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Expert Voices

How AV companies are picking their U.S. launch markets

GM Cruise test self-driving vehicle driving through an intersection
A GM Cruise test vehicle in San Francisco. Photo: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

As autonomous vehicle companies plan for commercial robotaxi deployments, they're weighing everything from city layout to weather in selecting launch markets.

Why it matters: Robotaxis will not be available everywhere at the same time. AV companies must choose cities to start with — a critical business decision that will determine which populations are first exposed to this technology and how it further develops.

The autonomous vehicle cash grab

Illustration of blue car on top of a tall stack of greenbacks
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Billions of dollars are flowing into autonomous vehicle development from all corners of the auto and tech industries, with no clear path to success for anyone.

Why it matters: Self-driving technology is not a first-mover, winner-take-all contest. Technology advancements matter, but companies will need to carve out a profitable business model that capitalizes on their strengths — and stop investing in races they can't win.