The race to bring autonomous vehicles on the road and into people’s driveways seems to be getting more and more interesting with each passing month. Apple, the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization is among the world’s tech behemoths to contest in the autonomous vehicle market. It now has 70 of its self-driven vehicles being tested on the Californian streets in an effort to perfect its technology and make it fit for commercial deployment.
However, even the test phase requires a driver to be behind the wheel during at all times, as per regulations of the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). What’s interesting is the rapid increase in the size of Apple’s fleet of autonomous cars. It grew from testing just three cars last year to over 50 by the beginning of 2018. It now boasts of seventy of its vehicles being tested on roads. The extensive testing is essential to train the machine learning algorithm-powered system in the vehicles to fine-tune all the skills necessary to drive in a dense urban environment. Important aspects like judging distance between vehicles, detecting obstacles and pedestrians and maneuvering through peak hour traffic develop over a period of time for the AI systems in the vehicles.
The data collected during the tests eventually perfect the system and remove the need for human intervention.
Radical changes that fuel revolutions come once in a few decades and we are most certainly in the middle of one. The self-driven vehicle technology promises to alter a century-old industry in a fundamental way.