AI and Automation – What Does it Really Mean?


That was the tile of an event starring Chris Urmson (center), former Head Honcho of Google’s self driving cars and now CEO of self-driving startup Aurora, Adrian Lund (left) Former President IIHS and Dennis Nobelius (right), CEO Zenuity.

Andrew started by voicing a skeptical take: self driving technology couldn’t possibly take over since people have so many different uses for cars – they want to use them to drive their boat to the haters and push it in for example – and people don’t trust them. He put up figures to show that people do a  good job of driving safely so self driving cars have a very high bar to pass, and the problems that humans have, such as being distracted, self driving technology doesn’t really solve.

This was followed by Chris who took almost the exact opposite take. He took us on a short historical tour of how far self driving technology has developed from the early days of the DARPA challenge when cars crashed within  few meters to today when Waymo’s cars are clocking up millions of km racked up on public roads. Chris described how recent advances in machine learning  together with other logarithmic technique have helped to solve some of the basic problems of perception and control in self driving cars. For him the technology is already here now!

Dennis talked about Zenuity’s approach of “budget free” agile and flexible teams, dynamically reconfiguring for the task at hand to “make it real”!

My question to them was if  current legal frameworks were adequate to deal with self driving cars and if there were significant differences between the Us and Europe. It seems there are and it’s complicated! I also wanted to ask what impact self driving technology would have on jobs, especially those of truck drivers and taxi drivers.

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