Boots & Sabers

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2158, 15 Dec 23

AVs “unlikely to be profitable anytime in the foreseeable future”

Innovation is hard and expensive. This is the trial and error of capitalism. When government decides to weigh in and force something that is economically unviable, it retards the system’s ability to innovate.

But there’s growing concern across the industry, not just with GM and Cruise, about the viability of autonomous vehicles, or AVs, as a business instead of as a niche science project.


“AV technology, while they’ve made a lot of progress with it, is unlikely to be profitable anytime in the foreseeable future, certainly not this decade,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “If they need to make cuts, robotaxis seem like the obvious place to do that.”


Some Wall Street analysts are holding out hope that GM and Barra can turn Cruise around and eventually refocus on growing the business, as the Detroit automaker takes a more hands-on approach with the company. Several are expecting updates at an investor event in March.


“The plan to pause Cruise operations and reduce spending on Cruise in 2024 are only first steps. Once again, we expect these concerns to be addressed and cured at the capital markets day in early 2024 but expect skepticism to remain in the interim,” Morgan Stanley analyst John Murphy said in a Nov. 29 investor note.


If GM can’t turn the operations around, Cruise would join a list of its past defunct growth businesses, partnerships and investments since 2016.


2158, 15 December 2023


  1. dad29


    There are lots of entities who will ‘quash’ Self-Driving Vehicles. Let’s start with the insurance industry, which is motivated by the Trial Lawyers.

    Then there’s the “Who the Hell would buy THIS?”{ group, consisting of 90++% of US citizens old enough to think.

  2. MjM

    Cars don’t kill people, people kill….

    …um… wait….

    Why did Tesla just recall two million?

    As one who has been steeped in it for 45 years+ I can tell you the more technology you have the more it Fs up. A single unexpected – or unanticipated – flip from 0 to 1 or vice versa has more consequences than you can imagine.

    Gotta have the latest iPhone? Go for it. Wanna putz around with drone for fun? Have at it. Maybe a $7000 talking toilet from Kohler is your thang.

    But putting autonomy tech into a 3000lb rolling anvil and letting it loose in a sea of pedestrians and other anvils is just plain stupid.

    As Daddio notes, the lawyerman will let you know.

  3. dad29

    Driverless Cars is another manifestation of “Look what WE can DO!!” silliness from Detroit. The “Who Has the Largest Screen” foolishness is the same.

    How did “driverless cars” become a NEED? No one will answer that question because the real answer is “They are NOT.”

    But they show that GM is the biggest swinging d***, see? Until FoMoCo comes up with one that flies.

  4. jonnyv

    AVs are the future. Much like EVs. But we are not ready for them yet, technology wise. I don’t see it for another 10 years or so for AVs to become a real viable solution in new vehicles.

    Most people don’t want to drive. They want to get from one place to another while they look at their phone and have conversations or play games. So AV will eventually be the solution. And when it is the primary solution, it will be magnitudes better and safer than the any person driving. But until we get there, I personally don’t like the large screen, non tactile, options in new vehicles. In my wife’s Jeep, it takes me too long to go into the climate section and then turn down the heater, vs my 2009 Fit that has a turn dial I can use while not taking my eyes off of the road. Granted some of the friction will be eliminated with voice assisted controls as well that can handle some of those basic tasks for us.

  5. dad29

    Most people don’t want to drive.

    An assertion for which you have proof, right?

    it will be magnitudes better and safer than the any person driving.

    ANOTHER assertion for which you have proof, right?

    voice assisted controls

    Because there will be zero exterior or interior noise which interferes with “voice.”

  6. jonnyv

    Dad29. My first assertion is based on my everyday commute to downtown Milwaukee and the number of people I see distracted by their phones. Given the option of just being more or less a passenger person in a car, I believe that MOST people would choose to just be a rider than a driver. This is ASSUMING that you trust the AV, which in the future will probably be the case once the tech gets more refined. If more people cared about “driving” cars, there would probably be more manual transmission vehicles sold. “Driving” cars is going to become a hobby for people.

    I am unable to prove something that is not existent yet. But based on technologies such as automatic braking, assisted cruise control, and current safety tools already in vehicles, I find it very safe to say that a road full of connected AVs will have lower death rates than our current system of individual drivers. Nothing will be perfect and there will be deaths that can be directly attributed to them in the future. But I would be willing to bet that they will be significantly smaller than what we have now. Airplanes have become safer over the past 30 years as more and more planes have become automated as well.

    And yes, voice assisted controls for console things such as climate, radio, comfort, etc will absolutely work with interior and exterior noise. Go ahead and look at some of the breakthroughs in noise removal that many of the Nvidia graphics chips can do now. It is LITERALLY amazing at what they can easily filter out with minimal processing power. I can have a leaf blower next to my head and microphone and still get very clear audio. This is the simplest of all problems to solve. (go to the 9:20 point to see capabilities that are already 3 years old, and it is better now.)

    In my house, my Google Assistant can understand my daughters slurred speech due to her disability very easily and turns on and off lights for her as well as the TV that we have setup for her assistance.

  7. dad29

    “……the number of people I see distracted by their phones

    So you are basing your conclusion on your observations of idiots. Cool.

    “…automatic braking, assisted cruise control, and current safety tools already in vehicles…

    Every one of which has had serious malfunction incidents.

    VERY PLEASED to hear that your daughter’s needs are taken care of!

  8. jonnyv

    Dad29, I do base my observations on idiots. Assume the worst and be amazed. But this is exactly what I am saying, in that people would rather be doing other things during the time they spend commuting. I bet there are some people who just LOVE the relaxing environment of driving southbound on 94 into downtown, or the scenic lake view drive, but if you gave them the option of a personal driver everyday… most would take it.. Last year 55% of drivers said they would feel somewhat comfortable sharing the road with AVs. 45% said not at all. But that number will go UP as the technology gets better.

    Dad29, planes have crashed. Do you never travel by plane? Brakes have failed. Do you not still drive? Every technology is susceptible to failure. Elevators have fallen, do you always take the stairs? Every year there are a small handful of firearm or ammunition failures, some that cause serious accidents. No more guns? Judging a technology on past failures is a great way to never move forward. You must only walk places, because of your fear of getting thrown from your horse. You wouldn’t want to wear a saddle because you are strapped in then and much more difficult to dismount! Because there is NO way you drive in a vehicle that is powered by a highly volatile and combustible fluid under pressure… imagine what COULD happen!

    It is possible that the recent death of Officer Nowak may have been prevented if his vehicle had automatic braking or a LIDAR alert system. Instead he drove directly into a Semi making a U-turn on a dark residential road. He was clearly not attentive or impaired (alcohol or sleep). These technologies ALWAYS save more lives in the long run.

  9. dad29

    Nah, bro, I use my manny-tranny 5 speed every day, 4 times/day. No LIDAR, no auto brakes, and very few idiot lights.

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