How Elon Musk, Waymo, and Uber All Over-Promised on Autonomous Driving

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Autonomous driving ain’t easy. While Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised back in 2016 that its cars would support fully-autonomous cross-country driving by the end of the following year, he admitted last week that it’s “extremely difficult to achieve a general solution for self-driving that works well everywhere.”

Tesla’s hardly alone in terms of autonomous driving projects that have hit roadblocks: Uber laid off most of its autonomous driving unit earlier this year. Waymo, another industry leader, was also the subject of an August report in The Information which said that its cars struggle to turn left on faster roads and fail to interpret basic street features.

Taken together, it all begs the question of how so many smart predictions got ahead of themselves in terms of what it would really take to bring autonomous driving to the road. Part of the problem may have to do with underestimating how differently…

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