Fury Road: Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google? - Bloomberg


32 bookmarks. First posted by audrey 6 weeks ago.


As Google’s car project grew, a debate raged inside the company, reflecting a broader dispute about the direction of autonomous vehicles: Should the tech come gradually and be added to cars with drivers (through features like automatic parking and highway autopilot) or all at once (for instance, a fleet of fully autonomous cars operating in a city center)? Urmson, a former Carnegie Mellon professor, preferred the latter approach, arguing that incremental innovations might, paradoxically, make cars less safe. Levandowski believed otherwise and argued that Google should sell self-driving kits that could be retrofitted on cars, former colleagues say.

Urmson won out, and according to two former employees, Levandowski sulked openly. After one dispute between the two, Levandowski stopped coming to work for months, devoting his time to his side projects. This didn’t stop Page and Brin from discreetly acquiring 510 Systems and Anthony’s Robots for roughly $50 million in 2011.

As Google’s driverless car program matured, Levandowski seemed to become impatient. Creating a fully functioning driverless car means training a complicated hardware and software system to identify lane lines and red lights and to control the car’s movements. It also means writing software that anticipates thousands of unlikely “edge cases”—hairpin turns, drivers who use hand signals, covered bridges, recumbent bikes, and so on. That work seemed to bore Levandowski. He became increasingly frustrated at Google’s inability to operate its cars on city streets and decided to take matters into his own hands. “Engineers were like, ‘We are totally ready to go,’ and I’m like, ‘Let’s go then. Let’s see whether it’s real or a demo,’ ” Levandowski said in the summer interview.
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20 days ago by scritic
via Pocket - Fury Road: Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google? - Added March 19, 2017 at 09:06AM
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5 weeks ago by redmeades
Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google?
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5 weeks ago by wschenk
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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5 weeks ago by tmcw
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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5 weeks ago by danielhill
Fury road: Did Uber steal the driverless future from Google?
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6 weeks ago by edan
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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6 weeks ago by dudup
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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6 weeks ago by johnrclark
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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6 weeks ago by alexrudy
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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6 weeks ago by jrubenoff
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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6 weeks ago by stevenbedrick
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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6 weeks ago by skinnyj
Inside the vicious patent fight over self-driving technology. Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate sexual harassment claims against the company. via Pocket
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6 weeks ago by schmitz
“Google is the Xerox Parc of self-driving cars”
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6 weeks ago by girma
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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6 weeks ago by kohlmannj
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc ., says he needs leadership help. He recently dispatched former U.S. Attorney General Eric…
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6 weeks ago by mchesner
Fascinating feature by Max Chafkin and Mark Bergen for Bloomberg Businessweek:

As Google’s car project grew, a debate raged inside the company, reflecting a broader dispute about the direction of autonomous vehicles: Should the tech come gradually and be added to cars with drivers (through features like automatic parking and highway autopilot) or all at once (for instance, a fleet of fully autonomous cars operating in a city center)? Urmson, a former Carnegie Mellon professor, preferred the latter approach, arguing that incremental innovations might, paradoxically, make cars less safe. Levandowski believed otherwise and argued that Google should sell self-driving kits that could be retrofitted on cars, former colleagues say.

Urmson won out, and according to two former employees, Levandowski sulked openly. After one dispute between the two, Levandowski stopped coming to work for months, devoting his time to his side projects. This didn’t stop Page and Brin from discreetly acquiring 510 Systems and Anthony’s Robots for roughly $50 million in 2011.

Seems like a bizarre company culture that allows an executive to just stop coming to work for months at a time.

Levandowski seemed to struggle in other ways as well. In December, Uber dispatched 16 self-driving cars, with safety drivers, in San Francisco without seeking a permit from the California DMV. The test went poorly — on the first day, a self-driving car ran a red light, and the DMV ordered Uber to halt its program in the state. The company suffered further embarrassment when a New York Times article, citing leaked documents, suggested that Uber’s explanation for the traffic violation — that it had been caused by human error — wasn’t complete. The car malfunctioned, and the driver failed to stop it.

The misdirection came as no surprise to the Uber employees who’d spent time at Otto’s San Francisco headquarters. Someone there had distributed stickers — in OSHA orange — with a tongue-in-cheek slogan: “Safety third.”

“Safety third”. Hilarious.

 ★ 
via:daringfireball 
6 weeks ago by rufous
from Daring Fireball

Fascinating feature by Max Chafkin and Mark Bergen for Bloomberg Businessweek:

As Google’s car project grew, a debate raged inside the company, reflecting a broader dispute about the direction of autonomous vehicles: Should the tech come gradually and be added to cars with drivers (through features like automatic parking and highway autopilot) or all at once (for instance, a fleet of fully autonomous cars operating in a city center)? Urmson, a former Carnegie Mellon professor, preferred the latter approach, arguing that incremental innovations might, paradoxically, make cars less safe. Levandowski believed otherwise and argued that Google should sell self-driving kits that could be retrofitted on cars, former colleagues say.

Urmson won out, and according to two former employees, Levandowski sulked openly. After one dispute between the two, Levandowski stopped coming to work for months, devoting his time to his side projects. This didn’t stop Page and Brin from discreetly acquiring 510 Systems and Anthony’s Robots for roughly $50 million in 2011.

Seems like a bizarre company culture that allows an executive to just stop coming to work for months at a time.

Levandowski seemed to struggle in other ways as well. In December, Uber dispatched 16 self-driving cars, with safety drivers, in San Francisco without seeking a permit from the California DMV. The test went poorly — on the first day, a self-driving car ran a red light, and the DMV ordered Uber to halt its program in the state. The company suffered further embarrassment when a New York Times article, citing leaked documents, suggested that Uber’s explanation for the traffic violation — that it had been caused by human error — wasn’t complete. The car malfunctioned, and the driver failed to stop it.

The misdirection came as no surprise to the Uber employees who’d spent time at Otto’s San Francisco headquarters. Someone there had distributed stickers — in OSHA orange — with a tongue-in-cheek slogan: “Safety third.”

“Safety third”. Hilarious.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
6 weeks ago by josephschmitt
Bloomberg takes a look inside the vicious patent fight over self-driving technology. Robert Gomulkiewicz, professor of law at the UW, is quoted.
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6 weeks ago by uwnews
Did Uber steal the driverless future from Google? via
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6 weeks ago by audrey