Tesla waymo wants to achieve fully automatic driving. Which is the future direction?


Tencent technology news on October 7, Tesla and waymo are constantly improving automatic driving technology to achieve the goal of safe driving. But the two are implemented in completely different ways. If the goal is to provide more people with automated driving assistance, Tesla is closer to this goal. If the goal is to make the car drive automatically and safely, waymo is better.
The death toll from car accidents in the United States continued to rise sharply last year. The death toll per 100 million miles is 24% higher than a year ago. Growth in 2021 could be just as bad. At the same time, the self driving car is near. Waymo and Tesla are constantly improving automatic driving technology, and the attractive prospect of significantly reducing driving risk is getting closer and closer. But the future of auto driving is still complex.
Turning to self driving cars has undoubtedly brought a tram problem to mankind. The thought experiment involved a tram driver colliding with a group of pedestrians. The driver can do nothing, kill several people on the track ahead, or take action to change the track, which will still cause one death. Nowadays, in terms of automatic driving, doing nothing means that about 1.3 million people die in car accidents worldwide every year, which is also the main cause of death for people under the age of 30. Changing orbit means speeding up the development and acceptance of self driving cars, which will eventually avoid thousands of deaths every day. The problem is that this technology still has a long way to go to enable people to drive cars safely under daily conditions. At the same time, automatic driving technology may still cause fatal accidents under the control of the machine.
Both Waymo and Tesla are at the forefront of the development of self driving cars. Both companies have the goal of safe driving with automatic driving technology, but their operation strategies are quite different.
Waymo is slowly and methodically introducing self driving technology in the form of providing self driving taxi service. The company said that its total autonomous driving mileage has exceeded 20 million miles and there has been no fatal accident. But at present, waymo has only put hundreds of waymo cars in the sunny Phoenix. Last week, the company was allowed to launch an autonomous taxi service in San Francisco, but there are still safety officers in the car, and the local mountain roads, weather and traffic make the service increasingly complex. Waymo eventually plans to launch autonomous driving technology in other cities and license it to carmakers. However, waymo does not know when it will achieve this goal, because, as its co CEO tekedra mawakana said at the code conference held in September 2021, the company is in the “learning process”.
Tesla’s fully automated driving (FSD) system
“I want to say that this is the engineering challenge facing our generation. That’s why it took so long,” mavakana said. “Security takes time.”
In this process, accidents will continue to occur, and 94% of fatal accidents are caused by human error.
Tesla launched the autopilot function much faster. In September this year, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, announced that drivers with a good record of safe driving and paying a certain fee can apply for the test of “fully automatic driving” (FSD). This system contains more advanced functions than the advanced driving assistance system autopilot. Autopilot already has auxiliary driving functions such as lane keeping, automatic braking and automatic acceleration. Tesla claims that its new car hardware can “completely driverless in almost all cases” and is designed to “carry out short and long-distance travel without any action by the driver.” however, the company’s software is still under test. Moreover, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are no fully autonomous vehicles on the market, and it will take several years for such technologies to come true
The head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Tesla should solve the existing safety defects before launching this new technology. At the same time, other Tesla critics also said that words such as “automatic driving” and “fully automatic driving” would make people trust this technology too much, and remove their hands from the steering wheel or distract their attention during driving.
This situation has repeatedly led to tragedies. In August this year, NHTSA launched a formal investigation into the company’s autopilot system after repeated crashes of Tesla and emergency vehicles (12 have occurred so far). The agency also launched a special investigation into the accidents that occurred when the autopilot system was activated, which have resulted in 12 deaths.
Mask, CEO of the company, insisted that Tesla cars are 10 times safer than ordinary cars despite fatal accidents.
Musk said, “even if you reduce the death toll by 90% through automatic driving, 10% of people will sue you.” “the 90% living people don’t even know that’s why they can live.”
This statement also makes sense. Self driving cars can save lives and reduce immeasurable social and economic losses. As NHTSA said, “compared with human drivers, self driving cars have broader vision and faster action, which can greatly reduce driving errors, resulting in traffic accidents and economic losses.”
The key problem is how to quickly realize the imagined future.
two roads —the socialist road versus the capitalist road
If the goal is to provide automated driving assistance for the public, Tesla is closer to this goal. If the goal is to make the car drive automatically and safely, waymo is better.
Mike Ramsey, vice president of Gartner, a market research company, said: “Tesla is flying high-altitude or suborbital space flight, and waymo is preparing to go to the moon.” “one person is trying to achieve something more difficult than another. But this does not mean that high-altitude flight can’t get higher and higher.”

