Sure, but the article isn't taking about simulations vs real life. It's
talking about simulations vs contrived but legally required tests on
manufacturer test tracks. Both are limited by imagination but simulations are
more thorough, at least according to Google
Google wants to replace expensive, real testing with inexpensive, fake (aka "simulations") testing. The two aren't comparable, and the danger is that Google can lobby to change the laws to allow simulations to replace real life testing.
Which is great for them, but bad for us.
Why aren't the two comparable? A simulated software environment is a development tool. It's great for working out the kinks in algorithms, but it is hopeless at working out the real manufacturing kinks in real life. In a simulation, the car performs correctly 100% of the time, repeatably. In real life, there's a screw that happens to touches one of the leads causing a short circuit in damp conditions, and the car screams to a halt in the middle of traffic.
Here's a software analogy (since we're talking about cars, we can't use a car analogy here...): simulation testing is like when you're tracing some code paths on paper, just to see if you're on the right track on the logic. It's a simulation, because you assume that the implementation has no bugs, the compiler has no bugs, the OS has no bugs, and there are no cosmic rays or DDOS attacks or the disk isn't making clicking noises. Real life testing is when your compiled code passes actual test cases in a full production environment, and has to cope with real inputs and outputs.