Before driverless cars come driverless office park shuttles?


This marketplace podcast is brought to you by indeed. Are you hiring with indeed. You can post a job in minutes set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist qualified candidates using an online dashboard and get started today and indeed dot com slash marketplace. That's indeed dot com slash marketplace and by click share with click share and you're meeting you can share your scream instantly leap from any device click share instantly projects any speakers laptop tablet or phone onto a presentation screen so everyone can work together share their ideas and create something great. That's that's the click share effect visit. Click share free trial dot com to learn more and sign up for your free trial. What if the self driving car revolution is an office park shuttle from american public media. This is marketplace tech demystifying the digital economy. I'm molly would everyone is very excited about autonomous honest cars but with every day they feel a little farther away waymo. Alphabet self driving car company is still testing fully autonomous cars as taxis in the phoenix area tesla is putting semi-autonomous features onto its own cars for consumers to buy and some companies like boston-based optimus ride are are thinking the immediate future is a little more contained the startup which yes is named after the transformer is betting on low speed vehicles that carry people around defined geographic areas it is not the sexiest use of autonomous driving tech but it might be more doable optimus ride. I just started a contract. Giving people free rides around the brooklyn navy yard an industrial park in new york city marketplace tech producer stephanie us went to check it out optimus ride vehicles stick out the black six passenger electric automobiles have the word self-driving in all capital letters on the back kind of like when you see a student driver and like student drivers these vehicles still have teachers that ride along to human monitors are in the front seat ready to jump in if needed they drift the passengers as well before everyone has belts meet you in the back demille ezra's tech investor. He's just coming from a meeting at a startup accelerator in the navy yard. He didn't know that self-driving shuttles would be there but he wants to know everything about them third driver. Do you know what technology are of a using in the car. It's laser scanners and cameras that the vehicle uses to sense things like pedestrians and other cars. Oh and it won't go more than fifteen miles per hour that that may be the reason passengers thing. They don't seat belts in the front seat. One of the human minders holds a laptop on the screen. There's something kind of like a heat map or obstacles appear as the the car is seeing them. You'll see on the screen that that spotted that person you see that orange object and we'll probably see that by second ryan chin chen is the c._e._o. And co founder of optimus ride he says you'll see this kind of driverless tech on the street way before you can ride any kind of distance in a fully autonomous car good for example that is if you're able to drive a thomas lii in times square in a snowstorm and drive all the way to harvard square in the boston area. There's no car company in the world world can do that today and will likely take more than ten years and chen says there's a five hundred billion dollar market for autonomous shuttles and what he calls geo fenced areas like college campuses office is parks and airports. Let's test validate. The business model developed the technology and then as we get better. Let's increase the complex. Let's make the gio fence larger. Let's increase the speed. Let's let's go to an air. That's a little bit more urban but it's going to take some time for optimus ride to get rid of their human monitors. Missy cummings is a professor of robotics at duke university. She says machines can't yet see the world the way people do once we've been taught with that red stop sign means we can approximate we can estimate we know what what it means. Even if there's only parts of the stop sign showing driverless cars on the other hand have a hard time improvising when conditions change they will follow the rules and only the rules that you tell them at the navy yard the optimists vehicles are really careful at a four way stop. There's an uncomfortably long pause before the vehicle accelerates. We'll oh stop observed. We see you can see all of the cars that are coming into this intersection and we are predicting what they're gonna do. They doing the same loop over turned over again c._e._o. Ryan says that optimus vehicles will learn the rules really well and like every good student driver. They'll eventually get more confident. That's that's marketplace. Tech producers stephanie us you can see pictures from her ride at marketplace tech dot org and now for some related links which is a little more reading about how the cold reality of self driving cars starting to sink in. It's gonna take a lot longer than we thought. The tech might not actually be the panacea for everything from traffic to the environment to safety that we have been promised all along and let's be honest. That's how technology works. It comes out and it's a little slower a little bug ear and has a lot more unintended consequences than we expect it. I've got a bunch of links to articles on our website for the past past few weeks saying basically the same thing and i'm gonna brag a little bit and say i wrote about this in january twenty eight th there's a link to that piece to on marketplace tech dot org back then. I said the tech was still a little dodgy. The talent to build that tech was really hard to find lawsuits over intellectual property would start to proliferate and the safety not was still kind of an open question. Let alone that we didn't know what driverless cars would really due to the economy or traffic or how they might interact with the millions of people driven cars on on the road and all of that is still true that actually here's some interesting dish on the intellectual property part just in the last week apple and tesla sued former employees for allegedly stealing self driving taxi grits and taking them to chinese competitors and the biggest maker of lighter technology valentine nine sued to chinese companies or allegedly stealing trade secrets as well and that's just one of dozens of lawsuits over self-driving tech you know are that saying we were promised jet packs those might still get here sooner hollywood and that's marketplace tech. This is a._p._n. 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