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Print 47 comment(s) - last by HrilL.. on Aug 14 at 1:25 PM

*While under computer control at least

Ever since Google launched its self-driving project back in 2010, the company has been working out the kinks with self-driving cars. The ultimate goal is to create technology that allows vehicles to drive passengers to any location without driver input. Google is testing fleet of these vehicles in Nevada and California, and has recently announced that its self-driving vehicles have accrued over 300,000 miles.
 
During those 300,000 miles, not one of the vehicles has been in an accident, at least not when under computer control (one Google self-driving automobile was involved in an accident while under human control).
 
When the project was initially launched two years ago, Google noted that 1.2 million lives were lost each year in traffic accidents and the search giant hoped to develop technologies to help reduce the number of traffic fatalities. The national average accident rate in 2009 within the United States worked out to about .366 per 100,000 vehicle miles driven.
 
Google has given its cars an edge on the accident front by operating them in environments that are easy to tackle. For instance, Google's automated fleet drives on mostly dry roads in moderate conditions. Google does want to begin testing its vehicles in harsher conditions, such as snow in the future.

 
Analyst Brian Walker Smith from Stanford Law School says that it is still much too early to say unequivocally that automated vehicles are safer than human driven vehicles. "Google's cars would need to drive themselves (by themselves) more than 725,000 representative miles without incident for us to say with 99 percent confidence that they crash less frequently than conventional cars,” Smith concluded. “If we look only at fatal crashes, this minimum skyrockets to 300 million miles."
 
Automated vehicle technology still has a long way to go to win approval with drivers and state and local authorities. So far, Utah is one of the few states to allow automated vehicles to drive on public roads.
 
While fully automated vehicles may be a long way away, many automakers are starting to integrate technologies that will automatically stop a vehicle when an impending accident is sensed. Cadillac has also unveiled technology that will steer a vehicle and operate the brakes and throttle in traffic.

Source: The Atlantic



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RE: I hope they make it
By Reclaimer77 on 8/13/2012 1:50:23 PM , Rating: -1
quote:
If you told a biplane pilot in WW1 that it might be a good idea to have the plane be able to fly itself, he might think its a good idea in theory, but bloody impossible in principle. He probably would laugh at the notion of it actually being possible. If the idea ended there, then we wouldn't have autopilots on modern aircraft.


Well maybe if you explained first computers and GPS and modern avionics, he would have a more firm grasp on the autopilot concept. Also explain to him that it just holds a speed and course, not actually "flies" the plane. But I digress, this is another stupid analogy. The idea of a self-driving car isn't some super futuristic mind-blowing idea!

I'm not saying it can't be done. I just don't think it SHOULD. And if it must be done, leave me out of it entirely. And I mean ENTIRELY!

quote:
You seem to want to turn this into some sort of "pro-autocar" vs. "anti-autocar," fight.


Well yes, that's generally step #1 of any discussion I enter :) Divide and conquer!

quote:
The difference is I am willing to accept there are possibilities and they are worth considering.


I already did that though. The difference is I applied realism, logic, and common sense. It's a radical concept called "critical thinking".


RE: I hope they make it
By Helbore on 8/13/2012 2:24:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Well maybe if you explained first computers and GPS and modern avionics, he would have a more firm grasp on the autopilot concept. Also explain to him that it just holds a speed and course, not actually "flies" the plane. But I digress, this is another stupid analogy. The idea of a self-driving car isn't some super futuristic mind-blowing idea!


I think you missed the point entirely, which is why you think its a stupid analogy. I'm not suggesting someone from the future goes back to speak to a WW1 pilot. I'm suggesting someone of that era had the "crazy idea," of a plane that could fly itself.

Perhaps if someone came back from the future and explained the advancements in computer technology, then you would have a more firm grasp on the autocar concept.

But then actually suggesting that might happen really would be silly! The point is, none of us know what technology will definitively be able to do in the future. That's why we research new ideas.

quote:
Well yes, that's generally step #1 of any discussion I enter :) Divide and conquer!


Again, you seem to be spectacularly missing the point. You cannot make this "pro. vs. anti," because I am not picking a side and defending it as a definite, unalterable position. I am not pro or anti. I am interested in the possibilities of the technology.

All you are doing is fighting an enemy that isn't there.

quote:
I already did that though. The difference is I applied realism, logic, and common sense. It's a radical concept called "critical thinking".


But you don't have all the variables. None of us do. This is an emerging technology. You are dismissing it based on current limitations. That's not "critical thinking," that is jumping to conclusions and stubbornly sticking to an opinion.

Can you honestly say you can see no positive possibilities to an automated car? I'm not saying that they outweigh the negatives or that there aren't any negatives - only "can you see that there are positive points?"


RE: I hope they make it
By Ammohunt on 8/13/12, Rating: 0
RE: I hope they make it
By Helbore on 8/13/2012 4:23:21 PM , Rating: 3
Considering most of the other points you bring up seem to be in relation to "pro-choice," then assumedly you are not against the development of automated cars? Fair enough if you don't want to use one - but I assume you are not against other peoples' rights to buy and use them.


RE: I hope they make it
By Ammohunt on 8/13/2012 10:06:56 PM , Rating: 2
develope all you want until it becomes a government mandate.


RE: I hope they make it
By avxo on 8/13/2012 7:33:36 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Also explain to him that it just holds a speed and course, not actually "flies" the plane.


I normally don't feed the trolls, but what the hell, it's Monday!

Commercial jetliners spend most of their flight time actually flying themselves, not just "holding speed and course." Airlines have found that it is much more efficient and results in less wear and tear on the airplane.

The course is, by and large, pre-programmed, but the auto-pilot has the authority to actually adjust the parameters up to a certain percent.

The only reason we have warm bodies up there is because we, collectively, feel warm and fuzzy about knowing a pilot is up there, wearing his trusty goggles and weathered leather jacket, using the experience collected over thousands of hours of flight, to guide us safely to our destination.

Of course, we feel warm and fuzzy about the pilot but don't realize that on modern fly-by-wire planes the pilot is not actually in command - the plane itself is. Every move the pilot makes is ran through a computer, which evaluates it and decides whether to issue it unaltered, modify it and then issue it, or reject it outright. Why? Because the computer will not allow a pilot to deviate from the flight envelope.

Feel free to think that self-driving cars shouldn't be allowed. You know what they say, opinions are like a certain body-part... But when self-driving cars are allowed on public roads, don't worry; you will be able to "leave" yourself out of it: stay home.


RE: I hope they make it
By chimto on 8/13/2012 8:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly!
Many fly-by-wire planes would be difficult or impossible to fly by the hands of a human. B2 bomber is a good example. The pilot is only telling the plane where to go when using the controls. The plane is actually making all the decisions on how to use the control surfaces to maintain stablility and get where the pilot wants to go.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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