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Author Topic:   Self-Driving Cars
Percy
Member
Posts: 16978
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 1 of 108 (767510)
08-30-2015 9:32 AM


We've touched on the topic of self-driving cars in several threads recently, and this morning I came across a TED talk by Google's Chris Urmson (director of Self-Driving Cars) this past July:

Urmson describes what Google self-driving cars "see" when they're making decisions about how to react, and explains a little bit about how they're solving some of the more difficult problems. Pretty interesting stuff.

Urmsom makes it seem like they can unleash their self-driving cars anywhere in the country, but this article from a year ago, also based on information from Urmson, says that anywhere Google's cars go must be microscopically mapped, "vastly more effort than what's needed for Google Maps": Hidden Obstacles for Googles Self-Driving Cars.

How receptive will the American public be to self-driving cars? Right now the answer seems to be, "pretty receptive," but how will public opinion react the first time a self-driving car causes a 13-car pileup with fatalities on the interstate?

Let me put the question in concrete terms. Currently 33,000 people die each year on American roads. Let's say that self-driving cars cut that number to 10,000, but that almost all that 10,000 is because of failures in the self-driving car technology. Will the American public accept that? They've behaved irrationally before, they could again.

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Capt Stormfield, posted 08-30-2015 11:33 AM Percy has responded
 Message 9 by Jon, posted 08-30-2015 1:42 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply
 Message 25 by Phat, posted 09-01-2015 2:07 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
Capt Stormfield
Member
Posts: 260
From: Vancouver Island
Joined: 01-17-2009


(2)
Message 2 of 108 (767516)
08-30-2015 11:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
08-30-2015 9:32 AM


Currently 33,000 people die each year on American roads. Let's say that self-driving cars cut that number to 10,000, but that almost all that 10,000 is because of failures in the self-driving car technology. Will the American public accept that? They've behaved irrationally before, they could again.

I don't accept the premise that the choice is irrational. Given the existence of a skill set that helps avoid accidents, it is quite rational for individuals who possess that skill set to choose their own judgement over a random chance of technical failure.

Also, I don't accept the premise that surrendering agency in exchange for safety is, in the context of human emotional needs and the long-term evolution of society, a rational choice.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 08-30-2015 9:32 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Percy, posted 08-30-2015 12:54 PM Capt Stormfield has responded
 Message 4 by NosyNed, posted 08-30-2015 1:04 PM Capt Stormfield has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 16978
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.1


(1)
Message 3 of 108 (767522)
08-30-2015 12:54 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Capt Stormfield
08-30-2015 11:33 AM


Capt Stormfield writes:

I don't accept the premise that the choice is irrational. Given the existence of a skill set that helps avoid accidents, it is quite rational for individuals who possess that skill set to choose their own judgement over a random chance of technical failure.

Watch these accidents for a few minutes. Some of the accidents are sheer idiocy, but a number of them are not avoidable no matter how elite one's skill set:

With self-driving cars, not only are you protected against your own idiocy, but everyone else's, too. For example, here's one where the driver is waiting to turn left:

How does one avoid an accident when one isn't moving? Had he suddenly accelerated to the right he would have struck the car passing him on his right. How does the van avoid this one:

How does the dark sedan on the right avoid the little pickup:

How does the oncoming traffic avoid this:

Or how often will someone be vigilant enough to avoid this car going through a red light:

Here's a similar red light situation at night:

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Capt Stormfield, posted 08-30-2015 11:33 AM Capt Stormfield has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Capt Stormfield, posted 08-30-2015 1:05 PM Percy has responded
 Message 13 by ringo, posted 08-30-2015 3:07 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8806
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 4 of 108 (767523)
08-30-2015 1:04 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Capt Stormfield
08-30-2015 11:33 AM


Given the existence of a skill set that helps avoid accidents, it is quite rational for individuals who possess that skill set to choose their own judgement over a random chance of technical failure.

You would rather increase your risk of dying than give up driving? Humans have random technical failures all the time, more than a machine that is built to minimize them. You are, I think, human.

