Hot Potato Driving

sorry-to-botherThe idea that an autonomous car will hand over control to the human in the front seat in the event of an unforeseen, potentially dangerous situation, is simply preposterous. Not surprisingly Google gave up on it, and decided to remove the steering wheel and brakes entirely because humans are not a “reliable backup” for the self-driving system. Not so Tesla and some other traditional car manufacturers, which are now promoting this sort of “hot potato driving” as a value-added auto-pilot feature for premium cars.

It is a relief to learn that someone else is putting the finger on the sore spot, and trying to throw some light on this question(1):

When human drivers retake control of an autonomous car, the transition could be problematic, depending on how conditions have changed since they were last at the wheel.

One thing is to believe that, eventually, AI will drive better than us. To believe that we will be able to make up for the failures of half-baked self-driving “premium” cars (The Tesla way) is a horse of a different colour!


(1) Russell, Holly E. B., Lene K. Harbott, Ilana Nisky, Selina Pan, Allison M. Okamura, and J. Christian Gerdes. ‘Motor Learning Affects Car-to-Driver Handover in Automated Vehicles’. Science Robotics 1, no. 1 (6 December 2016): eaah5682. doi:10.1126/scirobotics.aah5682.

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