Self-driving cars are rolling out much faster than expected, from Uber testing autonomous taxis in San Francisco to Google spinning off its self-driving car division into Waymo and partnering with Fiat-Chrysler.
It wasn’t always like this. Remember when Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford in 2014 was concerned that self-driving car tech “freaks people out”? Now it’s lowering its profit forecast for 2017 due to investment in mobility and other forward-leaning technologies. The future is clearly self-driving and driverless vehicles.
People my age love to drive cars, but nobody else does anymore. Car culture is disappearing, and hot-rodders are all over 50. You cannot even work on your own car. If you change the car’s engine computer to boost performance on most vehicles, you void the warranty (and possibly break the law).
Currently, most self-driving car tests are conducted with a driver behind the wheel who will step in during an emergency (or a red light, hopefully). When those drivers disappear, though, it could be problematic in California because of one company: Uber.
Uber has been testing a self-driving car in California, but has refused to secure a permit as required by the Department of Motor Vehicles. It essentially told the state to stuff their request where the sun doesn’t shine.
This is something that bored bureaucrats love because it gives them something to do. And by “something to do” I mean “make some company and its executives miserable in every way possible.”
What will happen here is that Uber will lose to the DMV, beg for mercy, file the forms anyway, pay fines, and forever be a target of scrutiny. That’s the way it works in the real world, no matter what they tell you in business school.
Because of the general arrogance of Silicon Valley executives—
The arrogance of the Uber executives, who do not seem to understand the situation, might ruin it for everyone. At best, by drawing unwanted attention to itself, it might result in new fees and taxes in a state where this is already onerous. Whatever