Why Self Driving Vehicles Will Not Hit Full Level 5 Autonomy For Many Years

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Unless you live under a rock, you have heard of Self Driving Autonomous Vehicles (Uber, Waymo, GM Cruise…) and Governments around the world are scrambling to:

  1. Modify existing legislation to allow self driving vehicles
  2. Be the first in their region to allow self driving cars, because of the amount of R&D money / jobs involved
  3. Consider new legislation to curb some the top level autonomy (level 5), where the vehicle is 100% responsible for the driving and it does not even offer a steering wheel or break peddle

five-levels-of-vehicle-automonyThose are all important things to do, but Level 5 full autonomy is much further away than the public and many pendants think.  Many people have already figured out that the algorithms used to drive on:

  1. Snow covered roads
  2. Poorly painted roads
  3. Temporary construction zones

just don’t exist yet and are many years off.  However, the video below explains that to operate in the real world, ALL drivers MUST periodically break the law to efficiently transport people.  Think about an Uber driver that has to illegally:

  1. a delivery vehicle (FedEx, UPS…) is temporarily blocking a lane so a vehicle must cross a double solid line to get around
  2. cross through a bike lane to get to a curb to pick up or drop off
  3. a police officer is manually directing traffic the wrong way up a one way street because of an accident

It will be very difficult for self driving software vendors to justify coding the intentional breaking traffic laws.  The liability would be absolute and the cost of a single serious mistake would be in the many millions of dollars.

Level 4 Autonomy, in which the vehicle does 95% of the driving but a human can override the system (Telsa’s Autopilot, Cadillac’s Super-Cruise,… ), will be here for a very long time.

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