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Driverless Vehicles


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#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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#51 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:43 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.

While I agree with you in principle some law maker will probably say you are responsible because you chose to put the vehicle into driverless mode. 


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#52 OFFLINE   houskamp

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:19 PM

so if I send the car with no one in it to pick up something, I'm not there so I'm not responsible :P

 

just glad I won't live long enough to ever see them..


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#53 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:34 PM

While I agree with you in principle some law maker will probably say you are responsible because you chose to put the vehicle into driverless mode.


So ... would you hold Stewart responsible because he let me drive?

In a state that allows driverless cars it would be as legal for the car to drive as for me to drive. In a state where driverless cars were not allowed it would be as if I didn't have a license. But as an "unlicensed driver" I would still be held responsible for my driving ... not Stewart. Why wouldn't the driverless car be held responsible instead of Stewart?

Until states get to the point where THEY trust driverless cars enough not to penalize the passenger behind the wheel I'm with Stewart. I'll drive ... and leave the driverless cars alone until they learn how to drive with responsibility.
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#54 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:35 PM

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.

Really? Then please explain to me why most of my fellow motorists complain about their cars computer system giving them faulty readings? My wife's 2013 Ford Explorer XLT tells her it needs a oil change when that maintenance is performed regularly well within the scheduled time frames. Today I used it to go to our local Post Office. The true outdoor temperature was 4 degrees yet the car's computer system was telling me it was 39 degrees. My neighbor's car's check engine stays lit all the time. He's taken it back to the dealer several times times to no avail. The flight recorder of Asian Flight 214 revealed during the last 2.5 minutes of the flight there were multiple auto pilot modes and multiple auto throttle modes but it did not reveal if those modes were commanded by pilots. Sounds like more testing and redundant systems are needed.  


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#55 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:38 PM

So ... would you hold Stewart responsible because he let me drive?

In a state that allows driverless cars it would be as legal for the car to drive as for me to drive. In a state where driverless cars were not allowed it would be as if I didn't have a license. But as an "unlicensed driver" I would still be held responsible for my driving ... not Stewart. Why wouldn't the driverless car be held responsible instead of Stewart?

Until states get to the point where THEY trust driverless cars enough not to penalize the passenger behind the wheel I'm with Stewart. I'll drive ... and leave the driverless cars alone until they learn how to drive with responsibility.

Would I hold Stewart responsible? No. But I know a good lawyer who could!  ;)


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#56 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:09 PM

While I agree with you in principle some law maker will probably say you are responsible because you chose to put the vehicle into driverless mode. 

 

And with that in mind...  I would not get inside said vehicle if I was to be held responsible whether I was driving or not.

 

There actually would be no advantage from my perspective to turn control of the car over to a computer if I was still going to be held responsible.  Why would anyone ever agree to such a situation?

 

They will not find a lot of buyers and users of such technology if the people backing the technology don't have the confidence to assume responsibility for its use.

 

Are the passengers responsible for a bus crash?  or a plane crash?  or a train derailment?


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#57 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:39 PM

And with that in mind...  I would not get inside said vehicle if I was to be held responsible whether I was driving or not.

 

There actually would be no advantage from my perspective to turn control of the car over to a computer if I was still going to be held responsible.  Why would anyone ever agree to such a situation?

 

They will not find a lot of buyers and users of such technology if the people backing the technology don't have the confidence to assume responsibility for its use.

 

Are the passengers responsible for a bus crash?  or a plane crash?  or a train derailment?

The law states that someone has to be in the vehicle to monitor performance and take the wheel if necessary so technically you're not a passenger. That good lawyer I mentioned in post #55 would prove you were negligent with your monitoring duties.    


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#58 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 06:26 AM

The law states that someone has to be in the vehicle to monitor performance and take the wheel if necessary so technically you're not a passenger. That good lawyer I mentioned in post #55 would prove you were negligent with your monitoring duties.


Yet Stewart does not have to monitor my driving. He can sleep, read, text message or watch TV on his cellphone. He can even sit in the back seat and pretend I am his chauffeur.

States that allow driverless vehicles do not trust them to this point. They require a licensed driver to be behind the controls "just in case". That ringing endorsement by states willing to take the risk to allow "driverless" vehicles shows the level of their willingness.

If one were in the control seat of a driverless car and decided to text message or talk on a cellphone in a state that allowed driverless cars but did not allow text messaging or cellphone use what law would reign? Would the performance monitor be allowed to use their phone while monitoring the car's driving?
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#59 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:54 AM

The law states that someone has to be in the vehicle to monitor performance and take the wheel if necessary so technically you're not a passenger. That good lawyer I mentioned in post #55 would prove you were negligent with your monitoring duties.    

You're still making my point for me.

 

Why would I agree to ride in a car that I can't drive but that I will be held responsible for the driving?  It's a non-starter.

 

The law would have to change, the insurance company would have to change, and the car manufacturer's would have to change... or I will not ride in said car.


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#60 OFFLINE   yosoyellobo

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 12:29 PM

You're still making my point for me.
 
Why would I agree to ride in a car that I can't drive but that I will be held responsible for the driving?  It's a non-starter.
 
The law would have to change, the insurance company would have to change, and the car manufacturer's would have to change... or I will not ride in said car.


The change would have to be lead by the car manufacturer. Less say that Mercedes Benz come to the conclusion that they could indeed make an ultra safe driverless car. It should be no problem for them to pick up the cost of providing liability and accident insurance. It most likely would be on a contingency basis with a large upfront payment with adjustment later on as the true cost is calculated. If Mercedes fail the market will take of the driverless car but if they succeed the other car manufacturers, the law and insurance companies will have to follow.




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