Rivian Eventual L3 and Data Gathering

ajdelange

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It will be interesting to see if this strategy starts to change.
I think it already has to some extent. OTA updates are a step in that direction and I think the new FSD computer can be retrofitted into some of the older Teslas.

From a consumer perspective, it's not quite such a big deal to spend $500 every year to get the latest smart phone tech (yeah, right, remember back when smart phones were only $500...). When you're talking about $50k-$100k vehicles people expect them to last 10+ years and often aren't willing to spend big bucks just to upgrade.
I guess it all comes down to how the purchaser "amortizes" the vehicle. I remember when the hot tech of the day was digital cameras and in particular I remembered the pro's casually tossing a $7,000 camera every year in order to get another 30% pixels. They felt the better quality more than offset any losses they took and the IRS would have had to allow pretty steep depreciation for something that closely tied to galloping tech. But as a "prosumer" I thought differently and did not replace the cameras nearly so frequently. It's going to be the same with the cars. My 2018 X is already "obsolete". It has 50 miles less range than the new X but I live with it having, I suppose, gotten used to being the "poor kid on the block" as my father would not buy the current years model every year as some of the neighbors did. In those days, of course, planned obsolescence, if mostly through the appearance, of the cars was a major part of the automaker's strategy.

But with battery and AD technology evolving so rapidly, these expensive vehicles are either going to become essentially disposable and lose resale value far too quickly for the comfort of most... or manufacturers are going to have to start designing with future upgrades in mind. Yes, that brings engineering challenges.
If AD means autopilot I can't agree that this technology is evolving fast. In fact I think it is coming up on the limits of what it can ultimately be. In the year since I have been driving a Tesla I have really seem no substantial improvement. Yes it is true that Tesla has added new features in that time frame but I don't use most of them because they don't work most of the time and I'm a bit afraid of them. I do use the basic autopilot features that came with the car in December 2018. They are useful. I know there will be no Level 5 in my lifetime and I'm very skeptical as to whether there will be Level 5 in the lifetimes of you younger chaps. This is why I will be perfectly content with Rivian's plan to start us out with L2. When L3 comes along a year from now if it works better than Tesla's i'll use it.

So where I see the big improvements in tech is batteries and algorithms and hardware for managing them and thus in range. I was drawn to the Rivian primarily by the 400 mile range which represented a leapfrog with respect to what Tesla had when the Rivians were revealed.


Musk keeps talking about the depreciation of ICE vehicles relative to BEV but I'm curious how he rationalizes his claims given that tomorrow's tech always obsoletes today's tech and the tech cycles are getting increasingly shorter relative to an automobile's overall development cycle.
I think what he, and most analysts, have in mind is that once the day comes when the consumer perceives that the BEV is cheaper to own and operate than the equivalent ICE vehicle the ICE technology is toast with about as much appeal as the horse drawn carriage and prices will plummet. We don't know when that day will be exactly but we know with certainty that it won't be further out that 15 years in the UK. Sales of ICE vehicles are already declining though I think it is a little early to attribute that to the rise of BEV.

By the time the economics favor BEVs I think batteries will have improved to the point that ranges of 500 miles or more will be commonplace and I don't think batteries will be a major consideration in deciding whether your vehicle is obsolete or not. The emphasis may then return to the self driving features but I really don't think that there will have been that much improvement in self driving by then. I suppose it will then be as it is now with smart phones. The manufacturers are really reaching to make this years model more attractive than last year's.
 

Pherdnut

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I think we'll see autonomous solved legally and technically, certainly on highways, within 10 years.

Tesla is way over-promising if their cars can be tricked by projections on the road though. The car should kill auto the second sonar disagrees with visual. Not sure Elon's dislike of LIDAR stems more from practicality or cost but I think I would like non-visual feedback as close to instant as possible if it were my problem to solve and Rivian appears to agree.

The data gathering is hugely important. I write code for a living and this is way too many scenarios and variables for even a well-funded team to hope to anticipate and sort out on a test course. It wouldn't be feasible without data science and machine learning.

I think the approach that's going to fail or at least become the least desirable is mapping. How are you going to stay current for Chicago streets during mass construction during an election year? Even if every car in your brand updated maps for you, you'd constantly have to switch to manual in any major city.

The cars will have to respond to environments in real-time for it to work IMO.
 
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