Re: Fatal flaw in self drive?
Volvo believes that Level 3 autonomy, where the driver needs to be ready to take over at a moment's notice, is an unsafe solution. Because the driver is theoretically freed up to work on email or watch a video while the car drives itself, the company believes it is unrealistic to expect the driver to be ready to take over at a moment's notice and still have the car operate itself safely. "It's important for us as a company, our position on autonomous driving, is to keep it quite different so you know when you're in semi-autonomous and know when you're in unsupervised autonomous,"
Volvo's Drive Me autonomous car, which will launch in a public pilot next year, is a Level 4 autonomous car — this means not only will it drive itself down the road, but it is capable of handling any situation that it comes across without any human intervention. As a result, the human doesn't need to be involved in the driving at all. If something goes wrong, the car can safely stop itself at the side of the road.
(Please don't take this post as a recommendation of Volvo's products - I'm no expert. However, their approach does strike me as being safer. There was a racing video game called WipEout which featured a 5 second autopilot 'powerup' - resuming control of the racing craft always gave me nervous, and would occasionally result in me crashing my virtual vehicle. )