We are on a path towards a world of smart autonomous mobility — a world that aims to free us from the manual act of driving, allowing us to make better use of our time as on-board passengers.
However, the growing consensus in 2019 is that it will be much harder to deploy autonomous technology on public roads than once thought. As published in the California DMV’s disengagement reports, autonomous vehicles (AVs) routinely encounter situations they cannot handle on their own, requiring the intervention of safety drivers.
What if we told you that it’s possible to fully realize all the benefits of autonomous mobility, in 2019, without having a safety driver behind the wheel?
The Three Major Benefits of Level 4 Fleets
There are three major benefits to level 4 fleets:
- Increased Safety — According to NHTSA, 3,166 people were killed in the U.S. in 2017 due to distracted driving. Previous research by NHTSA shows that up to 94% of accidents are caused by human error. By taking human drivers off the road, we can effectively take human error and human impatience off the road as well.
- Reduced Costs — Compared to all other cost factors, driver wages are the #1 cost for fleet operators, be they fleets of taxis, busses or trucks. Taking the driver away can make mobility more affordable.
- Improved Accessibility for Under-served Populations — On-demand driverless shuttles might mean a better way of life for the visually impaired, a way for the elderly to keep their independence, and a cheaper, more responsive method of getting to the hospital in times of emergency.
While a driver behind the wheel will ensure safety, she won’t reduce costs or improve accessibility. The best way to unlock all three benefits of level 4 fleets is via Advanced Teleoperation (ATO™), a solution that enables remote human operators to intervene in a safe and secure manner when needed.
Why Advanced Teleoperation (ATO™) Wins Where Direct Teleoperation Fails
In direct teleoperation, a remote operator manually drives the vehicle as though he were in the vehicle itself. However, not being in the vehicle means that direct teleoperation suffers from multiple problems:
- Vehicle blind spots and hampered situational awareness make it impossible to drive as well as an in-vehicle driver.
- The safety of direct teleoperation depends entirely on network conditions. High latency and low bandwidth could make the difference between life and death.
- Human operators can and will make mistakes due to distraction or misjudgment.
In advanced teleoperation, a remote operator provides real-time insight and instructions, which the vehicle translates into specific actions. An example of this system is path choice, in which the vehicle sends all executable paths for the teleoperator to choose from:
Another method is path drawing, in which teleoperators draw out a desirable path for the vehicle to execute. In the rare event that remote driving (via steering wheel and pedals) is necessary, Ottopia’s proprietary and patent-pending Advanced Teleoperator Assistance System, or ATAS™, maximizes safety and security. For example, if a teleoperator misjudges the distance to a nearby obstacle, or when cellular network conditions cause high latency or communication failures, Ottopia’s vehicle-side algorithms ensure zero collisions. We will cover Ottopia’s ATAS™ in future articles.
So how do the benefits of advanced teleoperation compare with the alternatives? Here is our recap:
As we’ve described in previous posts, advanced teleoperation allows for human intervention to happen smoothly and safely. If you’d like to see advanced teleoperation in action, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a demo or chat with one of our team members.