The autonomous (self driving) car buyers and owners thread

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Sam Posten, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Impressive:
    Our vehicles have now logged nearly 700,000 autonomous miles, and with every passing mile we’re growing more optimistic that we’re heading toward an achievable goal—a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention.[/quote]
     
  3. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  4. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Very interesting article, thanks Sam.
     
  5. KevinGress

    KevinGress Supporting Actor

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    It is very interesting and exciting, until you click on secondary links within the article like http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2014/02/imagine-world-where-nobody-owns-their-own-car/8387/ (and the Vision Zero one)

    "If connected vehicle technology becomes mandatory in American cars, as the Department of Transportation recently suggested it might, the most obvious benefit would be safety....In that sense, a world without car crashes may just be the first step to a world without car-ownership."

    And this gem: "[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:'Palatino Linotype', 'Book Antiqua', Palatino, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;]Levinson subscribes to a timeline in which autonomous cars enter the luxury market in 2020, the technology trickles down into the affordable mid-level range over the next several years, and by 2030 every car on the road is driverless. (Other cars would be banned a decade later.) "[/color]

    I hate to sound like a broken record; I love the idea of the technology and there will certainly be many benefits. I just keep thinking about I, Robot and how Will Smith's character gets in trouble for taking manual control of his car - these articles reinforce that that's what's going to happen.
     
  6. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    You shouldn't base how you view the future on a Hollywood fantasy. I remember a rather hysterical post on HTF, wanting the plug to be pulled on IBM's Watson supercomputer because the poster was afraid it would try to take over, just like in the Terminator movies. The only reason I can think of why someone would get in trouble for driving his vehicle wouldn't be technological. It would be political.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    But it's a necessary step on the road to our utopian, moneyless society, as demonstrated by Captain Picard in Star Trek:TNG.:D
     
  8. KevinGress

    KevinGress Supporting Actor

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    I agree; one shouldn't base their view on movies. For me it's the opposite- I was just trying to use a cinematic visual to highlight my view.

    I point again to what I highlighted - "(Other cars would be banned a decade later.)" , So, my view comes from what some intend to do based on this technology. And, you're right, it would be political. And unnecessary. Google (and other manufacturers) are doing just fine developing the technology without this legislation in place. And unless this advancement allows vehicles to travel so fast that most people could not 'keep up' on their own, there should be no thoughts of banning people from driving. Technology's purpose should be to enhance life, not restrict it.

    What I wonder is, is Google putting resources into telepresence - now THAT would help reduce traffic accidents!! :)



     
  9. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    IMO Kevin is absolutely correct that nanny-staters will hop on the "ban human drivers" bandwagon without hesitation. Hopefully its wheels will come off as soon as possible. :)

    What would you have said ten years ago if I told you that the government would ban incandescent light bulbs?
     
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  10. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    The biggest cause of accidents is unpredictability and the biggest reduction in accidents will come from reducing unpredictability. Therefore it seems obvious that to have self-drive cars be safer than human drivers, they would have to ban the unpredictable human drivers. Now you would only have to worry about bugs in the incredibly complicated program, which is clearly an extremely low probability right? Toyota runaway engine anyone? Of course I also expect the unintended consequences of when we get there to be "No more riding bikes on roads" as they would again be a source of unpredictability.

    We do have a real world situation already though. Commercial airplanes can fly themselves from start to finish and do it safer as a whole than human pilots. There would be fewer flying deaths if we let the computers fly the plane. However there are specific situations where a human pilot beats a computer like the landing of the plane on the Hudson River. People will accept more risk and fatalities for the feeling of control, especially when it can be easily demonstrated that computers are not always superior to humans. That is what is going to slow if not prevent self-drive cars.
    This is likely a very poor example. If it can be shown (I have yet to see this) that the total resource and energy cost of the new light bulbs from creation to disposal is much cheaper than current incandescent bulbs, why not eliminate the older, less efficient technology? No 'freedom' is being given up and the new product performs the same function as the old one. Again though it needs to be shown that the total cost is cheaper, including disposal. If the new bulbs take 10 times more energy to produce than they would ever save in its lifetime or that it will take more money to clean up the heavy metals in the landfills than saved in energy then it is a really stupid idea.
     
