Andrew Ng on Self-Driving Cars

Andrew Ng is a computer science professor at Google, the Chief Scientist at Baidu Research, and, most importantly, he re-taught me Machine Learning recently.

Last Friday, on Quora, he answered the question, “When will self-driving cars be on roads?”

Here’s an excerpt from his response:

I hope we’ll have a large number of vehicles on roads within 3 years, and be mass producing them in 5.


Machine learning is good at getting your performance from 90% accuracy to maybe 99.9%, but it’s never been good at getting us from 99.9% to 99.9999%. I think it is more promising to start with a different goal: A shuttle/bus that can only drive one bus route or just in a small region. If we can make sure that route’s road surface and lane markings are well maintained, that there’s no construction, etc. then we’re within striking distance of making that truly safe. This then lets us slowly add routes and gradually grow the regions in which we can drive safety. This is the approach we’re taking at Baidu; I hope other groups will also adopt this approach.

Read the whole thing. It’s very short, but anything from Andrew Ng is insightful.

Originally published at on February 3, 2016.

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