Re: No wheel is one thing
"they are very far away from actually being able to make a machine that can reliably drive itself."
Even if its actually able to drive itself in all road conditions its still far less flexible than a human driver. How many times have we moved our car a few feet in the drive or garage or street to make room for something? How exactly are you going to get a self driving car to do that without explicitely telling it or having some way to direct it to a location with accuracy in inches and the orientation required?
As you say, this is more delusional BS from this industry and even worse, its a completely cynical attempt at 3rd party control. No steering wheel = car is unmovable without a tow truck if they decide to disable it, you can't even push it.
No one wants this - yes, a car that can drive itself on the motorway might be nice on occasion, but no option of manual control? No thanks. This is being pushed by naive engineers and vested business interests, not the consumer. The only people it might appeal to are non drivers who don't want to pass the test, but in that there's already something equivalent - its called a taxi.