How safe are self-driving cars?
How safe are self-driving cars?

In this week's Exponential Chats, some of the team members responsible for Amalgam's development will have a chat about the safety of current self-driving technology. Despite the fact that there are very few cars on the road today capable of self-driving in all conditions, most new cars are already incorporating some of that technology and soon we'll be trusting our lives to it. Whether or not you're ready give up on your steering wheel we think that you'll enjoy this discussion. Come join us and participate by asking questions or giving your opinion in the live chat.

- Adriano Marques is the founder and CEO of Exponential Ventures.
- Harlei Vicente is a Senior software architect specialized in creating great experiences for the end user and optimizing interfaces for desktop and mobile.
- Igor Muniz is a Data Scientist specialized in deep learning models and Kaggle competitor in his free time.
- Fernando Camargo is a Data Scientist with in-depth machine learning expertise and wide-ranging experience in software engineering.
- Nathan Martins is a Machine Learning/DevOps Engineer at Exponential Ventures, where he works on projects to democratize AI, as well as other cutting edge innovations.

If you’ve watched our second episode of Exponential Chats you’d have learned that not all Artificial Intelligence is equally smart. For self-driving cars, the industry classifies self-driving capabilities based on 6 different levels.

In Level 0, there is zero autonomy and the driver is required to perform all tasks related to driving the vehicle.

In Level 1, the vehicle is still completely controlled by the driver with the addition of features that may assist the driver and improve safety. Some of these features include cruise control, electronic stability control, ABS, blind-spot detection, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

In Level 2, the vehicle is capable of controlling the acceleration and steering but the driver must remain in control of the vehicle at all times. Adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, self-park, and lane-keeping assist are some of the features found in vehicles classified as Level 2.

In Level 3, the vehicle is capable of perceiving its environment and drive itself around vehicles without requiring the driver to be in control at all times but ready to take control with notice. There are already a few cars on the market with these capabilities, and it is often referred to as Highway autopilot and has been made famous by Tesla.

In Level 4, the vehicle is fully capable of driving itself around under most conditions without requiring a driver, while still allowing the driver to take back control of the vehicle if desired.

In Level 5, the vehicle is fully autonomous and it can drive under all conditions. This is the most advanced level of autonomous driving and the one considered so safe that the presence of a steering wheel and pedals becomes an optional feature in the vehicle.

We’ve been advancing through these levels for years now without noticing how Artificial Intelligence has been creeping into our driving experience. You would be hard-pressed to find new vehicles being produced today that are considered level 0. Most brands are now offering at least Level 2 for most of their models, and most luxurious brands already offer level 3 capabilities to some of their vehicles. Tesla is the only automaker mass-producing vehicles at what seems to be a near Level 4 capability.

Now that we know how autonomous vehicles are classified, are we supposed to trust our lives to this new technology? How safe can it be?

Exponential Chats is a live event conducted by our parent company, Exponential Ventures. In this event, our team members and guests have an in-depth conversation about Exponential Technologies, Entrepreneurship, and some of the world's most challenging outstanding problems.

This live episode will air on Thrusday, September 10th 2020 at 1:00 PM CST. Here is a link to the live event on Youtube: