Self-driving 'Apple Car' may combine LiDAR with other sensors for better decision-making

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
As work on the "Apple Car" progresses, Apple is coming up with new ways to improve automated driving systems, including using other sensors to enhance LiDAR scans to better determine what's on the road.

Waymo's LiDAR-equipped minivan concept
Waymo's LiDAR-equipped minivan concept


Apple has been working on self-driving systems for quite some time, including testing of its developments on a fleet of vehicles in the United States. While it is unclear what the company's ultimate aim is for the system, such as whether it is going to include it as a feature of a supposed "Apple Car" or will be licensed out to other manufacturers, it is known that Apple is still looking at how it can improve the technology.

In a patent granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday titled "Shared sensor data across sensor processing pipelines," Apple proposes multiple processes at play within a self-driving system could be more collaborative with collected data.

A typical sensor data processing pipeline would, in its simplest terms, involve data collected by sensors that are provided to a dedicated processing system, which then can determine the situation and a relevant course of action that then sends to other systems. Generally, data from a sensor would be confined to just one pipeline, with no real influence from other systems.

In Apple's proposal, pipelines could make a perception decision based on the data it has collected, with multiple pipelines capable of offering different decisions due to using different collections of sensors. While individual perceptions would be taken into account, Apple also proposes a fused perception decision could be made based on a combination of the two determined states.

A logical block diagram illustrating shared sensor data across processing pipelines.
A logical block diagram illustrating shared sensor data across processing pipelines.


Furthermore, Apple also suggests the data could be more granular, with decisions made and fused at different stages of each pipeline. This data, which can be shared between pipelines and can influence other processes, can include raw sensor data, processed sensor data, and even data derived from sensor data.

By offering more data points to work with, a control system will have more information to work with when creating a course of action, and may be able to make a more informed decision.

As part of the claims, Apple mentions how the pipelines could be for connected but different types of data, such as a first pipeline being for image sensor data while a second uses data from LiDAR.

Combining such data could allow for determinations that wouldn't normally be possible with one set of data alone. For example, LiDAR data can determine distances and depths, but it cannot see color, something that may be important when trying to recognize objects on the road, and data it could acquire from an image sensor data processing pipeline.

Another logical block diagram, this time showing sharing between a LiDAR sensor pipeline and one for image processing.
Another logical block diagram, this time showing sharing between a LiDAR sensor pipeline and one for image processing.


Apple offers that the concept could be used with other types of sensor as well, including but not limited to infrared, radar, GPS, inertial, and angular rate sensors.

The patent lists its inventors as Xinyu Xu, Ahmad Al-Dahle, and Kshitiz Garg.

Apple files numerous patent applications on a weekly basis, but though they are in no way a guarantee that Apple is developing specific features or products, it does show areas of interest for the company's research and development efforts.

Driving self-driving forward

The patent is only the latest in a long string of self-driving filings, as well as connected Apple Car applications, that have surfaced over the years.

On the sensor side, these filings have ranged from the creation of new types of LiDAR 3D mapping systems in 2016 to one from October 2019 suggesting how said systems could be hidden from view within the bodywork of the vehicle.

For processing, one May 2019 filing for a "confidence" algorithm would allow the system to get just enough data from its sensors to process the road, cutting down on the amount of data processing required to speed the process up and to save resources for other elements.

Others that surfaced in 2018 covered how a self-driving system could give passengers options, such as where to park or to change the direction of travel, then to act upon statements or gestures. A "Traffic direction gesture recognition" system found at the same time could recognize gestures of police officers and other officials directing traffic.

A "Cognitive Load Routing Metric for Vehicle Guidance" aimed to find the best route to take for a journey, by taking into account the complexity of the route. This included the number of lanes, narrowness of roads, street lights, and pedestrian traffic data among other data points, which could influence both directions provided to drivers and the self-driving system.

There have even been patent filings suggesting a self-driving system could adjust its driving style depending on the stress levels of passengers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    I know a lot of people think this project is dead and of course I'd love for Apple to demo a car at WWDC, but I also want them to get it right.


    PS: Thank you for using a different car pick. ๐Ÿ™ Have you considered contracting someone to create some nice, futuristic designs? From my experience, a great mockup can help draw a lot of attention to a website.
    lolliver
  • Reply 2 of 29
    sconosciutosconosciuto Posts: 269member
    I still have a lot of trouble visualizing Apple selling cars. It's similar to how so many people mistakenly thought Apple would sell HDTVs, but with even more issues logistical and otherwise. It makes me think of the television business. Apple (Jobs) more or less rolled the music business, but it is still figuring out how to break into the television business. I see the auto business much the same: established players who are big, savvy AF, and extremely wary of outsiders trying to get their foot in the door.

    So if they are not going to sell cars, what is the point of all of this R&D? To sell the underlying system to automakers? But they are already working on that themselves. I don't see why they would ditch all that research effort and go with Apple; they will want to own the technology.

    Or would Apple go the way of Smart and have an established automaker manufacture the cars with Apple technology? However that still doesn't answer the question of why Apple would want to do this with such low profit margins.
    edited June 2020 JWSC
  • Reply 3 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    sconosciutoJWSC
  • Reply 4 of 29
    thttht Posts: 5,496member
    I still have a lot of trouble visualizing Apple selling cars. It's similar to how so many people mistakenly thought Apple would sell HDTVs, but with even more issues logistical and otherwise. It makes me think of the television business. Apple (Jobs) more or less rolled the music business, but it is still figuring out how to break into the television business. I see the auto business much the same: established players who are big, savvy AF, and extremely wary of outsiders trying to get their foot in the door.

    So if they are not going to sell cars, what is the point of all of this R&D? To sell the underlying system to automakers? But they are already working on that themselves. I don't see why they would ditch all that research effort and go with Apple; they will want to own the technology.

    Or would Apple go the way of Smart and have an established automaker manufacture the cars with Apple technology? However that still doesn't answer the question of why Apple would want to do this with such low profit margins.
    Apple would do it because they think they will have good profit margins. How that can be achieved is an interesting question. The existing automakers say it is a tight and capital intensive business, our existing experience says it is so, but that just means Apple would not do it that way or won't be offering a product that sets them up with tight or no margins.

    I think it is very likely that Apple won't be setting themselves up like existing automakers. If there is a model they are going to follow, look at Tesla, but extrapolate even more:
    1. They won't own any manufacturing or assembly plants. It will all be contracted out. The assembly line design will definitely be theirs.
    2. They won't have a dealer network and won't have "inventory". Everything will be BTO.
    3. They will have a branded service network of some kind, possibly like Tesla's at-home service.
    4. There will be features that sell their vehicle and that provide those margins.
    5. They will need to have a branded charging network of some kind.

    To me, all this automated driving R&D means they are on a 10 to 15 year timeline. I think they decided they couldn't have a competitive product without it. They can build, for a lack of a better word, a "dumb" EV and have it shipping in a 3 to 4 year time frame, but I think they decided it wasn't worth it sometime in 2017 or whenever the Bob Mansfield shuffle happened. Too bad imo. I'd prefer a dumb EV, ie, one without automated driving features, as long as it has class leading efficiency. Wish they would buy out Lightyear One and do their relentless iteration with that type of idea.
    chasmlolliver
  • Reply 6 of 29
    redraider11redraider11 Posts: 186member
    lkrupp said:
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    The only way self driving cars will ever be a thing is if they are connected to every other car around them so they can talk to each other about changing lanes, etc. It will be a long time before all of the cars or at least 80-90% are replaced by cars that can do this, so self driving is still pretty far off despite what people want us to believe.
    lkrupp
  • Reply 7 of 29
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    lkrupp said:
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    The only way self driving cars will ever be a thing is if they are connected to every other car around them so they can talk to each other about changing lanes, etc. It will be a long time before all of the cars or at least 80-90% are replaced by cars that can do this, so self driving is still pretty far off despite what people want us to believe.
    No it's not. It's already here. What you're confusing is some future, absolute concept of self-driving from sci-fi at some imaginary point in time, and how technology evolves and what "self" actually means. We've been moving toward this since the invention of the automobile. There is no all or nothing. These are small incremental steps that lead to more safety and efficiency every single year.
    thtlkruppfastasleeplolliverbeowulfschmidtchemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 29
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,341member
    Just a quick reminder: Apple is not in fact building its own car. I don't know why stories feel like they have to keep claiming this.

