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junko.yoshida
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why looking so stiff?
junko.yoshida   10/3/2013 12:43:25 PM
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The thing that made me laugh about this picture is that this driver just looks horribly stiff!

Here's what he is thinking:

"Where am I supposed to put my hands on???"

Bert22306
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Re: why looking so stiff?
Bert22306   10/3/2013 3:39:21 PM
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He's so stiff because he's cringing constantly. "Oooooh, man that was close!" Or, "What the ... I would never have done that!"

But I don't see this change to self driving cars, which will no doubt be very gradual at best, to be all that new of a phenomenon. Luddites have always sounded the same -- unimaginative.

Does anyone doubt that when cars first came on the scene, there were some luddites who were asking how a car could ever match the majesty of a great horse?

I think that ludditedness (is that a word, Junko? You're the writer) is antithetical to engineering. 

junko.yoshida
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Re: why looking so stiff?
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 12:05:01 AM
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@Bert, you wrote:

"Oooooh, man that was close!" Or, "What the ... I would never have done that!"


That is soooo right! I love that!

junko.yoshida
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Re: why looking so stiff?
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 12:12:06 AM
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@Bert, another thing I loved about your comment here...

Does anyone doubt that when cars first came on the scene, there were some luddites who were asking how a car could ever match the majesty of a great horse?


In fact, I have heard an engineering prof. in Japan comparing smart cars with a horse. Taming a smart car is like taming a smart horse...he said.

Caleb Kraft
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is this a joke?
Caleb Kraft   10/3/2013 1:28:12 PM
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Are they kidding with that question? Man, lets just jump to a future where you can completely avoid the driver's seat and look around for a second.

how about a nice reclining chair with your favorite media in front of you? To introverted? How about being able to relax and enjoy the view without worrying about rear-ending someone? What about being able to have a nice dinner with the family during your morning commute (I drive a van, I can imagine it!).


Yes, I would absolutely pay the same for a personal chauffeur as I would a mid range sports car. I'm not wealthy though, so $100k sounds unattainable for anything.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: is this a joke?
Sheetal.Pandey   10/3/2013 2:00:00 PM
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Its nice tohave a self driving car. Imagine you are tire and can let your car goand pick up food from your favorite restarant. Imagine there is emergency no on is around and your car can take you to the hospital. Alsoon lng drive say from sfo to LA you can let he car self drive while you relax. These self driving cars are possibility in countries with good infrastructure, not forcountries like India where none follows any traffic rules and there are big potholes on every possible road.

betajet
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Ye gods, this seat is uncomfortable
betajet   10/3/2013 1:45:46 PM
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From his "body language", I'd say he's thinking "Ye gods, this seat is uncomfortable.  My legs are starting to cramp up."  The only thing that makes a driver's seat bearable is that you have the task of driving to distract yourself from the discomfort of sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours on end -- or even tens of minutes.  Most rail seats are much more comfortable -- if you can score one.


JMO/YMMV

junko.yoshida
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Re: Ye gods, this seat is uncomfortable
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 12:19:10 AM
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@betajet, hear, hear!

Driving does distract drivers from thinking about how uncomfortable it is to sit behind the wheel for so long!

 

Paul A. Clayton
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The *driver* has no hands!
Paul A. Clayton   10/3/2013 3:11:35 PM
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The driver in this self-driving car has no hands and no thighs. Presumably the driver is "thinking" about how to drive the vehicle. :-)

The human passenger/backup driver appears to be concentrating intently on something directly ahead of the car, perhaps to explode the brain (as in the movie Scanners) of a passenger in a car that is being chased.

More seriously, even some people who buy a car for the experience of driving may use the same car merely for transportation or find some parts of driving less enjoyable. Even BMW buyers are not all interested in actually driving; part of what is being sold is image and the *potential* of an excellent experience. Some people will buy a car for its maximum speed even though there can be no realistic expectation that it will ever be driven near that speed.

Presumably self-driving will be sold somewhat like power-steering, automatic transmission, and (more recently) self-parking is being sold. In some urban environments (or large busy malls), even just providing a kind of valet service might have significant value (there are probably few people who enjoy driving around looking for a parking space and walking from and to the parking space).

