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Fremont, California-Autonomous Driving Startup Like cruise with Pony love Have started testing their self-driving car In some areas of California last year, a feature was added: a human operator.

Pony.ai CEO James Peng told Reuters that although there is no driver behind the steering wheel, the passenger seat is occupied by a safety operator who “has a red button that can stop the vehicle in case anything happens.”

The operator will be removed next year, when Pony.ai’s investors include Toyota, Plans to deploy its driverless passenger vehicles in certain areas of California. However, Peng said the remote operator will monitor the vehicle and provide guidance when the vehicle encounters a problem.

Alphabet’s Waymo Make people wearing fluorescent yellow vests ready to provide roadside assistance for their automation small truck In Phoenix, according to the video and an avid driver Joel Johnson, he witnessed this.

Cruise, majority ownership is General Motors, Start operating five self-driving car In the night of October 2020 in San Francisco, there is a person in the front seat. A Cruise spokesperson said that the caregiver “has the ability to stop the vehicle at any time during the ride.”

The spokesperson added: “Cruise believes that the development of self-driving cars is not only a technology race, but also a trust race.” “In view of this, we let humans participate in the testing of driverless cars, not only a means of safe development, but also in addition to this. In addition, it is also to build trust with the public.”

modern Has invested in remote operation startup Ottopia, which will provide remote assistance to Hyundai Motor’s fleet of self-driving taxis Self-driving car Joint venture, Motional.

Tesla said to the driver: “Ready to take action”

In self-driving cars that should be driven by software, the continued existence of humans highlights the challenges facing the self-driving car industry, which has consumed billions of dollars in investor funds over the past decade.

Interviews revealed that as the technical and regulatory obstacles to free-range driverless robotic taxis have not yet ended, some autonomous driving companies are accepting the needs of human caregivers and reducing their ambitions so that they can start generating income with investors and investors in the near future. Start-up company executives.

even Tesla, which one Recently launched A new test version Its SAE level 2 In a message to car owners, the “fully autonomous driving” software stated that drivers should be “prepared to take immediate action, especially in blind corners, intersections, and narrow driving situations.” The U.S. safety regulator has launched a formal investigation After a series of fatal accidents, the automaker’s Autopilot driver assistance system.

Waymo’s roadside assistance

Wimo It has been developing autonomous driving technology for more than ten years and launched the first commercial robotic taxi in Phoenix in 2018. But the successor to the pioneering Google self-driving car project still involves humans.

Waymo told Reuters that it has four teams responsible for monitoring and assisting the fleet. Responsibilities range from answering the rider’s questions to remotely providing a “second pair of eyes” in difficult situations such as road closures. One of its teams provides roadside assistance in response to collisions and other incidents.

Nathaniel Fairfield, Waymo’s software engineer, said in a statement to Reuters that these teams “work together to coordinate the operations of our all-day self-driving fleet.”

He said that Waymo does not operate the vehicle via remote control.

“We do not use remote takeover or’joysticks’ because we believe that remote personnel do not actually increase security,” he said, citing potential wireless connection issues.

Waymo now plans to start commercialization Self-driving car Initially operated with safety drivers in San Francisco. The company relies on a large number of vehicle operators to intensify testing in dense and complex urban environments.

A former Waymo operator who participated in the San Francisco test this year said that he had to “disengage” and intervene about 30 times a day, including whether the car did not stop at a red light fast enough or the vehicle in front suddenly slowed down or stopped.

“You are cautious… Sometimes (you think)’Oh, I didn’t expect this behavior at all.’ “This kind of behavior usually doesn’t happen,” said the experienced safety operator, out of For confidentiality considerations, he requested anonymity.

Dirty little secret

Regulators also allow humans to participate in self-driving cars. The California Department of Motor Vehicles stated in a statement to Reuters that California law “requires the establishment of a two-way communication link to enable manufacturers to continuously monitor the location/status of (unmanned) vehicles”.

Other robotic taxi companies are using remote operation as a way to get vehicles on the road.

In Las Vegas, the startup Halo allows customers to summon a driverless car that is driven by a remote human operator through a fast fifth-generation wireless network operated by T-Mobile US Inc..

“Just a few years ago, remote human assistance was a dirty little secret in this field,” said Elliott Katz, co-founder of the remote operation company. phantom car. “Almost no one talks about it publicly because there is still the surface that these vehicles will be able to drive autonomously, go wherever they need to go, and do everything a human driver would do.”

He added: “Now everyone knows that this will not be the case.”

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