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Ford CEO says the company 'overestimated' self-driving cars

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Everybody overestimated the self-driven cars. I think will take decades to put a car without pedals/stering wheel in the market.

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I think by “we”, Hackett is referring to the entire industry.  There are way too many variables for fully autonomous vehicles to be a viable business for the masses (or commercial use for that matter).  

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Most of this stems from automotive outsiders aka IT companies (Nvidia,Apple to a lesser point, etc) over hyping the market to pump up stock prices because their other products are mature (i.e. no way to grow market share) to keep profits up. 

Just take a look at Trains or even Airplanes-both would be far easier to "automate", but they still have humans in the loop.

We will see full electrification before we see completely autonomous cars on the roads-they will be limited to fixed areas (think parking lots like Disney) for the next 5-10-15 years. 

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This shouldn't hurt Ford's commercial plans too much - I think it was always predicated on geo-fencing and operating in a small known area doing deliveries.

 

As for the problem being too complex to solve immediately, I believe a lot of us here had that one from the get go.

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I think to truly have automated cars, all the roadways need sensors installed. The current technology that depends on cameras just doesn’t seem safe. I read a story a few days ago about how these cameras can be blinded by the sun. Also dirt can affect how well the camera sees. I can barely keep my back up camera clean so I know that’s an issue too.

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7 minutes ago, akirby said:

This shouldn't hurt Ford's commercial plans too much - I think it was always predicated on geo-fencing and operating in a small known area doing deliveries.

 

As for the problem being too complex to solve immediately, I believe a lot of us here had that one from the get go.

We tried to tell them that, but they just wouldn't listen!

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And remember, Big Jim recently got a $1.1M raise !

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1 hour ago, akirby said:

As for the problem being too complex to solve immediately, I believe a lot of us here had that one from the get go.

What makes the problem complex isn't the technology for autonomous driving Level 4 or Level 5. That's almost ready. Car and computer companies are refining that technology every day. 

The biggest hindrances are regulatory and legal in nature. It's 2019, and in the U.S. at least 15 states plus most of the territories still haven't updated their motor vehicle laws to accommodate autonomous cars.

AV_map_2018.gif

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43 minutes ago, rperez817 said:

What makes the problem complex isn't the technology for autonomous driving Level 4 or Level 5. That's almost ready. Car and computer companies are refining that technology every day. 

The biggest hindrances are regulatory and legal in nature. It's 2019, and in the U.S. at least 15 states plus most of the territories still haven't updated their motor vehicle laws to accommodate autonomous cars.

AV_map_2018.gif

You really think the only thing in the way is legal issues?

---

I'm filing this article under "no s*** sherlock".  Anyone with a brain can figure out we're not ready for autonomous cars everywhere anytime soon.  Anyone thinking that is/was delusional.  In certain restricted areas, or short predetermined routes - absolutely.  But beyond that, the tech isn't ready, nor is the legal part (to rperez's point).

I've seen a few of the Fusion tester cars here in Miami.  They were going the other way on a two lane road, so I couldn't see whether the "driver" was actually driving or not.

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Gee, all they had to do was ask me and I would have told him AV's were a joke!

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I think what they are learning in their AV programs will trickle down into features.  I just want adaptive cruise control that will let me take mu hands off the wheel, change lanes when I put on the blinker and come to stop at red lights & stop signs.  If that evolves into a fully AV, then even better.

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As somebody already said, "No S**t Sherlock."

Right now, it's snowing heavily outside.  The roads are covered, again, with snow.  I don't think anybody has come up with an algorithm that can handle snow.

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Just blame Silicon Valley! Anyone with a half a brain could realize that while we have certain underlying technologies to create AV's, there are far too many unknown variables to make them a safe and viable option for the consumer right now. Yet, that's all Silicon Valley distruptors have promoted in an effort to get cash. And in the end, that's all that Wall Street cared about.

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Self driving car is going to be one of those things are always just going to be right around the corner but never gets adopted universally.

The issue is not even legal or infrastructure but simple human nature... once cars can drive themselves, selfish humans will just set their cars to circle endlessly instead of paying for parking. This will lead to crazy congestion in all urban areas and so most jurisdiction will eventually ban or severely limit the use of self driving vehicle. Cars will be required to have passengers in them all the time, which means for people that want to OWN cars, they will never really reap the full benefit of a self driving car so they will forgo the expense of a fully self driving cars. There will still be lots of semi-self driving cars that will require human input (think about how airplanes work now days) but the fully self driving ones will be limited to vehicles with predictable fixed routes and potentially dedicated right of way... things like garbage trucks, or city buses.

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3 hours ago, rperez817 said:

What makes the problem complex isn't the technology for autonomous driving Level 4 or Level 5. That's almost ready. Car and computer companies are refining that technology every day. 

The biggest hindrances are regulatory and legal in nature. It's 2019, and in the U.S. at least 15 states plus most of the territories still haven't updated their motor vehicle laws to accommodate autonomous cars.

That's BS.  They haven't approved them because they haven't been proven safe yet.

