The hot-take artists wasted no time after the recent Argo AI shutdown. This was an unexpected move by Ford and Volkswagen, which were the two largest financial backers of the once-promising autonomous driving startup. But shortly after the news broke, many “experts” already signed the death certificate for the entire autonomous vehicle industry.
However, some of the industry’s leading players have incredible momentum at the time of Argo AI’s demise. Cruise recently expanded its public robotaxi service in San Francisco, announced it’s bringing robotaxi services to Austin and Phoenix in the coming months, started testing its Origin ridesharing autonomous vehicle in California and started making autonomous deliveries for Walmart in two Arizona locations.
While I was writing this, Waymo, which has been running a robotaxi service in a limited area of Arizona, expanded its service in downtown Phoenix to include pickups and dropoff s at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Waymo also recently announced it’s expanding to Los Angeles and continues to test its robotaxi service in San Francisco.
Mobileye went public after spinning out of Intel. And the autonomous vehicle market in China has several major players doing great work, too.
I’ve been fortunate enough to ride in several different robotaxis over the years, most recently with Waymo in San Francisco prior to our RoboBusiness event. It was a roughly 9-mile ride that took just under 30 minutes. Because I’m not a Waymo employee, there was a human safety driver behind the wheel.
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