Book Review - Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car — And How It Will Reshape Our World

Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car—And How It Will Reshape Our World by Lawrence D. Burns, Christopher Shulgan

Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car—And How It Will Reshape Our WorldAutonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car—And How It Will Reshape Our World by Lawrence D. Burns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book reminded me of "The Road Ahead" by Bill Gates. This is an impressive account on Self Driving Technology, that is about to come and consume us in the near future. The book is very well written. Initially, I had plenty of doubts on the author, Lawrence D Burn's style, thinking that he was one of the pure management type guys, looking at things in a disconnected way, trying to associate himself with changes brought about by others. I was proven wrong. I started appreciating his insights, his outlook towards this project, his commitments, and really understood where he was coming from when the author provided more context into his own up bringing and background. He provided the view from Detroit, that many following the self-driving space will miss, and it an important viewpoint to consider.

The book starts with the DARPA race, narrates the events, and stories of people who are shaping this story. GM, and Google play a very important role in the story. The book shines in presenting, well researching personal accounts from various actors like Red Whitaker, Chris Urmson, Sebastian Thrun, Larry Page, Antony Levandowski, Travis Kalanick, as well as many people from the top management in established car companies. It was good to get a first hand account on how people running established businesses think, and make decisions. It also shares the grit, and adventures of engineers who work to push the envelop of the possibilities. The book indirectly highlights the value/policy stances taken by companies such as Waymo, Tesla, and Uber pursuing self driving technology after giving the backround on the limitations of the technology, which were known to everyone developing it. It should be noted that as of 2019, Tesla and Uber have both been responsible for loss of lives with their pursuit of this adventure, and both have escaped consequences for their mistakes.

With all the events, book lays the solid ground for what is to come and expected in the next few years or decades for Autonomy. I will count this book as one of the good business books that I have read in recent years.

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