Dan O'Dowd is the CEO of Green Hills Software. He recently placed a full page ad in the New York Times protesting the poor quality of Tesla FSD, and has started a project to get the world to secure all critical systems, including cars, using his techniques. He makes the bold claim that only he knows how to make software truly secure and bug free, and warns the world it had better listen. He knows that's an extreme claim, but also says he has proof if the secure systems he has designed for aircraft, fighter jets and the FBI. And he's got the money to make a stir.
It may seem minor that Waymo is going to start charging for robotaxi rides. But this starts the process of learning real facts about robotaxi economics and what a ride will cost, and how that changes the world.
Read the Forbes.com story at Waymo can charge for rides, so it gets interesting
In shock like most of us, I am trying to play out the various options for Ukraine and the west. None are good. What others can you suggest?
Ukraine quickly surrenders, Putin installs puppet government. Much repression, modest insurrection, if that, as in Crimea.
West wimps out: Russia walks away with success, looks for next target. Extreme sanctions: Russia toughs it out, or Russia capitulates, restoring a battered Ukraine. Or Russia goes nuclear.
Most sports are for the athlete, and should be. Some gain an audience, and bend to it to some degree. Perhaps the pinnacle of spectator sport is the Olympics. The are an international stage. While the medals are highly coveted by the athletes, almost all sports have their own world championships and other tournaments which are mostly for the athletes and a more limited cadre of serious spectators. The Olympics are about showing the world, as well as a bit too much national pride.
Every time I compare Tesla with other contenders, people will say things to the effect of "they don't count, they use maps so they can only drive in tiny regions" because they think that's a bug rather than a feature.
Maps are super useful, and a car that can try to drive without a map is a car that can make a map, and so maps scale just fine and help you drive more roads, rather than fewer.
So I made a video outlining the virtues of maps, why they are cheap, and why it's OK if construction changes the road after you map it.
There isn't usually too much learned from these reports, but we can compare year to year, so here are some things learned this time:
The feds (NHTSA) are forcing Tesla to do a recall (software update, really) to disable the ability for the FSD prototype to do rolling stops at empty intersections. That turns out to be a surprising bold exercise of regulatory power, and probably a terrible idea, no matter how bad Tesla is. (Almost.) Full details in a new column on the situation, but there's a ton of nuance to this.
A frequent lament is that the design of the US constitution has created a system where voters are highly unequal. Most of all this is seen in the Senate, where the nearly 40 million residents in California have 2 seats in the Senate, and so do 550,000 in Wyoming. Indeed, if you take the 20 smallest states, they have fewer people together than California and get 40 seats in the Senate compared to the two. That same fact also means a smaller but real bias in the electoral college, with the smaller states having a bit more say in how the
It doesn't get as much coverage as others, but MobilEye has amassed an impressive portfolio of components to give them a shot at the robotaxi and robocar world (one of the few with a shot at both.)
Today I release both a new article with my analysis of their strategy and components, and also a video I made of an interview with Amnon Shashua, the founder and CEO of MobilEye, which is now a unit of Intel but will be spun out soon as a public company again.
Last week saw Optimus Ride get sold for acqui-hire, and Local Motors shutting its doors. There are reasons why self-driving shuttles aren't that interesting right now, but that's going to change, and small van-sized vehicles are probably the future of group transportation.
Read why in my Forbes site story at Two self-driving shuttle companies die in a week, but there's good news
You've seen Wordle, the game sweeping the web. I built a tool to examine all the choices and pick the best starting word, and then help you pick your 2nd word after you get the result.
Well, I finally got to try Tesla FSD, and it was a big disappointment. From a robocar developer's viewpoint, it sucks and I give it an F.
I made a video review and a text one. The text one contains the review part of the video and lots more information. The video has the 3.5 mile sample ride around Apple HQ, full of mistakes.
Read the text review on Forbes.com at I get and review Tesla FSD -- and give it an F
Airlines have removed change fees on many flights, a trend started by the pandemic. Everybody has wished to get more flexibility in airline ticket pricing and changing, though airlines want to squeeze out every dollar that every passenger can afford. The new trends in flexible work may allow an option to please both sides with tickets that allow the airline to change when you fly to fill seats in exchange for a lower price and easier changes.
I wrote before about the accursed "beep beep" that big machines make when they back up -- and even a few cars. There is an answer to it, and that answer has just come out of patent. So what can we do to ban the beep and make safer systems that don't destroy the peace and quiet of the air?
Read about that in this Forbes.com story at We cam finally do away with the accursed beep-beep
In a short period we saw 3 at-fault accidents involving robocars (with one being purely the fault of the safety driver) and we're going to see more. We're going to have to learn how to deal with them, to tell the difference between serious error that says a team has deployed too early, and the accidents that will happen with miles because perfection is not a possible goal.
The overwhelming of the vote of the World Science Fiction Society to send the 2023 convention to China created controversy and not for the first time. They had a similar problem with the Hugo award nomination process which is even easier to overwhelm with a much smaller concerted group. They solved this problem by making the nomination rules much more complex, with an algorithm to attempt to de-rank candidates that appear in "slates" on many ballots.