It is also possible that in the future incentives would be provided for the use of true automobiles. Such vehicles might increase safety (a benefit to insurance companies and governments that provide emergency services)--earning a payment not unlike insurance rebates from good driving established by monitoring behavior--and improve traffic flow (reducing the need for additional road construction).

junko.yoshida
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Re: The *driver* has no hands!
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 1:16:25 AM
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Paul, I think you are absolutely right about this.

More seriously, even some people who buy a car for the experience of driving may use the same car merely for transportation or find some parts of driving less enjoyable

I think what is going to happen is that carmakers will identify the unpleasant part of driving (as you said, looking for a place to park, etc.) and find a way to let the self-driving car do it. 

It's the only way to sell so-called self-driving cars, in my humble opinion.

Les_Slater
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Anti, antisocial behavior
Les_Slater   10/3/2013 5:26:22 PM
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I enjoy driving... to a point. I drive from Chicago to Boston... and back, four times a year. Sometimes drive straigt through and sometimes stay one night at a hotel. Either case it can get monotonous and sometimes dangerous.

When traffic gets congested around rush hours drivers can get aggressive and piss other drivers off... and sometimes they respond, in kind. Driving under these conditions is tense. I would love a vehicle that could respond rationally, being much more aware of surroundings... and being able to appropriately respond in a few miliseconds instead of tenths of seconds, at best if driver is optimally alert.

Even if only one vehicle along a significant stretch of road had this capability it would help.

If all vehicles had this capability the capacity of highways would more than double, and with greater safety too. All it would take is dedicating one lane, of three lanes, exclusively to such vehicals to double the trafic capacity.

The later scenerio would require V2V and V2I and a high performace vehicle, in addition to whatever sensors and controls were on board.

As to being a boon to insurance companise, it would really undermine the 'neccessity' for them.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Anti, antisocial behavior
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 12:15:37 AM
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Les_stater, you wrote:

I drive from Chicago to Boston... and back, four times a year. Sometimes drive straigt through and sometimes stay one night at a hotel. Either case it can get monotonous and sometimes dangerous.


Man, I don't envy you at all. I am so scared to drive in Boston!

But i hear you. In a scenario you mentioned - a long drive on a highway, self-driving cars totally make sense!

_hm
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Why driver looks in front and not sleepnig?
_hm   10/3/2013 7:00:33 PM
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Why is he looking in front? Driver can as well sleep or do some other productive work. Also, car may not need big windows, it can be fully covered to rest better.

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Why driver looks in front and not sleepnig?
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 12:08:17 AM
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@_hm, you'd think that of course.

But Geneva Convetion treaty requires that drivers "shall at all times be able to control their vehicles," and provisions against reckless driving usually require "the conscious and intentional operation of a motor vehicle."

Hence, no reading, no having breakfast with a family (like Caleb suggested), no watching a movie for the driver...

_hm
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Increased Alcohol level limit?
_hm   10/4/2013 4:40:16 AM
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With this advancement in technology and all possible protection against collision, will the allowed limit for Alcohol be increased?

Andrzej11
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Totally Terrified
Andrzej11   10/4/2013 11:44:32 AM
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I think the driver is totally terrified as he is driving it what some have characterized as the "Valley of Death". This is the point when cars have not quite reached the Level 4 level(fully autonomous) but require a driver to assume driving responsibility on relatively short notice on those rare occasions when the car encounters situations it cannot handle.

While the ADAS system may fool you to believing it is a Level 4 system causing our thoughts and senses to drift off elsewhere, the driver is struggling to maintain situational awareness knowing that a lapse in alertness at the wrong time may not only result in an accident but his sudden demise as well. An example of this would be Air France 447 in which the autopilot automatically disengaged when the Pitot tubes froze over. The pilots who had lost situational awareness, panicked and drove an aerodynamically sound airplane into the ocean killing all aboard.

As for the Geneva Convention, it would appear that having a human in the loop, but not actually doing the physical driving, may meet its requirements according to an extensive analysis done by Bryant Walker Smith found here, http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/files/publication/files/2012-Smith-AutomatedVehiclesAreProbablyLegalinTheUS_0.pdf . Interestingly enough Smith points out that "No statute expressly requires that a motor vehicle's operator must be physically present in the vehicle".

junko.yoshida
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Re: Totally Terrified
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 4:06:10 PM
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Your example of AF 447 is really an interesting one. I wonder if anyone did an extensive study on potential impact on human psychology by drawing a parallel between autopilot on airplane and that of a self-driving car.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Totally Terrified
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 4:08:22 PM
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More explicitly, how a driver (or a pilot) reacts in a total panic when thrown into a certain situation. I am curious.

