These Humans Are Teaching Cars to Drive
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These Humans Are Teaching Cars to Drive

Every year, more than a million people in the world die in
road traffic accidents. And many of those
fatalities are caused by us, by the mistakes we make as drivers. But there’s a solution. Okay we’re ready. Okay, engaging. And it’s to relinquish control of the wheel to a computer. We’ve dreamed about it for decades, and now we finally have the
technology to get us very close. The rest is up to these two. They’re teaching autonomous
cars how to drive. My name is Daniela Landey. My name is Steven Lin. And we’re autonomous vehicle operators. Daniela and Steven work for a start-up called Aurora, and they’re part of a team of
about two dozen specialists who drive the company’s
fleet of self-driving cars on the roads of Pittsburgh, Palo Alto, and here in San Francisco. Aurora’s software learns
from their expert example, so to get this job, they had to be excellent drivers to start with. And to become even better, they then went through
six weeks of training. Today, I’m here at the Sonoma Raceway to experience just a small
part of that training and to see if I have what
it takes to do this job before I hop in the back of a self-driving vehicle myself. Nobody actually, in my opinion,
knows how to drive a car. You all drove here today, so I’m not, don’t, I’m
not bashing you, right. But do you know how to handle a car when a car does something
out of the ordinary? That’s what today’s all about. All right, let’s go have fun. Among the first drills
was emergency braking. All right, Daniela, come on down. Since Steven and Daniela have already completed this kind of training, they’re here today to brush
up on what they already know. Excellent. And to show me how it’s done. Good job! All right, next car, full
throttle all the way to me, don’t brake early. Full throttle, go, go, go, go, keep going guide the brake. Go, go, go, go, go, stop And then it was time for a series of high speed lane changes. Godspeed. Imagine you are forced to
suddenly swerve on the highway to avoid an obstacle? Get that brake timing down. Release, release, release,
there ya go, awesome. All right, here go, 50 right lane. 50, right. 50, right lane, that’s not 50. Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go And turn. And for an especially tricky challenge, the instructors had us
recover from a skid. Show off. Oh, oop, Oh my God! Ah! Let’s just say it’s a good thing no self driving car will be
learning from me anytime soon. The next week I went to
go see Daniela and Steven at their office in San Francisco. Come on in, welcome. Founded in 2017, by engineers from the early autonomous vehicle projects at Google, Tesla, and Uber, Aurora is developing technology
to power self driving cars. And so far, it’s signed
deals with automakers including Volkswagen and Hyundai. Daniela and Steven have invited me here to be the very first
reporter to sit in the back of one of their self driving cars. It says ready up here. Ready? We are ready. Okay, we’re engaging. Now we are in auto. Oh, whoa. Yep. Tracking the car ahead, stopping. So the car right now
is stopping on its own? It’s stopping on its own, its thinking, its making decisions. This is really cool, getting to see what the car sees. [Steven And Daniela] Yeah. What are these yellow boxes? The yellow box right there is, that’s a bicyclist.
That’s a cyclist, oh cool. So the car recognizes
that this is a bicyclist and if you see these kinda blue boxes, that means the vehicle
recognizes it as a vehicle. And the red boxes are pedestrians? Pedestrians, exact, you’re hired. Aurora does a lot of its testing virtually within the safety of a simulation. But to teach the system how to react to all the crazy things
that happen in a city as nuts as San Francisco, you need to take it out in real life. What’s the biggest misconception your friends have about your job? That we just sit behind
a wheel and do nothing. Auroroa’s operators take turns as pilots and copilots of the cars. Today, Daniela is the pilot. I’m looking at everything,
I’m thinking about everything, planning for everything. If the car decides to
bail out in the middle of the intersection, what am I gonna do? See how her hands are ever so slightly touching the wheel? Her foot hovering just above the brake? She’s ready to take over
in a fraction of a second, whenever she or the car
senses she needs to. And that’s a bailout. Oh. And I took over. The car saw something
that was not accurate and it gives me control. As Daniela’s copilot today, Steven’s job is to keep
an eye on his laptop that shows what the car see. Getting a false positive on the left, flickering. He alerts Daniela to the things she might not see with the naked eye and prepares her for what
the self-driving system is about to do next. It’s gonna want a left lane change. Okay. As the copilot, Steven
is also taking notes on when Daniela needs to intervene. Later on the engineers
will pour over this data, so they can figure out what went wrong. This is all part of
the painstaking process of teaching a computer how to drive. It’s brain, it’s a little
baby brain that learns– That you are nurturing, step by step. Um, hm, yeah, I call all
of them my baby robots. I swear, because we’re teaching them. Each operator at Aurora
has responsibilities outside the car, too. Steven assigns operators
to drive the routes that engineers needs them to drive. And Daniela liaises with the
team that builds the maps the vehicles rely on. Because driverless technology is so new, operators come from all
kinds of backgrounds. And the job doesn’t
require a special degree, or prior industry experience. Daniela was a surgeon in Mexico and worked for the fire service after she move to the states. And Steven was a military
police sergeant in the army. Operators at Aurora earn
about $30-$40 an hour. And as full time employees their benefits include health care, equity, and fitting of the tech
company stereotype, free lunch. You know you guys are
teaching cars how to drive and if you’re successful that is going to replace a lot of jobs out there, Uber drivers for example. That’s millions of jobs,
how do you think about that? We’ve had interactions
where people tell us you’re taking jobs away from people, but what I like to say is, imagine you’re living in a world where you don’t have to
worry about drunk drivers, you don’t have to worry about people who are texting on their
phones, and, you know, just being reckless. Yeah, we might lose some cab driver jobs But will it save millions of lives? Right. In the long run. In the future, our cars aren’t going to need the kind of intensive teaching that Steven and Daniela are doing now. But when it comes to the most high stakes life or death responsibilities that we’ll soon entrust to computers, we’re gonna want human experts to be vetting those capabilities
for a very long time. We’re still gonna be testing,
for perhaps new features, new avenues, new ways to
use self-driving technology in other type of vehicles,
so I don’t believe this job will disappear anytime soon.

