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Waymo says "We’re building the world’s most experienced driver, with over 10 million miles self-driven on public roads and almost 7 billion in simulation. Discover what we've seen and learned along the way from literal curveballs in our path, to navigating low-visibility dust storms, and more unexpected scenarios."

Self-Driving Car Timeline

Tech Emergence provides Predictions from the Top 11 Global Automakers

  • Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields told CNBC that Ford plans to have a “Level 4 vehicle in 2021, no gas pedal, no steering wheel, and the passenger will never need to take control of the vehicle in a predefined area.”
  • According to Reuters, GM is rumored to have plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars next year with its ride-sharing affiliate Lyft Inc.
  • At the end of last year Honda announced it was in discussions with Waymo, an independent company of Alphabet Inc., to include Waymo self-driving technology in their vehicles. The long stated goal of Honda is to have cars that can at least drive themselves on highways by 2020. That is when Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics, and Japan hopes to make it a showcase of their technological prowess.
  • At the beginning of the year Daimler announced a deal with Uber to introduce their self-driving cars on Uber’s ride-share platform in the coming years. Like several other car makers Daimler view mobility as a service as a logical place to first use self-driving cars.

Those are just a few paragraphs. All the car makers seem committed.

Adoption Rate

Most of the car makers will will all be ready by 2020 or 2021. Some say 2022.

But capability is one thing and mass adoption by the public is another. It may take a few more years for cars.

The article concluded "Even with a heavy degree of skepticism it seems likely that if you live in a major city you will be able to hail some form of automatic car ride in less than a decade."

About 2-3 years is more like it, in most major cities.

“Freightliner Inspiration Truck”

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A quick check of my calendar show the date to be November 20, 2018.

Self-driving trucks are legal on Nevada highways with permits. Arizona and Florida welcome self-driving trucks without any special permits or reporting.

Long Road to Self-Driving Trucks

Medium comments on the Long Road to Self-Driving Trucks

The author, Mark Harris, points out some remaining issues and he is also a bit skeptical about earky adoption, but the cost savings alone insures it will happen sooner rather than later.

> Unlike the high-profile urban and suburban tests of autonomous passenger cars conducted by Waymo, Uber, and GM Cruise, driverless truck developers have been quietly carrying out their experiments on highways across the Sunbelt. According to figures submitted to the DOT, automated trucks racked up well over 200,000 miles on public roads last year.

> A truly driverless truck would change the face of trucking. In a cutthroat industry operating on razor-thin margins, drivers’ wages and benefits are the largest cost, accounting for nearly half of a carrier’s cost per mile. The first company that can eliminate drivers could undercut its rivals and dominate the market.

> Automated trucks might also reduce the nearly 4,000 fatalities from large truck crashes that occur each year in the United States, some of which are known to result from driver fatigue. There is even a potential environmental benefit, as smart driving systems reduce fuel use and smooth the transition to alternative fuels and electric vehicles.

Timeline on Schedule

The 10-year timeline I posted in 2012 seems to be on schedule.

Mass adoption will first be with commercial trucks, then taxis, then the public.

I expect national regulations to be in pace by 2020. If so, mass adoption by highway trucking will commence by 2022.

The cost savings, competition, and shortage of truck drivers ensures that outcome, like it or not.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock