Autonomous Vehicles – Not Even Close

cmuThis is an excellent article on the background of the relationship between Uber and Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics lab, NREC. The original plan was for Uber and CMU to form a partnership to work on autonomous vehicles. Instead Uber hired 40 of the lab’s 100 scientists, as well as the director. They set up an office about a mile from NREC.

Interesting as that may be, the issue that I wanted to focus on is the following response from Herman Herman, the Lab Director when asked about the status of autonomous vehicle research, “With autonomous cars, you see these videos from Google and Uber showing a car driving around, but people have not taken it past 80 percent. It’s one of those problems where it’s easy to get to the first 80 percent, but it’s incredibly difficult to solve the last 20 percent. If you have a good GPS, nicely marked roads like in California, and nice weather without snow or rain, it’s actually not that hard. But guess what? To solve the real problem, for you or me to buy a car that can drive autonomously from point A to point B—it’s not even close. There are fundamental problems that need to be solved.”

I guess you could say it is the old 80/20 rule, perhaps in reverse.

Thanks to Bill Gutelius at Qntfi for the heads up.

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