Autonomous Vehicles

Posted on March 04, 2024 in Uncategorized


By Lance Hendron

A couple of months ago, I presented an NCDD webinar highlighting the current state of automatous driving. Since the webinar, there have been recent updates concerning the evolution of automatous driving.

Probably the most significant update concerns Telsa's recall of two million vehicles considering serious concerns about its autonomous driving features. Per reports, "numerous reported cases reveal shortcomings in the technology's ability to interpret its surroundings accurately. These include instances where a Tesla vehicle mistook a stop sign image on a billboard for a real stop sign and confused a yellow moon with a yellow traffic light."1  Additionally, this does not apply to Telsa's consumer market, which has also extended to its "robotaxis" operating in San Francisco after one of them dragged a pedestrian to the side of a San Francisco street in early October.2

States continue to debate whether there should be a ban against self-driving vehicles. Most recently, in September 2023, California's government vetoed a state assembly bill that would have banned driverless trucks. Accordingly, to the governor's veto message: "[This bill] is unnecessary for the regulation and oversight of heavy-duty autonomous vehicle technology in California, as existing law provides sufficient authority to create the appropriate regulatory framework.3  The governor noted that the Department of Motor Vehicles already has the authority to regulate the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads in California.4  Interestingly, before reaching the governor's desk, the bill itself had few lawmakers who opposed and voted against it.5

The private sector continues to develop and implement autonomous driving features in its vehicles. At the recent 2024 Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas, the auto and tech industry showcased their latest self-driving technologies. For instance, NVIDIA, an American multinational technology company, announced that Li Auto has selected the NVIDIA DRIVE Thor centralized car computer to power its next-generation fleets. The DRIVE Thor "is a next-generation centralized car computer that integrates a wide range of intelligent functions into a single AI compute platform, delivering autonomous driving and parking capabilities, driver and passenger monitoring, and AI cockpit functionality."6

Although safety is undoubtedly an ongoing concern for autonomous vehicles, the private and government sectors continue to prepare for this technology as it advances. With the evolving use of artificial intelligence, self-driving cars may eventually become a reality. Indeed, if autonomous driving becomes a reality, it will also change how driving under the influence laws are implemented.

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