Hit enter to search or ESC to close

How Hollywood imagines the next phase of self-driving cars

Whenever I tell my co-host Bryan Salesky that we should pivot to science fiction film reviews, he says he’s interested in science fact, not fiction. He likes true stories, especially about people overcoming incredible odds. So when I heard that Peter Berg, director of “Friday Night Lights,” “Lone Survivor” and “Patriot’s Day,” had requested a ride in one of Argo’s autonomous test vehicles, I knew Bryan would say yes.

On this very special episode of No Parking, Peter Berg joins Bryan and me to discuss courage, scooter safety, how to raise hundreds of millions for a crazy idea, the Hollywood Blacklist, his boxing gym in West Los Angeles, naval warfare films, the greatest World War II script never made, *and* his first experience in an autonomous vehicle.

“It was quietly thrilling,” said Berg of the cars. “It was a low key thrill. Even though (Bryan) described it as ‘When the vehicle works it’s an extremely boring, underwhelming experience,’ I found it to be pulse-pounding. I felt like I was in an action movie. Every second I was like a little kid asking a billion questions, and fundamentally blown away by how well that car worked. I just thought it was awesome. Really cool.”

Berg said he thinks human driving sets a pretty low bar for autonomous vehicles to surpass, especially our collective proclivity for distracted driving.

“It’s almost a requirement that you’re on your phone,” Berg said of a recent drive in Atlanta. “Texting while driving, cars are weaving all over the freeways, everyone’s on their phones. I certainly think it makes an argument (for autonomous vehicles).”

As a director and screenwriter of big-budget action films, it’s often Berg’s responsibility to find a through-line between fiction and fact—to show the drama and tension of a life-changing choice.

He calls them “bridge moments.”

“We all have these moments where we have a real opportunity,” he said. “We’re moving through a jungle and we come to a canyon. Most people stop, but some people, they can see a bridge. And if you can see that bridge and take it, you can get up and you can go to a whole new level. Very people can see that.”
Director Peter Berg makes movies about real people laying it on the line for something bigger. The 2016 film “Deepwater Horizon” depicts the real-life story of electronics technician Mike Williams and offshore installation manager Jimmy Harrell as they race to prevent one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
(David Lee/Lionsgate)

Choose your lane

How Autonomous Vehicles Distinguish Between Bicycles and People Who Ride Them

How Autonomous Vehicles Distinguish Between Bikes and People

When it comes to how autonomous vehicles see the world, humans come first, literally. Autonomous vehicles (AVs), like the kind operated by Pittsburgh-based Argo AI, use Machine Learning to detect and classify the objects in their surroundings, identifying people...
Why The League of American Bicyclists is optimistic about autonomous vehicles

Why a Leading Cycling Advocacy Group Is Optimistic About Autonomous Vehicles

As autonomous vehicle use grows, AV companies and the League of American Bicyclists are collaborating on how to ensure cyclists and motorists can share the roads safely, even if the “motorist” is artificial intelligence software. As part of the...

Self-Driving Is Arriving Right On Time. Just Like Ice Cream Did

Seven years ago, I was a self-driving skeptic. Not of the technology. Of all the “experts” promising autonomous vehicles would be everywhere by 2020. You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to know that was ridiculous. All you needed was...
Illustration of a futuristic parking deck turned into a mixed-use space, with AVs driving by

How Autonomous Vehicles Could Help Transform Parking Lots

Researchers say it’s likely that autonomous vehicles (AVs) can help reduce the need for parking lots, opening more room for grass and trees and other elements of nature. It may not seem like it when you’re circling the block...
An illustration of an Argo autonomous vehicle in teal against a backdrop of buildings, a bicyclist, and research papers

7 Big Breakthroughs From Argo Research at CVPR 2022

The 2022 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2022) is nearly here. Thousands of computer scientists, software engineers, and researchers from around the globe will gather in New Orleans to review and discuss their latest work in...

Researchers Predict the Future With Lidar Data

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Argo AI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research, a private-public partnership funded by Argo for advancing the autonomous-vehicle (AV) field, say they have come up with a way to use lidar data to visualize not...

Must Reads