For most purposes though, a few linked to odometer reading, measured at mandatory "car health check-up" time and maybe amortised over the intervening period would be just fine, and require no new tech or tracking. Maybe tie it to insurance somehow?
Is there an alternative they could compete on instead of the core tech? Maybe their coverage of localizations to different sets of traffic laws? Even with a dozen parallel developers, eventually the tech will become commoditized. When that happens to a technology, often the competition surrounding it focuses on services instead. What would those services be with self driving tech?
To add to what tim333 said: The core tech doesn't exist yet, and it will be very expensive to finish developing, so the companies must be incentivized to pursue it, which pretty much necessitates competition. And indeed, the history of science and tech development shows that competition is exceedingly beneficial, and in the vast majority of cases far outweighs the minor costs of cooperability layers. The advent of a standard protocol generally marks when technological progress has stopped (although this can beneficially allow tech progress on tools built on top of the protocol).
The financial incentive of getting there first is too great for them to not just throw money and hardware at the problem if that's all it took. That we see they're not doing that tells us they know they're missing some critical component. Which means all the cars out on the road now are mostly there for PR. Waymo is trying to get people comfortable with the change and to change regulations in states across the country, but they can't be "learning" anything (or they'd just scale that up and launch full self driving sooner).
As you can see with Waymo and Uber even the simple grid like traffic systems in the US with wide lanes and lots of space to cross are already a problem. Here we haven't even looked at organically grown traffic systems like in Europe or the sheer craziness they call traffic in countries like India. Effectively none of these are self-driving cars as they all come with a driver who regularly has to intervene as the cars prefer to drive around the block rather than doing a left-turn. These are problems they will not be able to solve even with 100x the mileage and cars they have today - scalability is not the problem here. Or rather it's uneconomical to solve it like that - by the time you gathered the necessary amount of training data the traffic systems will likely have changed significantly.
The underlying problem is that machine learning is impossible to debug and deep learning is based on the understanding of the human brain from the early 60s. These fields has advanced significantly since then and we will need both, new algorithms and new hardware, of what will eventually become sophisticated neuromorphic networks that truly mimic the human brain capacity. As it stands today, a human needs only a couple of examples to train, a machine needs millions. This is not only a compute problem but also a sensor problem. Today's sensor don't deliver the data at the necessary fidelity fast enough. We need algorithms that can learn more effectively, not harder.
I wouldn't be surprised if the German car makers are basically where everybody else is, but just waiting until the systems gets to a level where it's economical, truly safe and well accepted to get into mass production. Until then, they are probably fine with customers of Uber / Waymo play guinea pig.
You’re perspective on what the cutting edge of machine learning is shows your understanding of the current technological landscape is lacking. It’s understandable as the developments are happening incredibly quickly and the majority of the research is done privately, and unless you follow the release of academic papers very closely, it can be very easy to fall behind. Nevertheless it’s all happening regardless of whether you’re aware of it or not.
Also one car part suppliers (Bosch) are making components interoptablity become easier.
The simplest receiver could then trigger a flashing red "collision imminent" light if things look dicey. A complex receiver could employ active controls to "platoon" a set of vehicles, co-ordinate lane changes, or negotiate intersections.
The missing links, I think, are the need for
a) 1-2 meter position accuracy for platooning, and
b) 100-200 cm accuracy for lane-keeping/lane changing.
You'd still need to be an active, engaged driver: more "auto-pilot" than autonomous.
Or Boeing and Airbus competing on fundamental safety aspects of flight.
Self driving should be a singular science with canonical baseline requirements and standards to how it should function and interact/react to the human environment.
So - this shouldn't be "news" - it should be the requirement to even play in the space.
Except for the seatbelt, That’s how it went. Especially with Airbus and Boeing who have chosen completely different approaches to flight safety system.
More recently, they have blocked and delayed the EU's proposed emissions targets for 2025 and 2030 which would have required 40% fleet-wide CO2 reductions by 2030 and set minimum targets for zero emission vehicles.
(It should be noted Sweden, France, and Spain - who also have significant auto industries - are in favour of the new rules).
What happened instead? Normal engineers got blamed instead of executives. Fucking capitalism and fucking CDU, SPD and FDP. The sole reason for their existence is to sack money from lobbyists.
When you have people like Schäuble, a piece of shit that was convicted for corruption in 1999, who was the minister of finance for the past couple of years in germany, it makes sense that germany does nothing against big corporate.
VW (and Audi etc.) top executives are under criminal investigations. Their houses and offices have been searched multiple times.
> Still waiting to see Winterkorn & friends under the guillotine for scamming the entire world.
Sorry, we don't have capital punishment. And the guillotine is a bit too French for our taste, anyway (also, it was used by the GDR, so not a good role model).
merely giving an example that fits this thread (automotive).
Do you have source on this?
He failed to do anything about cum-cum/cum-ex.
He came up with a tax on fuel for nuclear power plants, that I am convinced was deliberately designed to be in violation of the constitution, leading to a 7 billion tax-revenue loss.
Not to speak of his views law and order and how the wrecked Greece because he doesn't understand economics.
If greece were governed by a right wing party, I'm sure he'd have been most generous. Germany put pressure on them to get rid of the leftists.
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 About 100%
 54 hours spanning Monday through Wednesday.
