Hyundai has decided to push the boundaries of autonomy with its new Machine Learning-based Smart Cruise Control technology. Just when you think self-driving cars aren’t personable enough for you, now that autonomous vehicles will learn how to drive just like you!
The technology—referred to as SCC-ML—blends artificial intelligence with Hyundai’s Advanced Driver Assistance feature to create a car that can decode your driving style while you’re behind the wheel and then implement it when you go autonomous. Basically, the machine learning enables the car to read your driving patterns and then replicate them. Here’s more from the press release:
Hyundai Motor Group’s independently developed SCC-ML operates as follows: First, sensors, such as the front camera and radar, constantly acquire driving information and send it to the centralized computer. The computer then extracts relevant details from the gathered information to identify the driver’s patterns. An artificial intelligence technology called machine learning algorithm is applied during this process.
The driving pattern can be categorized into three parts: distance from preceding vehicles, acceleration (how quickly it accelerates), and responsiveness (how quickly it responds to driving conditions). In addition, driving conditions and speeds are considered as well.
Suffice to say, those metrics are nowhere near perfect. As Hyundai notes, the technology is not yet capable of working with a ton of variability. Some drivers accelerate faster in certain environments than in others—something that the AI software can’t yet discern. Drivers using SCC-ML could obviously sense those differences, which made many people uncomfortable.
That, honestly, is something drivers could likely get used to. It’s a little like swapping a PC for a Mac and trying to figure out why the buttons you used to push don’t do the same things anymore. It’s all a matter of adapting along with the technology.
But machine-learned driving isn’t necessarily comforting when you consider how many really shitty drivers there are out there. The last thing anyone needs is chronic tailgaters teaching their car how to drive like an asshole. Here’s hoping that Hyundai has figured out how to, uh, sanitize some of the worst offenders’ bad habits.
There’s also a very big question to consider here: how can human variability be considered an improvement on cruise control technologies designed to reduce that human variability? The whole purpose of cruise control is to travel at a constant speed in order to avoid speeding and preserve gas. SCC-ML seems like a good intermediary step as self-driving cars share the road with unpredictable human drivers... but I’ll admit, it does seem strange.
While there aren’t any specific models named, Hyundai plans to implement SCC-ML in future vehicles.