In 2016, the city of Pittsburgh was home to a host of reporters who gathered to get a glimpse at the future of driving. Namely, those reporters attended media briefing sessions concerning Uber’s newest pilot program involving self-driving cars.
It has been two years since those briefings, and the road has been an objectively rocky one for the ride-hailing company. The rocky road hit its arguably bumpiest stretch when the first fatal crash involving a self-driving Uber vehicle occurred in early 2018. This crash and the public outcry subsequently led to Uber pressing pause on self-driving car testing for nearly four months before Uber’s fleet of autonomous vehicles returned to the road.
Even so, those vehicles have remained in manual mode once they returned to Pittsburgh’s city street. Given the dramatic turn of events from what seemed possible in 2016 compared to the present day, it is fitting to keep in mind that the future of self-driving cars is further away than many thought.
The Potential $42 Billion Market Has Not Grown According to Plan
The intense competition among Silicon Valley companies in the self-driving sector is a reminder that few, if any, are willing to wave the white flag on self-driving technology. That said, even the most optimistic minds would likely concede that the evolution toward autonomous vehicles has been more difficult than some expected.
Bloomberg, after all, wrote that the driverless car market could reach $42 billion by 2025. Intel, infamously, predicted far more value. For its part, Intel estimated that the self-driving future would lead to a $7 trillion industry by the year 2050.
Despite Growing Pains, a Self-Driving Future Still Appears Inevitable… Eventually
As 2018 is rapidly coming to a close, it is worth noting that the years of hype touting self-driving as the inevitable future has not matched reality. A recent Wall Street Journal piece succinctly summarizes these difficulties by noting that "driverless hype collides with merciless reality", pointing out the many difficulties of the tech. The piece also points out that many fears, such as self-driving replacing human truck drivers, has proven largely unrealized to this point.
Even so, innovation can overcome these difficulties in time, and the expectation among the tech giants is certainly banking on these difficulties being solved. And, given the billions in R&D that these companies have invested into the technology, it is likely a question of "when, not if" self-driving becomes the technology of today instead of the future.
As such, it is important to realize these companies, despite their difficulties, have still come a long way. Waymo alone has logged millions of miles within its self-driving division, after all. Once these vehicles become fixtures on American roads, accident liability as we know it will be transformed.
Even in the here and now, accident victims and surviving loved ones like those left behind in the fatal self-driving Uber accident in March depend on personal injury lawyers who can capably represent accident victims when pursuing deserved compensation.
The Ledger Law Firm is a personal injury firm that has earned a national reputation for helping personal injury victims recover legal compensation that is owed to them. Contact us online today for a legal consultation to discuss the facts of your self-driving car accident claim with a self-driving car accident attorney at Ledger Law.