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Self-driving cars will need people, too

Self driving cars will need people too


Unfortunately, these expectations will be difficult to fulfill. Handing control of a process to a computer rarely eliminates the need for human involvement. The reliability of automated systems is imperfect. Tech innovators know from experience that automation will fail at least some of the time. Anticipating inevitable automation glitches, Google recently patented a system in which the computers in “stuck” self-driving cars will contact a remote assistance center for human help.

Yet the perception that self-driving cars will perform flawlessly has a strong foothold in the public consciousness already. One commentator recently predicted the end of automotive deaths. Another calculated the economic windfall of “free time” during the commute. Self-driving technologies will undoubtedly be engineered with high reliability in mind, but will it be high enough to cut the human out of the loop entirely?

A recent example was widely reported in the media as an indicator of the readiness of self-driving technology. A Delphi-engineered self-driving vehicle completed a cross-country trip. The technology drove 99% of the way without any problems. This sounds impressive — the human engineers watching at the wheel during the journey took emergency control of the vehicle in only a handful of instances, such as when a police car was present on the shoulder or a construction zone was painted with unusual line markings.

These scenarios are infrequent, but they’re not especially unusual for a long road trip. In large-scale deployment, however, a low individual automation failure rate multiplied by hundreds of millions of vehicles on US highways will result in a nontrivial number of problems. Further, today’s most advanced prototypes are supported by teams of engineers dedicated to keeping a single vehicle safely on the road. Individual high-tech pit crews won’t be possible for every self-driving car on the road of the future.

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Good to know that we humans will not be obsoleted yet. 

Sure you can probably have one person monitoring 10-60 vehicles and getting them out of trouble or adjusting their status or removing them from service as needed. 

Alright, then that's still SOME human jobs we can feel good about. :)

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