In addition, as Percy, points out. We are making sure that the others on the road aren't doing utterly dumb things. There would be an immediate increase in over all safety by getting me out from behind the wheel. (and I drive over on the island fairly often )


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Capt Stormfield, posted 08-30-2015 11:33 AM Capt Stormfield has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Capt Stormfield, posted 08-30-2015 1:13 PM NosyNed has responded

  
Capt Stormfield
Member
Posts: 260
From: Vancouver Island
Joined: 01-17-2009


Message 5 of 108 (767524)
08-30-2015 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Percy
08-30-2015 12:54 PM


I didn't say all accidents were avoidable, but many are. As you state in the part of the post I responded to, there will also be accidents with driverless cars. They also will be unavoidable. I think the desire to retain as much control as possible over one's fate is one of the better parts of human nature, not an irrationality. Bear in mind, no data exists demonstrating the real-world danger, or lack of it, in such a system.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Percy, posted 08-30-2015 12:54 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Percy, posted 08-30-2015 5:46 PM Capt Stormfield has not yet responded

  
Capt Stormfield
Member
Posts: 260
From: Vancouver Island
Joined: 01-17-2009


Message 6 of 108 (767526)
08-30-2015 1:13 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by NosyNed
08-30-2015 1:04 PM


You would rather increase your risk of dying than give up driving?

Absolutely. The same applies to hiking in the mountains with bears and cougars, drinking, eating meat, swimming in the ocean, being out in Georgia Strait in a small boat a south-easter, doing street photography on Hastings, etc.

I would rather see the costs of this stuff put into demanding driver ed and testing. The half or so of the populace that would be summarily booted from the ranks of drivers would create the critical mass necessary for efficient public transit. Win-win.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by NosyNed, posted 08-30-2015 1:04 PM NosyNed has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by NosyNed, posted 08-30-2015 2:58 PM Capt Stormfield has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5572
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 7 of 108 (767530)
08-30-2015 1:34 PM


Fantastic, more civil rights and freedom arguments in the pipeline. You guys are going to need a whole new Amendment. 'Cars don't kill people, people do.'

Of course the car manufacturers will hate it, everything will have to be standardised and compatible. How can you have a 12 cylinder, fuel injected, turbo charge, chickogasmic status symbol if it can't break the speed limit and has to do exactly what the guy next door's car does that got his from Walmart. Hell, it's almost communism. All you can do is pimp the HiFi.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Capt Stormfield, posted 08-30-2015 1:42 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
Capt Stormfield
Member
Posts: 260
From: Vancouver Island
Joined: 01-17-2009


(1)
Message 8 of 108 (767533)
08-30-2015 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Tangle
08-30-2015 1:34 PM


WTF are you babbling about?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Tangle, posted 08-30-2015 1:34 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 108 (767534)
08-30-2015 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
08-30-2015 9:32 AM


Currently 33,000 people die each year on American roads. Let's say that self-driving cars cut that number to 10,000, but that almost all that 10,000 is because of failures in the self-driving car technology. Will the American public accept that? They've behaved irrationally before, they could again.

Well, people believe that they can avoid being part of the traffic fatality statistics, and many of them can (by driving at appropriate speeds, not drinking and driving, etc.). This feeling of control has value and it does save the lives of people willing to drive responsibly.

I can understand people being very uncomfortable with knowing that no matter what they do on their way to work, the only thing keeping them from ending up on the other side of the windshield is statistical good luck.

And I don't think that's irrational.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 08-30-2015 9:32 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Tangle, posted 08-30-2015 2:04 PM Jon has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5572
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 10 of 108 (767538)
08-30-2015 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Jon
08-30-2015 1:42 PM


Jon writes:

I can understand people being very uncomfortable with knowing that no matter what they do on their way to work, the only thing keeping them from ending up on the other side of the windshield is statistical good luck.

They seem to accept that eventuality everytime they step onto a train, bus or plane.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Jon, posted 08-30-2015 1:42 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Jon, posted 08-30-2015 3:01 PM Tangle has responded

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8806
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 11 of 108 (767550)
08-30-2015 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Capt Stormfield
08-30-2015 1:13 PM


Having Your Cake and Eating It
Fortunately, in this case, you can have your cake and eat it too. There will be a proliferation of tracks for those who enjoy driving. There are already for the very rich and one is being built near you as we type.

