Autonomous cars are already here, but the "here" is pretty much limited to the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area -- and even then only if you happen to be one of the lucky few granted early access to Waymo's pilot program. Self-drivers will be everywhere eventually, and thanks to a partnership announced today at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, we got a better idea of when we can expect them to be operational in Beijing: 2022.
Mobileye, the driver assistance and autonomy startup acquired by Intel in 2017, is partnering with Beijing Public Transport Corporation (BPTC) to deploy the company's AV Kit there in some shape by 2022. AV Kit is basically an all-encompassing retrofit kit including everything a car needs to be made autonomous, including sensors, software and processing hardware. By combining an AV Kit with an existing car, you can have it up and driving itself.
This is the second such partnership for Mobileye, the first being with Volkswagen to launch an autonomous ride-hailing service in Israel sometime this year. No further details are available, except that cars will operate at Level 4 autonomy, which is to say they'll still rely on human control in some situations. In other words, even in 2022 we humans won't be quite obsolete yet. So, maybe put down the sticks and stones.
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