Scoring My 2018 Self-Driving Car Predictions

By | January 1, 2019

One year ago, I laid out a number of predictions for the self-driving car world in 2018, along with associated percentages (I lifted the percentages idea from Scott Alexander).

Here are my predictions from one year ago, scored.

100% Certain

✓ No Level 5 self-driving cars will be deployed anywhere in the world.
✓ No GPS or DGPS system will reliably exceed 10cm localization accuracy on all public roads in the US.

90% Certain

✓ Level 4 self-driving cars will be available to the general public, on public roads, somewhere in the world. [Explainer: I count the ongoing Lyft-Aptiv trials in Las Vegas as fulfilling this prediction, even though they include a safety operator. Also, supposedly Drive.AI is operating in Texas, although that’s been surprisingly quiet.]
✓ Deep learning will remain the dominant tool for image classification.
✓ No US road will have a speed limit for autonomous vehicles that is faster than the speed limit for human-driven vehicles.

80% Certain

✓ All Level 4 vehicles available to the general public will use lidar.
✓ Somebody will die in a crash due to a failure of Tesla Autopilot. [Explainer: Mountain View, California, in March.]
✓ Waymo will still have driven more autonomous miles than any other company.
✓ Level 4 self-driving cars will be available to the general public somewhere other than Pittsburgh.
A company will be acquired primarily for its autonomous vehicle capabilities with a valuation above $100M USD. [Explainer: Maybe I’m missing something, but no obvious acquisition jumps out at me. Either the Ford/Autonomic deal or the Hexagon/AutonomouStuff deal might qualify, but neither reported a price. Cruise took some pretty significant minority investment, but was not acquired.]
✓ No dominant technique will emerge for urban motion planning.

70% Certain

Level 4 self-driving cars will be available to the general public in Pittsburgh.
✓ Level 4 self-driving cars will be available to the general public somewhere in China. [Explainer: Pony.AI, although the lack of corroboration makes me suspicious.]
✓ Tesla will sell the most advanced self-driving system available to the general public. [Explainer: IIHS report.]
✓ Deep learning will not be the dominant tool for object classification from point clouds. [Explainer: I don’t have a smoking gun, but my observations indicate that deep learning is still making headway for point clouds, but has not yet taken over.]

60% Certain

✓ 2,000 students will have graduated the Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program.
Level 4 self-driving cars will be available to the general public somewhere in Europe.
✓ Waymo will have exceeded 10 million miles driven. [Explainer: October, 2018.]
✓ Tesla will produce 5,000 Model 3 vehicles in a single calendar week. [Explainer: July, 2018.]
✓ No member of the general public will die in a Level 4 autonomous vehicle. [Explainer: I should have worded this differently, as it fails to capture the Elaine Herzberg fatality, which was probably the most important self-driving car incident of the year. But, as written, this prediction was correct.]

50% Certain

Cruise Automation will open its Level 4 fleet to the general public.
Level 3 self-driving cars will be available for purchase by the general public.
A company will be acquired primarily for its autonomous vehicle capabilities with a valuation above $1B USD.
1,000 Udacity students will have jobs in the autonomous vehicle industry. [Explainer: I’m not going to count this one either way. One thing Udacity has discovered over the last year is how hard it is for us to track students in jobs.]
✓ Self-driving cars will be legal for public use somewhere in India. [Explainer: Startups in India.]

Conclusion

100% of my 100% predictions were correct.

100% of my 90% predictions were correct.

83% of my 80% predictions were correct.

75% of my 70% predictions were correct.

80% of my 60% predictions were correct.

25% of my 50% predictions were correct.

It seems like I did pretty well this year. That I can see I was neither systematically over-confident nor under-confident.

For 2019, I’d like to do a better job identifying issues that are 50/50 uncertainties.

Congratulations on putting 2018 in the books. Here’s looking forward to 2019!


Scoring My 2018 Self-Driving Car Predictions was originally published in Self-Driving Cars on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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