It’s just not practical to program a car to drive itself in every environment, given the nearly infinite range of possible variables involved. But, thanks to AI, we can show it how to drive. And, unlike your teenager, you can then see what it’s paying attention to. With NVIDIA PilotNet, we created a neural-network-based system that learns to steer a car by observing what people do. But we didn’t stop there. We developed a method for the network to tell us what it prioritized when making driving decisions. So while the technology lets us build systems that learn to do things we can’t manually program, we can still explain how the systems make decisions.
“Think about why you recognize a face in a photo, and then try to break that down into a set of specific rules that you can program — you can’t do it,” says Urs Muller, chief architect for self-driving cars at NVIDIA. “The question thus becomes: ‘Do we want to limit our solutions to only the things we can define with rules?’”