Self-Driving Car Predictions for 2017

Self-Driving Car Predictions for 2017

On the first day of 2017, here’s what I think the year to come has in store for self-driving cars.

In the style of Scott Alexander, I attach confidence levels to my predictions.

  1. 1 Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program student will start a new, permanent, full-time autonomous vehicle job: 99%
  2. Level 4 self-driving cars will be available for ridesharing on public roads somewhere in the world: 90%
  3. Level 4 self-driving cars will be available for ridesharing on public roads somewhere in the United States: 90%
  4. Ford will not push back its 2021 target launch for Level 4 vehicles: 90%
  5. 100 Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program students will start new, permanent, full-time autonomous vehicle jobs: 90%
  6. No US highway will have a speed limit for autonomous vehicles that is faster than the speed limit for human-driven vehicles: 90%
  7. 1000 Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program students will start new autonomous vehicle jobs (possibly contract roles or internships): 80%
  8. Level 4 self-driving cars will be available for ridesharing on public roads in Singapore: 80%
  9. A company will be acquired primarily for its autonomous vehicle capabilities with a valuation above $100 MM USD: 80%
  10. No company will sell a vehicle with autonomous technology that exceeds what Tesla offers: 80%
  11. At least 1 company that has not done so before will complete a continuous US coast-to-coast demonstration trip in a fully autonomous vehicle: 80%
  12. Level 4 self-driving cars will be available for ridesharing on public roads in California: 70%
  13. Conditional on Level 3 self-driving cars being legal somewhere, Tesla will enable Level 3 autonomy in that location: 70%
  14. Google will offer rides to the public in its self-driving cars: 70%
  15. No member of the general public will die in a Level 4 vehicle: 70%
  16. 2500 Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program students start new autonomous vehicle jobs (possibly contract roles or internships): 60%
  17. Level 4 self-driving cars will be available for ridesharing on public roads somewhere in Europe: 60%
  18. Level 4 self-driving cars will not be available for ridesharing on public roads somewhere in China: 60%
  19. No company will be acquired primarily for its autonomous vehicle capabilities with a valuation above $500 MM USD: 60%
  20. A new autonomous vehicle startup will form and raise money at a valuation above $75 MM USD: 60%
  21. Ford will commit to launching Level 4 vehicles before 2021: 50%
  22. Level 4 self-driving cars will be available for ridesharing on public roads somewhere in the world, without a safety driver: 50%
  23. Level 3 self-driving cars will be available for private ownership somewhere in the United States: 50%
  24. Somebody will die in a Tesla Autopilot crash: 50%
  25. Level 4 autonomous vehicles will be available for public ridesharing when snow is on the ground: 50%

Note: Udacity has partnerships with several companies I mention here, and I used to work at Ford, but none of these predictions stem from non-public information.

Update: The SAE definitions are here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car#Classification

Basically, a Level 3 vehicle is fully self-driving, but the driver must be able to take control of the vehicle at a moment’s notice.

A Level 4 vehicle is fully self-driving in most situations, and the driver does not need to be ready to regain control of the vehicle.

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