ADAS Vehicles Will Hit Roads Soon. Should They?

It’s exciting to think about how close we could be to truly autonomous vehicles, but prototypes and mass production are two different things.

popularity

Adding fuel to the flurry of activity surrounding autonomous vehicles, yesterday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve Bill 3388: ‘To amend title 49, United States Code, regarding the authority of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over highly automated vehicles, to provide safety measures for such vehicles, and for other purposes.’

The bill states, “The purpose of this Act is to memorialize the Federal role in ensuring the safety of highly automated vehicles as it relates to design, construction, and performance, by encouraging the testing and deployment of such vehicles,’ and clears the way for automakers to test autonomous vehicles.

However, concerns have been raised as to whether the bill allows too many safety exemptions.

This is great news for automakers, to be sure, but the safety concerns are valid.

Also, just because a prototype works, doesn’t mean it is ready for mass production.

“It sounds like the problems are solved, and we’ll have autonomous driving next year because there are a lot of cars out there, and everything works,” noted Maximilian Odendahl, CEO of Silexica. “But then you really talk to the people [designing autonomous vehicles], and maybe the algorithm works but it works in the trunk, in an insane machine, and this insane machine needs to move into the middle of the car into an embedded supercomputer.”

“If you talk to the Tier Ones, they’ll tell you we are very far away and what we currently have is only Level 2. The first OEM bringing Level 3 on the market is Audi, and that’s just an announcement — it’s not certified, it’s not approved yet even though all the news stories say [it’s ready]. Marketing is very far [ahead], and of course the mainstream stories sound like we are done — of course they wouldn’t talk about hardware/software partitioning or multicore or hardware selection or those more nerdy topics.”

At the end of the day, perhaps it is wise to remember that it’s one thing to build a model of something, and it’s another thing entirely to have full volume production with mass market availability.