An excellent parable on the goals to set when looking to the future. In the coming years, this story should be on the minds of anyone working in the autonomous vehicle space.
Britain was set to dominate the jet age. In 1952, the de Havillands Comet began commercial service, triumphantly connecting London with the farthest reaches of the Empire. The jet plane was years ahead of any competitor, gorgeous to look at, and set new standards for comfort and quiet in the air. Then things went horribly wrong.
In 1953 a Comet fell out of the sky, and the crash was attributed to bad weather and pilot error. …In 1954, a second Comet fell out of clear skies near Rome. The fleet was grounded for two months while repairs were made. Flights then resumed with the declaration, ‘Although no definite reason for the accident has been established, modifications are being embodied to cover every possibility that imagination has suggested as a likely cause of the disaster. When these modifications are completed and have been satisfactorily flight tested, the Board sees no reason why passenger services should not be resumed.’ Four days after these words were written, a third Comet fell into the sea out of clear skies near Naples, and the fleet was grounded again indefinitely.
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