“How quickly perceptions can change. It may seem hard to remember now, but a year ago the hype machine was still full steam ahead on self-driving cars and their presumed future dominance of the transportation system,” Paris Marx writes for Medium. “Drivers would be liberated as software took over their role, making everyone a passenger.”
“The fatal Uber crash hadn’t happened. People still believed that Tesla’s Autopilot system was safe and that Full Self-Driving was on the horizon,” Marx writes. “There was little question in the reporting on autonomous vehicles that they were safer than human drivers, despite the complete lack of evidence. The tech visionaries had spoken, and as is too often the case, the media fell in line.”
“Waymo, a division of Alphabet, has long been acknowledged as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology. Based on the limited data that’s been released, its vehicles are acknowledged as having driven the most miles in self-driving mode and have the lowest rate of disengagements (when humans have to take over),” Marx writes. “However, even Waymo’s CEO, John Krafcik, now admits that the self-driving car that can drive in any condition, on any road, without ever needing a human to take control — what’s usually called a ‘level 5’ autonomous vehicle — will never exist.”
At the Wall Street Journal’s D.Live conference on November 13, Krafcik said that ‘autonomy will always have constraints,'” Marx writes. “It will take decades for self-driving cars to become common on roads, and even then they will not be able to drive in certain conditions, at certain times of the year, or in any weather. In short, sensors on autonomous vehicles don’t work well in snow or rain — and that may never change.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Here’s the thing about never: It’s such a long time, you’ll never win any argument that employs it; this one excepted.
Anyone with life experience knows you do not say they word NEVER. Only empty suits like Krafcik would.
Otherwise most with a logical mindset know its not tomorrow that cars will be zooming around all without a human at the controls. Someday? Who knows as someday is a long time out and anything is possible.
How about “NEVER” rape or sexually assault a child? I’ve got more.
But I get your point. In the tech world, the standard is different…
He has confused Lvl 5 autonomy with magic. Humans can’t drive in any situation. A vehicle that says the weather is to bad for it to drive is still Lvl 5. Often the most intelligent statement is, I don’t know.
Do we even want Level 5 autonomy? Anyhow, even if Waymo’s CEO is right, achieving Level 3 and 4 will immensely help make driving easier and safer. My Tesla Model 3 has Level 2 autonomy, maybe 2.5, and it’s immensely helpful on long trips, just taking some of the stress of travel.
Level 5 under clear conditions but Level 4 otherwise would likely be the most reasonably expected outcome down the road. Do I expect the car to drive without a driver in the seat at some point in the coming years? Absolutely. Based on what I’ve read, it would seem that Waymo’s approach using Lidar and pre-programmed routes is easier to show progress in the short term, but will be more limited by things like weather or unmapped terrain/roads than a more generalized approach taken based primarily on vision and sensors. Maybe he’s largely talking about Waymo’s preferred approach hitting a dead end well before full level 5? Either way, his absolute will be proven absolutely wrong at some point in the future. 🙂
No, really, never say never.
Waymo to Start First Driverless Car Service Next Month
Under a new name, the Google sibling plans to methodically build a futuristic rival to Uber and Lyft. This is how it will unfold.
I suspect Waymo is playing public relations games. They, and others, already have self driving rids here pilot programs up and running.
The biggest problem seems to be morons attacking the cars.
Waymo self-driving vehicles face attacks in Arizona
Slashing tires, throwing rocks, brake-checking, and a game of chicken
Wielding Rocks and Knives, Arizonans Attack Self-Driving Cars …
Dec 31, 2018 · A Waymo autonomous vehicle in Chandler, Ariz., where the driverless cars have been attacked by residents on several occasions. Credit Credit Caitlin O’Hara for The New York Times
If it can drive on the roads I mostly use, in most of the weather conditions, I’m happy with that.
As a physician, I can tell you that when a doctor tells their patient that something “never,” or “always” happens, they are, by definition, wrong. I understand that John Krafcik is an expert on autonomous vehicles, but that doesn’t mean he can read the future, in which everything that happens is unclear, because we don’t know everything that will happen to lead up to everything that can happen. The irony of the article is the author’s contention that the Tech press goes along unquestioningly about what the techies are telling them will happen in the future…hmmm!
The gulf between absolutes and reality is often affordability.
If you want a Level 5 autonomous vehicle, then first become a billionaire. Then you can drive around a car that costs more than a Gulfstream and enjoy the pleasure of not driving on a closed road course away from the real world.
I’d rather be a mere multimillionaire and hire Jason Statham do drive me around in an Audi A8L in the real world.
Well that’s even more negative than my own claims that it will be 20 years or so before they are common of anything close to truly autonomous. I certainly think his opinion is far more accurate than so many of the evangelists promoting them often with claims of imininent introduction. There will be examples of such vehicals working in limited circumstances in the 5 year time span often parroted but generally it will be a slow but significant improvement in capabilities that may or may not end or get close to true level 5 capability in the foreseeable future but certainly no time soon.
I would assume driverless would be implemented in small baby steps, starting with small courier deliveries in defined territories, then in intracity company deliveries, and onward.
Why is this an all or nothing proposition?
“There was little question in the reporting on autonomous vehicles that they were safer than human drivers, despite the complete lack of evidence. The tech visionaries had spoken, and as is too often the case, the media fell in line.”
The “media fell in line.” Exactly. They fall in line all the time with Big Tech, the Democratic Party, politically correct leftist outrage and anything that is anti-American, anti-Trump, anti-common sense. Present day U.S. newsrooms are NOW staffed by over 90% registered Democrats with rare exception, gee, what a stacked deck surprise. The Big Media decades ago lost all critical thinking skills and balanced reporting, remember just the facts — GONE. The mob mentality of liberal bias consumed them and they don’t have to hide it anymore like once upon a time in the Walter Cronkite heyday. No wonder the newspaper industry is DYING more and more every year. Newspapers now write history with a biased asterisk.
“It will take decades for self-driving cars to become common on roads, and even then they will not be able to drive in certain conditions, at certain times of the year, or in any weather. In short, sensors on autonomous vehicles don’t work well in snow or rain — and that may never change.”
Exactly. Satellite reception, drones flying and iffy autonomous vehicles is not something I would trust with my life to weather, storms, software glitches, viruses, et al. Certainly we shall see if we have Project Titan or Project Titanic…
You don’t say? Actually yes, a great many of us did at the very beginning. There will never be ‘AI’, either, just better algorithms. Unicorn Silicon Valley has been a bad joke (we said that, too!), its engineers just don’t seem to be capable of much depth or insight.
“that can drive in any condition, on any road”
LOL. I see people every week who can’t drive on a sunny day.
If there ever such a thing as a real self-driving car, I will decide under what conditions it will be allowed to drive itself.