Will driverless cars ever actually be a thing?

drummerboy

I read some of the stories about driverless car technology, and I'm just amazed at the degree that journalists are caught up in the hype - as if they're just around the corner.

In the U.S., I can't help but think this technology will take decades before it becomes even moderately used.  Given our infrastructure I don't see a truly autonomous car, i.e taking someone from any Point A to any Point B happening in a hundred years.

Doing the first and last "mile" is the hardest thing, but all that driving in the middle ain't no piece o' cake either.  I think the first large scale use will be trucking, but even that will be limited. I bet the autonomous -trucks will drive maybe 90% of the route on interstates, with drivers taking over the start and end of the routes in almost all cases. And it will stay that way for a long time.

Meh, but what do I know? Show me I'm wrong.


conandrob240

go test drive a Tesla with autopilot 2.0 and try it. The technology is already here.


jamie

I was in a self driving Tesla - the tech is indeed already here.  I think the only issue is with traffic lights and stop signs - those are the only spots that you need to take control.  And I think it needs to detect a hand on the wheel.


joanne
They've been road testing them (various versions) out bush. Can't work out how to handle and avoid kangaroos. cheese This is a serious fault, if you're counting on accident prevention.

bub

In no more than 2 or 3 iterations, the iphone will have a time machine app and we will make you eat crow about your "not in 100 years" prediction. 

drummerboy said:

I read some of the stories about driverless car technology, and I'm just amazed at the degree that journalists are caught up in the hype - as if they're just around the corner.

In the U.S., I can't help but think this technology will take decades before it becomes even moderately used.  Given our infrastructure I don't see a truly autonomous car, i.e taking someone from any Point A to any Point B happening in a hundred years.


Doing the first and last "mile" is the hardest thing, but all that driving in the middle ain't no piece o' cake either.  I think the first large scale use will be trucking, but even that will be limited. I bet the autonomous -trucks will drive maybe 90% of the route on interstates, with drivers taking over the start and end of the routes in almost all cases. And it will stay that way for a long time.


Meh, but what do I know? Show me I'm wrong.



joanne

I found the Gizmodo article on the kangaroo problem - the tech issues reminds me of a gorgeous cartoon in the Journal of Unreproducable Results back in the '70s, which depicted a kangaroo rifle and attempted to explain the physics of the bullets' trajectories. 

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/201...


dave

Singapore is planning a 100% driverless taxi fleet by 2018. First ones are already on the roads.  Not sure why these would be decades away for the US.


ice

One word: lawyers

Let the class action tort bar get a hold of the first few accidents and we'll see what happens to the rollout in the U.S.    It probably won't even matter much if technology driving cars is safer than humans driving cars while distracted by technology.  And what a field day the tort bar and Congress will have when inevitably a new form of remote car-jacking arises and some innocent's car is swerved into a crowd by a car hacker.  Or a S-D car is programmed to deliver an explosive into a busy pedestrian area. If US citizens can sue Saudi Arabia over 9-11, you don't think they'll sue Tesla over this?

Did a glitch put you in a ditch?  Better Call Saul!!

(that said, I think the above are speed bumps to eventual adoption, but I do think it'll take more time than some pundits and tech writers currently predict)


joan_crystal

Agree they will be here sooner than later.  Major problem is how to program them for situations where there is no perfect outcome (i.e. another car turns onto your road in front of you with no time for you to stop safely or room to pass safely to avoid the collision.  Traffic close behind you is also traveling at speed and will rear end you if you stop suddenly.  What should the driverless car be programmed to do?)


weirdbeard


joan_crystal said:

Agree they will be here sooner than later.  Major problem is how to program them for situations where there is no perfect outcome (i.e. another car turns onto your road in front of you with no time for you to stop safely or room to pass safely to avoid the collision.  Traffic close behind you is also traveling at speed and will rear end you if you stop suddenly.  What should the driverless car be programmed to do?)

Yes, the technology is pretty close but there are issue in how to program for situations like this one.  Or for situations when there's been an accident and a cop is re-routing all cars across a median to get around it -- not sure the programming is capable of handling that situation yet.  Also, I think there will be a long transition period (perhaps a couple of generations) whereby there will be a mix of drived cars and driverless cars, and during that time the driverless cars may require a licensed driver to take over in various situations.  Essentially until ALL cars are driverless I think they have to leave in the capacity for manual overrides of the system.  But what do I know?


joanne

here's a pertinent summary of some legal aspects: https://www.law.gwu.edu/driver...


yahooyahoo

Let's say an accident is inevitable, does the driverless car choose to smash into another car or a tree or perhaps a pedestrian?  


ice


yahooyahoo said:

Let's say an accident is inevitable, does the driverless car choose to smash into another car or a tree or perhaps a pedestrian?  

They just program a Siri-like voice to scream "Jesus take the wheel!!"


newstead77

A friend in a wealthy neighboring town, mentioned that his friends who have newer Teslas punch in their home address and let the car drive them - after having been to party and having had too many drinks.  The autodrive system can kick in once you are above 18 mph - not to difficult on our local roads.

