The Head of CMU’s Robotics Lab, NREC, Says Self-Driving Cars Are ‘Not Even Close’

Herman Herman: The objectives of companies like Uber, and our objectives as a university, are different. Uber as a company has to worry about its valuation. I think part of the reason that they released the news about these autonomous taxis is marketing. Technically, I’m not sure if it’s ready. They still have to have engineers in the car. So, for technical reasons, it’s not there. But for non-technical reasons, they decided that it’s a good idea to start talking about it.

At CMU, our focus is technical work. Would things have gone better if there was cooperation between CMU and Uber? I’m not sure. I think that we are good at doing what we do, and Uber has to do what it thinks it has to do from a technical and non-technical perspective. Having a partnership that’s forced just because someone thinks it’s a good idea might actually be worse anyway.