Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Videos of Uber self-driving car accident

It's been released for some days already but just in case anyone have not seen it yet, the youtube link is one of many which contains the video footage released by the police from both the dashcam and the internal cam of the Volvo that was used by Uber's self-driving car test program which hit and killed a pedestrian.

Over the days since the release of the video, I have read quite a few articles and there have been many comments made by people on their personal opinions on the incident. Here, I will NOT put out any of my own opinions but instead will just offer a couple of observations to remind readers of the unique/unusual perspectives of this incident.

1. The most common comment I have read has consistently been how dark the road is and how the pedestrian could not be seen until the last minute. Some have even made comments about her crossing illegally. Almost all universally admitted that they themselves would not have stopped in time because visibility was so bad and the pedestrian was only seen right at the last couple of seconds.

Point : The road -is- indeed very dark. However, it is also one way. And there was virtually no traffic ahead. Under the circumstances, many people, certainly car-nuts will be having their -HIGH BEAM- on. A properly aligned high-beam would illuminate way ahead of the car in such a situation, improving forward visibility tremendously.  At the minimum, if available (and most car nuts would have them), lower front fog-lights will definitely on which would illuminate the surface of the road for a great distance ahead. 

Why the Uber Volvo was still driving with low beams is probably something to be explained by the Uber team themselves but perhaps it might be related to the 2nd point below.

2. Most comments are from the perspective of the human driver, and is based on human sight and reaction times. I.e. people admits because it came so sudden and so quickly, they too wouldn't have been able to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

Point : The thing is the Uber Volvo is not relying solely on visible light for its operation. A check with Uber's website showed plenty of comments about its use of LIDAR as one of many sensors. LIDAR is based on laser in an invisibile spectrum of light. Additionally because the laser is not visible to the human eye, could it likely be angled higher and now so low as a normal car headlight in low-beam mode ? That would have a greater 'front visibility' for the car's driving computer. 

Additionally, a car in the Volvo's market segment would usually also be equipped with numerous other latest safety technology, in particular Collision Mitigation technology and many manufacturers are even putting out pedestrian avoidance type technology. As the video commentators noted, one of the biggest issue authorities have is why the Uber Volvo showed no signs of stopping or even slowing down at all. It's as if the self-driving front sensors totally did not detect the pedestrian which of course be a most worrisome thing.

Keeping at least these two points in mind (definitely there are more to consider but we only cover these two here) would likely be useful to understand the angle and logic from where the final judgement from the authorities are made when they become available.

The youtube video below is from ABC (a US TV network). The anchor image above is also taken from the ABC online website.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Honda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. today announced the results of an outstanding year in 2017. The Company recorded total sales of 109,511 units, the highest in the history of Honda Malaysia since it was established in 2003. This is also the first time that Honda Malaysia achieved sales of more than 100,000 units. This sales figure is also the highest that a Non-National brand has ever achieved in Malaysia.

The Central region contributed the highest percentage of sales at 47%, followed by Southern region and Northern region. The overall sales for 2017 increased by 19% compared to the 91,830 units recorded in year 2016.

Commenting on the outstanding year that Honda experienced, Honda Malaysia Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Toichi Ishiyama said, “The year 2017 truly was remarkable for Honda Malaysia. At the beginning of 2017, we challenged ourselves with a sales target of 100,000 units and in March 2017, we achieved a historical milestone with the 600,000th unit (CKD) production within the span of 14 years since Honda Malaysia started in 2003. At the end of 2017, based on internal data our market share was at 19%, an increase of 3.2 points from 2016. For the first time ever, we surpassed the 100,000 units sales achievement within a calendar year. We continue to maintain our No. 1 position for Non-National segment and No. 2 position in overall TIV of the automotive industry.”

“On behalf of Honda Malaysia, I would like to extend our sincerest appreciation and thankfulness to all Honda Malaysia customers for their faith and belief in our brand and for making Honda their vehicle of choice. This achievement would not have been possible without our valued customers as well as strong support from our business partners and the Malaysian government,” added Mr. Ishiyama.

Having reviewed an outstanding 2017, Honda Malaysia is all geared up to make 2018 another successful year with many exciting products and services in the pipeline.