Where Are All of the Self-Driving Cars?

I was a bit of a skeptic when Self-Driving car technology started development a few years back.  I am actually somewhat familiar with the technologies involved, having done some AI work back in the 1990s (including work on the Army’s Autonomous Land Vehicle) and have kept up with recent developments.  I would have to say I’m not a complete skeptic, just a skeptic that by 2020 cars would able to safely drive millions of people around the major cities of the world.  An article by Vox gives a bit of a recap.

It’s 2020. Where are our self-driving cars?

In the age of AI advances, self-driving cars turned out to be harder than people expected.

So where do things go from here?  I see a few things going forward:

  • Slower, fixed route vehicles like busses might make more sense, especially at first
  • Simpler tasks like long haul trucking make similar sense
  • Change roads adding beacons and / or signage to help automated driving
  • Have cars communicate with each other to improve navigation and safety

Some things that don’t get much mention:

  • Is driving that much of a chore for most people?
  • Would better public transport be a better option all around?
  • For things like Uber (taxis) is eliminating the human even desirable?
  • What about malicious actors, both other drivers, pedestrians and even traditional hackers?  Will this tech stand up under attack?

Lots of good is coming out of this work. The various assists (lane changing, braking) are nice and potentially life saving additions to autos.  If it took the far out vision of full autonomy to get there, I’m ok with that.