Self-Driving Sticker Shock

Jan 11 2013 @ 8:08pm

Drive-thrus may take awhile to adjust to self-driving cars:

Owen Thomas argues that a “a true self-driving car is far from hitting the market” because “the massive array of sensors Google has to install in its cars alone costs $250,000 or more.” Timothy Lee disagrees:

Obviously, most people can’t afford the monthly payments to buy a $300,000 self-driving car outright. But lots of people could afford to buy 10 or 20 percent of a $300,000 vehicle’s time. And most people don’t use their cars more than 10 or 20 percent of the time. So many modestly affluent consumers will find it practical to sell the BMW and just take a self-driving taxi everywhere they go.

Bill Howard describes how Audi and Toyota are taking a more incremental approach:

[Both] are displaying cars that are self-driving at times, and showcase the building-block technologies available today that can assist drivers, especially on limited access roads or on crowded city streets… The building blocks help avoid accidents in urban areas; on limited access highways, they guide, correct and warn. Both automakers are also trying to control expectations for anywhere, anytime self-driving cars. Lexus likens its robocar to a “co-pilot” while Audi talks about “piloted driving,” as in auto-pilot functions on a plane.