Dan Ammann, who left the presidency of General Motors (GM) at the beginning of 2019 to steer Cruise, the corporation’s initiative in self-driving cars, has resigned from the company.
GM had promised it would field a road-ready driverless car in 2019 but that did not happen.
Since Ammann took charge at Cruise, enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles has waned as the scope of the technological challenges have been made more obvious and several high-profile crashes have underscored the challenges.
GM bought Cruise for $1 billion in 2016 and the San Francisco-based company is testing 300 autonomous vehicles there and in Phoenix.
GM’s terse statement announcing Ammann’s departure failed to give the usual thanks and praise for his service, indicating tensions between him and the company. 
TREND FORECAST: In May 2018, we correctly equated the over-heated driverless vehicle investment trend to the bubble of the late 1990s (Driverless cars? As forecast: Driverless fraud, Driving us over the cliff”, 18 May 2018).
Back then, the hype and overblown expectations of how internet-driven businesses would drive investor megabucks led to an explosion of start-ups over those next few years. But a large percentage quickly failed and the bubble burst. 
The driverless car hype has followed the same track as the implosion, as the entire auto industry and segments of the high-tech world invested billions in what we accurately forecast as an over-eager bet.
TREND FORECAST: The intervening years have proven that safe self-driving vehicles require much more sophisticated technology and infrastructure than the technology’s early promoters acknowledged.
Development of those technologies and infrastructure will continue, but at a much reduced rate of investment and speed than three years ago.
Vehicle makers have now realized that, although safe self-driving cars may be a reality some day, their evolution will take many years more than first expected.
In addition, it will be years beyond that that a majority of drivers feel comfortable risking their physical safety in the hands of an algorithm.
In addition, people will be reluctant to give up driving because it remains one area of our lives where we still can exercise choice and control.
TREND FORECAST: The opposite of Hi-Tech auto’s is one of our Top Trends for 2022, “Low–Tech Simplicity.” And as we note, “The “simplicity” trend has great import for manufacturing in general, but especially for the automobile industry. Hi-tech, as we have detailed, has dramatically driven up the cost of automobiles… and have made them unaffordable for the shrinking middle classes. 
Going Low-Tech, provides a very broad and profitable OnTrendpreneur® automobile opportunity.

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