Self-driving test cars with remote control backup could hit California roads in April

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
If approved, new Californian regulations could allow companies like Apple to test their self-driving platforms with remote backup, instead of putting a human behind the wheel.




The regulations are likely to be approved Feb. 26, and take effect after a month-long public notice period, Reuters reported on Friday. During that wait, companies wanting to take advantage would be able to submit applications.

In theory, a single remote operator could oversee several self-driving cars. That might make things much more cost-efficient for both small startups and large corporations, since companies would no longer have to divert engineers or other staff for ride-alongs.

The head of one startup, Zoox's Tim Kentley-Klay, noted that when self-driving vehicles become standard with ridehailing services, those companies will have to have some sort of remote control system in place anyway -- whether to help customers or deal with technical problems.

Apple currently has at least 27 self-driving Lexus testbeds on California roads. That still puts it behind some rivals, such as Alphabet's Waymo, which has hundreds of vehicles in several states and is racing towards the goal of a commercial launch.

In fact Apple's ambitions in the autonomous space are still unclear. The company was at one point considering making its own electric car, but it has since refocused the project to develop a platform. It may be aiming at the ridehailing market, likely in partnership with one or more outside businesses.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    Note to self... stay away from California.
    baconstangtallest skil
  • Reply 2 of 33
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,713member
    cgWerks said:
    Note to self... stay away from California.
    Couldn't be any worse than the idiots that are already on the road here in LA.
    macseekerjony0beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 3 of 33
    Surely if it can be controlled remotely it's also being remotely monitored by a human, who can only reasonably watch one car at a time... So what's the point in them being remote?
  • Reply 4 of 33
    Hackers can already turn off vehicle’s engine remotely.  I’m not sure I’d want even Apple to be able to remotely operate a vehicle with me inside.  I can just see most of the work (of startups) outsourced to India... scary.

    Everyone seems to have jumped on the autonomous vehicle idea way to soon...
    macseekerGeorgeBMacbaconstang
  • Reply 5 of 33
    When mistakes by the “robot” behind the wheel become infrequent and most problems can be addressed semi-automatically by pulling the vehicle to the curb, then remote operators are the way to go. That will especially be true when G5 mobile phone service becomes common in coming years.
    lolliver
  • Reply 6 of 33
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    volcan said:
    Couldn't be any worse than the idiots that are already on the road here in LA.
    Well, it could actually be worse, just in different ways. But, even the biggest human idiot is at least capable of thinking, and potentially making the right decision.

    elijahg said:
    Surely if it can be controlled remotely it's also being remotely monitored by a human, who can only reasonably watch one car at a time... So what's the point in them being remote?
    There has been talk of unleashing them, and then just having humans intervene when they get stuck in some situation. But, level heads aren't really thinking this stuff through. It's being rammed into action, no matter the consequences. Safety probably isn't the primary concern in regards to remote control in this case.

    Hackers can already turn off vehicle’s engine remotely.  I’m not sure I’d want even Apple to be able to remotely operate a vehicle with me inside.  I can just see most of the work (of startups) outsourced to India... scary.

    Everyone seems to have jumped on the autonomous vehicle idea way to soon...
    Maybe for a Tesla... but I think previous articles about hacking vehicles are pretty much BS. But, yes, we're rushing way to fast into 'automated' vehicles, based on some concepts and a lot of 'faith' instead of reality. The only thing holding it back, is the companies' fear of what happens in terms of PR with the first big accidents. Outside of that, I think all rationality has gone out the window.
    baconstangelijahg
  • Reply 7 of 33
    Has anyone here seen Star Trek - TOS episode called "The Ultimate Computer"?

    I think it needs to be watched again.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    Since California is the most litigious place on Earth it’s hard to believe the savings from remote operation would offset the damages a jury would award to the first accident victim. 
  • Reply 9 of 33
    California... “leading from behind” again. Uber’s self-driving vehicle testing left for a more business friendly state and these clumsy and poorly thought out regulations will continue to affect the competitiveness of the state.
  • Reply 10 of 33
    California... “leading from behind” again. Uber’s self-driving vehicle testing left for a more business friendly state and these clumsy and poorly thought out regulations will continue to affect the competitiveness of the state.
    More business friendly? You do realize some of the entire world’s best entertainment and technology comes out of California-based companies... 

    No, CA is simply leading. 
    baconstang
  • Reply 11 of 33
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    StrangeDays said:
    More business friendly? You do realize some of the entire world’s best entertainment and technology comes out of California-based companies... 
    No, CA is simply leading. 
    It's all fun and games until it isn't any longer.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    Maybe this is really CarPlay 🤫
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 13 of 33
    California... “leading from behind” again. Uber’s self-driving vehicle testing left for a more business friendly state and these clumsy and poorly thought out regulations will continue to affect the competitiveness of the state.
    More business friendly? You do realize some of the entire world’s best entertainment and technology comes out of California-based companies... 