About James Carlton

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83 thoughts on “These Humans Are Teaching Cars to Drive

  1. soooo… minimal training data captured on perfect road conditions with lidars that cost shit ton of money. noooo thank you

  2. I feel something is missing, what about ownership, is it going to be no incentive own a car or just make money by adding your car to autonomous grid.

  3. Anyone using LIDAR is doomed! Tesla is SO FAR ahead!
    Thousands of little dots or a high resolution image? Tesla nailed it! 2,100 Frames per second!
    That Lidar image is so low resolution! I wouldn't trust it!

  4. sorry for my ignorance but .. China already has self driving buses and ianuaing 5g …….. why cant they jist learn from those buses?

  5. Will autonomous vehicle operators not only automate away the jobs of, say, cab drivers, but will they also eventually automate away their own jobs? A lot of emerging careers right now come with similar dilemmas — and that’s one of the things that drew me to this story. Hope you watch this episode till the very end for a discussion on this, and more!

  6. Dumb segment… If you want to understand the status of self driving why did you not show a Tesla? This is like doing a segment on astrophysics and interviewing kindergarteners.

  7. There is so many experiment on Autonomous Drive / self driving car, maybe 10-15 years later all car can self drive

  8. Lidar is doomed why are most of the self driving companies trying to take the easy way. "Lidar is lame" -Elon Musk

  9. All this autonomous driving is a big B.S. There are an infinity of possibilities, an infinity of inputs. An algorithm being executed on a processing unit could possibly be one of the most fragile things on earth. You don't know when its gonna give up and for what reason. Add to that all of the unexpected things that could happen on a road or with the electronics and you'll have a recipe for a disaster.

  10. Is that a paid ad for the company or why is it so one sided and superficial? No words about how that teaching is supposed to work on a big scale? No word about the Tesla approach that is clearly different but far ahead in terms of tha most important data collection…

  11. This was so boring.Nothing we haven't seen before.I guess it was painstaking for you to make this film…

  12. They are driving within anticipation style. MTA New York City transit bus operators are taught like this . And this is how people should normally drive. The average person behind the wheel does not know how to drive they don't plan ahead they don't anticipate and when emergency comes they don't know how to react. It is good that they are teaching the computer how to identify and react to things on the road. As a commercial driver you have to be able to anticipate every scenario on the road so as to avoid emergency actions.

