Freezing cold for self-driving cars on the stock market

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The numbers are absolutely cataclysmic. In a note published recently, Joanna Glasner, financial analyst at Crunchbase, draws up a frightening inventory of the market value of startups specializing in autonomous driving systems.

Of the 14 companies analyzed over the past two years, the drop in value recorded is thus 81%, or 40 billion dollars. At the global level, their valuation has gone from 51 billion dollars when they were listed on the stock market to 9.16 billion dollars today.

The autonomous car is clearly not for tomorrow

Some cases are particularly emblematic, such as Embark Technologies, which develops self-driving truck technologies, and whose value has fallen by 97%. For its part, Quanergy Systems, a company that offers very useful LiDAR sensors for the sector, saw the stock market value drop by 99%.

These figures are striking in themselves, but the analyst drives the point home by offering a comparison: To put that into perspective: It would be like the price of your million-dollar California home dropping in a matter of months to just $30,000. It’s quite catastrophic. ยป

How to explain such a collapse? A few years ago, the euphoria was marketing self-driving cars. Elon Musk himself predicted, for example, that one million robotaxis, without driving staff, would be on the road by the end of 2020. A prophecy that never came true. In fact, many promises have not been kept.

On the contrary, real problems have appeared and we have seen the limits of these technologies. By the very admission of their main supporters, it will still be many, many years before we have truly reliable systems.

In a study published this year, the American Automobile Association (AAA) looked at self-driving systems. She noted that these technologies hold up in normal situations. However, as soon as a minor problem appears, they no longer manage.

The AAA states: While it is encouraging that these driving systems have been successful in spotting slow-moving cars and cyclists in the same lane, the inability to spot a crossing cyclist or an oncoming vehicle is alarming. ยป

Driving is made up of these little traps, and we can also note that humans generally manage to avoid these dangers. For now, this is not yet the case with the machine.

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