Autonomous Car Tech That Will Make History in 2022
Speaker 1: In 2022, you'll be able to get closer than ever to buying a self-driving car from several car makers. Let me show you some of the leading ones that I'm keeping an eye on. Here's a look at their models, their strategies, but notice that not all of these are going to be coming to the us. That's important to know, By the way, I'll be talking today about cars that you'll be able to buy, not about things like [00:00:30] automated ride services or automatic delivery robots. That's a really important sector, but it's a different story with a different storyline for another time.
Speaker 1: First, let's talk about Tesla, Tesla, probably accounts for the most amount of fascination with vehicle automation and the most hatred of it, the company's full self-driving technology is anything but that a lengthening list of crashes due to Tesla driver is not understanding [00:01:00] that concept inspired a recent house hearing. And that joins a federal investigation of why these cars seem to hone in on emergency vehicles. And the companies had to withdraw some features like one that allowed the driver to play video games in dash while underway, and one that allowed the car to blow off some stop signs and do a rolling stop. And they've apparently generated a spike of complaints about that sort of Phantom breaking that some of their vehicles do and [00:01:30] a feature that our Tim Stevens called out as a good enough reason to recommend you do not buy a Tesla until that problem is fixed.
Speaker 1: And Tesla full self-driving has inspired the first known charges of vehicular or manslaughter against the driver of a car that was underway with its own automation, ostensibly in control his Tesla that was supposedly operating itself when it blew through a red light. But now the question is who was really in charge all of that hot mess aside, a fair number of car [00:02:00] tech Watchers believe Tesla will crawl, scrap, been beta test its way on public roads to something approaching level four, perhaps by the end of 2022, that would mean level four, a car that can fully drive itself under certain conditions on certain roads. But when it is driving itself, you no longer need to be on duty. It's a key factor to level four in our minds, level four is the first level of autonomy with level zero through three below [00:02:30] it all being flavors of driver assistance. Now how many of those roads and how safely it could do so remains to be seen as with anything with Tesla until it actually arrives. Count me in on the, to be convinced column, you see level four is a big deal and to get, there is a huge jump from where we are now.
Speaker 1: Now let's talk about a company that doesn't screw around with safety. Mercedes-Benz, it's expected to launch perhaps the first mass production level three car [00:03:00] in 2022, using what it calls drive pilot technology. Now level three is also a big deal because it's the first of these levels of autonomy that do allow you to check out from driving while the car is underway. It just requires that you nonetheless be ready to snap your attention back at any time and take a for driving when the car signals you to do so in Mercedes drive pilot case. That means only up to 37 miles an hour and only on 8,200 or so carefully mapped [00:03:30] miles of the German auto bond system testing is underway on highways in the us and China. I understand, but I don't think that means it's coming to country in 2022. For reasons we'll get into in a moment,
Speaker 1: Audi was actually kind of first with such a technology called traffic jam pilot that was aimed at taking over driving in all those low speed congestion situations. And that would hand it back to you as soon as traffic lightened up. And it was time for you to drive in again at [00:04:00] higher speeds, I recall being taken for a test drive in it around Las Vegas, during a CES a handful of years ago. And it seemed very impressive. So what tripped it up? The theory is a lot of it is not so much about the technology, but about the regulatory environment here in the United States, where we still lack any national framework that says here's what a self driving car is and must do. And absent that a lot of car makers get nervous that they're gonna be on the hook if their car does this, that or the other, because there's no [00:04:30] set of rules. It says what it should have been doing for them to be free of liability And rounding out our German three is BMW. Also widely expected to roll out level three technology in the new seven series. But again, partly because of the regulatory environment here, we probably won't see it in the us, at least not in the first year. And they've been trying to work on a regulatory framework in the us Congress. But to be honest, it's kind of on a back burner
Speaker 1: [00:05:00] In the Japanese domestic market. Things are interesting as well. You can get a Honda legend. What was sold here until a couple years ago, as an Acura RLX with what they call Honda sensing elite. It's a lot like that Audi system we just talked about, which can handle those low speed traffic nibbling situations. Honda says and shows that the driver can watch TV on the nav screen while this system is connected and taking over the driving, but [00:05:30] they can't take a nap because level three could at any time hand, the driving task back to the driver. And every one of those handoffs is a place where it can go very wrong. And that brings up an into level three cars have that possibility of throwing it back to you in a lot of situations because their conditional driving is somewhat limited. And that's caused a lot of car makers to say, you know what, we're gonna skip level three. We're gonna go from level two or you're on duty, right over to level four, where the car has [00:06:00] a vast ability to drive itself. Now, all the level three cars I know of will, if they detect that you don't take back. The driving slow themselves to a safe stop. In some cases pull over to the side of the road, which they can also detect and typically activate the hazard flashers. And other words they say, if I can't drive and you're not gonna take over, we gotta wrap this up
Speaker 1: Among the car that say, we want no part of that messy little dance would be Volvo, which is just moving ahead into level [00:06:30] four and eventually level five. And that will be coming this year, of course, way back in 2016. As I recall, I went a ceremony where they started handing out the first of 100 XC nineties on a long term loan to families that were gonna be told, Hey, anywhere around the Swedish capital around Gonberg, you can sit in this thing and utilize its virtually full self-driving technology. Let's see how it goes. And we're gonna learn a lot from it. They felt confident enough though, that it was gonna be safe, at least around the Swedish capital, you know, [00:07:00] Volvo, they don't screw around with safety. And then I didn't hear much about the program for a while. I caught up a little later with a Volvo technology executive who told me that they had to scale it back because it turned out to be too hard. And I said, well, which part of it? He said, all of it
Speaker 1: All. This is part of why you'll find GM focused instead on doing the most at can with level two, which is multifactor driver assistance. That always requires you remain attentive and ready with [00:07:30] its current super crews that I've talked to you about several times. And that's evolving this year to soon launch as ultra crews in early to mid 20 T three. Now ultra crews, unlike super crews is going to add a key technology LIDAR. And then on top of that, the software is gonna build some interesting abilities like being able to obey any permanent traffic indicator by that they mean stop signs or traffic signals it'll support automatic or driver requested lane changes as long as the car deem them to be safe. [00:08:00] And it can also do left and right hand turns and it can self park in home driveways, which I suspect is the place.
Speaker 1: Most of us need the least help in parking. Now importantly, ultra crews should work on what GM estimates to be 95% of driving situations and virtually the same percentage of roads in the us. And compare that with super crews, which we have today that works on about 200,000 miles of roads, not two or 3 million miles. And there are plenty of situations where it won't [00:08:30] turn on. If it doesn't like the conditions can't read the lane lines just right, it's much more rudimentary, but not rudimentary at all. And ultra crews can op in conjunction with your turn by turn navigation. Now we start to get a really interesting, powerful basket of tech here. You set a destination and say, take me there. So why is this powerful tech considered level two, largely because you need to remain fully on duty while it works. You get some physical disengagement, but not mental or visual.
Speaker 1: [00:09:00] Now continuing in Detroit Ford has something coming this year called blue crew. The name of which, as you can imagine, raised hackles over at GM legal for a while, until the two came to some kind of settle over the similarity of those names. Now blue crews will work on only 130,000 miles of road in north America, pretty small number compared to where super and ultra crews are going. And it can maintain speed, maintain spacing between the car ahead of you. [00:09:30] Uh, do lane tracking, keep you in your lane, do stop and go and can also set its according to the speed limit in terms of the piece of road you're on by recognizing signage now like super crews, it will use a camera in the cabin to make sure that you are always paying attention. Therefore it's not moving into that level four area where you don't have to pay attention. As you can tell, by this point in our video, the biggest challenge around vehicle automation may not be the technology, but communicating what all the levels of the [00:10:00] technology can do. And which of those levels is in your car. Amids to sea of trade names.