A Mercedes-Benz S-Class would be a real treat. A manufacturing Mercedes-Benz is among the most automated vehicles to date, and this one even goes looking for a parking spot for you, all on its own. Despite not being homologated for the Indian market, this feature does highlight the crucial role that autonomous software will play in driving the future of vehicles.
In this regard, the Mercedes S-Class has been edged out by Tesla’s Autopilot system, whose navigation system can help you navigate off highways, respond to traffic lights, stop signs and call you from a parking lot, all with your phone.
In some ways, Tesla seems to be delivering on its promise of fully autonomous driving, but this hasn’t satisfied all of its customers. Following mounting lawsuits concerning Tesla’s claim that its vehicles are fully autonomous, the company has had to reconsider which self-driving capabilities, if any, will be available in the real world. In the present Tesla offers a high-cost “Full Self-Driving” package that costs up to Rs 7.2 lakhs.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently changed his tune about Autopilot’s feasibility based on the constant scrutiny that it has been subject to, particularly from governments. Earlier this month, Musk tweeted, “Generalised self-driving could be tough, since it will require a significant contribution from real-world AI. The difficulty is apparent in retrospect, but I didn’t expect it to be so difficult.”
The hard way Musk learned that full self-driving, if not nonexistent altogether, is extremely difficult to achieve, he is now stepping back from such claims, stating that “there is only reality.”.
How and why are self-driving cars held back by these factors? Are humans still required to operate what is a metallic projectile?
How far have we come with autonomous technology?
It’s not shocking that Silicon Valley is where the key developments are coming out of the race to fully autonomous cars with Tesla, Alphabet and Apple leading the way. Lidar and radar technology are the primary technologies used by self-driving tech to track the speed and proximity of nearby objects. Tesla, on the other hand, uses cameras instead of radar technology in its cars and has since discontinued the use of radar.
Not all that well, it seems. A Tesla patented software design, Beta 9.2, was “not that great”, Musk confessed on August 24. After Musk tweeted, “There will be unknown issues,” safety experts from Consumer Reports expressed concerns about the prototype. Therefore, please be paranoid”.
It is disappointing to see yet another misnomer since FSD Beta 9.2 does not appear to provide full self-driving functionality. Self-driving cars offer the promise of completely eliminating driver stress and not just reducing it significantly in an era of crowded highways and gridlocked streets, particularly since they come with the promise of eliminating it completely.
Parallel parking and switching lanes are not the only things driving involves. A car, however, cannot or shouldn’t be able to continuously assess risk, adjust spatial awareness and most importantly, continuously reason. Self-driving debate seems to have moved away from liability concerns and towards actual feasibility.
In order to avoid further legal tangles, car makers are unlikely to remove human intervention from self-driving modes any time soon. But capability is also an issue. A New York Times article suggests that Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD aren’t safe because image processing technology and camera technology aren’t fast enough to prevent crashes. Further, the article suggests that there isn’t yet a technology for this to be done consistently and safely.
There are reports that Apple is experiencing difficulties with its autonomous car project, with a number of its project managers quitting recently. Since it was first announced, Apple’s self-driving car project has had to hit the reset button several times. According to reports, Apple has been busy hiring top talent from the car industry, but the project is unlikely to hit the streets until the end of the decade and not 2024.
The law has not caught up with the pace
Even though brands like Mercedes-Benz and Audi also offer advanced AI features with their top luxury models, lawmakers have shown a reluctance to approve the technology. A8’s Level 3 Autonomy technology was installed in 2018 on the Audi flagship luxury sedan. Level 3 of Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot, appropriately named Traffic Jam Pilot, lets the car handle slow traffic and heavy traffic, but turns over control when conditions get more complicated. German and some other countries, including the UK and India, have amended their highway laws to include Level 3 technology.
A person who cannot see the road ahead could not be given driving duties under the UK’s Road Vehicle Regulations. Someone else could have been something, but the law did not take that into consideration. Once again, the technological development of autonomous technology was far more rapid than the legal requirements necessary to control and control it.
Due to the fact that laws are designed to assume that a human is behind the wheel, brands like Tesla, Audi, BMW, etc. are requiring human interaction before AI technology will operate in their vehicles. Human vision is not limited to the laws, but also the roads and driving infrastructure. To implement Level 5 AI effectively, infrastructure would have to be completely revamped.
Autonomous cars make up a $54 billion market at present. Even though fleet operators and small businesses show a lot of interest in the technology, legacy carmakers continue to invest heavily in it. According to what seems apparent, however, autonomous technology may only be applicable to mass transportation.
The company’s self-driving robotaxis have already been tested on the streets of San Francisco. The road to full autonomy for something as complex as a privately-owned car, which is stranded by a multitude of constantly changing variables, remains unpaved.