A two-year video of a prankster who confuses a self-drive has gone viral for the second time, and demonstrates a critical reason why Tesla's self-drivers will never become ubiquitous.
Going viral once is a big event, but a "recurrent" viral video indicates that something about the content has affected people in some visceral way.
In this case, it is the fact that human ingenuity can deceive a driving car. It drives the reason why it seems unlikely that they will ever have an appeal for the mass market, no matter which company makes them.
How to confuse a self-driving car
The video below is of an autonomous automobile surrounded by a solid and unbroken line of salt, which is surrounded by a circle consisting of discontinuous lines of salt.
The video demonstrates that self-management understands that it can cross broken lines, and even the continuous line that follows it.
As anyone who has driven a car knows, the pair of dashed and solid lines is the universal symbol that allows a car to move in the opposite lane to pass a vehicle in front of it.
However, while a human driver knows that he must travel back to his original lane to avoid a head-on collision, the car with auto only sees his activity of movement in a vacuum. It does not use the previous data to have crossed the dashed line to understand that it must cross backwards.
Consequently, the car ends up trapped in the solid salt circle. The AI interface believes that, because there is a solid line, it can not be crossed to prevent the car from being placed in a frontal collision.
It seems likely that, at some point, software engineers will find a solution to this particular problem.
However, it is also indicative of the infinite variables that exist when a human being drives a car, combined with an infinite number of variables that exist when that driver shares the road with other vehicles.
Maybe someday this can be fixed. Perhaps.
Driving is not fun for those reasons, and it will not be fun anymore, regardless of what Tesla CEO Elon Musk says.
No matter how smart the autonomous cars and AI interfaces become, they can never account for every situation. That will lead to terrible accidents, and the public will notice.
So will insurance companies and personal injury lawyers.
The public will never trust the Tesla robots
The public will be wary of trusting self-driving cars that make these kinds of mistakes. Insurance companies will hesitate to cover auto driving cars. Personal injury lawyers will rub their greedy hands at the prospect of terrible accidents.
This does not mean that the public will never accept self-driving vehicles, but expecting the mass market to adopt them in less than ten years is insane, no matter what Elon Musk says.
While technology will advance enough to the point where there will be no need to worry about these kinds of problems, it is likely that this technology will be decades away.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of CCN, nor should they be attributed to them.