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How Self-Driving Cars “See” the World

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How Self-Driving Cars “See” the World

Modern cars bear little resemblance to their early ancestors, but the basic action of steering a vehicle has always remained the same. Whether you’re behind the wheel of a Tesla or a vintage Model T, turning the wheel dictates the direction of movement. This simple premise, which places humans at the center of control, may be ripe for disruption as tech giants and car companies race toward a future that would render human-controlled vehicles obsolete.

How does this next generation of self-driving cars “see” the road? Today’s video from TED-Ed explains one of the mind-bending innovations making autonomous vehicles a reality.

Eye of the Laser

Safely getting a vehicle and its passengers from point A to B is no simple matter.

First, weather and time of day can create a wide variety of challenging situations, affecting things like visibility, braking distances, or speed. Next, other vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians are constantly moving through the transportation network, sometimes in unpredictable ways. To further complicate matters, the road network is rarely in optimum form. Road lines fade and construction can throw ambiguous detours into the mix.

Sensing and analyzing the world at a granular level is crucial in making self-driving cars a viable transportation option. To solve this problem, new generations of autonomous vehicles are using photonic integrated circuits, as well as light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to generate an extremely nuanced picture of the road ahead.

self driving car lidar technology

How self-driving cars see the world. (Source: Hesai)

LiDAR – which is related to RADAR – uses short laser pulses to sense the depth and shape of objects. Essentially, scattered bursts reflect off objects around the vehicle, painting a detailed 3D picture of its surroundings. LiDAR’s depth resolution is so accurate that it could eventually see details at the millimeter scale.

A Dissenting Opinion

While most companies in the autonomous vehicle space have fully embraced LiDAR, Tesla has a divergent point of view. The company employs a combination of GPS, cameras, and other sensors to help its cars visualize the world.

LiDAR is a fool’s errand. Anyone relying on LiDAR is doomed.

– Elon Musk

Society and Self-Driving Cars

While companies like Uber and Waymo determine the functional mechanics of self-driving cars, the rest of society is left to ponder how this new technology will affect employment, privacy, and personal autonomy.

In the U.S., more than 70% of goods are moved by truck, and over 80% of commuters take a private vehicle to work on any given day. Even partial automation of the nation’s transportation network will have wide-sweeping impacts on the economy.

As AI-powered cars and trucks hit the streets at scale, how cars see the road will be a detail most of us will overlook. The bigger question will be whether we are ready for a society where we’re no longer in the driver’s seat.

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Mapped: The Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds in the World

Internet speeds vary depending on your location. Here’s a look at the countries with the fastest—and slowest—internet speeds worldwide.

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Internet Speeds

Mapped: The World’s Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds

How quickly did this page load for you?

The answer depends on the device you’re using, and where in the world you’re located. Average internet speeds vary wildly from country to country.

Which countries have the fastest internet connection? Using data from the Speedtest Global Index™, this map ranks the fastest (and slowest) internet speeds worldwide, comparing both fixed broadband and mobile.

What Factors Affect Internet Speed?

Before diving in, it’s important to understand the key factors that impact a country’s internet speed. Generally speaking, internet speed depends on:

  1. Infrastructure or the type of cabling (copper or fiber-optic) that a country’s utilizing to support their internet service. Typically, the newer the infrastructure, the faster the connection.
  2. Proximity/connection to submarine cables is important, as these massive undersea fiber-optic cables transmit about 97% of the world’s communication data.
  3. The size of a country, since landmass affects how much it costs to upgrade infrastructure. The smaller the country, the cheaper it is to upgrade cabling.
  4. Investment makes a difference, or how much a country’s government prioritizes internet accessibility.

Of course, other factors may influence a country’s internet speed too, such as government regulation and intentional bandwidth throttling, which is the case in countries like Turkmenistan.

Ranked: Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds

The Speedtest Global Index uses data from hundreds of millions of people, in more than 190 countries, to measure both fixed broadband and mobile connections.

When it comes to the fastest fixed broadband, Singapore comes in first place, with a download speed of 262.2 mbps—more than double the global average.

