"He knows Elon knows"

For those wanting to cut through the hype and bullshit around autonomous vehicles on land or in the air, there are few sources better than real engineer (and former fighter pilot) Missy Cummings. This Marketplace interview is highly recommended.

[Apologies for the formatting. Since Blogger upgraded its platform, it now takes twenty minutes of HTML editing just to undo the improvements and I just don't have the time.]

The California Department of Motor Vehicles said this week it’s reviewing whether Tesla is telling people that its cars are self-driving when, legally speaking, they’re not. This follows fatal crashes that may have involved its Autopilot feature. Tesla advertises a “Full Self-Driving” upgrade option. One man has been busted in Teslas more than once for reckless driving. He hangs out in the backseat and steers with his feet.

Meanwhile, no cars are fully self-driving yet. I spoke with Missy Cummings, the director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory at Duke University. She says the so-called deep learning that cars need to see the road around them doesn’t actually learn. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.


Cummings: I think there are three camps of people not just in self-driving, but in robotics and artificial intelligence in general. There’s the camp of people like me who know the reality. We recognize it for what it is, we’ve recognized it for some time, and we know that unless we change fundamentally the way that we’re approaching this problem, it is not (Read more...)