Tech

Lexus has Cautious Approach to Self-Driving Autonomous Technology

Lexus LS 600hL Automated Driving

Lexus president Yoshihiro Sawa addressed the brand’s cautious approach to autonomous driving in an interview with Car Advice:

“Actually we are not conservative we believe, because we aim to have the world’s safest car,” Sawa said.

“Of course, safety and autonomous sound different, but however the technology is the same so we are putting the same kind of sensor on autonomous – but first of all we have to establish the safest situation, that is very important.

“Autonomous [driving] in city is a very dangerous situation sometimes, but freeway or toll road things are quite different. So I think first of all we focus on the freeway and highway to satisfy the autonomous [demands], but then later on we are going to introduce autonomous for city area.

The next-generation of Lexus automated driving research vehicles debuted at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year. The new Platform 3.0 is built using a LS 600hL, and combines upgraded sensors with a sleek new look from CALTY Design Research:

Comments
That's a huge improvement in the looks of the autonomy hardware, and I imagine more will be possible in that department when the car is actually designed around that equipment instead of having it added on later.
L
  • L
  • January 5, 2018
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
The last generation LS has aged so gracefully I think its timeless at this point..
Levi
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
Tesla's current hardware is much less than anyone (including Nvidia who supply the hardware) thinks you need for full autonomy, but the Musk Distortion Field is in full effect :) In particular, they aren't including any LIDAR, which is the centerpiece of every other manufacturer's system (including Toyota/Lexus). There are rumors that Tesla is switching to a new system internally with a lot more hardware now and owners will have to fork out several thousand to upgrade again, but I doubt it'll faze most of their fans.
L
  • L
  • January 5, 2018
Ian Schmidt
Tesla's current hardware is much less than anyone (including Nvidia who supply the hardware) thinks you need for full autonomy, but the Musk Distortion Field is in full effect :) In particular, they aren't including any LIDAR, which is the centerpiece of every other manufacturer's system (including Toyota/Lexus). There are rumors that Tesla is switching to a new system internally with a lot more hardware now and owners will have to fork out several thousand to upgrade again, but I doubt it'll faze most of their fans.
I am an electric car fan, not an autonomous car fan, so thus still a Tesla liker.
Levi
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
The sleek looking Teslas and Audis are level 3 autonomy only. This testbed here is for level 4 and beyond. It's a quantum leap that requires a lot of breakthrough in sensor miniaturization.
mikeavelli
The last generation LS has aged so gracefully I think its timeless at this point..
No kidding. I saw a mint-condition 2LS on the road yesterday and it struck me how dated it looks now (those things were seriously boxy, the 3LS was a big improvement). And how not-dated my LS looks even though the basic design goes back more than halfway to when the 2LS was still being sold.
ssun30
The sleek looking Teslas and Audis are level 3 autonomy only. This testbed here is for level 4 and beyond. It's a quantum leap that requires a lot of breakthrough in sensor miniaturization.
Tesla is level 2 only... and even thats not fully working yet... did they enable auto wipers yet? I dont think so. It all went downhill once they ditched mobileye, I dont think their current system is as good as old mobileye yet... and they already change computers in newer vehicles, and there are rumors that they will do it again... for people who bought their after-Sept 2016 vehicles they claim they wont need new computers :).

Upcoming A8 will be Level 3 later this year (date not known yet, but not at the same time as start of sales), but only for highway jams under 37mph... no curves, no city, no over 37mph... so basically they are gaming the SAE system.

p.s. Do Toyota's in China have autobrake optional/standard?
This cautious approach might be the best approach after a self-driving Uber research vehicle struck and killed a woman in Arizona today:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-autonomous-car-fatal-crash/index.html
It doesn't speak well to Uber's self-driving system that it failed at "brake to avoid a pedestrian", something any Camry will do now.
Toyota has suspended its autonomous prototypes after the Arizona incident:

Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday it will pause autonomous vehicle testing following an accident in which an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Ariz.

