Bill Gates writes about his self-driving experience in downtown London

What does the future of transportation look like? The billionaire gives us a glimpse.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Bill Gates putting an autonomous vehicle to the test in downtown London.
Bill Gates putting an autonomous vehicle to the test in downtown London.

Bill Gates 

In a new blog published on Wednesday, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates described a rather entertaining experience he had with an autonomous vehicle in London, UK. 

“I recently had the opportunity to test drive—or test ride, I guess—a vehicle made by the British company Wayve, which has a fairly novel approach. While a lot of AVs can only navigate on streets that have been loaded into their system, the Wayve vehicle operates more like a person. It can drive anywhere a human can drive,” said Gates in the blog.

He went on to explain how when driving, people rely on the knowledge they have accumulated from every other drive they have ever taken. Wayve, he argued, uses deep learning techniques to do the same thing with an algorithm that learns by example. 

“It applies lessons acquired from lots of real-world driving and simulations to interpret its surroundings and respond in real-time,” the executive noted.

Gates and a safety driver wandered around downtown London, “which is one of the most challenging driving environments imaginable.” But not all was smooth: the driver, it turns out, had to assume control of the vehicle on several occasions.

The future is autonomous

Despite this, Gates noted he had a lot of faith in autonomous vehicles and their many applications. The future of driving, according to Gates, is autonomous.

“AVs will eventually become cheaper than regular vehicles. And if you commute by car like me, just think about how much time you waste driving. You could instead catch up on emails, or read a good book, or watch the new episode of your favorite show—all things that are possible in fully autonomous vehicles,” he said.

“More importantly, AVs will help create more equity for the elderly and people with disabilities by providing them with more transportation options. And they’ll even help us avoid a climate disaster, since the majority in development are also electric vehicles.”

He finished his blog by calling the age of autonomous vehicles an exciting time and expressing a desire to see what the future holds for this type of transportation. Read the blog if you want a first-hand experience of what an autonomous vehicle can do today.

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