Futurist editorial media had an inexplicable hateboner for self-driving cars for the longest time. Forbes's tech staff, TechCrunch, I swear to God Wired was the worst about this. Every time a new baby step towards full autonomy came out, the writers would be there to describe it... and explain why it meant self-driving cars would never happen. Google launches the Self-Driving Car project? The tech is janky, it won't work. It runs on closed courses? It only runs on closed courses, it'll never work. It runs on highways? It only runs under predictable conditions, it'll never work. The project got spun off into a rideshare company? They're just gambling, it'll never work. It runs in cities? It only runs under minimally unpredictable conditions, it'll never work. Has safety drivers? There's still a driver, it'll never work. Doesn't have safety drivers? Too few passengers in beta, it'll never work.
In October 2020, Waymo released driverless access to the public. It was previously restricted to a limited number of test customers. Now anyone on the Waymo One platform may receive a driverless car in response to a ride request. And NOW the editorial motherfuckers are getting a clue. They should have figured it out as soon as Waymo became its own thing. What, Alphabet/Google made a rideshare company for shits and grins? As a joke? On a dare? They knew what they had.
The fact is that Waymo's full autonomous driving has worked as well as human drivers since, at the absolute latest, 2016. It probably worked sooner than that. The problems for the past five years has been distribution, marketing, and regulatory hurdles. The dam was going to break no matter what, but it got a little help from the pandemic. There are fewer meatbag drivers on the road to rear-end AVs when they obey stop signs. The absence of a potentially infected human driver makes it a compelling alternative to other rideshares. This was exactly the right time to do a big, audacious thing like end the customer restriction, and it's working. It's working! They've just gotten a foothold in San Francisco. And at the same time Waymo is working, it's got pressure from upstart startups that all want a bite of the self-driving market, all of them in position to be bought by the dumbcar companies that are desperate to save themselves from extinction. Nobody can afford to stop now.
When future humans look back on the time when we drove cars, they will see how many people died because of it. They'll see when we could have stopped it, how long we refused to, and know that the reason was stupidity and selfishness. It will be looked on with as much disdain as slavery. Especially the dipshits at Wired. Christ, fuck those guys.