brad's blog

MIT/IEEE-Published Study Falsely Imagines Computing In Robocars Will Emit Lots Of Carbon. Relax, It’s Unlikely

An annoying paper argues that self-driving cars will use huge amounts of compute and thus have a giant carbon footprint. The boring way that it's wrong is that the compute load will not grow as they suggest.

The more interesting way that it's wrong is that self-driving EVs will draw most of their power from no-emission generation sources like solar and nuclear, even if they do use a lot of power.

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I Get Back In A Waymo To Ride In San Francisco With A Top Waymo Developer And It’s Good (+Video)

I recently took a ride in a fully autonomous Waymo vehicle in San Francisco. It was my first ride in many years — I had been a member of the early team while it was part of Google. My guide on the ride was Andrew Chatham, whom I had worked with back then. He is now a Distinguished Engineer, managing fleet logistics and many other things, and reporting directly to Waymo’s co-CEO.

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New "Autonomap" maps self-driving services around the world

I have started building a map of all the autonomous services deployed carrying passengers or cargo. The services must be available to the public and out in public or semi-public spaces.

Turns out there are a lot. Contributions are welcome.

More details and info on contributing can be found at the map page

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Teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts (Critical Thinking) to all students

Probably not the teacher, or even somebody impersonating him, but the right idea.

I believe a new course should be added to the curriculum for teens. It would be a course on critical thinking skills, covering all the ways people will try to fool you and tricks of the human mind, to arm students against these traps.

California Law Tries To Force Tesla To Rename ‘FSD’ Product But It May Not Work

California recently passed a law that is obviously aimed at forcing Tesla to stop using the name “Full Self-Driving” to describe the expensive software add-on they sell for their cars which does not, at this time, provide self driving, full or otherwise. The ostensible reason for this is to avoid customer confusion and the potential danger that could come from people thinking they have a self-driving car when they don’t.

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Meet Gatik, Which May Be The Leader In Self-Driving Trucks By Attacking The Middle Mile

Many companies are working on self-driving trucks and delivery. As it became clear that robotaxi required a very large investment, teams looked for a more tractable problem. Most have gone after long-haul trucking on the interstate, but one leader has quietly gone after the “middle mile” while others go after long-haul and last-mile.

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Elon Musk Gets Booed On Stage In SF - How Much Is That Hurting Tesla Stock?

Musk himself was surprised to see how controversial he had become when he got a lot of booing on stage with Dave Chappelle in San Francisco last night.

Musk has always been somebody who refused to give a crap what other people think, because he can afford it. But now that his personal brand is so tied to the success of both Tesla and Twitter, he has to deal with the fact that personal brand is largely what other people think.

Analysis of this problem, and how it affects the success and stock price of Tesla, is in this new article on the Forbes site:

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Tesla adding Radar, Apple Scales Back, Tesla Semi, Baidu expansion & Swiss power emergency

Here's a digest of some of my recent postings on Forbes.com

Tesla may add radar back

A filing suggests Tesla may be putting a radar back in their cars, but this time a high resolution radar, which is a bit like the LIDAR they swore was a crutch. It would be a good idea.

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Does it make sense to have off-grid solar in parking lots to charge cars?

Generally it doesn't make sense (and isn't that green) to have off-grid solar compared to grid-tied solar. However, a new company sells a self-contained solar EV charging station for parking lots which they claim is cheaper than on-grid, because you can just get it delivered in one day with no permits, planning, wiring or construction.

It's true that all those factors are now the biggest element of charging and solar installations.

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What happens if self-driving cars don't arrive this decade?

As a companion to yesterday's article about why the death of self-driving has been exaggerated here is an article asking what happens if the doomsayers are right, if people can't pull off a usable robcar and robotaxi for a decade more more.

There are lots of easier, more tractable opportunities out there, and I list a number of them.

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Reports Of The Death Of Self-Driving Cars Are Greatly Exaggerated

This past month, especially with the shutdown of Argo.AI, have seen a number of declarations of the death of robocars. Thank to markets and expected consolidation, there definitely is a rough patch, but here's the argument that the field is hardly pining for the fjords and some things are going gangbusters, and not a decade or more away.

Read it on Forbes at Reports Of The Death Of Self-Driving Cars Are Greatly Exaggerated

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What makes a cryptocoin (or any currency) valuable?

Why is a Bitcoin valuable? While almost all concede that shared faith -- or what I would term "Brand" -- is a major component of all currencies, there has been much debate over whether there are more intrinsic values that can keep the currency or token valuable, or get multiplied by brand to even higher value.

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