Self-driving taxis are here. Are drivers along for the ride?

By: James Flippin · August 30, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

No Driver, No Problem

Self-driving taxis are no longer sci-fi fantasies, they’re a reality on the streets of Phoenix, San Francisco, and Austin.

Autonomous vehicle, or AV, makers Cruise (GM) and Waymo (GOOGL) have both shifted gears from research and development to commercialization.

These driverless cars promise to make our roads safer, and transportation more accessible to everyone. But not everyone wants to be along for the ride. While some see a Jetsons-esque future, others fear a road ruled by machines.

Waymo Money, Waymo Problems

After pouring tens of billions into the development of their cars, Cruise and Waymo are now focusing on getting their robotaxis to the masses. The service is currently available in three cities, with plans to expand nationwide underway.

Cruise has announced plans to test its robotaxis in 14 cities, many of which are in the Sun Belt. But this move to install fleets across multiple cities in quick succession has encountered some speed bumps.

City officials and regulatory bodies are scrambling to catch up, as the technology outpaces legal frameworks and regulations. The self-driving cab space is beginning to look like the Wild West — or, given the high tech algorithms at its core, perhaps Westworld.

The Road Ahead

In 2022, nearly 43,000 people lost their lives on U.S. roads. AVs promise a safer future — they don’t drink and drive, fall asleep at the wheel, or even disobey traffic laws.

But we’re not there yet. Self-driving taxis are still in their learning phase, and there’s a clear need for more collaboration among tech developers, local communities, law enforcement, and policymakers before the road of the future becomes our present.

The technology is promising. But like any new technology, it comes with its own set of challenges, requiring thoughtful solutions. As driverless cars learn to navigate our roads, drivers must learn to navigate the complexities of driving alongside them.

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