ScRamjet
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
ScRamjet   10/7/2013 9:11:23 AM
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My brother is a Pilot for a major Airline and has flown Intercontinental and local day runs into tight approach airports.

He talks about those incidents frankly. - Poor Pilot Training is his expectation of the root error.

Pilots must be tested in simulators and by instructors riding along periodically, make these scenarios part of that training. Give them a no error flight and watch the attention span. Give them a stressful flight and watch for fatigue. Give them a bad weather flight with a tough landing, watch the reaction times and the precision of control. All these factors must be evaluated.

Training must be focused per the pilot in training and his / her areas of weakness.

He touts Capt. Sullivan as what to expect, not an exception. Unfortunately, He also feels this is not the norm. The Norm is a team that can fly the usual weather and not upset the passengers or bend the plane. That all dead engines Emergency took Icy calm and solid decision making. You only get that with pilot that are experienced and still have the mindset of making every decision fast and correct.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
junko.yoshida   10/7/2013 9:16:19 AM
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@ScRamjet, this is a great input. Thanks for sharing. So, auto-pilot in fact requires "more" training in a way to see a pilot's attention span in various conditions. That is fascinating...and reassuring. 

To do such a one-to-one trainging for very driver who will be "driving" a self-driving car is not realistic, and yet, I see a much parallel needs to be drawn to an extent....

WKetel
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
WKetel   10/7/2013 3:03:51 PM
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@Scramjet, your posting confirms the idea that drivers and pilots need to be prepared to handle the exception situations, which are exactly the type of things that computer systems will never be able to handle. It is inconvenient when using a computer, it could be fatal driving a car. Picture that "blue screen" at 60MPH, and you can realize that there would not be any good possible ending available.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
junko.yoshida   10/12/2013 6:33:16 AM
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@WKetel, you articulated what I had thought better in your comments here. 

Every time when I get a briefing on ADAS, companies stress the importance of "getting human judgements out of the equastion." And yet, as ADAS is paving its way to the future of self-driving cars, I am shocked that very few have publicly discussed the issue of "preparing drivers to handle the exception situation."

WKetel
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
WKetel   10/12/2013 4:27:36 PM
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@junko, Handling execeptions is being removed from our culture, not only in driving, but also in many areas. It is the mindset of a lot of sadly uninformed people that handling exceptions is "somebody else's job", and that we must let them do it, no matter what. The problem is that real life does have exceptions, not only in driving down the road, but in many other areas as well. But the very first place where a lack of exception handling would be a problem is in driving. Why doesn't everybody see that?

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
junko.yoshida   10/13/2013 8:36:54 AM
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Damn, WKetel. Actually, what you are talking about here is really profound. 

Few is willing to touch the topic, let alone acknowledging the existence of challenges associated with "handing exceptions."

As for self-driving cars (i know, i know, it won't happen next year), who will be ultimately held resposible for potential accidents that might have anything to do with "handling exceptions"? I think I already know the answer. It won't be carmakers. It will be drivers.

WKetel
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
WKetel   10/13/2013 10:25:19 PM
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Junko, you have brought up the one thing that will probably kep the self driving cars off the road forever, which is the question of who is responsibel when the system fails and there is an accident. That is the question that must be answered before the cars can be let onto the roads, at least I hope that it is answered. And if it turns out that the answer is that I am responsible, well, then I certainly don't want some computer making the driving decisions for me, since I already know that computers don't think the way that I do. So if I don't want that system making decisions that I am responsible for, then why should I pay to own such a system? And probably a few others will make that same decisions as well. So maybe that will be the end of it. If one does not wish to drive, there is already the bus and the train. Both have others doing the driving.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
junko.yoshida   10/14/2013 8:27:48 AM
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WKetel, this is definitely a topic that I would like to follow. 

I am in Tokyo this week, covering ITS World Congress. When I brought up the subject of auopilot issue, he mentioned something that might be relevant. Companies like Volvo is already talking about placing a camera inside a car (not outside), so that the car will know what the driver is doing (or to see if the driver is engaged in actual driving). I found that fascinating!

