Making The Case For High-Performance AI Driving Skills In A Self-Driving Car

Sterling Performance is excited to be a part of the AI industry and see the new, exciting updates that are being made daily. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if self-driving cars had high performance AI driving skills? There would be fewer accidents and even some different licensing requirements. Read the article below to find out more about the driving skills of AI cars.

Are you a good driver?

Your answer depends upon what the phrase “good driver” means.

Across the United States, each state provides various licensing requirements for those that want the privilege to drive a car.

Keep in mind that driving is considered a privilege and not some form of constitutional right. If you abuse the driving privilege, such as by committing a transgression against prevailing driving laws, your privilege to drive can be revoked.

Indeed, imagine if all drivers had advanced level driving skills, akin to say a high-performance car driver.

All drivers would be proficient in driving skills that could be leveraged to avoid car crashes and thus aid in lowering the volume of lamentable car-related deaths and injuries that occur each year.

Here’s a worthwhile question: Would we be wise to ensure that true self-driving cars have high-performance driving skills as an integral part of their AI driving capabilities?

I say the answer is yes, very much so.

The Levels Of Self-Driving Cars

It is important to clarify what I mean when referring to true self-driving cars.

True self-driving cars are ones that the AI drives the car entirely on its own and there isn’t any human assistance during the driving task.

These driverless cars are considered a Level 4 and Level 5, while a car that requires a human driver to co-share the driving effort is usually considered at a Level 2 or Level 3. The cars that co-share the driving task are described as being semi-autonomous, and typically contain a variety of automated add-on’s that are referred to as ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems).

There is not yet a true self-driving car at Level 5, which we don’t yet even know if this will be possible to achieve, and nor how long it will take to get there.

Meanwhile, the Level 4 efforts are gradually trying to get some traction by undergoing very narrow and selective public roadway trials, though there is controversy over whether this testing should be allowed per se (we are all life-or-death guinea pigs in an experiment taking place on our highways and byways, some point out).

Since semi-autonomous cars require a human driver, the adoption of those types of cars won’t be markedly different than driving conventional cars, though there are some upsides and downsides worth considering.

Sure, Level 2 and Level 3 capabilities can aid a human driver and potentially enhance their driving skills, but the human can still overtake the driving controls and easily undermine the ADAS.

Furthermore, many of the ADAS features can be turned off by a driver, which some assert should not be allowed since presumably the ADAS is there to bolster the driver.

As I’ve repeatedly exhorted, we are headed into dangerous territory whereby human drivers won’t fully comprehend what the car’s automation is doing, and this lack of a theory of mind when you have a co-sharing driving arrangement, namely a human driver and a piece of automation that’s not sufficiently sophisticated, portends that there will be severe gaps in understanding that are going to lead to car accidents.

For semi-autonomous cars, it is equally important that I mention a disturbing aspect that’s been arising, namely that in spite of those human drivers that keep posting videos of themselves falling asleep at the wheel of a Level 2 or Level 3 car, we all need to avoid being misled into believing that the driver can take away their attention from the driving task while driving a semi-autonomous car.

You are the responsible party for the driving actions of the car, regardless of how much automation might be tossed into a Level 2 or Level 3.

Self-Driving Cars And High-Performance Driving

For Level 4 and Level 5 true self-driving cars, there won’t be a human driver involved in the driving task. All occupants will be passengers.

Today’s efforts toward developing true self-driving cars are nearly entirely focused on the everyday driving task.

People want a driverless car that can take them over to their local grocery store. This involves successfully navigating neighborhood streets without hitting any children or meandering dogs and gently getting the passengers over to the mall.

Even freeway driving is considered a somewhat everyday driving task for the AI, namely that the AI needs to be able to get onto and off the freeway and stay properly within the lanes while on the freeway.

If the AI could be infused with a high-performance driver skill-set, imagine how much better off we would all be.

Presumably, the driverless car would be better at dealing with situations such as slick roadways or situations wherein another car veered suddenly toward the self-driving car.

Some automakers and self-driving tech firms are so overwhelmed with getting the everyday driving nailed down that trying to venture into advanced high-performance driving is considered an edge problem. Edge problems are a kind of industry parlance referring to driving scenarios that are categorized as at the edge of the solution space being solved, often also called corner cases.

Any reasonable AI developer for driverless cars would agree that it would be a nice-to-have of embodying high-performance driving skills, but they would also wince and say that we need to first crawl before we can walk.

In other words, the prevailing view is that once self-driving cars can be the equivalent of a human “good enough” driver, we can then turn our attention toward more advanced aspects such as high-performance driving skills.

The counterargument is that by not including high-performance driving skills now, we are gradually allowing onto our roadways a herd of cars that are unable to drive at a peak level.

There are lawyers already lining up to make the case that if a self-driving car gets into a car accident, and if it had not been infused with high-performance driving skills which might have avoided the crash, the automaker or tech firm ought to be sued for not having appropriately skilled the AI.

A presumed defense would be that the AI contained a necessary and sufficient skill-set to drive on public roadways, and in the desire to make progress on self-driving cars, it was a necessity to start there.

The counterclaim might further be extended that if there had been an attempt to include high-performance driving skills, it would have delayed the advent of driverless cars.

Taking a slightly different angle on the topic, those automakers or tech firms that opt to implant high-performance driving skills into their driverless cars can leverage the facet by pointing it out as a strategic differentiator

Regulators might be prodded into action to establish requirements for the AI driving skill-sets that are to be used in driverless cars. 

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