Steve Wozniak, the tech genius who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1978, used to believe that fully autonomous vehicles were definitely possible.
He thought a time would come when robotic vehicles would be able to read and react to the road like humans, without needing a steering wheel. He hoped Apple would become the company to make fully self-driving vehicles a reality. Fast forward to the present and Steve Wozniak is not that optimistic anymore about Level 5 autonomous vehicles.
“The Woz” has come to realize there is simply too much unpredictability on roads for a self-driving car to cope with and says the technology is better used to assist drivers in certain situations and not take over entirely.
“I stepped way back [on] this idea of Level 5. I’ve really given up. I don’t even know if that will happen in my lifetime,” Wozniak was quoted as saying by Autonews during the J.D. Power Auto Revolution conference in Las Vegas last month.
According to the Apple co-founder, self-driving vehicles would work only “if we were to modify roads and have certain sections that are well mapped and kept clean of refuse, and nothing unusual happens and there’s no road work.” Needless to say, those requirements are almost impossible to meet simultaneously, at least not when it comes to a country’s entire road network.
Wozniak also believes consumers’ expectations of fully autonomous vehicles don’t match the reality. “We’ve misled the public into thinking this car is going to be like a human brain to be able to really figure out new things and say, ‘Here’s something I hadn’t seen before, but I know what’s going on here, and here’s how I should handle it.’ A human can do that,” Steve Wozniak said.
Photo credits: Nichollas Harrison & Waymo