backtop


Print 53 comment(s) - last by Erudite.. on Feb 22 at 11:15 PM

Automated cars would call ahead and schedule a time for the intersection

Some major technology firms see the future of the automobile as a much more automated device that can navigate on its own without a driver. There are, however, differing visions of what those automated vehicles of the future may look like.
 
Google sees those vehicles as needing no driver and being standalone with sensors and GPS capability to successfully navigate the roads that we have today without human interaction. Others see a more automated type of vehicle where the intersections and roads themselves tell the vehicles when and where to go.
 
A computer scientist working at the University of Texas at Austin named Peter Stone is working on technology that will help fully automated vehicles reduce traffic and navigate intersections safely. Stone believes that future intersections won’t need stoplights or stop signs. Instead, a virtual traffic controller that schedules when the vehicle stops and when it starts would manage automated vehicles.
 
"A future where sitting in the backseat of the car reading our newspaper while it drives us effortlessly through city streets and intersections is not that far away," says Stone, a professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Austin.
 
Stone is creating AI computer systems that will allow the autonomous vehicles to call ahead and reserve a space and a time at the intersection. An automated intersection manager would then approve the request and the vehicle and move through the intersection during its allotted time. The idea is that by scheduling these automated vehicles in such a way, there will be very little stopped traffic reducing traffic jams and allowing for faster transportation between two places.
 
"Computers can already fly a passenger jet much like a trained human pilot, but people still face the dangerous task of driving automobiles," Stone says. "Vehicles are being developed that will be able to handle most of the driving tasks themselves. But once autonomous vehicles become popular, we need to coordinate those vehicles on the streets."

Source: University of Texas at Austin



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Pedestrian interface
By Fritzr on 2/21/2012 10:25:09 AM , Rating: 4
One purpose of stoplights is to tell the pedestrians when they can cross without evading the cars. So they won't entirely disappear.

Will the cars be equipped with pedestrian & small animal detection to avoid hitting these mobile and erratic obstacles?

What happens when some of these obstacles wander into the road and stop?

Just one of the major problems that automated vehicles will have to cope with.




RE: Pedestrian interface
By kensiko on 2/21/2012 10:36:25 AM , Rating: 1
Agree with you, I don't believe any automated car will see the light in the future.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By twhittet on 2/21/2012 12:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
That is a ridiculous statement. Depending on your age, you may not see it, but it will definitely happen.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By kensiko on 2/21/2012 1:37:25 PM , Rating: 1
It's not a ridiculous statement. There are so many things we have to look at when we drive, not just on the road but at the sides of the road or in the other lane or even over the trees for animal that would run in direction of the road.

An automated card will be made by humans and will make mistakes. I don't think any automated car maker would like be responsible of the life of humans in their cars.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By nafhan on 2/21/2012 2:39:25 PM , Rating: 5
Dude... the main things stopping fully automated cars, now, are:
1) Cost
2) Legal issues

Google's had a fleet of automated cars driving around for years now, and Nevada is about to be the first state to clear up legal hurdles.
quote:
An automated card will be made by humans and will make mistakes. I don't think any automated car maker would like be responsible of the life of humans in their cars.
Sure, but the thing with automation is: a mistake in the automation can be found and corrected EVERYWHERE at once with a software update that will never be forgotten. With human controlled vehicles that "learning" has to happen over and over again on an individual basis. In fact, from what I've read, the hardest part of building an automated vehicle is interacting with erratic human drivers.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By tayb on 2/21/2012 3:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
I would also add deployment, human stupidity, and technology on your list of reasons why it doesn't currently exist.

Humans are stupid and terrible drivers. We do dumb things all the time on the road that no software or system could account for. For this to happen every single car on the road would have to be automated and in connection with each other.

The other would be technology. Automation has come a really long way and I've seen some cool demos but a lot of these things are on closed courses at extremely slow speeds. The sensor and software technology will get there but it is a ways off. Another technological issue is car malfunction outside of the software. Tires exploding, engines breaking down, etc. How long until we move away from the wheel?


