Print 19 comment(s) - last by rbuszka.. on May 1 at 3:49 PM

  (Source: Google)
Google says city driving challenges that stumpped it two years ago are now easy to manage

Google is making great strides in demonstrating the viability of autonomous vehicles on public roads. The internet giant currently has a large fleet of autonomous vehicles cruising around the country as it works to further improve its technology. While most of those vehicles operate on highways, Google is currently working to help its autonomous vehicles master the more difficult art of driving on city streets.
The big challenge for autonomous systems in driving on city streets is the unexpected. People stepping off curbs into the street and vehicles unexpectedly merging are examples of challenges autonomous vehicles face in city driving. More complications stem from the fact that bicyclists and motorcyclists might be using hand gestures to signal turns.
To further hone its skills, Google says that it has logged thousands of miles in city driving with its vehicle test fleet in its home city of Mountain View, California.

"As we’ve encountered thousands of different situations, we’ve built software models of what to expect, from the likely (a car stopping at a red light) to the unlikely (blowing through it),” wrote Chris Urmson, Director, Self-Driving Car Project, on the Official Google Blog.
“We still have lots of problems to solve, including teaching the car to drive more streets in Mountain View before we tackle another town, but thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped us two years ago can now be navigated autonomously."
Google says that so far, its autonomous vehicle fleet has racked up 700,000 autonomous miles and it is continuing to work towards its goal of a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention.

Source: Google

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So what happens...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 4/28/2014 11:30:06 AM , Rating: 1
What happens when the car hits a patch of ice, the computer bails and declares 'you're driving now'? Especially if you haven't actually driven the car yourself for 6 months?

RE: So what happens...
By retrospooty on 4/28/2014 11:33:37 AM , Rating: 4
It's probably a long way off from being certified in icy weather... I would say if someone is using autopilot in cold weather where a patch of ice is even possible, death is preferable so that this person cannot breed and society isn't further dumbed down.

RE: So what happens...
By NellyFromMA on 4/29/2014 9:44:22 AM , Rating: 2
Let's just hope there aren't any bugs. I frankly trust myself driving more than I trust a program to handle everything life throws out at you on the road, although I realize that's opinion.

As for all those idiot driver's around me... well, I doubt it can get much worse.

If I have the option to override or purchase vehicles without the system altogether, that'd be best. For the bad drivers, by all means, GET THIS! lol.

RE: So what happens...
By Guspaz on 4/28/2014 11:39:00 AM , Rating: 5
Do you really think that a human driver can do better on a patch of ice than a computer that has access to the traction data on each individual tire as it passes over the ice?

In fact, the computer in your car is already handling the traction control that helps YOU avoid crashing when you pass over a patch of ice.

RE: So what happens...
By Philippine Mango on 4/28/2014 11:48:58 AM , Rating: 2
traction control is usually completely worthless on ICE anyway so I disagree.

RE: So what happens...
By wordsworm on 4/28/2014 12:01:04 PM , Rating: 2
For drivers who routinely drive in snowy and icy conditions, traction control, antilock brakes, and snow tires are must-have safety features.

I'm from Canada, not the Philippines. So bow to my superior knowledge on all things ice.

RE: So what happens...
By room200 on 4/28/2014 12:09:31 PM , Rating: 5
I'm from Chicago, so I deal with what you deal with while getting shot at. So I have you beat.

RE: So what happens...
By sorry dog on 4/28/2014 2:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ok. so maybe a computer is better with ice but there are still some rare but still certain conditions that will come up that have a big question mark as to how a computer would handle.

Here's one off the top of my head. Say there is a power outage and the traffic light goes down at a busy intersection, so there is a traffic cop directing traffic. Is the computer going to know what his hand signals and whistle mean, or similarly the gym coach directs traffic at my kids elementary school every morning I drop off. I think we are still quite a few years away (as in at least 10) from computers being intelligent or foolproof enough to handle all driving situations. At best in the next 10 years, I can maybe see some automation on access controlled interstates which would be nice... except for all the privacy violations that come with that package.

