Get the Technology right. 100% right, some would say.
As the New York Times column points out, a few things AI (artificial intelligence) driven cars cannot be in control of (atleast for the now) are: (a) Reckless Human Drivers, (b) Bad Weather, (c)Inaccurate Digital Mapping (faulty GPS) fed to it (d) Undocumented Changes in the infrastructure (pot holes/ bridge collapses/ dividers missing) (e) Just chance factors, not included in the use cases designed for the software program
The Aye and the Nay
The ‘aye’ (AI) sayers of today may showcase the negative reception given to the steam engine/locomotive in the decades gone by. The ‘nay’ sayers of those days could not believe that horses and oxen were redundant for transportation and logistics. History and man’s development has proven all these ‘nay’ sayers wrong. But there is one critical element that is a lot different in this ‘AI’ development.
Paradigm Shift. The Software System with immediate Control is not the Human Brain
In all earlier innovations, whatever be the hardware or even the ‘software’ configured, the over ruling software, the one that actually made things move or work was human. Today’s driverless ‘development’ marks a paradigm shift. Citizens and other stakeholders in the West are wary about the safety of these autonomous cars.
The Businesses pushing this concept may say that humans can still intervene even if the car drives itself. The gentleman who met his end in a Tesla Car too could have taken control of the steering wheel, but he didn’t (or didn’t have enough time to)!!!
Lifecycle Maturity and Customer Confidence
Even in these initial years of the PLC (Product Life Cycle), users have become complacent. (Death/s as reported above testify to that). With increasing robustness, and trust thereby, users become more confident (read complacent). The assumption is that this level of trust would be reached only if the number of accidents drops significantly, which by itself is a great social benefit of technology.
Technology / Innovation grows by trial and error.
The Indian ‘Driveless’ Technology Eco-system
We have Indian teams also working on the driverless concept. An example is Tata Elxsi The notable thing about the Tata efforts is their intention to make the technology affordable enough to be fitted into a Rs. 5 Lakh Car ( 10 lakhs is One Million). The Tata group’s efforts to get a poor man’s car (Nano) may not have yielded much. But attempting to make this autonomous technology ‘more mass’ is commendable. (For the record, Cool Chilli is a passionate user of the Tata Nano)
Cool Chilli’s Comments
to continue in Part 4……