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California lawmakers want driverless cars legalized within the state

Few will argue with the fact that one of the only ways to eliminate distracted driving is to completely remove the driver from the equation. This is in part what automated, driverless vehicles -- such as the fleet that Google is operating around the country -- promise. The cars are expected to be safer because distracted drivers will no longer be an issue. Google's driverless fleet has racked up 300,000 accident-free miles.
 
Driverless vehicles can also allow those who were unable to drive themselves to get around without having to seek assistance. Other than making the roads safer, driverless cars also promise to decrease congestion and delays on the nation's roadways by eliminating accidents.
 
California is making moves to get these driverless vehicles on its state roads with one California legislator introducing a bill seeking to clarify that driverless cars are street legal. Google continues to be one of the major driving forces behind driverless vehicles, although there are other companies working in the industry.
 
Google believes that it has the computer science knowledge and financial strength to bring driverless cars to reality for Americans. "It's amazing to me that we (even) let humans drive cars," Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said a few years ago.
 
A lot of the technology needed for driverless vehicles is already available, and some vehicles on the streets today have many of the components needed to make this feat possible. Industry Association Auto Alliance represents Toyota, Ford, GM, BMW, and other major automakers. According to Auto Alliance, its members are individually exploring autonomous vehicle technology, and the association says that great strides have been made in the past decade.
 
Ford and GM, for instance, are working on autonomous braking technology that allows the car to bring itself to a complete stop when radar and other sensors the vehicle use sense an impending accident.
 
While some state legislators in California are trying to get the vehicles legalized for road use within the state, other states such as Nevada already allow driverless cars to operate on its roads.

Source: Detroit News



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RE: I drive casue I have to
By nafhan on 8/23/2012 12:58:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People generally enjoy doing things they are good at. All these people who are saying they don't "like" driving, are obviously very deficient in the skills needed to be a competent driver.
So, being a skillful driver helps one enjoy sitting in traffic for a couple hours on a regular basis. I guess I should take some driving lessons... Further, riding a horse down the middle of the interstate might be quite a thrill for some people, but I don't think that's a good basis for making it legal. Just because you like doing something doesn't mean it's the best thing for everyone around you (or even the best thing for you).

Anyway, there may come a point where you will no longer be allowed to "race" or drive on public roads. That doesn't mean you won't be able to drive at all, it just means that you will have to do so in specially designated areas - which is what race car drivers do. And, really, driverless race cars? I'm not even sure what you were trying to say there... You are not a race car driver on a racetrack with other racers, and if you were, that wouldn't be relevant either!


RE: I drive casue I have to
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/12, Rating: -1
RE: I drive casue I have to
By nafhan on 8/23/2012 1:48:05 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
even there, I doubt self driving cars would make much of a difference
If I could drink or sleep or work while sitting in traffic for two hours, I would not mind sitting in traffic for two hours. That's huge. Plus, depending on the level of coordination between vehicles, a LOT of traffic problems could actually be alleviated altogether.
quote:
Stupid, terrible analogy. Let's just move on,
Sure it's a bit silly, but I think you're ignoring it because it hits the nail on the head: you think something should be legal because you enjoy it regardless of it's impact on other people.
quote:
Ah I see. So because I enjoy driving, I MUST be some type of thrill seeker or rice racer. Wtf?
My mistake, you enjoy driving slowly in a straight line(?). Anyway, you are again saying that you think something should be legal because you enjoy it. Your reason for enjoying it (driving fast, driving Miss Daisy, etc.) isn't important to the discussion.
quote:
I'm paying taxes and road taxes the same as everyone else, etc...
My taxes go to providing for National parks, but I can't go there and start doing something illegal just because it would be fun. I guess I'm not sure what your point about taxes was. You pay taxes so things that are legal now should always be legal in the future? Also, the name calling: no need for a real rebuttal if you're talking to a "liberal" or a "conservative" or "someone-who-doesn't-agree-with-everything-I-say", right?


