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  (Source: Getty Images)
GM is taking the project seriously

General Motors Corp. (GM) gave Google Inc. (GOOG) its begrudging regards this week after hearing about the Mountain View, Calif. company's vision for autonomous vehicles.
 
I. GM on Google -- It's a "Real... Threat"
 
While it looked a bit like a Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW) Beetle smacked with the ugly stick a few more times, Google's in-house design for an autonomous electric vehicle (EV) is turning heads based on the sophistication of its driving and collision avoidance.  Google is building a fleet of 100 of the bulbous 2-seaters to test its smart driving technology.
 
At an event in the Detroit, Mich. area, GM's Product Development chief, Mark Reuss was inevitably asked to weigh in on the excitement surrounding the Google fully autonomous smart car.  He did not hold back, responding:

Anybody can do anything with enough time and money.  If they set their mind to it, I have no doubt [that they will be] a very serious competitive threat.  [The car is] kind of cool [and looks sort of like a VW Beetle].

[Automation is] going to be a creep, it’s not going to be a mind-bending thing.  I don’t think you’re going to see an autonomous vehicle take over the city anytime soon
.

Google automated car
Google's automated car is a "threat" according to GM's Product Development chief.

GM certainly seems an authoritative voice on the topic.  
 
In April 2014 in the U.S. it sold over 254,000 automobiles internationally, ahead of Ford Motor Comp. (F) (210,000+) and Toyota Motor Corp. (TYO:7203) (199,000+) [source].  GM was sales king of the auto industry longer than any other company in the history of the automobile.  
 
From 1931 to 2007, GM sold more cars and trucks than any other automaker.  And even as it's struggled to hold back a surging Ford and to regain its lead from Toyota, GM is still seeing strong sales.  (Volkswagen was the only automaker to beat it in 2013, a bit of a surprise.)
 
And it's good to see such straight talk from GM and an earnest assessment of its possible future competitor.
 
II. The Race to a Smart Car
 
For years we heard lots of automakers pay lip service to the concept of autonomous driving, with some even spending a good deal of money and time investigating it.  GM was perhaps foremost in the field prior to its bankruptcy.  Over a half-decade ago, back in Jan. 2008 we road along in a modified 2008 GM Tahoe which won the DARPA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) 2007 Urban Challenge.

GM Darpa
GM's 2008 Chevy Tahoe, modified for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

As the car zipped around the obstacle course in sunny Las Vegas, Nev. it quickly became apparent why the vehicle won the smart car challenge -- it was pretty good at avoid collisions... really good, in fact.  As a demo, a second test driver would cut off the GM car or otherwise block its path.  In every case the GM vehicle knew what to do, performing better than many human drivers would in such a case.
 
But after the bankruptcy rolled around in mid-2009, the pace of development has slowed, in some regards, allowing the U.S. automaker's foes to catch up.  GM's current plans for commercialization involve a more scaled back version of the technology called "Super Cruise" which is only semi-autonomous.  
Cadillac Super Cruise
The technology will allow the user to hand off control to the vehicle during long highway drives, but otherwise will drive like a standard vehicle.  GM wrote that the technology will "use a fusion of radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras and GPS map data, seamlessly integrated" to perform "semi-automated driving including hands-off lane following, braking and speed control under certain driving conditions."

But GM added in on a cautionary note:

The system is designed to ease the driver’s workload on freeways only, in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips; however, the driver’s attention is still required... because the system will have operational limitations based on external factors such as traffic, weather and visibility of lane markings. When reliable data is not available, such as when there are no lane markings, the system will prompt the driver to resume steering.

In other words, this smart car was only so smart.
 
III. GM Not Alone in Struggles Toward Full Self-Driving
 
The limitations echoed Ford -- currently the world's second largest automaker -- which in 2010 introduced a semi-autonomous parallel parking.  Called Active Park Assist (APA), the system provided so-called "electronic power-assisted steering" (EPAS).
 
In other words, it basically steered for you and tried to tell you how long to press the gas and when to brake via various beeps.  The clear issue, as I saw it during a 2011 test drive was that the technology would do nothing to stop the user from bumping a car in front of or behind it.   And by detaching the driver from part of the maneuver (steering), but not all of it (gas/braking), the maneuver almost felt more dangerous/risky to perform at times.
 
In my experience the system was workable, but at times seemed more frustrating than simply performing the maneuver on your own.
 
EPAS Second 1  EPAS Second Park 2
  EPAS Second Park 3   EPAS Second Park 4
    EPAS Second Park 5  

Toyota had a near identical system -- the parallel park system (PPS), which handled the gas and steering, but not the brake.  Toyota first introduced the system in its Lexus branded luxury models.  It also integrated smart braking technology to avoid objects in driveways, etc. via integrating millimeter wave sensors and the braking system into a collision avoidance algorithm.
 
Ford has been active since, working on an improved version of its lane keeping technology called Traffic Jam Assist, which mirrors GM's "Super Cruise" in providing semi-autonomous highway driving.  That technology should arrive around the same time as GM's.  In the meantime Ford has added perpendicular parking to its portfolio, courtesy of French supplier Valeo S.A. (EPA:FR).  Volkswagen had been using Valeo's Park4U system parking system since the 2011 model year [source].  
 
Last year Ford added one more trick, upgrading the system to be fully autonomous.  With the new system the owner could activate the parking maneuver via a key fob and the Fully Assisted Parking Aid (FAPA) would activate driving the vehicle into or out of a spots.  The feature has proven to be especially useful in preventing scratching to other drivers' doors.
 
IV. Google + Tesla?  Be Afraid.
 
What every automaker should be most fearful of is Google and Tesla teaming up.  The pair has already expressed interest in such a union; as mentioned, Larry Page is a Tesla Roadster owner, as is Google's R&D chief Sergey Brin.
 
Other than Google who is close to full automation?  GM, Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota are all pursuing the safer, but less exciting route of partial automation for highway traffic.  It is unclear if any of these companies' plans involve merging onto or off of highways; it appears that the automation may solely be limited to highway driving at certain speeds.
 
Nissan Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7201) is taking a similar route, but it might be a bit ahead given that it not only is testing autonomous cars on a Japanese highway, but is merging on and off.  Its autonomous Leaf EV drove itself on the highway trip at speeds of 40-80 km/hour (~25-50 mph).  Nissan has set a target of 2020 for "autonomous" vehicles with Autonomous Drive; however, it is unclear whether that target includes urban/city driving.

