The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Waymo and AAA Teach Kids About AVs; Tesla Acquires DeepScale; and More

by Alex Adams | @alexjhadams | October 04, 2019

Waymo and AAA Teach Kids About AVs

71 percent of global respondents believe autonomous cars are better at driving than humans or will surpass human abilities within 10 years

In an effort to educate the public on AVs and AV technology, Waymo and AAA have teamed up to teach children about self-driving cars. At an event in San Francisco last week, students from AAA’s School Safety Patrol attended a demonstration of Waymo’s driverless vehicles to learn more about the benefits and limitations of the technology. The event marked the launch of Let’s Talk Self-Driving, an initiative that showcases the safety and societal benefits of AVs and new mobility options. In the long term, the initiative seeks to correct potential anxieties and misunderstandings surrounding AVs, although a new survey from ANSYS paints a positive picture about consumer acceptance of driverless cars: 71 percent of global respondents believe autonomous cars are better at driving than humans or will surpass human abilities within 10 years, and 87 percent of 18-24-year-olds and 88 percent of 25-34-year-olds reported feeling comfortable with AVs in their lifetime.

5G Touted as Future For AVs
Stories have emerged from publications worldwide this week on why the widespread deployment of AVs will be enhanced by 5G connectivity. Lower latency and wider bandwidths will have the capacity to connect one million devices per square kilometer—eliminating capacity constraints inherent to 4G. This high level of connectivity is predicted to also form the foundation of our smart cities of the future, which can handle the enormous amounts of data generated and processed by AVs and self-driving services. SAFE analysis has also concurred that a widespread 5G rollout will expedite AV deployment, and is required to challenge Chinese dominance in this space through companies like Huawei. In “The Race to 5G: Advancing the Safety and Efficiency Benefits of Enhanced Mobile Connectivity” an issue brief released in May, SAFE found that U.S. 5G deployment will require cumulative investment totaling as much as $275 billion through 2024 if the United States is to match China’s 5G ambitions.

Tesla Acquires DeepScale To Bolster AV Ambitions
Tesla is acquiring computer vision startup DeepScale to help the automaker develop fully driverless vehicles, CNBC reported yesterday. DeepScale’s technology was designed to help the auto industry use the standard low-wattage processors currently in most cars to power accurate computer vision, working with sensors, mapping and control systems to assess the world around them. The announcement was quietly made by DeepScale CEO Forrest Iandola, who tweeted that he had joined the Tesla Autopilot team. Tesla hopes the acquisition will help them meet their goal of delivering cars with (at least) Level 4 automation that are able to be rented out by owners as robotaxis on an Uber-style platform. In the near-term, the true value for Tesla may be the quality of DeepScale’s engineering team, 25 percent of whom have doctoral degrees and have more than 30,000 scholarly citations between them.