Intel SVP and Mobileye president and CEO Prof. Amnon Shashua says that the car industry must focus on robotaxis rather than series-production passenger cars because of the prohibitive cost of the cars.
Writing an op-ed press release entitled 'navigating the winding road towards driverless mobility,' he wrote, "Series-production passenger car autonomy (SAE Levels 4-5) must wait until the robotaxi industry deploys and matures. This is due to three factors: cost, regulation and geographic scale."
On cost he wrote, "The cost of a self-driving system (SDS) with its cameras, radars, lidars and high-performance computing is in the tens of thousands of dollars and will remain so for the foreseeable future. This cost level is acceptable for a driverless ride-hailing service, but is simply too expensive for series-production passenger cars. The cost of SDS should be no more than a few thousand dollars - an order of magnitude lower than today’s costs - before such capability can find its way to series-production passenger cars."
He continued that regulation, "is an area that receives too little attention. Companies deep in the making of SDSs know that it is the stickiest issue. Beside the fact that laws for granting a license to drive are geared toward human drivers, there is the serious issue of how to balance safety and usefulness in a manner that is acceptable to society."
Shashua continues, "It will be easier to develop laws and regulations governing a fleet of robotaxis than for privately-owned vehicles. A fleet operator will receive a limited license per use case and per geographic region and will be subject to extensive reporting and back-office remote operation. In contrast, licensing such cars to private citizens will require a complete overhaul of the complex laws and regulations that currently govern vehicles and drivers."
The final factor favoring robotaxis he adds is scale,"Geographic scale, is mostly a challenge of creating high-definition maps with great detail and accuracy, and of keeping those maps continuously updated. Geographic scale is crucial for series-production driverless cars because they must necessarily operate “everywhere” to fulfill the promise of the self-driving revolution. Robotaxis can be confined to geo-fenced areas, which makes it possible to postpone the issue of scale until the maturity of the robotaxi industry."
With this in mind, Shashua expects car manufacturers for the time being to focus on enhancing advance driver assistance systems (ADAS). 'With ADAS technologies, the driver remains in control while the system intervenes when necessary to prevent accidents. This is especially important as distracted driving grows unabated."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 10, 2019
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