Aptiv’s fleet of driverless cars becoming more “human-like”
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Aptiv’s fleet of driverless cars becoming more “human-like”

Aptiv, the company that’s driving the auto-industry into the future, focussing on trends like automation, connectivity, and electrification, has a fleet of 75 autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas (30 of which are operated in conjunction with ride-hailing firm Lyft). And, according reports from Vegas, they’re beginning to behave in a more “human-like” manner on the road.

Aptiv’s share price has already risen by 15% year to date

graph 16 aptiv

Source: Yahoo Finance

At the moment, Aptiv’s self-driving cars still contain a driver (although he or she doesn’t actually drive unless something goes wrong) and an engineer. That’s a safety precaution, because “you can’t predict every situation,” according to Aptiv’s managing director Abe Ghabra. Ghabra says the company “always err[s] on the side of safety,” and notes that Aptiv’s fleet “could probably be driverless tomorrow but we want to make sure it’s completely safety tested and validated by an engineering standpoint.”

The reason Ghabra has such confidence in Aptiv’s autonomous vehicles is he can see how they’re evolving in real-time conditions on Las Vegas roads. Speaking about how the vehicles are becoming more “human-like”, he said: “we had a jay walker jump in the middle of the road and the car slowed down like any responsible human driver would, waited for the pedestrian to clear the road and then it proceeded.” The key to this type of decision making is teaching the artificial intelligence (AI) that powers the cars to become better at predicting human behaviour – something Aptiv’s been focussing on since the fleet’s debut in Vegas.

And, in a reassuring statistic, while Aptiv’s fleet has been involved in one or two accidents, exactly 0% is the fault of the self-driving vehicles. Ghabra explains: “we’ve had a couple of fender benders where somebody else either hit our car or hit another car and it was very minor because they weren’t paying attention.”

Disclosure

Dominion holds Aptiv in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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