The Myth Of Substitution And The Mirage Of Driverless Cars

The bold promise of autonomous vehicles has collided with a sobering reality: turning driverless cars loose on every road will take more time and more money than originally expected. However, driver-assisted artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will see rapid adoption. Rather than replacing drivers completely, AI will be used to make driving easier, safer and more enjoyable.

The future of autonomous cars will be human plus machine, not human versus machine, with AI complementing human judgment instead of acting as a complete substitute for humans.

The pattern that underlies the commercialization of driverless cars is something I call the “Myth of Substitution.” There is no shortage of audacious predictions about driverless cars, such as those made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. But reality has deflated those promises. In one of the latest developments, General Motors’ Cruise unit announced that it was delaying commercial deployment of its autonomous cars because more testing is required.