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5 Unresolved Issues Facing Robo-cars

Tech is key to 'self-driving' — or is it?
4/13/2017 05:45 PM EDT
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EELoser
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Freelancer
Here is an Unresolved Issue......
EELoser   4/24/2017 2:20:04 PM
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They dont work in SNOW!.

They can't see the road markings when covered in snow.  The sensors get covered in Ice. Oh no, road construction, cones, can't deal with hit.  Oh the county didnt stripe the lanes right can't deal with it.  Oh look a pothole, can't detect it, pow.

 

Another Issue is LEGAL.

When it a defective part Kills you will you be able to sue the manufacturer into bankruptcy?  They can't even design an airbag or ignition switch without killing someone.  Think about the complexity of automony  compared to a ignition switch.  Lawyers will love this because the manufacturer is now responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle!

 

manassehkatz
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Book that explores one possible problem with Level 5
manassehkatz   4/22/2017 11:04:19 PM
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I read a book - Version Control by Dexter Palmer - which is about a "causality violation device" (aka Time Machine) which has a central plot point based on an autonomous car accident, including a pretty good (and scary) explanation for why the accident happens. I'll leave the details out as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet. If you are into science fiction then I highly recommend it.

sw guy
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No single path solution
sw guy   4/19/2017 7:34:39 AM
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I would not rely only on  deep 'reinforcement learning' to get "well behaving" car.
If deep learning is OK to manage complex situation but cannot guarantee corner cases will be safe, add it a guard using programming by rules. These rules just would say "don't do that".

BTW, this is how we, human, learn to manage every days' tasks. And this how I teached my kids to behave. Even when still babies, there were almost free in house, but when starting something dangerous (for them or for some fragile thing), my wife or myself did prevent that, using both specific voice and removing them from litigeous place. Beside that, it was up to them to find something interesting to do. Looks to have work rather well (younger kid is now 18, and I do not remember them breaking more stuff than myself).

 

 

realjjj
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Re: Marketing Issues
realjjj   4/17/2017 5:22:29 PM
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CaaS requires a certain level of utilization to be economically viable and in rural it is harder to achieve high utilization.  Car sharing and CaaS with larger vehicles (minibuses and up) can grab considerable share though. In locations where a larger percentage of the population lives in rural, income is usually much lower and such locations are far more cost sensitive. Car sharing , minibuses and used cars are the likely winners - the market for used cars will collapse once CaaS starts to take over in urban. The domino effect on new car sales and ASPs will be quite interesting and something that folks are yet to consider.

However, a dirt road is not really off-road and the robot can learn any such roads. If you consider agricultural robots, maybe off-road capabilities will arrive sooner than expected.

In urban there is no contest , consumers can save a lot of money with CaaS and the CaaS provider can offer different types of vehicles that fit any and all needs. This area offers opportunities for innovation and should be intereasting.

Dale LightCounting
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Handoff to an inattentive human?
Dale LightCounting   4/17/2017 5:04:56 PM
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In America, we already have a driving culture that sees no value in building driver skills. We've added texting to many driver's regular routing, and we are seeing the results in a turnaround of the fatality rate, now going up.

Excepting for a driverless in-city car, autonomous vehicles will have to disengage and hand off the driving to a human and this will happen in the worst situation, perhaps a blinding rain or even a snow storn. So the compter hands off control at the worst possible time to a human with poor skills and who, at best, hasn't been paying attention, may be reading, or is even asleep.  And without the need to actually drive most of the time, that driver's poor skills will deteriorate even further.

In an airliner, the pilots use autopilot most of the time, but they have intense training and are always in a position to take manual control whenever necessary.

 

DMcCunney
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Re: Marketing Issues
DMcCunney   4/17/2017 4:43:02 PM
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@HankWalker: I am thinking of all my friends in farming, ranching, oil and gas, etc., where they spend a lot of time off-road for work. About 15% of the U.S. population is rural, which I will use as a proxy for off-road.

Fair enough.  But how many of them will want a fully autonomous off-road vehicle?

Most off-road vehicles spend most time on a highway getting to where they will go off-road.  Autonomous mode will be appropriate for highway driving, with the human taking over in the off-road portion.

The value for humans in the autonomous vehicle market is "Get in, tell the car where you want to go, and sit back and enjoy the ride."  A potential roadblock is humans who want to drive the car rather than allow the car to do it for them.

A big selling point for fully autonomous cars is potential safety.  How many accidents that have resulted in serious injury or death have been caused by a driver in impaired condition behind a wheel?  Autonomous driving can dramatically reduce that, as the impaired human likely won't be driving.

And when you are off-road, what does "telling the car where you want to go?" mean?  How do you specify the destination?  It's not like a city steet address.

>Dennis

 

HankWalker
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Re: Marketing Issues
HankWalker   4/17/2017 4:15:44 PM
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I am thinking of all my friends in farming, ranching, oil and gas, etc., where they spend a lot of time off-road for work. About 15% of the U.S. population is rural, which I will use as a proxy for off-road. It is higher in many other countries. The fact that most truck commercials show off-road work use suggests it is a significant market.

But we must also keep in mind customer psychology. How many people do you know who own a truck, but don't really *need* a truck? Or who drive around in a serious SUV without ever getting near a dirt road? Many customers want a do-everything vehicle since they are not sure how they will use it in the future.

 

DMcCunney
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Re: Marketing Issues
DMcCunney   4/17/2017 3:47:58 PM
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@HankWalker: one topic not covered is market issues. So far all autonomous vehicle efforts have focused on city/highway. But cars and trucks are often marketed for their off-road ability.

No surprise.  It's all about the money, and automobiles used for city/highway driving are the biggest chunk of the market.

I don't see a reason why a vehicle intended for off road use couldn't have an autonomous mode, but it would be largely unused off-road.  The value is in the on-road portion, as the vehicle travels to where it will go off-road.

Fully autonomous off-road vehicles might be possible, but what would the need be?

A lot of the off-road use I'm aware of takes place precisely because the human driver enjoys the challenge of doing it.  This is not a candidate for being automated away.

>Dennis

HankWalker
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Marketing Issues
HankWalker   4/17/2017 1:21:16 PM
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This is an excellent article, but one topic not covered is market issues. So far all autonomous vehicle efforts have focused on city/highway. But cars and trucks are often marketed for their off-road ability. Think about all those "Like a Rock" truck commercials. It seems unlikely that true all-purpose autonomous ability will come anytime soon, so many customers will need all-purpose vehicles that have an autonomous mode. Perhaps these will be sold as regular products, while "city/highway vehicles" with full-time autonomy will primarily be owned by corporations, such as taxi or truck companies.

perl_geek
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Deja Vu?
perl_geek   4/15/2017 12:48:56 PM
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Back when journalists were awestruck by machines that could do arithmetic, hence were "giant electronic brains", it was confidently asserted that they would soon be translating human languages, understanding speech, and doing various other intellectual tasks.

It was only when researchers set out to program the solutions that the extent of our ignorance became apparent. (Along with the embarrassing fact that it turned out to be much easier to simulate PhDs than toddlers.) Only when you set out to address processes in detail do you begin to realise all the things you don't understand.

The current state of self-driving cars looks very reminiscent of AI in the 1950s; unjustified optimism based on enthusiastic ignorance.

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