Separately, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix said it was awaiting the results of an investigation by Tempe police of the fatality before reviewing whether any charges should be filed. The Tempe police chief has told the San Francisco Chronicle that a preliminary look at video of the fatal crash indicates "that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident.

Toyota Research Institute is the company arm in charge of developing self-driving cars, with testing being conducted in California and Michigan. Toyota had reportedly been in talks with Uber to purchase the company's autonomous vehicle technology.
https://www.autoblog.com/2018/03/20/toyota-pauses-self-driving-car-testing-amid-uber-accident-probe/
Ian Schmidt
It doesn't speak well to Uber's self-driving system that it failed at "brake to avoid a pedestrian", something any Camry will do now.
Actually, now it seems the accident was unavoidable with any autonomous system or human intervention. A Camry won't be able to save that person. Nothing stops irresponsible pedestrians from jumping in front of a car out of darkness.

Maybe except in China. Here in downtown Shanghai we have surveillance cameras with face recognition system that can actually ticket pedestrians and cyclers for traffic violation (fine and credit score penalties). Human rights issues aside, it makes driving in the city core much more pleasant since I no longer need to worry about a scooter running lights, or jaywalkers stalling the traffic because they have unjustified right-of-way.
ssun30
Actually, now it seems the accident was unavoidable with any autonomous system or human intervention. A Camry won't be able to save that person. Nothing stops irresponsible pedestrians from jumping in front of a car out of darkness.

Maybe except in China. Here in downtown Shanghai we have surveillance cameras with face recognition system that can actually ticket pedestrians and cyclers for traffic violation (fine and credit score penalties). Human rights issues aside, it makes driving in the city core much more pleasant since I no longer need to worry about a scooter running lights, or jaywalkers stalling the traffic because they have unjustified right-of-way.
there is a video now, there is no jumping involved... just crossing a wide street in (relative) dark with bike in tow... system did not attempt to brake at any point, it is some kind of massive failure of the system and test driver was not watching the road.

Pretty much any auto brake system would have attempted braking, especially one that has a radar, since radar actually works better in dark (like in Camry). But I think at these low speeds even cheap camera system would attempt do brake at some point, as evidenced by all the IIHS, EuroNCAP and JNCAP tests on those systems. Quite possibly it would not have stopped in cheaper system, but one in Camry should have perfectly stopped in front of the pedestrian at speed of 38 mph that they were driving at.

Video:
https://www.axios.com/uber-self-driving-crash-video-74e82f27-f802-4b6b-b4b2-d3885e12a145.html

please notice it is disturbing since it shows a hit.

Again, problem here is that everything fails, we all have computers and cell phones and they always have some problem... cars are recalled all the time, even if they are engineered at much higher standards.

Partially the problem is likely that tech startups dont take all the necessary precautions and safety measures when developing new products... this we can see in our daily usage of tech... car companies are much slower to develop new things because they have a lot stricter standards.

And it is all perfectly shown in this bad application of technology.

Something to remember is that radar sees better at night than day, and lidar sees the same. So it makes no difference to the car hardware here if it is day or night and I would guess that despite bad camera, street was not badly lighted at all, we can see street lights around, it is just that the tester was looking around so he could not react either.
spwolf
Video:
https://www.axios.com/uber-self-driving-crash-video-74e82f27-f802-4b6b-b4b2-d3885e12a145.html
Seeing is better than hearing. Now I'm convinced. It was an unacceptable system failure.
L
  • L
  • March 22, 2018
Well, the video is shocking, and blaming anyone (system or victim) is not the right thing. If anyone is to blame, it is not the system, not necessarily the engineers, but the 'blind believers'.

The person was crossing a straight street, no curve, nothing was unpredictable (from what we see in the video). Radar/Lidar are supposed to see better than human and night in darkness, so in this case the system should have avoided the accident that a human would not, yet it failed.