Nissan Autonomous Drive
Nissan's Autonomous Drive LEAF EV aims for a 2020 launch. [Image Source: Nissan]

Sweden's Volvo AB (STO:VOLV-A)(STO:VOLV-B) is building fully autonomous driving systems which should merge onto and off of highways by 2017.  During my time with Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) AG (ETR:BMW) at CES 2014 I talked to some of their senior engineers and learned that they too were testing automated vehicles.  Those tests are currently confined to the track, but it's possible BMW may field a self-driving coupe in the same timeframe as Volvo.
 
V. Google has Mastered What Its Rivals are Still Trying to Achieve
 
But to be honest, GM is right.  Automakers should be worried about Google.  Because everyone -- and truly every one of them -- is far behind Google.  
 
Google's project began in 2010.  At the time, many believed the power of a supercomputer would be needed for city driving.  Many dismissed the project as a joke or gimmick
 
Two years later Google had already logged 300,000 hours miles of automated driving without an accident.  (Google's fleet consists primarily of retrofitted Lexus RX 450h and the Toyota Prius hybrids.)  Two years later, Google's fleet has logged 700,000 miles of autonomous highway travel.  It's clear that Google's highway driving technology is basically done, versus even Nissan who is still in the testing phase.

Google Lexus


Google has already moved on to finishing a far more ambitious set of algorithms -- routines for city driving.  So far the fleet has logged "thousands" of miles in city driving, leading to vital algorithm improvements.
 
VI. City Driving is Final Test for Google
 
CEO Larry Page recently said that Google has no competitors.  And it truly believes that.  In two years it did more than the rest of the automaker did in the last decade, when it comes to automated driving.
 
The evidence is strong that Google's new self-driving car is not intended as a full fledged design, but as a design focused on urban environment.  Evidence of that is found in its top speed -- 40 km/h (~25 mph) -- which may be sufficient for a crowded city like New York City, but not for highway driving.

Google self-driving car
[Image Source: Google]

Google is so confident in its new design that it's made the bold move of gutting the vehicle removing nearly all controls, including the brake and gas pedals and the steering wheel, something none of the traditional automakers would dare to do.  The new Google X design has two buttons -- Start and Stop.  Program the route and car does the rest.

It's slightly disconcerting and terrifying to think that the Google car's two occupants have no means of controlling the vehicle.  But when you think of it, such feelings are, statistically speaking, overconfidence.  As Google points out 1.2 million people die worldwide in traffic accidents and 90 percent of those are due to human error.

From everything we've seen thus far, you're probably safer allowing Google's algorithms to steer for you.

GM, to its credit has a city-street pod car of its own it's testing -- the EN-V.  By the sound of it that vehicle is still being prototyped, though, and has yet to hit city streets.  GM is developing the curious compact at one of its research facilities in China.

EN-V
The GM EN-V concept vehicle [Image Source: Autoblog Green]

So when all is said and done, it looks highly unlikely anyone will beat Google to the goal of fully automated driving from point to point.  Tesla Motors has probably the best plan -- if you can't beat them, join 'em.

VII. The Android Edge

Even if some other car company -- say GM -- manages to pull abreast of Google in the automation race, it's highly unlikely that its vehicles will ever be as effective at driving.  The reason for that is that Google is continuously mining data -- including location data -- from tens of millions of Android smartphone users across the U.S.  It's almost a given that Google is looking to use this dataset to provide predictive capabilities to its driving algorithm.   

iPhone
Smartphone tracking could give Google beacons to improve its self-driving performance.
[Image Source: Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan]

In other words, Google's cars will be more fuel efficient and safer because they effectively have a beacon on a good deal of American drivers -- regardless of how new or old their car is.  No other company can claim that.


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

no need for total self-drive
By Mike Acker on 5/30/2014 8:50:04 AM , Rating: 2
there is no need for total self drive. just a couple things-- prevent speeding, tail-gating, running red-lights and such.




RE: no need for total self-drive
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/30/2014 9:23:09 AM , Rating: 5
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people between 5 and 35 and I'm betting almost all of them could have been avoided if all cars involved were driven by computers. So I'd argue that there is a "need".

In 30 years, kids will be amazed that we used to drive 70+ mph, feet from each other, for hours on end and no ongoing ability testing was required.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By h0kiez on 5/30/2014 9:31:35 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention how amazing traveling would be if taking a 10 hour road trip basically meant "wait until bed time...get in car...wake up in the morning at destination". How incredible would that be?


By SublimeSimplicity on 5/30/2014 11:36:47 AM , Rating: 2
Now imagine that part of your house is an EV RV. "Parked" at home its massive battery pack serves as solar buffering (for the solar roof) and electric backup for the whole house. Going on vacation? Everyone moves what they need into those rooms and goes to sleep. Wake up the next morning on vacation.
Might sound crazy now, but it might be a reality in the not too distant future.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Reclaimer77 on 5/31/14, Rating: -1
RE: no need for total self-drive
By FaaR on 5/30/2014 9:26:11 AM , Rating: 2
There's really no need for ANY tech gadget whatsoever, cars included. However, self-driving cars would no doubt not only be safer (being devoid of maniac drivers with texas-sized egos), they'd be way more convenient too.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By h0kiez on 5/30/2014 9:36:16 AM , Rating: 2
True, but I think you can make a pretty enormous case that as far as "unnecessary" tech goes, this is about as necessary as it gets. It would save a ton of lives and allow people to reclaim a ton of wasted time.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Visual on 5/30/2014 9:37:40 AM , Rating: 3
This is so wrong...

At the very least, add lane centering and lane-change collision detection to your list. But even that is not really enough.

And I'd have to disagree on "prevent speeding", at least not with the brain-dead limits in place currently. But if the car could come up with some other reasonable limit that takes into consideration more factors and is realistic, I'm all for it.

Current speed limits are inadequate in many places and situations. They kinda have to be, because they need to be set with considerations for the lowest common denominator. But if the limit is adequate for an underpowered 30 year old crappy car with worn out brakes and tires on a rainy day, it would often feel like a crime to be imposed on some of the new vehicles with half the stopping distance on a good day.

