The Weekly Stripe – 15.01.21
Predictions for the arrival of autonomous vehicles have been push out. And then out again. The early, bullish, claims have been dialled back as the difficulties of making driverless cars safe have become apparent. This week's links explore the past, present and future of these predictions.
The roboticist Rodney Brooks keeps tabs on all his predictions and is admirably self-critical and reflexive about them. Here’s his detailed AV related predications and an update on their progress during 2020.
Waymo, an Alphabet company, made some bold claims early on but have, over the last few years, been clear that this is “a bigger challenge than launching a rocket and putting it in orbit around the Earth . . . because it has to be done safely over and over and over again“.
This October 2019 piece from The Economist provides a good wrap up of some of the roadblocks that autonomous vehicles development and implementation are facing.
This twitter thread reports on Bosch’s prediction that Level 4 or 5 autonomous taxis likely won’t be operating in city centers until the second half of this century, and maybe not even then.
One might reasonably ask why these predictions were over optimistic? Because driving is hard, or, as Simon Roberts suggests in his recently published book, The Power of Not Thinking, driving is a paradigmatic example of embodied knowledge that is hard to replicate.