RE: Pedestrian interface
By tng on 2/21/2012 3:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not a ridiculous statement. There are so many things we have to look at when we drive, not just on the road but at the sides of the road or in the other lane or even over the trees for animal that would run in direction of the road.
I happen to agree with him here. The solution is not just the car, it is the road itself. Look for automated cars on special roads where they can operate via tags in the roadways, roadways that have limited access to the road to eliminate things that will jump out in front of your automated car.

quote:
Humans are stupid and terrible drivers. We do dumb things all the time on the road that no software or system could account for. For this to happen every single car on the road would have to be automated and in connection with each other.
Yes there are allot of dumb drivers out there, and once you take that into account, automated cars sound pretty good. However those same dumb drivers will fight tooth and nail to avoid automated cars.

Also I will take RC77s viewpoint that once you automate the cars and roadways, there is plenty of room for abuse by Government, both at a local and federal level to check on where/when you are all the time. At some point the government left unchecked with this type of thing will own us.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By tayb on 2/21/2012 4:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I happen to agree with him here. The solution is not just the car, it is the road itself. Look for automated cars on special roads where they can operate via tags in the roadways, roadways that have limited access to the road to eliminate things that will jump out in front of your automated car.


I think intelligent software and a huge array of cameras and sensors can do a far better job recognizing and avoiding random obstacles than any human can. That deer coming out from the dark forest that you can't see? IR and thermal can see it. Camera and sensor technology 15-20-30 years from now is beyond my imagination.

quote:
Also I will take RC77s viewpoint that once you automate the cars and roadways, there is plenty of room for abuse by Government, both at a local and federal level to check on where/when you are all the time. At some point the government left unchecked with this type of thing will own us.


That's definitely a concern but I don't think these cars will be much more connected than they are now. Just essentially an ad-hoc car to car network with GPS. I think you are right to have that concern but the government could track our cars right now if we would let them.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By JediJeb on 2/22/2012 3:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
Then there is always the what if question where the government has control of the programs running the vehicles and what happens if the government decides you do not need to travel where you want to go? If you can not over-ride the system then the government could control where and when you travel with very little effort.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By JKflipflop98 on 2/22/2012 5:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
The same thing that happens now, genius. They post an officer at the end of the road that says "you can't go that way".


RE: Pedestrian interface
By nafhan on 2/22/2012 10:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Humans are stupid and terrible drivers. We do dumb things all the time on the road that no software or system could account for.
While this is true, it's actually an argument for why people shouldn't be allowed to drive more than anything. It's pretty obvious that humans cannot always account for the stupid and terrible things other human drivers do. I absolutely believe that a well designed machine could potentially do a better job of of working around people's mistakes than a "good" driver, though.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By rcc on 2/21/2012 4:09:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure, but the thing with automation is: a mistake in the automation can be found and corrected EVERYWHERE at once with a software update that will never be forgotten.


True. So, however, is the converse. If the system has a glitch that causes all vehicles in motion to accelerate at max at Noon on January 1st 2022 you just killed potentially thousands, 10s of thousands, or more. As the saying goes, computers let you screw things up faster and in larger quantities.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By nafhan on 2/22/2012 10:43:37 AM , Rating: 2
Depending on how the system was designed, maybe, but how likely is that? That's a very similar argument to what people who are afraid of flying would say about aircraft.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By rcc on 2/22/2012 5:01:39 PM , Rating: 2
but there is no single entity/program/thingy taking control of multiple aircraft.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By nafhan on 2/22/2012 5:31:12 PM , Rating: 2
I brought up the aircraft thing because of probability. You're mentioning a "what if" worst case scenario without giving any reason to believe it could happen or even that it's likely (or, really, even that it's possible).

It's possible that 1 million people commuting to work tomorrow will have seizures and crash their cars. Pretty unlikely, but it could happen...


RE: Pedestrian interface
By rcc on 2/22/2012 6:03:44 PM , Rating: 1
Ok, here's likely scenario for you.

They use Windows boxes and every xx number of days the system shuts down and has to reboot. Hope everyone is awake and near the controls of their cars.