    My evidence for this is pretty straightforward: it takes about 5-10 years to build a car-manufacturing facility. Apple doesn't have one, and hasn't started building one. There's no way to get around the fact that a car needs to be manufactured, a parts supply chain needs to be built, some sort of distribution system, repair system, and selling system needs to be in place for brands of cars, etc. Not to mention that car manufacturing is not a wildly profitable business, as an aside.

    Apple has exactly zero of this, and has not applied for the permits needed to build any of this. Conclusion: Apple is not, in fact, building its own car (though it could conceivably fabricate a small number of 3-D printed prototypes without having to have all of those pieces in place). What Apple is almost certainly doing is augmenting some sort of existing vehicle.

    What the various confirmed reports, patent filings, resource allocation and other clues DO tell us is that Apple is figuring out ways to make cars better, possibly in collaboration with a manufacturing partner (though if so, that's been the industry's best-kept secret as well). While I've referred to this as "AirPlay on steroids," I'm aware that this doesn't convey what I mean to some people, so until I come up with a better short-handing phrase, what I actually mean is that Apple is researching, prototyping, and building a system that touches every part of a (presumably electric or hybrid) car -- far beyond the infotainment/nav system -- for enhanced safety, comfort, efficiency, and a better experience for passengers (if any).

    I expect Apple will, at a certain stage, find a manufacturing partner to put these ideas into action -- heck, maybe it will just buy an existing car manufacturer! This almost immediately solves the problem of not having the infrastructure creating a car requires. I also expect the same resistance we initially saw to CarPlay/Android Auto from the usual suspects who aren't in partnership with Apple. And I expect that eventually the ideas will become part and parcel in the industry, as CarPlay is today.

    Finally, I would mention that self-driving trucks (the first and probably to be the most popular use of fully-automated driving apart from trams/monorails/subways/et al) have already debuted on America's highways. Driverless taxis are still rare but they do exist. You and I and everyone we know has ridden on driverless vehicles on tracks, flown in planes mostly doing auto-pilot, and can purchase vehicles with various levels of driverless capability right now, today.

    Between-vehicle communication technology, and the concept of technology embedded in roadways to regulate car spacing are actively being funded and researched. There is plenty of room for innovation left in the automobile industry, and I expect Apple to do for this industry what it has always done in the technology industry: vastly improve existing concepts, with a focus on the most profitable areas by creating a unified marriage of hardware and software that vastly enhances the security, safety, and user experience.

    **Edited to add: I sincerely hope that all carmakers and tech companies work hard to invest vehicles with anti-asshole-driver technology. That would be a huge improvement in the communal driving experience right there.**
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 9 of 29
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,039member
    lkrupp said:
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    The only way self driving cars will ever be a thing is if they are connected to every other car around them so they can talk to each other about changing lanes, etc. It will be a long time before all of the cars or at least 80-90% are replaced by cars that can do this, so self driving is still pretty far off despite what people want us to believe.
    This is a use case for 5G. High-speed, extremely low latency data communications means that connected vehicles will be able to gather, process and share rapidly changing traffic and environmental information for large areas around each connected vehicle. Even with small percentages of vehicles in use being thusly connected will enable their riders to benefit from quick avoidance of congested traffic, instantly mapping out lane changes or detours based on real-time info on what's up ahead. As that percentage of linked autonomous vehicles increases, the resulting choreography could actually repair and eliminate traffic congestion. Consider the present phenomenon where a roadside incident can actually have an "echo" in traffic long after the incident has been cleared. The tapped brakes and resultant slowdown keeps on going, because people can't individually grasp right away that the incident is gone and decide not to slow down for it any more. The interconnected self-driving vehicles will register the cleared road, immediately causing all the cars in the area to simultaneously resume normal speeds. 

