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Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky. Photo: Courtesy of Argo AI

The rollout of self-driving cars is happening as it should — gradually and safely — Bryan Salesky, CEO of Argo AI, a leading developer of automated driving technology, tells Axios.

The big picture: Self-driving vehicles could help improve safety, reduce traffic congestion and improve access to transportation for many, but those benefits will come slowly and as part of a larger transportation system, Salesky said.

  • "We don't pretend that self-driving cars as a technology platform can solve the larger-scale issues around congestion and efficiency. My view is it will take a systems approach to solve."
  • AVs, he believes, will operate as part of a connected fleet, taking instructions from cloud-based management software to find the optimal routes that balance traffic loads across roadways.
  • Those fleets will be very small, however, with hundreds, not thousands, of AVs available to both consumers and businesses in just a handful of cities where the weather is good.

"All these business models will be messy at first," he predicts, as companies try to figure out what works and where to invest over the next decade.

  • "The societal impact won't be felt for many years from now. Over time, we will look back on this and say, 'Wow, that was a remarkable amount of progress in that time.'"

What to watch: Ford plans to launch a limited fleet of AVs using Argo's self-driving technology in Miami, and then Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, starting in 2021.

Go deeper:

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Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. (Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images)

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

Trump gives farewell address: "We did what we came here to do"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump gave a farewell video address on Tuesday, saying that his administration "did what we came here to do — and so much more."

Why it matters, via Axios' Alayna Treene: The address is very different from the Trump we've seen in his final weeks as president — one who has refused to accept his loss, who peddled conspiracy theories that fueled the attack on the Capitol, and who is boycotting his successor's inauguration.