Apple Co-founder has Given up on Fully Autonomous Cars

Published on October 29, 2019 in Technology/Autonomous Vehicles by Guillaume Rivard

While long-range electric vehicles are seemingly taking the auto industry by storm, driverless cars still have a ways to go before they hit public roads.

In fact, the technology may never be intelligent and reliable enough for fully autonomous cars to become a reality “in my lifetime,” said Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak while speaking at the inaugural J.D. Power Auto Revolution conference last week.

He added that he gave up on believing in autonomous vehicles and many of the promises of artificial intelligence a couple of years ago.

“I was totally sure we were going to have autonomous cars that would just go anywhere there is … and be able to do everything like a human does. And after enough time of seeing supposedly the next attempt that was really going to get us there, with Tesla, a lot of Tesla owners got disenfranchised, after a while saying, ‘[Look] how many mistakes [the car] makes. The dumbest human in the world would know how to do this, handle this.

There are too many unexpected things, it might even be a tire lying in the road in front of you, [it doesn’t know to] steer around it, centre my car, or what. You’re going to need at least the dumbest human behind the wheel to take control when an unusual situation comes up.”

Photo: Volvo

As a Tesla driver, Wozniak has been disappointed by overblown claims for self-driving that the company couldn’t back up. The new Smart Summon feature that was recently added to Tesla cars has already been largely criticized by owners for a few incidents and many near-misses.

Wozniak blames the industry for misleading the public into thinking that AI is going to be like a human brain and able to figure out new things. His advice to people who don’t want to drive? Call a taxi, Uber or another ride-hailing service.

When asked about Apple’s own program to build an entire car that would use autonomous driving technology, Wozniak simply said he’s no longer in the loop, adding: “I think there is still an Apple car program.”

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