Fully Automated Driving May Always Need Human Oversight

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Auto companies and tech start-ups have been raising money, doing research and building increasingly automated cars with the promise of fully automated driving coming soon. Now it appears that industry experts and executives say that there may be a requirement for human oversight permanently in order to ‘help’ the AI drivers.

The appeal of fully automated driving is several fold. There are promises of safer roads, fewer cars, less pollution, time savings, and ease of use. The key promise is the reduction of accidents due to driver error.

It appears our hopes may be exceeding the capabilities of the technology. Humans remain much better predictors and risk assessors in unexpected ‘incidents and edge cases. Currently when the AI in the systems becomes confused it pauses. This is not safe.

This seems to be pointing to the need for human oversight of the tech for the foreseeable future. Experts liken the human roles to those of air traffic controllers for flight.

The large vehicle manufacturers are not responding to pointed questions about the roll out of fully automated vehicles, nor on the need for human oversight.

You can read more about this here in the Reuters news release:

Like air traffic controllers, such human supervisors could be sitting tens of hundreds of miles away monitoring video feeds from multiple AVs, sometimes with a steering wheel, ready to step in and get stuck robot drivers moving again - AVs invariably stop when they cannot figure out what to do.

Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Waymo and Argo, which is backed by Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), declined to comment when asked the same question.

GM recalled and updated software in 80 Cruise self-driving vehicles this month after a June crash in San Francisco left two people injured. U.S. safety regulators said the recalled software could "incorrectly predict" an oncoming vehicle's path, and Cruise said the unusual scenario would not recur after the update. read more

For some, the idea that human supervisors could be here to stay raises more doubts about the technology.

Truly autonomous vehicles are far behind the optimistic rollout schedules predicted just a few years ago.

If you are in an accident involving a vehicle in semi-autonomous mode you should contact one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at Deutschmann Personal Injury and Disability Law today for your free intial consultation.