driverless cars

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Andrew Pohlman
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Re: driverless cars

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:41 pm

Ramon Amira wrote:
Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:19 pm
Dofpic wrote:
Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:14 am
Maybe in NYC. Not out here in Montana!
You're kidding yourself. This will be regulated by the federal government, not the states. Being in Montana won't help you. Remember - Big Brother is watching you.
Ramon
Um, if Big Brother knows I'm drunk and being driven home safely, I'm okay with that. If I need to get to the hospital fast, I want emergency services to know. If a terrorist is tracked, so be it. If I plan a trip from SF to Grand Canyon, and I'm tracked as I cross state lines, who cares? I'm not important enough for the government to pay attention to. If they track me, they'll die of boredom.

If you are worried, don't use a driverless vehicle. Oh wait, you'll have to limit yourself to 1966 VW Bugs, because any new vehicles will track your movements whether the car pilots itself or you do.

There are advantages and disadvantages, it's true. My personal feeling is that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
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Re: driverless cars

Post by simonm » Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:43 pm

One of the things I find curious today is the amount of money still being poured into roads.

Regardless of my feelings about the control aspect (the big brother bit is already done and dusted - mobile phones with GPS, Fitbits, and all the other "helping" technology ) driverless vehicles are inevitable. Driverless cars need far less space than conventional vehicles - you could easily drive 3 lanes where there are now two. (On some roads maybe even 4 lanes).

Logically the advent of driverless cars should see major road building in the developed world stopping - however at least here in Germany the car lobby and its related applecart is so strong that money will keep pouring into projects that logically are not necessary. Many of the issues here could be alleviated with speed limits for both cars and commercial vehicles. The huge East-West/North-South commercial traffic puts a vast load on the Germany road network. On the few days of the year when there is no commercial traffic (last Sunday was one) and no long distance commuters, some roads are virtually empty compared to their "normal" capacity.

The bit that challenges the conventional car makers is the implicit ownership change as driverless vehicles by definition imply a taxi/rental type model, at least in urban areas. Even Tesla will be challenged by this. Sitting in traffic or circling looking for parking in a status symbol gets tiresome very quickly if there is pretty much instant availability of an automatic vehicle to take you where ever you want with no worries about parking. One possibility is a two tier system: driverless for the plebs and reserved road space for the elite (net worth $100 million or more) to use whatever vehicle they want.

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Re: driverless cars

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:47 pm

simonm wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:43 pm
... The bit that challenges the conventional car makers is the implicit ownership change ...
When I was a teenager, driving was considered as important as literacy - maybe more so, as you only needed to be functionally literate to work in a factory or do manual labor, but you MUST drive to work. Additionally, my mother told me a story that she was made to sit on the floor at school because she wore a uniform and a rich girl wore expensive clothes and was afforded a private space at the desk.

You are quite correct. This "ownership change" you cite changes everything. It will take time. But cars will stop being the status symbols they are now. Of course, the wealthy will continue to separate themselves from the riffraff. Racing will continue - after all, existing autonomous robotic soccer teams have not yet replaced the humans! :D

From an engineering perspective, there will be less investment in styling and more into safety, efficiency, and optimizing designs such as cooperative operational software. And it must be industrial secrets or something, but I cannot find info on how a driverless car handles mud on the cameras. :D Here is an article showing how Ford's research can now see through falling rain and snow. But mud covering the camera? Good luck with that.
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Re: driverless cars

Post by tgwilt » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:38 pm

I would like to have one because some days my brain just goes on vacation and I feel like I'm in the middle of a cotton ball. I try to avoid driving on those days as I don't think I'm driving safely.

As an investment thing, if ownership of regular automobiles is going to follow the fate of the dodo bird, Now is the time to buy a good used car and hold on to it. In 25 years or so you'll be able to sell it for much more than you paid. Does anyone else remember when new cars cost $1500 or so and a brand new Caddie was $3000? I remember looking at new cars in a lot in the town where I lived and those were the prices. Granted, this was in the early to mid 1960s.
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Re: driverless cars

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:53 pm

tgwilt wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:38 pm
... hold on to it. In 25 years or so you'll be able to sell it for much more than you paid. ...
Yah - that and my stash of incandescent light bulbs. :D In reality I agree with you. Cars that a human can actually drive will be collector's items. And people who are licensed to drive will be rare. Well, maybe more than 25 years for that! :D
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Re: driverless cars

Post by tgwilt » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:56 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:53 pm
tgwilt wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:38 pm
... hold on to it. In 25 years or so you'll be able to sell it for much more than you paid. ...
Yah - that and my stash of incandescent light bulbs. :D In reality I agree with you. Cars that a human can actually drive will be collector's items. And people who are licensed to drive will be rare. Well, maybe more than 25 years for that! :D
At my age, I won't be around to find out.
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Re: driverless cars

Post by doug » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:00 pm

This issue of "Car and Driver" magazine is dedicated to driverless cars. The question on the cover is, "Is driving dead?" I thought about this topic on the forum as soon as I saw the magazine. Personally, I hope driving is not "dead." The most fun I've had lately was childishly sliding my pickup around on a field of wet grass a couple of weeks ago. I seriously doubt that a computer would let me "cut doughnuts" on wet grass??? LOL
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Re: driverless cars

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:31 pm

That's not important. You probably represent a tiny percentage of people who want to slide around on grass or go on a racing circuit. Not unlike the incandescent bulb. I'm sure there are a very tiny minority who might be able to justify the use of an incandescent bulb but if 99% of the population has switched to very low wattage LED's that's a huge reduction in electron activity.
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Re: driverless cars

Post by Evocacion » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:25 pm

While driving around on a skid-patch is undoubtedly fun, most of my driving has been the boring journey to work and then home in the evening, an hour each way, or taking my daughter to Aberystwyth university, four hours each way, or my son to York university, three hours each way.

