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Print 45 comment(s) - last by Tyler 86.. on Feb 20 at 6:37 PM

A driverless robot car with brains may be road ready by 2030, according to Sebastian Thrun, a great mind in self-driving vehicle development

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Francisco, Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford University computer science and electrical engineering professor, estimated that robot-driven cars will be road ready by 2030

Thrun cited strong advances in the development of artificial intelligence as one of the main reasons that the world could see driverless cars by 2030.  Along with not having a human driver controlling the car, new vehicles should also function properly in a simulated city environment.  
 
Thrun is regarded as one of the world's most successful and innovative manufacturers of self-driving vehicles.  Thrun's team previously won a $2 million prize after "Stanley," a modified Volkswagen Tourage, won a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contest in October of 2005.  Another DARPA challenge in November will feature rule changes that force teams to have their cars obey traffic laws, deal with obstacles and basic road conditions, other vehicles, etc.

It is more likely that robot-driven cars will be seen on battlefields and other hostile environments rather than public roads any time soon, according to Thrun.

Stanford plans to enter "Junior," a converted 2006 Volkswagen Passat that has had its throttle, brakes and steering altered so a computer is able to control them.  The car will be navigated via satellite GPS, with a number of lasers located on Junior's bumpers -- the lasers will be able to look multiple directions and has a range up to 50 yards.


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RE: No Thank you.
By Orbs on 2/19/2007 1:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
When all vehicles are computer controlled, the accident rates will likely be significantly reduced (orders of magnitude) and vehicles will be used much more efficiently (better fuel mileage, the ability to travel at higher speeds when vehicles are close together).

If it saves lives and gets everyone to their destination sooner, it may be worth giving up some of the freedom of being a driver.

If you really want to do the driving, tell your automated car to take you to the track.


RE: No Thank you.
By Oregonian2 on 2/19/2007 3:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
I think we all know that in the US there would be a class-action lawsuit before long and the maker will be out of business (or nearly so) VERY quickly. You know that's true, like it or not. Only way around it may be having a law passed ahead of time eliminating its liability, but the chance of that passing would be slim, and the likelyhood of that being actually effective/useful is probably even slimmer (but lawyers would make out with major mega-profits arguing the cases so it'd be a good product for them).


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