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Driverless Vehicles


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#26 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 07:00 AM

While I agree in general the idea is that Machines do far less and have far less variables because it's usually a specific task, and they aren't susceptible to the problems that humans are i.e. fatigue food hunger etc. those things generally can be better controlled the regular maintenance schedule than human. It's rare for a properly taken care of for machine to randomly get sick in the middle of it's shift where is for human we all know you get sick at any moment. So to speak.


Many human illnesses come from not being properly maintained. In a perfect world the mechanized helpers would be perfectly maintained and never break down. But people, the flaw in the process as Stewart points out, are involved in making sure their devices are perfectly maintained. Just as the human body is only as good as the way each individual treats it devices are only as good as their maintenance schedule.

There seems to be a disconnect ... the thought that humans are so flawed that we need to replace them with machines. Yet somehow the machines will be less flawed than their creator? When a flaw is pointed out in a machine the answer is "we can fix that" yet when flaws are pointed out in humans the attitude is "give up we're beyond hope".

The problems that face the human machine are solvable. Fatigue can be cured by rest. If eight hours is too long to go without refueling how about having a lunch? Make the lunch an hour so the body can be properly refueled. If four hours is too monotonous to work then schedule a break. If the manual for our devices says to shut down reboot the system every hour and refuel every four hours why is that accepted as "normal maintenance" for a machine yet "goofing off" for the human machine?

More serious faults can develop in machines as well as humans. I've worked at places where machines "randomly" got sick. Yes, often the random illness can be traced back to the user (please don't execute attachments!). But now we're back to the "flawed humans" who will, as Stewart suggests, remain part of the process no matter how mechanized one tries to make the world.
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#27 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 12:41 PM

We have already replaced humans with "machines" in the workplace. Assembly lines use far fewer workers. I used to type out drafts. I would then grab a pencil and mark them up correcting typos, rewriting sentences, etc. then I would give them to a secretary or clerk-typist to have the final version prepared for my signature. Most of my peers dictated to a secretary who took shorthand (or into a dictaphone from which a secretary would prepare the final document). In most workplaces most of those typing positions were eliminated or in the last two decades never created.

Yes, my word processing software makes errors from time to time, as its spellchecker isn't perfect. But I fix the problem and fewer errors appear than ever before.

Jobs, particularly the tedious ones, get eliminated through the development of appropriate technology which is still implemented and operated by people, just far fewer people per unit produced. The eliminated jobs are frequently counted as "people replaced" as many, many times the economy fails to create enough jobs to replace those lost. Hence, people are replaced by machines - at least many folks say or write that.

Commercial aircraft have pretty darn good autopilots, but they are still controlled by pilots. The system even with both sometimes fails. IMHO cars will always have drivers but the "driverless" research will lead to "autodrivers" that can make driving less dangerous.

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#28 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 12:43 PM

Yeah... that's exactly where I was going.  James also makes an excellent argument that people could in many ways fix themselves easier than they could fix machines... at least for the most common human flaws that are thrown around.

 

edit...

 

Regarding people already being replaced... let's go with automated manufacturing vs people...  Yes, machines are making stuff faster than people.. at least the amount of people normally employed at such places..

 

But is manufacturing perfect now?  Are there never manufacturing problems?  And when a problem happens on the assembly line...  the machines can churn out a lot more mistakes faster too... than humans would IF a human was making the same error...

 

When humans make stuff and bad product comes down the line, they can correct it quicker before too much waste happens... but the machines can churn out the flaws faster too.

 

It pays to remember that we aren't living in a perfect world.  People design the machines, people build the machines, people operate the machines, and people maintain the machines.  Unless and until that changes, people are still the fly in the ointment and you're just trading one problem for another... not ridding the world of human problems.


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#29 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 01:18 PM

Driverless Car Experience
 

173px-CES_logo.svg.png

VCC, Gold Plaza

Discover the road to driverless mobility in the all-new Driverless Car Experience, sponsored by Bosch. This TechZone will feature a variety of technologies that support the future of autonomous/automated driving including parking assist, collision avoidance and emergency braking and much more.

