This being slashdot, I didn't bother clicking through to read the whole thing. But the most important advantage that the car companies have wasn't in the summary: regulatory capture.
They own the legislatures in several midwestern states and they own the state and federal regulatory agencies as much as the agencies own them.
They have already managed to get a law passed in Michigan that was hailed as the most permissive framework in the nation for autonomous cars. The one thing that everyone missed is that only car manufacturers can apply for a license. So no google, no apple, no any of the other parts manufacturers who are building autonomous driving subsystems. (Actually google fought for and received a "grandfathered" status for their tests)
The car companies are currently pushing the same legislation in neighboring states.