    As for the argument elsewhere that computers and self-driving cars can't be as 'smart' as humans, that's only partly true. On an individual basis, no, the human brain is still a far more complex device. The thing that limits human drivers, however, is experience. Humans learn the basics from other drivers, but ultimately only get good at the activity based on their own level of experience. A human can only log so many miles and hours of driving. A brand new Tesla or Apple Car in autonomous mode will already have the collective experience of every other current and previous car in that system the moment it starts moving. Tesla's semi-autonomous mode is already significantly less likely to get into an accident than the average human operated vehicle. There will be a tipping point, probably sooner than anyone thinks, when having a human-operated vehicle will be recognized as a vastly greater liability than using a self-driving car.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    lkrupp said:
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    The only way self driving cars will ever be a thing is if they are connected to every other car around them so they can talk to each other about changing lanes, etc. It will be a long time before all of the cars or at least 80-90% are replaced by cars that can do this, so self driving is still pretty far off despite what people want us to believe.
    Not sure I 100% agree. I think it will take time, but I think self driving cars will be as good as a human driver. Especially on long haul. Just the facts on how much more a system car is aware of and can track so much more than a human seems to indicate it can happen. I'd be shy of holding out an opinion that speaks to humans somehow, magically, just because - being more capable. No too long ago it was common to believe and pontificate that no 'machine' will ever beat a human at chess for many of the same reasons you bring up. Maybe not tomorrow. Within10 years, I think it highly likely that self driving cars will be the norm. The entire automotive industry will need to change radially. They are a massive waste of capital. How much time do they sit in your driveway? What if you can call up a car within 5 minutes of needing one and it pulls up? WHat's that worth? I'll admit I'm not a 'car guy', but they are huge waste when looked at practically. 30 or 40 or 50 grand for an item that you use on occasion but almost always sits in your garage every day for 10-16 hours. Anyway, I guess we will find out.
    lolliver
  • Reply 11 of 29
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,426member
    chasm said:
    Just a quick reminder: Apple is not in fact building its own car. I don't know why stories feel like they have to keep claiming this.

    My evidence for this is pretty straightforward: it takes about 5-10 years to build a car-manufacturing facility. Apple doesn't have one, and hasn't started building one. There's no way to get around the fact that a car needs to be manufactured, a parts supply chain needs to be built, some sort of distribution system, repair system, and selling system needs to be in place for brands of cars, etc. Not to mention that car manufacturing is not a wildly profitable business, as an aside.

    Apple has exactly zero of this, and has not applied for the permits needed to build any of this. Conclusion: Apple is not, in fact, building its own car (though it could conceivably fabricate a small number of 3-D printed prototypes without having to have all of those pieces in place). What Apple is almost certainly doing is augmenting some sort of existing vehicle.

    [ ... ]
    And here's your quick reminder: They are building their own car inasmuch as they build any of their other products โ€” through manufacturing partners. And there's no scenario where they're building a system to run on other manufacturers' cars, that's absolutely not happening. Augmenting an existing vehicle, my ass โ€” there's myriad patents coming out on a regular basis showing they're designing everything from braking system to doors to moon roofs to airbags to everything else. If that doesn't spell it out that they're going to design and build the whole stack, I don't know what to tell you.