In other words, although Tesla may not launch a fully automatic driving car in the short term, it can gradually launch better and better auxiliary driving functions, and finally realize real automatic driving.
Waymo’s self driving taxi service in the Phoenix area
According to the automation standard of SAE international, Tesla electric vehicle is at the level of level 2 automatic driving. This means that even if Tesla system can automatically steer and brake, the driver still needs to continuously monitor the driving conditions. Waymo’s automatic driving technology level is level 4, which means that the vehicle can realize automatic driving under limited geographical conditions without driver supervision. However, the autonomous driving technology behind it is not ready to be used in the mass market outside the test area.
Waymo autopilot system hardware is much more powerful than bit. It uses a variety of redundant sensor systems, including lidar, radar and camera, to generate real-time images of the surrounding environment of driving. Waymo also uses human drivers to drive the vehicle manually and map the relevant areas in advance. At the same time, Tesla cars rely entirely on cameras and ultrasonic sensors to assist driving.
“The more sensors, the more complex the system will be, but it will also be safer,” Ramsey said
The camera is not as accurate as lidar or vehicle mounted radar in measuring distance, and the ability to map the surrounding environment may be affected by daily factors such as rain, snow, dust or light. But cameras are much cheaper, which is important to bring this technology to consumers.
Consumers can buy an upgraded model 3 electric vehicle for about $75000. However, experts believe that with the current hardware equipment, Tesla cannot achieve full automatic driving, and may need to integrate other technologies such as lidar to achieve this goal. Waymo cars are Chrysler Pacificas and Jaguar i-paces equipped with the company’s sensor system. There is no exact price, but the former CEO of waymo once said that “the cost does not exceed the Mercedes Benz S-class of China configuration”. This means that the price is about $180000. Waymo said that with the introduction of the latest generation sensor system, its cost has decreased significantly.
By selling cars to the public, Tesla can collect a large amount of real-world driving data, which helps to solve the challenges faced by autonomous driving technology. Raji Raj Kumar, Professor of electronics and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and Raj Rajkumar, an autopilot pioneer, said Tesla had an “incredible advantage” in data collection, but warned that data was “partial, but not all.” However, he believes waymo should collect more data from ordinary manned driving.
“We should let them drive whenever they can drive automatically. When they can’t drive by themselves, people will drive by themselves.” “over a period of time, we can collect empirical data. In this way, we can know what is feasible and what is not feasible, and then improve it.”
Tesla has a relatively wide audience. This also means that it will be easier for the company to eventually produce a truly market-oriented auto driving vehicle.
“Tesla’s strategy is interesting because if it succeeds, it may be much larger. They can launch products in other cities faster than competitors,” said Tasha Keeney, ark investment analyst who holds a large stake in Tesla. Gene said that the faster introduction of autopilot would accelerate the future of safer driving, but this is not without cost.
“Is computer driving better than people? I think so,” she said. “Will there be any mistakes in this process? Yes.”
The future of autopilot cars
Experts estimate that in the next 10 years, there will be L3 or L4 grade self driving cars on the market. Now it is more important not to ignore the benefits of pursuing self driving cars. Cars will soon be able to reliably drive themselves in some cases, such as highways, where the lanes are clear and the driving rules are clear. But on city streets, humans may take over control of cars.
At present, ordinary cars already have advanced driver assistance functions. Automatic braking technology can make the car slow down or stop automatically before hitting an object. Facts have proved that this technology can reduce casualties. It will become the standard configuration of most cars sold in the United States next year. In the next few years, consumers can expect more similar functions in the pursuit of autopilot.
Lakikumar said: “we should no longer think about what magical things will happen. The car will drive automatically overnight. On the contrary, after many tests and improvements, this transformation will happen one by one.” finally, the change is gradual, and you won’t realize whether it has happened in the past five or 10 years. ”
When the car really realizes fully automatic driving, it will bring other benefits to people in addition to safe driving. Gini said that automatic driving technology will greatly reduce the travel cost because the utilization rate of the car will be improved and there is no need to pay the driver for renting a car. “It will enable many people to travel at a very low price, which will completely change our life and way of travel.”
At the same time, maybe the road ahead of autopilot is not a question of choosing Tesla or Waymo. With the increasing number of auxiliary driving functions, we may see a series of improvements brought by many auto companies. Although this technology may not achieve the so-called automatic driving future in the short term, it is better than nothing.
“We should not ignore the benefits that this technology can bring,” laki Kumar said. “It takes time and we will eventually do it.” (compiled by Tencent technology / Jiao Han)