Tesla vs Waymo School of Thought
Tesla and Waymo are two of the leading companies in the field of autonomous vehicles, and their approaches to achieving autonomy differ in some key ways. While both companies have made significant progress in developing autonomous driving technology, we believe that Tesla’s approach is ultimately the better one. Here’s why:
- Tesla is focused on deploying fully autonomous vehicles: Tesla’s ultimate goal is to develop and deploy fully autonomous vehicles that can operate without any human intervention. While Waymo has also expressed a desire to achieve this goal, it has so far focused on developing and deploying autonomous vehicles in specific, controlled environments, such as its Waymo One ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona. In contrast, Tesla has been testing its Autopilot system, which allows its vehicles to drive themselves on highways and in some other limited circumstances, for several years, and the company has stated that it is on track to have fully self-driving vehicles on the road within a few years.
- Tesla has a strong track record of innovation: Tesla has a long history of pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation, and this is especially true when it comes to autonomous driving. The company has developed its own hardware and software for autonomous driving, and it has acquired several companies that specialize in this technology. Additionally, Tesla has been testing its Autopilot system extensively on public roads and collecting data from it to improve its machine learning models. This level of commitment to innovation and experimentation is essential for making progress in the field of autonomous vehicles, and it sets Tesla apart from other companies.
- Tesla’s approach is more aligned with consumer demand: There is significant consumer demand for fully autonomous vehicles, and Tesla’s approach is more closely aligned with this demand than Waymo’s. While Waymo’s autonomous vehicles are currently only available in a limited number of locations and for specific purposes, Tesla’s Autopilot system is available on a wide range of vehicles and can be used in a variety of circumstances. This means that Tesla is better positioned to meet the needs and preferences of consumers who are interested in autonomous vehicles.
OEMs, or original equipment manufacturers, are companies that manufacture vehicles and related components. Many OEMs have been exploring the use of autonomous driving technology in their products, and some have initially taken a similar approach to Waymo, focusing on developing and deploying autonomous vehicles in specific, controlled environments. However, as the field of autonomous vehicles has evolved and consumer demand for fully autonomous vehicles has grown, some OEMs have begun to adopt a more Tesla-like approach, focusing on developing and deploying fully autonomous vehicles as soon as possible.
There are a few reasons why OEMs may be shifting towards Tesla’s approach:
- Consumer demand: As mentioned earlier, there is significant consumer demand for fully autonomous vehicles, and this demand is likely driving OEMs to adopt a more Tesla-like approach. Consumers are increasingly interested in the convenience and safety benefits that autonomous vehicles can offer, and they are eager to see fully self-driving vehicles on the road.
- Technological advancements: The field of autonomous driving has made significant progress in recent years, and this has made it possible for OEMs to develop and deploy fully autonomous vehicles. Many OEMs may have initially taken a more cautious approach, similar to Waymo’s, because the technology was not yet ready for widespread deployment. However, as the technology has matured and the capabilities of autonomous vehicles have increased, OEMs may feel more confident in their ability to develop and deploy fully self-driving vehicles.
- Competition: OEMs are likely also motivated by the desire to stay competitive in the rapidly-evolving field of autonomous vehicles. Tesla has been a leader in this space, and other OEMs may feel pressure to catch up and stay competitive by adopting a more Tesla-like approach to autonomy.
While some OEMs may have initially taken a more Waymo-like approach to developing and deploying autonomous vehicles, many are now shifting towards a more Tesla-like approach as consumer demand for fully autonomous vehicles grows and the technology continues to advance. This shift reflects the dynamic nature of the field of autonomous vehicles and the importance of staying competitive in this rapidly-evolving industry.
Ford is an example of an OEM that initially took a more Waymo-like approach to developing autonomous vehicles, but has since shifted towards a more Tesla-like approach. In 2017, Ford announced that it was partnering with Argo AI, a startup that specializes in autonomous driving technology, to develop a self-driving vehicle platform. As part of the partnership, Ford invested $1 billion in Argo AI and committed to deploying its self-driving vehicles on the road by 2021.
However, in 2022, Ford announced that it was ending its partnership with Argo AI and would be bringing the development of its self-driving vehicles in-house to it’s ADAS program. As part of this decision, Ford also announced that it was closing Argo AI’s offices and laying off approximately several employees.
There are several reasons why Ford may have made this decision:
- Technological advancements: Ford may have felt that it had made sufficient progress in the development of its autonomous driving technology and no longer needed to rely on Argo AI’s expertise.
- Cost savings: By bringing the development of its self-driving vehicles in-house, Ford may have been able to save money on external partnerships and research and development costs.
- Increased control: By ending its partnership with Argo AI, Ford may have gained more control over the direction and development of its autonomous driving technology.
- Focus on ADAS technologies: In addition to developing fully autonomous vehicles, Ford has also been focusing on developing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which are technologies that can improve the safety and performance of vehicles by assisting the driver in various tasks. By bringing the development of its autonomous vehicles in-house, Ford may have been able to better align its efforts in this area and potentially accelerate the development of its ADAS technologies.
Ford’s decision to close Argo AI and bring the development of its self-driving vehicles in-house reflects a shift towards a more Tesla-like approach to autonomous driving. By focusing on its own internal technologies and resources, Ford may be able to more quickly and effectively develop and deploy fully autonomous vehicles and advance its ADAS technologies.
In conclusion, while both Tesla and Waymo have made impressive strides in the field of autonomous vehicles, we believe that Tesla’s approach is ultimately the better one. The company’s focus on developing and deploying fully autonomous vehicles, its strong track record of innovation, and its alignment with consumer demand set it apart from other companies and make it well-positioned to succeed in this rapidly-evolving field.