Reply to post: Re: >Paul, unless you are a qualified airline pilo

My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

JLV Silver badge

Re: >Paul, unless you are a qualified airline pilo

Oh, don't be so condescending, please.

You are right, you need to be very good in a field to understand the fine details & implications of technical issues. However, the general idea, as analyzed by experts, is usually good enough to form an opinion which isn't totally unreasonable. Managers have to do this all the time with techies and some of them are actually good at it (many are not, so your point remains valid as well).

Far as I understand, AF447 had the following problems: sensor failure, pilots unaware of that particular possibility and not trained to compensate for it in a context of limited situational awareness with conflicting sensor readings. Both aspects probably needed addressing. Is that a totally unwarranted conclusion?

Now, I happen to agree with the OP's contention. If the AI knows that it is entering failure mode and throws it back to you well in advance, then OK, by all means the driver can be tapped. She can either park the car by the side of the road & call a taxi. Or she can drive it home. Let's say something like "conditions are too cluttered with pedestrians, can't resolve" in an after-match situation where pedestrians are streaming out of a stadium.

If on the other hand the AI has a split second indication of failure, as in "oh crap, there's no way I am dodging that pedestrian who leaped off the sidewalk", then, no, the OP is correct and there is no benefit to fall back to the driver. She won't have time. (Doesn't mean she shouldn't be allowed to drive the car the rest of time).

But in a car, he's correct that you can't shunt off out-of-envelope conditions to the driver passenger at the last split second, the AI would have to know it's out of its depth and request manual control well in advance.

Commercial pilots may have to take over from autopilot in a split second, but they are already well in the loop when entering critical phases such as takeoff and landing. If it is an unexpected emergency then they are usually at high enough altitude that they have some time to react. I agree with you, he's wrong about his AF447 conclusions, the pilots are the safety fallback, and an isolated disaster does not invalidate the pilots' role. But he's right that civilian drivers shouldn't be put in the same position of critical fallback at short notice, both by timing and by their training.

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