 

SOURCE

 

Look like DBSTalk members attending this year CES can ride in one of these


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#30 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:30 AM

I hope someone can give us a report on this - particularly things like collision avoidance and emergency braking.


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#31 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 09:15 AM

Yeah... that's exactly where I was going.  James also makes an excellent argument that people could in many ways fix themselves easier than they could fix machines... at least for the most common human flaws that are thrown around.

 

...we aren't living in a perfect world.  People design the machines, people build the machines, people operate the machines, and people maintain the machines.  Unless and until that changes, people are still the fly in the ointment and you're just trading one problem for another... not ridding the world of human problems.

 

Any autonomous machine, whether built by humans or by other machines, will always have a kernel of human instruction no matter how minute, thus will always be subject to human-like fallibility. The fictional operating system, HAL 9000, is a prime example. From a human-logic view, the flaw in HAL's instruction-set was the inability to adapt its perspective to the changing environment and, because of its 'preserve the mission at all costs' directive, resisted emergency override by the surviving crew member.

 

When all else fails, refer to Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics", including subsequent iterations, such as the Zeroth Law, which introduces the possibility (likelyhood?) of ambiguity or internal conflict when balancing the good of a man against the good of mankind.


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#32 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:17 PM

Audi A7 Takes the Wheel at CES 2014
 

Audi gave CNET a demonstration of its autonomous vehicle technology, which it calls Piloted Driving, during CES 2014

 

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#33 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 01:29 PM

I like the concept of "Piloted Driving", particularly this: "In this initial conception, the car will use facial recognition cameras to tell if the driver isn't paying attention to the road or nodding off, then sound an alert." That feature alone would save lives.

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#34 OFFLINE   houskamp

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 09:35 AM

With the amount of tiime I spend fixing all the "fix crappy driver" toys on cars now, there's no way I would ever ride in a automatic drive car.. we can't even keep the stuff we have working reliablely for a few years bouncing down the road..not to mention how much more they cost already..

 

spending more than 2 weeks showing movies and playing on a simulator in what we call drivers training would be much more effective..


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#35 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 01:21 PM

I seem to remember Driver's Ed being more than two weeks ... I believe it was six weeks - but it was a long time ago.

Not an endorsement - just a funny commercial:

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#36 ONLINE   yosoyellobo

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 10:56 AM

After watching an article on CBS News Sunday Morning on driverless vehicle I believe that only if the cars manufactures assume responsibilities for for any accident while the car is under the control the car. A Mercedes Benz which might be one of the first to bring one on the market will not do so until they are sure they could reduce the risk to a minimum. Personally I would not drive one unless any liability in a accident would be assume by the car manufacturer.

#37 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:47 PM

After watching an article on CBS News Sunday Morning on driverless vehicle I believe that only if the cars manufactures assume responsibilities for for any accident while the car is under the control the car. A Mercedes Benz which might be one of the first to bring one on the market will not do so until they are sure they could reduce the risk to a minimum. Personally I would not drive one unless any liability in a accident would be assume by the car manufacturer.

Yeah, that's what I was hinting at earlier.

 

If the argument is supposed to be that the self-driving car is safer and better and more reliable than a human... then why hold a human responsible if there is an accident?  IF I'm going to be held responsible for an accident that I'm in while inside of my car... then I better be able to drive it so that at least I have a shot at avoiding the accident myself.  IF I'm not in control, then I'm not liable.


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#38 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 05:48 AM

In the US we lose over 30,000 people a year to road accidents.

 

Here's the conundrum.  What if automatic driving could reduce that to 500?

 

You don't seem to want to accept anything less than a PERFECT replacement for a HUGELY flawed original (human driver).

 

It'll be an interesting debate.  I predict insurance companies will offer discounts to those who accept AND USE auto-drive.



#39 OFFLINE   dennisj00

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 09:13 AM

One feature I really liked on a segment yesterday - I think CBS 'Sunday Morning' was valet parking. . .the car drops you off and goes and parks. . . then picks you up.

 

Not that I would use it as I enter or exit close to the Mall - the few times I go to the mall,  I'd rather get dropped off or picked up further away from the entrance.  I hate parking lots and those drivers!


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#40 ONLINE   yosoyellobo

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 09:48 AM

In the US we lose over 30,000 people a year to road accidents.
 
Here's the conundrum.  What if automatic driving could reduce that to 500?
 
You don't seem to want to accept anything less than a PERFECT replacement for a HUGELY flawed original (human driver).
 
It'll be an interesting debate.  I predict insurance companies will offer discounts to those who accept AND USE auto-drive.


If the cars companies do a good job and the insurance companies offer discounts sign me up.

#41 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 12:08 PM

In the US we lose over 30,000 people a year to road accidents.

 

Here's the conundrum.  What if automatic driving could reduce that to 500?

 

You don't seem to want to accept anything less than a PERFECT replacement for a HUGELY flawed original (human driver).

 

It'll be an interesting debate.  I predict insurance companies will offer discounts to those who accept AND USE auto-drive.

That's not my position at all.

 

I'm turning that upside down.

 

What I'm asking is... IF the companies that develop this technology are so sure they could reduce accidents like that from 30000 down to 500... then why don't they put their money where their mouths are and take the blame for all remaining accidents if their technology is in charge?

 

IF they want me to use the technology and be unable to drive the car... then I don't want to be responsible for any accident that results from their technology in control.  IF it is safer, maybe I could get used to it.  I don't mind being in cars with other people driving that I trust... so if I learned to trust the technology it could be ok... BUT, don't have the technology glitch and drive me into an accident and then try to tell me the accident is my fault and I'm liable for it if I don't get to control the car.

 

That's my position.

 

And as an aside...  I again say why make the claim that humans are "hugely" flawed and then be confident that those same humans can develop technology that will be more reliable than they are?


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#42 OFFLINE   dennisj00

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 05:42 PM

It's certainly easier to program computers to be more reliable than humans are.   It's just covering all the bases - and the odd occurances that have to be considered.  Drunk drivers, grills falling off the pickup ahead, etc.

 

Face it, today's airliners can take off and travel to their destination and land without pilots.  In fact, they wouldn't land at the wrong airport!


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#43 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 06:18 PM

It's certainly easier to program computers to be more reliable than humans are.   It's just covering all the bases - and the odd occurances that have to be considered.  Drunk drivers, grills falling off the pickup ahead, etc.

 

Face it, today's airliners can take off and travel to their destination and land without pilots.  In fact, they wouldn't land at the wrong airport!

Programmed by whom?  Flawed humans?


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#44 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 06:20 PM

Programming the computer to handle bad data is the key ... thousands of flights go well every day - we hear about the ones that don't. It is easy to say that the computer would never land at the wrong airport. But what would the computer do if it did? Would it have the intelligence to avoid a crash or would it just assume that the runway it landed on was the right one, the right length and end up going over the edge?

I'll believe the computer is better when it stops making mistakes. When the GPS never tells me to turn into a private road or non-road that shouldn't be on the map. When it knows the speed limit for every segment of every road. When it can see where the lanes are when the road is covered in snow.

We're a long long long way from that day.
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#45 OFFLINE   dennisj00

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 07:00 PM

Your GPS telling you to make a wrong turn isn't a good example -- it's only working from a database and has no on-board sensors to make those necessary decisions from current, local data.  Vision, ultrasonic ranging, radar, lots more than a static database.

 

Yes, we have a long way to go, but not as long as it was.


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#46 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:28 AM

Your GPS telling you to make a wrong turn isn't a good example -- it's only working from a database and has no on-board sensors to make those necessary decisions from current, local data.  Vision, ultrasonic ranging, radar, lots more than a static database.


It is a perfect example. One does not get an infallible system from fallible people.

Yes, we have a long way to go, but not as long as it was.


