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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on October 28th, 2019 | by Maarten Vinkhuyzen

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Tesla Full Self Driving — How To Get A Driver’s License

October 28th, 2019 by  


For a fully autonomous system to be allowed on the road, it needs regulatory approval. There have been many discussions about how to prove it can drive safely enough, but how to develop a system to convince the authorities?

We already have such a system in place. It is called getting your driver’s license. In some parts of the world, you have to demonstrate you can start a car and drive it some yards on an empty parking lot. In other parts of the world, like where I live, you have to navigate the worst big city traffic situations.

I am not suggesting that a half hour with a driving examiner should be enough to certify an AI. We will need a lot of statistical information. And the authorities will need months to analyze it. What kind of situations occurred, and how often?

What is the value and significance of this data? This is a real challenge for big-data data mining. And what is lacking is good data about human drivers to compare the autonomous system to.

This is the point where the human driving examiners come in. They have years of experience evaluating and comparing the level of skill new drivers have. These people know where the worst situations are, how they should be handled, how smooth the handling is, how cautious or how brazen a driver is, and should be in different situations.

I would ask the 50 most experienced Dutch driving examiners to examine the autonomous system for a few days each — in the worst conditions they can find. It will take likely over half a year to go through the process. It should be tested in all kinds of weather. Perhaps even including trips to the arctic, the desert, and high mountains.

The combination of observed behavior by the most critical observers and the statistical data supplied by the applicant should enable the authorities to decide if an autonomous system is good enough to enter traffic without supervision. 
 
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About the Author

Grumpy old man. The best thing I did with my life was raising two kids. Only finished primary education, but when you don’t go to school, you have lots of time to read. I switched from accounting to software development and ended my career as system integrator and architect. My 2007 boss got two electric Lotus Elise cars to show policymakers the future direction of energy and transportation. And I have been looking to replace my diesel cars with electric vehicles ever since. And putting my money where my mouth is, I have bought Tesla shares. Intend to keep them until I can trade them for a Tesla car.



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