Robo-cars need costly manual input

Dhaka,  Wed,  23 August 2017
Published : 09 Jul 2017, 14:47:38
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Robo-cars need costly manual input

Self-driving cars seem like a magical idea. The concept of vehicles that can operate themselves, without steering wheels or pedals, leaps straight from the pages of science fiction, reports a global media Sunday.

Yet like so many fantastical stories, there are “wizards” hidden behind the curtain — lots of them. Constructing the road to fully automated driving, it turns out, requires a lot of manual labour.

Most companies working on this technology employ hundreds or even thousands of people, often in offshore outsourcing centres in India or China, whose job it is to teach the robo-cars to recognise pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles. The workers do this by manually marking up or “labelling” thousands of hours of video footage, often frame by frame, taken from prototype vehicles driving around testbeds such as Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

Huge advances in artificial intelligence, sensor quality and computing power have put in place the technological foundations of the driverless revolution. Yet despite these innovations, humans will still be needed behind the scenes for many years to come, drawing boxes around trees and highlighting road signs, in order to keep these systems fresh.

- SZ
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