Heute gibt es mal einen spannenden Blick hinter die Kulissen von Waymo, ohne Zweifel einem der Technologieführer beim Autonomen Fahren. Must read!
For the first time, Waymo is lifting the curtain on what is arguably the most important (and most difficult-to-understand) piece of its technology stack. The company, which is ahead in the self-driving car race by most metrics, confidently asserts that its cars have the most advanced brains on the road today. That’s thanks to a head start in AI investment, some strategic acquisitions by sister company Google, and a close working relationship with the tech giant’s in-house team of AI researchers.
the bleeding edge of artificial intelligence
Anyone can buy a bunch of cameras and LIDAR sensors, slap them on a car, and call it autonomous. But training a self-driving car to behave like a human driver, or, more importantly, to drive better than a human, is on the bleeding edge of artificial intelligence research. Waymo’s engineers are modeling not only how cars recognize objects in the road, for example, but how human behavior affects how cars should behave. And they’re using deep learning to interpret, predict, and respond to data accrued from its 6 million miles driven on public roads and 5 billion driven in simulation.
Anca Dragan, one of Waymo’s newest employees, is at the forefront of this project. She just joined the company in January after running the InterACT Lab at the University of California Berkeley, which focuses on human-robot interactions. (A photo on the Berkeley website features Dragan smiling broadly while a robot arm pours her a steaming cup of coffee.) Her role is to ensure our interactions with Waymo’s self-driving cars — as pedestrians, as passengers, as fellow drivers — are wholly positive. Or to put it another way: she’s our backstop against the inevitable robot revolution.
Dragan has to strike a balance. While we don’t want robot overlords, neither do we want milquetoast robot drivers. For instance, if you’re barreling down a busy highway at 65 mph and you want to merge into the left lane, you may just nudge your way in until the other drivers eventually make space for you. A self-driving car that’s been trained to follow the rules of the road may struggle to do that. A video recently appeared on Twitter showing one of Waymo’s minivans trying to merge onto a busy highway and pretty much failing at it.
“How can we make it adapt to the drivers that it’s sharing the road with?” Dragan says. “How do you tailor it to be more comfortable or drive more naturally? Those are the subtle improvements that if you want those to work, you really need a system that fricking works.”