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POST TIME: 15 December, 2019 10:32:10 PM
Lofty promises for autonomous cars unfulfilled
AFP, New York

Lofty promises for autonomous cars unfulfilled

The first driverless cars were supposed to be deployed on the roads of American cities in 2019, but just a few days before the end of the year, the lofty promises of car manufacturers and Silicon Valley remain far from becoming reality.

Recent accidents, such as those involving Tesla cars equipped with Autopilot, driver assistance software, have shown that “the technology is not ready,” said Dan Albert, critic and author of the book “Are We There Yet?” on the history of the American automobile.

He questioned the optimistic sales pitch that autonomous cars would help reduce road deaths — 40,000 every year in the United States, mostly due to human error — because these vehicles themselves have caused deaths.

As a result, self-driving maneuvers in the technology-laden vehicles are limited to parking, braking, starting or driving in a parking lot.

Autonomous vehicles have only been deployed in limited test projects in a few cities.

“When you’re working on the large scale deployment of mission critical safety systems, the mindset of ‘move fast and break things’ certainly doesn’t cut it,” said Dan Ammann, CEO of self-driving car company Cruise.

General Motors, Cruise’s parent company, had promised a fleet of autonomous vehicles would be on the roads in 2019.