Long Road Ahead: The Promise — and Perils — of Self-driving Cars: Podcast

Many companies are trying to crack the code for self-driving cars, which could one day help reduce deaths from traffic accidents. But when? In this wide-ranging interview, Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie looks at the major issues. He notes that despite the hype suggesting that autonomous vehicles will arrive within a couple of years, full autonomy for all vehicles is many decades away. “In the next five years, there will be lots of pilot projects and testing, so companies can learn from real-world data and the public can learn about the technology. By 2030, autonomous vehicles will be common in some settings and for some uses. But the roads will still be a complex mix of human-driven and algorithm-driven vehicles.” MacDuffie, who is also director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovative Management, added: “Throughout, diffusion will be erratic — moving fast at times, slowed up by unexpected constraints at other times. But we’ll feel like [autonomous vehicles] are part of our lives, at least partially, within the next five to 10 years.”