Chris Urmson at TED2015 How a driverless car sees the road

TED Talk Discussion: How A Driverless Car Sees the Road

Statistically, the least reliable part of the car is … the driver. In 2015, Chris Urmson was head of Google’s driverless car program, one of several efforts to remove humans from the driver’s seat. He shares fascinating footage that shows how the car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.


Chris Urmson at TED2015
How a driverless car sees the road

Useful Vocabulary

Unbelievable
Substantially
Incremental
Assistance systems
Convinced
Intersection
Anticipate
Respond
Crosswalk
Steering
Transformative

Comprehension Questions

  1. Who invented the automobile and in what year?
  2. How many people killed on the world’s road each year?
  3. How many minutes are wasted in commuting each year in the US?
  4. The better the technology gets, the less _____________ the driver is going to get. So by just making the cars __________________ smarter, we’re probably not going to see the wins we really ___________.
  5. True or false. A person driving a car will tend to make a mistake that will lead to an accident about once every 100,000 miles.
  6. True or false. The driverless car system encountered a woman on a bicycle chasing a duck while in Mountain View.
  7. True or false. The driverless cars are driven for 3 million miles each week.
  8. Now, I just fire-hosed you with a lot of stuff there, so I’m going to _________ one of these down pretty quickly. So what we’re looking at is the _____________ with the cyclist again, and you might notice in the bottom, we can’t actually see the cyclist yet, but the car can: it’s that little blue box up there, and that comes from the ____________ data.
  9. How soon can we bring it out? Well, it’s hard to say because it’s a really _________________ problem, but these are my two boys. My oldest son is 11, and that means in four and a half years, he’s going to be able to get his driver’s ____________. My team and I are committed to making sure that ___________ happen.

Comprehension Answers

  1. Karl Benz in 1885.
  2. 1.2 million.
  3. 6 billion minutes.
  4. reliable, incrementally, need.
  5. True.
  6. False. It was a woman in an electric wheelchair that was chasing the duck.
  7. False. The cars drive 3 million miles in simulators each day.
  8. break, scene, laser
  9. complicated, license, doesn’t.

Group Discussion

  • Will having driverless cars encourage people to do more reckless things while not driving.
  • If a driverless car becomes involved in a car accident, who is to blame?
  • Will the automation of cars, trucks, trains, ships, and planes lead to mass unemployment?
  • Will cities need to be redesigned so that driverless cars can be driven faster and tighter together?
  • Will everyone be able to afford such a car?
  • What would happen to the layout and structure of cities as a result fo driverless cars? Will they get bigger? Would people live further awat from the center?

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