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  #1  
Old 10-10-2017, 12:38 PM
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Self driving cars are still decades away


Almost every major automaker plans on having an autonomous car on the market with the next 3-5 years. I don't buy it.

Despite Tesla's brilliant marketing, lane keeping assists + adaptive cruise control does not make an autonomous car. Even *if* those two technologies can account for 98% of miles driven, the technology required to bridge the last 2% in order to create a vehicle that can go from any given point A to any given point B isn't even on the horizon. Google's self driving cars, as of a few years ago, reportedly can't handle 99% of roads in the US, nor can they handle snow, heavy rain, any localized GPS outages, or unexpected and/or temporary traffic signals. The idea that these are small problems that are going to be solved in a few years is wishful thinking.

At best, we're going to have long haul interstate truck routes that are completely autonomous, with ports on either end where a real person finishes the job. We'll also see systems like Tesla's Autopilot proliferate down to more affordable cars, but the law and the technology will still require the driver to remain alert and take over when the system can't handle the situation, which will be at some point on every single trip the vehicle takes. This is the best we're going to get for decades.

That's what I think, at least, but clearly I'm a naysayer. Convince me I'm wrong
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:32 PM
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I posted yesterday in a different thread, what might have been more appropriate for this one:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...3#post20528973
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:37 PM
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That's a fantastic point. Any AI honed in the US would be worthless in a lot of countries, even ones without all the motorbikes, owing to a vastly different set of driving expectations. For that matter, AI honed in California would need to learn to adapt to Baltimore. Or, say, learn what a Pittsburgh left is.
  #4  
Old 10-10-2017, 06:37 PM
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Is this a sequel to last years Re "self driving cars" people talk as if this is a few years away. This seems nuts to me. thread?

ETA: I think it'll be great to be able come back here in 2020 and see how many of the companies listed at the OP's link made good on their plans.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 10-10-2017 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:41 PM
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I don’t know if it’ll actually accelerate (heh) the process but the second generation hardware on Teslas is gathering data on how actual drivers drive and comparing it to what it would do in a situation based what it is seeing from it’s sensors.

One good example is when a highway dips down to go under an overpass. There is often a large green highway sign on the overpass that looks like it is right in front of the roadway until the vehicle gets closer to the interchange and the road dips under the bridge. Human drivers don’t think twice about this, but Tesla’s sensors would freak out. So apparent it is learning this sort of thing as it gathers data.
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Old 10-10-2017, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Is this a sequel to last years Re "self driving cars" people talk as if this is a few years away. This seems nuts to me. thread?

ETA: I think it'll be great to be able come back here in 2020 and see how many of the companies listed at the OP's link made good on their plans.
I as well. I don't remember the thread from last year but I see that you mentioned a company call Nutonomy. The 6 cars they had on the road in Singapore, nearest I can tell, were still test vehicles that had engineers behind the wheel at all times. One of them hit a bus. I can't find much in the way of updates, other than their future plans.

But yes, it will be interesting to see how wrong I am. I expect a lot of automakers will roll out cars with limited capabilities like Tesla has now and declare victory, but we'll see.
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Old 10-10-2017, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
Google's self driving cars, as of a few years ago, reportedly can't handle 99% of roads in the US, nor can they handle snow, heavy rain, any localized GPS outages, or unexpected and/or temporary traffic signals. The idea that these are small problems that are going to be solved in a few years is wishful thinking.
Ford has reportedly solved the problems of snow and total darkness; from the link in the OP:
Quote:
Ford showed its driverless cars can successfully navigate in complete darkness in April. The cars can also drive successfully in snow.
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
At best, we're going to have long haul interstate truck routes that are completely autonomous, with ports on either end where a real person finishes the job. We'll also see systems like Tesla's Autopilot proliferate down to more affordable cars, but the law and the technology will still require the driver to remain alert and take over when the system can't handle the situation, which will be at some point on every single trip the vehicle takes.
I take it you missed this news: Rio Tinto makes Australia’s first unmanned heavy train haul with 100km Pilbara test run
Quote:
The pilot run, part of the miner’s so-called AutoHaul program, was completed without a driver on board, making it the first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey ever completed in Australia.

The journey was completed safely, being closely monitored in real-time by Rio Tinto teams and representatives of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, both on the ground and at the mining giant’s operations centre at Perth Airport.

The train travelled nearly 100km from Wombat Junction to Paraburdoo.

Rio still has to meet all relevant safety and acceptance criteria and secure regulatory approvals to go fully autonomous next year.
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This is the best we're going to get for decades.
Next year is only 11 weeks away.
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That's what I think, at least, but clearly I'm a naysayer. Convince me I'm wrong
I think it may well be 15 years or so before 75% or more of all vehicles on the road are autos, but I don't think it'll be more than 10 years before significant numbers of autos are on the road.

I don't think it'll even be 6 years, and I think most of them will be electric or hybrid engines.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 10-10-2017 at 07:02 PM.
  #8  
Old 10-10-2017, 07:02 PM
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I as well. I don't remember the thread from last year but I see that you mentioned a company call Nutonomy. The 6 cars they had on the road in Singapore, nearest I can tell, were still test vehicles that had engineers behind the wheel at all times. One of them hit a bus. I can't find much in the way of updates, other than their future plans.
Nor can I, but I did see that Nutonomy (an MIT spinoff, btw) got a $16M investment and they are backed by Bill Ford.

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But yes, it will be interesting to see how wrong I am. I expect a lot of automakers will roll out cars with limited capabilities like Tesla has now and declare victory, but we'll see.
Well, what would you say was a situation where they could declare victory and you would agree with them?

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 10-10-2017 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 10-10-2017, 07:03 PM
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Well, let's take into account what the government expects from self driving cars vs. what we SHOULD expect from self driving cars.

Logically, self driving cars have to meet this bar: are they safer than human driven cars? if so, they are ready for the road.

The government and the public, since self driving cars are new and scary, basically wants it to be as safe as flying, which will probably be impossible for 100 years.
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:06 PM
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No what I think is absurd - the idea that someone could take picture of pretty much every house in the US, no the world, and all the miles of roads.

Wait - Google did that already.

This whole thing is moving much faster than I expected. Clearly the car companies feel they will be soon out of business without a good line of self driving cars. Sure the challenges seem daunting - anyone can write down a big list. But with hundreds of people working for a few years, they soon vanish.
Sure they won't be 100% self driving. Sure there will be places they can't go. But most people will drive back and forth to work everyday without touching the wheel.

I'd guess 25% of the market in 10 years, and I'm probably conservative.
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:07 PM
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The government and the public, since self driving cars are new and scary, basically wants it to be as safe as flying, which will probably be impossible for 100 years.
The car companies will have spent billions, and I bet lots of people will be eager to get their hands on the cars. The government won't stand in the way. In fact, they are being more supportive in allowing tests than I thought they'd be. This is something all sides can get together about.
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:18 PM
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Here's what the data says. As of 2016, Google/Alphabet/Waymo (which is far ahead of the pack) is down to one error every 5000 miles.

This is a pretty low error rate, albeit not yet adequate for deployment. To the poster above who mentions how you can't possibly take a licensed self driving car and put it in traffic elsewhere : well, maybe. I suspect in very crowded streets it might not do very well, especially if other road users are constantly cutting it off and taking advantage of an autonomous car's inherent politeness.

However, the vehicle wouldn't suddenly go on a killing rampage simply because it's in a different place. It could be loaded with a different set of traffic laws (SDCs will have to load variant traffic laws anyways, as state to state laws are different), but the fundamental algorithms for obeying those laws, but prioritizing safety first, would remain the same.

Basically, none of the code would get changed, it would just have a different set of parameters for what to do at specific signals loaded, and a different dataset for actually recognizing local signage and signaling devices.

Are we going to see deployment in 2020? Well, every difficult engineering project has slippage, and this has to be one of the most difficult projects every attempted. I could see a few years of schedule slip, but they are not decades away.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:43 PM
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Well, what would you say was a situation where they could declare victory and you would agree with them?
When there's no expectation of the driver having to do anything on a routine trip. That is to say, I should be able to plug in an address in my driveway and take a nap without any guilt should something happen while I'm sleeping, nor should I have more than a minimal risk of waking up halfway through the trip to find that my car encountered some unsolvable situation and has parked itself for the last 3 hours waiting for me to rescue it.

Last edited by steronz; 10-10-2017 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:47 PM
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Here's what the data says. As of 2016, Google/Alphabet/Waymo (which is far ahead of the pack) is down to one error every 5000 miles.
And right there in the introduction is my issue: "the vast majority on surface streets in the typical suburban city environment of Mountain View, CA and neighboring communities."

They're optimizing for a specific set of use cases around their headquarters. I'd be interested to see how they do when they plop one of their cars in Ames, IA for the first time.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:12 PM
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There is a threshold that must be breached and once breached very quickly most new cars will be minimally at least mostly autonomous. (Sort of like the activation energy of a chemical reaction if you remember that graph.)