I spend half of my life dealing with failed computer systems and automation. We will never reach infallible ... it is a good goal but something can always go wrong. Building all of the infrastructure needed to support driverless autonomic vehicles won't happen in my lifetime. We can barely support the infrastructure needed for current vehicles.

A good first step would be trains. They run in a controlled environment ... on rails. One does not need to have perfect GPS to make two trains traveling toward each other at 60+ MPH pass on separate tracks - one just needs to know what track each train is on and make sure they are different. When long distance cross country trains are running fully automated in their controlled environment we can talk about how driverless vehicles will work in the less controlled environment of public highways.

We (as a society) do not have the money to upgrade the railroad system to allow for fully automatic train operation. Where are we going to find the money to upgrade the road system?
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#47 OFFLINE   dennisj00

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 04:51 PM

But you're NOT going to see a driverless vehicle that uses only a GPS database.


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#48 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:07 PM

That's not my position at all.

 

I'm turning that upside down.

 

What I'm asking is... IF the companies that develop this technology are so sure they could reduce accidents like that from 30000 down to 500... then why don't they put their money where their mouths are and take the blame for all remaining accidents if their technology is in charge?

 

IF they want me to use the technology and be unable to drive the car... then I don't want to be responsible for any accident that results from their technology in control.  IF it is safer, maybe I could get used to it.  I don't mind being in cars with other people driving that I trust... so if I learned to trust the technology it could be ok... BUT, don't have the technology glitch and drive me into an accident and then try to tell me the accident is my fault and I'm liable for it if I don't get to control the car.

 

That's my position.

 

And as an aside...  I again say why make the claim that humans are "hugely" flawed and then be confident that those same humans can develop technology that will be more reliable than they are?

Take this from the point of view of a person who's been a computer programmer for over 40 years.

 

Testing.  That's how you do it.  Ever wonder how the Mars Rovers kept going 10 years into their 90-day mission?  And that's exactly what Google is doing now.  Unbelievable amount of testing.  And when those are done - MORE testing.

 

I watched some programs on the DARPA challenge that had autonomous vehicles with NO databases run a course of over 150 miles depending on nothing but sensors as input - and this was 5 years ago.

 

Computers don't get tired.  They don't drive when their girlfriends made them mad.  They don't get drunk.  They won't have blind spots and they can see through fog far better than we can.  They won't fall asleep at the wheel.  They won't mistake the gas pedal for the brake and plow through 10 people at a bus stop or drive through the front window of a pharmacy.

 

The companies that develop this aren't going to take the responsibility completely away from humans.  After all, if "Freedom Industries" can avoid prosecution for poisoning over a quarter million people in WV by declaring bankruptcy, there's NO WAY a company will assume that liability. 

 

As I said, I think the insurance companies will drive this with discounts - at least at first.  What's likely to happen as this technology progresses is that, eventually, in the distant future, you will get hit with surcharges by your insurance company if you DON'T use auto-drive.   It will not be a question of whether or not you trust the auto-drive hardware/software package, it'll be whether or not your insurance company trusts YOU more than, say, Google.  The least reliable part in any car on the road is "the nut behind the wheel".  Me?  I have a pretty good track record in 35+ years of driving (3 low speed fender benders, nothing since the 1990s) but I know that I don't have the attention span of a computer.  Redundant systems will take care of the problems that can arise from malfunctions.


Edited by djlong, 21 January 2014 - 05:09 PM.


#49 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:12 PM

But you're NOT going to see a driverless vehicle that uses only a GPS database.


Nor will I see a driverless train that relies only on GPS. The arrogance is that the machine can drive better than a human without fail.
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#50 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:23 PM

Let me try this another way.  Forget computers for a minute.

 

If I get into a car with James... and James is driving... and James accidentally runs us off the road and hits a barn...  James is responsible.  I'm not held liable.

 

So...  back to the computer now...  IF the computer is driving the car, what makes the computer any different than James?  Why do I suddenly become responsible for my driverless/computer car if it gets in an accident when I'm clearly not the driver and not in control of the car any more than I am when James was driving?

 

Until they clear that hurdle, I don't even want to consider it.


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