For nearly a decade, auto executives and tech gurus have promised that self-driving cars would solve every problem of urban mobility. 

On the freeway, autonomous vehicles would reduce traffic and emissions. In cities, “robo-taxis” would free up parking spaces for sidewalks and cafés. Thanks to advanced cameras and lightning-fast reaction times, self-driving cars could achieve near-perfect safety records for drivers and pedestrians — all while allowing commuters to start the workday from the comfort of their backseat.  

According to the companies in charge of delivering this utopia, the technology behind it  has always been just around the corner. In 2012, CEO Sergey Brin autonomous vehicles would be a reality for “ordinary people” within five years. In 2016, Uber CEO Travis

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