Silicon Valley vs. Academia and Automakers…

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In January’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting in Washington, D.C., attendees agreed that self-driving vehicles are the future. The bottom line is when is the future? “We have seen the business case for autonomous vehicles — it will be a reality. When you look at the number of lives it will save, efficiency of the network, it is very compelling,” said Kevin Link, Verizon senior vice president and general manager, China. “We have to begin a slow migration of educating consumers — one of those ways is through the connected vehicle. I don’t think consumers are there yet.”

Link talked about autonomous vehicles at the Consumer Telematics Conference, also in January, but those at TRB are mainly academics and government officials, not business executives. Most believe it will take decades, Google car aside, to have a fully autonomous vehicle on the road. Others believe that if Detroit does not take notice, they can read about Google dominating this vehicle market, not being a player in it.