RE: So what happens...
By Murloc on 4/28/2014 7:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
technically it's possible, it's just like the cyclist putting his arm out, but way more complicated.

In my country this isn't a problem anyway, all intersections with traffic lights have alternative fixed signals that have to be used when the light is turned off. No traffic cops.

RE: So what happens...
By wordsworm on 4/29/2014 10:45:18 PM , Rating: 2
Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The Google car would never stop. It would never leave him, and it would never hurt him, never shout at him, or get drunk and hit him, or say it was too busy to spend time with him. It would always be there. And it would die, to protect him. Of all the would-be drivers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine, was the only one who measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.

OK, T2 paraphrases aside, I can contrast Montreal's human driven subway cars and Vancouver's automated drivers. How many times has a train come to a sudden stop for whatever reason causing people in the train to fall over, possibly hurting themselves in the process in Montreal? By contrast, that never happened to me in Vancouver. The machine has more eyes than a person does, and can stop in a better controlled way than a sudden stomping of the foot. It doesn't have a bad day with the girlfriend or some strike action it wants to take by being a jerk of a driver.

I can't wait for Google's autonomous vehicles to come out. If they succeed, it will be their most important accomplishment and contribution to the world.

RE: So what happens...
By Shig on 4/28/2014 3:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
As I have lived on the south side before, I can confirm this.

RE: So what happens...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 4/28/2014 4:01:01 PM , Rating: 2
If you rely on traction control and antilock brakes when you drive in snowy and icy conditions, you probably are driving too close to the edge. I question the superior knowledge.

RE: So what happens...
By degobah77 on 4/28/14, Rating: 0
RE: So what happens...
By drycrust3 on 4/28/2014 6:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
People get drunk, they take drugs, they drive at night without their headlights on, they drive for too long without a break and fall asleep, the talk on their cellphones ... the list is almost endless. Sure computers need a reboot, but often the computer hasn't frozen completely, in which case the computer may be able to recognize it has a problem, park somewhere safe, then initiate the reboot.
Anyway, what happens when a cop doing a spot check finds an intoxicated person on the back seat of a car with no driver? "Please say your name and address ... Excuse me, are you the driver of this car?" "No Officer, I'm the passenger, a computer is driving this car".

RE: So what happens...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 4/28/2014 4:03:51 PM , Rating: 2
It's the computer in my head that prevents me from getting into a situation where the computer under the dash is beyond its abilities.

RE: So what happens...
By flatrock on 4/28/2014 12:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
What makes you think the computer wouldn't handle such an emergency better than a human driver.

A person has a longer reaction time before realizing that the car has lost traction. The computer isn't going to overreact out of surprise. It is less likely to overcompensate for fishtailing in one direction and end up spinning out the other direction.

I used to drive real wheel drive car or truck a lot in icy weather, but it still takes a little remembering the first time I hit ice in a while.

A computer's memory doesn't get foggy. It doesn't get complacent or distracted. A human being is better equipped to handle some situations, but I suspect that once they work things out the computer will handle ice better than the average driver.

Looking Good
By gamerk2 on 4/28/2014 10:40:45 AM , Rating: 1
The software looks like its coming along good. Nice to see the biker (who as always, ignores traffic rules) didn't get flattened when he moved in front of a runaway car. :D

RE: Looking Good
By Mint on 4/28/2014 3:58:01 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, and drivers are saints, right?

Tell me honestly: When turning right on a red light, and thus looking left at the oncoming traffic, how often do you look back to the right before hitting the gas?

I got hit by a car this way as a kid, and broke my leg. The light just turned green for me, so I proceeded to enter the intersection, and when the driver slammed the pedal to beat the oncoming traffic, I got hit. Yeah, it would've been great if I could make eye contact with the driver, but the morning sun was behind me and reflecting off the window. I wasn't on my bike, either.

Human mistakes are all too common. This is going to be an amazing technology, and we're going to see insurance companies really compete for drivers that use it. It'll result in massive savings for the average family.

You know it's coming...
By rbuszka on 5/1/2014 3:49:32 PM , Rating: 2
Just waiting for the new hit country single, "Google Take The Wheel".

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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