This self-driving car veteran says the tech isn’t going anywhere

Anthony Levandowski is an American self-driving veteran. It was this pioneer who co-founded Google’s self-driving car project – and if he is highly respected in the industry, it is because he laid the foundations on which the competition was able to develop its own solutions. .

However, the latter confides his doubts about the technology. He explains in the columns of Bloomberg: “you will hardly find another industry that has invested so many dollars in research and development while delivering so little on its promises”.

Autonomous driving technology is still far from delivering on its promises

It’s hard to argue with the engineer: despite mountains of investment over the past decade, and bombastic promises from the boss of Tesla, technology isn’t ready to do away with the need to put a driver behind the wheel.

The Tesla Autopilot system is de facto only a driving assistance system with level 2 autonomy on a scale that has 5 levels. And the competition does not essentially offer much better. Except for a handful of models, with truly autonomous capabilities limited to short stretches.

All this makes Anthony Levandowski say that for the time being autonomous driving is above all “An illusion” – maintained by numerous manufacturer demos designed above all to make customers dream. The engineer notably speaks in half-words about the beta of the Tesla Fully Autonomous Driving software.

To give its technology a “more high-tech” air, he believes, a visualization on the center console shows that the car sees surrounding cars well, with polygon forces and symbols meant to show that as a bonus, the trip computer analyzes and understands the situation.

But, he underlines immediately afterwards, all manufacturers still come up against problems that are far too banal. For example, in intersections that are not equipped with lights, AIs all still have great difficulty making left turns safely.

A subsidiary of General Motors has also recently paid the price. After an update in September, a vehicle caused an accident in a similar situation, injuring two people. What is worth to Anthony Levandowski to launch: “explain to me why we continue to drive, test technology and create additional risks without creating added value?”.

The engineer has, as you can see, a rather sour outlook on the industry. But he is not the only one. For their part, manufacturers continue to invest heavily in these technologies, despite disappointing results so far.

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