Elon Musk: Tesla Autopilot | Lex Fridman Podcast #18 | Summary and Q&A

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April 12, 2019
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Lex Fridman Podcast
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Elon Musk: Tesla Autopilot | Lex Fridman Podcast #18

TL;DR

Elon Musk believes that Tesla's Autopilot system is capable of full self-driving and will soon be safer than human drivers.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does Elon Musk envision the future of Autopilot and autonomous driving?

Musk believes that cars will eventually be completely autonomous and that not participating in this revolution would make Tesla cars less useful. He sees autonomous driving as a game-changer for quality of life.

Q: How does Tesla collect data for Autopilot improvements?

Tesla collects vast amounts of data from its cars' sensors, including cameras, radar, ultrasonics, GPS, and IMU. With hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road, Tesla has access to a wealth of data to continuously improve the Autopilot system.

Q: Will Autopilot require human supervision in the future?

Musk believes that once Autopilot is significantly safer than human drivers, human supervision will no longer be necessary. The goal is to reach a point where adding a human driver decreases safety rather than enhances it.

Q: Are there any potential limitations or challenges to Autopilot's development?

Elon Musk sees hardware as the main limitation currently, and Tesla has developed the full self-driving computer to address this. The key challenges now lie in refining the neural net and control software, which can be improved through over-the-air updates.

Q: How does Elon Musk envision the future of Autopilot and autonomous driving?

Musk believes that cars will eventually be completely autonomous and that not participating in this revolution would make Tesla cars less useful. He sees autonomous driving as a game-changer for quality of life.

More Insights

  • Tesla's Autopilot system is designed to provide a health check on the car's perception of reality by rendering sensor data onto a display for driver confirmation.

  • Tesla's abundant data from its fleet of vehicles and the development of a powerful self-driving computer indicate significant progress toward full self-driving capabilities.

  • Elon Musk is confident that autonomous driving will be safer than human-driving and that AI-assisted driving will dramatically change the way we commute.

  • Musk emphasizes the need for AI to be much better than human drivers before human supervision becomes unnecessary.

  • Musk believes that AI systems can eventually convince humans to fall in love with them and that the boundaries between artificial and human emotions may blur.

  • The future of AI-assisted driving will involve navigation in complex city streets, recognition of traffic lights, and autonomous parking capabilities.

  • Musk acknowledges disagreements with some experts on the importance of camera-based driver monitoring for AI-assisted driving, but believes it will not be necessary once AI surpasses human capabilities in driving.

Summary

This is a conversation with Elon Musk about Tesla's Autopilot system and the future of autonomous driving. They discuss the initial vision for Autopilot, the design choices behind the system, the distribution of effort between algorithms, data, and hardware, the progress towards full self-driving, the role of human supervision, the importance of safety, the potential benefits of driver monitoring, and the challenges of achieving general intelligence with current deep learning approaches. They also touch on the psychology of human behavior, the potential for adversarial attacks on autonomous systems, and the possibility of creating AI systems that can love and be loved.

Questions & Answers

Q: What was the vision and dream of Autopilot in the beginning?

Musk believes that any car that does not have autonomy would be as useful as a horse, as cars will eventually drive themselves completely. The vision was to participate in the autonomy revolution and make Tesla cars more valuable than non-autonomous cars.

Q: What was the thinking behind showing the combined sensor suite view on the instrument cluster and display?

The display serves as a health check on the vehicle's perception of reality. It allows users to confirm if the car knows what's going on by looking out the window and comparing it with what the sensors are detecting.

Q: Have you considered showing more uncertain parts of the system's computer vision?

Musk explains that they have debug views for development engineers, but it would be difficult for normal people to understand. The current display is optimized for the general public to understand the system's capabilities.

Q: In terms of allocating resources, what do you think is the most important thing for Autopilot: algorithms, data, or hardware?

Tesla automatically gathers vast amounts of data from their cars, which gives them a significant advantage. With the release of their full self-driving computer, they have enough computational power. The focus now is on refining the neural net and control software, which can be done through over-the-air updates.

Q: Can you talk about the value of capturing edge cases and the role of user interventions in improving Autopilot?

Musk explains that they analyze user interventions to determine why they took over control and make improvements based on that information. They also use interventions to determine the optimal path for navigating intersections and certain maneuvers.

Q: Will full self-driving still require human supervision for a period of time?

Musk believes that detecting hands on the wheel will still be necessary for some time, at least for regulatory purposes. The goal is to make Autopilot significantly safer than a human driver, and once it is proven statistically, the need for human supervision will decrease.

Q: What are the biggest technological roadblocks to achieving full self-driving?

Musk believes they have overcome the hardware limitations with their full self-driving computer. The focus now is on refining the software and improving the neural network and control software. They need to demonstrate that the system is significantly safer and more reliable than a human driver.

Q: Can we defend against adversarial examples that trick autonomous systems?

Musk explains that blocking adversarial examples is relatively simple by adding negative recognition to the system. Training the system to distinguish what is a car and what is definitely not a car can help exclude adversarial examples. He is confident that this can be achieved.

Q: Do you think current deep learning approaches will lead to general intelligence, or do we need new ideas?

Musk believes that current approaches are still missing a few key ideas for achieving artificial general intelligence. However, he thinks that AGI will be upon us very quickly, and we will need to determine what to do when faced with its existence.

Q: Do you think we can create an AI system that we can love and loves us back like in the movie Her?

Musk thinks that AI will be capable of convincingly making someone fall in love with it. From a physics standpoint, if AI can create that feeling and there is no test to differentiate it from real love, then it can be considered real.

Q: What question would you ask an AGI system if you had the chance?

Musk would ask the AGI system what exists outside the simulation, referring to the possibility that our reality is a simulation.

Takeaways

Elon Musk believes that full self-driving is rapidly advancing, and that it will be much safer than human driving. Tesla is focused on refining the software and improving the neural net and control software to achieve full autonomy. Musk is confident that adding human supervision to autonomous systems will decrease safety and become unnecessary. He also believes that adversarial attacks can be defended against, and that the current deep learning approaches are making great progress towards achieving artificial general intelligence. Musk envisions a future where autonomous cars will be the norm and human driving will seem risky and outdated.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Elon Musk believes that autonomy in cars is unavoidable and that any car without autonomous capabilities will become obsolete.

  • Tesla's display system provides a health check on the car's perception of reality by rendering information from various sensors onto a display for the driver to confirm.

  • Musk is confident that Tesla's Autopilot system will continue to improve exponentially, making driving safer and more convenient.

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