Print 13 comment(s) - last by Kuroyama.. on Feb 19 at 11:05 AM

Stanford's robotic VW Touareg -- Winner of 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge
"We have no intent to kill anybody."

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By Sanctusx2 on 2/17/2006 2:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
This is pretty scary if you ask me. I mean I was ecstatic that someone finally won the DARPA challenge, but there are so many more unpredictable events that could happen in traffic(particularly with so many humans involved). Pedestrians, bad drivers, highway wrecks, pile-ups, adverse weather conditions, construction projects, detours... the list goes on. Even with someone at the wheel I think it'll be very difficult. How fast can you really react if the vehicle decides to crash into a shoulder or another car?

Very premature, maybe in a few years...

RE: Scary
By KristopherKubicki on 2/18/2006 4:21:36 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but a ridiculous amount of those things are human error. But these things will come in small steps.

The new BMW (or is it Benz?) that uses ground radar to automatically brake if youre approaching another object is a small step. Then you'll start seeing automated swerving for collision avoidance. Then automated parking. Pretty soon you'll have systems to the point where the driver is doing so little he can practically just read the paper anyway.


RE: Scary
By JarredWalton on 2/18/2006 8:23:43 AM , Rating: 2
I for one sincerely hope this all works out eventually. Obviously, were not going to have all vehicles fully controlled by robots in the next two years. Given refinements in the software, updated hardware, updated roads and traffic laws... I think there's a very real possibility that we could all be sitting around in computers steered vehicles within the next 50 years.

I sure as hell hope so, because long road trips suck. Imagine hopping into your car, telling it to drive you to Vegas, and then either taking a nap or powering up your laptop and fragging away for a few hours! I remember reading sci-fi books as a kid where this was supposed to be the future, and I'm sure it eventually will be -- or at least some version of it. Whether or not that happens in our lifetimes is the real question.

RE: Scary
By stephenbrooks on 2/18/2006 3:03:19 PM , Rating: 2
I think the important change will come when someone can demonstrate that the computer vehicles are actually safer drivers than humans, which is quite possible given they can radio each other and have senses that we do not.

Then the "safety" argument will be swinging the other way. I mean if it can be demonstrated that using these vehicles decrease the number of people killed in road accidents by 25%, I think we'd have many less posters like the first few above.

Prius automated parking
By Kuroyama on 2/19/2006 11:05:25 AM , Rating: 2
The Prius in Japan already has automated parking, but as suggested above, Toyota does not offer it in the US because of fears of litigation.

By cpeter38 on 2/17/2006 9:46:48 AM , Rating: 2
This is a total monetary black hole for the company that endorses this!

I can imagine MANY scenarios that wouldn't be the fault of the manufacturer. All the U.S. lawyers have to be having wet dreams about this!

The instant the computer is presented with something it wasn't programmed for and it locks up or makes a bad decision, "BOOM goes the Dynamite" ...

By niknik on 2/17/2006 10:47:32 AM , Rating: 2
Well, it's not unlike the thousands (millions?) of lives each day relying on computers/electronics. Fly-by-wire controlled planes, pacemakers, etc.
Heck, we went to the moon with "calculators"... :)

Of course, you won't be relying on Windows XP to drive your car. For each task, you need the proper tools. For this kind of stuff they probably have it covered, with triple redundant systems, or whatever... anyway we're just takling prototypes.

Of course, in the USA, lawyers are already over everything anyway! :)

By cpeter38 on 2/17/2006 2:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
The problem lies with the programming and outside factors(although I would most definitely not want to be legally liable for the hardware). The number of variables and the sheer randomness of human interaction with the programming would be extremely difficult to handle in the best of circumstances.

Adding the U.S. legal environment to the mix is too much unless there is a legal limit to liability (remember, the U.S. legal system awarded Michelle Knepper $1.575 Million from the PHONE COMPANY because she got bad liposuction from a dermatologist. You might ask why the phone company was at fault - answer - they did not check to make sure he was Board Certified when he placed his advertisement in the phone book [and neither did she]).

Not much new
By Plasmoid on 2/17/2006 2:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
Another car manufaturer, the name of which sadly escapes me, recently announced they were going to make an auto-cruise or something like that feature available on their cars that basically drives the car on motorways... bends and all.

Compare that to the task of making a robot car drive a pre determined route without crashing... other then the whole problem of traffic lights and other junctions its very capable of doing with a little Sat Nav and a 360 degrees Radar detector on the roof and a smart enough computer to keep its distance.

RE: Not much new
By sonoran on 2/17/2006 2:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
I always felt automated driving on highways should be doable enough, assuming the idiots around you don't run you off the road. Would be nice to set the autopilot, relax, and be alerted to take back over manual control when you're reaching some designated exit a few hours later. That level of automation alone would be great for people who spend lots of time on the highway. And once the kinks are worked out, these things would probably be safer drivers than people.

From some things...
By Lifted on 2/17/2006 10:59:23 AM , Rating: 2
Things like this may be useful in places like iraq, with a fleet of robot supply trucks protected by a few groups of soldiers and a UAV or two. I know people hate driving trucks down those highways, though it does pay very well.

No no Robot driving
By littlebitstrouds on 2/17/06, Rating: 0
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