Francesco Biondi doesn’t mince words in his recent assessment of autonomous vehicles both today and into the future. I looked back on my thoughts regarding this scenario in a recent post, concluding that self-driving cars have not evolved to where experts predicted. There was a lot of hype across industries regarding the disruptive potential of this one scenario. I remember the countless conversations about insurance premiums drying up, or how Internet companies would displace the automakers – so I get the skepticism. As Mr. Biondi asks: what went wrong?
The simple answer is that the community overestimated the potential of even the most advanced technology and underestimated the capabilities of even the least trained human driver.Francesco Biondi – Why we still don’t have self-driving cars on the roads in 2021
As I mentioned in an earlier post on electric vehicles, there are divergent opinions on just about any emerging future scenario. One person sees obstacles while another focuses on accelerants. Any objective observer knows that both exist, serving to alter the path of any given scenario. The pandemic has proven to be an example of both. Mr. Biondi points to design flaws, a false sense of security, and declining public opinion as examples of obstacles in realizing the self-driving vision. The other side of the discussion is a view into accelerants. The author mentions one: the ever-growing labor challenges associated with commercial driving. Labor shortages, a fall in the working age population, declining fertility rates, an aging society, and an innovation arms race could all serve as accelerants. As obstacles do battle with accelerants, I for one am not willing to predict the path of this scenario – or any other for that matter. But I am ready to continuously look at obstacles and accelerants in ways that point to possible paths (futures).