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Waymo CEO: Launching a self-driving automobile is tougher than launching a rocket


What’s tougher than getting a rocket into house? Getting self-driving automobiles to really work… a minimum of in accordance with the boss of Waymo, Google’s self-driving car spinoff.

In an interview with the Monetary Instances, Waymo’s Chief Govt John Krafcik stated the method of growing autonomous automobiles is an “extraordinary grind.”

Krafcik goes on to say that “it’s an even bigger problem than launching a rocket and placing it into orbit across the Earth,” as a result of “it must be completed safely over and over.” Whereas, with rockets, you solely want it to be secure as soon as, while there are folks on board.

[Read: The crazy story how self-driving’s biggest star stole Google secrets, joined Uber, and became bankrupt]

This perception appears to assist the truth that Elon Musk is having successes with SpaceX however remains to be engaged on the promise of self-driving automobiles.

Let’s remind ourselves that Musk stated, some years in the past, that there could be a fleet of 1 million self-driving Teslas on our highway by… final 12 months. So, um, yeah. There’s nonetheless a option to go.

Krafcik’s statements comply with a story that has been slowly unveiling itself over the previous 12 months: that self-driving automobiles are bloody tough and far farther from actuality than we’ve been led to consider.

Certainly, 2020 was the 12 months Elon Musk stated we’d have a fleet of 1 million robotaxis — for what it’s price AI consultants known as BS on the time. With Autopilot and Full Self Driving coming beneath rising regulatory scrutiny world wide, that objective has by no means appeared additional away.

Credit score: Waymo