The arrival of fully autonomous automobiles is complicated by the debate over how much self-supervision should be allowed, an issue reinforced by last week's disclosure the driver of a Tesla Model S was killed in a crash that occurred while the car was running in its Autopilot mode.
Most automakers believe self-driving technology is not production-ready, with BMW projecting such vehicles will not be offered until 2021.
Ford, Google, Volvo, and others are pushing toward fully autonomous cars that can operate safely without any human intervention. One step below that level of automation is semi-autonomous technology, which can drive the car for stretches of road under certain conditions but requires drivers to be ready to take over.
"There's a huge inherent danger and it's well proven--the computer making a mistake and the driver not taking over quickly enough," says Alix Partners' Mark Wakefield.
Mobileye co-founder Amnon Shashua, whose camera and sensor technology is used by Tesla, says self-driving technology is close, but still unready for deployment without human motorists remaining engaged. Shashua thinks the validation of the technology could be reasonably accomplished within five years, although the kind of vehicles Mobileye is working on may not necessarily be capable of full autonomy in complex urban settings.
From The New York Times
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