I have been busy lately looking at autonomous robots verification (e.g. I spent most of this week in Bristol discussing that – expect a trip report soon). And while my back was turned it seems AVs have been steadily progressing.
Lots of actions in AVs
The Economist had a good summary last week: It talks about how the likes of Google, Apple and Uber are beginning to take over the automotive space, and how the AV and auto-sharing trends are converging into AVs-on-demand, coming to an app near you pretty soon. How soon? The Economist says:
So when will the fully autonomous car hit the showrooms? Google, whose cars have done 1.3m test miles (2.1m km) on public roads, once promised 2018, whereas most analysts reckoned the 2030s more plausible as carmakers introduced automated-driving features in stages. Now, Mr Fields is talking about autonomous cars being ready to roll by 2020. More conservative car bosses add five years.
And yes, GM just invested $500M in Lyft, and so on.
In general, compared to autonomous robots, AVs seem to be significantly further along the hype curve. The advanced players are still not quite saying how they verify AVs, but it seems that e.g. Google is doing a lot of simulations based on actual Lidar/Video recording of real roads, with perhaps some “simulated-person-jumping-into-the-road” super-imposed on top of that recording.
What I heard so far was that real fully-synthetic-but-realistic scenario generation (video-game style) is too hard – hence all that dependence on recording. However, this recent news blurb from Ford seems to indicate otherwise.
The AV Test & Development Symposium
The program for Autonomous Vehicle Test & Development Symposium 2016 has been announced, and it looks interesting. Those of you who read my review of the 2015 installment of this symposium may remember that serious attempts for coverage-based, simulation-based verification were fairly thin on the ground. Well, this year there are several presentations with intriguing titles / abstracts, so this may be changing.
Wind and weather permitting, I’ll try to get to Stuttgart (31-May – 2-June) and report from the scene. Stay tuned.