12 Biggest Failures in the Driverless Car Industry in 2023

12 Biggest Failures in the Driverless Car Industry in 2023

Driverless car and trucking companies have promised to bring us into the future, but so far, all that many of them have managed to do is crash.

Driverless cars and lorries were supposed to whisk us into a utopian future, but their track record tells a different tale – one of cock-ups and setbacks.

Bigwigs like Aurora, TuSimple, and Embark Technology saw a whopping £40 billion vanish from their value after their debuts, by October 2022. Sadly, their woes haven't gone away this year.

Self-driving lorry startups had to close shop, lay off staff, and watch their shares nosedive. Meanwhile, driverless car firms faced a right grilling over safety worries. Cruise, General Motors' self-driving lot, had to park their operations, and Tesla had to recall a whopping 2 million cars because of gremlins in their robot driving system.

Techbitblitz put together a timeline of the self-driving vehicle woes of 2023, and it's a bit of a doozy:

❄️ January 2023
Aurora Innovation, a driverless lorry firm, started the year at a measly £1.27 a share, down by 87% from its IPO price. Waymo, a robotaxi rival to Cruise, announced lay-offs and put their autonomous lorry project on the back burner.

πŸ’˜ February

California unions, bless their cotton socks, rallied in Sacramento against plans to scrap the ban on driverless lorries on public roads. Good on them!

🌼 May

Embark Technology, another self-driving lorry outfit, got snapped up by Applied Intuition for a mere £71 million after laying off 70% of their workforce. The company, valued at £5 billion in 2021, took a right tumble.

🏝️ June

Cruise recalled 80 vehicles after a crash in San Francisco that left two people worse for wear.

🌞 August

California gave the green light for Cruise and Waymo to operate 24/7 in San Francisco. However, Cruise's robotaxis started causing gridlock, causing a right kerfuffle. A week later, after a driverless taxi bumped into a fire engine, Cruise had to halve its operations in the city.

🍁 September
Twenty Cruise cars created a colossal traffic jam in Austin, Texas. Not what you want, eh?

πŸŽƒ October

A Cruise robotaxi bumped into a pedestrian in San Francisco, dragging them 20 feet. The state's DMV put the kibosh on the company's city operations. Meanwhile, Austin's transport department was inundated with 40 complaints about Cruise vehicles, with fears of potential accidents. The company parked its US fleets in Austin, Houston, and Phoenix, while regulators poked their noses into things.

πŸ— November

Luminar Technologies, an autonomous tech firm, saw their share price drop by 15% because their earnings weren't up to scratch. Cruise co-founders Kyle Vogt and Dan Kan threw in the towel.

⛄️ December

A Washington Post analysis revealed 40 fatal Tesla crashes since 2016 involved their driver assistance software. Tesla recalled almost all US cars due to Autopilot glitches. California regulators accused Cruise of hiding the seriousness of their San Francisco crash, leading to the sacking of nine executives and 24% staff lay-offs.

There you have it, mate. The self-driving revolution might be taking a bit longer than promised, eh? Maybe we can stick to the trusty old banger for now, and let the robots sort out their gremlins.