Norman Mayersohn for the New York Times writes that the relentlessly hyped arrival of autonomous vehicles looms as the greatest disruption in personal transportation since Henry Ford’s moving assembly line produced Model T’s by the millions. One word in that statement—arrival—is, however, doing a disproportionate amount of work, Mayersohn notes.
Despite being the subject of breathless media reports and in automakers’ strategies, self-driving cars remain years from being available to private owners, Mayersohn states.
According to Mayersohn, scores of companies hold permits to test autonomous cars in California, yet even leaders like Waymo, once Google’s self-driving project, are unwilling to commit to when such vehicles might appear in showrooms.
The article states that despite so many companies testing self-driving cars—10 million miles since 2009 by Waymo alone—the definition of autonomous continues to be murky, at least to the public.
What is available today in driver-assistance systems like Cadillac’s Super Cruise or Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot are far short of Level 5 full automation.
No doubt there are many challenges faced by mobility engineers building today and tomorrow’s automated and connected vehicles. There is much hyperbole around this next era of transportation.
Nonetheless, it may be less a case of “hype” and more about the stark reality that the autonomous vehicle represents a challenging convergence of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other complex aspects of connectivity. Mobility engineers must grapple every day with unsettled technical challenges created by this convergence.
Therefore, it might not be hype at all, but something that is just plain hard to do.Original Article