Roadshow's CES 2017 Autonomous Cars panel: The future's biggest surprises
My name's Tim Stevens, I'm editor-in-chief of Roadshow by CNET.
And this is a panel about autonomous cars.
And if you've been watching a lot of the news coming from this show, a pretty significant amount of it has been about autonomous cars.
But we're not really talking about some of that stuff.
We're gonna be talking about The distant future.
Not cars that are coming our this year, or next year, or maybe 2020, 2021.
We're talking about cars, at least, maybe 10 years down the road, 15 years down the road.
A fully autonomous future.
What is that going to look like?
What are we going to see?
See in the roads?
What'll we see?
Will we need street lights?
Will we need traffic signs?
Will billboards be obsolete?
Will we be taking naps in our cars or we will just be working even more than we do right now?
So, we're gonna talk about lots of cool stuff and I've got a really great panel of experts here today.
What's the future interior gonna look like in an autonomous car?
We've seen some cool concepts out there.
We've seen living rooms on wheels.
We've seen productivity solutions.
We've seen entertainment solutions.
Is it gonna be a mixture of those things?
Is it really gonna be a living room on wheels?
I think it really depends on the operational context.
I think that in the near term in vehicles with mixed traffic a lot like the coexisting with the vehicles that we have today, I think that the vehicles can't change in form factor all that much.
I think it's really when you start to have more of a dedicated environment and you can control the surrounding a little bit more and you can really have more freedom.
So if cities start to take steps like isolating an operating environment specifically for autonomous vehicles and I think that really opens a lot of additional flexibility And so what sort of things are we expecting to see, big panel displays, seats that swivel around?
You know what I mean?
Well, in some of the extreme cases, I think we're sort of seeing iterations toward something of a sort of a stable
Idea of sort of a shoe box on wheels [UNKNOWN] lots of glass [UNKNOWN] each other, lot of productive space sort of power training [UNKNOWN] you see a lot of sort of variants on that concept, I wouldn't be surprised [UNKNOWN] what we start seeing more
Jim, what is that mean for the complexity of vehicle design is that does the idea we know if you want a skate board design effectively with EV platforms and [UNKNOWN] in the floor and then like you mentioned just kinda big boxes on we use effectively.
Does that make the auto mode design user or we actually had in complexity in trying to do over that big wide open space?
Yeah, so that's a great question.
You hear a lot of people today talk about the algorithms and the sensing on the vehicles and they fail to realize that there's a platform and chassis underneath.
And at an automotive company like Ford who've made cars for a hundred years if I'm gonna go to you and say, Tim go ahead and take a nap or whatever you want You're no longer the backup for the steering, you're not the backup for the brakes.
So on the chassis end of things, we're very much like an airliner.
We have redundant steering, brakes, throttle, electrical systems, and that's all gotta be harmonized with the sensing and perception.
And so it's kind of one of the inherent differences that we have from the tech companies is that we already work in the chassis space.
We're already putting that together.
So, to answer your question on the software and perception side, that should be pretty portable across the chassis.
But when you come to plug and play that with different solutions for different driving scenarios, you have to make sure you maintain that harmonization.
Think about who's on the roads today.
It's not just cars, so there are pedestrians, there are bicycles, there are motorcycles.
If you're on a college campus, there's golf carts.
There's any number of other kinds of vehicles.
And of course.
Roads were originally designed not for automobiles now we've done a tremendous job of filling our worlds and our side of the planet Earth we have roads that were now feels much more for cars but that's not where they historically started so while we consider the future of the changes inevitably many of them with financial and all that will occur We still will have to consider what happens with all those other road users and are we gonna continue to see some separation and it might be very close by separation.
Already many places especially in Europe where you might have separate bike lanes that are fully separated, those sorts of things.
But If we're living in cities as we are increasingly doing, then we're going to be in situations where we all intersect, and we all cross paths.
So it's not only about how do we enable the vehicles to speak to each other and what they're doing, but how are we going to take care of everybody else.
We talked a lot about urban environments, and I think that ultimately, in a lot of ways.
Autonomous cars are really optimized for urban environments.
Steven, you've already said basically you think that there will be urban areas that will be limited to autonomous cars.
Raj, do you agree?
Do you think that we will see New York City, for example, block off human driven cars?
I guess since we're talking about the future, I guess.
Several decades from now I can imagine that
As a human, you will not be allowed to drive on the roads, because you're only human.
Particularly, you can make errors, and therefore you're a threat to your own safety and to the safety of the others.
So by the same time, you can imagine that there will be so-called car ranches, where you can basically go on a private road course somewhere and drive to your heart's content.
That's like a harsh [UNKNOWN] right?
So those things will be, will happen.
But we'll likely go through a painful transition process.
By there will be accidents and unexpected incidents happening, and [UNKNOWN] reliable.
And at some point in time, Your conscious perhaps do not need to learn to drive.
Jimmy, [INAUDIBLE] had a pretty good look there.
So so what do you have to say about that?
You know I do work for a car company right, so I do have to jump in.
I love to drive.
Don't get me wrong, I love to drive, but I hate driving in this traffic around the convention center here, we all do, right.
We hate driving when we're super tired and it's late at night and we got somewhere to go.
People are going to love to drive for a very, very, very long time.
And our opinion is that we don't wanna take that experience away from.
We wanna add additional options.
And the additional options could be You know I have autonomy when I want it.
And maybe even the autonomy just runs in the background.
Sort of like what happens with our emergency braking systems now.
And if it detects that you're about to be in an impending dangerous situation it might warn you or help you but I think it's gonna be a ver very long time before we see no drivers anywhere.
I'm gonna differ with Russian outline.
I would agree that in some dense urban ares and select you know, strategic location said that they be reserve the
Autonomy sections, like we have HOV lanes in states.
Yeah for example, like as talking about different car maker, BMW.
Pretty much the branding of the company is the ultimate driving machine.
Predict the driver from the equation, what happens, right?
So these are really the questions, but again I'm talking about, I'm an academic so I'm looking farther than future.