“How quickly perceptions can change. It may seem hard to remember now, but a year ago the hype machine was still full steam ahead on self-driving cars and their presumed future dominance of the transportation system,” Paris Marx writes for Medium. “Drivers would be liberated as software took over their role, making everyone a passenger.”

“The fatal Uber crash hadn’t happened. People still believed that Tesla’s Autopilot system was safe and that Full Self-Driving was on the horizon,” Marx writes. “There was little question in the reporting on autonomous vehicles that they were safer than human drivers, despite the complete lack of evidence. The tech visionaries had spoken, and as is too often the case, the media fell in line.”

“Waymo, a division of Alphabet, has long been acknowledged as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology. Based on the limited data that’s been released, its vehicles are acknowledged as having driven the most miles in self-driving mode and have the lowest rate of disengagements (when humans have to take over),” Marx writes. “However, even Waymo’s CEO, John Krafcik, now admits that the self-driving car that can drive in any condition, on any road, without ever needing a human to take control — what’s usually called a ‘level 5’ autonomous vehicle — will never exist.”

At the Wall Street Journal’s D.Live conference on November 13, Krafcik said that ‘autonomy will always have constraints,'” Marx writes. “It will take decades for self-driving cars to become common on roads, and even then they will not be able to drive in certain conditions, at certain times of the year, or in any weather. In short, sensors on autonomous vehicles don’t work well in snow or rain — and that may never change.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s the thing about never: It’s such a long time, you’ll never win any argument that employs it; this one excepted.