There’s a lot of hype surrounding autonomous vehicles and when they’ll be ready for the real world. In many ways, the technology is further away from prime time than most people realize, especially in urban areas.
On Tuesday, two industry veterans—Anne Widera, a former Google manager who also previously worked at Uber’s autonomous vehicle group, and David Lu, another former Google manager who was most recently at microchip maker Nvidia—discussed the state of play on a conference call with subscribers of The Information. One of their arguments was that it will be difficult to compare the performance of robot cars to those driven by humans. They also talked about how there’s no breakaway leader in the field—not even Waymo—and how the Chinese market for autonomous cars will proceed differently from that of the West. Below is a partial transcript: