DETROIT (AP) — Five years ago, automakers and technology companies thought they were introducing thousands of cars…
DETROIT (AP) — Five years ago, automakers and tech companies thought they were putting thousands of self-driving robotaxis on the road to ferry passengers without human drivers.
Since then, Uber’s self-driving test vehicle has struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, Tesla’s partially automated system has encountered multiple problems, and General Motors’ Cruise robotaxi has run into trouble in San Francisco.
Still, technology is advancing, said Amnon Shashua, Mobileye co-founder and CEO. Mobileye, an Israeli public company majority-owned by Intel, is pioneering partially autonomous driver assistance systems and fully autonomous driving technology.
Mobileye’s systems are already operating in vehicles that perform some driving functions such as steering and braking, but humans still need to be ready to take over. Systems that allow drivers to take their eyes off the road and fully autonomous driving systems are expected to arrive within about two years.
Shashua spoke to The Associated Press about the next steps toward self-driving cars. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Given the issues with cruise and partially autonomous driving systems, what do you think the future holds for self-driving cars?
A: When we talk about self-driving cars, the companies that immediately come to mind are Waymo, Cruise, and robotaxis. But the story is more nuanced. It really reveals what the future of the auto industry will be. It’s not just robotaxis. I would frame it as three stories. The first is safety. Today we have front-facing cameras and sometimes front-facing radar. There are features that can help you avoid accidents. Safety can be further increased by installing multiple cameras around the car, providing a higher level of safety. Accidents are extremely rare.
The second story is to add redundant sensors such as front-facing lidar (lasers) like imaging radar and start enabling eyes-off (road) systems that become hands-free, hands-off (steering wheel). It is legal to not be careful or responsible for driving on certain roads. You can also start with a highway and add secondary roads. This is a value proposition that buys back productivity, or time. If you drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, you’ll be on the interstate 90% of the time. You can relax and legally do something else, like work on your smartphone.
And this third story follows. This is a robotaxi without a driver. We’re using cars at a higher level, and because we don’t have drivers, we can move people around more efficiently and economically, like Uber and Lyft.
Q: When will we see many fully autonomous cars on the road?
A: Mobileye’s surveillance system, currently installed in approximately 200,000 vehicles in China and scheduled to begin expanding to Europe and the United States this year, includes 11 cameras around the vehicle and a hands-free Provides an icing system. The second episode of the Eyes Off Highway system is already in development. Mobileye announced that it is partnering with global Western he OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). We call this system the driver. Add front lidar and image radar, and add his 9 car models scheduled to be released in 2026.
Third story: If you look at Waymo’s success, the challenges aren’t technical. It’s more about how you scale and build your business. The adoption of this type of robotaxis has been slower than originally expected five years ago. But that’s really, really happening. Mobileye is collaborating with Volkswagen regarding his ID. Buzz (van) will begin fielding thousands of similar vehicles in 2026.
Q: Is Mobileye or the car manufacturer legally responsible for the EyesOff system?
A: If a driver is working on their phone and an accident occurs, you can’t go to the driver and say, “I made you do something else, so you’re responsible.” This means that the system’s performance metrics (we call it mean time between failures) are very high, much higher than human statistics. This is a liability system handled between the supplier and the car manufacturer.
Q: What do you think now about Tesla’s Autopilot and “full self-driving” and how are these systems impacting the public’s perception of self-driving?
A: Tesla’s technological capabilities are extremely high. It will be interesting to see if this type of system using only cameras will eventually become a reality. I say goodbye here. I believe additional sensors are needed for redundancy. It’s not just a matter of improving algorithms and adding more compute. You need to create redundancy from a sensor perspective and from a computing perspective.
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