The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Toyota Envision Open Source-Guided AV Future; Embark Discloses Disengagement Data; and More

by Kristen Hernandez | February 08, 2019

Toyota Wants Open Source Maps to Guide the Self-Driving Cars of Tomorrow
Late last week, TRI-AD presented a concept for their open source map project, an “Autonomous Mapping Platform” (AMP). The project, a partnership of Toyota, Denso, and Aisin, identifies four-dimensional maps as critical for automated driving, but believes progress is stalled by proprietary strategies for data collection. Once operational, Toyota will leverage vehicles it sells for data and, eventually, use data from other vehicles as well. Sharing mapping data should be seen within the broader context of collaboration on “digital infrastructure” that could be leveraged or standardized across AV platforms and accelerate the pathway to market for all AV developers.

Embark has become the first self-driving truck company to disclose its disengagement rate for on-road testing in California.

Embark shares performance data for its self-driving semi-trucks
Embark has become the first self-driving truck company to disclose its disengagement rate for on-road testing in California. The company claimed that it was not legally required to report disengagements, but did so to enhance transparency and build public trust. The startup reported human intervention every 1,392 miles, comparable to GM Cruise’s disengagement rate from 2017. However, differences in reporting standards from company-to-company make it hard to compare disengagement rates across companies. As Embark noted in its letter, it is essential for industry and government to collaborate and refine the measurement of AV safety performance.

Cost of Teleoperation Safety Oversight May Present Barrier for AV Adoption
Many advance the potential for significant cost savings as a key rationale for AVs; however, new research from MIT cautioned that the new cost of teleoperator safety oversight for AVs would more than outweigh the savings. The study compared the cost of older car ownership to robotaxi costs and found that robotaxis would cost consumers nearly three times more per mile. The authors suggest that AVs could be deployed with consumer subsidies to fund their availability to lower income households. The public could still, on net, see reduced cost of transportation once the cost of traffic crashes eliminated by AVs are fully accounted for.

Coursera Launches Self-Driving Cars Specialization from University of Toronto
Coursera, an online learning platform, has launched a Self-Driving Cars Specialization with the University of Toronto. The online Specialization will be offered in four parts and is designed for those with some prior engineering experience. It seeks to provide students with the knowledge required to develop safe autonomous vehicles, with the hope that this will allow them to enter the autonomous driving field. Such qualified candidates will be required to fill over 100,000 U.S. mobility industry jobs that may be created over the next decade due to vehicle automation, and courses such as this may have a role in mitigating the impact of AV deployment on displaced workers from the auto industry.