Prototype self-driving cars developed by Argo AI “regularly” have lower collision rates than human drivers in metro areas such as Miami, said Bryan Salesky, Argo’s CEO, during The Information’s fifth annual Autonomous Vehicle Summit on Wednesday.
Salesky’s comment stands in contrast to mounting criticism that the autonomous vehicle industry’s pace of progress has slowed, and after some companies such as Cruise, TuSimple, Uber and Lyft previously set incorrect expectations for when driverless taxis or trucks would be tested or made available to the public. The missed timelines didn’t scare off investors, who collectively poured a record $8.5 billion into the sector over the past 12 months, up from $5 billion in the prior 12 months, according to an analysis by The Information. Salesky said his 1,300-person company, whose shares are majority owned by Ford and Volkswagen, would soon begin to raise funds from private investors ahead of an initial public offering within the next 12 months.
At the virtual summit, attended by subscribers from around the U.S. and from countries including China, India, Israel and Germany, industry leaders debated the technical choices and business models of some autonomous vehicle-related companies—and whether they should tap the public markets, given that driverless vehicles appear far from commercially viable. (Scroll down to view our annual state-of-the-AV-industry slides.)