#CountryGlobal Speed (Mbps)
1🇸🇬 Singapore262.2
2🇭🇰 Hong Kong254.4
3🇲🇨 Monaco242.9
4🇨🇭 Switzerland222.0
5🇹🇭 Thailand221.0
6🇷🇴 Romania217.9
7🇰🇷 South Korea216.7
8🇩🇰 Denmark216.13
9🇨🇱 Chile209.8
10🇫🇷 France201.6
11🇭🇺 Hungary201.55
12🇺🇸 United States199
13🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates195.11
14🇱🇮 Liechtenstein194.77
15🇨🇳 China193.15
16🇪🇸 Spain187.36
17🇯🇵 Japan180.35
18🇨🇦 Canada176.46
19🇱🇺 Luxembourg173.16
20🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)170.84
21🇸🇪 Sweden167.29
22🇮🇱 Israel164.24
23🇳🇿 New Zealand164.16
24🇳🇱 Netherlands161.85
25🇳🇴 Norway161.61
26🇹🇼 Taiwan152
27🇵🇱 Poland147.45
28🇵🇹 Portugal145.96
29🇦🇩 Andorra145.18
30🇲🇹 Malta142.07
31🇰🇼 Kuwait141.42
32🇲🇩 Moldova139.61
33🇱🇹 Lithuania135.65
34🇱🇻 Latvia133.91
35🇵🇦 Panama131.35
36🇫🇮 Finland131.02
37🇩🇪 Germany130.76
38🇧🇪 Belgium121.81
39🇮🇪 Ireland117.4
40🇸🇲 San Marino114.24
41🇸🇮 Slovenia111.74
42🇧🇧 Barbados110.25
43🇶🇦 Qatar109.57
44🇧🇷 Brazil108.88
45🇸🇰 Slovakia106.12
46🇲🇾 Malaysia103.28
47🇬🇧 United Kingdom95.79
48🇮🇹 Italy94.3
49🇦🇹 Austria93.77
50🇷🇺 Russia93.37
51🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia91.65
52🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago87.42
53🇨🇿 Czechia86.29
54🇦🇺 Australia85.57
55🇪🇪 Estonia82.82
56🇯🇴 Jordan82.44
57🇷🇸 Serbia80.59
58🇧🇬 Bulgaria79.19
59🇻🇳 Vietnam75.3
60🇧🇭 Bahrain74.21
61🇺🇦 Ukraine73.89
62🇵🇾 Paraguay72.94
63🇵🇭 Philippines72.56
64🇧🇾 Belarus68.84
65🇨🇴 Colombia68.44
66🇴🇲 Oman65.3
67🇬🇾 Guyana63.2
68🇮🇳 India62.45
69🇺🇾 Uruguay61.23
70🇰🇿 Kazakhstan61.05
71🇽🇰 Kosovo60.86
72🇵🇪 Peru57.97
73🇦🇷 Argentina57.49
74🇨🇷 Costa Rica57.27
75🇬🇩 Grenada56.44
76🇧🇸 The Bahamas55.89
77🇭🇷 Croatia55.36
78🇿🇦 South Africa53.6
79🇲🇽 Mexico53.04
80🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines50.8
81🇲🇳 Mongolia50.52
82🇨🇾 Cyprus50.45
83🇬🇭 Ghana49.55
84🇱🇨 Saint Lucia49.5
85🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan47.91
86🇲🇪 Montenegro47.39
87🇱🇦 Laos47.01
88🇲🇬 Madagascar45.98
89🇪🇬 Egypt44.09
90🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina43.1