WKetel
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Re: Pilot reaction to Autopilot dropout
WKetel   10/14/2013 8:49:22 PM
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Junko, The concept of a camera inside watching the driver will never be accepted. At one company we had a system to watch the drivers for evaluation of driver drowsiness detection systems. That required some special agreements with the drivers union and withindividual drivers. And consider that at least one installation of GPS based vehicle location monitoring systems was removed after a court battle, because it somehow violated the drivers rights to privacy, (goofing off???). And I would certainly disable any such system installed in a vehicle that I owned. While I am being paid by a company they do own the time they are buying, so that would be different than watching me every moment that I am driving. Besides, such a system could easily be compromised to the point of being useless and worthless. And it was discovered many years ago, in our factories, that an automation system that requires constant human attention is of very marginal value at best. And that is fifty year old knowledge. I would hope that by now it would be understood that what would be best is a good driver perception enhancement system.

And it would be very good to discover just how the laws would handle the driverless vehicles before any more time and energy is spent going in that direction. Just because engineers can make a system do something does not make it a smart choice to really do it.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Totally Terrified
junko.yoshida   10/4/2013 4:35:23 PM
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Bryant Walker Smith's analysis is indeed the most often cited, arguing that the Geneva Convention treaty would not probably stand in the way of self-driving cars. But how each state in the United States would allow autonomous cars on the road is entirely another story.

Andrzej11
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Re: Totally Terrified
Andrzej11   10/4/2013 4:59:03 PM
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There was a recent French study which looked at the role cruise control and speed limiters had on driver alertness and drowsiness. Even with these limited driving aids, it found a reduction in driver reaction time and an increase in drowsiness which worsened with time spent behind the wheel. Young drivers seemed to suffer the most. See here, http://fondation.vinci-autoroutes.com/fr/article/une-etude-met-en-evidence-les-effets-du-regulateur-et-du-limiteur-de-vitesse-sur-la

junko.yoshida
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Re: Totally Terrified
junko.yoshida   10/5/2013 10:55:52 AM
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@Andrezej11, thank you! There's good information in here. Thanks for sharing the link. I will definitely probe this issue further.

WKetel
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Re: Totally Terrified
WKetel   10/5/2013 10:10:31 PM
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@Andrezej11, I doubt that it was a reduction in reaction time, but that it was a reduction in RESPONSE time. I see that frequently, the drivers whose attention wanders while stopped at a traffic light, and the 17 second reaction time for starting up. And my concern is always more about their response time for stopping. After all, slow ans stupid is generally a constant condition, not a momentary affliction.

zeeglen
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Re: Totally Terrified
zeeglen   10/12/2013 8:19:26 PM
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@WKetel

"I see that frequently, the drivers whose attention wanders while stopped at a traffic light, and the 17 second reaction time for starting up."

That's because they are busy texting and don't notice when the light changes until all the horns behind them start honking.


WKetel
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Re: Totally Terrified
WKetel   10/12/2013 9:47:17 PM
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My concern about those drivers who seem to suffer from the 17 second reaction times when the light turns green is what are their reacton times when it turns red? A long reaction time there could be really bad for hose already stopped. And I do presume that I have some small right to not have other drivers bash into me, at least when I am following the rules and driving very safely.  Actually, the one time that a driver did bash into my car I was stopped at a red light. Unfortunately I was not watching in the mirror, or I would have moved. Would a computer driven car be able to get out of the way of a car that could not stop? I did do that once, made a right turn on red and the driver coming up behind me slid into the spot where I had been stopped. Yes, it was inconvenient but not nearly as inconvenient as getting bashed would have been. Can the computer cars do that? It is an exception, you know.

zeeglen
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Re: Totally Terrified
zeeglen   10/12/2013 9:51:58 PM
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When approaching a light that turns yellow I always check the mirror before deciding whether to stop or keep on going. Would I trust a programmer to code the same reaction?  Based on the many dumb things that human-coded software does, NOPE!

WKetel
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Re: Totally Terrified
WKetel   10/12/2013 9:55:56 PM
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My thoughts exactly!!

WKetel
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What is that driver thinking?
WKetel   10/5/2013 10:19:50 PM
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If I were in that situation and not driving a car moving through traffic, either I would be thinking about how slow and stupid and ultra cautious the computer was, or else my mind would be on other topics and I would not be watching the driving at all. It is quite a challenge to watch something that one is not involved in, although sometimes the involvement may be an intense interest, such as watching an active sporting event. But watching driving while not driving is not very interesting and drivers minds would certainly wander. Couple that tendancy with thye large portion of younger people having the sevem millisecond attention span and you would not see any of them being even slightly aware of the driving process if they were not driving.

So if any would like to be in a driverless vehicle, take a traain or a bus, where one does not need to pay attention because another person is handling all the driving. And, at lleast on trains, usually they have much better safety systems. Busses crash to often for me to believe that they have many safety extras.

daleste
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Re: What is that driver thinking?
daleste   10/5/2013 11:03:14 PM
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I guess eventually cars will drive them selves.  I don't know if that is good or not, but I don't know if I want to lose control.  I guess it will happen after my time, so it is up to the younger generation to decide.

WKetel
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Re: What is that driver thinking?
WKetel   10/5/2013 11:32:53 PM
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I don't believe that it will be successful, although I am certain that it will be done for a while. Then the truth will become obvious, which is that they will be much slower and not much safer, and both more expensive and less reliable. And just like prohibition, eventually driverless cars will go away, because they are fundamentally a bad choice. What we need instead is much better drivers with way fewer distractions.

And how about additional tests for drivers: reaction time and attention span. Nobody with a response time of over 5 seconds gets a license, and nobody with an attention span of less than a minute allowed to drive.

Suddenly the roads would be uncrowded and much safer as well. But tha city busses would be full.

ghfarmer
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Re: What is that driver thinking?
ghfarmer   10/7/2013 9:41:41 AM
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WKetel I agree with you.  Unfortunately, your logic doesn't necessarily apply to the traffic laws.

Just because something has the virtue of being an obvious truth, and the opposite is more expensive, less reliable and a fundamentally bad choice, doesn't mean that it won't be codified into a bad law and we'd be stuck with it. 

The t-shirt said that "If you're not part of the solution, there's a lot of money to be had in prolonging the problem."  The tendency of government is to take something that doesn't work, decide that the reason it didn't work was they didn't do enough of whatever it was, go all-out with the bad idea and then start a new program to stamp out the new problem. 

Start with the premise that "Drivers that are exposed to driverless technology become worse drivers through lack of practice", and see where it goes.

zeeglen
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Re: What is that driver thinking?
zeeglen   10/12/2013 8:58:05 PM
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@daleste

"I guess eventually cars will drive them selves. I don't know if that is good or not, but I don't know if I want to lose control."

Arthur C. Clarke phrased a similar thought in his 1953 novel "Childhood's End".  Chapter 7, 4th paragraph:  "George Greggson, who had an old-fashioned dislike of automatic landings, readjusted the rate-of-descent control before answering."


Yet another of ACC's futuristic predictions that is now becoming reality.


junko.yoshida
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Re: What is that driver thinking?
junko.yoshida   10/7/2013 5:54:40 AM
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@WKetel, you wrote:

 It is quite a challenge to watch something that one is not involved in


You hit the nail on the head. Exactly. That is going to be a real problem. Mandating a driver to sit behind the wheel in a driverless car will probably do very little in terms of real-world safety!

rick merritt
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"What are the driver's hands doing on his thighs"
rick merritt   10/7/2013 2:23:08 AM
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As the used to say in the TV comedy show Laugh In, "I wouldn't touch that one with a ten-foot pole!"

junko.yoshida
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Re: "What are the driver's hands doing on his thighs"
junko.yoshida   10/7/2013 5:57:28 AM
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Ha, ha. Well put, Rick!

WKetel
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Re: "What are the driver's hands doing on his thighs"
WKetel   10/7/2013 2:59:08 PM
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I am impressed that there have not been any comments about "chicken choking". No explanation is provided here.

rick merritt
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Hybrids
rick merritt   10/7/2013 2:25:00 AM
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These self-driving cars will need to be hybrids. Autonomous when you want to shut out the frustrating morning commute while you work and hands-on when you are driving Highway 1 and want the expereince of that ultimate driving machine.

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