Sam joins Leo to talk about CES and what we can expect to see with car technology. Automakers and suppliers have been coming to CES since 2007 when Ford Sync was announced during the Microsoft Keynote. Then GM did a Keynote the year after.
self driving cars
Today marks the beginning of the 17th year of the Tech Guy Show, and Leo says it's just plain odd. It's 2020, the distant future is here. But it looks nothing like Blade Runner. In fact, it's not that much different from 2000 or even 1995, except slightly better technology. Science Fiction promised flying cars, living on other planets, and the virtual metaverse (ala Ready Player One). But we're barely starting to crack self-driving cars, and VR is a disappointment so far.
Sam wants to talk about GPS, which helps you to figure out where you are around the planet. So far, there's GPS here in the US, Russia has GLONASS, and Europe has their own. China is also developing their own GPS network. Experts estimate that our economy is so dependent on GPS, we could lose $1 Billion a day should it go down. It works by triangulating three GPS satellites that sync up with time code to estimate the distance from where you are to the satellite, and then it calculates where you are on the planet.
Joseph says that AI can more accurately predict things than humans, so why should we trust things like political decisions, medical decisions, and even financial trading to anything but AI? Leo says that we're not there yet. But in the not too distant future, that may be the case. Look at self-driving cars: they have come a long way and someday, cars will be completely automated. But when that happens, millions of drivers will be out of work. Now multiply that by brokers, lawyers, doctors, etc.
This past week, Elon Musk said that the current version of Tesla autopilot can do fully self-driving on the high ways. But Sam says there isn't a single car on the road, with the exception of test vehicles that are fully self-driving. The technology simply isn't reliable enough without a safety driver. Leo says he can't wait for it to happen because he would like to never have to drive again. Sam says that people's perceptions of loving to drive are changing, preferring to have someone else do the driving. That's why Uber and Lyft are becoming so successful.
Sam is back to talk about the difference between auto pilot driver assist and self driving calls. It's fool hardy to assume that you can climb in the back to take a nap while your car drives itself. Cars aren't completely automated yet and mostly, the self driving car needs human input from time to time. Most cars are a level 1 system which detects cars in front of you slowing down and slowing down your cruise control. A level 2 system has an auto pilot, but the driver needs to be engaged to take over control at any moment, and the system is designed to rely on that.
April has been a bad month for self driving cars, as both a driver and pedestrian have died from accidents. Leo says that California is giving Google a permit for a self driving car called WayMo, which will have no safety driver. The irony isn't lost on Leo, and while he believes that self driving cars are better than human control, they're never going to be 100%. There's more testing that needs to be done and they should have a safety driver until the bugs are ironed out.
An interesting fact emerged from the US Highway Safety Investigation of the Tesla on Autopilot that killed its driver. While it didn't save the driver in this case, the data from all Teslas with autopilot show that it does save lives. The driver of the vehicle in question wasn't paying attention, and as a result, was the victim of his own negligence.
At CES Mercedes Benz says that they will have a self driving car by next year and are working with NVidia to develop it. Leo says that CES often announces things that don't happen for years, if at all. He thinks that it'll be 5 to 10 years before we see self driving cars on the roads as common place.
Uber is poised for a fight against new regulations in the city of San Francisco that requires all self driving cars to have a special license. They can afford any fines since estimates are that the company is worth $66 Billion. Leo says that Uber really loves to fight.