These will be able to be done for a smaller cost to the users because there will be a much higher volume of customers.

My car is too damned quick to be really usable to half it's capability (or mine ) and it would be fun to have access to somewhere to push it a bit more.

I would rather see the costs of this stuff put into demanding driver ed and testing. The half or so of the populace that would be summarily booted from the ranks of drivers would create the critical mass necessary for efficient public transit. Win-win.

Well, you obviously have no clue about what is politically possible. It's going to be hard enough to mandate autobots (you read it here first ). To actually remove the convenience of an independent car from half the drivers (and you are being way to optimistic about people's abilities) won't fly.

Over time the tracks will fade as very few people have an interest in the cost of owndership of a car worth taking on them. In fact, over time the autobots will be the public transit. I am told that Uber has told Google and Tesla it will buy the first half million cars they can put on the road.

From what I understand and guess of the technology the autobots can beat any but the few professional drivers of race cars from a safety point of view now. It won't take long before they can beat everyone, including you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Capt Stormfield, posted 08-30-2015 1:13 PM Capt Stormfield has not yet responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 108 (767551)
08-30-2015 3:01 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Tangle
08-30-2015 2:04 PM


Public Transportation
They seem to accept that eventuality everytime they step onto a train, bus or plane.

Yes, but they accept that by choice in very small numbers, which suggests (in answer to Percy's question) that they wouldn't accept large-scale replacement of manually-operated cars with self-driving ones.

However, while on the topic it's worth pointing out that public transportation is the safest way to travel. Self-driving cars don't solve the safety problem to near the degree all-out public transportation would (though, imagine self-driving public transportation!) and they only worsen the environmental effects of easy transportation.

It's a little off-topic, but my own opinion is that the answer lies in increasing public transportation and reducing opportunities for private transportation (whether manually- or self-driven). Nothing else, I believe, can solve the health, safety, and environmental problems of transportation.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Tangle, posted 08-30-2015 2:04 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Tangle, posted 08-30-2015 4:10 PM Jon has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14505
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 13 of 108 (767553)
08-30-2015 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Percy
08-30-2015 12:54 PM


Percy writes:

With self-driving cars, not only are you protected against your own idiocy, but everyone else's, too.


That would only apply if all cars were self-driving. If there are any human-driven cars on the road, the self-driving ones will have to be able to predict idiocy. How easy is it to make software idiot-proof?

And call me a cynic but I expect that if people have a choice between self-driving cars and driving themselves, it's the idiots who will be behind the wheel.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Percy, posted 08-30-2015 12:54 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by NosyNed, posted 08-30-2015 3:12 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8806
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


(1)
Message 14 of 108 (767554)
08-30-2015 3:12 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by ringo
08-30-2015 3:07 PM


Idiots
And call me a cynic but I expect that if people have a choice between self-driving cars and driving themselves, it's the idiots who will be behind the wheel.

I agree, however the idiots will quickly be paying insurance rates 10 or 20 times higher than those who live the driving to "them". That will discourage a large number of idiots.

After a number of years it will automatically be manslaughter and a jail sentence if you are driving and anyone is hurt for whatever reason. Or insurance companies will simply deny coverage if you are caught driving just like they do if you are DWI now. That will also discourage them.

Way down the road there won't be a steering wheel and the problem will be solved.

ABE
And as TED video shows the cars are already able to forcast and handle some idiotic behaviour. More than most of us can (maybe even all of us soon since the cars will communicate and be able to "see" what is happening 100 m away and around corners. Not something you're going to be able to handle.

Edited by NosyNed, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 5572
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 15 of 108 (767574)
08-30-2015 4:10 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Jon
08-30-2015 3:01 PM


Re: Public Transportation
Woah! There are billions of passenger miles on public transport travelled every year - especially in Europe. Even so, it'll be another case of 'out of my cold dead hands for some/many.

But robocars will behave a lot like public transport when on the move, they'll lock onto the car in front and form 'roadtrains' on the freeways.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Jon, posted 08-30-2015 3:01 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by Jon, posted 08-30-2015 6:42 PM Tangle has responded

  
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