Kinda business-y / economics question here…
So according to this video, in the DARPA Grand challenge some teams had a budget of $3M and ended up building AVs that made it through a challenging, 100+ mile course fully autonomously.
Now, compared to that, for something like an airport baggage tractor, or even those AVs being piloted in shipping ports, it looks like the startups can struggle with cost overruns in excess of $10M+ with HUGE teams. How is that possible? Aren’t these vehicles just following pre-planned lanes / routes?
While I get how there’s a complexity factor to reach commercial-grade safety in the real world, shouldn’t the engineering requirements for closed environments here (vs the general AV case) be significantly simpler? No shade intended for any of these companies, but like why can’t someone get by with say $2M and a ~5 person team of smart cookies?