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S1 Ep1: Smart Cars & Snap Decisions with Edge Computing

November 01, 2022

Smart cars, self-driving cars, autonomous vehicles…many names, but one thing in common - they need to be intelligent enough to keep us safe. What if we could speed up reaction times and have them ‘talk’ to each other? Well, perhaps they can with 5G and edge computing. Join Lars Klint and industry expert Jillian Kaplan as they dive into the current state of autonomous vehicles, and then discuss what our hands-free future might look like!

The discussion covers:

  • Jillian’s powerful story

  • Moral technicality - the trolley problem

  • Levels of autonomous vehicles & current laws

  • What is edge computing?

  • Private edge vs public edge

  • 5G and public networks

  • Common causes of car crashes

  • What does the future of autonomous vehicles look like?

  • A potential Apple self-driving car?

  • How do we get private companies to work together?

  • Saving lives with autonomous vehicles

  • Jillian’s accident and her passion for the topic

 

Jillian Kaplan works at a large enterprise company where she has global responsibility for ensuring CSPs can monetize their investments in 5G through future Enterprise use cases.

Previous to her current role, Jillian spent 14 years at Verizon. She joined Network Engineering during the launch of FTTP (FiOS) where she managed over a billion dollars in inventory in the Central Offices. While she worked, she received a Technical MBA and upon completion started a new role in Product Management where she managed a B2B SaaS. 

She is a strong believer in ‘Technology for Good’ and works to bring it to the forefront of all messaging. She is an author, speaker and believer in paying it forward helping women in the industry find their voice and share their accomplishments. She currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter and dog. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, spending time with her family, horseback riding, eating and working out.

 

Episode Resources & References

 

If you want to learn more about edge computing, try these:

For more on Jillian, her story and AVs & automation, try these: 

If you enjoy this episode, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.

Please send any questions or comments to [email protected].


I was hit while crossing a crosswalk by a distracted driver. It was about 40 miles an hour, which is pretty fast, and it was broad daylight, perfect conditions, like all the things that any remotely tiny autonomous vehicle would have been able to perform in. And um, I had an emergency brain surgery to save my life.

Um, they had to like piece my pelvis back together. Odds of survival of a crash like I had are about like one in 10 and odds of going back to like life before crash are zero. Like I, I should not be here and I should not be able to communicate and walk and talk and all the things. 

That was Jillian Kaplan and her amazing story.

Now she'll be joining us in this episode to discuss autonomous vehicles and edge computing, a topic she's been passionate about ever since. You might have heard of edge computing before, but we'll discuss exactly what it means, and take a look at how it might have prevented Jillian's accident. We'll also get to hear more from Jillian's story later on.

My name is Lars Klint. This is Technically Possible, a show that investigates future technologies's impact on us humans and our connections in the world. Whether that is good, bad, or just plain weird.

If you're new to the podcast, let me give you a quick run down. In each episode, we discuss an emerging technology and invite an industry expert to help us break down where we are currently at, and more importantly, where this tech could possibly or impossibly take us. All the while keeping it grounded in what exactly that means for us humans, and maybe even some fun along the way.

And to help me to do just that, I'm joined by Jillian Kaplan. Hi, Jillian. 

Hi.

Jillian has managed over a billion dollars in inventory. Received a technical MBA and managed a B2B SaaS. Pretty impressive. Also, a billion. That's a lot. She's a longtime telecom industry veteran. Previous to her current role, she was 14 years at Verizon, Verizon?

Verizon? How do you say it? Is it Verizon? 

Verizon. 

Verizon. Yeah, 

Yeah I thought so. I apologies. That's me not being in the US. . now she's since gone on to various roles in marketing operations, and sales and enablement. Jillian is a strong believer in technology for good and makes it a big part of her everyday work.

She's an author, speaker, and believer in paying it forward, helping women in the industry find their voice and share their accomplishments. She currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog. So welcome, Jillian. 

Thanks for having me. 

So before we get to the meat of the episode, I wanna challenge your moralities.

Now, don't worry, it's just a bit of fun. There's no wrong answers and the points don't matter. Um, , so get you warmed up, get your brainwaves on track and dial in your retro encapulator in a segment we like to call Moral Technicality.

