GM's Cruise execs talk about the autonomous driving unit's history, its progress and plans, internal development tools they use, and more (Kyle Wiggers/VentureBeat)

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According to marketing firm ABI, as many as 8 million driverless cars will be added to the road in 2025. Meanwhile, Research and Markets is predicting that in the U.S. alone, there will be some 20 million autonomous cars in operation by 2030.

How realistic are those numbers?

If you ask Adrian Macneil, not especially. And he should know — he’s the director of engineering at Cruise, the self-driving startup that General Motors acquired for nearly $1 billion in 2016. “I think the best way that I’ve heard this described [is], the entire industry is basically in a race to the starting line,” Macneil told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “The penetration of driving the majority of miles with autonomous miles isn’t going to happen overnight.”

Cruise is considered a pack leader in a global market that’s anticipated to hit revenue of $173.15 billion by 2023. Although it hasn’t yet launched a driverless taxi service (unlike competitors Waymo, Yandex, and Drive.ai) or sold cars to customers, it’s driven more miles than most — around 450,000 in California last year, according to a report it filed with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. That’s behind only Waymo, which drove 1.2 million