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Old 10-02-2014, 01:40 PM   #29
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Interesting steps in technology that will lead to self driving vehicles.


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I will never place myself solely at the mercy of a machine, not even a self-driving car. Machines may be able to perform tasks better, but the one thing they can't do is decide better than a person. Look at how often a GPS will send you in the wrong directionů
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Old 10-02-2014, 02:27 PM   #30
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I will never place myself solely at the mercy of a machine, not even a self-driving car. Machines may be able to perform tasks better, but the one thing they can't do is decide better than a person. Look at how often a GPS will send you in the wrong directionů
Do you ride the inter-terminal trains at the airport? How about BART? These systems have no human in the loop during routine operation and they are safer for it.

I couldn't disagree with your position more. I am all for the industry taking this slowly--one step at a time (which is what they are doing). But I will take any bets that the highway death rate will plummet as self-driving technology takes hold in the next few years. I can't wait.

BTW: You can already buy cars that will self-steer on the highway. As Mike suggests, this is just a tiny step beyond what my Sprinter already does.
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Old 10-02-2014, 02:33 PM   #31
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But you have to look at it this way pro, the assist features and automation behind the wheel isn't for us. It is for the 18 year old coed I just cursed out at a stop light an hour ago for trying to text on her phone while driving 50mph on the highway. She's going to kill someone. I trust the computers way more than the idiots I see on the road.

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Old 10-02-2014, 03:55 PM   #32
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Do you ride the inter-terminal trains at the airport? How about BART? These systems have no human in the loop during routine operation and they are safer for it.
They run on tracks, and there IS a human in the loop. Sitting at a computer in a switchyard perhaps, but even the most automated rapid transit system still has SOME human oversight, just not on the individual trains.
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:04 PM   #33
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But you have to look at it this way pro, the assist features and automation behind the wheel isn't for us. It is for the 18 year old coed I just cursed out at a stop light an hour ago for trying to text on her phone while driving 50mph on the highway. She's going to kill someone. I trust the computers way more than the idiots I see on the road.
I can't fault that. BUT, where I run into heartburn is when the car finds itself in a no-win situation, where the only choice is a bad choice, and your chance of survival relies on choosing the lesser evil in a split second. Such as sideswiping the guy next to you to avoid being hit head-on (been there, done that, except I was the one sideswiped when the guy next to me swerved to avoid a head-on). Until I know that an automated system will default to the least-bad alternative, and not default to doing nothing, I can't trust them.

Maybe when every car on the road is automated, the cars will be able to work out such conundrums between themselves, but as long as there is one human in control, all humans have to be in control. Compare to a private plane in a traffic pattern with commercial airliners. The airliners talk to each other, and the collision avoidance system tells the pilots, "Bank left. Bank left NOW." As long as all planes involved have the system, the system works. But the private pilot without a collision avoidance system can defeat the airliner's system by doing something unpredictable.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:56 PM   #34
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But you have to look at it this way pro, the assist features and automation behind the wheel isn't for us. It is for the 18 year old coed I just cursed out at a stop light an hour ago for trying to text on her phone while driving 50mph on the highway. She's going to kill someone. I trust the computers way more than the idiots I see on the road.

Brian
Oh - I think this technology will also be helpful for old geezers; as I age into my 70's and 80's I'll still want to drive safely. I think the baby boomers need this new technology just as much as young drivers.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:16 PM   #35
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My B would probably get a lot more use if nobody had to drive! Imagine programming your trip and being treated like a passanger. I can see myself making a sandwich and perhaps taking a nap all while traveling down the highway. Unfortunately this dream is to far into the future to be of benefit to me so I will continue to hang onto the wheel and drive myself!
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:30 PM   #36
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Self drivings cars still seem creepy, but as one involved in some of the technology going forward, I can say that the two great technologies that will save many lives are 'driver-assistance' and the 'connected car.'

The driver assistance is everything from help with parking, to warning when you've got someone in your blindside.

The connected car is more interesting. If all cars are connected, you can have realtime traffic reports. A car in an accident a mile up the road can warn all nearby cars.

A vehicle careening across the median can notice that it's not following the known path of the highway (which is reported thousands of times a day by all the other cars), and warn all nearby vehicles.

But until every car on the road has this ability, I'm not ready to trust the self driving car. I'm not sure a self driving car has 'road rage' avoidance, or drunk driver avoidance.

Have they programmed in the behavior of deer? When my family was driving across Wyoming to Yellowstone, a large deer crossed our path, and I somehow manage to take what would have been a full head-on, to a graze denting the entire side of the car. The self driving car won't be able to do that until we have millions of scenarios collected from the connected cars. Then we can model every deer accident and provide the statistically best response in all situations and faster than a human.

The success of Tesla combined with Google's activity in self driving cars has put Detroit on notice. Other than BMW, I don't think many auto makers have embraced the technology, but they're all ears now.

Silicon valley coming after the automakers is good for all of us in the long run.
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Old 10-03-2014, 05:20 AM   #37
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The driver assistance is everything from help with parking, to warning when you've got someone in your blindside.
As long as driver's education cars DON'T have driver assistance, I'm all for it. But just like we have to learn how to do math the hard way before we are allowed to do it on a calculator, driver's need to learn to drive the old-fashioned way before they use the driver assistance features. Just so they don't learn to use it as a crutch.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:23 AM   #38
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As long as driver's education cars DON'T have driver assistance, I'm all for it. But just like we have to learn how to do math the hard way before we are allowed to do it on a calculator, driver's need to learn to drive the old-fashioned way before they use the driver assistance features. Just so they don't learn to use it as a crutch.
Yes, that is the danger with these technologies. People become dependent on them. I saw a study once where accidents were less likely to occur at four way stops than at intersections with lights. Four way stops tend to make people more careful.
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:56 PM   #39
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In addition to the safety and convenience advantages, these technologies are going to make dramatic improvements in efficiency and environmental impact. For example, "connected cars" will be able to travel in convoys, with a cluster of vehicles following tightly in each others slipstream, thus saving immense amounts of fuel.

After working on the GM Futurama exhibit for the 1939 New York World's Fair, Norman Bell Geddes wrote a book called "Magic Motorways". It is a fascinating thing to read today. Among his predictions was that eventually we would stop building overpasses where highways cross. They would just cross with the cars happily interleaving with perfect timing.

How's that for a calming vision? :-)
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:49 PM   #40
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In addition to the safety and convenience advantages, these technologies are going to make dramatic improvements in efficiency and environmental impact. For example, "connected cars" will be able to travel in convoys, with a cluster of vehicles following tightly in each others slipstream, thus saving immense amounts of fuel.

After working on the GM Futurama exhibit for the 1939 New York World's Fair, Norman Bell Geddes wrote a book called "Magic Motorways". It is a fascinating thing to read today. Among his predictions was that eventually we would stop building overpasses where highways cross. They would just cross with the cars happily interleaving with perfect timing.

How's that for a calming vision? :-)
I've often thought about this. In the scenario of a self driving car, if it knew the timing and state of all traffic lights, it could adjust its speed to not require braking.

Of course I can imagine the horror of the passengers as it accelerates towards a red light, since it knows when it will change and it is already adjusting speed for the next light.

When the self driving car becomes a reality, I suppose that will make taxi drivers an endangered species.
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