As recently as March, Daimler promised to put 10,000 autonomous taxis on the streets by 2021. This week, however, Daimler Chairman Ola Kallenius announced that the company was making a “reality check” on the project and focusing on self-driving long-haul trucks instead.
It’s fine that self-driving cabs aren’t coming as fast as some expected — and it’s even better that Silicon Valley-style big talk appears to be going out of fashion.
Kallenius’s “reality check” has some solid business reasons: Daimler is cutting costs and can’t commit to a large, capital-intensive project without a clear idea of what kind of first-mover advantage it might confer. But mostly, it comes because of a long-obvious technical problem.
Making sure self-driving cars aren’t a menace in city traffic is a job that will take more than a couple of years.