EC HH Autonomous Vehicles: Eeyore Speaks


Missy Cummings was “one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy and now a professor in the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering and the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, as well as the director of Duke’s Humans and Autonomy Laboratory.” She is interviewed by Michael Chui of the McKinsey Global Institute in “From fighter pilot to robotics pioneer: An interview with Missy Cummings” (September 22, 2021, audio and transcript). I was struck in particular by her comments about autonomous vehicles–and more generally, about the economic role of artificial intelligence and robotics moving forward. Cummings calls herself as the “Eeyore” of autonomous vehicles–named after the extra-pessimistic donkey in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. She says:

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William K. 2 weeks ago Member's comment

Certainly hacking could be a real serious threat, but that threat can be greatly reduced by requiring that all updates to the software be done by a physical connection at an authorized service location, such as the dealer's repair shop. That would be the same as the present recall system. Tedious and expensive, but quite secure.

Terrence Howard 2 weeks ago Member's comment

Enjoyed this, thanks.

William K. 3 weeks ago Member's comment

Certainly M Cummins is corrrect about computer driven cars. And everybody needs to understand that they ARE COMPUTER DRIVEN cars. They will be subject to the same failures as desktop computers if they follow the present game plan, which is to have wireless downloads to fix bugs that are discovered after the cats are sold.  I would not want to own or ride in such a car even if it were free!

The big problem is the cost of verifying the software. It takes at least an hour per line to adequately verify computer software adequately.And it takes at least three people to do it. So the cost is about$200per hour, and if the programs have several million lines of code it will take several million hours to verify. So there is the problem that will prevent good code from being released.

Samantha Carter 2 weeks ago Member's comment

I'm concerned about cars being hacked.  Could you imagine the ramifications?  Scary.

Tin Man 3 weeks ago Member's comment

A billion for the software looks like a very reasonable price.

William K. 2 weeks ago Member's comment

The auto companies want it for a thou$and. But the show-stopper is the time to do the code verification: about an hour per line of source code. Thatis far beyond anything that will allow release in a timely manner.

AND the whole concept of periodic updates is simply not acceptable, since each update will be the equivalent of a major safety recall. Just think about THAT!!!