Artificial intelligence: not there yet

Doesn’t this assume there’s a complete, accurate, and accessible database of all speed limits, for everywhere? Does that exist?

No. Just a way of updating one or multiple database…or allow them to access your data. There are so many ways to do this. One is just a repository that the GPS companies can pull from. Another is just feeding xml files…Another is give limited access to their database to pull data from. It does make it easier if the data is in a very specific format…but not necessary.

My question is more the source than the method - where does all this info come from? 10,000 different municipalities?

I would think the individual state DOTs should be able to provide it. I know for major roadwork in PA, approval to do so has to go through PENNDOT (outside of an emergency situation such as a blown water main), and the permits would include any necessary speed reduction, so this information would be able to be updated in the database as well.

So how much are folks willing to pay a month for these updates?
Your Car Is About To Be a Software Platform, Subscriptions and All - Bloomberg

Here’s a quote if you can’t get to it:

Most major automakers are fleshing out a strategy for selling upgrades via over-the-air software updates and a rash of them will start popping up in the wild in the next few months, starting with luxury vehicles. “If you don’t have digital experiences, you are not on the radar screen,” Kjell Gruner, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, recently told Bloomberg. “You’re irrelevant.”

Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes all confirmed that these options will appear on flagship vehicles soon, though nearly all of them said, via e-mail, that it was too early to discuss details. It’s “part of a global BMW strategy,” said spokesman Phil DiAnni. “When and how the concept gets rolled out in individual markets, and to what extent, is still to be determined.”

General Motors is all-in as well. On Friday, some 900,000 of its vehicles in the wild got an over-the-air version of Maps+, an app-based navigation tool. Similar software pushes are in the works for the company’s Super Cruise autonomous driving function. Underpinning it all is a massive electrical hardware update launched at the end of 2019. Dubbed the Vehicle Intelligence Platform, the system can process 4.5 terabytes of data per hour, a five-fold increase over its predecessor.

There’s a mostly-complete and mostly-accurate database, certainly. If you ever navigate somewhere using your Android phone, it’ll display the speed limit of whatever road you’re on. I’ve found it to be largely accurate except for very recent speed limit changes, and those usually get corrected fairly quickly. It’s not, however, complete as some roads do not have a speed limit in that database. Many residential streets, which are usually speed-limited by general ordinance (i.e., the city says “if there isn’t a speed limit somewhere then the speed limit is 30”) and not individually signed, don’t display a speed limit in Google.

In many states each town has to get permission from the state to change speed limit.

And that’s why I use Google Maps on my iphone with Apple Car Play. Don’t have to worry about upgrades.

Who will pay for the updated speed limit data? Is the state or local government obliged to pay for it, or do the GPS app folks pay? We take whatever it is Apple Maps gives us for GPS. The speed limit is almost always correct if it’s displayed.

The fundamental problem with AI is that it learns from mistakes and successes and there is no way to determine what the process was. So as long as the possibility of a new mistake or a new success exists, AI will never be there.

Even if it did, it’s likely the GPS data would be closer than a poorly read sign. Given a choice between the Maps app on my phone and my legally blind sister-in-law, I know which one I’d trust to tell me the speed limit.

To be fair, humans make plenty of mistakes too but we still think of ourselves as “intelligent” and–at least potentially–learn from our mistakes. An even more fundamental problem is the proverbial “nut behind the wheel.” AI is only as “smart” as whoever wrote the initial program.

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Where you getting that crap from? The programmers know EXACTLY what the process is. They also know exactly how to measure it and adjust it.

You will, by selling your location data to the map service in exchange for “free” mapping services. They’ll then use that in conjunction with many other peoples’ location data, and other data they know about you to determine trend information that they can sell to interested parties.

For instance if they discover that a whole lot of people who play real-time-strategy video games tend to drive past a given street corner, that’s useful information for a game company to have; They now know that’s a good place to put a billboard for their upcoming strategic video game.

Note that this isn’t an automatic individual privacy concern - Google can just tell the game company “300 strategy gamers drive past this location per day on average.” They don’t need to give out your name.

Our old garmin has free lifetime map updates. Probably 15 years old but still works. Speed limits are displayed on the screen. Our 2 cars do not offer that option to update GPS. The garminwill sow when you are over the speed limit, turns red.

Having ridden in friends vehicles with various visual and/or verbal map services I find them quite distracting and annoying.

I do make use of looking up routing information before driving somewhere, if necessary. And looking up the street view of a destination ahead of time is also often useful.

But in 46 years driving, including multiple long trips back and forth such I’ve been coast to coast, up to Canada, and almost down to the southern border, I managed quite well with old-fashioned maps, atlas, and road signs for years. Only in recent years have I had a smart phone with GPS and internet access to look up mapping and directions that way.

If while driving somewhere I need to double check driving directions I pull over somewhere safe to read the screen. I can’t watch traffic while driving and look at a screen at the same time. I’ve tried the voice function giving directions but really find it distracting and rarely use it.

There seems to be a lot of Humans with Artificial Intelligence instead of the real thing.


Similarly, “common sense” seems to be not very common at this point in our existence.


A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to try a Mexican restaurant we hadn’t visited before. We had the address but I still managed to miss it. My wife got out her phone and started the Maps app. As we got closer, I realized the place was in a strip mall we’d passed, but she looked at the graphic on her phone and concluded it was in the industrial park behind the strip mall. Common sense told me we weren’t going to find a Mexican restaurant in an industrial park but I went along to satisfy her. Sure enough, no restaurant. I turned around, went back the way we came, and pulled into the strip mall, and there it was.

Until my daughter bought her new car, she would put her smartphone sideways on top of the steering wheel, resting on the dashboard. Reading the map was as easy as looking at the speedometer.

And that has absolutely NOTHING to do with AI…and has EVERYTHING to do with a human not inputting the data correctly.

If you used that logic to find a restaurant then you’d never be able to find “No Names Seafood” in Boston. Not where you’d expect at all.

I believe it underscores the point that making AI to rely on a dataset to be 100% correct in making some critical decisions may lead us to bad outcomes.

The topic of speed limit readings (and misreadings) by the AI was kicked for 70+ messages in this thread, and so far the only suggestion I see here is “make it GPS-aware and use the speed posted in the mapping data”.

Fine, what about situations when GPS simply does not work, which rare, but happens?
The map data set quality is also a very big question here, even with all the “crowd-sourcing” tricks to be played.
What about the road condition which required urgent placement of a reduce speed limit sign?
Are we to expect that AI-savvy cars will still zip on the original 70 MPH next to the crash site where police decided to install “10 MPH and use caution” temporary sign?
Do we expect police banging on their computers inputting the GIS data updates or pulling victims out of the wreck?