    All this was discussed like 3 weeks ago: 
    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/215945/apple-will-maintain-bumper-to-bumper-control-of-apple-car-project-says-morgan-stanley/p1

    edited June 2020 lolliver
  • Reply 12 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Xed said:
    lkrupp said:
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    The only way self driving cars will ever be a thing is if they are connected to every other car around them so they can talk to each other about changing lanes, etc. It will be a long time before all of the cars or at least 80-90% are replaced by cars that can do this, so self driving is still pretty far off despite what people want us to believe.
    No it's not. It's already here. What you're confusing is some future, absolute concept of self-driving from sci-fi at some imaginary point in time, and how technology evolves and what "self" actually means. We've been moving toward this since the invention of the automobile. There is no all or nothing. These are small incremental steps that lead to more safety and efficiency every single year.
    Let me know when I can buy a car, get in it, and tell it to take me to Walmart. Not gonna happen any time soon. in this age of pandemics no one would dare to ride in some autonomous taxi that god-knows-who just vomited in.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    lkrupp said:
    Xed said:
    lkrupp said:
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    The only way self driving cars will ever be a thing is if they are connected to every other car around them so they can talk to each other about changing lanes, etc. It will be a long time before all of the cars or at least 80-90% are replaced by cars that can do this, so self driving is still pretty far off despite what people want us to believe.
    No it's not. It's already here. What you're confusing is some future, absolute concept of self-driving from sci-fi at some imaginary point in time, and how technology evolves and what "self" actually means. We've been moving toward this since the invention of the automobile. There is no all or nothing. These are small incremental steps that lead to more safety and efficiency every single year.
    Let me know when I can buy a car, get in it, and tell it to take me to Walmart. Not gonna happen any time soon. in this age of pandemics no one would dare to ride in some autonomous taxi that god-knows-who just vomited in.
    What an odd statement. Why would you be going to Walmart? By the time cars have that level of sophistication you'll be able to have all anything you wanted from Walmart? Are you shopping there or working there as one of the few real life employees they'll have on site, or did you mean corporate. If you meant the store and for shopping, by the time is feasible they'll have robots that will be able to source anything you want and bring it to and load your car, likely without you having to be in it.

    What is 'in this age of pandemics"? There is only one pandemic, not multiples. If you mean the history of man, then there are multiple but that's life. If you then look at the historical data you know that this is temporary with pandemics not being a constant, but you suggest that fully  autonomous vehicles will never happen because of ridesahring during "pandemics"? WTF?!
    fastasleep
  • Reply 14 of 29
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,341member
    lkrupp said:
    Let me know when I can buy a car, get in it, and tell it to take me to Walmart. Not gonna happen any time soon. in this age of pandemics no one would dare to ride in some autonomous taxi that god-knows-who just vomited in.
    You can do that today, if you live in either Los Vegas (Lyft), Singapore, or Phoenix (Waymo). Those programs started nearly two years ago.

    Also, if someone "just" vomited in them, I think you'd know.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,341member

    And here's your quick reminder: They are building their own car inasmuch as they build any of their other products โ€” through manufacturing partners.
    All this was discussed like 3 weeks ago: 
    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/215945/apple-will-maintain-bumper-to-bumper-control-of-apple-car-project-says-morgan-stanley/p1

    1. Okay, so name Apple's automobile manufacturing partners. I'll wait.

    2. Yeah, thanks for proving my point. Do you know what Morgan Stanley is? Its an investment bank with one of the worst track records on predicting Apple out there. Getting your confirmation bias from them is like taking a certain bone spur-prone Twitter user literally.

    But hey, I acknowledge that I might be wrong in my estimation (unlike Morgan Stanley, or you). Time will certainly tell and perhaps you'll have the last laugh. Good luck!
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 16 of 29
    chasm said:

    And here's your quick reminder: They are building their own car inasmuch as they build any of their other products โ€” through manufacturing partners.
    All this was discussed like 3 weeks ago: 
    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/215945/apple-will-maintain-bumper-to-bumper-control-of-apple-car-project-says-morgan-stanley/p1

    1. Okay, so name Apple's automobile manufacturing partners. I'll wait.

    2. Yeah, thanks for proving my point. Do you know what Morgan Stanley is? Its an investment bank with one of the worst track records on predicting Apple out there. Getting your confirmation bias from them is like taking a certain bone spur-prone Twitter user literally.