  11. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I completely agree that a "nanny-state" philosophy would be the driving force behind banning human drivers, not technology.
    I don't think it's obvious at all. You might be able to say that banning human drivers would result in greater safety than having a mix of human and robot drivers, but you cannot assume that a mix of human and robot drivers is not safer than having all-human drivers. Banning human drivers would be the result of a political determination that safety outweighs all other factors.
     
  12. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Concerning red light cameras: They are all over Arkansas but it is illegal for a driver to be ticketed for running the red light without a police officer witnessing the incident first-hand. The cameras are only there to monitor traffic flow and determine the party at fault in an accident which occurs in an intersection equipped with such cameras.
     
  13. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    And I never said it would be true or that I believe it. I just said that if we have self-drive cars on the road, it is obvious that the future will ban human drivers. However, I am sure given enough future computational power and vast amounts of resources put into it, an all-computer driven cars transportation system would be far safer than an all human drivers system. I just don't think we will put in the correct amount of effort.

    There was an article in the local newspaper a while back talking about the legislation to ban teenagers using cell phones while driving. The statement was "A teenager on a cell phone is like an 80 year old driver". That was supposed to show how bad teens are at driving while on a cell phone. Nobody happened to notice what that statement really indicated; An 80 year old driver at their best is like a new teen driver at their worst. But no one was talking about banning 80 year olds from driving even though how many stories have you read about where an elderly person mistook the gas for the brake and killed pedestrians or went through a store? I think this is where self-drive cars will really help society; people, through age or trauma who can no longer drive safely but can still get around just fine if someone would drive them to the grocery store or doctor or anywhere else.
     
  14. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Definitely, and the thing to consider is that they will still be 'just' a tool. And tools have this awesome way of being used for both good and evil uses, in ways that their creators never intended.

    How will autonomous vehicles change the face of war? They will surely be used for terror too, right? Can one be reprogrammed to kill its passenger by driving over a cliff? Will they change the economy because we need fewer cars overall? Will they burn less gas because of fewer on the road or more gas because the ones we have become a shared asset that is used considerably more than the ones we have now that idle the vast majority of the day. How will our roads and other infrastructure be modified to made this tech even better?

    It's going to open up a floodgate of unforeseen uses, or uses that ARE foreseen but become tragic/unfortunate reality anyway.
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I look forward to Road-Net Neutrality fights: should I be allowed to pay more for the car-bot network to prioritize my transit through traffic?
     
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  16. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    Oh that is a good one as not that long ago here in Atlanta there was a fight about converting HOV lanes into variable pay lanes, aka Lexus Lanes so those that could afford it would have much less traffic to deal with. Some HOV lanes were converted into Lexus Lanes.

    I guess it all comes down to control. Right now every driver is independent and we just have rudimentary controls on the highway and enforcement. If the whole system was automated then it is quite easy to manipulate the system to the advantage of a few at the expense of everyone else.
     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  18. Clinton McClure

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    How awesome would it be to have the car drive itself for 10 hours when we drive from AR to GA to visit my better half's parents?!
     
  19. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Yeah, or daily commutes. That has downsides too tho, more environmental impact as we get used to being in the car more because its safer.
     
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    We have both here in D.C. and NoVA.
    Funny story: I moved from Rochester, NY. I-90 is a toll road, costing about $0.25/exit. Our apartment out here was right off the Greenway, at the very first exit past Dulles. About a mile. The first week, I took the Greenway, figuring it was $0.50 round-trip, and saving me 5+ miles to go up and over and down on the non-toll road. Then my wife saw the EZ Pass bill... About $63 for that first week!!!


    Running from Dulles Int'l Airport is the Greenway, a privately owned toll road that charges $4.50+, regardless of distance, to not use the clogged Hwy 50 or Hwy 7. People are pretty annoyed by it. The rates are supposed to be fair and reasonable and set to maximize use and reduce congestion. A recent study shows the price is too high and congestion on normal roads is unabated. But the private company is doing dandy financially.

    And just completed last year is the I-495 D.C. express lanes. They bill to your EZ Pass about $4.95 a trip to get on 2+ lanes dedicated to the express traffic, running parallel to the normal beltway.

    The future is here :)
     

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