For many things, automation would perform better if you go all-in, instead of mixing it up.

Proper automation could allow for much higher speeds and much closer "tailgating" to optimize the number of cars going through a crossroad in a given green-light time for example. But to do so would require completely removing the human factor, as you need to be sure the driver in front would not do something stupid.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By bug77 on 5/30/2014 10:16:50 AM , Rating: 3
Every time someone tries to argue humans are good drivers, I like to show them this: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13402-shockw...
This is what self-driving cars will be able to achieve first and foremost: a fluid, organized (and thus efficient) traffic.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Reclaimer77 on 5/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: no need for total self-drive
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/30/2014 12:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
How did you anticipate it? How quickly did you react? How did you know the area you reacted to had no traffic, pedestrians, etc?

AI plays a relatively small role in all this. The computer controlled car sees and knows about every object around it and is tracking all of their movements. The second the car in the lane next to you started moving toward your lane, the computer controlled car would have acted.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By amanojaku on 5/30/2014 12:32:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The second the car in the lane next to you started moving toward your lane, the computer controlled car would have acted.
Your vehicle's reaction time is not 0 seconds, nor is the computer's.

Anticipating traffic patterns helps you position the car, direct the steering, control the gas and have the breaks ready BEFORE the accident occurs. That leads to a reaction time of 0 seconds, because you're probably going to be PROACTIVE. And SAFE, since you are positioning yourself with enough time not to hit other drivers. You have to be able to drive, though, and that's where automation will make inroads: crappy drivers.

Even GM admits it's solution didn't work in the city, where reaction times matter most. That tells me automated driving isn't ready for complex or dense traffic flows, just like Reclaimer said.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/30/2014 12:52:53 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Even GM admits it's solution didn't work in the city, where reaction times matter most. That tells me automated driving isn't ready for complex or dense traffic flows, just like Reclaimer said.


HAHAHAHAHA... HAHAHHAHAHA.... hang on.... HAHAHAHAHA... I can't catch my breath.

" Even GM "

HAHAHAHAHA.... HAHAHAHAHA....

We're not talking about a building a new transmission or brake caliper. This is a computer science problem. This is like declaring good BBQ impossible, because McDonalds had difficulty making the McRib.

Google has logged tons of accident free miles on city streets with pedestrians and bikes jump out in front of them.

LOL... "even GM"... geez that never gets old.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By amanojaku on 5/30/2014 1:27:13 PM , Rating: 4
Sigh... From the article:
quote:
For years we heard lots of automakers pay lip service to the concept of autonomous driving, with some even spending a good deal of money and time investigating it. GM was perhaps foremost in the field prior to its bankruptcy. Over a half-decade ago, back in Jan. 2008 we road along in a modified 2008 GM Tahoe which won the DARPA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) 2007 Urban Challenge.

As the car zipped around the obstacle course in sunny Las Vegas, Nev. it quickly became apparent why the vehicle won the smart car challenge -- it was pretty good at avoid collisions... really good, in fact. As a demo, a second test driver would cut off the GM car or otherwise block its path. In every case the GM vehicle knew what to do, performing better than many human drivers would in such a case.
Computer science problem, yes. One that GM was solving better than anyone else prior to Google. And with results that were pretty damn good. And GM was upfront about the limitations and use cases:
quote:
The system is designed to ease the driver’s workload on freeways only, in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips; however, the driver’s attention is still required... because the system will have operational limitations based on external factors such as traffic, weather and visibility of lane markings. When reliable data is not available, such as when there are no lane markings, the system will prompt the driver to resume steering.
But don't look at GM's solution. Look at Google's. It can't drive faster than 25mph. There aren't that many accidents at those speeds, and collision avoidance is pretty simple. Let's bump this car up to 65mph and put it on an Atlanta highway. Or send it to the Bronx and have it navigate the Grand Concourse or Cross-Bronx Expressway during rush hour gridlock. Pretty sure we'll see accidents.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 2:31:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But don't look at GM's solution. Look at Google's. It can't drive faster than 25mph. There aren't that many accidents at those speeds, and collision avoidance is pretty simple. Let's bump this car up to 65mph and put it on an Atlanta highway. Or send it to the Bronx and have it navigate the Grand Concourse or Cross-Bronx Expressway during rush hour gridlock. Pretty sure we'll see accidents.


That is only for their new car that is just being introduced. The 700k miles logged previously were on highways and freeways.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By amanojaku on 5/30/2014 4:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
In two states, California and Nevada. Locations with some of the most forgiving traffic in the country. That's why I said Atlanta and New York's Bronx, which has some of the worst traffic I've ever seen in the US. Heck, those cars weren't even tested in LA which is IN California. Mountain View isn't a densely populated city, so I couldn't trust a car that's only learned to drive there. The point being that there are use cases for this car, but it's not yet proven itself for ALL driving locations, vehicle types, cargo loads, etc... Which is what Reclaimer said:
quote:
I don't know if humans are better drivers than software, but I DO know that our current AI technology sucks, and humans are far better at decision making.
Emphasis on the word CURRENT.


By flyingpants1 on 5/30/2014 1:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
What does it really matter, though, so long as the total number of accidents goes down?


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 6:23:10 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
AI plays a relatively small role in all this. The computer controlled car sees and knows about every object around it and is tracking all of their movements .


You believe that huh. The problem is it isn't. It can't tell that load is about to fall of that simi or is improperly secured, it can't tell that tire is falling off. It can only react AFTER the fact.

If their is a box in the road and a person next to it, it can't tell one is a box and one is a person unless it's specifically programmed for it. But I doubt it is.

You're problem is you think because some computers can go down a road in good ,mostly controlled, conditions that its better then a person. We will see when we get MILLIONS of these things running down the roads in the wild.

Adding to that, like with software it tends to work fine in the labs. Once in the wild we find MANY problems that could not be anticipated. However here those problems WILL kill people.

So have fun with your unfounded beliefs about the perfection of computer controlled vehicles. Right now its mostly untested and unproven.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By bug77 on 5/30/2014 12:16:36 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Just this morning I avoided an almost certainty of me being involved in an accident, because I anticipated what the jackass next to me was going to do and reacted to avoid it. There's NO WAY you can tell me a current self-driving car could have done that.


