Saturday, December 17, 2016

Uber's Lame Excuse

Speaking of self- driving cars, KQED reports on Uber's efforts to defy the DMV and run their fleet without permits the DMV insists are necessary. I cringe whenever I hear what seems like Uber's excuse for doing so, pointing the finger at Tesla: 

"Levandowski likened the Volvos’ abilities to those of Tesla cars that have the Autopilot feature allowing them to keep their lane, brake and accelerate without a person touching the wheel. He wondered why the thousands of Teslas on California roads don’t need a permit if Uber’s cars do"

I've heard that used umpteen times in my life without success. "If they can do it, why can't we?" All that accomplishes is getting the other person in trouble. Just you watch. Before we know it, the DMV and who knows who else, will go after Tesla, too. Happens all the time.


At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The short answer is: because a self-driving car is a world apart from 'smart cruise control.'

Tesla's only automation is on highways with narrowly predictable variables (slow the Tesla to avoid hitting a car in front of you, and turn with the lane markings).

A self-driving car negotiating the myriad of dangers on a city street is incredibly different... programming that recognizes traffic lights and stop signs and pedestrians and U-turns and no right right turn on red, and yield to oncoming traffic before making a left turn, and parking, etc. etc. etc.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Rick Wentworth said...

wonder what DMV would do if a person showed up for driving exam for license and they had a self driving car ?????

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

Other car companies currently testing self-driving cars followed the rules and obtained permits. Uber is letting their inner-libertarian child run wild.

BTW, folks might like watching this video of a self-driving Tesla making its way around city streets, onto a freeway, and back to Tesla headquarters.

The car then let's its "backup driver" exit and takes itself off to find an empty parking spot and park itself. Along the way it stops when a pedestrian walks out between parked cars and into its path.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

Just some background info.

What Tesla drivers can now use is what Tesla calls an "autopilot". This is a system that can keep the car centered in a well-marked lane and can change lanes when signaled by the driver. Autopilot also offers adaptive cruise control which will drive at the selected speed but slow down if following a slower car. Autopilot also includes self-braking.

This is not a self-driving system. It requires the driver to be attentive because the system is not capable of detecting all potential problems. (One driver failed to do his job of monitoring and it got him killed.)

The next version will be totally self-driving. The car will be able to go about anywhere on its own, with no human inside backing it up.

Starting a couple of weeks ago all Tesla sold have all the hardware (cameras, radar systems, etc.) needed for self-driving.

Tesla calculates that they need about a year's worth of intensive mapping of the nation's roads before the self-driving system will be functional. Every Tesla equipped with self-driving hardware will be collecting data as they are driven by humans.

An additional year of hundreds of thousands of cars mapping the nation's roads should give Tesla the mapping data they need and spot the low probability events that the sensor/computer system can't handle.


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