The Religion of the Technocrats is Failing, as is Their Technology by Brian Shilhavy, Editor, Health Impact News
When I announced “The fantasy of completely autonomous self-driving vehicles that will replace human drivers is now officially DEAD” in my October 28th article, I hadn’t realize that Bloomberg had effectively beaten me to the punch about 3 weeks earlier, with an article titled: “Even After $100 Billion, Self-Driving Cars Are Going Nowhere.” (Registration required.)
I would have surely included some of the information from this very well-written investigative report in my own article where I came to many of the same conclusions:
Bloomberg’s report goes into much more detail as to why the technology just doesn’t exist to be able to create fully autonomous self-driving vehicles, which has resulted in about $100 BILLION of investments over the course of many years now, that have produced basically nothing of value.
After many years of attempting to use artificial intelligence to create a robotic computer to replace humans and drive a car on American streets, it turns out that the one problem they have never been able to solve, is the left turn.
Over the course of more than a decade, flashy demos from companies including Google, GM, Ford, Tesla, and Zoox have promised cars capable of piloting themselves through chaotic urban landscapes, on highways, and in extreme weather without any human input or oversight. The companies have suggested they’re on the verge of eliminating road fatalities, rush-hour traffic, and parking lots, and of upending the $2 trillion global automotive industry.
It all sounds great until you encounter an actual robo-taxi in the wild. Which is rare: Six years after companies started offering rides in what they’ve called autonomous cars and almost 20 years after the first self-driving demos, there are vanishingly few such vehicles on the road. And they tend to be confined to a handful of places in the Sun Belt, because they still can’t handle weather patterns trickier than Partly Cloudy.
State-of-the-art robot cars also struggle with construction, animals, traffic cones, crossing guards, and what the industry calls “unprotected left turns,” which most of us would call “left turns.”
The industry says its Derek Zoolander problem applies only to lefts that require navigating oncoming traffic. (Great.) It’s devoted enormous resources to figuring out left turns, but the work continues. Earlier this year, Cruise LLC—majority-owned by General Motors Co.—recalled all of its self-driving vehicles after one car’s inability to turn left contributed to a crash in San Francisco that injured two people.
“It’s a scam,” says George Hotz, whose company Comma.ai Inc. makes a driver-assistance system similar to Tesla Inc.’s Autopilot. “These companies have squandered tens of billions of dollars.” (Source.)
As I noted in my article about the demise of self-driving vehicles, the faith in artificial intelligence is crashing down to reality, as investors in the technology find out the hard way that computers just cannot do all the things that the techno-prophecies have claimed.
This was exposed in the Bloomberg article quite eloquently by publishing quotes from Anthony Levandowski, the engineer who created the model for self-driving research and was, for more than a decade, “the field’s biggest star.”