The News Wheel
No Comments

Alphabet Walks Back Self-Driving Car Promises

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page
Google Koala Car
Image: TomoNews US via Youtube

Car companies around the world have been talking about self-driving cars for a long time. However, the loudest voices supporting the tech development was giant internet overlord Google, and later its autonomous car arm Waymo and parent firm Alphabet. Original forecasts to when self-driving cars would be common on the world’s roads have come and gone, and Alphabet knows exactly who to blame.

The media, of course.

According to CNBC, Waymo’s chief external officer, Tekedra N. Mawakana, blames outside forces for “unmanageable” hype around self-driving cars. The company reports that consumers were scared away from the concept of self-driving cars because a lot of images pushed by the media showed a vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals inside the car to allow them to take control in an emergency.

It’s In Your Hands: Make your commute safer

Mawakana went on to tell the news outlet, “I’d like to see the reporting reflect a little more on the gravity of the opportunity that we have and a little less about the hype of what this is going to mean.”

At The News Wheel, we’ll admit to pushing the hype for self-driving cars. However, we didn’t generate all those topics on our own. Automakers, especially luxury ones, routinely roll out concept cars at auto shows that drive themselves. Some of them have steering wheels that collapse into the dash, while others abandon the traditional car setup altogether and make the interior more like a living room on wheels.

This bit of corporate whining is especially rich considering that Google and Waymo aggressively pushed autonomous cars with no internal controls. In fact, their first self-driving car, nicknamed the koala car, had absolutely no steering instruments in it all. We’re not the only news outlet blown away by this statement – CNBC has a list of examples going back to 2012 of Google pushing an unrealistic image of self-driving cars in the interest of grabbing headlines.

Steering Wheel Included: Sometimes it’s better to buy a new car

Alphabet and Waymo are probably backpedaling since they’re about to blow their own deadline to roll out a fully autonomous car before 2020. Waymo’s valuation suffered a blow from Morgan Stanley recently, with the financial firm moving it from $175 billion to $105 billion, thanks to slow technology development.

If Google, Waymo, and Alphabet feel victimized by The News Wheel, we apologize. We promise to take self-driving car press releases with a big rock of salt in the future.

News Source: CNBC