 ^H absolutely most certainly did
When you contact customer support our reps will explain that it must be something in their system but they can’t see your account and will transfer you to a manager at which point the call will disconnect.
I am not at all trying to be funny.
> I think remote updates will continue to be installed only when cars are in park.
What you think doesn't really matter, and you are wrong about the 'continue' bit.
But it would be good if we had some laws around this stuff stipulating that software updates of moving vehicles are strictly forbidden, it seems like common sense, unfortunately not everybody has it.
Not 100% sure if any startups are planning this far ahead in the future.
Level 5 is far away pipedream and research project that would boost global productivity and car sales for everyone. Cooperating in basic research is good.
You can't just tell humans, "Hey, this works 90% of the time - it's up to you to decide when to take over that 10% of the time. Oh, and we've legally covered in the ToS footnote, just in case you think about suing us later! Best of luck, though! Thoughts and prayers for you and your family."
These are the last three companies in the world you want defining industry standards / practices for anything.
Big challenges need big investments and it makes sense to work on open standards. Car makers don't want to become the next smartphone industry, with a race to the bottom among OEMs and Google reaping all the profits.
German groups know very well that creating distrust in the industry is not a winning strategy when everyone works with the same suppliers.
Disclosure: former HERE employee, executives always insisted on the fact staying neutral was key to long-term success and that we should welcome investments from other OEMs.
I admit that European countries have conflicting interests in the matter, however I'd rather have them look at more pressing issue first, like measuring and enforcing emission standards. "Unfair" competition against Google and Uber... I can live with that.
I'm sure German car makers take part in cartel-like behavior, like all big companies. However I don't see how building an open platform and working together on setting open standards could be seen as one of them. By the very definition of open standards, competitors can adopt them.
Part of me wonders if self driving tech ended up being harder than expected. These companies can't get it to work but also don't want to be left behind. Collaboration makes perfect sense.
Maybe. But what if it turns out that everything other than the core intelligence, communication and software platform features turn out to be low margin components?
What if these key functions turn out to be the only differentiator of any substance and the rest is just marketing blurb and a bit of component assembly?
If they don't commit to really owning some of the new tech then there will be nothing left of them.
In my view, these traditional car makers are a slow motion train wreck of epic proportion.
How on earth can BWM and Daimler decide to pay more than 5% dividend instead of investing every last cent they earn into surviving the current technological revolution?
Apparently they have decided to die and pay out what's left to shareholders. This may be a legit strategy for a private equity fund, but if I was a German polititician or trade union official I would be horrified.
Licensing an electric powertrain technology is not that different, there is a lot more in a car than the powertrain.
Likewise, MacBooks are more than their intel cpu.
And who will own the customer? Who will define the software platform that creates all the stickiness and benefits from all the network effects?
If car makers continue down the path they are on now, they will own none of it. Like publishers, they will be reduced to go begging for the help of regulators to impose some form of Google tax.
I don't doubt that there will be many brands, probably far more brands than ever before, exactly because it will be so much simpler to make cars from off-the-shelf parts, or just order them from some white label manufacturer.
But where will the highest margins be? Wouldn't it be wise if car makers were asking this question and then invest in whatever that is with the greatest sense of urgency?
>considering all cars will run the same self driving software
If all cars run the same self driving software then I suspect that the maker of that software will benefit from some of the highest margins in the industry. I also think that there will be a lot of money in the network effects of linking the data that all those cars generate.
It's about brand, design, experience, service etc.
Otherwise we would all be driving cheap Chinese cars, wearing counterfeit clothes and using no-name brand Android phones.
So if you have 3 big companies collaborating you will have more money and maybe more important more training data for the self driving program. Now Uber,Tesla and Google do not share their data(probably the data is not compatible either) but if this data was shared progress could have been faster and lives could have been saved.
But it could be just jealousy speaking, since germany has been doing so well compared to the rest of us, i don’t know.
I suspect it's mostly an optics/ignorance issue. If you never set foot into a modern factory, you could legitimately believe that german industry had not changed, simply because it's the same names as decades ago. But once you get the chance to take a peek behind the curtains, you quickly realized how high-tech those "dinosaurs" are.
I'm pretty sure they'll be fine even if old German industry declines.
This is also why they want self driving to be just another standard function that they can buy from a supplier, while letting the suppliers compete away their margins.
In the meantime they realized they need to get more into software, but it takes a lot of time to change course for tankers.
- Commoditize the stuff you don't want to compete on. I don't think German companies want to compete on self driving - they are positioning their product as a premium product and thus compete on performance, quality and emotions.
- Have a common interface to the outside - there is more to self driving than sensors and software: Legal framework, insurance market, road standards, parking standards, home garage standards, refueling standards. These external partners need to change and if too many competing priorities and possibly contradictory demands are coming nothing will change.
Self driving is certainly harder than it looks. If your market is the world and not just the relatively empty and wide grid streets in the US things are even more complex.
I'm sure there is some fear of losing out. More however I think about the limited upside: The cost for developing self driving vs the later ability to charge for it is very limited from a car manufacturers POV: Sensor's are bought in and software is either bought or very expensive to develop and run. Differentiation is minimal: Either considered safe or can't be sold. Self driving here has different economics from EV.
German automakers formed a secret cartel in the ‘90s to collude on diesel emissions: https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/24/16021292/german-car-compa...