  13. Why we want our cars to travel themselves , Sleep assist , emergency braking Is OK . But why.completly AI

  14. "LIDAR is a fool’s errand. Anyone who relies on LIDAR is doomed. Expensive sensors that are unnecessary" – Elon Musk

  15. There are several cities in China that have fully functional AI 5G self driving electric public buses. They should work with Chinese engineers to further the technology rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

  16. Wow. So they have a dozen teams doing this? And Tesla has how many hundreds of thousands of vehicles doing the same thing, but with a faster learning and updating process?

  17. It’s funny how the argument is always about how many jobs will be lost.

    When cars first came along, they replaced horse and carriages. So many jobs were lost then too – all the people looking after the horses, for starters.

    Yet the world continued to spin, and eventually new (and greater volume) of jobs were created because of cars.

    So will the advent of autonomous cars create new and different jobs.

    People simply need to learn to adapt. It’s the way of nature, after all ….

  18. Why did you use the word accidents on purpose? 0:07
    Are they really accidents?

    Did the drunk accidentally get behind the wheel?
    Did that social media addict check their phone my mistake?
    Did a tire blow from a regularly maintained vehicle or was it from due care?

  19. 1. more will die under self-driving cars, there are quite a few cases recently.
    2. why would a surgeon choose to be a computer operator?

  20. Most of this "special" training is mandatory in Europe when you get your licence. Ridiculous unprepared Americans are sent out on the street.

  21. The jobs argument is misleading. It's also being used out of context. Self driving vehicles are one small piece of a bigger puzzle. How does humanity work together to address the inevitable tectonic upheavals looming ove our civilization? In 120 years global population has added 7 billion net new humans on our way to 10 billion within a couple of decades. Each human desires a decent life for themselves and their families. Currently the source of the supplies for this decent life , our only home, is being depleted at an exponentially unsustainable rate. We can work together to come in harmony with earth's ability to restore itself. The alternative, "business as usual", will see nature & the laws of physics fix the problem in cruel inhumane ways. We can make a conscious decision now to redesign civilization in collaboration with all nations or as it has throughout recorded history watch as nature takes it's course

  22. June 22 – Day of memory and grief. On this day in 1941, the Great Patriotic War began. In this whole country and other countries around the world remembers those killed in battles, who died in the rear of starvation and who were tortured to death in fascist captivity during World War II. We mourn those who, defending our Motherland with the price of their lives, have fulfilled their sacred duty.

  23. They need to teach these cars to drive in India..if they succeed here they can drive anywhere

  24. sure Tesla might be ahead or not, but i welcome all forms of progress in this venture. autonomous vehicles are the future and will revolutionize the world.

  25. Without Vision system you cannot solve true self driving. Only Tesla is headed bin the right way. Lidar is expensive and tesla has real world data. All the naysayers say that Google is ahead in self driving. They don't release that its system is a geo fenced system that works only in that programmed specific routes.

  26. another group is now working on an autonomous vehicle … it's not like Tesla, Ford, Uber, Google and others are also doing that!!

  27. Self driving technology is urgently needed in California, Washington State and Canada where cannabis is legalized. Imagine take a self driving road trip where you can smoke cannabis as much as you want. The vehicle is driven by computer. You don't have to worry about anything.

  28. Thanks for the interview! I feel it's like with robotic arms, but this time with cars. Good thinking 👍
    They need to test it at night too. And extreme weather conditions. That's the tricky part.
    And do the cars synchronize their data and learn through their network too?

  29. This training should be done in India, or some other South Asian country where roads are always packed with cars, trucks, animals, motorbikes, Bhajaji's, bicycles, jaywalkers, carts pulled by people or animals, and no traffic lights or traffic police at very busy intersections. Once they perfect the algorithm for such a place only then should they replace human drivers.

  30. And if you have two humaniod robots riding in a self driving delivery truck these robots can unload this truck while you stay back to do the paper work that running a business requires the people who "rent" these robots can charge the company ¢30 an hour or for two robots ¢60 an hour, but because the temp agency who owns these humaniod robots issues the people who signed up with these agencies 125 robots which means the people who work for these agencies make $37.50 with the agency taking $7.50.

  31. This is insane, why the hell should we teach cars how to co-drive with humans? It won't work!! If car companies really want to bring autonomous cars to the market that bad, they should fund building a new infrastructure for these cars already!!

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