a16z Podcast

The Road to Autonomous Vehicles: Are We There Yet?

Steph Smith and Saswat Panigrahi

Posted June 26, 2023

Self-driving cars have been on the horizon for quite some time…

But they might actually be here.

We got to ride around in one all over San Francisco with Waymo’s Chief Product Officer.

We discussed so much, including the five levels of autonomy, the infamous LIDAR vs video debate, regulation, UX, and the role of AI in fine-tuning these models. But most importantly, if autonomy is here… now what?!

Show Notes

00:00 – Introduction

03:20 – A first look at Waymo

05:21 – 5 levels of autonomy

09:45 – Technology challenges

14:32 – LiDAR vs video debate

18:19 – How Waymo differentiates

19:01 – Technological unlocks on the horizon

20:39 – The role of AI in autonomous vehicles

25:37 – How Waymo views safety

32:05 – Collaborating with regulators

37:26 – Learnings from the first 2m miles

39:45 – Driving user retention

43:47 – Waymo’s expansion strategy

47:00 – Changing regulation

47:41 – Societal unlocks enabled by autonomy

52:21 – Will self-driving cars replace humans?

52:58 – Closing thoughts