Thursday, July 18, 2019

And Socialists Want to Central Plan the Entire World!!

The New York Times reports:

Despite High Hopes, Self-Driving Cars Are ‘Way in the Future’

A year ago, Detroit and Silicon Valley had visions of putting thousands of self-driving taxis on the road in 2019, ushering in an age of driverless cars.

Most of those cars have yet to arrive — and it is likely to be years before they do. Several carmakers and technology companies have concluded that making autonomous vehicles is going to be harder, slower and costlier than they thought.

“We overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Ford’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, said at the Detroit Economic Club in April.

In the most recent sign of the scramble to regroup, Ford and Volkswagen said Friday that they were teaming up to tackle the self-driving challenge.

The two automakers plan to use autonomous-vehicle technology from a Pittsburgh start-up, Argo AI, in ride-sharing services in a few urban zones as early as 2021. But Argo’s chief executive, Bryan Salesky, said the industry’s bigger promise of creating driverless cars that could go anywhere was “way in the future.”

He and others attribute the delay to something as obvious as it is stubborn: human behavior.

Researchers at Argo say the cars they are testing in Pittsburgh and Miami have to navigate unexpected situations every day. Recently, one of the company’s cars encountered a bicyclist riding the wrong way down a busy street between other vehicles. Another Argo test car came across a street sweeper that suddenly turned a giant circle in an intersection, touching all four corners and crossing lanes of traffic that had the green light.

“You see all kinds of crazy things on the road, and it turns out they’re not all that infrequent, but you have to be able to handle all of them,” Mr. Salesky said. “With radar and high-resolution cameras and all the computing power we have, we can detect and identify the objects on a street. The hard part is anticipating what they’re going to do next.”

Mr. Salesky said Argo and many competitors had developed about 80 percent of the technology needed to put self-driving cars into routine use — the radar, cameras and other sensors that can identify objects far down roads and highways. But the remaining 20 percent, including developing software that can reliably anticipate what other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are going to do, will be much more difficult, he said.


  1. I had a P85D Tesla for a few years. Got it new. I loved it, mostly. Tesla customer service sucked.
    When the self driving mode came out I was impressed that it worked in Alaska. And it did really well, but, it didn’t make right hand turns and whatever. It would change lanes, and if I was on the highway from fairbanks to north pole I could set the cruise at 120 mph and let it go, it would slow down for cars it caught up to and whatever, but it wasn’t smart enough to take me to where I wanted to go, point A to point B.
    Again, Tesla customer service sucked, at least for us. Might be cause we were the only Tesla owners outside a couple older cars in Anchorage.
    The sound system though. Oh snap it was good. Open the glass top...

  2. The whole idea of self-driving cars strikes me as lunacy unless the only things on the road are self-driving cars (which our wise overlords may mandate at some point). Think of how many quick decisions you have to make when you're driving and something odd happens on or near the road with another person, or a vehicle or an animal, caused by that other object or weather conditions, and the judgment involved in those decisions; how can that be replicated by some programmer sitting in a room writing code (who may have never driven in his life)?

  3. Putting the practical issues of robot cars aside the idea of robot cars is to centrally control. Robot cars would allow the control freaks of the speed kills crowd and the anti-destination league to control every motor vehicle on the road. The side "benefit" is that the robot cars will also obey restrictions on when and where people are allowed to travel.

    From an economic aspect the expense and short practical life of robot cars and especially electric robot cars will price most people out of the market for personal private automobiles.

    Then there are the practical problems. The sensors that will easily be blinded by weather, ice build up, road salt spray, etc. The programming that will result in traffic congestion (if most people aren't priced out) because it will be set up to be safe to the degree of paranoia. That congestion will of course be solved by limiting who can travel when or taxes.

    Robot cars are part of the plan to use technology to try and make central planning work.

  4. Quite interesting. Creating/manufacturing the technology that anticipates what drivers “might” do is proving to be much harder for the autonomous driving car manufacturers to figure out. It kind of lends me to think that robots will not “take over the world,” but will be able to handle functions that don’t involve a lot of human anticipatory functions. As such, the functions that those robots handle will allow us to be more productive. And will raise our living standards.

  5. Once the tech is in place to read minds they'll have it all sewn up.

  6. What is the current knowledge of human’s ability to perceive and react to chaotic conditions; 99%, 50%, 1%? I would not be surprised if we learn that we have abilities that allow us to operate in city traffic that we will not be able to incorporate into machines.

    The sensors and other hardware is the easy part. There is far more than 20% remaining to go driverless. IMO it is not an exaggeration to flip that around to being 80% remaining.

    Did smart people like Mr. Salesky not know that traffic, especially city traffic, can be chaotic? Did they underestimate the craziness? Did they over estimate their ability to create software to deal with not just human behavior but other animals, weather, lack of road maintenance, lack of vehicle maintenance, etc?