Robotaxis haven't taken over the streets, but that doesn't mean self-driving cars are all hype

A concept illustration showing the cockpit of futuristic autonomous car.
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It wasn't supposed to be this hard.

Morgan Stanley, in a lengthy 2013 report, told investors that self-driving taxis are "the new auto industry paradigm" and assured readers that "completely autonomous cars are set to available before the end of the decade."

But the decade has ended and robotaxis aren't a common sight on American streets. Amid the hype, it's easy to miss that the billions that poured into the sector haven't been wasted. Investors are already reaping the rewards of these efforts.