The point is, if the jackass was in a self-driving vehicle, you'd wouldn't have had something to avoid to begin with.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By amanojaku on 5/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: no need for total self-drive
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 12:52:59 PM , Rating: 2
Why not?


RE: no need for total self-drive
By amanojaku on 5/30/2014 1:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
Because there are only two ways this could happen:

1) A government mandate
2) Drivers voluntarily giving up control

The first will never happen. I can't say how the rest of the world will deal with this, but driving is as much a part of American culture as football and apple pie. The second will never happen, because, again, driving is a part of American culture. There will always be manual drivers, and they will screw up the automated drivers. At least, the current ones; with continued development these things will get better. However, as an experience automated driving does not provide the thrill of manual driving with your own hands and feet.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/30/2014 1:12:29 PM , Rating: 4
It will be economic pressure via auto insurance.

After a year, when nearly every single accident involving a self-driving car is shown to be the manual drivers fault (and the self-driving car, will have all the info logged to prove it). Insurance on self driving cars will go to almost nothing, while manual cars will go up and up.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Reclaimer77 on 5/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: no need for total self-drive
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/30/2014 3:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
Smokers want to smoke. Most drivers don't want to drive.

Taking autonomous taxis will cost way less per mile than owning even a junker. It will be what people want for less money.

As saturation gets over 50% and accidents decrease, each fatal accident will get media attention. People driving manually will be vilified for what we consider an honest accident today, because it will be obvious that they chose that to endanger others, even at a financial cost.

IF the tech works, that's what is coming.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Reclaimer77 on 5/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: no need for total self-drive
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 6:00:09 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Please provide me the survey where all 200+ million registered drivers in the United Stated say they "don't want to drive".


Please provide us the survey where all 200+ million registered drivers in the United Stated say they "do want to drive".


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 6:16:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Please provide us the survey where all 200+ million registered drivers in the United Stated say they "do want to drive".
I guess that means you have no proof to back up what you said. LOL!


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 12:52:01 PM , Rating: 2
You're the one making the claims... you're the one that needs to provide the proof.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 3:43:56 PM , Rating: 3
Oh man, that is so funny.

What makes you think insurance companies won't? Do you have any idea how much someone driving a dump truck pays in insurance? What makes you think an insurance company won't charge you that same kind of premium once a safer, less dangerous mode of transport comes available to people cheaply?

Self driving cars will have:

1. Less 'at fault' accidents.
2. Less prone to theft.
3. Less often used in crimes as a getaway vehicle (they are pretty freaking slow)

Police departments will love them.

Insurance companies stop being the bad guy for beggaring folks that need to use their cars to go to work.

People who live in cities and abhor public transit (just like someone else I know does) will love them.

People going out and getting shitfaced in a pub will love them because they don't have to rely on 'designated drivers' staying sober, taxis or public transit to get them home. They can take their own car!

The designated driver types in the above will love them because they don't have to BE designated drivers & can get shitfaced right along with you.

Kids will love them because they don't need a license to 'drive' one.

Yes, it is another tool for the evils socialists to punish you :D

(And yes, there are an awful lot less smokers in the world simply from the pressures of society and economics making their smoking habit far less enjoyable)

Don't get me wrong. I love driving my car.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 12:35:40 PM , Rating: 2
Where is this mythical city where millions of robots are driving around everyday making perfectly sound judgments and no mistakes are made....

And until one does this is just a hypothesis that exists in your mind. Perhaps some day it will come true but I doubt were as close as you think we are.

So far all these self driving cars have been tested in extremely controlled conditions. It reacted well to getting cut off, please if that's the best test they came up with (the one test a computer SHOULD perform well at) I'm not convinced.

Mixing this technology to aid in a humans driving I'm all for.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 2:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
While I don't forsee a time when there are no manual drivers, that does not mean that there will be a ton. Will some people prefer to drive themselves - sure. Just like some people cant stand an automatic vehicle compared to a stick shift. In the end, I think the majority of people use their cars to get from point a to point b (work, groceries, school) and do not really feel the need to be in control.

As for the tech not being able to handle the manual drivers, that is absolutely false. The current vehicles have logged 700k miles with no accidents caused by the automated car, and significantly lower accidents in general, since the computer is always paying attention, and can anticipate what other drivers are going to do, leaving plenty of space, and knowing every escape route possible. There is no way for a human to actually know that much data simultaneously until we grow at least 8 eyes (2 in every direction).

Yeah I know every person is a super human and capable of knowing ahead of time what every other driver is doing if you ask them, but if that were true, we would not have the number of distracted driving, and accidents where a human is at fault in some way or another.

Even if just the 30% of people that are horrible drivers, plus those with less than stellar reflexes (my grandparents come to mind) switch to automated cars, the roads would be much safer, and much more efficient.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 3:21:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The current vehicles have logged 700k miles with no accidents caused by the automated car
Were all those miles done on public roads? What were the weather conditions? Dry, rain, snow? What were the traffic conditions? Heavy, light, city, freeway?


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 3:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
I don't have the stats in front of me, but at this point they are allowed (and have been used) on public roads in 3 states that I know of. At this point it has not been tested in snow (I am sure that is coming), but I am sure some rain has been tested.

I don't say it is ready for mass consumerism today, but to say we are no where near being viable (like some here are claiming) seems wrong as well.

I understand that some people are against this and will fight tooth and nail anytime a self-driving car is mentioned, but to a good portion of the public, I don't think the day can come fast enough.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By amanojaku on 5/30/2014 5:05:58 PM , Rating: 3
They're allowed to drive in four states: California, Florida, Michigan, and Nevada. Testing occurred in two states: California (Mountain View and San Francisco), and Nevada (?). Locations that aren't known for heavy traffic or large numbers of traffic accidents.

And I don't think anyone said driver-less cars are not viable as a technology. Even Reclaimer, the most staunch advocate of independence, admits driver-less cars have potential. What people HAVE been saying is today's driver-less technology, even Google's, is unable to reproduce all of the skills the average driver needs. You guys don't want to accept the fact that Google's tests are VERY limited.

Can't blame Google for not testing in the rest of the country (it's illegal), but come on, at least run the thing in LA, Huston, or Austin. Skip Detroit, you'll never get the car back.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 1:07:20 PM , Rating: 2
There are plenty of humans out there that will follow that criteria of 700k miles with no accidents/tickets (It's not just one Google car that achieved this.) in fact if mixed results are allowed choosing the right people will lead to figures that BLOW that out of the water.

Plus, you said that a computer can anticipate what other drivers are going to do, mind explaining that one?

Knowing every escape route possible? There are only so many maneuvers available to a car. I contest that a person is more able to predict the outcome of an escape attempt better than current and near future computer software. Which is a prerequisite for figuring out which escape route is better. A human brain is still vastly superior to a computers (of course a lot of people fail to use theirs). At worst your statement is false at best it's only true in part.

Because people drive in the real world... LOTS of them. Until your self driving car reaches the numbers that we see from humans all you're saying is just conjecture and a hypothesis.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 6:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
What makes you believe that? Things can't fall off a computer controlled vehicle? We will see how "perfect" these cars are once they enter the "wild" and are used by millions.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Murloc on 5/31/2014 9:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
that situation would disappear (or have a greatly reduced chance of happening) if most vehicles on the road were autonomous.

Also maybe your accident would have happened, but 10 others wouldn't have.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 12:43:35 PM , Rating: 2
You are basing this off of what fact? conjecture and nothing else. Until there are millions of these things driving around in the wild we will not know how they can really handle normal driving duties. So far these tests take place in less populated areas, and we don't even know the full details of the tests. For all we know the person takes control if certain conditions are meet.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By kleinma on 5/30/2014 5:14:01 PM , Rating: 2
How about this as a case for self driving cars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrxyr1CjiSM


RE: no need for total self-drive
By nafhan on 5/30/2014 11:38:59 AM , Rating: 2
There was no need for people to stop using horses as a primary mode of transportation either...


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 3:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There was no need for people to stop using horses as a primary mode of transportation either...
Sure there was! Cars were better modes of transportation than horses...eventually. But the real revolution was when cars were produced cheap enough for EVERYONE to drive. As usually, some of you are thinking in extremes. Self drive is NOT going to happen overnight, there will be a progression just like everything else that happens. Sh!t, we still haven't eliminated certain legal issues like some states don't allow self driven cars or who's fault is it when the self drive car DOES get into an accident.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 3:51:17 PM , Rating: 2
Actually there were quite a few - about 7 billion of them.

That would require about 1 billion horses. Where you gonna find all that hay (never mind that where you gonna put the stuff you muck out of your 'garage')?


RE: no need for total self-drive
By nafhan on 6/2/2014 2:03:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually there were quite a few - about 7 billion of them.
Likewise: there are 7 billion reasons for total self drive. People are terrible drivers.


RE: no need for total self-drive
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 6:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
Other then the massive amounts of pollution from the comparatively small amount of horses? The slow speeds and high maintenance costs (again comparatively speaking.)


LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 8:39:12 AM , Rating: 4
I would say the 14 million cars (and that isn't an exaggeration) you have had to recall this year alone due to your complete lack of quality every step of the way from design to sourcing to assembly is far more of a "threat" than anything anyone else could put on the road.




RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 8:41:51 AM , Rating: 2
Forgot link... http://investorplace.com/2014/05/gm-recalls-genera...

"The 13.8 million year-to-date GM recalls are already well past the company’s full-year record of 10.75 million, which it set back in 2004."

A new all time high WOOOOOOHOOOO!!!


RE: LOL GM
By atechfan on 5/30/2014 9:02:08 AM , Rating: 2
And Toyota had 5 million plus recalls in both 2013 and 2012, leading both of those years. Yet people seem to think they are some paragon of quality for some reason.


RE: LOL GM
By mgilbert on 5/30/2014 9:17:46 AM , Rating: 2
I've owned over 20 cars from a dozen brands in the last 35 years, and I've never once had to repair any Japanese car I've ever owned, while the GM cars I've owned spent more time in the shop than on the road. Recalls are often cases of CYA, and there is rarely a correlation between number of recalls and the quality of materials and construction. I'm sticking with Toyota until they show a strong decline in quality.


RE: LOL GM
By Gungel on 5/30/2014 9:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, I had exactly the opposite experience. The Honda Odyssey I owned for 5 years was the biggest piece of junk I ever bought. 3 transmissions replaced, first one at 36k miles and countless other things that went wrong. At 166k miles it finally broke down when the main shaft of the engine cracked. So I went back to the "domestic" brands and had much better luck. The Dodge Journey was the best of them all, had not a single problem in the 3 years I owned it.


RE: LOL GM
By mgilbert on 5/30/2014 9:44:23 AM , Rating: 1
Gungel, your experience is an exception. If you look at the reliability data submitted by millions of owners to Consumer Reports and other such databases, my experience is much, much more typical.


RE: LOL GM
By blueaurora on 5/30/2014 10:21:42 AM , Rating: 2
My father and I have owened numerous Hondas and a few toyotas. I can vouch for the numerous problems with the Odyssey. Its the worst vehicle honda made. Out of everything I had a 13 year old accord that developed spontaneous variations in idle speed. No engineer could figure it out.

Finally there are numerous complaints on defective paint issues on 03-09 accords and civics basicly requiring a repaint of half the car (I had to do it on my 05 accord) Honda is not what they had been.


RE: LOL GM
By mushkins on 5/30/2014 12:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
Spontaneous variations in idle speed in an older car. Say, a late 80s model? It was a computer problem.

My 89 Chevy did exactly the same thing. It would drive fine, then start idling to 45, then drive fine, and start idling to 65+. It was the first year they started putting computers in their cars and they were nothing but problems. The best thing I ever did was stop buying GM.


RE: LOL GM
By bug77 on 5/30/2014 10:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well now, do you consider a car made by a Japanese manufacturer in the US a Japanese or a domestic car?
Of course, afaik, only Mazda and Subaru are still made in Japan, so that would limit the selection a bit.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 1:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
These days I don't think there is such a thing as a Japanese car in North America.

Some Mazdas are made in Japan still, but most come out of Flat Rock, Michigan and Claycomo Missouri. So there may be a few real jap Mazdas around.

Almost all Subarus sold in North America are made in Lafayette, Indiana.

I don't consider an import car manufactured in North America as an import car. Maybe some of the parts are actually imported, but it still ends up being made by the same folks that build Chevys, Fords and Chryslers with the same level of care & quality.


