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 avxo on 8/13/2012 7:33:36 PM , Rating: 3
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
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.

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