Experts rank Amazon's self-driving unit, Tesla, Waymo, and 12 other power players in the world of autonomy

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Though autonomous-vehicle companies are moving slowly toward making their technology available to the public, the industry’s top tier is steadily becoming entrenched, according to two analysts from the research and consulting firm Guidehouse Insights.

Each year, Guidehouse ranks some of the biggest names working on automated-driving technology, evaluating each on criteria including technology, strategy, and partnerships. Waymo once again placed first on Guidehouse’s 2021 list, and was joined in the “leaders” category by Nvidia, Argo AI, and Baidu – companies whose work received high marks from Guidehouse in 2020.

The bottom of Guidehouse’s list also remained unchanged, with the firm ranking Tesla last while criticizing the electric-car maker’s approach to testing its automated-driving technology.

Here’s how Guidehouse analysts Sam Abuelsamid and Scott Shepard ranked 15 of the top companies developing automated-driving tech.

15. Tesla

Overall score: 34.7

Strategy: 24.0

Execution: 42.8

Highlights from Guidehouse’s analysis: “Throughout 2020, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla continued to push out incremental updates for its self-proclaimed full self-driving (FSD) feature including the ability to recognize and respond to traffic signs and signals.

“Like prior updates such as smart summon, both of the major 2020 updates have been problematic. The traffic sign and signal recognition has been challenging with many customers reporting that vehicles randomly stop at green lights before proceeding and often do not recognize basic signs such as stop signs.

“Tesla needs a thorough rethink of its approach to developing” its “ADS” (short for “automated driving system”). “It has overpromised with its marketing for nearly 5 years and severely undelivered. Until Tesla is more honest it is unlikely to improve in the rankings of this leaderboard.”

14. May Mobility

Overall score: 54.3

Strategy: 59.5

Execution: 48.6

Highlights from Guidehouse’s analysis: “Ann Arbor, Michigan-based May Mobility faced a number of challenges during 2020 including the loss of multiple senior executives early in the year and later the pandemic, which forced it to pause operations for several months. Two of May’s first four pilot programs in Providence, Rhode Island, and Columbus, Ohio, were