So, it's already happening....


GoSlugs

Imagine the social disruption that will occur when autonomous tech replaces long haul truckers. 


joanne

that's already happening. Drones are delivering pizzas and other goods, and are also used for remote-area deliveries. 


conandrob240

drones and self-driving cars are not the same.

I did a Tesla test drive Saturday and can say we were both left absolutely astounded by the auto pilot


yahooyahoo

Still drunk driving.

newstead77 said:

A friend in a wealthy neighboring town, mentioned that his friends who have newer Teslas punch in their home address and let the car drive them - after having been to party and having had too many drinks.  The autodrive system can kick in once you are above 18 mph - not to difficult on our local roads.


So, it's already happening....



Red_Barchetta


drummerboy said:

I read some of the stories about driverless car technology, and I'm just amazed at the degree that journalists are caught up in the hype - as if they're just around the corner.

In the U.S., I can't help but think this technology will take decades before it becomes even moderately used.  Given our infrastructure I don't see a truly autonomous car, i.e taking someone from any Point A to any Point B happening in a hundred years.


Doing the first and last "mile" is the hardest thing, but all that driving in the middle ain't no piece o' cake either.  I think the first large scale use will be trucking, but even that will be limited. I bet the autonomous -trucks will drive maybe 90% of the route on interstates, with drivers taking over the start and end of the routes in almost all cases. And it will stay that way for a long time.


Meh, but what do I know? Show me I'm wrong.

How could it not happen?  Corporations will save billions. 


joanne

yeah, I know they're not the same same thing. 

But we've had mining equipment operated by remote from other countries for close on two decades at least now, we have farming equipment (headers, tractors, irrigation pumps etc) travelling all over the place controlled by remote and GPS, so when you drone delivery of fresh foods and longer-distance of drone-delivered goods, there's a heck of a lot of automated traffic out there, on land and in the air. Remember, we've planes on auto-pilot of decades and they move in all directions including up and down.

Sorting out security, insurance and road rules is the least of our worries. 


drummerboy

yeah. horsepoop if you think that's gonna happen.

dave said:

Singapore is planning a 100% driverless taxi fleet by 2018. First ones are already on the roads.  Not sure why these would be decades away for the US.



newstead77


yahooyahoo said:

Still drunk driving.
newstead77 said:

A friend in a wealthy neighboring town, mentioned that his friends who have newer Teslas punch in their home address and let the car drive them - after having been to party and having had too many drinks.  The autodrive system can kick in once you are above 18 mph - not to difficult on our local roads.


So, it's already happening....

Yes - of course it is drunk driving.... though a tiny bit safer but still irresponsible.


maps

I saw an interview with the president of one of the major car companies (BMW?) and he said they were expecting car sales to drop 50% with fully self-driving cars. It is going to be super disruptive.


conandrob240

I don't understand why car sales would drop? You mean BMW sales will drop?


Gilgul

Car Sharing. Less need to own a car if you can quickly get an automated vehicle from Uber to your door. 

conandrob240 said:

I don't understand why car sales would drop? You mean BMW sales will drop?



Gilgul

Question is when will driven cars be banned. Automated cars will work best if all cars are automated and in communication. 


maps


Gilgul said:

Question is when will driven cars be banned. Automated cars will work best if all cars are automated and in communication. 

I don't actually think there is any plan to have cars communicate with each other, it really isn't necessary. I actually think the communication between the cars would be slower than the actual sensors, give that they use laser-based LIDAR to determine things such as distance and speed of other vehicles. 


mjc

Two thoughtful voices on this on NPR lately.  The first was a knowledgeable-sounding (ie, south Asian accent) engineer, out of MIT I believe, who said that when they started working on this they were very optimistic about when it would be ready; but as it turns out, actually driving in traffic is waaayy more complicated than they had thought, and it's going to take quite a while.

Second was a founder of Lyft, on NPR this past weekend.  His thought was that it would be quite a gradual process, that could easily take decades to complete.

disclosure:  As a person who has always loved to drive, I'm not so much looking forward to this, so confirmation bias all the way.  And yes, it could mean way lower car sales.  The guy from Lyft pointed out that typically a private car is parked 96% of the time.  If that's reduced, car sales should go down too?  His view was that eventually we'd end up buying road time instead of a specific vehicle.  (But then where will I keep my sunglasses??)


conandrob240

Can't you get an Uber to your door now? Still not getting this rationale.

Gilgul said:

Car Sharing. Less need to own a car if you can quickly get an automated vehicle from Uber to your door. 
conandrob240 said:

I don't understand why car sales would drop? You mean BMW sales will drop?



Gilgul

Communication is more about capacity maximization. You can have more cars flowing smoother if they coordinate together. 

maps said:



Gilgul said:

Question is when will driven cars be banned. Automated cars will work best if all cars are automated and in communication. 

I don't actually think there is any plan to have cars communicate with each other, it really isn't necessary. I actually think the communication between the cars would be slower than the actual sensors, give that they use laser-based LIDAR to determine things such as distance and speed of other vehicles. 




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