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Thread: Key Volkswagen Exec Admits Full Self-Driving Cars 'May Never Happen

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    Key Volkswagen Exec Admits Full Self-Driving Cars 'May Never Happen

    After years of sunny optimism and big promises, automakers are beginning to realize just how difficult it is to make a market-ready, full self-driving car. The CEO of Volkswagen's autonomous driving division recently admitted that Level 5 autonomy—that's full computer control of the vehicle with zero limitations—might actually never happen.
    A quick primer on the now-industry-standard SAE International rules on how to discuss self-driving abilities: Level 0 is no automation whatsoever. Level 1 is partial assistance with certain aspects of driving, like lane keep assist or adaptive cruise control. Level 2 is a step up to systems that can take control of the vehicle in certain situations, like Tesla's Autopilot or Cadillac's Super Cruise, while still requiring the driver to pay attention. Get past that and we enter the realm of speculation: Level 3 promises full computer control under defined conditions during a journey, Level 4 expands that to start-to-finish autonomous tech limited only by virtual safeguards like a geofence, and Level 5 is the total hands-off, go-anywhere-at-the-push-of-a-button experience.
    Sitting down with WardsAuto at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, VW Autonomy's Alex Hitzinger said Level 4 might be the realistic limit for what automakers can build. He wasn’t shy in pointing out the relative difficulty of trying for full Level 5 autonomy.
    “This is one of the hardest problems we have. This is like we are going to Mars,” Hitzinger said in a comment. “Maybe it will never happen.”

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    Staff - Admin
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    1. Yes, it's not nearly as easy to some companies have seemed to promote.
    2. It's really, really hard.
    3. It's totally possible, but...
    4. The algorithms / deep learning aren't there yet.
    5. The algorithms are only as good as the data intake from the car's hardware and other received data. The data intake hardware (senors, etc) is still remedial.
    6. It's likely going to take 50x the current data processing to be very, very good.
    7. There is going to have to be legislation on how the algorithms have to respond in lose-lose situations. It will be fun seeing Congressmen debating causality, probabilities percentages, weighted losses, statistical outcomes and the like.

    But it's nice to see some companies dropping big money on the R&D. I'd expect to see some consolidation of tech and only a few platforms survive.
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  5. #4
    The auto industry would not want the liability. So long as a driver is mandated, all accidents are the drivers fault.

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