Monday, December 22, 2014

You really don't want a self-driving car for Christmas

I know I've written about this dozens of times before, but drone cars are really nowhere near ready for primetime. Again - Google's cars look impressive but realise that they're driving pre-mapped streets, mapped to the millimeter with GPS and LIDAR. Put them on the open road and you're stuck. Same with BMW and Mercedes. Same for Audi. Same for VW.
I've also written about weather before. Google, Volvo, Audi and others have all had plenty of problems with their test program in bad weather but they don't advertise it. Most manufacturers don't. Hyundai on the other hand? Well - watch these two videos. The first is their car performing in a competition on a dry day. The second is the same car, on the same course, with the same software, when it's raining. Everything goes wrong. Just stopping without warning, driving on the wrong side of the road, driving off the road, driving into ditches, up kerbs, around intersections the wrong way, nearly plowing down pedestrians and an overall hesitancy and nervousness that makes Utah drivers look talented by comparison. I've seen drunk drivers perform better than this.
Bear in mind that this is a mature test program - it's not like they started the project yesterday, and all the sensors can see everything they need to. Picture that video with leaves on one of the sensors in autumn. Or snow. For that matter, picture it on a snowy, icy course....
The videos : Dry run.     Wet run.
Merry Christmas - now stop reading this crap and go and be with your family....

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