Bill Gates is a self-proclaimed “car man,” but he says he’s ready to hand over control to machines and predicts that day will come “sooner or later.” The Microsoft billionaire said he took an AV for a test drive to showcase new technology and is almost halfway to a future of fully automated vehicles in all conditions.
“I drove through downtown London in one of the most difficult driving environments imaginable,” Gates said in a blog post this week. increase. The video sounds optimistic about the future of AV.
His car was built by Wayve, a British start-up working with Microsoft on AV capabilities. Gates’ “test drive” was accompanied by his CEO and co-founder of Wayve, Safety and his driver Alex Kendall.
Several auto companies have been working on self-driving cars in recent years, including General Motors and Google parent company Alphabet. GM’s Cruise, which operates its own autonomous taxi-hailing service in San Francisco, recently asked the California government for permission to test its AVs statewide. While Tesla’s cars are not yet ready for full self-driving, they have long given drivers the option to use “Autopilot” features to assist with steering and braking.
“We have made great strides in the last few years when it comes to autonomous vehicles (AVs),” Gates said. Think about how much time you’re wasting driving, instead you can catch up on emails, read a good book, or watch a new episode of your favorite show, all of which are Fully self-driving cars are possible.”
The billionaire also has high hopes for what AV could mean in terms of reducing social inequalities if the technology is successfully deployed in the future. Gates believes AVs will become cheaper over time, improving transportation access for the elderly and disabled. And since most of his AVs in development are also electric, he says AVs will also help fight the climate crisis.
But Gates acknowledges that AVs have a long way to go, perhaps decades, before they become mainstream. But even after that, he believes passenger cars will be the last category to go on his AV route (Gates predicts trucks will be first).
A future filled with self-driving cars means that we no longer need all the infrastructure to support self-driving cars, but Gates said it would be “probably decades” before such a transformation occurs. said it would.
Other concerns surrounding AVs have arisen in recent years as more such vehicles are deployed on the road. Earlier this year, Tesla vehicles with experimental “fully self-driving” software were recalled for their tendency to cause crashes. Tesla’s Autopilot and “fully self-driving” are being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in past car accidents. There is also concern, and in some cases confusion, that AV companies no longer require safety drivers to guide vehicles in difficult road conditions.
“Even if the technology were perfected, it might not be comfortable to be in a steering wheel-less car at first. But I believe the benefits will convince them,” Gates wrote in his blog. .
Gates is a strong believer in artificial intelligence and related futuristic technologies, recently declaring that “the age of AI has arrived.” He said his ChatGPT, OpenAI’s chatbot tool, was released last year to great fanfare, but he believes it is revolutionary and has the potential to bring about far-reaching changes in healthcare and education. rice field.
“The whole industry will pivot around it. Companies will be able to differentiate themselves by how well they can use AI,” Gates wrote about AI in a blog post earlier this month. .