: )

Or, think of it as Google going down. It doesn't happen often but it affects a lot of people when it does. Fortunately, if you wait a few seconds for the mirror/backup to take over you are off and running again. If you don't get the proper scheduling for an intersection, that's a problem.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By JediJeb on 2/22/2012 3:33:57 PM , Rating: 2
Also what if a foreign entity decides to unleash a Stuxnet type program on the control system and take control of our vehicles? How well will the system be hardened against hackers? All problems that will eventually have to be dealt with.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By ppardee on 2/21/2012 7:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
Driving is based on a set of rules. Even the simplest AI can react to a given set of input and take the prescribed action AND do it hundreds of times faster than a human driver. A computer can observe the entire road with (multiple) cameras and process EVERY input. It can seamlessly integrate input from IR cameras, proximity sensors and wireless data from other vehicles/traffic control systems. And above all else, there isn't anything to distract it.

All car makers are already responsible for the lives of the people in their cars. The only danger to them is the possible liability shift from the drivers to them. Enough donations to politicians will get laws passed to make them not liable for accidents that result in things beyond their control, like people running out into the street (which is already accounted for, but as you stated, the system can't be perfect)

We can't just drop an automated car onto the streets today for the reasons you stated, but the changes will come and we'll all be safer for it.... Might even be able to drive more efficiently too... I don't think this guy's plan is sound, but an adaptation of it (timing the car to get to the light when it is green, for example) could be good.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By JediJeb on 2/22/2012 3:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
Driving is based on a set of rules. Even the simplest AI can react to a given set of input and take the prescribed action AND do it hundreds of times faster than a human driver. A computer can observe the entire road with (multiple) cameras and process EVERY input. It can seamlessly integrate input from IR cameras, proximity sensors and wireless data from other vehicles/traffic control systems. And above all else, there isn't anything to distract it.

One flipped bit in the right memory address could be very "distracting" to the automated system. Also even though an automated system could react hundreds of times faster to a situation than a human can, it has to have programmed into it what action to take for a given situation. What happens when it encounters a situation for which it has no programmed action to follow? We are not talking Commander Data or C3P0 highly intelligent artificial brains here, but simple computer codes with many what if statements.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By bigdawg1988 on 2/21/2012 1:37:46 PM , Rating: 3
Bump that, I'm still waiting on my damned flying car!


RE: Pedestrian interface
By Reclaimer77 on 2/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: Pedestrian interface
By drycrust3 on 2/21/2012 3:01:49 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
That is a ridiculous statement. Depending on your age, you may not see it, but it will definitely happen.

Totally agree. My guess is big rigs that have to travel long distances will be ideal. A person will drive the rig out of a city, then let it loose, and it will drive itself all the way to some distant city, where another driver will get into the vehicle and drive it into the city.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By nafhan on 2/21/2012 11:11:00 AM , Rating: 2
There will always be incidents where vehicles hit pedestrians. I think these accidents will be less likely with automated vehicles, but some people are dumb, nothing can be done about that.

Most automated vehicles will have obstacle detection methods. At the very least, the amount of data being recorded by automated vehicles should make it easier to tell who's fault it is, and if the obstacle detection and avoidance stuff is done well, it'll be the pedestrians fault.

For the signals, I'd imagine we'd have something similar to the crosswalk signals we have now, except that the button would actually do something: it would send a signal out to the traffic control network saying "pedestrian needs to cross", which would have the cars that would intersect the crosswalk automatically stop. The crosswalk and the cars could both be equipped with systems to ensure the pedestrian has finished crossing successfully before starting again.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By kattanna on 2/21/2012 11:18:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
One purpose of stoplights is to tell the pedestrians when they can cross


true. but the main purpose is to tell opposing traffic when to stop.

with our perpendicular street intersections you will always need some mechanism to tell when one path can go and the other to stop, even those small 1 stop sign towns LOL

thats why the freeways are not built that way, but instead with off/on ramps that allow the smoother free flow of traffic.

this system might work in those small 1 stop sign towns as there is little traffic, but in places like Los Angeles or, LOL, NY. please the shear demand is huge


RE: Pedestrian interface
By twhittet on 2/21/2012 1:02:14 PM , Rating: 2
In a fully automated system, it will be designed to handle this. When conditions are ideal (no snow or ice), cars will be synchronized and be able to easily take turns going through intersections without ever stopping.

