What’s Really Strangling The Self-Driving Car? We Are

The age of the autonomous car is well and truly upon us, with more and more car companies adding semi-autonomous advanced driver assistance features to new models. At the same time, we’re seeing a real roadblock situation develop as legislators and regulators seem to stall the roll out of the autonomous car.

But are legislators really to blame for the slow roll out of the autonomous car, or is there someone else to blame? Like us, for example?

Watch the video above to find out, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and support Transport Evolved at Patreon.


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  • CDspeed

    We are not a weak link, we have the capability to perform the simple task of driving. Laziness is paying more attention to your smart (stupid) phone rather then paying attention to the world around you. And with hundreds of millions of cars on the road of course accidents can happen, and the same goes for a road full of autonomous cars. Things are never flawless to the point of perfection like some seem to think autonomous driving will be. Hackers in Europe have been steeling Tesla’s, what happens when they start playing with your autonomous car? Steel it remotely, cause it to suddenly lose control? Are we not going to leave our houses in the future, meeting people, and shopping with our devices on the couch, and have no idea how to operate our own vehicles? I am for systems that assist drivers like having a second set of eyes on the road, but I’m against making people obsolete.

    • Joe Viocoe

      The statistics are clear evidence that humans are indeed, the weakest link. DHTSA has compiled all of the major causes of motor vehicle accidents, and humans are, by far, the weakest link.

      Long before smart phones, and long before even dumb phones, people have been dangerously inattentive. The historical statistics show this as well.

      “..with hundreds of millions of cars on the road of course accidents can happen..”
      This ignores the scope of the problem. This is a common type of argument for climate deniers as well, stating that the world has always undergone climate change.
      Please, do not downplay the gravity of the situation. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading, non-disease related cause of death in the US. It is a huge problem that should be considered an epidemic.

      “Things are never flawless to the point of perfection like some seem to think autonomous driving will be.”
      STRAW MAN ALERT. Nobody is claiming perfection… except those who are being purposefully disingenuous with claims.
      Autonomous driving need only be better than the average human driver, which is not a very high bar to reach.

      “Hackers in Europe have been steeling Tesla’s, what happens when they start playing with your autonomous car?”
      This is a very valid concern. There are many, many ways to make a vulnerable system. And only a few ways to make a secure one. Chrysler is a good example of combining the same infotainment system with the vehicles safety system allowing remote access to certain critical driving features.

      Your Tesla example, actually this proves your point. As the wireless key fob has always been a vulnerability for theft, for many automakers. especially remote convenience features like mobile applications.
      But that is a completely separate system from driving/safety. Hacking one system does not allow you access to the autonomous driving system.

      Throughout the scope of human existence, WAY more generations knew how to ride horses than knew how to drive cars. technology has eliminated the need to know how to ride a horse. And now that has been relegated to a small set of sport / posterity niches. The same will happen for the automobile.

      • CDspeed

        Statistics at this point would be stacked against us, because there is little testing data on autonomous cars versus the 100+ years of human driving. It would be like saying electric cars are dangerous to pedestrians because they’re quiet. They’ve not contributed to a rise in pedestrian accidents, there’s no real evidence to backup the claim. Mostly I’m sick of people predicting an accident free future, and that’s how they usually put it in words. On your hacking point, I was using the Tesla theft story as an example. Because they are online though, a hacker could potentially get into your other systems. Look (for example) at the warning on internet connected toys. Hackers can get into them, and access cameras, microphones, and in some cases GPS locators. You don’t think they could work on moving a car. I still think human drivers are perfectly equipped to drive well into the future. Maybe if we’d eliminate distractions, and do more to train drivers you could improve accident figures. I’d like to see that before we come out with a new technology that improves laziness.

        • Joe Viocoe

          I agree that the data is still not conclusive. Not to the point that actuaries would find relevant enough to start discounting yet. But it’s not because there isn’t 100+ years of autonomous driving data. That is an unrealistic expectation.
          We are actually not that far from a statistically relevant sample size of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). It does not have to be a very large percentage of total to be statistically significant enough to be accurate.

          I am actually painfully familiar with all of the Internet connected devices and their vulnerabilities. There are reasons why these companies choose to connect all of their functions to the Internet, for convenience. That’s the whole point of their cameras and microphones, to be remotely accessible.

          The rule of thumb is, if a legitimately authorized person can/should control the system remotely, then a hacker can impersonate that person. Autonomous driving systems do not have any legitimate reason to be connected to the Internet, or accessed remotely…. Does they should be completely separate systems, or at least fire walled off to only allow digitally signed updates. Not to say that a system like that could never be breached, but it really elevates the sophistication required to do so, possibly into nation state hands.

          I do not believe, at all, that human drivers can be significantly improved upon. Looking at the historical data, every notable increase in vehicle safety or reduction in driver fatalities or accidents… have not been through driver training or laws that prohibit driver distraction… But improvements In passive safety features that Do not require the driver to change any habits at all. Despite all of the training, one of the biggest failings in driver safety is the fact that people still will not put on seatbelts. It goes to show you that whenever the onus of responsibility is passed to a human, people will still fail.

          It was not that long ago when similarly minded people exclaimed that a computer will never beat a human at chess, and then a computer will never beat a person at jeopardy, and then a computer will never be a person at GO.
          All 3 successive accomplishments were deemed impossible because the task seemed like it was uniquely suited for the human brain…. i.e, too many possible moves, too much linguistic and creative thinking, too much human intuition.
          Getting even more philosophical, every time we have human centric notions, we are disappointed with our place in the universe… And now we shall be humbled again by the advancement of artificial intelligence.

  • Racu Mint

    Geesh… is this for real? I don’t know but I still doubted it. How can you be sure if this kind of car is truly secure and safe to drive? Anyways, the video is indeed informative. Thanks for sharing!