    No, CA is simply leading. 
    The California business climate has become very hostile to employers. I’ve observed more large employers flee for better pastures over the past 8-10 years than ever.
    designr
  • Reply 14 of 33
    When one thinks of the nuances of what one does with a car -- such as where to park it or pick up someone (rather than the typical driving mode):
    ...  For example, a person who normally parks at the far end of the parking lot to protect the car from nicks and to get exercise decides to drive around the lot looking for the closest spot because its cold outside and they forgot a jacket....

    Some form of human control is required...

    If that control is remote, then it is possible to hack it and drive the car off a cliff rather than find the closest parking spot.  So, if anybody is going to be remotely controlling a car that I'm in, I would want it to be Apple.   Would anybody trust Microsoft or Google?
    king editor the gratelolliver
  • Reply 15 of 33
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    When one thinks of the nuances of what one does with a car -- such as where to park it or pick up someone (rather than the typical driving mode):
    ...  For example, a person who normally parks at the far end of the parking lot to protect the car from nicks and to get exercise decides to drive around the lot looking for the closest spot because its cold outside and they forgot a jacket....

    Some form of human control is required...

    If that control is remote, then it is possible to hack it and drive the car off a cliff rather than find the closest parking spot.  So, if anybody is going to be remotely controlling a car that I'm in, I would want it to be Apple.   Would anybody trust Microsoft or Google?
    The big problem is that proponents of AI look at this as a quantitative problem. i.e.: sensors aren't good enough, processors aren't fast enough, etc. and that once this is overcome, the capacity will be there for the system to 'think' and figure this stuff out. However, it's actually a qualitative problem. AI doesn't think, and never will. The 'databases' of the decision tree will get built in more detail... programmers will make adjustments to how the car should respond... sensors and processors will get faster, allowing more detailed input and ability to crunch the data more quickly, but the fundamental issue remains. There will ***ALWAYS*** be unique, unpredictable situations that occur. When that happens, the AI will fail (hence remote control so a human can solve the situation).

    While I trust Apple (currently) more in terms of data privacy, I don't trust any of them in regard to AI, because the proponents aren't even thinking correctly about it. They are living in a sci-fi dream-world.... and IMO, not really thinking of the downsides as much as the potential upsides and $$$.
    GeorgeBMacbaconstang
  • Reply 16 of 33
    I’d like to point out yet another technology (company/companies/industry) that is completely oblivious to the world outside the ideological (and climatological) bubble that is Southern California. So I’m supposed to scrape snow and ice off of 40 different sensors if I want to drive? And how’s the system going to work if it can’t see the road lines thanks to… snow and ice? Even rain seems to be a problem. “So they’ll put them all under a single glass dome.” Okay, so I still have to get the dome clean (which is easier), but leaving streaks of water/ice will bend the light entering the sensors and alter their perception. And electric cars: batteries don’t like the cold. Ah, well. I refuse to use a self-driver in the first place, so the point is moot for me. Just not for anyone trying to sell them to the northern (and soon to be southern) states.

    Since California is the most litigious place on Earth it’s hard to believe the savings from remote operation would offset the damages a jury would award to the first accident victim. 
    And when computers are given human rights, some of the damages will have to be given to the car that was hit for medical expenses (body restoration) or a funeral (cubificaiton at a junkyard).

    Don’t laugh. I’m not joking. There are people trying to grant human rights to AI. Meaning restrictions on workdays. And voting rights.
    edited February 24
  • Reply 17 of 33
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    tallest skil said:
    And when computers are given human rights, some of the damages will have to be given to the car that was hit for medical expenses (body restoration) or a funeral (cubificaiton at a junkyard).
    Don’t laugh. I’m not joking. There are people trying to grant human rights to AI. Meaning restrictions on workdays. And voting rights.
    Unfortunately, we seem to have a long history of dehumanizing actual humans, so we can take their rights away, while at the same time, humanizing everything from animals to machines so we can talk about human-rights. All while chopping away at the foundations for why humans should have rights in the first place. Pretty messed up.
    tallest skilGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 18 of 33
    I’d like to point out yet another technology (company/companies/industry) that is completely oblivious to the world outside the ideological (and climatological) bubble that is Southern California. So I’m supposed to scrape snow and ice off of 40 different sensors if I want to drive? And how’s the system going to work if it can’t see the road lines thanks to… snow and ice? Even rain seems to be a problem. “So they’ll put them all under a single glass dome.” Okay, so I still have to get the dome clean (which is easier), but leaving streaks of water/ice will bend the light entering the sensors and alter their perception. And electric cars: batteries don’t like the cold. Ah, well. I refuse to use a self-driver in the first place, so the point is moot for me. Just not for anyone trying to sell them to the northern (and soon to be southern) states.

