Report: Automakers Have Spent $75 Billion to Date on Self-Driving Cars

Where does this leave driverless cars?

Self-driving car
An autonomous car, 'ZOOX,' is seen on a test drive through Lombard Street in San Francisco.
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Will the future of cars and trucks be one that involves self-driving vehicles? It’s a question that some of the biggest technology companies out there are currently trying to answer — and it’s a feature that Tesla in particular has a lot riding on. But driverless cars remain a significant gamble — both in terms of the technological changes that engineers face and in terms of the moral decisions that their work calls to mind.

Nevertheless, a vehicle that drives itself safely remains something of a Holy Grail for many an automaker. And finding the Holy Grail, it turns out, doesn’t come cheap. A new Bloomberg report (via Autoblog) suggests that automakers have spent no less than $75 billion to date in developing driverless vehicles.

Bloomberg‘s analysis takes a somewhat skeptical approach to the amount of money spent, citing “scant sign of meaningful revenue emerging from robo-car services after all that cash incineration.”

One thing seems to be certain: it’s taking a lot longer to get to a fully driverless (or, to put it another way, fully self-driving) automobile than many in the space had anticipated. The article goes on to detail an array of responses to the current situation — ranging from some companies, such as the driverless taxi company Cruise, seeking to expand and others pondering consolidation.

The near future of driving isn’t quite what some experts believed that it would be — but the question of whether those changes will be in effect in a decade or two remains open.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.