Get me outta here!

Autonomous Vehicles – On the road to a Standardization : 5 Questions

In view of the recent developments, the Automated Vehicle Symposium 2016 and the SAE On-Road Automated Vehicle standards work is more relevant. The Connected Car meetup is organizing a meeting with the standards committee; of course, I plan to attend the meetup.

As I was contemplating, extending my experience from OASIS, W3C, IETF and EU FP6 STFs, thought of a few questions that would be good to get clarified. I will try to get answers on Monday, and if you have any, pl add to the comments.

P.S: I will post notes from the meetup next week.

1. Software Telematics

  • One of the important aspects of standardization is the ability to look inside a system declaratively, i.e. one doesn’t have to know “how” a system implements “stuff” but the “what” should be inspected, understood, analyzed, verified and debated (if necessary); the software equivalent of the CAN bus

Question 1 : Will the SAE define the essential semantics of the software pins – a basic curated schema with capabilities for extensibility?

Thinking more, this probably is a bigger effort that what is evident at a first glance, as we have to define the software model before we can define the telematics.

2. Verification of behavior by Induction vs deduction

  • We can either say that a system works because it has worked for the last 130,000 miles (deduction) or strive to prove the correctness of a system by analysis(induction). The proverbial deduction vs induction.

Question 2 : Will the standards effort address the mechanics of behavior verification ?

3. Definitions

  • Of course, definitions are the essential and fundamental ingredients of standardization. And definitions what a system is NOT is equally or more important.
  • As we are seeing in the media, defining AI and autonomous behavior are way more difficult and subject to multiple interpretations. For example, in the autonomous world, we can define AI like so.

  • Probably we are not looking for a humanoid, but we still need intelligent interactivity with the environment which includes pedestrians, drivers, intelligent infrastructure and other vehicles. We also need the Robots Rules of Order.

Question 3 : How deep does the committee plan to define the concepts & components ?

4. Simulation

  • Simulation is another interesting topic that we need to address. Companies do claim 100s of thousands of miles of virtual driving, but in order to characterize, compare and contrast, the simulation frameworks need to be equalized.

Question 4 : Does the committee plan to specify the essentials of simulation ?

  • Probably, a broader framework, with some of the software pins, would be a good start

5. MHI – Machine to Human Interface

  • The machine to human interactions are also another essential aspect.
  • When we drive a different car, e.g. a rental car, we don’t need to study new interfaces or vocabulary. What we know about brakes, accelerator, R and D positions – all are valid.
  • A similar set of ontologies and taxonomies are required for autonomous driving. To make a point, compare the driving controls with the rest of the controls eg infotainment systems, climate controls;  sometimes it takes a lot of effort to understand the infotainment systems that we are not familiar with.  That is OK for connecting iTunes via USB to a car, but not OK for autonomous driving.

Question 5 : Does the committee plan to standardize the interfaces – not just the control but also the metadata ?

What are your thoughts ? Do you have more questions ?

P.S: We haven’t addressed a host of related domains like v2v protocols, v2I protocols(vehicle-to-intelligent infrastructure), security mechanisms, embedding behaviors and extending to the world of drones !

5 Lessons on AI from the Tesla Autopilot Fatality

Unfortunately it takes extreme repercussions for us to feel in our bones, the limitations of our technologies.

Three points :

  1. I have included relevant links about this incident at the end of the blog. Informative read
  2. One of my parent died in an automobile accident; so I do know, first hand, the human toll – I do not take this lightly; in fact the reverse is true
  3. And the views expressed in my writing are my own and do not reflect any organization I am part of … now or in the future …


Lesson 1 : Our machines inherit our faults (so far …)

As I pointed out in one of my AI blogs:



Lesson 2 : Many domains are not forgiving to byzantine failures

We are learning that painful lesson whether they are rockets, airplanes or cars. Even though we freak out of snapchat is down for an hour, we can survive that, but not these. The drivers need to understand the downside of technologies and be alert.

Lesson 3 : Mission Critical Systems should have redundancy, over coverage & independency

For example multiple sensor sources & probably independent situational interpretation. I saw the following from somewhere where the Japanese Ministry talks about “correcting the wrong train of thoughts”:

Lesson 4 : Swarm Intelligence

Lesson 5 : This might lead to some level of Standardization & Legalization

  • Standardization of components & protocols
  • Legislation/Standardization of algorithms or semantic behaviors incl image recognition, policies and pragmas …
  • Even driver education and certification to dive autonomous vehicles !



  7. Tesla’s Response to fortune’s Article


Robot’s Rules of Order

As a designer of AI & autonomous behaviors, this week was pretty interesting:

Both are must read & discuss for the AI community. The abstracted 8 rules are :

This could beg the question, what exactly is an AI ? Let me make an attempt from an autonomous vehicle (cars, drones et al) perspective, which might not be complete or sufficient for other situations ….

What says thee ?

Yann LeCun @deeplearningcdf Collège de France

I am spending this weekend with Yann LeCun (virtually, of course) studying the excellent video Lectures and slides at the College de France. A set of 8 lectures by Yann LeCun (BTW pronounced as LuCaan) and 6 guest lectures. The translator does an excellent job – especially as it involves technical terms and concepts !

