The gang dives back into the world of sensors this week, with a conversation about lidar, autonomous vehicles and surviving the "trough of disappointment" with Angus Pacala of Ouster Lidar. Unlike some other lidar companies, which are a bet on the market for autonomous vehicles, Ouster has taken a diversified approach to the business and now has hundreds of customers in a wide variety of fields. We discuss why that strategy has paid off, how Ouster is validating its sensors, why autonomous vehicles will likely always have lidar, and where the sensor business is headed.

What is Tesla Autopilot missing? Can Driver Monitoring Systems work? What are the best and worst driver assistance systems? How can we improve the SAE automation levels? In this episode recorded live at the Pennsylvania Autonomous Vehicle Summit, Alex (and Ed, before he had to take off to promote his book) gets schooled by Kelly Funkhauser, Consumer Reports' Head of Connected & Automated Vehicles, a rare voice of reason in a sector full of "experts" spouting BS.

While some states scramble to get a handle on the sudden appearance of autonomous vehicles on their roads, Pennsylvania's had time to think about the challenge. Thanks to the Pittsburgh robotics hub around Carnegie Mellon University, robocars have been plying the Keystone State's roads since at least a 2013 demonstration drive. Recorded live at the state's annual Autonomous Vehicle Summit, Ed moderates a discussion about the lessons learned with state Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards and Ehrlichman Group CEO and returning Autonocast guest Courtney Ehrlichman.

Recently, the entire automotive world has been obsessed with a single vehicle: Porsche's new electric sportscar, the Taycan. Alex and Kirsten were among those invited to the Taycan's official reveal, and share their thoughts on its price, positioning, performance and (most importantly) pronunciation. Meanwhile, Ed wonders if it even matters quite as much as the Tesla-dominated EV discourse makes it out to be.

To celebrate the launch of Ed's new book LUDICROUS: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors, Alex and Kirsten put his mantra that "critical coverage is a sign of love and support, not hate" to the test. Leveraging their respective experience as a Tesla fan and a tough journalist, Alex and Kirsten grill Ed on the positions, principles and journalistic practices behind LUDICROUS and his Tesla coverage more generally. What follows is something of a throwback to the intense Tesla debates of the Autonocast's earliest episodes, and a spirited discussion about one of the most interesting and important stories in the world of mobility.

There is no more important question int he world of autonomous vehicle development than the one that has become something of a conference panel cliche: "how safe is safe enough?" The Israeli startup Foretellix isn't trying to answer that question themselves, but they are developing the tools with which companies and regulators may someday verify the safety of autonomous vehicles. Co-founder and CEO Ziv Binyamini explains why this task is so challenging, how Foretellix is developing a testing and measurement paradigm using techniques pioneered in chip design and who might adopt it as autonomous vehicles come closer to reality.

With GM's Cruise autonomous division backing away from its goal of deploying robotaxis in San Francisco this year, the gang discusses the pros and cons of different approaches to this unique moment in the autonomous drive space. Cruise's pivot from overambitious goal-setting represents one approach, Tesla's continued bluster and trend-defying confidence is another, while Navya's woes show that even seemingly more-pragmatic strategies can lead to overblown expectations and financial and technical challenges. These three case studies anchor a wide-ranging discussion about the expectations and realities of self-driving vehicles, how the hype got so out of control and how to start to bring it back down to earth.

After a few chaotic weeks that have seen Kirsten putting on a wildly successful mobility conference for TechCrunch, Alex's employer Argo AI signing a hugely impactful deal with Volkswagen and Ed preparing to launch his book, the gang gets back together for the first time in a while. After catching up on some of the recent news, the show cuts to Kirsten and Ed's conversation with Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson from the Renovo minivan outside the TC Mobility Session conference. Having long awaited the chance to learn more about the ambitious and sometimes-enigmatic startup, Ed and Kirsten pepper Levinson with questions about Zoox's plans, partners and self-driving system in a relatively brief but packed conversation about a company that is rethinking the car from the ground up.