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    • In Elon Musk's interview last week, I heard him say:

      You know, I think we’ll get to full self-driving next year. As a generalized solution, I think. I don’t think anyone else is on track to do it next year.

      In the meantime, I read two fascinating (!!) stories about the reality of it. Here's the first:

      👆 That story requires you to give your email to read it, so I'll summarize the critical bit. Elon calls into the self-driving team from his car, which is in engineering mode, so he can try the latest build. From the article:

      Mr. Musk’s aggressive settings lead to “situations that many of us wouldn’t want to be in,” this person said. As a result, Mr. Musk “is the one finding big bugs” in the software, identifying areas where Autopilot should improve. One past example that he prioritized fixing because of his personal experience was getting Autopilot to better steer away from big vehicles, such as trucks, that may unintentionally cross into the Tesla vehicle’s lane as they drive alongside it.

    • The second fascinating story is about Voyage, a self-driving car startup I hadn't heard of, and a GINORMOUS retirement community in Florida with 126,000 residents and 750+ miles of roads. 😲

      They are going live this month! Also, my city just approved Google's cars to go fully driverless (but not take passengers yet).

    • I cannot endorse self-driving cars until and unless we also have "Smart Roads" which can help to coordinate traffic. A smart road is one which can, in real time, monitor road conditions and traffic situations and relay that information to cars in the area. Cars cannot, in and of themselves, know conditions just shortly ahead, and therefore cannot take appropriate actions to protect automobile passengers or other occupants of the same road.

      In congested areas, a smart road could have additional sensors and monitors to detect and observe pedestrians and bicycles, etc., at dangerous intersections, and prevent pedestrian accidents before they happen, for example.

      I believe that discussing self-driving cars now is just asking for automotive disasters until we get a better understanding of the requirements of driving, in the first place, and much better sensors and monitors in and on the roads themselves.

      In the following video, a self-driving car causes a fatality, and there was a driver behind the wheel at the time who did not take control to prevent the fatality. (No way this was an "accident" in any sense of the word. This was an extreme misunderstanding and mis-calculation of reality meeting the unprepared, and an inevitable outcome. Just because we almost can does not mean that we should.)

      Self-Driving Car Runs Over Pedestrian

    • I cannot endorse self-driving cars until and unless we also have "Smart Roads" which can help to coordinate traffic.

      Elon's response to that in the interview was to say that Smart Roads are an impractical dream. He thinks people will accept self-driving cars when the data show that they cause half the accidents in everyday driving.

      For example, it's difficult to imagine the three girl scouts and a mother who were killed a few days ago would have been struck had the car been a Tesla in autopilot mode. As accidents happen, I think the question will be increasingly asked whether it would have happened had it been under computer control.

      My neighborhood is filled with self driving cars and children walking/riding/skating to the local schools. I skateboard and scooter with our girls to the parks and we have become much more comfortable around the self-driving cars than the ones with drivers in control. We have high school boys laughing and hot-rodding behind the wheel and distracted parents and we're never sure they see us or will slow down like the self-driving cars always do.

    • When the cars communicate with each other and the autonomous trucks we will all be better off.

      Our motorhome is a "truck" for all intents and purposes (2.5 metres wide, 3.7 metres high, 9 metres long and 9,000 Kg) and I am sick and tired of car drivers cutting in, braking dangerously, overtaking unsafely or generally being idiots around us. A simple 3 hour drive is incredibly draining when the road has lots of cars on it (not big trucks; their drivers generally know what they are doing).

      The sooner the drivers become redundant the sooner I can relax and enjoy driving, or hopefully watching over my autonomous battery powered home on wheels as it takes us to our next destination.

    • I can see augmenting some of the busier roads with smart technology but there are far too many smaller roads to justify the cost of any upgrades. They'll get it working without anything needed on the roads.

    • > When the cars communicate with each other and the autonomous trucks we will all be better off.

      I agree, no need for smart road if the cars can all notify each other over WiFi or whatever. The only problem I see is what happens when some nefarious person or country takes down the GPS and other com sats?

    • No GPS/Glonass/Etc? No links to traffic control computer systems? 🤔

      I imagine that the cars would have to default to inertial mapping and a "road watch" process and slow down, increase gaps, etc all the while screaming at their drivers to be ready to take over. Drivers who, in this utopian driving world, will be utterly unprepared to actually drive. 😳

      Hell, I look at drivers parking their cars at the kerbside now using semi-autonomous parking and I wonder how they would do after a couple of years of that if they had to park a car manually. 😒

    • This is probably apples & oranges but airlines like Asiana no longer allow the first officer to land the plane without it being in autopilot, nor the captain to fly it above 3,000'. Pilots are great and highly trained, but data.

    • I support the data though a pilot there just in case is still a great idea. Humans also sometimes pay too much attention to the data and ignore the reality right there in front of them. For example the ground is rushing up in front of them but the altimiter reads 5,000 feet.

    • In my town were there are very very few such cars people have already started to have a great deal of trouble parking between the lines😵

    • I wonder how much investment and money motivates what people in the industry say about the timeline for these vehicles. I think it's almost as much about how much money is thrown at it rather than the technological hurdles that have to be overcome. Everyone seems afraid that someone will beat them to be the first large fleet on the road. Maybe Apple will do their usual sit back, see how others have failed, and then come out with a system that actually works. I guess time will tell.