(I will post a few essential slides for each video …)

Inaugural Reading – Deep Learning: a Revolution in Artificial Intelligence


My favorite slide – of course !!! And the DGX-1 !!

Missing Pieces of AI – interesting …

The reasoning, attention,episodic memory and  a rational behavior based on a value system are my focus for autonomous vehicles (cars & drones!)

Convnets are everywhere !

Probably the most important slides of the entire talk – the future of AI.

Parse it couple of times, it is loaded with things that we should pay attention to …

Can AI beat hardwired bad behaviors ?


I agree here, here, here and here – we don’t want AI to imitate us, but take us to higher levels !

Stay tuned for rest of the video summaries …..

@GoldenStateWarriors Basketball IQ & Robotic Sense – Lessons to be learned



In the eve of the probable final NBA game of the season, and with the Green suspension, it is interesting to note the skill that the team has. Interestingly the agility, domain IQ and the team spirit are equally applicable in business as well !

I came across 4 insightful blogs that tell the story of a talented, multi-faceted team that can snatch victory from seemingly impossible situations … I had written about the GoldenStateWarriors last year, it time now to write again !!!

[Update after Game 7 – at the end of the blog]

Zach Love has the right insights in “The Warriors are more than a bunch of jump shooters

  • There is a jagged, robotic quality to that brand of defense… there is a liquid quality to their defense.
  • They are like one of those college marching bands whose members combine to form massive images that move so convincingly, you almost forget for a second that the giant video game character on the football field is actually composed of hundreds of people

That is not some random accident of team construction. The Warriors sought smart players who felt the game instinctually, and had a history of playing hard for their teammates … they deserve credit for chasing high-IQ guys who play for the right reasons

  • I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team communicate and shift around the floor so seamlessly. The Warriors swap assignments on the fly without even a millisecond of finger-pointing confusion that might open scoring windows – An agile team, at it’s best !
  • They quite literally move together, as one entity. On most teams, one guy rotates, everyone pauses to observe the new geometry of the floor, and then one guy realizes, holy crap, it’s my job to move now!

Ben Gollliver at Sports Illustrated “LeBron James, Cavs squander chance to even Finals in late-game collapse

  • In hindsight, Cleveland’s late-game struggles mimicked Oklahoma City’s in Game 6 of the West finals to the point of eeriness. … Both times, the Warriors dug out of fourth-quarter holes, on the road, by stopping superstar scorers in their tracks.

@MikePradaSBN writes “The Warriors are daring LeBron James to beat them, and he can’t

  • LeBron James is still one of the league’s very best players
  • Last year, the Warriors unveiled a unique strategy to defeat James. They correctly identified James’ court vision as his most dominant skill and elected to shut that off while living with the consequences.

@MattMooreCBS writes “NBA Finals: This one Warriors play likely ended the Cavaliers’ season

  • In an NBA game, there’s not always a defining moment. Sometimes it’s just all the possessions together making a mosaic for whatever team winds up with more points. Sometimes, though, there are plays, often subtle ones, that offer a window into so much more — microcosms, really, of a much bigger story, one that under the right circumstances can wind up shifting championship fortunes, and thus, legacies. …

One team was faster, smarter, hungrier, sharper, and in the end, they hit the shot. The other team was hesitant, out of position, and too late to do anything about it

What shall it be, we will see tomorrow ….!

I am a big fan of LeBron James, but I love them Warriors more … ;o) 

[Update 6/19/16 10:00 PM]

Two more good articles – both good read and insightful observations … :

  1. Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports writes “Mission accomplished: LeBron transforms Cleveland into a winner
  2. @rodger_sherman SB Nation “Never doubt LeBron James again

Room With A View to the Thames

Copy of my post in Linkedin


View From My Room

London has changed a lot since I visited last ! Interesting constructions – at least this part of the town.

Am at the Aloft London Excel, ready for our tutorial at the StrataHadoop London “Building machine-learning apps with Spark“. I will be talking aboutApache Spark/GraphX along with my esteemed colleagues Jayant & Vartika.

Got a good room with a view to the Thames !

Took the Norwegian flight OAK-GTW. This is a good alternative to London. Am also flying by Norwegian to Gothenberg.

The OAK-GTW fight was a 787-8 ! Good plane – I really like the window – a lot bigger … and it has the hi-tech ElectroChromatic Dimming System (or Sun Glasses as they are colloquially called ! ) that replaces the window shutter – you can always see the outside.

Judging Lego Robotics @FirstLegoLeague World Competition-2016

P.S : Copy of my blog in Linkedin

As usual, was fortunate enough to be a Robot Design Judge at the FLL Robotics World Festival this year. I have been judging FLL Robotics for more than a decade and plan to do so in the future. Also been building 5000+piece Lego sets !

Here is a summary from ~ 150 pictures, visiting and talking with teams from all around the world – Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, Far East and Of course the Americas.

If you are involved with an FLL team next year (anywhere in the world) and need my help, ping me – would be happy to share insights. Have some thoughts for potential teams at the end of this blog.




The FLL events were at the Edward Jones Stadium and the America’s Center














Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers

%d bloggers like this: