As the world pursues new mobility solutions, innovative new business models emerge. It is easy to lose faith in a given innovation. The slower than expected rise of autonomous driving is a case in point. But innovation does not stop at the technology level. The video below is a great example that blends autonomous technology with remote operations and a human driver. This remote piece of the model will play out in many scenarios as a stepping stone towards full autonomy. In this example, a remote operator gets the car to the rider, who drives from there. Once arriving at the destination, the remote operator takes over from there. This is similar to the path of autonomous trucking. These niche scenarios accelerate the path towards full autonomy.
The old adage that change happens slowly then suddenly is on display again in the form of robotaxis in China. While the adage still applies, the time between slow and sudden is collapsing. While we are not where many predicting we would be with autonomous driving, these small steps indicate progress. Advances in autonomous trucking is another step that likely fuels acceleration. This video posted yesterday describes the 67 driverless taxis that are taking paying customers. For now, a taxi firm employee will supervise the trips but the project’s backers are hopeful the fleet will be fully autonomous in the coming years. You can read more here.