Author Topic: Autonomous Cars  (Read 841 times)

PonoBill

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Autonomous Cars
« on: May 09, 2019, 06:49:08 AM »
I watched the entire 2 hour Tesla analysts meeting on autonomous cars. It's much more than I thought it was, and I thought Tesla was way ahead, despite some recent articles that claim they are a distant third. They aren't.

The presentation is deeply technical, I'd guess that ten percent of the audience understood half of it, the rest were probably wondering WTF was going on,  but the bottom line is that autonomy is not what we were thinking it would be, and it's several orders of magnitude more disruptive.

The fundamental value of a Tesla is likely to be that it is autonomous, not just electric. I think Musk is right, that they will actually be appreciating assets. Tesla is putting all the batteries they can make into cars and retooling their lease program so they get the cars back at the end of three years. Using leasing to fund a big robotaxi push. They WANT the cars back.

Here's links to the full presentation and a highlights reel. The full preso is actually worth the time if you want to see why their intellectual property will be tough for anyone, including the Chinese, to duplicate (and why it has so much value). You'd need it all, right now, to even have a chance. He's going all in. And he looks it--the guy seems to be coming apart more than just a little bit. Staggering stuff. Science fiction.

short version 

full   
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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2019, 09:10:59 AM »
That is really interesting.  They make a strong case for their suite of sensors.

Of course this is a hyper competitive space and there was a lot of marketing in there.

For instance: https://www.businessinsider.com/nvidia-fires-back-at-tesla-claiming-worlds-best-self-driving-car-chip-2019-4

Nvidia disputed Tesla's comparison in a blog post, saying the Drive Xavier is capable of 3o TOPS, but is designed for semi-autonomous driver-assistance tasks, rather than complete autonomy. Nvidia's Drive AGX Pegasus computer, which is designed for full autonomy and capable of 320 TOPS, is a more accurate point of comparison, the company said.

"It's not useful to compare the performance of Tesla's two-chip Full Self Driving computer against Nvidia's single-chip driver assistance system. Tesla's two-chip FSD computer at 144 TOPs would compare against the Nvidia DRIVE AGX Pegasus computer which runs at 320 TOPS for AI perception, localization, and path planning. https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/self-driving-cars/drive-platform/hardware/

"Additionally, while Xavier delivers 30 TOPS of processing, Tesla erroneously stated that it delivers 21 TOPS. Moreover, a system with a single Xavier processor is designed for assisted driving AutoPilot features, not full self-driving. Self-driving, as Tesla asserts, requires a good deal more compute."

Nvidia credited Tesla for focusing on developing the significant computing power necessary for self-driving vehicles, but suggested that Nvidia's technology, by allowing customers to build on top of it, is superior.


There is also a lot of marketing going on in regards to tech that they opted not to use/emphasize (Lidar, etc).  There is only so much you can do at one time.

Path prediction is so cool and still surreal.  Basing what is around a bend based on probability...I am a believer and that is still unsettling :).

I love it that Musk tossed in that comment about the potential of our living in a simulation.  He looks like that might be on his mind a bit :).

Unbelievable wizardry all around.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 09:19:27 AM by Admin »

anonsurfer

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2019, 09:25:23 AM »
Teslas are awesome but FSD (full self driving) is a long way off.  AP (Auto Pilot) can do strange things.  I only use it occasionally.   

Elon is a genius but he oversells the FSD capability solely because it is a $5K option that costs them nothing to add since it's already built in. 
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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2019, 10:06:07 AM »
I agree that I think that he over estimates people's desire stop driving however you have to admire his vision and willingness to to say f##k off to conventional thinking when pursuing better solutions.

PonoBill

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2019, 10:09:49 AM »
We'll see how this all pans out, but I think Lidar is a dead end for a variety of reasons. The most important is that if you solve visual processing completely then LIDAR is superfluous. If you don't solve visual processing then Full Self Driving is impossible. Lidar's single advantage over visual plus radar is that distance information is embedded in the image formed. Visual plus radar has to resolve distance in the same way a human eye does, though it can be much more accurate since it can process multiple distance cues.

The pieces I didn't realize before this presentation were:
Tesla has built a computer that can clearly handle the load with a lot of headspace, and it's fully redundant.
They've been equipping their cars to satisfy redundancy requirements for FSD since late 2016. Bizarre. You can disable one power steering unit and the car still steers. Cut data and power lines and it still drives. I can't believe they did this.
All Teslas on the road since 2016 have enough hardware to be analysing driving cases and sending results to Tesla on request. The requests can be highly specific and exclusive. They don't just get a flood of data, they get relevant data for a specific problem.

They've been putting FSD computers in their cars for months. Essentially they have a huge and very capable networked computer and sensor system out driving around for millions of miles with drivers serving as the trainers for billion (maybe trillions) of cases. If you take control to merge, pass, enter/exit a freeway, avoid an obstacle you're training the overall system with realtime information--not just data. Their ghosting approach provides a ton of training information that would otherwise need to be human-curated.

Wild stuff. I can see how the accumulation of training and heuristic response can be growing exponentially. I wouldn't base a prediction for the time when FSD for Tesla is pervasive and useful on current performance. All the bits are in place. Now it's just training time and tuning.

There are a zillion polls out on self-driving cars--most of them say a relatively small percentage of the public would be interested, some say it's a much bigger number. That doesn't really matter much. A small percentage of people say they want to buy an electric car, but Tesla has already demonstrated that the demand is far greater than anything polled.

88 percent of Americans consider themselves an above average driver.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 10:21:43 AM by PonoBill »
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kayadogg

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2019, 10:42:10 AM »
I'm nowhere near the level of understanding half of the presentation but I watched it a few weeks ago and it's mind blowing stuff, even to a dummy like me.

 I just listened to a recent Joe Rogan podcast where he had Lex Fridman on. Lex is a data scientist at MIT working on autonomous vehicles. Interesting perspectives, especially around LIDAR vs camera sensors and also driver monitoring. For anyone that likes a "dumbed down" discussion in typical Rogan style, link below.


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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2019, 05:42:04 PM »
I watch a lot of Joe Rogan's interviews. He has some great guests. He interviewed Elon Musk and got him to take a puff off a joint.   :)
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The Kernel

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2019, 10:17:59 PM »
"There are a zillion polls out on self-driving cars--most of them say a relatively small percentage of the public would be interested, some say it's a much bigger number. That doesn't really matter much. A small percentage of people say they want to buy an electric car, but Tesla has already demonstrated that the demand is far greater than anything polled.


If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

While it's not certain that Henry Ford ever said that, it certainly IS indicative of how Musk and other cutting edge entrepreneurs think.  For me, the sooner they come up with a car that allows me to nap comfortably while being driven to my destination, the better.
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eastbound

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2019, 02:57:52 AM »
i want an autonomous car--sooner they get them safe and operable the better, and safer, for any who use and those around them on the road

traffic? first of all, who cares--im on the zone while driving--but traffic will improve markedly---no human stupidity like rubbernecking and confusion at exits etc
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LBsup

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2019, 04:08:07 AM »
So Im curious do you need a drivers license in a self driving car?  Im assuming so.  My in-laws should not be driving anymore due to their hazardous driving skills.  Would these folks now be driving again?  My father still drives but his wife a New Yorker never learned to drive, shes a lot younger than my dad.  If hes too old to drive can she use the sdv?  Will designated drivers be no longer needed? Lol
Point being Id imagine rules/laws would need to be set if these cars really get going.
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PonoBill

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2019, 06:34:20 AM »
Probably not. There are a great number of regulatory issues. It seems likely that the responsibility for an accident with a full self-driving car will lie with the manufacturer, which means a major change in insurance and liability. But the model for licensing is likely something like taxis. You don't need a license to ride in a taxi, but robotaxis will know who you are and what your record for use is. If you've ever misbehaved in one you might have trouble getting one to pick you up.

As soon as FSD's are common the ride sharing war will begin. Tesla is correct in believing that it's current fleet will be worth more as robotaxis than as cars. The current utility for a car is about 10 percent. Increase that dramatically through ride sharing apps and that empty time is converted to earnings. So what should a car company like Tesla do? Build cars for consumers or operate them themselves. You can already see how Tesla is planning to proceed. They have fewer choices for all models, they are pricing to favor moderate battery packs to increase the number of cars that can be built while the Gigafactory increases production, and their new leasing plan requires that you turn the car in after three years--no provision to keep it. Their leasing finances a fleet that benefits Tesla both by increasing the training data for the FSD system and provides robo-ready cars as soon as the systems are in use.

There may come a time when you can't buy these cars, or at least a time when selling cars is not the focus of car companies. Musk kind of came apart when someone mentioned that it seemed Uber could just buy all the Tesla FSD's it wanted. It wasn't a question he wanted to answer.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 06:38:13 AM by PonoBill »
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eastbound

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2019, 07:43:13 AM »
interesting, pb

in case youve considered--shd i buy some uber stock today??

btw i had to google FSD -- first def to come up was Female Sexual Dysfunction -- which, given my skills, confused me -- what's that?   hahaha

oh boy--potential can of worms: "you were always drawn to actresses"   "what's to function or dysfunction in 1.389 lousy minutes?"
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 07:52:40 AM by eastbound »
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PonoBill

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2019, 10:13:12 AM »
I'd say it would be a lot cheaper in a week, but what do I know. I sold off big blocks of Microsoft and apple stock in the mid 80's. But I don't see enough there there for Uber to be worth anything like it's market cap. IPO's for unicorn companies seem like drunken orgies to me. Everyone wakes up the next day and wonders WTF they did.
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eastbound

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Re: Autonomous Cars
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2019, 11:38:22 AM »
the stock has sagged, but so did Facebook, but then again, so did Snapchat

who knows?--you are correct that there seems no rush to buy

me? not an uber believer--seems just another profitless cannibal company fueled by continual new money

just like amazon, which came at 18, and now trades in the 1800's

too much for dinosaurs like me to understand....
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