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lughnasadh OP t1_ivv0hx1 wrote

Submission Statement

This puts Waymo in the global lead when it comes to robo-taxis. Cruise in San Francisco is trialing a service with no safety drivers, but it only operates from 10pm-6am. Baidu is trialing operations in two Chinese cities without safety drivers, but are still basically in test mode, with very few operational cars.

If I were Uber or Lyft, I would be worried. You need these companies a lot more than they need you, if they need you at all.


FuturologyBot t1_ivv60ja wrote

The following submission statement was provided by /u/lughnasadh:

Submission Statement

This puts Waymo in the global lead when it comes to robo-taxis. Cruise in San Francisco is trialing a service with no safety drivers, but it only operates from 10pm-6am. Baidu is trialing operations in two Chinese cities without safety drivers, but are still basically in test mode, with very few operational cars.

If I were Uber or Lyft, I would be worried. You need these companies a lot more than they need you, if they need you at all.

Please reply to OP's comment here:


cludinsk t1_ivv8hih wrote

Waymo has been testing in Phoenix for a couple years now, and in the Bay Area. Can’t wait for them to test in major cities/places with snow/etc as well, Phoenix is less challenging.


Test19s t1_ivvbtz4 wrote

What an interesting decade. Living up to the promise that I saw when the first self-transforming Transformers launched in Jan/2020…in ways both good and bad.


professor_mc t1_ivvf7jz wrote

Waymo has been very active in Phoenix. I see their cars all over central Phoenix every day. We have straight roads and plenty of sun so pretty ideal operating conditions. I’m sure they will quickly expand the service area based on how many test runs they are making all across Phoenix. We have the Super Bowl here in 2023 and I bet they use that to show off their service.


ihateshadylandlords t1_ivvfpxv wrote

I feel like self driving cars are similar to fusion in the sense that they’re always 20 years away. Hopefully the testing goes well and they can expand.


bxsephjo t1_ivvjiq3 wrote

It seems like Waymo exclusive operates in Phoenix. If their models don't currently allow them to handle other cities well, would this be a case of their machine learning over-fitting the training set? And if so how do they overcome that in order to expand?


Boring_Ad_3065 t1_ivvn53z wrote

You probably could, but I’m certain it’s more difficult and more expensive. I’m also guessing heavy snowfall or rain messes with a lot of the sensors. Guessing it’ll be years before they work out those scenarios most of the time.


OozeNAahz t1_ivvq5my wrote

They will just send them to a storage lot when inclement weather hits till it is completely gone.

I figure they will probably use them like a flock of birds and send them all south for the winter to work in warmer cities.


Shakespurious t1_ivw0f92 wrote

I have my doubts here: I see a lot of videos showing Tesla autopilot doing a so-so job, still needs human intervention every few miles.


markmevans t1_ivw2i9s wrote

Tesla only uses cameras for it's self-driving. [1] This is theoretically possible but actually really difficult to implement in a way where the car "understands" all situations.

Waymo uses cameras, radar and lidar for its self-driving. I think they also use GPS and super-detailed maps. This makes it much easier for Waymo to track the road (from maps) and know the distance to obstacles even if it does not know what the obstacle is.

Basically, Tesla is trying to make a self-driving car that uses only the information available to a human which means their AI has to be way "smarter" than Waymo's.

[1] I think Tesla is adding radar, but I'm not sure about that.


Cdn_citizen t1_ivw3bwm wrote

It’s less so snow sitting on the roads as to the melting and freezing cycles over night that’s the issue. Plus I’m in Canada and sometimes a polar vortex can keep it so cold that even road salt doesn’t work and ice remains on city roads.

In that case snow + ice = bad time to be self driving and lack the intuition of a human driver.


maskedpaki t1_ivw9dgz wrote

These aren't tests

The tests with vetted passengers were already in downtown pheonix

This is a real FSD open to anyone 24/7 no safety driver service in downtown pheonix.

Self driving is here. Just a matter of expanding at this point.


Anotherburner42069 t1_ivwcore wrote

Anyone want to set an over under on how long it takes for one of these to turn a pedestrian into chunky marinara?


maskedpaki t1_ivwez7j wrote

So if I sell a product in one country it's undergoing a trial even if it's open to all customers there with no restrictions ?

