The autonomous (self driving) car buyers and owners thread

Sam Posten

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Sam Posten

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The bear case:
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/10/google_self_driving_car_it_may_never_actually_happen.html

I believe these are all solvable problems. Obviously things are dramatically different between tech demos and worldwide scale. The problems listed aren't anything new, what remains intriguingly out of grasp is the problems that will rise because of the implementation of this tech and how things adapt or die when it is fully functional. Law of unintended consequences and all that.
 

KevinGress

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I agree; as long as they study it, eventually they'll come up with solutions. But I'm glad they're finally realistically painting the challenges and acknowledging that computers really aren't faster than the human brain in regards to calculations.

That said, I find it interesting that mapping is such a big challenge. I think they're spending way too much resources and computing power to have a super-accurate 3-D map. They'll find that the solution is what people do all the time - take 'short cuts'. During most of my driving I know the general route - what direction, what streets to take, etc. But I don't memorize every feature about every inch out there - I generalize, or 'short cut' it. Ex: I know the general wide of the roads, I know approximately where curves are, etc. Basically like a GPS map. That should be their starting point. Then program common traffic knowledge - what an intersection 'looks' like, what a traffic light looks like and where 'red' 'should' be (I assume there's state laws regarding this) - so the computer shouldn't have to recognize red, just where it's placement on a traffic light 'should' be.

I applause their determination, innovation, and drive (pun intended); but I think they should alter their goal to improve computer-aided driving first and through that process evolve it into more and more computer-led driving.



Oh, and back to the mapping issue - I'm betting that along the way they'll decide to let the individual vehicles do the scanning for them. I mean, they're the ones on the road. Attach additional sensors that would transmit that information back to Google to keep the maps up-to-date. Plus, they'd sell it as - 'hey! If an accident occurs on your route, cars would transmit that information to Google and Google could then send that information to vehicles in the vicinity so they could develop rerouting plans, etc. ala the cellphone strategy Batman employed in The Dark Knight.

Which would (or rather, should) raise all sorts of privacy issues, but as the articles shows, they're still a ways off.
 

Chuck Anstey

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As I said earlier in this thread, Google's solution is slot cars with collision avoidance, not actual driving. And the engineering 'short cut' is the ultra detailed maps. They can't make less accurate maps because their current solution depends upon them being hyper accurate. However, it does give them time and experience to work on other challenges of driving while cheating at the road / navigation portion. Eventually they may finally solve the big issue of driving without a map from all the experiences they have gained.
 

Adam_S

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Aaron Silverman said:
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?
Noone will ever ban human drivers, that's politically untenable and counter productive to the sdc being successful.What will happen in the long term is the free market will price most human drivers out. Insurance companies will increase premiums on human drivers or cars without sdc tech because those cars are a lot more expensive to insure. It's already happening, 2015 model year cars with driver assist tech get lower rates than models without it because the insurance companies have fewer claims against models that have the tech in the 2014 year.
 

DaveF

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Sam Posten said:
I've thought for a while that Apple and Tesla are a good fit; Apple buying Tesla, on the surface, seems like a good idea. Tesla makes $100k gadgets, with an emphasis on design and user experience. They're bringing them down market, increasingly affordable. They engage in direct sales to the consumer. They have novel salesrooms, with a high touch experience.

Apple is Apple, no longer Apple Computer. And they're interesting in creating a highly integrated computing ecosystem. They're no longer concerned just with your home office, but are now targeting the living room, credit cards, personal health, fitness, and whole-house integration. Adding the family car to the portfolio is not an unnatural step.

And both companies are targeting entrenched industries that believe upstarts can't just come in and do what they do.

The weakness I see is that Tesla is a very slow burn, US-only, struggling against legal restrictions in ways that Apple hasn't, and isn't on a clear path to high profits anytime soon. And they're a decade from mass market, at a guess. Apple is global mass marketing, selling $500 gadgets to everyone, everywhere.

Still, I think it's an interesting idea.
 

Sam Posten

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Sam Posten

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KevinGress

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Sam Posten said:
Sorry for replying to an older post, but just looked at the link.


"We can’t have a full and productive conversation about connected vehicles if government isn’t at the table. " Bull! Might make things easier (especially when manufacturers are 'forced' into the same standard) but it certainly can, and should, happen without government. You don't see government getting into the iPhone vs Android debate; HD-DVD vs. Blu Ray; VHS vs. Beta, etc.
 

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Sam Posten said:
Actually, I found this interesting -


One notable feature is the pair of "LED fields" at the front and rear that change color based on the car's current driving mode: white in manual, blue in autonomous. It seems innocuous enough, but it's easy to imagine a future where everyone around you wants to know whether you're driving or your car is — pedestrians, law enforcement, and so on.


Again, as long as the vehicle is operating within the established laws and rules, who cares?
 

Sam Posten

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KevinGress said:
Sorry for replying to an older post, but just looked at the link.


"We can’t have a full and productive conversation about connected vehicles if government isn’t at the table. " Bull! Might make things easier (especially when manufacturers are 'forced' into the same standard) but it certainly can, and should, happen without government. You don't see government getting into the iPhone vs Android debate; HD-DVD vs. Blu Ray; VHS vs. Beta, etc.
Ummmm, you do know the government runs the FCC right? The government runs the roads, they need to be part of the conversation.
 
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