Cruise, the autonomous vehicle company, has confirmed that its robotaxis rely on human assistance every 4-5 miles. The company worked with roughly one “remote assistant agent” per every 15-20 driverless vehicles in its fleet before grounding operations last month. The human advisors provide “wayfinding intel” to the robotaxis, but do not drive them remotely, according to a company spokesperson.
The use of human assistance is not uncommon in the development of autonomous vehicles. Many companies use remote operators to monitor and assist their vehicles as they navigate complex environments. However, Cruise’s reliance on human assistance every 4-5 miles is higher than some other companies in the field.
The news of Cruise’s robotaxis needing human assistance comes at a time when there is growing scrutiny of self-driving car technology. In recent months, there have been a number of accidents involving self-driving cars, and some experts have questioned the safety of the technology.
Cruise is not the only self-driving car company that has confirmed that its cars need human assistance. Waymo, another self-driving car company owned by Alphabet, has also said that its cars need human assistance in some cases.
The need for human assistance is a major challenge for self-driving car companies. It means that the companies cannot yet deploy their cars without having human drivers on standby. This makes it difficult for the companies to scale their businesses and to make self-driving cars a reality.
Cruise’s reliance on human assistance every 4-5 miles is a significant aspect of its autonomous vehicle technology. While the use of human advisors is not uncommon in the field, Cruise’s reliance on them is higher than some other companies. As the technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how the role of human advisors changes and how autonomous vehicles become more independent.