RE: LOL GM
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 1:14:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Almost all Subarus sold in North America are made in Lafayette, Indiana.


Actually that is not true. They make some models there, but one of the best sellers - The Forester (I have a 2014) is only made in Japan and shipped here.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 3:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
Did you not see that "Almost"? :/

If you want to know if your Subbie was made in Japan, look at the VIN.

If it VIN starts with J, it was made in Japan (they are actually shipped incomplete and the final assembly is done in Indiana, this saves duties and tariffs since Subaru can say the car was 'made' in the U.S.A.).

If the Vin starts with a 4 it was made in the Indiana plant (which also produces Toyota Camrys and FRS/BRZs).

The Forester and Impreza are indeed made in Japan, the others in the US. All parts are from Japan and technically they are all made in the USA.


RE: LOL GM
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 3:48:37 PM , Rating: 2
I was merely pointing out that half of their cars are not at all built in America. Currently they make the Tribeca, Outback and Legacy in Indiana, but as you said, many of the parts are shipped their for assembly.


RE: LOL GM
By Reclaimer77 on 5/30/2014 2:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
Japanese cars are designed better, use better components, and are engineered better. They have better testing methodology and quality control protocols.

Who cares where it's "made"? That's not what determines quality or reliability.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 2:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
So you would expect. I had that '92 Camry (from Japan - i followed its progress from the port of entry in Vancouver. BC - was cool to watch). The following year a colleague leased a '93 Camry made in Cambridge Ontario mostly based on my glowing impressions of the one I had.

We parked them side-by-side and compared them in the parking lot and compared them. The quality of materials, fit and finish in the '92 was head & shoulders above the '93. My colleague was NOT amused and wanted to take his back to the dealer to trade for a Japan-built one.

One thing for sure that '92 Camry was a freaking tank. Served me well for 13 years.


RE: LOL GM
By tng on 5/30/2014 5:09:54 PM , Rating: 2
Some of the newer model Accord 2D that I first seen at a dealer were made in Sugiyama Japan. Brand new model and I think that the first ones were imported, but still most of the parts were made by subs here in North America.

I have owned 4 Hondas over the years and did have the voltage regulator on the alternator go out on 2 Civics but that was the worst. Two of the cars didn't even get the chance to die of old age, but were rear-ended with me in them with around 250K miles.

After dozens of GM rentals on business trips over the years, I would never buy a GM vehicle of any kind.


RE: LOL GM
By Nutzo on 5/30/2014 12:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
Even reliable brands occasionally have a problem car. The Odyssey was one of these (especially with the transmission). When we where looking to buy a Minivan, I took one look at the long term reliability reports, and ruled out the Honda.

The only domestic car I've ever bought was a Ford Explorer (was rated as more reliable that any of the other domestic SUVs). I had more problems (including 2 transmissions), and it spent more time in the shop than the other 7 cars I've owned combined, including a couple "japanese" cars built in America.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 10:00:00 AM , Rating: 1
"I've never once had to repair any Japanese car I've ever owned, while the GM cars I've owned spent more time in the shop than on the road."

Same here... Not that every GM car will fall apart or every Honda will be issue free, but GM's fail rates are through the roof, and thus the reason their resale value is on the floor.


RE: LOL GM
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 1:19:06 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Same here... Not that every GM car will fall apart or every Honda will be issue free, but GM's fail rates are through the roof, and thus the reason their resale value is on the floor.


If you look at more recent ratings that is not correct. Several GM vehicles are pretty reliable, just not all. Most studies show Chrysler (jeep, dodge) being bottom of the barrel for domestics (and down around most european cars) with Ford being above that, and GM generally in the middle.

As for the resale, some of that is perception, some it is due to flooding the market due to rentals and corp lease, which they give out pretty cheaply to begin with.

I still like my Subaru better, but overall have had decent luck with GM cars (especially ones my wife have owned), but that is just anecdotal.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 10:02:50 AM , Rating: 2
At one point they were, Not anymore. That went away since they started building and designing cars in North America.

High recall numbers only tell me the manufacturer is actively dealing with post production issues either found by owners or by their own ongoing post production testing.

Frankly I much prefer taking my car to a garage to have a recall fixed than have something that should have been a recall, but ignored because the car maker only wants to make themselves look good, come along bite me in the ass because I never got a recall notice for it.


RE: LOL GM
By FITCamaro on 5/30/2014 9:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
Every manufacturer has recalls.

I'm taking my 2013 Altima in today for a minor update for an issue I haven't had in the first place.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 10:01:58 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, they do. GM just has more. More importantly, GM has more that actually break down and need regular repair (not related to recalls) and extremely low resale value because of it.


RE: LOL GM
By FITCamaro on 5/30/2014 12:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
GMs low resale value has also traditionally come from their vehicles being dominant in rental fleets which floods the market with cheap used models. Also perception. The Cobalt was considered very poor but it was a car I never did anything to but standard maintenance. Part of the problem is people don't do the maintenance and then whine when it doesn't last.


RE: LOL GM
By FITCamaro on 5/30/2014 12:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
Also the years where they were spending so much on labor and health care, that affected their quality. Now we the tax payer bailed them out.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 7:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
"Part of the problem is people don't do the maintenance and then whine when it doesn't last"

Possibly, but that exists equally for any car. It's not like GM owners do maintenance less than other cars. The problem is quality. The quality of the build, and the quality of the parts from other vendors.

As a person that (I assume by your name) buys GM cars. How many starters alternators and solenoids have you replaced in your life? Be honest.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 7:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
And BTW, I am not simpyl a heter here, I had a Camaro Z28... I f@#king LOVED that car. It was simply awesome to drive, but damn it was a monthly repair of something or another... I just couldnt handle hte upkeep cost at the time. Same with most GM's I have seen over the years across all makes and models and segments from small to mid to large, to trucks, vans and SUV's. All 'em all.


RE: LOL GM
By bug77 on 5/30/2014 9:28:35 AM , Rating: 2
You'd think they'd see Google advances as an opportunity. After all, it's not like Google is going to grow its own plants overnight and drive GM to bankruptcy. It's far more likely they'll license the system to any automaker willing to chip-in.
The danger here, as I see it, is manufacturers insisting on having their own self-driving systems leading to them not sharing info, therefore making decisions based on spotty data.


