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Straight Talk on Self-Driving Cars

7/22/2013 07:55 PM EDT
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ZGare
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Re: I have to doubt the premise
ZGare   7/23/2013 1:23:53 PM
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The first goal should be to make a car that you can drive as you always have, but that will not let you run into another car, person, or object, and that will not allow you to lose control and kill yourself or your passengers. 

Once the car does that, you can drive it any way the hell you please within those constraints.  All the way from doing everything yourself, (just within the constraints of not hitting others or losing control), all the way up to allowing the car to do all the driving while you sleep in the back seat.  I'm not sure why we couldn't have it all -- except for the part where cars kill you or others around you.

rich.pell
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Re: I have to doubt the premise
rich.pell   7/23/2013 1:54:06 PM
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Sounds like Knight Rider ...

chanj0
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The responsibility goes back to the driver
chanj0   7/23/2013 2:02:08 PM
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"...a self-driving car will eventually learn how you drive -- everything from steering to acceleration and other driving habits." seems like a way to resolve the issue of liability when accident happens.

Leaving liability and responsibility aside, I can see the future of self driving car. Even though it may still be a concern in traffic, I am pretty sure long distance driver will enjoy it very much. If nothing else, cargo transportation company will be extremely happy to adopt the technology if government allows self-driving car to go on the road w/o a "driver".


Having said so, I still believe liability and responsibility to an accident are the biggest stumbiing block to the wide acceptance of self driving car.

Bert22306
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Re: Don't make self driven cars follow personal behavior
Bert22306   7/23/2013 4:01:58 PM
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Sorry, Junko, but if people cherish their freedom and their own driving experience, then they don't want to travel on those roads that will be set up for self driving cars. Otherwaise, you defeat the prupose of the self driving car.

Obviously, this would take a very long time to develop. At first, only a few roads would be set up with the necessary infrastructure. So people should have options. But quite honestly, I see this in a larger context, where more and more of the driving has been taken away from the driver, in the past 100 years.

Used to be the driver decided on everything, from changing gears to setting the choke, fuel/air mixture, and the spark advance, to covering up the radiator on cold winter mornings. Very, very inefficient. As things became automated, in each instance, it was SPECIFICALLY to take away that individual human input, and to have the job "done right."

Self driving is no different. Take away the quirky and unpredictable human behavior, in order to make traffic flow smoothly and efficiently. Just like you took away the driver's ability to set the fuel/air ratio, in order to let the combustion process be as efficient and clean as possible.

Bert22306
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Re: Too much technology
Bert22306   7/23/2013 4:21:08 PM
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There are any number of examples of technology having taken over a previously manual function, specifically because human control was not fast enough. I gave some simple examples in cars, but this sort of gradual change is pervasive in everything. As the years go by, and the technolgy continues to evolve and improve, it becomes almost unthinkable that the job was ever allowed to be done by a human previously.

In the car example, catalytic converters would not survive a day (or at least ,not very long), if the choke and the fuel/air mixture were still trusted to humans. In fact, they wouldn't survive very long even if these jobs were still done by mechanical carburators. That's the main reason why all cars had to go to electronic fuel injection. And we hardly give that a second thought anymore.

Stick shifts are gradually going the same way. Too unpredicable and inefficient. Many modern stick shifts coax the driver into the shifting to the "proper" ratio. And too, for efficiency, gearboxes are now sporting 7 or even 8 gear ratios. Practically impossible for a human to select the right gear.

Driving is probably going to evolve the same way, over the next many decades. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if people in the next century will marvel at how humans were EVER trusted to do their own driving. Sort of like wow, you must have really been naive to trust the other guy to drive next to you.

Tom Murphy
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Here, you drive!
Tom Murphy   7/23/2013 4:21:46 PM
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Fascinating (and scary) stuff!  I was particularly struck by this line:

"There will be times," Santo explained, "when the situation on the road gets too tricky for a driverless car to handle."

So, let me get this straight. I'm in my auto-driven car, tooling down southbound I-5 at 3 am at 95 mph, looking forward to my weekend of debauchery in Tijuana, when my car gets freaked out by something it senses in the road ahead -- maybe a cat, or a Greyhound bus.  So it stirs me from my inattentive haze and says: "Here! You Drive!"  (And then I probably panic, crash and burn.)

Hmmmm. Is that the way it would work?

Tom Murphy
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Re: Too much technology
Tom Murphy   7/23/2013 4:25:23 PM
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Bert: I think you're on the right track. I was a stick-shift driver until once, when buying a new car, I realized the automatic trannies actually got better gas mileage.  When technology becomes better than what we can accomplish on our own, then we hit a tipping point that leads to broad acceptance.

IMHO, we're at least a generation from that tipping point with self-driving cars. But perhaps one day....

Bert22306
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Re: Here, you drive!
Bert22306   7/23/2013 5:02:08 PM
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Uuhh, no, that's the way it works now, Tom. The somnolent or drunk driver, at 3 AM, tooling along at 95 mph, runs into the Greyhound bus because he saw a shadow on the road he throught was a cat.

Self driving cars will eliminate this problem. For one, the car would never let the somnolent or drunk driver to take the controls at all!

Tom Murphy
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Re: Here, you drive!
Tom Murphy   7/23/2013 5:07:41 PM
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Good to hear, Bert. But from the story, it sounds like they're still trying to figure that part out.  And I don't want one of those cars on the highway with me until they do.  (I've driven for 4 decades without an accident...knock on wood.)

BarrySweezey
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Re: I have to doubt the premise
BarrySweezey   7/23/2013 5:26:36 PM
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Self-driving cars need not rely on car-to-x infrastructure.  If it's there, it can be useful, but cars can sense their environment and make their decisions on their own.

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