Self-Driving Car Predictions For 2021

Like other people, I like to start the year by making predictions about what will happen, particularly with respect to self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles. Following the example of Scott Alexander, I assign probabilities to my predictions.

100% Confidence

No Level 5 self-driving cars will be deployed anywhere in the world.

90% Confidence

Level 4 driverless vehicles, without a safety operator, will remain publicly available, somewhere in the world.
No “self-driving-only” public road will exist in the U.S.
Tesla will remain the industry leader in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
An autonomy company will be acquired for at least $100 million.
Level 4 autonomous vehicles, with or without a safety operator, will remain publicly available in China.

80% Confidence

C++ will remain the dominant programming language for autonomous vehicles.
A lidar-equipped vehicle will be available for sale to the general public.
My parents will not ride in an autonomous vehicle (except at Voyage or anywhere else I might work).
Tesla will not launch a robotaxi service.
Fully driverless low-speed vehicles will transport customers (not necessarily the general public).

70% Confidence

Waymo will expand its public driverless transportation service beyond Phoenix.
A Chinese company will offer self-driving service, with or without a safety operator, to the public, outside of China.
A self-driving Class 8 truck will make a fully driverless trip on a public highway.
Aerial drone delivery will be available to the general public somewhere.
Tesla will remain the world’s most valuable automaker.

60% Confidence

Fully driverless grocery delivery will be available somewhere in the US.
Tesla Full-Self Driving will offer Level 3 (driver attention not necessary until requested by the vehicle) functionality somewhere in the world.
A member of the public will die in a collision involving a Level 4 autonomous vehicle (including if the autonomous vehicle is not at-fault).
A company besides Waymo will offer driverless service to the general public, somewhere in the US.
A company will deploy driverless vehicles for last-mile delivery.

50% Confidence

Level 4 self-driving, with or without a safety operator, will be available to the public somewhere in Europe.
A Level 3 vehicle will be offered for sale to the public, by a company other than Tesla.
The US requires driver-monitoring systems in new vehicles.
The industry coalesces around a safety standard for driverless vehicles.
Self-driving service will be available to the general public, with or without a safety operator, in India.

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