Autonomous Vehicle Pioneer Claims Trip from California to New York in Self-Driving Mode
SAN FRANCISCO, C.A. — Autonomous vehicle pioneer Anthony Levandowski claims he rode in a prototype car from San Francisco to New York Citywith the vehicle engaged in self-driving mode. The Guardian reported that the 3,099-miletrip began at the Golden Gate Bridge and ended at the George Washington Bridge in New York City. Levandowski says he only touched the wheel to stop the car to rest or to get gas over four days. Levandowski's critics, of which there are many, claim that he is sensationalizing his feat and question whether the methodology he employed would have the ability to accomplish what he says he did.*
Levandowski says he started his cross-country journey in a Toyota Prius on October 26, 2018. The Prius, according to Levandowski, used seven video cameras, two computers, and simple digital maps to make its way across the county. Levandowski said that he rode in the driver's seat for the whole ride and did not touch the steering wheel or the pedals except to take breaks and fill the gas tank. Levandowski boldly claims that the car could have made the trip all by itself because he never intervened.
Assuming the veracity of his claim, this ride would be the longest trip ever taken in an autonomous vehicle without human intervention. Not even Elon Musk, who sits at the vanguard of this burgeoning technology, makes such a claim.
Levandowski's critics voice their skepticism of his claimed feat harshly. He has been the lynchpin in tumultuous litigation between Waymo, Google's autonomous car company, and Uber. Waymo claimed that he stole trade secrets and took them to another startup company which was ultimately purchased by Uber. His alleged behavior leaves him with more critics than fans.
Levandowski said he wanted to use his developing idea and install the device in tractor-trailer trucks as an after-market co-piloting system. He claims that the system he designed works without lidar, which is the current industry standardand uses low-grade camera instead. He says the software used in conjunction with lidar is insufficient currently. He used cameras instead, including one that focuses on the driver and can recognize if the driver is paying attention to the road. If not, the system intervenes.
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