Sun, Jul 14, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Europe’s self-driving start-ups navigate a trickier road

Different challenges such as roads originally designed for horses, weather that interferes with sensors and a lack of financing are forcing European firms to be more creative than their US counterparts

By Helen Reid and Eric Onstad  /  Reuters, OXFORD, England

For European start-ups, wariness on the part of investors about promises of one-size-fits-all autonomy could be an opportunity to sell their message.

Yet, while they might see self-driving as a fundamentally regional challenge, others are critical of their localized approach, saying the US giants will win out by ensuring commercially viable services first.

“If you want a business, I think you need to go where it’s easier, do it fairly quickly and then scale up, learn, and go to the next level of difficulty,” Kipferler said. “If you’re in it for the research side then test it in central London or Mumbai or Delhi — and you will never have a commercial service, but you will have the research.”

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