    But hey, I acknowledge that I might be wrong in my estimation (unlike Morgan Stanley, or you). Time will certainly tell and perhaps you'll have the last laugh. Good luck!
    Just because we can't name a specific manufacturing partner at this time, as I pointed out in the comments of that last discussion linked by @fastasleep, there are partners out there that could do this for Apple, as they do for others. The point is that Apple doesn't need an automobile manufacturing facility to be able to manufacture a car... 
    There are already contract car manufacturers that Apple could partner with. Magna is one that actually offers "Complete Vehicle Manufacturing":
    "Magna currently holds contracts to produce vehicles for BMW, Daimler, Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota"
    edited June 2020 fastasleep
  • Reply 17 of 29
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,426member
    Xed said:
    lkrupp said:
    Xed said:
    lkrupp said:
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    The only way self driving cars will ever be a thing is if they are connected to every other car around them so they can talk to each other about changing lanes, etc. It will be a long time before all of the cars or at least 80-90% are replaced by cars that can do this, so self driving is still pretty far off despite what people want us to believe.
    No it's not. It's already here. What you're confusing is some future, absolute concept of self-driving from sci-fi at some imaginary point in time, and how technology evolves and what "self" actually means. We've been moving toward this since the invention of the automobile. There is no all or nothing. These are small incremental steps that lead to more safety and efficiency every single year.
    Let me know when I can buy a car, get in it, and tell it to take me to Walmart. Not gonna happen any time soon. in this age of pandemics no one would dare to ride in some autonomous taxi that god-knows-who just vomited in.
    What an odd statement. Why would you be going to Walmart? By the time cars have that level of sophistication you'll be able to have all anything you wanted from Walmart? Are you shopping there or working there as one of the few real life employees they'll have on site, or did you mean corporate. If you meant the store and for shopping, by the time is feasible they'll have robots that will be able to source anything you want and bring it to and load your car, likely without you having to be in it.

    What is 'in this age of pandemics"? There is only one pandemic, not multiples. If you mean the history of man, then there are multiple but that's life. If you then look at the historical data you know that this is temporary with pandemics not being a constant, but you suggest that fully  autonomous vehicles will never happen because of ridesahring during "pandemics"? WTF?!
    A+ Please comment more. 
  • Reply 18 of 29
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,426member

    chasm said:

    And here's your quick reminder: They are building their own car inasmuch as they build any of their other products โ€” through manufacturing partners.
    All this was discussed like 3 weeks ago: 
    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/215945/apple-will-maintain-bumper-to-bumper-control-of-apple-car-project-says-morgan-stanley/p1

    1. Okay, so name Apple's automobile manufacturing partners. I'll wait.

    2. Yeah, thanks for proving my point. Do you know what Morgan Stanley is? Its an investment bank with one of the worst track records on predicting Apple out there. Getting your confirmation bias from them is like taking a certain bone spur-prone Twitter user literally.

    But hey, I acknowledge that I might be wrong in my estimation (unlike Morgan Stanley, or you). Time will certainly tell and perhaps you'll have the last laugh. Good luck!
    1. Nobody knows that yet. Everything we know at this points to them not even being at that stage yet, so why would I know? What makes you sure they know for sure?

    2. The point wasn't the Morgan Stanley angle, it was the discussion pointing to the numerous patents by Apple and articles outlining everything addressing these issues that people like yourself are ignoring.

    It wasn't just me, there were some other thoughtful people in that thread that also vehemently disagreed with you, including one you thought was saying what you thought but was not. 

    I'll put money on it โ€” this will not be the Rokr vehicle. It'll be Apple from the top down, leveraging their existing partners for some of it and probably new partners for the rest โ€” whether that's someone like Magna or something we haven't seen yet, who knows. We know that they backed up from that end several years ago now when they reshuffled and brought Mansfield back in and may not have a solution there yet. But  no signs point to what you're speculating as far as I can tell. 

