Nissan's self-driving system contacts a human helper to resolve difficult situations

midian182

Posts: 6,555   +58
Staff member

One of the biggest concerns about self-driving cars is how the vehicle would react to unpredictable road situations. Nissan believes it has the answer: human intervention.

The Japanese automaker plans to launch up to 10 vehicles with semi-autonomous capabilities by 2020, but admits that there are times when the AI’s struggle. Construction work that forces vehicles to ignore road rules, for example, or police officers directing traffic by hand, can confuse the software.

Nissan’s R&D chief, Maarten Sierhuis, told Wired that a truly driverless car able to handle any situation “is not gonna happen in the next five to ten years,” no matter how smart it is. “We will always need humans in the loop,” he added.

At CES, Nissan Chairman and CEO, Carlos Ghosn, showed off the company’s Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) system. Instead of requesting help from the vehicle’s passenger when an unexpected situation arises, SAM comes to a stop and contacts someone at a call center.

Once the car is connected, the “mobility manager” will analyze the situation before using the car’s sensors and cameras to map out the correct course of action. Control will then revert back to the AI, which carries out the instructions.

"Show me an autonomous system without a person in the loop, and I will show you a system that is practically useless," said Maarten Sierhuis, director of the Nissan Research Center (and former NASA scientist) in Silicon Valley. "Even fully autonomous vehicles will not be able to handle every possible situation they encounter. The world is too simply too complex."

One of SAM’s best features is the way it learns from these incidents. After encountering them several times, the system can figure out how to handle them on its own.

SAM is based on NASA’s Visual Environment for Remote Virtual Exploration (VERVE) software, which works in a similar way. Nissan thinks SAM could be used in all self-driving cars, not just its own.

“What we are doing at Nissan is finding a way so that we can have this future transportation system not in 20 years or more, but now," added Sierhuis.

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Bigtruckseries

Posts: 583   +320
I was taught that if you're in a residential block and driving - and a ball rolls out into the strett - that there will ALWAYS be a child following it.

This has happened in my life 3 times. 2/3 of those times there was a child.

How will computers "make choices"?

Will computers know to avoid bad neighborhoods (shooting galleries)?

Will computers know to slow down around Emergency service vehicles or - pull over immediately?`

When will the government hand over it's specific instructions to developers (DIRECTIVE 4) to make computers obey state officials?
 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,712   +1,515
"After encountering them several times, the system can figure out how to handle them on its own." Sounds like autonomous is possible, just that a provision for 'unpredictable' is wise.
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,103   +905
This has to be one of the smartest people to ever publicly discuss the autonomous car situation, software will never be able to account for every possible situation that happens on the roads of the world, it's just too unpredictable, too many variables. Billions of miles of data need to be collected to even consider this being a possibility, and even that could be meaningless if even one unpredictable event occurs that had not been accounted for. The worst part is even if a human would have been unable to avoid such a situation without incident, as soon as control is taken away from said human your placing all the responsibility on the auto manufacturer which is a huge burden. Then you have those who purposely try to create and incidence, which in itself is another problem all together that cannot be accounted for.
 

CobraA1

Posts: 22   +16
So a cop is impatiently waving you through an intersection, and you want the system to make a phone call?

I have an old navigation system in my car that called up a center using my cell phone to download directions. It was slow.

It would be faster to buzz the human in the driver's seat.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,464   +6,145
This has to be one of the smartest people to ever publicly discuss the autonomous car situation, software will never be able to account for every possible situation that happens on the roads of the world, it's just too unpredictable, too many variables. Billions of miles of data need to be collected to even consider this being a possibility, and even that could be meaningless if even one unpredictable event occurs that had not been accounted for. The worst part is even if a human would have been unable to avoid such a situation without incident, as soon as control is taken away from said human your placing all the responsibility on the auto manufacturer which is a huge burden. Then you have those who purposely try to create and incidence, which in itself is another problem all together that cannot be accounted for.

It's very possible that we see Car Operating systems appear separate from automakers. Sure, they can't account for every situation but the more and more data these companies collect the better and better the AI will become. 99% or above accident avoidance is a lot better than when people drive.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,715   +3,924
So a cop is impatiently waving you through an intersection, and you want the system to make a phone call?

I have an old navigation system in my car that called up a center using my cell phone to download directions. It was slow.

It would be faster to buzz the human in the driver's seat.
Personally, I would rather see the car defer to a human in the driver's seat. I am, of course, assuming that that human will be in a state, themselves, where they will be able to handle the condition that the car cannot figure out. If there is no response from the driver, then the car should should make the phone call.

I would be surprised, though, if a car could learn how to handle a cop directing traffic after encountering them a "few times", for instance, because there are so many different situations where a cop could be directing traffic, and in those situations, there are so many different hand signals that the cop could be using.

In my opinion, autonomous cars need to have controls in them that a driver can use, and the control system should be overrideable by the driver at any time. Gagme's (um, Google's) desire to leave out all controls from their autonomous vehicle offering is extremely short-sighted as well as extremely arrogant, IMO.
 

lripplinger

Posts: 284   +99
There is not substitute for real experience. Plus these "autonomous driving" cars are only as good as the humans that program them. Sorry, but I just don't buy into the whole "self driving car" hype anyway. Plus, why are we still moving humans around in cars to begin with. This is 100 year old tech now. Where is the innovation and new ways to move humans around?
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,423   +5,209
That would be fun. Then you would not have to go anywhere, you could just virtually visit any place you want. ;)
Well, I suppose but, if you wanted to go to , "a galaxy far, far away", you'd still be pretty much dependent on "Industrial Light and Magic", along with George Lucas. (Or is it Disney Studios now) ? :confused:

There is not substitute for real experience. Plus these "autonomous driving" cars are only as good as the humans that program them. Sorry, but I just don't buy into the whole "self driving car" hype anyway. Plus, why are we still moving humans around in cars to begin with. This is 100 year old tech now. Where is the innovation and new ways to move humans around?
You mean something like aircraft, elevators, escalators, and of course our own two feet? Those things won't be perfected for at least another couple of centuries....:( Besides, if we sit on our a**es long enough and pout, maybe "god" will condescend to grow us wings. Or perhaps rotors, so we can hover like the drones we are...! (y)