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Cruise CEO: Self-driving cars may always need humans

This article was originally published on unit.

Cruise, the autonomous vehicle research wing of General Motors and Autonomous taxi provider in San Francisco, which was the first company allowed to offer fully autonomous taxi services in the United States. Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt was asked if he could see a point where remote human supervision could be removed from the company’s fleet of autonomous vehicles. His surprising response: “Why?” Extreme cases in autonomous driving often require human intervention to get around, and Cruise currently uses a team of remote human operators to help with those situations. However, Cruise never previously mentioned that this will be a long-term solution, according to ReutersVogt’s statements make it clear that people will continue to be informed for a long time.

Most autonomous vehicles on public roads currently use backup humans at remote control centers to help them in “extreme cases.” These edge cases are where the computer systems piloting the car get confused, which could be unusual situations like a sofa in the middle of the road or a child running after a ball in the street. The report suggests that the borderline case scenarios could be much more mundane. An anonymous Waymo operator told him Reuters that it had intervened about 30 times a day when Waymo’s self-driving cars weren’t stopping fast enough at red lights or other types of traffic.

[ Related: “What will it take for humans to trust self-driving cars?“ ]

However, the ideal scenario, as most autonomous vehicle companies have described it, is to slowly remove humans from the loop as the software improves and enables truly 100% autonomous driving, but this has proven more difficult to achieve. the expected. Vogt explained that these human drivers will always be helpful to passengers, saying, “I can give my customers the peace of mind that there is always a human there to help if needed.”

And it’s clear that sometimes company cars still need help, especially after traffic jams induced by massive programming errors seen throughout San Francisco earlier this year. In fact, California law for autonomous vehicles still requires a two-way link from a car to a human operator and back. Unfortunately, it’s unclear how much these human operators will continue to affect Cruise, who reported losing $5 million per day in the second quarter of 2022a loss the company partially attributed to high labor costs.


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