Driven: The Race to Create the Autonomous Car
Alex Davies tells the “illuminating and important narrative” (Steven Levy, author of Facebook: The Inside Story) of the quest to develop driverless cars—and the fierce competition between Google, Uber, and other companies in a race to revolutionize our lives.
The self-driving car has been one of the most vaunted technological breakthroughs of recent years. But early promises that these autonomous vehicles would soon be on the roads have proven premature. Alex Davies follows the twists and turns of the story from its origins to today.
The story starts with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was charged with developing a land-based equivalent to the drone, a vehicle that could operate in war zones without risking human lives. DARPA issued a series of three “Grand Challenges” that attracted visionaries, many of them students and amateurs, who took the technology from Jetsons-style fantasy to near-reality. The young stars of the Challenges soon connected with Silicon Valley giants Google and Uber, intent on delivering a new way of driving to the civilian world.