I'm ready. 

All right. Okay. So when talking about autonomous vehicles, the trolley problem often. There's a moral dilemma where you have to program the AV or the autonomous vehicle to go down certain sets of tracks. Hence the trolley acronym or you know, relation depending on the scenario. For example, the AV is driving at speed when a child suddenly runs out in front chasing a ball. Do you program the AV to miss the child, but then potentially has to hit another car or other people? How do you choose? What do you do? 

That's a good one. Um, I would say, miss the child hit another vehicle. I feel like people are more protected in vehicles than they are for sure out in their own right.

Um, what we have to remember about vehicles for me is that they're weapons. Like people don't realize when they get behind a train or a car that literally it's thousands of pound of, of metal, right. And it can really act as a weapon. So that these are, these are gonna get real hard if that's just a warmup, I'll say that.

But, um, I would say miss a pedestrian hit another something car something. Yeah. 

But it, I mean, so obviously we, we come up with these questions or these dilemmas because they're not easy, right? There's no right answer. Because you could take this so far. So you say, Okay, well that's easy if it's a child or a car, but what if it's a child with a balloon or a lady that's pregnant, right?

You, you sort of, how do you go to that? Or, well, what if it's a river or a front yard? Like where, how, when do you start choosing? And there are so many scenarios where you can't account for all scenarios. So how do you do that with AVs? 

Yeah, I mean I think it's a really tough question. Um, and I know we'll probably get into this more later, but like, when we look at AVs versus human error, there's still gonna be crashes with AVs.

Technology's not perfect, but the percentage is so, so, so much lower. Unfortunately, we don't hear about all the lives that are saved because the AV was paying attention when the human wasn't. We only hear about when the AV made a mistake and hit someone or killed someone, which let me be clear, should never happen.

Um, but we will talk probably a little bit more about kind of, I've done a lot of research on how we look at autonomy in other industries like manufacturing and if we apply that same logic to deploying autonomous vehicles, how many crashes could be prevented and how many lives could be saved. 

Oh, yeah. And it's, I think that's always, it's easy to sit there and go, Oh, I wouldn't have let it do that.

Right. It's, it's, you gotta think of everything up ahead. So, yeah, I, I'm with you. We'll talk much more about this in the future of, of AVs, but I'm with you. Like they can only make things better. Yep. All right. So enough of these morals. Where are we currently at with edge computing, autonomous vehicles and their use?

All right, so autonomous vehicles are currently in their infancy. I think that's fair to say. And from what I can gather, there are five levels of autonomous driving. So there's number one, which is called hands off or shared control. That's like your cruise control. Um mm-hmm. that's been around for ages.

Level two is called hands off, which I think is a, it is a bit like the Tesla autopilot, like you're still there, but you can take your hands off and that the car will do most things. Then there's level three, which is eyes off, so maybe that means you could read a book. I'm not sure exactly. Um, level four is mind off.

Again, you don't have to consciously be aware of what the car's doing. And then level five we, I like this term is like steering wheel optional. Like there is no control from the human at all. It is fully automated. Um, so currently, as far as I can tell, please correct me if I'm wrong, Jillian. The highest approval level is level four in Germany, I mean, legally approved, um, as from a country or, or in, you know, legislature.

Highest level of car is a level three sold by Mercedes, but of course it's only legal in Germany to drive it at level three. Um, and it's only one car as far as I know. And then for context, Teslas, which are lot in the news, and a lot of what we hear about are currently a level two slash three, I think, is, 

is that fair?

Yeah. Sort of like an inbetweenie. Yeah. Um, I, I was in one recently that was self-driving with a friend of mine actually. Cause I was like, I gotta, I gotta see this self-driving mechanism. And it was very cool. But to your point, it's not fully automated and if you have your hands off the wheel for too long, it will remind you

mm-hmm. 

to put them back on, even though it's allegedly self-driving, because a lot of people don't realize it's really like, it's level zero through five, right? Like you said, one is like our cruise control and then you know, zero is like nothing. And then it goes all the way up to five. So while level two in Tesla's is like a hybrid level two, three, right?

