Companies continue to race at lightspeed to bring self-driving cars to market, but along the way, the robo cars have had their fair share of incidents.
The latest error occurred in Jerusalem. While Mobileye showed off its latest self-driving car prototype, the vehicle ran a red light during a press demonstration.
Bloomberg reported on the incident on Tuesday and Mobileye has since declared onboard television cameras interfered with the car's own camera system. The self-driving car reportedly identified the red light, but electromagnetic interference cut the signal, and the car crept through the intersection instead.
Mobileye's safety driver let the car move through the intersection, likely as a valuable learning experience.
1/ This is a #Mobileye autonomous car, in a test drive yesterday, failing to stop at red light - and going straight ahead.— חדשות עשר (@news10) May 17, 2018
The company, bought last year by Intel for 15bn dollars, invited @news10 tech correspondent, @TalShorrer, to show him the car's abilities. (cont.) pic.twitter.com/R1FivtKQpr
“It was a very unique situation,” Mobileye Chief Executive Officer Amnon Shashua said, referring to the camera crew. “We’d never anticipated something like this.”
Now, the company plans to modify its hardware to protect it from similar electromagnetic interference and avoid another red light incident. Thankfully, no one was hurt as the self-driving car rolled through the intersection. The prototype car performed swimmingly through the rest of the test.
Mobileye's technology is unique from other companies that use lidar and radar because only a camera sits onboard to guide the vehicle through city streets. The company does plan to eventually add lidar and radar as fail-safe methods after it fully develops the camera-only system.
Intel purchased Mobileye, based in Israel, last year in a $15 billion deal. Since the purchase, numerous automakers have announced plans to use Intel-Mobileye technology in their future self-driving cars. Although numerous companies continue to work on self-driving vehicles, no company has emerged as a definite leader. Google's Waymo, General Motors, and Uber have all forged ahead, though each company has seen their own separate setbacks.
Perhaps most significant is Uber. One of the company's self-driving prototype vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona last March. Uber has since suspended its self-driving car fleet but has said testing could restart within months.