On the other side of a vast chasm…
The code needed to detect and handle the flow between the situations increases polynomially with the number of driving situations we must address. That is, if we have 2 driving situations, there are 2 possible transitions to account for. If we have 3 driving situations, there are 6 possible transitions. If we have 4 driving situations, there are 12 possible transitions.
Expressing it mathematically, for n driving situations, there are “n2 – n” transition possibilities. These types of numbers can mount up quickly. Therefore, every newly-identified driving scenario doesn’t just add one more scenario to code for in a linear fashion; it makes the project an order of magnitude more difficult.
Many cheerleaders have wrongly assumed that the progress from one level of automation to another should be a direct, linear process but it clearly isn’t. I’m not saying that this hurdle is insurmountable. Rather, the transition from Level 4 to Level 5 automation is multiple orders of magnitude more difficult than all the other levels combined. Its completion should not be taken as a foregone conclusion. More.
Jonathan Bartlett is the Research and Education Director of the Blyth Institute.
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See also: Guess what? You already own a self-driving car Tech hype hits the stratosphere (Jonathan Bartlett) Yes, the car you own today is probably “self-driving” and you may not know it. But that is because of the creative ways the term can be defined.
Who assumes moral responsibility for self-driving cars? Jonathan Bartlett: Can we discuss this before something happens and everyone is outsourcing the blame? (Jonathan Bartlett) Level 4 self-driving vehicles will bring with them a giant shift in the moral equation of driving. Unfortunately, in a culture that seems to think that the future will take care of itself, little thoughtful public discussion is taking place. My hope is to start a discussion of how coming technological changes will affect the future moral landscape.