    Since California is the most litigious place on Earth it’s hard to believe the savings from remote operation would offset the damages a jury would award to the first accident victim. 
    And when computers are given human rights, some of the damages will have to be given to the car that was hit for medical expenses (body restoration) or a funeral (cubificaiton at a junkyard).

    Don’t laugh. I’m not joking. There are people trying to grant human rights to AI. Meaning restrictions on workdays. And voting rights.
    Good points on snow, ice & rain effects on sensors.
    But, Uber has been running a fleet of self driving cars in Pittsburgh throughout the winter.   Admittedly, there isn't a lot of reporting being done on them so I don't know how well they did through the rather nasty winter we've had -- but I haven't heard of any failures.  But, in any case, they are being tested and used in hostile, winter weather conditions.
    lolliver
  • Reply 19 of 33
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,276member
    I’d like to point out yet another technology (company/companies/industry) that is completely oblivious to the world outside the ideological (and climatological) bubble that is Southern California. So I’m supposed to scrape snow and ice off of 40 different sensors if I want to drive? And how’s the system going to work if it can’t see the road lines thanks to… snow and ice? Even rain seems to be a problem. “So they’ll put them all under a single glass dome.” Okay, so I still have to get the dome clean (which is easier), but leaving streaks of water/ice will bend the light entering the sensors and alter their perception. And electric cars: batteries don’t like the cold. Ah, well. I refuse to use a self-driver in the first place, so the point is moot for me. Just not for anyone trying to sell them to the northern (and soon to be southern) states.

    Since California is the most litigious place on Earth it’s hard to believe the savings from remote operation would offset the damages a jury would award to the first accident victim. 
    And when computers are given human rights, some of the damages will have to be given to the car that was hit for medical expenses (body restoration) or a funeral (cubificaiton at a junkyard).

    Don’t laugh. I’m not joking. There are people trying to grant human rights to AI. Meaning restrictions on workdays. And voting rights.
    Good points on snow, ice & rain effects on sensors.
    But, Uber has been running a fleet of self driving cars in Pittsburgh throughout the winter.   Admittedly, there isn't a lot of reporting being done on them so I don't know how well they did through the rather nasty winter we've had -- but I haven't heard of any failures.  But, in any case, they are being tested and used in hostile, winter weather conditions.
    ...and Waymo has started testing in Michigan. The reason all these companies are starting with pseudo-taxi services is that it allows them to put fleets in service on the highways right now in sunny and drier locales while fine-tuning for rainy/icy/snowy conditions in the colder or tropical climates. 
  • Reply 20 of 33

    I’d like to point out yet another technology (company/companies/industry) that is completely oblivious to the world outside the ideological (and climatological) bubble that is Southern California. So I’m supposed to scrape snow and ice off of 40 different sensors if I want to drive? And how’s the system going to work if it can’t see the road lines thanks to… snow and ice? Even rain seems to be a problem. “So they’ll put them all under a single glass dome.” Okay, so I still have to get the dome clean (which is easier), but leaving streaks of water/ice will bend the light entering the sensors and alter their perception. And electric cars: batteries don’t like the cold. Ah, well. I refuse to use a self-driver in the first place, so the point is moot for me. Just not for anyone trying to sell them to the northern (and soon to be southern) states.

    Since California is the most litigious place on Earth it’s hard to believe the savings from remote operation would offset the damages a jury would award to the first accident victim. 
    And when computers are given human rights, some of the damages will have to be given to the car that was hit for medical expenses (body restoration) or a funeral (cubificaiton at a junkyard).

    Don’t laugh. I’m not joking. There are people trying to grant human rights to AI. Meaning restrictions on workdays. And voting rights.
    Good points on snow, ice & rain effects on sensors.
    But, Uber has been running a fleet of self driving cars in Pittsburgh throughout the winter.   Admittedly, there isn't a lot of reporting being done on them so I don't know how well they did through the rather nasty winter we've had -- but I haven't heard of any failures.  But, in any case, they are being tested and used in hostile, winter weather conditions.
    No in fact none of them are good points. LIDAR sees through snow and ice and can be tuned to various weather related phenomena. As for your laziness and upkeep of your automobile... I can’t say... I’d think if you paid 80k for a Cadillac CTS that you’d clean snow off it... Tesla is one to worry about Elon won’t use lidar and it’s a problem
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