Print 19 comment(s) - last by Boingo Twang.. on Mar 7 at 2:33 PM

State Sen. wants California to develop automated vehicle rules

California State Sen. Alex Padilla wants to see California follow the path of Nevada and set guidelines that outline when and how autonomous vehicles can be tested within the state. Nevada has such guidelines in place, and Google has been actively testing its autonomous vehicles within the state. Google isn't alone on the push to autonomous vehicles with several universities and organizations working on the technology. 
Padilla recently took a ride in a Google autonomous vehicle and figures that such technology will help reduce the incidence of accidents on highways. He also believes the computer-controlled cars will eventually drive more safely than humans are capable of.
"The vast majority of accidents are due to human error. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce traffic fatalities and improve safety on our roads and highways,” Padilla remarked. “California is uniquely positioned to be the leader in the deployment of autonomous technology."
If the proposed legislation is approved, the California Highway Patrol would be responsible for developing standards and performance requirements for autonomous vehicle testing and operation on state highways.

Google's autonomous Prius
Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Oklahoma are also considering similar legislation.
Drivers [or rather passengers] of these vehicles would be able to read, chat with passengers, or play games without needing to focus on the road. The safety aspects of autonomous vehicles are appealing in that computer-controlled cars would presumably be less accident-prone than human drivers.  
Computer-controlled cars could also help avoid traffic congestion the plagues the highways in many cities around the country. In addition, some scientists believe that future intersections won't need stoplights thanks to automated vehicles.

Source: Detroit News

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The sheep can enjoy
By FITCamaro on 3/5/2012 12:10:22 PM , Rating: 3
Their autonomous utopia.

I prefer to keep my fate in my hands.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By Nexworks on 3/5/2012 12:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
Your ability to potentially drive well is mirrored by others ability to potentially drive poorly. If an autonomous driving utopia worked as intended there wouldnt be bad drivers to worry about.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By FITCamaro on 3/5/2012 12:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
Computers fail.

So do people but that is controlled by them. Not a blown circuit. I'm more comfortable with the idiots on the road who have insurance (or should) than thousands of potential software bugs and hardware failures determining whether I make it to work or home.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By acer905 on 3/5/2012 12:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
A guy driving had an aneurysm, passed out, and plowed into a tree less than 10 feet from my house. Circuits fail in people too

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By Solandri on 3/5/2012 3:55:51 PM , Rating: 2
Mechanical and electronic failure rates are much lower than failure rates in human judgment. Part of the reason air travel is so safe is because there are fewer "drivers" per passenger, and it's been highly automated to avoid common accidents (CFIT, TCAS).

The reason people are uncomfortable with riding around in autonomous cars is because of double standards. In our minds, an accident caused by "a stupid reason" like a programming error weighs more heavily than an accident caused by something like a difficult situation to maneuver out of. But the exact cause doesn't matter to the accident victim - his car is totaled and he's in the hospital either way.

The only thing which should matter is number of deaths and injuries. The cause only becomes relevant when the death/injury rate is comparable. If computer-controlled cars would cause, say, 1000 stupid deaths each year, vs. 30,000 deaths/yr caused by people in difficult situations to maneuver out of, I'll take the 1000 stupid deaths.

Technically, what's going on is type of sample bias. You look at the stupid computer-controlled accident, and say "I could've prevented that if I had been driving. Therefore the computer control is bad." But that comparison is biased - it only considers accidents caused by the computer which a person could've prevented. An unbiased comparison will also include accidents caused by people which a computer could've prevented.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By FITCamaro on 3/5/2012 4:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing which should matter is number of deaths and injuries.

How about freedom? If I don't want to trust my life to a computer for driving to work or the store, I shouldn't have to. But autonomous cars will have to be an all or nothing kind of thing. No way is a computer going to be able to be programmed to drive amongst humans. If a computer detects that a vehicle is getting too close, it will swerve out of the way even if the person moves back. Potentially causing an accident with someone else. A human driver would like honk the horn and only move if absolutely necessary. There are too many variables to consider in that kind of situation. So you'll either have to have autonomous only lanes or an autonomous only road. And since we can't just build entirely new roads through cities, that means everyone's car will have to be autonomous.

If nothing else, you going to buy me a new car? While driving is a privilege, not a right, I shouldn't worry about the government forcing me to rely on a computer for my daily commute.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By bah12 on 3/5/2012 5:29:34 PM , Rating: 1
How about freedom?
Well you answered that with driving is a privilege not a right. You have the freedom to save up and build your own private set of roads to where ever you wish, beyond that if you are on publicly funded roads your "freedom" exists only as granted by public law.
No way is a computer going to be able to be programmed to drive amongst humans.
That is just your lack of imagination. Nothing is impossible, rather just a product of time and money. So it could be possible to do, but most likely not cost effective.
There are too many variables to consider in that kind of situation.
Again that is just a lack of vision, it can be done albeit rather expensively.

So I agree it would be an all or nothing. I'd envision, much like you do, a special set of roads or lanes (at first). But in 25+ years when you and the other 1% of the population are still wanting to drive, I'd suggest you move to Pennsylvania dutch country to toil around in your antique carriage where it may still be legal. We'd take tourists there to see little yellow warning signs with black silhouette of GTO's crossings.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By ClownPuncher on 3/5/2012 5:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
Wanting to drive is an outmoded concept? Some of us enjoy it, it can be fun. This has nothing to do with being a luddite.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By Makaveli on 3/5/2012 12:43:15 PM , Rating: 2
While you bring up a good point. I think its a good idea how many retards do you see on the road daily that make you wonder how they got a license in the first place.

