​Google hires former head of Tesla’s Autopilot team

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Poaches Key Staffer From Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).

The keen eyes at 9to5google noticed an update to Robert Rose’s LinkedIn profile. Recently Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and chairman of SolarCity, used Twitter to reach out to software engineers to ramp up Tesla’s Autopilot software team. “Should mention that I will be interviewing people personally and Autopilot reports directly to me.Google, a tech giant with its own self driving car project, has hired Robert Rose, the engineer who led the development of Tesla Model S autopilot software update.Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) continues to feel the effects of tech giants with big financial muscle ramping up their efforts on the driverless car spectacle.

Multiple news organizations reported Monday that Rose has worked for six months at Tesla Motors Corporation as the lead engineer of the Autopilot program. Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is the latest tech giant to poach one of its key staff as the search giant moves to advance its driverless car technology.

So why snatch up someone with experience in creating perhaps one of the most robust semi-autonomous driving systems to date if you’re not planning to build and market a car? And it’s a super high priority for a lot of executives in other companies too—in the legacy automobile makers, such as Audi, BMW and GM; those who are attacking the market from the side, such as Google and Uber; as well as tech and automobile companies that are joining hands, like Microsoft and Volvo. Imagine if Toyota offered an autonomous car but all it made was the physical stuff like the powertrain, seats and steering wheel, but the brains of the thing were Google powered.

Rose’s LinkedIn profile page says he left Tesla Motors after the release of the update 7.0 in October, and today, he’s working at Google’s “Robotics” division. He clearly knows how to take a human-driven car and essentially convert it into a semi-autonomous car, like Tesla did with the 7.0 software update for the Model S. The project’s official website says it has self-driven more than 1 million miles already, in addition to 3 million miles of testing per day in Google’s simulation laboratories. “The urgency is so large,” Urmson said during his TED Talks in March. “In the time I have given this talk today, 34 people have died on America’s roads,” he added. Apart from addressing driver-linked accidents on roads, analysts say the self-driving car project would also improve Google’s (or Alphabet Inc.) overall advertising revenue by serving web on moving cars. In an interview with Nvidia last March, Tesla’s chief Elon Musk said the switch from cars today to self driving “cars of the future” won’t happen “overnight” but he believes that at this rate, the transition might happen in the next 20 years.

Self-driving cars are yet to learn the hundreds of signals human beings—car drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, motor bikers—send, receive and interpret that make driving both safe and accepted. As Fumihiko Ike, chairman of Honda, told ‘The Japan Times’ recently: “Human intelligence has no equal for working out what is happening on the road, so I think fundamentally it won’t be easy to leave it to the machine except in very restricted conditions such as motorways or specific routes.” It’s worth remembering that in technology, advances happen in small steps and it might seem like nothing is happening before we find ourselves in a different world. Soon after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, there were reports of how terrorists might have used encryption—easy and cheap to access these days—to communicate. Now, attention has turned to cryptocurrencies. ‘Reuters’ reported that European Union countries plan to go after virtual currencies and anonymous payments made online to curb the flow of funds to terrorist organizations. They can be transacted anonymously; they are not restricted by national borders—a bitcoin is as valid in Europe as it is in America; they can be transferred as immediately as cash; and of course they are low-cost and easy to use.

Ghost Security Group, an antiterrorism hacker group, says ISIS does have bitcoins, and that most of its funds come from “traditional” sources—oil sales, kidnapping, extortion. What it does highlight, however, is that there is always a trade-off between comfort that a new technology would bring to millions and the security issues it will open up because it will provide the same comforts to those with bad intentions. “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it, and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success.” So said physicist J.

He was quoted in a long ‘New Yorker’ profile of Nick Bostrom, author of ‘Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies’, and the Oxford professor who runs the Future of Humanity Institute. Matthew Lai, a master’ student at Imperial College London, recently created an AI machine that has taught itself to play chess at the International Master level.

An AI program developed by Japan’s National Institute of Informatics has passed a college entrance exam, scoring above national average, but not high enough for its top institute, the University of Tokyo. These words from its website could well be out of science fiction: “We’re using artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to store data of conversational styles, behavioural patterns, thought processes and information about how your body functions from the inside-out.

Using cloning technology, we will restore the brain as it matures.” Realistically speaking, what are the chances that AI will turn out to be all that its fans and critics say it would be? ‘The New Yorker’ profile quotes a survey by Richard Sutton, a Canadian computer scientist: “There is a ten-per-cent chance that A.I. will never be achieved, but a twenty-five-per-cent chance that it will arrive by 2030. The median response in Bostrom’s poll gives a fifty-fifty chance that human-level A.I. would be attained by 2050.” For many of us, within our lifetimes, that is.

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