91🇲🇭 Marshall Islands42.6
92🇦🇱 Albania41.47
93🇧🇿 Belize41.45
94🇺🇿 Uzbekistan40.64
95🇹🇷 Turkey40.58
96🇯🇲 Jamaica40
97🇧🇩 Bangladesh38.98
98🇲🇰 North Macedonia38.84
99🇪🇨 Ecuador37.53
100🇦🇲 Armenia37.21
101🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire35.41
102🇬🇷 Greece35.03
103🇸🇳 Senegal34.68
104🇩🇲 Dominica34.42
105🇧🇳 Brunei33.94
106🇹🇯 Tajikistan33.85
107🇸🇨 Seychelles33.27
108🇮🇶 Iraq33.13
109🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis32.78
110🇩🇴 Dominican Republic31.85
111🇳🇵 Nepal30.49
112🇳🇮 Nicaragua30.26
113🇧🇴 Bolivia27.06
114🇮🇩 Indonesia26.95
115🇬🇪 Georgia26.73
116🇸🇻 El Salvador26.41
117🇲🇦 Morocco26.4
118🇭🇳 Honduras26.17
119🇱🇰 Sri Lanka26.05
120🇰🇭 Cambodia25.82
121🇱🇷 Liberia25.65
122🇱🇸 Lesotho25.59
123🇧🇫 Burkina Faso25.52
124🇦🇿 Azerbaijan25.36
125🇵🇸 Palestine25.02
126🇨🇬 Congo (Brazzaville)24.12
127🇲🇺 Mauritius23.87
128🇪🇭 Western Sahara23.84
129🇬🇹 Guatemala23.82
130🇨🇻 Cape Verde23.78
131🇲🇻 Maldives23.72
132🇻🇪 Venezuela22.33
133🇧🇹 Bhutan21.79
134🇮🇷 Iran21.35
135🇫🇯 Fiji21.28
136🇬🇦 Gabon20.62
137🇹🇬 Togo20.61
138🇲🇱 Mali19.99
139🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar19.78
140🇷🇼 Rwanda18.45
141🇳🇦 Namibia18.16
142🇳🇬 Nigeria18.15
143🇹🇿 Tanzania17.93
144🇩🇯 Djibouti17.75
145🇰🇪 Kenya17.41
146🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda17.11
147🇱🇧 Lebanon16.9
148🇧🇯 Benin16.81
149🇨🇲 Cameroon16.6
150🇫🇲 Micronesia16.56
151🇱🇾 Libya16.53
152🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea16.4
153🇻🇺 Vanuatu15.44
154🇦🇴 Angola15.04
155🇭🇹 Haiti14.93
156🇸🇷 Suriname14.93
157🇿🇼 Zimbabwe14.86
158🇸🇴 Somalia14.66
159🇺🇬 Uganda14.62
160🇪🇹 Ethiopia14.44
161🇲🇼 Malawi13.72
162🇵🇰 Pakistan13.5
163🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea12.17
164🇸🇱 Sierra Leone12.13
165🇨🇩 DR Congo11.46
166🇲🇷 Mauritania11.08
167🇸🇾 Syria10.73
168🇿🇲 Zambia10.69
169🇸🇿 Swaziland (Eswatini)10.62
170🇧🇼 Botswana10.35
171🇹🇳 Tunisia10.3
172🇬🇲 The Gambia10.09
173🇩🇿 Algeria9.95
174🇧🇮 Burundi9.72
175🇦🇫 Afghanistan9.23
176🇸🇩 Sudan9.02
177🇲🇿 Mozambique8.84
178🇾🇪 Yemen5.95
179🇹🇲 Turkmenistan4.49
180🇨🇺 Cuba3.46

