicted that 90% of rides on the platform would be autonomous in the present day; today, he predicts that only 1- 10% of rides will be fully autonomous.
on the other hand, EVs have been on the rise. Prices for batteries have dropped from over $1,000 per kilowatt-hour in the early 2010s to under $100 today. Companies that produce batteries are in a race to establish a global manufacturing infrastructure as investors pour money into new battery startups.
Despite the Model S’s introduction, the number of EV models has increased dramatically and their prices have dropped. With legislative and regulatory action establishing batteries as the preferred energy source for automobiles and light trucks, sales have soared in Europe, China, and the United States, and the outlook for the future is equally optimistic.
Subtly charming pop culture geek. Amateur analyst. Freelance tv buff. Coffee lover