And it, and it's working today, it's still not safe enough or approved to have complete, complete hands off, right? Cause it will remind you to put your hands back on the wheel. 

But that's 

a legal thing, right? That you have to put your hands on the wheel. 

Yeah. Yeah. 

And, and that's a, that's, well that's gonna be a big moral question as we go up the levels.

Like how much can you do if you are physically behind the wheel, but driving, you know, something that's allegedly a level five and fully autonomous, like yeah. You know, right now in America you can't, most states you can't text and drive, and here in Massachusetts you can't hold your phone and drive.

Right. But sure. Could you hold your phone and drive if you get to a level five? You know, if we get to a level five and have, I don't know. Right. There's another moral dilemma. 

Oh, for sure. I mean, that's why I don't wanna be politician. Those are hard questions to, to answer and does alone legislate with.

Right. So, yeah. Um, now this, this episode is about edge computing as well as on auto autonomous vehicles. So how does edge computing fit into this whole scenario of AVs? Like, where are we at today? How does that look currently? 

Sure. Edge computing is basically just where your data is processed at the edge, which means, you know, people like 'Where's the edge?'

It's like this big mythical question. The edge is where things are happening, right? Is it far edge? Is it near edge? Is it this edge? Now we're talking about edge cloud, right? But it's basically getting your data to process in real time, like at the source of where it's happening. So there is basically like an edge compute

in the Teslas, like all the, the, the networking and all of the data processing and all, it's sur basically like all cameras and it's real time processing. Mm-hmm. that's happening around the Tesla. I wanna say, if you have a Tesla, you can only get it repaired by like a certified Tesla shop. You can't, like a Tesla dealership, you can't go anywhere else because of the amount of compute that's actually in the vehicle.

Oh, wow. Right. Yeah. If we look at like Edge Compute today and where it is, especially as it relates to AV, nothing is connected to a public network. It's all like this private edge network built into the car. And that works today because there's not that many level two, three cars on the road. Sure. So they can easily kind of detect where things are and how to move around. But the question becomes, once we deploy more autonomous vehicles and move up the stack right up to a level four, five, do you need that public network that's making sure that the to cars actually talked to one another instead of just reacting to each other in like a private

edge compute essentially within the vehicle. Mm-hmm. So edge is where the data is processed, right? So for autonomous vehicles, it's within the vehicle right now. There's edge compute and manufacturing facilities. It's like basically how you get real-time data instead of having to send stuff to a cloud and then have it come back down and, and have to have those milliseconds of processing time that you just can't afford to have if you're gonna crash into something.

Right? 

Absolutely. And I think, I think that's, that's sort of puts it in perspective, right? If you're about to have a crash, you don't want some server somewhere else going. 'Yeah. Lemme, hang on, let me just figure that one out for you.' Right. You want it to go? No I wanna do it now. Right. So, okay. So edge computing, if I, you know, sort of put it into terms of the non edge computing person is a computer that's very close to what I need, where needed to be for the calculation.

So it could be anywhere. Yep. Like it's not just in cars. It could be an edge computing for a big farm, for example. Like they have to, instantly based on sunshine, maybe close some shutters or something. I dunno, that's probably not a good example, but you know, it could 

be anywhere. 

And they're often all weather, right?

Like they're very, they, they don't have to be like protected by a data center, so you can deploy them in like the Arctic and, you know, the desert and you know, the rain, right? They have to be able to withstand elements in order to survive because they're not sitting in a protected data center that's, you know, where the, the compute is at the source when data's needed.

Absolutely. And, and survived disconnections as well, I'd imagine. Yeah. Especially when we talk about cast, they don't, they don't stand still. Right. They're, they're gonna be places where there're always no connection, so, 

Yeah. And they get rained on and they get it, it's hot and it gets cold. Right. So they have to, it has to be a hardy system.

A lot of, you know, when we talk about like edge servers and stuff, they need to, they've gotta be really ruggedized. 

Yeah. Right. So, can I have an edge server today as a consumer? Is that a thing? 

Like you wanna buy one for your house? 

Yeah, say I want to, I mean, I kind of do cuz I've got local processing for my house, but is that, does that count?

Yeah, I mean there are edge servers today. You can buy an Edge server and, and use it wherever you'd like. But yeah, I mean totally. Right. And um, a lot of them are, are NEBS compliant, so that means that the telecoms have certain compliance that they have to meet because you have to remember, like in the telecom space, if their network goes down, people die, right?

Like, yeah, yeah. You can't, you can't call 911, like hospitals go down. Really, really bad things happen if public networks go down. So they've gotta have that sort of level of, of what they call NEBS compliance, which makes sure that it's not gonna happen essentially. Um, whereas like if a manufacturing facility has, you know, some servers go down and they lose like half a day of work, that sucks and they'll lose money.

But they probably aren't gonna kill anyone by doing that. Right. 

No, that's, that's true. Okay. So where does 5G then fits into all this? Because you just mentioned telcos and I know 5G is sort of one of those technologies that people go, Oh, I must have 5g. And then very few people sort of go, Well, I don't actually know why.

Um, where does that fit in with the, like the AV and the edge computing scenario? 

Yeah, so 5G is a really exciting technology that I think has been. It's not been overhyped, but it's been a little bit slower to roll out thanwe thought. I also think that people were like, Oh, as soon as 5G rolls out, every vehicle's gonna be autonomous.

That's not the way things work, right? Like, there's a whole other pieces of compute and connectivity that has to go into the physical vehicles so that, you know, it does it, It's not just like, bam, 5G is here, it all rolls out. So it's, um, it's way, way, way, way faster, lower latency, higher bandwidth, which is extremely important when you talk about autonomous vehicles.

Mm-hmm. Um, so for example, if you're going like 55 miles an hour and you have to make a decision to stop or go say something is moving in 4G speeds, it takes that thing over 10 feet to make a decision to stop or go. If you're in 5G speeds, it takes it less than five feet. And if you really think about that, like physical distance and how many things or people could be within that extra, over five feet distance, that's huge.

And it's not just about like the speed of doing things, it's about that latency in making decisions. Additionally, having a higher bandwidth allows you to physically see things more clearly and be able to make that decision more definitively whether to stop, go, turn, whatever the case may be. So that applies to AV, that applies to like robots in a, some sort of manufacturing facility or retail or warehouse or anything like that.

Being able to make those decisions prevents a lot of crashes, and that's extremely, extremely important when we talk about making sure things are are safe and not killing people the way that us humans do in cars, right? So many people die in auto crashes because of human error. Over 90% of crashes are due to human error, which means that the human did something.

It wasn't like weather related, you know what I mean? The human did something and made a mistake and caused the crash. So when we talk about 5G, like read the text message. Yeah. You've gotta have that low latency. If we, if we end up having, you know, a ton of connected vehicles, having a network like 5G is gonna ensure that they can all talk to each other

in like the, a very, very, like low, low latency, high speed, high bandwidth in order to effectively communicate and prevent these kind of crashes. But we're not there yet. We're, I mean that's, that's what it comes down to. We're still building the compute, the edge compute mm-hmm. in the vehicles and processing the data there cuz there just isn't enough vehicle autonomy

on the road yet, but, but a network like 5G, and honestly, by the time we get there with all these autonomy autonomous vehicles, it might be 6G that's, that's the network at the time. Vehicle autonomy was over promised with a 5G network. That's like my personal right, right opinion that people thought, oh, it was like the thing ever wanted to talk about.

But really a lot of the great use cases for 5G focus on manufacturing and retail and like supply chains and, and oil, gas and mining and energy and all these other areas in which we can really take advantage of that low latency and high speed, but we don't have to like do it at such a large consumer scale where you're 

Yes.

you know, putting so many lives at risk it at once without fully understanding what that means. 

Yeah. What I sort of hung onto there is like, no, we need to talk to the other vehicles. We're not quite there yet. I know we're gonna talk about the future in just a minute, but having that really low latency of communicating to other vehicles is the key.

I think it's like if my car can tell the other car to stop as well, it's gonna halve the distance of stopping, isn't it? Yep. Just to sort of tie it all together, if I bought a car today that had some AV functionality, what could I expect to get? 

Um, You mean like, like if you bought a Tesla today, that was that level two/three.

Yeah. One or the other. I mean, doesn't have to be Tesla, but 

Yeah, let's say Tesla. 

Yeah. Yeah, so, So basically you'll get a car that under perfect conditions, so it's not raining, it's not dark, it's not snowing, can drive itself. Technically without your hands on the wheel though, in America, like I said it, it will tell you to put your hands back on the wheel and it won't.

That's the same in Australia.

That's the same thing.

Okay. Okay. And it has so many cameras on it that it can study everything going on around it. And there are some people who will say, We don't ever need a public network like 5G. We can do it all in these private edge compute networks in the vehicle. But what happens when you're all have edge private compute networks and vehicle A and vehicle B are in lanes one and three, and they both go in, they wanna merge into lane two at the same exact time.

Won't they have to talk to each other? Yeah. Like that's where I'm not buying the, It has to stay in the vehicle forever. And we we're never gonna need a public network like 5G or 6G or whatever future technology. 

No, that makes sense. In Australia in particular, it's anything to do with, say EV, electric vehicles in particular, but, but also AV, it's very much in its infancy.

Um, I find it very exciting. Currently I live in the middle of nowhere, so I can't actually get an EV because I can't charge it where I live. Um, I would have to go somewhere else to charge it cuz the power infrastructure is not quite up to scratch. But having said that, we don't even have a mobile connection.

So there's a lot of those sort of issues, edge cases if you want that, that's gonna rear their head once lots and lots of people start buying vehicles with some AV functionality, I would imagine. 

Yeah, I mean it's, I mean, we have a car, Uh, my car is super old, so it, it, I think it has cruise control, but like, we have a car that will tell you if, you know, you go over the, you don't have your turn signal on, but you go over like the dotted line, Right.

It beeps at you, and I think if you do it three times a little coffee cup comes up on your dashboard. Right? Like they're getting smarter. There's cars that are self-park. But once again, like that's all within the vehicle itself. It's not paying attention to what other vehicles are doing on their built-in networks.

Right. 

So what happens when we get to level five though, Like what is technically possible? 

I mean technically possible is we have everyone sitting in a car, not sitting in a car in the front seat, and cars just driving themselves around where they need to go, connected to their own internal compute, edge compute system, right?

And a public network that makes sure that they're communicating. But the problem is the dilemma there is not everywhere is gonna be able to deploy 5G and 6G and whatever Gs come in the future. Right. So what happens when you leave that zone? Does it say you gotta get back behind the wheel? I don't know.

Like that's, that's where things get like cuz there, there's still some areas in the US that are on 3G. I believe in Europe, they turned off 2G in some places like these, 

they turned off two G here too. 

Yeah, yeah. Okay. Okay. Um, but there's still definitely some places that 3G comes up and there is no way you wanna run an AV on 3G or even 4G.

Right? Um, yeah, but technically possible is everyone has a self-driving vehicle or doesn't have their own vehicle, and you just press a button on your phone and a vehicle shows up and without, you know, just driving itself and, and takes you where you need to go and drops you off and then picks up the next person.

And maybe it saves the world from carbon, you know, emissions and all at the same time is saving us from crashing into each other. Yeah. I don't know, but it's, it's exciting and, and fascinating and an extremely important part of, of what we build in the future in trying to save lives and save the planet like we can.

We can use, I said you said this in the beginning, but like such a strong believer in technology for good. It doesn't have to always be about like product dimensions and like all this, you know, white papery stuff. I think it's really important to show people the good that technology can bring, right? 

Oh, for sure.

I'm with you. I have high hopes for this particular technology, so let's assume that's the easy part. Like we can think about all the good things. I wanna just sort of look at the other side of the, the coin for a little bit. Um, and I'm gonna pick on Apple. I know it's not about picking on Apple show, but in this case I think it makes sense.

So if you look at Apple's product as a company, Apple is very much in favor of controlling the ecosystem. So they want you to be in their ecosystem, and lots of other companies do this, but Apple is a good example of it. So if you buy an iPhone and you have, uh, say a Mac, uh, laptop an an iMac, whatever computer, you can link the two very easily.

You can use iCloud very easily. You can use iTunes, uh, very easily. You can connect to your iPad and all the work really seamlessly together. If you wanted to use to work with anything else, it's almost impossible. Now there has been many speculations and stories and and confirmed reports about Apple making a car, anAV, uh, or at least an EV, but an AV.

How would that work if they're so set on having their own ecosystem where you have to control everything, say from your iPhone, and now we are talking about. How do we put this together with all the other ecosystems that need to talk to each other as well? So your Teslas and your Mercedes and your, uh, Chinese BYD cars or whatever it is that becomes autonomous.

How do we make all those talk to each other if companies won't want to? 

That's gonna, I think, be a government issue, to be honest, right? Like you're gonna have to have certain connectivity and certain things built in to ensure that everyone plays nice and develops an open ecosystem. And that's just the reality of what's gonna have to happen if we're ever gonna connect to a public network and get to a place where, you know, I feel like we could have full autonomy.

I personally don't feel like if every car just had sort of a private network or compute built into it that that would ever get us to full autonomy. But there's gonna have to be some regulation as this stuff rolls out and as more and more AVs get on the road. And I don't know, to your point though, what's the tipping point, right?

How many, what percentage of cars does there have to be on the road that are AV before we have to make sure that they are connected to a public network and that they're somehow talking to each other? 

Yeah, it's, it's a tricky one cuz it not just about a company going, No, our ecosystem is better than yours and we don't want to invite others because we do things better.

It's also about governments going, No, we don't wanna expose, say, you know, I'm gonna pick an America for the minute. You know, we don't wanna expose the American brand data to say Chinese company data. Right. That could be suddenly becomes a geopolitical issue and like we're just trying to make driving safer.

Why are you talking about this? But I can just see it sort of not get outta hand, but it becomes very complex. Sure. To me that's sort of, that's the hard part. Like how do we even get to level five if we're talking about 5G and edge computing because we are gonna have to make them talk to each other as we just agreed before as well.

At the same time, I don't see us not doing it, if that makes sense. 

People are gonna have to play nice in the sandbox, right? Yeah. Like open ecosystems and co-opetition as we call it in the industry. It's really the, the future, like, you know, there's a lot of times that you know, you've gotta cooperate with people that in other instances you might compete with, right?

And so there might be like, Apple can still keep their phones and computers and all that stuff, you know, in their little proprietary box. And, but, but when it comes to, if this affects human lives and keeping people alive and making sure cars are connected in order to do that, they're gonna have to, they're gonna have to play nice in the sandbox.

That's an interesting, I didn't heard they were building a car, 

so that's interesting. 

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I'm an avid reader and I've read a, a couple of stories. I've recently read a book about Apple after Steve Jobs. So it was mainly about Tim Cook, to be honest. Mm-hmm. Very interesting insight. And there was definitely, yeah, they were building a car for, for quite a while.

Um, but it's, you know, being Apple, it has to be perfect cuz their products work so well, they can't afford to have a product that doesn't perform. Does that make sense? Yeah. Yep. Um, so it's, it's probably even harder for them. Um, but yeah, that's, it's an interesting idea and it's, and luckily we have seen companies play nice, right?

If you think of the, is it called the AI Alliance, I think it's called? Where you have Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google.A few other companies that are sorta like, No, we need to figure out AI before it figures out us. Right. So it might be a... 

We have that in telecom, not in AI, but we, we have something called like the open RAN alliance about radio access networks.

Right. Or. Open infrastructure projects, same thing. Like we've all gotta start playing nice together. 

Cos that that make sense. We sort of like go, Okay, well here's the API you have to implement, if you wanna get technical for a minute, you know, here's the, here's the procedures and the protocols that you must offer if you want your car to run in our country under level four or five right? Maybe that's a way to do it. 

Yep. Yep. I mean, you brought up at the beginning of this that there's already like Germany's the only country allowing even level four. Yeah. Right. Like there's already regulation on this 

For sure. 

And that, that legislation has taken into account who is at fault, as far as I know.

Um, now I don't read legislation in general. I don't read German legislation at all. Um, but that's my understanding, right, is that they've actually figured out a large portion of who's to blame. Cuz that's always like, well if you can't blame a machine, you gotta blame a human. So who do you blame kind of thing.

So, so they figured that out, uh, legally. But again, Germany's laws are very different from Australian laws, different from US laws. So we all gotta figure those things out of ourselves. Sure. Um, it's definitely And move in the right direction. 

Yeah. Yeah. But, but yeah, it's interesting like when you're like, well how does this get legislated?

And I'm thinking probably the same way we've been figuring out, like that we allow level two's here, but you still gotta keep your hands on the wheel. Right. And Germany's allowing something. 

Yeah. I'm not sure of the details. 

Something else. 

Yeah. Um, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, so I find yes, we can talk about the goods.

We probably should talk about the good side as well, because I do believe that if we get to even level four, let alone level five, but we will see a dramatic reduction in roadside incidents. I don't have any doubts about it. 

Yeah, I mean a hundred percent and, and you'll hear me, I always refer to them as crashes, not accidents.

Cuz like I said, 90% of the time there's a human that did something wrong that caused it. It wasn't like, oh, black ice or you know, fog or something in the way. And if we look at like how autonomy has affected other industries, it's fascinating. So like for example, if we, this is a US fact, so I'll preface it with that, but if we look at the National Safety Council's facts in 2020, there were 27 robot-related deaths in the workplace.

Mostly manufacturing, right? But there were 45 hun, over 4,500 overall fatalities. That is a human did something wrong and killed themselves or killed someone else. Wow. So that's like a 99.5% reduction in deaths by moving things to autonomy. Now that 27 should be zero, just to be clear. Mm-hmm. What I said earlier in the segment was, you know, we only hear about those 27.

We don't hear about all the lives that were saved because there was a robot making the right decision versus a human not paying attention. And that same thing happens in vehicle autonomy. There's definitely gonna be a reduction in deaths, but it's still gonna be a hard moral thing because the only things that are gonna be reported on is when the vehicle malfunctions and kills or hurts someone.

Not when the human was not paying attention and that's how someone got killed. 

Exactly. Yeah. I'm so, so on board with that. And that's also why we need 5G right? It's, it's part of that whole story is that we need that infrastructure. Um, and it, it will be interesting cuz there's, there's no way I will ever get 5G where I live.

It just won't happen because , you know, there's, there's, there's two people per square kilometer kind of thing, right? It's, there's very sparsely populated. But the Australian cities are some of the most populated in the world and they all have 5G already. There's full 5G coverage pretty much anywhere in the five major capitals.

So it's gonna be an interesting journey. Um, I'm definitely on board whenever we can cuz just one thing is like, can we just stop the tailgating? That would be great. I'll just, I'll just take that , right. Circling back to the, uh, to the moral technicality that we had before. Um, could we solve the trolley problem in the future?

We're probably gonna have to, aren't we? 

Like, make it so it doesn't have to hit anything. 

Well, we don't know it. It might not be an option to not hit anything. 

I mean, the latency could get so low that yeah, I mean, it could, you know, be immediate stops, right? Yeah. Um, there could be a lot of other safety measures in place that prevent things like that from happening.

I do think that we can definitely improve road crashes and and road deaths a hundred percent, especially with the amount of distraction we have on our roads. Like here, distracted driving crashes are way under reported because people aren't gonna admit that they're texting or doing something else.

Of course not. 

Or you know, so, so if we can start to like reduce the amount of distraction. And for pedestrians too, like I see so many people walking in the middle of the road like texting and I'm like, you shouldn't do that either. Like that, just pay attention when you're in the middle of the road. Yeah. Like. 

I call that natural selection. 

I don't know about that, but like seriously though, like pay attention when, when you're walking across the street. Right. That's, that's important too. 

Yeah. I think with technology, you know, being edge computing, 5G, AVs, we have a much better chance of solving the trolley problem or at least mitigating it, right?

Sure. 

So, um, that's sort of why we put that at the start of the episode as well, was to kind of have that in mind because I think it's, we can. So okay. So at the end I'm gonna, I'm gonna ask you ship it or shut it down. Does this technology have legs in the future. I mean, I think we know the answer already.

Yeah. Yes. 

This technology 

like, Yes. 