Some might blame the victim, and say it would happen with human driver, but isn't the point of the system to save the from bad human decision (of the victim)? Should the pedestrian be also be replaced by autonomous humanoid? If she is to be blamed, then she is whether there is a human or system driving, in which case what is wrong with accidents when then victim is at fault?

Of course that changes when the crash of equivalent value, not car vs person but car vs car. There are many victims, those responsible (if you want to blame) and those not (of you want to take away blame, i.e the system in this case).

What if the autonomous car worshipers, are the 'bad drivers', thus want such cars?
ssun30
Seeing is better than hearing. Now I'm convinced. It was an unacceptable system failure.
Uber is known to have "bad" leadership, and I mean that - you can read up on their fight vs lyft, corporate espionage and why was their past CEO ousted... it is comically do-evil corporation. (as side note I do use uber all the time, i love the service).

So it is not hard to tie the dots here and see how these rumors of how pedestrian jumped in front of the vehicle, from the bushes, etc, etc, were paid by Uber. Anyone on the scene of crime, be it reported or cop, would see it is a wide street, no distraction, person was crossing from opposite side so no bushes, even the street lights were few meters away.
Levi
Well, the video is shocking, and blaming anyone (system or victim) is not the right thing. If anyone is to blame, it is not the system, not necessarily the engineers, but the 'blind believers'.

The person was crossing a straight street, no curve, nothing was unpredictable (from what we see in the video). Radar/Lidar are supposed to see better than human and night in darkness, so in this case the system should have avoided the accident that a human would not, yet it failed.
I think system failure will clearly be blamed as well as test driver.. here you can check how these affordable systems work:


So the Volvo was going at 63kmh, and test above is 55kmh. I am sure factory Volvo system would do at least as good as Lexus one above, since it is already older version of Lexus/Toyota system and it is base/standard system too.

So at very least, autonomous system has a lot more sensors and can react a lot faster. Both lidar and radar do the same or better in dark than light, so it is actually perfect situation for system to react, just like test above.

System and test driver did not react even after a hit.
okay ill add my $0.02 on autonomous driving bc as a LTS my job is always to stay on top of the latest and greatest.

obviously, the end game here is to have self driving cars, and not just lexus, but the entire automotive industry for mass market consumers. i saw something recently i think, about a chevy spark w/o a steering wheel. the real question here is when will this actually be a real thing that cars have in well, anywhere usa. i think there are many different factors and topics on the subject, and personally i think we are maybe, maybe 10 years from roads full of cars that drive themselves. we have the technology to do this and we have for years. i think at this point, its more of an emotional/mental barrier that we as a species need to break down. radar/laser guided cruise control systems have been around 20 years, and truth be told i dont think it has come nearly as far as it could have by now, simply because of the mental barrier we hold deep in our minds subconsciously.

i will say this. as an enthusiast, although i love the idea of being on a long highway cruise, pushing a button and letting the car do everything for me (lexus LSS+ comes damn close), i dread the day the steering wheel vanishes from our dashboards. many people these days consider driving a chore rather than recreation, regardless of what they are driving. i hear something to that tone atleast once a week from one of my guests, and honestly i dont blame them from thier point of view. if you have ever experienced Orlando rush hour traffic, you know what im talking about..
btw, i put the PCS / ICS system to the test a few times in the real world. -im one of those people crazy enough to walk in front of an RX 350 going 10 mph thats convinced it will stop, bc i believe in these products, im not afraid to skin my knees, and just being one of those people that want to see how things work out of pure curiosity. i also tried higher speed testing of it in one of my videos, using a cardboard box with a persons face on it. i will say this, its pretty reliable!! with radar cruise control engaged, the car came to a complete stop at 30 mph with the cardboard cutout!!! i made 5 passes at different speeds. but no PCS system is fail proof. i did hit the box, once..

R
Top