A while back I blogged about the virtues of a bottom-up approach to an autonomous vehicle.
The other day I see this piece in Technology Review about a company working on such a car.
Oxbotica’s software gradually acquires data about the routes along which a vehicle is driven and learns how to react by analyzing the way its human driver acts. “When you buy your autonomous car and drive off the (lot), it will know nothing,” says Ingmar Posner, an associate professor at Oxford and another of Oxbotica’s cofounders. “But at some point it will decide that it knows where it is, that its perception system has been trained by the way you’ve been driving, and it can then offer autonomy.”The objection, of course, is this works only repetitive drives over the same route(s). My answer is that I'll bet most driving fits the 80/20 rule; 80 percent of time spent driving is done on a route you've driven many times before. People are creatures of habit, mostly, and that means we can train our cars.
The result is a vehicle that can gain a deep understanding of the routes it drives regularly. That, Posner says, means that the software isn’t simply trying to do a mediocre job wherever it’s placed—instead, it does an excellent job where it’s learned to drive.