RE: I drive casue I have to
By Reclaimer77 on 8/23/12, Rating: 0
RE: I drive casue I have to
By nafhan on 8/23/2012 2:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
I think we're off on a bit of a tangent. In case I didn't make it clear: I'm not saying anything about "should" or "good vs. evil". I was speaking from the point of view of a hypothetical future with self driving cars and some of the possible legal ramifications of that future. I am kind of jerk, and I apologize for that :)

Anyway, I don't see "manual driving" becoming illegal anytime soon, especially considering that self driving cars are not truly usable at this point. Honestly, if a car purchased today was still worth keeping on the road by the time something like this happens, I would be surprised. Plus, there would almost certainly be a "phase out" period for manually driven vehicles that would last years if not decades. Your investment in your current vehicle is safe... IMO.
quote:
How am I "impacting" other people by driving?
Even for the 70% or so of people who consider themselves better than average drivers, driving is a dangerous activity, and personal (i.e. other persons) safety would probably be the number one reason why it might be made illegal. Also, I am not getting your reasoning regarding why laws regarding driving should stay the same forever. Things change. Laws need to adapt to the changes.

If you want a more realistic example: would you be able to handle yourself tightly packed on the road with a bunch of self driving cars going 200Mph+? There's probably only a handful of people in the world truly qualified to deal with that situation, but that's exactly the type of thing that could be commonplace on a completely automated roadway. They would literally have to have special "slow lanes" for manual drivers, and at some point that would not be viable in most areas.


RE: I drive casue I have to
By 91TTZ on 8/23/2012 4:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also, I am not getting your reasoning regarding why laws regarding driving should stay the same forever. Things change. Laws need to adapt to the changes.


It seems like whenever someone proposes a really bad idea that flies in the face of all reality, proponents of that idea always fall back on the argument that "things change" and that other people need to "adapt to the changes". That reasoning seems to assume that your idea of change is inevitable and that that majority who is against that idea needs to get in line with the minority that wants that change.

Watch me apply that idea:

"In the future people will have to pay extra taxes to ensure that I can live in a castle. While people may not like the idea at first, it's the responsible thing to do and everyone needs to pay their fair share. Things change. You just need to learn to adapt to those changes and move on with your life."


RE: I drive casue I have to
By nafhan on 8/23/2012 5:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
So, which part are you disagreeing with: you think self driving cars will not exist, or that laws will not need to change to take them into account?

My previous statements are based on the assumption that the majority will overwhelmingly be interested in self driving cars; not some minority cabal inflicting self driving cars upon the poor minority, and I'm discussing it from that point of view. This, I think, is a more likely possible future than you getting a castle...


RE: I drive casue I have to
By 91TTZ on 8/23/2012 4:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you want a more realistic example: would you be able to handle yourself tightly packed on the road with a bunch of self driving cars going 200Mph+? There's probably only a handful of people in the world truly qualified to deal with that situation, but that's exactly the type of thing that could be commonplace on a completely automated roadway.


The 55 mph speed limit was created in order to conserve fuel, not for safety. Since aerodynamic drag squares with speed, speed quickly becomes the #1 cause of decreased fuel economy for any given vehicle. A vehicle that gets 30 mpg at 55 mph will get about 7 mpg at 160 mph. And you want to go 200 mph? You're talking about vehicles that get about 5 mpg or less. How is that an improved future?


RE: I drive casue I have to
By nafhan on 8/23/2012 5:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
The 200mph thing is an example of something we could not do at all, today. That's it. Just like today's cars, a self driving car would most likely be able to travel at varying levels of speed as appropriate. It does seem likely that most of the time that speed would probably be closer to 55 rather than 200.


RE: I drive casue I have to
By 91TTZ on 8/23/2012 4:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure it's a bit silly, but I think you're ignoring it because it hits the nail on the head: you think something should be legal because you enjoy it regardless of it's impact on other people.


I enjoy eating steaks. Eating red meat has been proven to cause heart disease. Heart surgery costs a lot of money, most of which is paid by the member's health insurance, which then passes that cost on to the other subscribers.

Since one person's personal pleasure can lead to others paying more in health premiums, is that ground for making it illegal to consume red meat?


RE: I drive casue I have to
By nafhan on 8/23/2012 4:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Since one person's personal pleasure can lead to others paying more in health premiums, is that ground for making it illegal to consume red meat?
Actually, increased group health insurance costs is the penalty for having a bunch of over-eaters in your group health plan.

To make your analogy really work, though, we'd have to first assume everyone was under government health care. At that point, yes, eating steak might become illegal. However, IMO, that's an argument against gov. health care, not steak eating.


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