By this definition most everything is "in testing "

Let's not play with semantics. This is a product. They obviously can't sell rides to 8 billion people overnight. That doesn't mean it's still in testing.


MegaNodens t1_ivwgpcs wrote

How do accidents work with driverless cars? Like does the passenger have the obligation to stay with the car and get the other driver's insurance?


LeagueReplays2 t1_ivwkhef wrote

It's not an ML problem. Waymo uses Lidar, because that's what google started with over a decade ago and they never moved past it. Lidar is pretty bad for self-driving for many reasons, they hit a brick wall with it years ago and haven't moved past since.

So it's either scrap the company, or try to make something of it. So they picked a city with the second lowest rainfall anywhere in the US, and pre-programmed in some areas of the Phoenix metropolitan area into the car. Streets, lane counts, how to make turns at each intersection, how the lanes match up, markings...etc. Once pre-programmed, they lock the cars in the area and drive the pre-programmed routes, using Lidar to try not to bump into stuff.

The gimmick here is in the strange definition of level 4 autonomy. Unlike the other levels, level 4 allows for geofencing. This makes it pretty misleading since it means if you train your car to drive around an empty parking lot without a driver, and nowhere else, that's technically level 4 autonomy and you can market it as that. Cars have been able to self drive around a parking lot since the 90's if not earlier, and self navigate entire deserts since like 2001, so it's not really an impressive feat.

They're hoping it will be good enough to start robo taxi services in areas they can get the pre-programming working well enough to not keep failing. But there really isn't a point, they have to perpetually re-program the cars by re-scanning the entire geofenced area. It stops being economical the moment any other competitor makes actual self driving cars that aren't based on gimmicks.


LeagueReplays2 t1_ivwl4xf wrote

This isn't semantics, you're skimming over the actual significance of being in a single city. It's not just because they started thejre, their technology relies entirely on pre-programming the entire area the car is geofenced in into the car, and then continiously maintaining and updating it. It can't self-drive anywhere it wasn't pre-programmed to self drive in. For this reason, the technology is not likely to actually scale past working in a single metropolitan area.


Leburgerking t1_ivwosvn wrote

They have about ~10 training cities around the US. Waymo also operates in San Francisco, and their automated trucking division is starting to operate in Texas. Some of their training cites include Kirkland, Washington and Novi, Michigan.


Ambiwlans t1_ivwqxux wrote

Visibility is an issue but sdcs have superhuman reflexes and have no fear or surprise. Ice isn't an issue, they'll be far safer from loss of control than humans.

The biggest issue in snow is neither of those. It is that humans drive very differently in a way that'd be illegal typically and that's challenging for sdcs. Learning that where the lanes actually are matterless than where people are driving, etc.


Ambiwlans t1_ivwrk3t wrote

Overfitting if they tried to just release this software everywhere i guess. But they're not doing that.

Their strat seems to be to learn each location vs tesla which is trying to learn to drive generally.


Ambiwlans t1_ivwssw1 wrote

At this point, a waymo rep will show up in like 45seconds. They often tail their own vehicles.

But yes, you're required to stay. Imagine you're a passenger in a crash and the driver dies. Same rules apply.


kerodon t1_ivwtmn3 wrote

What are the average costs compared to current ride share pricing? Google suggests it's on average a bit cheaper but not a lot of concrete numbers I could find.


tatakatakashi t1_ivx1bvo wrote

Your face when the robot tells you the meter is broken and it’s gonna be $80 cash


AmazingDom14 t1_ivx3u6x wrote

It'd be nice if trams weren't phased out so this wouldn't have to be the alternative


R0ud41ll3 t1_ivxvmvz wrote

I imagine the driver's salary is a big part of the cost of running a taxi + Waymo needs to have attractive fees to get the maximum people having their first driverless taxi experience so they have to be way cheaper than Uber.


Cdn_citizen t1_ivy5ozh wrote

That's the issue, Sdcs don't have a fear or surprise in addition not intuition either.

It can't for example anticipate a person crossing the street from behind a vehicle and possibly prepare to brake if that person actually ends up crossing or if they are just getting into their car. A human driver would have their foot over the brake or be prepared to move away from them should they unexpectedly cross.

