An Anonymous Coward writes:
A short article and video describes the latest self driving pilot program, using a minivan with what appears to be a very full suite of multiple cameras/lidars/radars all around the vehicle:https://www.automotivetestingtechnologyinternational.com/news/vehicle-development/autox-opens-fully-driverless-robotaxi-pilot-to-chinese-public.html
The video (with charming actress) does its best to defuse any concerns about driverless cars. The ride itself presents several slightly-challenging driving situations, but all at low speeds. At one point the car moves onto a larger road...where the speed limit is 40kph (25mph) and a few other cars pass the robotaxi. It's also worth noting that the roads were all pretty new (no potholes), no attempt to go into an older city center, and nearly empty. There were some large commercial vehicles in awkward locations--but it wasn't at rush hour.
No hint about how much tailoring/special-casing was done to the local maps and driving algorithms for this pilot. Your AC submitter suggests that it might not be very easy to re-train this system for another city?
"... ugly bulbous sensor pods ..."
Yeah because every time I take a taxi I'm super concerned about the car's style.
"... It could be the most perfect self-driving vehicle ever and people might ride in it, but fucking nobody will buy anything like it for their own personal use. ..."
Nobody? The car could look like a rolling turd but if it safely got me where I want to go, I'd buy it. I'd rather spend my travel time not doing the driving and if the aesthetics of such a vehicle must take a backseat to that function, so be it.
I agree. A car is for transportation, not fashion. Especially a vehicle you hire but do not own. But I must point something out . . .
If you value function over aesthetics, you'll never be able to get a job at Apple. I hear Apple will soon begin making cars. And computers.
The classic Apple (pre return of Jobs) was concerned about function more than fashion. And function includes making it easy and efficient to use. Pretty to the eye is not the same thing.