RE: LOL GM
By Reclaimer77 on 5/30/2014 11:14:48 AM , Rating: 1
Exactly, that was my first thought when I read this. How in the hell is this a "threat" to GM? If this is a threat to GM, so is every other component in GM vehicles that GM doesn't exclusively manufacture themselves. They might as well say the car stereo or satellite radio is a "threat" to their business.

GM builds cars. Google doesn't and never will, certainly not on the gigantic scale of GM.

Instead of wasting money trying to compete in a market you don't have to and probably aren't able to, simply licence Google's self driving car technology and offer it in your vehicles, GM.

This is what lead to GM going bankrupt in the first place. Making horrible decisions, wasting money on frivolous technology pursuits best left to others, and not anticipating market trends.

My advice would be to partner with Google rather than compete with them. As the article pointed out, even if GM were to somehow match Google on the technology that drives the car, they have NO way to match Google on location and GPS data from millions of mobile users on the roads.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 1:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
Frankly any company that makes cars will be a threat to GM.

It is up to GM to nut up and make a car that can compete with them. People won't keep paying bug bucks for unreliable junk, and with the internet available and every review in the world right there for the asking, they are feeling the crunch.

Be afraid GM! Be very afraid!


RE: LOL GM
By tng on 5/30/2014 5:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The danger here, as I see it, is manufacturers insisting on having their own self-driving systems leading to them not sharing info, therefore making decisions based on spotty data.
The real danger is that in the future you will have multiple types of autonomous cars out there and none of them talk to each other, or they are all trying to compete to have their system be the NTSB mandated system.

In the Google VS GM battle for congressional approval for competing systems it all comes down to who can pay off the right people not which algorithms are better. Most of the people in congress don't know what an algorithm is anyhow.


RE: LOL GM
By Gungel on 5/30/2014 9:39:46 AM , Rating: 2
The management is finally taking care of the recalls that should have been done years ago. Recalls have nothing to do with the overall quality of cars.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 10:45:55 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, lets look at GM quality. Now THAT will make them look better. /s

There is a reason the resale value is so horribly low for all GM cars. They fall apart. They have improved the initial "day one" quality and defect rate over the past decade, but 5 years later its still a POS that lost of its value.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 12:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
My last GM car was a brand new 1992 Pontiac Gran Prix STE. Except for the first 3 months, I had to take that car in to fix something every single month over the year and a half that I owned it. Always something different. In those days the bumper-bumper warranty was only a year, but I had bought extended warranty. Extended warranty had a deductible of $250 per claim.

6 months after I took that car home from the dealer it needed a full 4-wheel brake job - pads, rotors, everything. At a year and a half, it needed a full brake job again. The second time GM only covered half because brakes are 'wear items".

I normally keep a car for at least 4 years but that one was so bad that I traded it in on a 1994 Toyota Camry after it needed that 2nd brake job

That pretty much ruined me on American cars (and especially GM) for about 20 years until I recently bought my 2013 Ford Focus. So far it has been ok. Not perfect, but ok - even with it's unusual dual-clutch tranny. I don't dislike it to the point I'd swear off all American brands for another 20 years again.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 1:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
My sister had a similar situation with a brand new GM acadia a few years ago. 5x in the first 6 months for 5 different failures. She actually got them to replace it based on the 5x lemon law. Sad.

Of course yours and my sisters stories are just anecdotal, but actual fail rates are bad and the resale values reflect it.


RE: LOL GM
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 2:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course yours and my sisters stories are just anecdotal, but actual fail rates are bad and the resale values reflect it.
Resale value on GM cars will be low even as their quality increases because of owner and non-owner perception. The quality of the industry as a whole, including GM, is up by a LOT in the last 10 years with the trend continuing. Although I do read Consumer Reports and JD Powers surveys, they're based on OWNER feedback. If an owner "hates" his car, do you think it get a favorable review even if it's solid? So I do take them with a grain of salt. That said, my current car, which is the first domestic car I've owned and driven daily (excluding my wife's cars), is the BEST car I've EVER owned as far as reliability is concerned. I owned a VW and two Nissan's previously and all three vehicles had more problems than my current car. If I included my wife's cars Infiniti, 2 Toyota's, BMW, and a Ford, that statement still stands. The BMW is only 1.5 years old and has had no problems though.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 4:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
"The quality of the industry as a whole, including GM, is up by a LOT in the last 10 years with the trend continuing"

The initial day one quality and defect rate has improved over the past decade, but GM's still break down in high #'s. They keep saying "its better now" like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, it never turns out to be true. The resale values will stay low until they stop breaking down at high rates and maintain that for probably 5-10 years. Bummer.


RE: LOL GM
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 6:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The initial day one quality and defect rate has improved over the past decade, but GM's still break down in high #'s.
No, it's not just initial quality. JD's Vehicle Dependability Study (4 year study) is what I pay attention to. If you compare previous years to now, ALL car makers have improved drastically over the last 10 year including GM. The GMC Yukon, GMC Sierra, Buick Lucerne, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac DTS, and Chevy Camaro are #1 in their categories. In 2011, only the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne were on that list. That sounds like a huge improvement to me.


RE: LOL GM
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 6:14:16 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and in 2007, the Buick Century and Chevy SSR were the only one's on that list.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 7:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno about that. Improved, OK, but #1 in their categories? GM? Where did these cars come from for the JDP study? Did GM hand pick them, or does JDP go find them at random?

Too many times burned by GM here... I will believe it when after 10 years or so of solid quality resale values go up. So, keep it up GM and you have yourself a customer in 2024. Your behavior and horrible quality over the past 40 years lost my business for now.


RE: LOL GM
By Reclaimer77 on 5/31/2014 7:57:41 AM , Rating: 2
It would be different if GM actually made something compelling enough to make taking the risk of owning one of their vehicles enticing. But when I look at their entire lineup, I'm like, 'meh, why bother?'

It's almost like their goal was to make the most generic, bland, and uninteresting cars on the planet. They truly don't stand out in any way, nor do they excel in any particular metric.

Of course GM was dead to me the minute they became Obama's Government Motor Company, so there's that.