How nice it would have been to get into the vehicle, press a few buttons, and then sit back with a book, or perhaps even a guitar, while the vehicle made it's way to the destination all on it's own!

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Re: driverless cars

Post by simonm » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:19 am

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:47 pm
... but I cannot find info on how a driverless car handles mud on the cameras. ...
Solved decades ago. Washers for the lights. Either a "windscreen washer" type system, a high pressure spray or in the case of pop-up lamps a squeegee type system. Standard equipment on upper middle market vehicles as far as I know. Would work just as well on cameras.

Evocacion wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:25 pm
... press a few buttons ...
Wrong planet unless buttons are offered as a special retro option. :-) Voice controlled. Quite possibly it will already "know" where you want to go based on your behavior and you will only need to interact if it's "guess" is wrong. Ford introduced its Sync voice control in 2007 so I guess pretty much every new car in the last 5 years has some voice control features. My next car will likely be something like a Dacia that has very few of these "essential" features. :-)

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Re: driverless cars

Post by Evocacion » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:54 pm

simonm wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:19 am
...Wrong planet unless buttons are offered as a special retro option...
Good point! But I find voice control a bit intrusive, so I would go for a touch screen. Or perhaps I enter the details (more likely bring up the previously stored details) on my 'phone, and the car leaves the garage to pick me up at the front door.

But my main point is that most driving is boring, and uses up time that could be better spent.

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Re: driverless cars

Post by Contreras » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:32 pm

tgwilt wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:38 pm
. Cars that a human can actually drive will be collector's items.
And they won't be allowed on the road. You'll have to have it taken to a track, our keep it there ...
Put down the bagpipes ...
... and no one gets hurt.

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Re: driverless cars

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:08 pm

Here is an interesting article that discusses human response to the high technology. This kind of human analysis may even become a mini discipline of psychology if not already! I definitely agree with the statement that the insurance companies will back up the safety claims of the autonomous car makers with hard actuarial data (in time).

And here is a techno article about NVIDIA's new driverless car chip set that is 10X more powerful than previous silicon. The article references "Level 5 driverless vehicles". This begs the questions what levels 1-4 are all about!

The technology is definitely moving faster than any one human can process. The NVIDIA article references over 250 companies are now collaborating! I'm with the "just use it" crowd and I won't worry too much about the tech itself.

This is headed for difficult political and social conundrums. "The breakthrough AI performance and capabilities of the NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus platform will ensure the reliability and safety of our autonomous trucking fleet."-- Xiaodi Hou, CTO, TuSimple This quote means that Truck Driver songs will become obsolete! And what do we do if autonomous cars cross the US border illegally? What if that illegal immigrant car is married to a US autonomous car? These questions are perplexing indeed! :D
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Re: driverless cars

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:32 pm

Car: destination?
Passenger (drunk): Tacoma
Car: Pomona, fine. You're drunk, I'm locking the doors for your own safety.
Passenger: !!!??!

I'm always amused...well, annoyed...by people who talk as if the future has already happened and it's only the uncool people who aren't aware of it yet. What, you have cancer? How old fashioned; don't you know that nanobots will have eradicated that disease the day after tomorrow?
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Andrew Pohlman
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Re: driverless cars

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:16 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:32 pm
Car: destination?
Passenger (drunk): Tacoma
Car: Pomona, fine. You're drunk, I'm locking the doors for your own safety.
Passenger: !!!??!

I'm always amused...well, annoyed...by people who talk as if the future has already happened and it's only the uncool people who aren't aware of it yet. What, you have cancer? How old fashioned; don't you know that nanobots will have eradicated that disease the day after tomorrow?
I see your point about jumping the gun. And it's not about the hipsters being ahead of the loser curve. When you look at what is on the road being tested for approval right now, you realize that autonomous cars are already here. The engineering behind the scenes has yet to be honed to perfection and then approved by one or more <arguably> clueless government agencies for sale to consumers. But it is only a matter of time.

But solid debate is highly necessary so this gets done right. As the article I posted pointed out, the technology is changing faster than we mere mortals can adapt to. This is naturally upsetting to humans, i.e., the stress of change. I personally will continue to ride my bicycle devoid of any sensors, wifi, GPS, and parallel terabyte/sec GPUs. I only own a flip top phone, so I lack the tool to operate an autonomous car... I guess that makes me one of the uncool. :D
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