Publicity and perception of autonomous autos has turned negative since an Uber vehicle mowed down a bicyclist in Arizona and the company suspended tests.  Waymo, Google’s company focused on self-driving cars, is confident it would have seen the person and avoided her.  It has driven a stake in the earth with the announcement that it will purchase and equip 20,000 Jaguar electric SUVs in 2018 as a prelude to its ride-hailing taxi service to be initiated in 2020.  The cost will be in excess of a billion dollars.  That is either deep knowledge or arrogance.  Waymo has driven its test vehicles millions of miles and it has simulated driving for hundreds of millions of miles more.  The company believes it knows the subtleties of driving without someone behind the wheel. If it succeeds in deploying its vehicles safely without accidents across the US, it will be first to market ahead of auto manufacturers and in a prime position to dominate.  But, it is being held to a high safety standard, higher than even that for human drivers.  That is as it should be.

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