Size could be a factor in Singapore’s speedy internet, as it’s one of the smallest
and also densest countries in the world. With a landmass of just 280 square miles, it’s around the same size as Austin, Texas.

The country’s government has also prioritized investment in digital infrastructure, especially in recent years. In 2020, the Singaporean government promised to invest $2.52 billion towards digital innovation, with a portion dedicated to upgrading the country’s telecom infrastructure.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Cuba has the slowest fixed broadband, with a speed of 3.46 mbps. Along with poor government funding, Cuba also has limited access to submarine cables. While most countries are connected to several, Cuba is only connected to one.

Ranked: Mobile Internet Speeds

Mobile internet uses cell towers to wirelessly transmit internet to your phone. Because of this extra element, the ranking for mobile internet speeds varies from fixed broadband.

#CountryGlobal Speed (Mbps)
1🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates195.52
2🇰🇷 South Korea192.16
3🇳🇴 Norway173.54
4🇶🇦 Qatar169.17
5🇨🇳 China163.45
6🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia149.95
7🇰🇼 Kuwait141.46
8🇨🇾 Cyprus136.18
9🇦🇺 Australia126.97
10🇧🇬 Bulgaria126.21
11🇨🇭 Switzerland115.83
12🇱🇺 Luxembourg110.67
13🇩🇰 Denmark103.35
14🇳🇱 Netherlands100.48
15🇴🇲 Oman97.81
16🇸🇪 Sweden97.06
17🇺🇸 United States96.31
18🇸🇬 Singapore91.75
19🇨🇦 Canada87.65
20🇫🇮 Finland83.01
21🇧🇭 Bahrain81.54
22🇹🇼 Taiwan81.32
23🇬🇧 United Kingdom80.82
24🇭🇷 Croatia78.91
25🇭🇰 Hong Kong78.75
26🇩🇪 Germany75.67
27🇳🇿 New Zealand73.17
28🇫🇷 France72.47
29🇬🇷 Greece70.71
30🇪🇪 Estonia70.44
31🇧🇪 Belgium70.24
32🇦🇹 Austria66.38
33🇱🇹 Lithuania63.03
34🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)62.43
35🇲🇹 Malta62.1
36🇧🇳 Brunei61.85
37🇯🇵 Japan61.32
38🇭🇺 Hungary58.9
39🇨🇿 Czechia58.46
40🇲🇻 Maldives58.3
41🇸🇮 Slovenia57.52
42🇲🇰 North Macedonia57.37
43🇷🇴 Romania55.93
44🇮🇪 Ireland55.39
45🇵🇱 Poland52.28
46🇸🇰 Slovakia51.49
47🇿🇦 South Africa50.44
48🇷🇸 Serbia50.34
49🇦🇱 Albania49.82
50🇹🇭 Thailand49.37
51🇪🇸 Spain48.14
52🇮🇹 Italy47.51
53🇹🇷 Turkey47.43
54🇮🇱 Israel46.02
55🇱🇻 Latvia45.29
56🇵🇹 Portugal43.41
57🇻🇳 Vietnam41.16
58🇲🇩 Moldova40.64
59🇹🇬 Togo40.32
60🇮🇶 Iraq40.21
61🇸🇷 Suriname39.54
62🇦🇿 Azerbaijan39.25
63🇺🇾 Uruguay39.04
64🇲🇱 Mali38.84
65🇲🇦 Morocco37.63
66🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago37.54
67🇯🇲 Jamaica36.77
68🇬🇪 Georgia36.53
69🇧🇼 Botswana35.38
70🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina34.97
71🇲🇽 Mexico34.49
72🇨🇷 Costa Rica34.39
73🇵🇭 Philippines33.77
74🇦🇲 Armenia33.71
75🇧🇷 Brazil33.47
76🇲🇺 Mauritius33.32
77🇹🇳 Tunisia33.01
78🇧🇸 The Bahamas32.63
79🇨🇲 Cameroon32.46
80🇮🇷 Iran32.3
81🇱🇧 Lebanon32.06
82🇱🇦 Laos32.04
83🇰🇿 Kazakhstan31.81
84🇺🇦 Ukraine31.2
85🇩🇴 Dominican Republic31.07
86🇬🇹 Guatemala30
87🇦🇷 Argentina29.6
88🇲🇪 Montenegro29.14
89🇲🇾 Malaysia29.14
90🇭🇳 Honduras28.69
91🇽🇰 Kosovo28.5
92🇷🇺 Russia28.16
93🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar27.94
94🇯🇴 Jordan26.51
95🇫🇯 Fiji26.45
96🇳🇮 Nicaragua26
97🇵🇪 Peru25.46
98🇨🇺 Cuba25.21
99🇸🇻 El Salvador25.17
100🇪🇨 Ecuador24.98
101🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan24.95
102🇪🇬 Egypt24.48
103🇦🇴 Angola23.98
104🇰🇭 Cambodia23.71
105🇳🇬 Nigeria23.59
106🇪🇹 Ethiopia23.19
107🇧🇴 Bolivia23.17
108🇲🇳 Mongolia23.11
109🇭🇹 Haiti22.52
110🇸🇳 Senegal22.48
111🇰🇪 Kenya22.22
112🇮🇩 Indonesia21.96
113🇨🇱 Chile21.28
114🇳🇵 Nepal20.9
115🇵🇾 Paraguay20.8
116🇳🇦 Namibia20.74
117🇲🇿 Mozambique20.55
118🇵🇦 Panama20.44
119🇸🇾 Syria20.09
120🇵🇰 Pakistan19.79
121🇺🇬 Uganda18.97
122🇺🇿 Uzbekistan18.92
123🇨🇴 Colombia18.67
124🇧🇾 Belarus18.66
125🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire18.37
126🇮🇳 India17.96
127🇩🇿 Algeria17.31
128🇱🇾 Libya17.22
129🇿🇲 Zambia16.05
130🇱🇰 Sri Lanka16.02
131🇹🇯 Tajikistan15.7
132🇸🇩 Sudan15.66
133🇹🇿 Tanzania14.48
134🇸🇴 Somalia14.23
135🇿🇼 Zimbabwe13.71
136🇬🇭 Ghana13.17
137🇧🇩 Bangladesh12.92
138🇵🇸 Palestine8.11
139🇻🇪 Venezuela7.41
140🇦🇫 Afghanistan7.07

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is first on the list, with a download speed of 195.5 mbps. Not only is mobile data fast in the UAE, it’s also relatively cheap, compared to other countries on the ranking. The average cost of 1 GB of data in the UAE is around $3.78, while in South Korea (#2 on the list) it’s $10.94.