They can do just fine in perfect conditions 99% of the time.  It's the other 1% with weather, poor roads, confusing traffic flow, detours, construction, accidents, signal failures etc. that can be downright dangerous and even fatal and I'm not sure the technology exists to fix that problem outside substantial infrastructure improvements everywhere.  And even then it won't be 100%. 

 

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Someone tell him the same for electric cars too.

Edited by Steve557

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36 minutes ago, mackinaw said:

Right now, it's snowing heavily outside.  The roads are covered, again, with snow.  I don't think anybody has come up with an algorithm that can handle snow.

The VTT Research Institute of Finland came up with an algorithm for autonomous cars to operate on snow covered roads. Ford and Waymo have also come up with their own solutions as well.

 

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52 minutes ago, akirby said:

They haven't approved them because they haven't been proven safe yet.

This is an issue that falls into the legal/regulatory side of things. In order for autonomous vehicles to be "proven safe", they have to be tested on public roads, with real world scenarios. This brings up the controversy of risk to citizens by having car and computer companies do their testing on public roads. Some politicians and lobbying groups don't like the idea and want to impose lots of restrictions on what testing is allowed. Others say that by making it harder for companies to test on public roads, the potential safety benefits of autonomous vehicles are being unnecessarily delayed.

By far the biggest contributor to traffic fatalities right now is driver error. In that sense, humans as drivers of motor vehicles have never been "proven safe". Governments grant driver's licenses to people that kill themselves and/or others through their actions as motorists. It's unlikely that full deployment of autonomous vehicles could make things any worse.

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29 minutes ago, rperez817 said:

The VTT Research Institute of Finland came up with an algorithm for autonomous cars to operate on snow covered roads. Ford and Waymo have also come up with their own solutions as well.

I'm actually impressed.  Bu the snow we just had has changed to freezing rain.  Wonder if there's an algorithm for that.

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37 minutes ago, rperez817 said:

The VTT Research Institute of Finland came up with an algorithm for autonomous cars to operate on snow covered roads. Ford and Waymo have also come up with their own solutions as well.

 

The only thing I learned from that was it could go straight down a road in snowy conditions, with no other cars or outside variables (stops signs, people, dogs, etc) and make a right turn in 69 seconds. This means nothing. 

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1 hour ago, rperez817 said:

This is an issue that falls into the legal/regulatory side of things. In order for autonomous vehicles to be "proven safe", they have to be tested on public roads, with real world scenarios. This brings up the controversy of risk to citizens by having car and computer companies do their testing on public roads. Some politicians and lobbying groups don't like the idea and want to impose lots of restrictions on what testing is allowed. Others say that by making it harder for companies to test on public roads, the potential safety benefits of autonomous vehicles are being unnecessarily delayed.

By far the biggest contributor to traffic fatalities right now is driver error. In that sense, humans as drivers of motor vehicles have never been "proven safe". Governments grant driver's licenses to people that kill themselves and/or others through their actions as motorists. It's unlikely that full deployment of autonomous vehicles could make things any worse.

Hogwash.  Up until this point all the testing has been designed to prove that the technology works.  In normal conditions.  They can and should be testing what the software industry calls border conditions - abnormal conditions like bad roads, detours, traffic lights with no power, obstructions, etc.   Until they prove these vehicles can operate safely in those conditions they shouldn't even be allowed on the street without a backup driver.   

Here are two real life scenarios that occur frequently.  Please tell me how an AV will handle these without a backup driver:

AV is headed southbound.  The Southbound lane is closed for construction.  Cars must take turns driving in the Northbound lane at the direction of a flag person.

AV is in a long line of cars backed up due to an accident that blocks the road.  Police tell drivers to make a U turn.

What happens?  The AV just sits there not knowing what to do?  Now picture an entire line of confused AVs.  How do you recover from stuff like that?

 

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As a Ford enthusiast, this angers me. You announce $4 billion in investment in July and then in April admit that you've overestimated the application? "The applications will be narrow because the problem is so complex"? Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows this. More evidence that idiots are running the company. How does Hackett survive this? They've announced billions in spending reductions to fund autonomous cars, money that is desperately needed to fund new vehicle development that would actually pay off. Oh well, what's $4 billion pissed away?

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11 minutes ago, Trader 10 said:

As a Ford enthusiast, this angers me. You announce $4 billion in investment in July and then in April admit that you've overestimated the application? "The applications will be narrow because the problem is so complex"? Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows this. More evidence that idiots are running the company. How does Hackett survive this? They've announced billions in spending reductions to fund autonomous cars, money that is desperately needed to fund new vehicle development that would actually pay off. Oh well, what's $4 billion pissed away?

No.  They're still spending/investing in AVs.  AVs will still have an application, especially commercially, which is where Ford excels.  In fact, I view this as a positive.  They're finally being realistic about AVs, and not going for pie in the sky targets that aren't feasible at this point in time.  That also doesn't mean they're going to stop investing in AVs.  They're just saying don't expect to have a driverless, steering wheel/pedal-less cars zipping around everywhere freely soon - and saying not to expect that from their coming AV for 2021.

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