Hmm
By Ranari on 5/30/2014 8:32:53 AM , Rating: 3
Very cool technology. I could see this heavily impacting the trucking industry. Currently due to driver fatigue, you can only run a semi for so long, but the ability to run one for 24/7 would make a huge impact on shipping speeds. Would impact costs as well.




RE: Hmm
By karimtemple on 5/30/2014 8:57:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'm dreading it. I travel for work, and I can just see the senior management at my company wringing their hands now. Driving will no longer be me-time, they'll just make me use it like a mobile office.


RE: Hmm
By Peter-B on 5/30/2014 9:07:50 AM , Rating: 3
Is that a bad thing? You'd have to spend less time at work.


RE: Hmm
By Camikazi on 5/30/2014 10:36:56 AM , Rating: 2
Ha, no the management would just give you more work so you end up using driving time as work time or you would end up staying longer for no reason.


RE: Hmm
By degobah77 on 5/30/2014 9:01:09 AM , Rating: 2
As long as it keeps all trucks in the right lane where they belong, I'm all for it. Getting sick of trucks passing trucks, taking up both lanes of the highway for the full 10 minutes it takes for this to happen.


RE: Hmm
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 6:33:28 AM , Rating: 2
lol, yes you own the road. I'm sure you've never made someone wait behind you while you passed another car.

What's really funny is when you go to pass someone in a car and they speed up just fast enough where you can't get around and five cars come up on the right so I can't get back in the right lane either. While you're back there yelling at the simi it was the car that caused the problem.


RE: Hmm
By Flunk on 5/30/2014 9:16:08 AM , Rating: 2
If you're a career Truck driver I suggest looking for a new career unless you're 5-10 years from retirement.


RE: Hmm
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 3:35:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you're a career Truck driver I suggest looking for a new career unless you're 5-10 years from retirement.
Nah, we're 30 years from full self drive trucks with no driver present. There are only FOUR states that allow self driven cars, changing ALL those laws will take years in itself.


RE: Hmm
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 4:00:08 PM , Rating: 2
At this point those 4 states also require a licensed driver to be at the wheel and ready to take control. I think that will still be a requirement for the foreseeable future due to liability issues.

This just shows that it will be a long and slow road, still good to see progress imo.


Why..
By Erasimus on 5/30/2014 9:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
if the vehicle is self-driving with no user controls other than on/off, why does the vehicle have side mirrors? I imagine it would have cameras all over the sides in addition to the big "eye" on the roof.




RE: Why..
By Nutzo on 5/30/2014 1:04:49 PM , Rating: 2
They have side and rear-view mirrors because that's required by the California vehicle code. Gas pedals and steering wheels are not.


RE: Why..
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 6:36:14 AM , Rating: 2
Because ultimately the person still has to be able to take control when the computer does something wonky.


RE: Why..
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 12:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
That little Google car, I think the side mirrors were actually cameras.


safety?
By valkator on 5/30/2014 3:03:58 PM , Rating: 1
Where people say self-driving vehicles will be safe, I see a way for people to make them unsafe. I see manipulation, third party control of your riding experience, and that much control over transportation will always have some power hungry corporations screw the general public over somehow.

There are plenty of people that love finding ways of screwing something up or defeating the idiot proof method of a current system. History has shown this behavior, so don't go telling everyone like some over eager sales person that self-driving will lead to 100% safe driving. That is BS.

But hey, it "might" be safer. People living in their idealistic world, picturing in their head how well this idea will work as if it were a Disney movie.

On the other hand, I can see maybe taxi's, semi-truck drivers, and public transportation as good areas for this idea. But for the average citizen, things are a bit more complicated unless all you do with your vehicle is commute to work on a basic route. Maybe you just want to go for a drive to wherever because it is fun, but it works just as crappy as a 200 dollar GPS and drives you into the wrong part of town you shouldn't be in. Oops...




RE: safety?
By SlyNine on 5/31/2014 6:39:47 AM , Rating: 2
So replace the safest drivers on the roads and leave the worst drivers on the roads. Brilliant.


RE: safety?
By valkator on 6/1/2014 1:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
Taxi driver and semi truck drivers the safest?? Wow you are an idiot.


How long before it is illegal to drive
By rykerabel on 6/2/2014 2:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
So, how long do you think it will be before governments start outlawing manual driving?
40 years? 20?
My estimated time lines:
10 years mandated automation for convicted DUI offenders (gateway law)
15 years will mandate that all new vehicles include full automation.
20 years will start charging fees/fines to old vehicles without automation.
30 years will outlaw all manual driving.
But hey, you can still go play with your now street illegal cars on closed tracks for fun.




By lagomorpha on 6/4/2014 9:11:47 AM , Rating: 2
My guess is the combination of Ride Sharing and Autonomous Cars will do for conventional cars what light-bulbs did to candles.

Using your cell phone to flag down an automated taxi a few times per day will be so much cheaper than actually owning and maintaining your own car that only the rich or eccentric hobbyists will actually own their own cars. And when did they ever make laws controlling what the rich could do?


I like it
By someguy743 on 5/30/2014 9:16:43 AM , Rating: 3
I think this would be awesome in bumper to bumper traffic situations. It's super aggravating having to stop and go every 30 seconds in traffic ... sometimes for an hour or so.

Perhaps the auto manufacturers could make cars fully automated only at slow speeds at first for heavy traffic situations. I'd just sit back and watch a movie or surf the internet until the traffic jam was over with.




I would buy one
By zlandar on 5/30/2014 10:01:58 AM , Rating: 3
Driving lost its novelty a long time ago. Now it's just a way to get from point A to B and I would be more than happy to let the car drive itself while I play/read on my smartphone.




Is that an...
By Peter-B on 5/30/2014 8:35:16 AM , Rating: 2
...iPhone 4 label on the top of the last image (the map)? Shouldn't it represent an Android usage map?




Price?
By Grimer21 on 5/30/2014 1:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
I don't care how much this costs, I'm going to start saving up money now and I'll pay any price when it comes out. I'm also going to start brainstorming ideas for 'modding' my car via code.




No problem
By macca007 on 5/30/2014 9:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
You can have your self driving cars as long as they stay in the left lane(slow lane where I am), Might actually benefit everyone if the inconsiderate a'holes that are doing 20 under the limit causing delays KEEP LEFT!




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