It either this or make it 5 times harder to get a license. If you don't have moron young drivers or you have senior drivers who may have 40 years experience on the road but there vision and reflexes have slowed down due to age and they are no longer the Mario Andretti they use to be but are too proud to stop going behind the wheel.

And you never know the robot driving the car next to you may save you from an accident cause by a human.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By bah12 on 3/5/2012 1:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
I prefer to keep my fate in my hands.
Ignorance is bliss. Your fate is never in your hands, the fact that you think you can control fate shows your ignorance...uh I mean blissfulness. Keep on living the in fantasy land. Fate, by definition, cannot be "in your hands" as it is unavoidable. Perhaps just a poor choice of words on your part.

fate [feyt] noun, verb, fat·ed, fat·ing
1. something that unavoidably befalls a person; fortune; lot: It is always his fate to be left behind.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By drycrust3 on 3/5/2012 2:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
Your fate is never in your hands,

While there is certainly an element of "God's will" in fate, the fact is people can use "fate" as an excuse for not taking responsibility for their actions, e.g. in some countries where there is a dangerous piece of roadway and people keep crashing and dying, and then people say "It was God's will we've had another person killed today". It wasn't God's will, God's will is that people take responsibility and fix up that dangerous piece of roadway so innocent people aren't constantly being killed.
If you look at that sentence "It is always his fate to be left behind" you can see this guy doesn't manage his time properly. It wasn't fate that made him late, it was his own stupidity.
In the same way, when that guy said "I prefer to keep my fate in my hands" he was saying he would rather accept the consequences of a poor decision of his own than the consequences of a computer's bad decision.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By bah12 on 3/5/2012 5:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
Aww but my point was trying to control the uncontrollable is an effort in futility. If FIT were on a closed course and controlled all variables then maybe his "fate" would be in his hands. However on the public roadway his "fate" is never in his hands, as he is at the mercy of other drivers, bad luck, god's will, or whatever you want to call it. Regardless of how good FIT thinks he can drive, the fact is others are not as adept. No amount of skill can usurp that.

That being said I'm an enthusiast and you can have my CTS-V when you pry it from my cold dead hands. I agree with his conclusion, just not his illusion that "fate" has anything to do with skill. Can you increase your odds, sure, but you cannot control the utter chaos that is the universe of statistical probability. Can the guy coming toward you on a 2 lane be about to commit suicide via head on collision? Of course, in fact suicide via car is pretty common. No amount of skill will save you if he swerves over within your reaction time window. Judging by some of FIT's other auto debates, it is almost as if he believes his reaction time is 0, but in fact there is a window EVERY moment that he drives, that is 100% outside of his physical ability to react. That window is why his "fate" will NEVER be in his hands.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2012 5:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's called "defensive driving". It's real. It exists. It works. I assure you. Fate is NEVER in our hands? Think again.

Oh and you're trying to be WAY too literal. There is no such thing as fate. It's not real. You're accusing Fit of living in "fantasy land" while using the literal translation of a word grounded in nothing BUT fantasy. Man..the irony.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By bah12 on 3/5/2012 5:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
See my other post, but long post short. Reaction time exists + other driver error = skill cannot usurp fate. In an AI environment other driver error is 0 and reaction time greatly increases.

RE: The sheep can enjoy
By bah12 on 3/5/2012 5:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
Meant reaction time decreases. Pre-crash systems work because the physical ability of you to move your foot from the gas to the brake, is an order of magnitude slower than that of a computer. Even if you both anticipate impending collision at the same time. Modern systems can pre-tension seat belts, and even start to brake before you even lift your foot let alone move it.

By CityZen on 3/5/2012 12:22:28 PM , Rating: 3
"Autonomous cars"??? Pfffff .... This is like saying we should trust the lives of 300+ people on an airplane to some sort of "auto-pilot" ...
Oh, wait!

RE: Airplane!
By Omega215D on 3/5/2012 5:45:22 PM , Rating: 2
Just as long as you don't have the fish...

Or in Fringe's case the plane can land itself after everyone onboard melts.

Acceptable error.
By drycrust3 on 3/5/2012 1:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
"The vast majority of accidents are due to human error. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce traffic fatalities and improve safety on our roads and highways,”

Deeming, the guy that was a major influence in car reliability, believed that the primary cause of car unreliability was poor quality components, and that by improving the quality of the components you improved the reliability of the car.
The same attitude applies to motor vehicle crashes: poor quality driving is the primary cause of crashes. It doesn't matter whether a person or a computer drives the car, what matters is quality of the driving.
And just as breakdowns are a sign of poor build or poor maintenance on a vehicle, so road deaths and vehicle crashes are a sign of poor driving quality.
We all think that it's ok to drive a little bit over the speed limit (or alcohol limit) but this is the same as building a car where a few thousandths of an inch tolerance on every component is ok. If the car manufacturers can build cars with tolerances that are invisible to the naked eye, then getting everyone to drive within the road rules is also not impossible.
I believe the reason autonomous cars (or whatever you call them) have had such a good safety record is because the programmers have been very strict in the way they have told the cars to follow all the road rules.
The error with the guys statement is he thinks only computers can drive with precision. Most drivers, with the right "encouragement", can also drive with precision. In an area where I occasionally drive there used to be a very strong speed camera presence, and it was apparent that everyone drove at exactly the speed limit. The reason people don't drive with precision is because they can get away with lax driving.

Oooh, this new and scary
By Boingo Twang on 3/7/2012 2:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
New and scary things bad.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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