How Uber’s machine learning algorithms show the future of personalization

“Here comes our robot driver!” my friend excitedly shouted as our Uber pulled up. On a recent trip home to Pittsburgh, we had been lucky enough to get picked up by one of Uber’s self-driving cars. Of course, there…

“Here comes our robot driver!” my friend excitedly shouted as our Uber pulled up. On a recent trip home to Pittsburgh, we had been lucky enough to get picked up by one of Uber’s self-driving cars. Of course, there...

Why ecommerce carousels are like pizza restaurants

We’ve all been in that meeting. Each merchandiser is pushing to promote their own product, especially when they are sitting on stock. “Let’s put the orange trousers on the homepage” says one, “we must promote the new season product…

We’ve all been in that meeting. Each merchandiser is pushing to promote their own product, especially when they are sitting on stock. “Let’s put the orange trousers on the homepage” says one, “we must promote the new season product”...

Reevaluating A/B Testing as a Strategy: Beyond Segments

This is the second post in my blog series about busting myths of a/b testing and segmentation strategy. In my first post I talked about how change is normal, and what it means for test results that are premised…

This is the second post in my blog series about busting myths of a/b testing and segmentation strategy. In my first post I talked about how change is normal, and what it means for test results that are premised...

Unifying customer experiences: Am I a different person when I’m in a store versus online?

I’m a person, singular. I should have one persona.  Brands should treat me like a single person, not a collection of profiles depending on where they’re interacting with me.  In the past, unifying customer profiles across…

I’m a person, singular. I should have one persona.  Brands should treat me like a single person, not a collection of profiles depending on where they’re interacting with me.  In the past, unifying customer profiles across channels was a...

Reevaluating A/B Testing as a Strategy: Change is Normal

This is the first in a series of blog posts I’m writing to bust some myths that exist about a/b testing as a strategy. The first of these posts addresses the hypothesis that test results are absolute. Ummm, no. Actually, …

This is the first in a series of blog posts I'm writing to bust some myths that exist about a/b testing as a strategy. The first of these posts addresses the hypothesis that test results are absolute. Ummm, no. Actually, unexpected...

How infant twins crushed a fantasy football team

“Looks like a healthy set of twins!” I’ll never forget hearing the doctor tell my wife and I that we were expecting not one, but two babies! It was at this moment that I realized my entire world was…

“Looks like a healthy set of twins!" I’ll never forget hearing the doctor tell my wife and I that we were expecting not one, but two babies! It was at this moment that I realized my entire world was...

There’s a shift happening in ecommerce and it’s for the better

Ecommerce is on the verge of a paradigm shift. For the better part of the last decade brands have focused their efforts to create a site experience that is pretty good for everyone. Some brands have even tried to…

Ecommerce is on the verge of a paradigm shift. For the better part of the last decade brands have focused their efforts to create a site experience that is pretty good for everyone. Some brands have even tried to...

Tesla counterpoint: “40% reduction in crashes” with introduction of Autosteer

I posted yesterday about the challenges of fully autonomous cars and cars that approach autonomy. Today I bring you a story about the successes of semi-automatic features in automobiles. Tesla has a feature called Autopilot that assists the driver without being completely autonomous. Autopilot includes car-controlled actions such as collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, and … Continue reading Tesla counterpoint: “40% reduction in crashes” with introduction of Autosteer

I posted yesterday about the challenges of fully autonomous cars and cars that approach autonomy. Today I bring you a story about the successes of semi-automatic features in automobiles.

Tesla has a feature called Autopilot that assists the driver without being completely autonomous. Autopilot includes car-controlled actions such as collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, and automatic lane keeping. Tesla classifies the Autopilot features as Level 2 automation. (Level 5 is considered fully autonomous). Rich has already given our thoughts about calling this Autopilot in a previous post. One particular feature is called AutoSteer, described in the NHTSA report as:

The Tesla Autosteer system uses information from the forward-looking camera, the radar sensor, and the ultrasonic sensors, to detect lane markings and the presence of vehicles and objects to provide automated lane-centering steering control based on the lane markings and the vehicle directly in front of the Tesla, if present. The Tesla owner’s manual contains the following warnings: 1) “Autosteer is intended for use only on highways and limited-access roads with a fully attentive driver. When using Autosteer, hold the steering wheel and be mindful of road conditions and surrounding traffic. Do not use Autosteer on city streets, in construction zones, or in areas where bicyclists or pedestrians may be present. Never depend on Autosteer to determine an appropriate driving path. Always be prepared to take immediate action. Failure to follow these instructions could cause serious property damage, injury or death;” and 2) “Many unforeseen circumstances can impair the operation of Autosteer. Always keep this in mind and remember that as a result, Autosteer may not steer Model S appropriately. Always drive attentively and be prepared to take immediate action.” The system does not prevent operation on any road types.

An NHTSA report looking into a fatal Tesla crash also noted that the introduction of Autosteer corresponded to a 40% reduction in automobile crashes. That’s a lot considering Dr. Gill Pratt from Toyota said he might be happy with a 1% change.

Autopilot was enabled in October, 2015, so there has been a good period of time for post-autopilot crash data to be generated.

The Future of Ecommerce is Looking Bright with AI

Editor’s note: This post was initially published in early 2017. It was updated to in August 2018 to include new information.  As Monetate looks ahead, there’s one thing that seems to be a recurring topic around the ecommerce….

Editor's note: This post was initially published in early 2017. It was updated to in August 2018 to include new information.  As Monetate looks ahead, there’s one thing that seems to be a recurring topic around the ecommerce...

Toyota Gets It: Self-driving cars depend more on people than on engineering

I recommend reading this interview with Toyota’s Dr. Gill Pratt in its entirety. He discusses pont-by-point the challenges of a self-driving car that we consider in human factors, but don’t hear much about in the media. For example: Definitions of autonomy vary. True autonomy is far away. He gives the example of a car performing … Continue reading Toyota Gets It: Self-driving cars depend more on people than on engineering

I recommend reading this interview with Toyota’s Dr. Gill Pratt in its entirety. He discusses pont-by-point the challenges of a self-driving car that we consider in human factors, but don’t hear much about in the media. For example:

  • Definitions of autonomy vary. True autonomy is far away. He gives the example of a car performing well on an interstate or in light traffic compared to driving through the center of Rome during rush hour.
  • Automation will fail. And the less it fails, the less prepared the driver is to assume control.
  • Emotionally we cannot accept autonomous cars that kill people, even if it reduces overall crash rates and saves lives in the long run.
  • It is difficult to run simulations with the autonomous cars that capture the extreme variability of the human drivers in other cars.

I’ll leave you with the last paragraph in the interview as a summary:

So to sum this thing up, I think there’s a general desire from the technical people in this field to have both the press and particularly the public better educated about what’s really going on. It’s very easy to get misunderstandings based on words like or phrases like “full autonomy.” What does full actually mean? This actually matters a lot: The idea that only the chauffeur mode of autonomy, where the car drives for you, that that’s the only way to make the car safer and to save lives, that’s just false. And it’s important to not say, “We want to save lives therefore we have to have driverless cars.” In particular, there are tremendous numbers of ways to support a human driver and to give them a kind of blunder prevention device which sits there, inactive most of the time, and every once in a while, will first warn and then, if necessary, intervene and take control. The system doesn’t need to be competent at everything all of the time. It needs to only handle the worst cases.