Sometimes it is not so much what people boast about but what they do not say that gives you a good insight in how a new technology is developing. And as reported in Digital Trends Anthony Levandowski, has made a startling claim. Mr. Levandowski who was fired from Uber over allegedly stolen intellectual property started his own self driving technology firm, Pronto.

Stating he wanted to build the best self -driving vehicle in the world he set out to create the best software. With that software Levandowski claims he sent a Toyota Prius driving from San Francisco to New York City without a human touching any of the controls.

But just a note~this technology still requires a human driver to look at the road to be driven, meaning that this is a “two level” system. You can take a look at the video below showing the 3,099 mile trip. The car, a modified Toyota Prius had video cameras, computers and basic digital maps. But as The Guardian points out, Levandowski has not made himself the most trustworthy person in his claims of ‘no hands or feet’ on his journey across the country.

“Levandowski told the Guardian that, although he was sitting in the driver’s seat the entire time, he did not touch the steering wheels or pedals, aside from planned stops to rest and refuel. “If there was nobody in the car, it would have worked.”

While the technology is being developed for the trucking industry as an advanced driving assistance system (ADAS), it is telling that Levandowski used the technology only on highways.  The reason is that this technology called “Copilot” cannot differentiate narrow streets, oncoming traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, all the components at play in a city setting. Despite the claims of autonomous vehicle boosters that the technology is close to being adopted in cities, the sophistication of the systems to recognize and respond to the multitude of discrete movements in a city have still not been developed.

Current research indicates that the autonomous vehicle adaptable for city driving is still a long way off. You can look at the Vimeo video of the cross-country trip below. Be warned, the narrative on the video is a little creepy like the Matthew McConaughey car videos.


Image: DailyMail.co.uk


  1. Still, this is an accomplishment, and we shouldn’t be too dismissive of it. Technology advances exponentially and the dominos are all falling in this direction. Remember how fast the human genome project came together after a dozen years of moving at a snail’s pace.

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