The Future is 5G

Innovation and new technologies are changing the digital landscape, and things like 5G networks are becoming more mainstream across the globe.

Because of the rapidly changing nature of this industry, the data behind this ranking is updated monthly to provide the latest look at internet speeds across the globe.

This means the bar is gradually raising when it comes to internet speed, as faster, stronger internet connections become the norm. And countries that aren’t equipped to handle these souped-up networks will lag behind even further.

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Ranked: Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During the First Half of 2021

Big Tech is worth trillions, but what are insiders doing with their stock? We breakdown Big Tech CEO insider trading during the first half of 2021.

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Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During The First Half of 2021

When CEOs of major companies are selling their shares, investors can’t help but notice.

After all, these decisions have a direct effect on the personal wealth of these insiders, which can say plenty about their convictions with respect to the future direction of the companies they run.

Considering that Big Tech stocks are some of the most popular holdings in today’s portfolios, and are backed by a collective $5.3 trillion in institutional investment, how do the CEOs of these organizations rank by their insider selling?

CEOStockShares Sold H1 2021Value of Shares ($M)
Jeff BezosAmazon (AMZN)2.0 million$6,600
Mark ZuckerbergFacebook (FB)7.1 million$2,200
Satya NadellaMicrosoft (MSFT)278,694
$65
Sundar PichaiGoogle (GOOGL)27,000$62
Tim CookApple (AAPL)0$0

Breaking Down Insider Trading, by CEO

Let’s dive into the insider trading activity of each Big Tech CEO:

Jeff Bezos

During the first half of 2021, Jeff Bezos sold 2 million shares of Amazon worth $6.6 billion.

This activity was spread across 15 different transactions, representing an average of $440 million per transaction. Altogether, this ranks him first by CEO insider selling, by total dollar proceeds. Bezos’s time as CEO of Amazon came to an end shortly after the half way mark for the year.

Mark Zuckerberg

In second place is Mark Zuckerberg, who has been significantly busier selling than the rest.

In the first half of 2021, he unloaded 7.1 million shares of Facebook onto the open market, worth $2.2 billion. What makes these transactions interesting is the sheer quantity of them, as he sold on 136 out of 180 days. On average, that’s $12 million worth of stock sold every day.

Zuckerberg’s record year of selling in 2018 resulted in over $5 billion worth of stock sold, but over 90% of his net worth still remains in the company.

Satya Nadella

Next is Satya Nadella, who sold 278,694 shares of Microsoft, worth $234 million. Despite this, the Microsoft CEO still holds an estimated 1.6 million shares, which is the largest of any insider.

Microsoft’s stock has been on a tear for a number of years now, and belongs to an elite trillion dollar club, which consists of only six public companies.

Sundar Pichai

Fourth on the list is Sundar Pichai who has been at the helm at Google for six years now. Since the start of 2021, he’s sold 27,000 shares through nine separate transactions, worth $62.5 million. However, Pichai still has an estimated 6,407 Class A and 114,861 Class C shares.

Google is closing in on a $2 trillion valuation and is the best performing Big Tech stock, with shares rising 60% year-to-date. Their market share growth from U.S. ad revenues is a large contributing factor.

Tim Cook

Last, is Tim Cook, who just surpassed a decade as Apple CEO.

During this time, shares have rallied over 1,000% and annual sales have gone from $100 billion to $347 billion. That said, Cook has sold 0 shares of Apple during the first half of 2021. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t sold shares elsewhere, though. Cook also sits on the board of directors for Nike, and has sold $6.9 million worth of shares this year.

Measuring Insider Selling

All things equal, it’s desirable for management to have skin in the game, and be invested alongside shareholders. It can also be seen as aligning long-term interests.

A good measure of insider selling activity is in relation to the existing stake in the company. For example, selling $6.6 billion worth of shares may sound like a lot, but when there are 51.7 million Amazon shares remaining for Jeff Bezos, it actually represents a small portion and is probably not cause for panic.

If, however, executives are disclosing large transactions relative to their total stakes, it might be worth digging deeper.

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