News & Views » Detroit News

Report says Detroit is beating Silicon Valley in autonomous car research


An autonomous Ford Fusion hybrid at NAIAS 2017. - COURTESY OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY
  • Courtesy of Ford Motor Company
  • An autonomous Ford Fusion hybrid at NAIAS 2017.
Detroit is often cited as a symbol of American manufacturing's decline and Silicon Valley is heralded as the cutting edge of technology. But when it comes to autonomous vehicles that could be changing.

A new study conducted by Navigant Research ranked 18 companies that are developing self-driving vehicle technology. Two of Detroit's Big Three ranked the highest, with General Motors and Ford named "leaders." Silicon Valley tech giants like Google's Waymo and Tesla were only ranked as "contenders," and even Uber — once a leader in the field — trails in the "challengers" category, beset in recent months by legal entanglements and bad publicity.

  • Screenshot from Navigant

Why is Detroit back on top? Chalk it up to more than 100 years of manufacturing experience. "All the little [Silicon Valley] startups may have some interesting ideas, but they don’t have the resources to produce something sufficiently robust to be commercially viable," report co-author Sam Abuelsamid told The Verge. "If they have something good to offer, their best bet is an acquisition."

Although Michigan was slow to enter the race to develop autonomous vehicles, a package of bills signed by Gov. Rick Snyder late last year gave the Great Lakes State some of the most competitive autonomous vehicle laws in the nation. The bills passed through the House and Senate with nearly unanimous support.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.