Yeah. It's, it's, I think it's inevitable and I think we need it as 

a society. 

Yeah, a hundred percent. Um, even companies that are not technology companies have to become technology companies. That's where everything is headed and, and you know, it's, it just the way of the future.

A hundred percent. 

Yeah. And it's, it's the same old thing. It's been like this for hundreds of years. Like, if you don't keep improving, you're gonna fall behind. Right? It's just a human nature. We wanna make things better. You wanna make it more efficient, we wanna make it more stable, et cetera. It's just, Yep.

Part of what we do. That was a very enlightening conversation. Thanks, Jillian. That was very cool. So now we've spoken about the, uh, where we at today and the future of it. So why are you in this space, Jillian? Is there a personal motivation for you to, to talk about this and investigate and learn? 

It's what I do for work.

I figure out like use cases for 5G essentially and, and future network technologies, edge and, um, but personally I'm very invested in the AV space. Six years ago, August 10th, 2016, I was hit while crossing a crosswalk by a distracted driver. It was about 40 miles an hour, which is pretty fast, and it was broad daylight, perfect conditions, like all the things that any remotely tiny autonomous vehicle would have been able to perform in. And um, I had an emergency brain surgery to save my life. Um, they had to like piece my pelvis back together. Odds of survival of a crash like I had are about like one in 10 and odds of going back to like life before crash are zero. Like I, I should not be here and I should notbe able to communicate and walk and talk and all the things.

Um, you know, there was question on if I'd ever walk again, what my brain injuries would be. And I definitely deal with my traumatic brain injury every day. I have a pile of notes next to me all the time cuz I never know what I'm, People are like, Oh, you're so organized. I'm like, no, I just don't remember what the heck I was doing five minutes ago.

So I have to write everything down. Um, but I just play it in my favor. Right? But this space, like being able to do this for work, um, and why I'm so passionate about technology for good and being able to bring in my story about why this is so incredibly important. Cause I've done a ton of research. I actually was part of the team that passed the hands free bill here in Massachusetts.

So I passed the law that says you can no longer hold your cell phone and drive. Um, which was crazy, right? Like testifying in front of the Senate and the house, like something I never thought I would do. 

Wow. Is that just recently? 

Uh, we passed it in November, 2019. But it was a cool experience and I met a lot of really amazing people.

And I keep in touch with, like the trauma surgeon that put me back together. We see each other on a regular basis. She's a local young female, which you don't find a lot of, uh, young female, you know, orthopedic trauma surgeons. You know, and, and it's been, it's been a journey for me to talk about it, and I never, ever want people to feel bad for me, so I always get like a little anxious talking about it.

But I also think it's incredibly important to understand that there's a story as to why like you know, I think autonomous vehicles are so important and for a while, like in the very beginning of when I started this role specifically and we started talking about AV and 5G, I was like, I dunno if I'm supposed to be pro or against AV given my crash.

Like I wasn't sure how I should feel. But as I started to look into the numbers, some of which I shared tonight, I was like, this makes so much sense and can save so many lives. We just have to, to your point, figure out the legislation, figure out how we ensure cars talk to each other. Um, figure out how to get that 27 robot-related deaths down to zero.

Right? Like, because it's so important and it's such a tragedy that we are so terrible at driving. And cell phones and other distractions have made it so much worse. And I'll tell you like, the punishments for like when people ha, like the guy that hit me got like, I don't know nothing. He got like some community service, they didn't even take his license. Right? 

What? 

And they were like, the police were like, Well, you're not dead. And I'm like,

No, thanks to him. Geez. 

Yeah. I shouldn't have to be dead. For you to like, Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Oh wow. No, that's awesome. Thank, thanks you so much for sharing. That's, that's, it's a very powerful story, isn't it? And it's sort of shows, and that's just one story by the way, like I would imagine there are thousands, millions of 'em. Um, yep. So I think on, on that note, thanks for joining us, Jillian. 

Thanks for having me. 

I hope everybody got something out of the, what is technically possible, especially with AVs and and Edge Computing. If you like the episode, consider subscribing to the show. We are available wherever you find good podcasts and also gives us a review which will help others find the show too.

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