I'm not sure where you're from but people drive and follow the rules of the road when it snows in Canada. The only exception would be the lane markings being covered but my car can't see the lane markings when it rains anyway so that's not a snow issue.

Also sdcs can misread signs, a human far less likely to do so. For example HOV signs.


TheDieselTastesFire t1_ivy65sp wrote

Drivers for uber and Lyft do NOT make the money you pay to the company. It's not related at all. I drive Lyft and I get between 15%-35% of the fare. I've made $7.00 on an $80 ride before.


merlinsbeers t1_ivy78jh wrote

The use of LIDAR in addition to cameras makes it safer, more reliable, and more likely to continue improving.


Ambiwlans t1_ivy8ln3 wrote

You fundamentally don't understand the tech you're talking about.

Fear and surprise doesn't make faster reactions, it makes worse ones. Imagine sdcs are people driving where time is slowed down 100 fold. Their reaction speed is that much better. Reaction speed to a sudden object for a person is 750ms ... a sdc is maybe 20ms. It isn't close.

And yes, when snow covers lane markings, humans stop using them. They also drive to avoid deep snow and ploughed snow. This is very erratic behavior that needs to be learned. Vision isn't the issue. With some radar types and quality maps, a sdc could see like it was a clear summer day during whiteout conditions.... but other drivers would appear to have gone insane.


Cueller t1_ivy9ey0 wrote

Its for testing. And in a downtown area they can just station an accident recover car.

Given they have a dozen cameras on the car, pretty easy to have a fully documented accident for the police.


TopofGoober t1_ivyhdlg wrote

This will make driving so much safer. It’s going to be a battle to get it done, but over decades this will be the way of driving.


KoriroK-taken t1_ivyhxo9 wrote

Man. Getting stuck behind one of those cars blows. Their reaction time feels so slow.

It's like getting stuck behind a student driver, going 5 under the speed limit and looking really insecure about weather or not they can make that turn.


Cdn_citizen t1_ivytwxs wrote

I don’t have to understand the tech. I’m testing it every day with real life scenarios. It’s not anywhere near ready.

You are so sold on your beliefs you’re not looking at reality. Have you not noticed all the car ads stop pushing self driving and more towards driver assistance this year?

There’s a reason.

P.S, You can downvote me all you want but that does not change the facts.


Paskhall t1_ivz1v02 wrote

Good idea! In one of the most dangerous place for pedestrians and cyclists. What could go wrong.


charlie_nosurf t1_ivz2f1r wrote

Should be:

Car pulls over, new Waymo car is called immediately for passengers, passengers move to new car, driver of the other car/police wait for Waymo rep to arrive...

Or something like that.


Unbelievable_Girth t1_ivzgajh wrote

But it's not meant to be used everywhere. If they set out with a goal to make a specific area viable to be driven, then they have accomplished that goal and are now selling their product. They can move to another area and then it would be considered "testing".


carpitown t1_ix3v15h wrote

I figured fully autonomous big rigs would be the first to be approved. They drive less complex routes and can opt to drive during periods of low traffic.

How did passenger cars get so far ahead?


avatarname t1_ix5ciy0 wrote

It was 12 years ago when I first learned that Google was testing self driving cars, then it felt like sci-fi... and even now it still kinda does, even if it is more normalized now. It takes a bit longer than I expected, but we are going in that direction and that's cool.


No-Operation3052 t1_ix6j9jz wrote

LIDAR, paired with a very high definition map, can be very good. It's quite unlike the vision sensing that Tesla is trying to do. LIDAR, in general, won't hit things because LIDAR is very good at sensing obstacles (particularly in dry clear weather). So if you are a risk averse self-driving company then LIDAR makes a lot of sense because, above all, you don't want to hit anything.

Tesla's vision system still tries to hit things, a lot. It is still confused by what is actually in front of it, a lot. If you set a Tesla loose in Phoenix without a driver it would probably hit something within an hour. Also, if I'm not mistaken Waymo is also using vision to supplement the LIDAR. I think Waymo used the kitchen sink approach throwing virtually every kind of sensor at the problem of not hitting things.