Pedestrian traffic and other obstacles ("legacy" vehicles without smart control, slow moving vehicles, etc.) will be the most difficult to engineer around, but not impossible.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By drycrust3 on 2/21/2012 2:34:20 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
In a fully automated system, it will be designed to handle this. When conditions are ideal (no snow or ice), cars will be synchronized and be able to easily take turns going through intersections without ever stopping.

Believe it or not, this is already partially implemented for buses. At least it is for the buses I drive in New Zealand, and I don't think we are the only place in the world that does this.
The bus has a GPS system and that is linked into the traffic light system. As my bus approaches an intersection the traffic lights actually make allowance for the bus, and as long as the bus isn't too far away, then if the lights are green they will hold green just a bit longer than they'd otherwise do, and if the lights are red and the bus is waiting, then they will cycle around quicker than they'd otherwise do.
One way easy way to tell when the system is working is to watch the lights as the bus approaches the intersection, and if they turn yellow about when the bus is just 1 to 2 metres before entering the intersection then that is a pretty good clue that there is some sort of computer - bus communication. Of course, a good bus driver could just have seen the lights were about to change and sped up a tiny fraction to get into the intersection as the lights were going yellow.
There are several problems with this technology. The first is the assumption that every vehicle is travelling at about the speed limit e.g. 50 km/hr, and that they will have cleared the intersection when the lights go red. Reality is vehicles may not be travelling at this speed, they could easily be travelling slower. For example, the vehicle may want to turn at the intersection; or a bus could have stopped to let passengers off at a bus stop and the distance between the bus stop and the lights is such the bus can't get up to the expected speed, so the lights start changing too early; or there is a queue of traffic on the other side of the intersection which means a vehicle can't exit the intersection at 50 km/hr; or the terrain and the power to weight ratio of the vehicle is such that 50 km/hr is impossible e.g. a person riding a push bike up a hill.
Another problem is the traffic light system can get overloaded in peak hours, meaning the priority phasing for the buses doesn't always work.
A third problem is what I call "the second bus" problem, which happens when two or more buses are approaching an intersection, and the lights will only wait for the first one and not the second one.
There was another problem that occurred with the previous "silver box" system we had (the bus had a "silver box" under the front of the bus, and that controlled the traffic lights through the induction coils under the road), but I haven't noticed it with the GPS system, which involved one bus overtaking another bus when close to the traffic lights (e.g. two buses in adjacent lanes where the traffic travels at different speeds). Say two buses approach an intersection, with one ahead of the other. The traffic lights pick up the first one and start waiting, then they pick up a second bus (the buses would pass information such as who they were, so the lights could differentiate between the buses), so then the lights forget completely about the first bus and start waiting for the second one instead, but then the second one overtakes the first bus, and so the lights change phase when the second bus hits the white line going into the intersection (or just before it) and thus the bus that was first has to stop.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By danjw1 on 2/21/2012 12:06:26 PM , Rating: 2
Some cars already use radar for maintaining a distance between it and another car. It isn't unreasonable to think something like this would work. But, yes surface streets are a harder nut to crack then a freeway.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By Samus on 2/21/2012 12:42:01 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think cars should ever drive themselves in dense urban areas. Assist is one thing, but complete automation? A lot of lives at stake there.

If a vehicle can drive itself on a sparely populated highway, I see that as convenient, safer, and actually possible.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By nafhan on 2/21/2012 2:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
Dense urban areas are where automation will be most effective. For one thing, you can have sensors on the vehicle looking every single direction at the same time and responding almost instantly (including alerting nearby vehicles) to something like a person stepping out in the middle of the road. Traffic could be handled as a flow control problem with slight adjustments being automatically made to the speed of each vehicle to promote maximum throughput. There are plenty more examples.

Given how many accidents are either pure "human error" or preventable, "a lot of lives at stake" is actually a reason to implement automation, not be scared of it.


RE: Pedestrian interface
By kattanna on 2/22/2012 1:05:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Dense urban areas are where mass transit will be most effective


there.. fixed it for you.


“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














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki