The openness with regard to the issues with VCs and Machine Learning is not heard nearly enough. Good on you for stating this.
Beyond that though you still unfortunately miss the much larger root cause. You cannot see the forest for the echo chamber trees. Even with issues around ML the reliance on shadow/safety driving, remote safety driving and use of gaming based simulation technology is the problem. No one can spend the time, money or cost in loves that will eventually pile up to use this path.
It is a myth that public shadow and safety driving can create a legitimate autonomous vehicle and that the lives the process takes are necessary and for the greater good. It is impossible to drive the trillion miles or spend $300B to stumble and restumble on all the scenarios necessary to complete the effort. In addition, the process harms people for no reason. The first issue is handover. The process cannot be made safe for most complex scenarios because the time to regain proper situational awareness and do the right thing, especially in time critical scenarios. cannot be provided. Another dangerous area is learning accident scenarios. AV makers will have to run thousands of accident scenarios thousands of times to accomplish this. That will cause thousands of injuries and deaths. (And remote ops in your use case was reckless.)
The solution is to use DoD simulation technology to create a legitimate physics based digtial twin, especially for active sensors, informed and validated by the real-world, for most of the development and testing. I tried to show this to quite a few folks in your company. You fell into the massive echo chamber trap of thinking this industry knows what is best, innovates everything and no other industry has done anything any better. That arrogance and ignorance drove you, and is driving this industry, out of business. How ridiculous is it to not take even 1 hour to see if I know what I am talking about?
Proposal for Successfully Creating an Autonomous Ground or Air Vehicle
Simulation can create a Complete Digital Twin of the Real World if DoD/Aerospace Technology is used
Remote Control for Autonomous Vehicles — A far worse idea than the use of Public “Safety” Driving
Gill Pratt, Toyota, Waymo and FiveAI confirmed the Collapse of the Autonomous Vehicle Industry — It can be Reversed with an Ego, Echo Chamber and Engineering Paradigm Shift