    Saying things like "I know they can't do this because they have to build a factory that'll take 5-10 years" is seriously in "they won't just walk in" territory and you should know that by now.
    edited June 2020 roundaboutnow
  • Reply 19 of 29
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,426member

    chasm said:

    And here's your quick reminder: They are building their own car inasmuch as they build any of their other products โ€” through manufacturing partners.
    All this was discussed like 3 weeks ago: 
    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/215945/apple-will-maintain-bumper-to-bumper-control-of-apple-car-project-says-morgan-stanley/p1

    1. Okay, so name Apple's automobile manufacturing partners. I'll wait.

    2. Yeah, thanks for proving my point. Do you know what Morgan Stanley is? Its an investment bank with one of the worst track records on predicting Apple out there. Getting your confirmation bias from them is like taking a certain bone spur-prone Twitter user literally.

    But hey, I acknowledge that I might be wrong in my estimation (unlike Morgan Stanley, or you). Time will certainly tell and perhaps you'll have the last laugh. Good luck!
    Just because we can't name a specific manufacturing partner at this time, as I pointed out in the comments of that last discussion linked by @fastasleep, there are partners out there that could do this for Apple, as they do for others. The point is that Apple doesn't need an automobile manufacturing facility to be able to manufacture a car... 
    There are already contract car manufacturers that Apple could partner with. Magna is one that actually offers "Complete Vehicle Manufacturing":
    "Magna currently holds contracts to produce vehicles for BMW, Daimler, Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota"
    This, exactly, plus the existing manufacturing partners they have to do many other components that would be a part of such vehicle from the chips all the way up to the glass and aluminum (or whatever). It's literally mapped out in front of us based on their existing business.
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 20 of 29
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 651member
    lkrupp said:
    In my opinion, until the human driver is completely eliminated from the equation the autonomous vehicle is a pipe dream. I watched a PBS documentary about the status of the technology. The really interesting part concerned interviews with the test vehicle drivers who reported that the super cautious nature of the software caused road rage in human drivers. They also reported that some drivers (aka assholes) intentionally tried to run them off the road or get the vehicle to crash. Humans are emotional, irrational, evil by nature. And as I have said before no self-driving car would have a chance against an 80 year old blue hair diving her 1975 Buick Electra gunboat.
    The only way self driving cars will ever be a thing is if they are connected to every other car around them so they can talk to each other about changing lanes, etc. It will be a long time before all of the cars or at least 80-90% are replaced by cars that can do this, so self driving is still pretty far off despite what people want us to believe.
    This would be fundamentally unsafe. Something as massive and dangerous as a car cannot afford to trust anything external. If autonomous vehicles trust external guidance information, people would absolutely figure out ways to mess with them.

    As for the idea of integrating LiDAR data, of course they will.

    In the 90s, self-driving cars used cameras for lateral motion and position estimation. Cameras have high angular resolution, so they're great for determining which lane a car in the camera's view is in. None of the features of cars (size, taillight spacing, &c.) are standardized, though, so it's hard to tell if you're looking at a small car which is close, or a large car which is further away.

    Around 1993, they started adding RADAR for longitudinal position and motion estimation. These sensors had great distance and speed resolution, but poor selectivity. They work in a pretty broad cone, so it's hard to tell if the distance and motion you get back are from the car in front of you, or a car a lane (or even two!) to the side. The data from both sensors was integrated and gave a pretty solid combined estimate of the world outside the car.

    LiDAR gives good angular resolution and good distance resolution. Further, it's a lot less susceptible to external interference. It can't tell which light at an intersection is illuminated, though. I expect LiDAR to be used for most guidance with a color camera (or an array of several) used to identify signs and lights, and as backup in case the LiDAR returns nonsensical data.

    Data from several internal sensors will probably be used as well. GPS receiver, at least one motion-compensated level, and at least two chassis IMUs (which might be used to synthesize the level). I would actually expect IMUs in each hub (along with the wheel speed sensor and a mic) to monitor flex and control semi-active suspension components.
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