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How Self-Driving Cars Can Get Past the Learning Permit Stage, Without Any Risk

Applied Intuition, a Marc Andreessen-backed startup, is selling driving simulators that might be able to help self-driving rivals catch up to Waymo.

This Applied Intuition simulation shows an autonomous vehicle interacting with cars, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians.

This Applied Intuition simulation shows an autonomous vehicle interacting with cars, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians.

Image: Applied Intuition
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Self-driving cars have made virtually every mistake imaginable inside the office of Applied Intuition. One braked hard to miss a pup that had run into the street, another barely avoided a truck with a blown tire barreling down the freeway. And the second-floor office in Sunnyvale, California, where none of the employees wear shoes, isn’t big enough to execute a three-point turn.

Peter Ludwig, a co-founder, showed off his startup’s product, something he believes dozens of automakers and tech startups trying to perfect autonomous driving will need. An image of a self-driving car appeared on his screen, taking a left turn at an intersection. A stick figure flashed in front—a sudden jaywalker—forcing the car to slam on its brakes.