QOTD: Can Robotaxis Ever Work?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Yesterday we covered yet another incident involving Cruise, and we linked back to a few other stories we've written recently about problems that Cruise and Waymo are having in San Francisco.

Simply put, it appears that robotaxis aren't mixing well. Maybe they'll work flawlessly someday, though.

My question to you is this -- will that happen? Will the companies ever get the tech sorted?

For the purposes of this question, we're limiting this to robotaxis specifically, and not autonomous vehicles in general, though I do understand that if robotaxis work well, it might mean a leap forward for AVs in general.

Anyway, you know the drill. Sound off below.

[Image: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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8 of 55 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Aug 23, 2023

    The "Self-driver in training" sticker? Talk about a poor attempt at humor.

  • Eliyahu Eliyahu on Aug 23, 2023

    Even if they do work, what about the cost? Seems like the Waymo was over $200,000. To cut costs, if the production vehicles don't have all the cameras and sensors, how could they work as well as the beta versions? The real self-driving mode is here, and it doesn't require software.

  • Stuki Moi Stuki Moi on Aug 24, 2023

    "Can Robotaxis Ever Work?"

    Only once they no longer share roads/tracks with human drivers, nor with robots not explicitly coordinated with themselves.

    The ones which don't do that, work well enough already: Some monorail bound ones, mining trucks, various just-in-time factory conveyor-belt systems.

    The issue is not with the moving units themselves, but rather with properly building an environment suitable for autonomous ones.

    Of course, this ain't the 50s no more. America hasn't had sufficient wealth nor resources to develop anything like a freeway system for decades now. Nowadays "we" "make" our money by printing them. Compared to back then, we're now a full blown 3rd world country.

    Which is why the best we now can do, is stick our heads in the sand and pretend "investing" our Zimbabwe Dollars into one trivially childish SciFi fantasy or another can ever, in any way, make up for that decline in wealth.

  • MGS1995 MGS1995 on Aug 24, 2023

    I've said it before; autonomous vehicles need communication with other vehicles and with the infrastructure. They cannot emulate human drivers. For example if a firetruck could use a wireless network to broadcast its location and path the robo taxi would know that it had to stop and yield. A V2X network would benefit human driven cars as well.