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When Will My Self-Driving Car Get Here?

When Will My Self-Driving Car Get Here?

Posted on 11/8/2018 by Bernie V - Leave a Comment
I have  some bad news for everybody, Missy Cummings says. "In 2038, you might be able to get groceries delivered to you by a slow speed robot; but you are still not going to be able to call a car on your phone, jump in the backseat, and have it take you to Las Vegas." Cummings, the director of the Duke University Humans and Autonomy Laboratory, is not anti-hype, just realistic.  “Driverless cars are still kind of the Wild Wild West of development", she explains.

On the latest episode of 2038, Intelligencer's podcast about the future, Cummings talked with Max Read and David Wallace-Wells about what we can (and can't) expect from robot-driven vehicles over the next 20 years.

So you're saying no flying cars.
Well, you know, flying cars are tricky because they are possible. And certainly we have all the technology in place to do that in 2038. You might be able to get in a flying air taxi, potentially — one that is also a car in another country. And you will have to have a lot of money. So maybe in China or Dubai youâ€â********ll be able to take these services, but they will not be for the common man.

What are the big problems with driverless cars?

So, driverless cars are still very, very immature technologies. The fundamental automated technologies that power drones and rail, for example, are quite mature. We've had for a long time, and we actually know how to implement them, and how to implement them safely. Driverless cars are still kind of the Wild Wild West of development, and researchers are still learning new things about how they reason, how to make sure that they are not so brittle;  which means that they break under very unexpected and often very benign circumstances. I mean, this is why Tesla autopilot is so dangerous, even though itâ€â********s a deployed technology: Today, millimeter wave radar at highway speeds cannot detect static obstacles. This is why we have seen some deaths in Teslas, because the radar literally can't see what is very obvious to the human eye.

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