Is Safer Transportation Down the Road?

Is Safer Transportation Down the Road?

What does the state of autonomous vehicles look like right now? To find out, the Autotech Council—a Silicon Valley-based ecosystem of automobile industry players—held an industry gathering. The half-day event, hosted by Western Digital, brought together 300 leaders in the autonomous vehicle industry. We partnered with SiliconANGLE, a leading digital media platform, to spend a few minutes talking with a select group of these leaders. Watch the latest expert interview here.

How can we learn from mistakes made by autonomous vehicles today to potentially create safer transportation in the future?

Open roads are meant to be places of freedom and exploration, not accidents. Making our roads safer for drivers and pedestrians alike is priority number one. But, transforming the usual ways that vehicle transportation has been done takes new technologies. While autonomous vehicles might be a solution, they need to see road-conditions in real-time.

There’s more to the equation, though. Data collected at the edge needs to be combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning for self-driving cars to think like humans while driving more safely and efficiently. Major car manufacturers are starting to buy in to autonomous driving, but further progress in safety is needed.

Safer Transportation Systems for Drivers and Pedestrians

* Video clip from full interview.

In Silicon Valley, the talk about autonomous cars used to be whispers of codenames and “secret” company projects. Not anymore. A new wave of startups touts their self-driving vehicles and technologies around The Valley. And, they are seeing money pour in from venture capitalists and private investors. For all the fanfare around self-driving cars, Derek Kerton, Chairman of the Autotech Council, sees a need for better driving safety systems. Driving involves people, at the end of the day, and we need driving systems that take into account human error.

“People should be able to make mistakes and the [autonomous vehicle] systems need to correct those mistakes.” – Derek Kerton

The real issue is building systems that have more redundant, protective features. It’s the same kind of design-thinking that architects use for bridges, buildings, and other structures that are used often. An autonomous vehicle could be more than just fail-safe; it could predict and prevent drivers from making mistakes.

Buy-In or Get Left Behind

* Video clip from full interview.

Today’s cars can be built to make smarter decisions. Better driving decisions are thanks to a mix of advanced software, imaging systems, and embedded storage solutions. As the technology that powers new vehicles moves to the western United States, automakers in Detroit and other parts of the country have started to buy-in. Research and development departments along with road-testing of autonomous vehicles are becoming commonplace.

“Car makers are looking at self-driving technologies as extremely disruptive to their world… It’ll shift the way that people buy cars, the number of cars they buy and the way those cars are used.” – Derek Kerton

Disruption in an industry as traditional as car manufacturing will take time. Mistakes will be made. As long as the focus remains on safer transportation, autonomous vehicles might be the way of the future to travel.


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