Why Google Has Driverless Cars and Tesla Does Not

Some individuals argue that being first is finest when growing new expertise (whats up Mark Zuckerberg), others argue that being finest is finest (suppose Vine vs. TikTok). Within the realm of driverless vehicles, that debate is enjoying out earlier than our eyes.

Which results in the query, the place are all of the driverless vehicles we had been promised? It’s 2021; weren’t we purported to have entry to autonomous autos by now? In any case, again in 2019, Elon Musk promised that “subsequent yr for certain” the corporate would have “over one million robotaxis on the highway.” At this time, the primary week of the yr after that, what number of Tesla robotaxis do we’ve got? Zero.

What offers? The Guardian is kicking off the yr with an outline of the driverless future we’ve been promised for years, and why it hasn’t precisely come to fruition. However there’s one caveat to their premise that every one autonomous autos are “peak hype”: Waymo, the self-driving automobile firm that’s a subsidiary of Google’s guardian firm Alphabet, has been providing totally autonomous ride-hailing service within the Phoenix space since October of 2020. Merely download the app and the Waymo Driver will take you the place you have to go.

Sure, Google beat Elon Musk to the robotaxi beginning line. However it is a rivalry that has been brewing for a very long time, and there’s a transparent motive Waymo received there earlier than Tesla.

As The Guardian writes, for the Alphabet firm’s vehicles, “vary stays restricted to the sunny suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, whose each centimetre has been mapped by Waymo computer systems.” In brief, the Waymo Driver depends on complete, impossibly detailed maps that their autonomous expertise makes use of to navigate. Elon Musk has admitted on Twitter that Tesla labored off of that framework for some time too, however they’ve gone in a brand new route to resolve the issue of driverless vehicles. 

In October, when Waymo launched its robotaxi service, Musk tweeted that “actuality is simply too messy & bizarre” to depend on mapping, and that Tesla’s tech “is able to driving in places we by no means seen even as soon as.” That expertise, which they name Full Self-Driving (or FSD), has been launched in beta kind and appears promising, however even that’s not fully autonomous (nomenclature they’ve had trouble with for a long time). And Tesla robotaxis nonetheless appear a protracted methods off.

Two completely different takes on driverless vehicles, neither assembly the edge of really autonomous driving, no less than not but. 

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