Many pathways to the promised land of self-driving cars From Apple and Ford to Waymo and Volkswagen, automakers and technology companies all are working towards self-driving vehicles but have different strategies and business models Brent Snavely and Greg Gardner, Detroit Free Press Published 10:17 p.m. ET Jan. 7, 2017 http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/2017/01/07/self-driving-cars-autonomous-vehicles/96023750/ Automakers and technology companies tend to be secretive about their progress. That makes it hard for analysts to figure out who is really ahead and who is just thumping their chest loudly. "That makes it hard to say who is really in the lead," said Karl Brauer, senior director of Cox Automotive. "I have a sense of who is pushing really hard, and who is trying the hardest...because like most technology endeavors, you don’t want to tell everyone where you are." . . . Toyota also has made an unspecified investment in Uber. But the Japanese automaker has taken a cautious approach to bringing fully autonomous cars to public roads. This past week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, TRI CEO Gill Pratt said the company is “nowhere near close” to a level of full autonomous driving, labeled as Level 5 by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Pratt's comments Thursday came as Toyota unveiled the Concept-i car at CES. . . . Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said last week the Japanese automaker plans to launch a new “Seamless Autonomous Mobility,” or “SAM,” system that combines artificial intelligence with human support to help self-driving vehicles make decisions in difficult situations. Ghosn, in contrast to Ford, believes automakers should phase in self-driving vehicles. "Even fully autonomous vehicles will not be able to handle every possible situation they encounter. The world is too simply too complex," Ghosn said. . . .