Bill Gates in a self-driving Wayve car in London, 2023

Microsoft co-founder blogs about his self-driving trip around London with Wayve CEO Alex Kendall

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Bill Gates enjoys a surreal self-driving ride around London, 2023

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has posted a great blog about the “surreal” experience of being driven around London in a self-driving car with a safety driver.

“I give you credit for picking one of the most difficult situations I’ve seen,” he tells Wayve CEO Alex Kendall in this video:

Bill Gates in a Wayve self-driving car in London

Bill Gates self-driving blog

In his Gates Notes blog “The rules of the road are about to change”, he offers further thoughts, with this graphic explaining the SAE levels:

Bill Gates posted this graphic on the SAE self-driving levels 1-5
Bill Gates posted this graphic on the SAE self-driving levels 1-5

“Right now, we’re close to the tipping point—between levels 2 and 3—when cars are becoming available that allow the driver to take their hands off the wheel and let the system drive in certain circumstances,” he says.

“The first level 3 car was recently approved for use in the United States, although only in very specific conditions: Autonomous mode is permitted if you’re going under 40 mph on a highway in Nevada on a sunny day.

“Over the next decade, we’ll start to see more vehicles crossing this threshold. AVs are rapidly reaching the point where almost all of the technology required has been invented.

“As AVs become more common, we’re going to have to rethink many of the systems we’ve created to support driving. Car insurance is a great example.

“Governments will have to create new laws and regulations. Roads might even have to change. Will AVs eventually become so popular that you have to use the “human drivers only” lane if you want to be behind the wheel?”

On the Wayve test, he said: “The car drove us around downtown London, which is one of the most challenging driving environments imaginable, and it was a bit surreal to be in the car as it dodged all the traffic. (Since the car is still in development, we had a safety driver in the car just in case, and she assumed control several times.)”

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Author: Neil Kennett

Neil is MD of Featurebank Ltd. He launched in 2019.