The threshold exists because the most difficult environment for autonomous vehicles is now when there are the fewest of them on the road. Human drivers are erratic, error prone, and hard to predict. Being able to deal with human craziness reliably is the threshold and obviously from there the technology only gets better while the challenge becomes less onerous as more of the other vehicles are autonomous (and predictable) and likely even non-autonomous new vehicles come equipped with vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication that warns of its sudden changes and is warned of other vehicles' sudden changes the exact instant they are implemented. Once those lines cross it goes fast for new cars sold.

My WAG is that "adaptive cruise control" (inclusive of stop and go traffic) and "enhanced safety features" with V2V as part of the package becomes fairly standard on new vehicles fairly quickly. Full autonomous being available within 5 years likely but taking off will lag until there is a critical mass of other vehicles on the road having those other features that make them less dangerous agents (and that provides the economy of scale for the basics of the technology). Until then vehicles capable of fully autonomous function will be a higher end option for individual owned passenger vehicles. The ride hailing market will OTOH adopt them more quickly as will the fleet trucking industry.
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:17 PM
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And right there in the introduction is my issue: "the vast majority on surface streets in the typical suburban city environment of Mountain View, CA and neighboring communities."

They're optimizing for a specific set of use cases around their headquarters. I'd be interested to see how they do when they plop one of their cars in Ames, IA for the first time.
The whole idea behind machine learning and neural nets - the problem they've been trying to solve for 50 years - is about finding a general solution to a given problem.

Nobody wants the autonomous car to only be able to drive on streets that look exactly like company headquarters. And there are strategies for dealing with this, and google, at least, is up to hundreds of vehicles ranging a lot farther.

There's also simulation training, and one of the more compelling methods of autonomous car training is what you could call 'virtual backseat driving'. Basically, the computer in a Tesla not set for autonomy can be using the processing resources to observe what the human is doing, model what it expects the vehicle to do next and what it expects the driver to do next, and thus make gains in it's abilities.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
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And right there in the introduction is my issue: "the vast majority on surface streets in the typical suburban city environment of Mountain View, CA and neighboring communities."

They're optimizing for a specific set of use cases around their headquarters. I'd be interested to see how they do when they plop one of their cars in Ames, IA for the first time.
Have you ever driven in Mountain View and surrounding communities? I have. I've lived in Boston - they aren't quite as bad, but not exactly quiet country lanes.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:26 AM
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One problem for self-driving cars is that there will be a period of time, and it's probably starting now, where the car is not quite good enough to get by without human intervention but it is good enough to encourage complacency in the driver. When the car does need help, the driver is not ready to give it. E.g. the Tesla crash. If the technology can progress quickly enough to get over that hump then I think it'll be an easy ride from that point on and the way will be paved for genuine self-driving cars that can legally drive while the humans inside sleep or browse the internet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo
Well, what would you say was a situation where they could declare victory and you would agree with them?
Quote:
Originally Posted by steronz
When there's no expectation of the driver having to do anything on a routine trip. That is to say, I should be able to plug in an address in my driveway and take a nap without any guilt should something happen while I'm sleeping, nor should I have more than a minimal risk of waking up halfway through the trip to find that my car encountered some unsolvable situation and has parked itself for the last 3 hours waiting for me to rescue it.
I'd agree with this. The absolute minimum measure of success would be for my car to be able to take me home from work at 6am when my eyeballs are hanging out of my head and for me to feel comfortable succumbing to sleep rather than fighting it. There would have to be no requirements or warnings, either legal or from the manufacturer, for me to be holding the wheel or for there to be any expectation that I should have to take control.

Bonus points would be given for a car that can drop me at the office and then find a park, but I don't expect that any time soon. I don't expect it in my lifetime to be honest, but I would be ok with being proved wrong.

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A train?
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:03 AM
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A train?
Road trains in the outback. An ideal use case for autonomous vehicles.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:14 AM
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Marketing these cars will be tricky, since many people will assume that they can just get in and go wherever they want without doing any driving themselves. The elderly and disabled in particular will want them, since transportation can be so difficult for them to find. When there is an accident, and there will be, people being people, the lawsuits will be ugly because the driver will claim they didn't understand the car wasn't completely autonomous.

TV series about lawyers and doctors will start having plots about this soon, if they haven't already.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:56 AM
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I'm also confused, since there seem to be a lot of smart people thinking this is just around the corner, but I didn't think AI was nearly good enough to pass this minimal test:
Can recognize both of, tell the difference between, and react appropriately to, a police officer standing with her hand palm out, and an office standing and waving her hand in a 'OK, go" motion?

Are there cars that are close to being able to do this?
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:27 AM
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We're not going to get full acceptance of self-driving cars from AI learning software in it's current state. The public loves technology these days, but just in the early stages of development, with a lack of specific law to cover self-driving cars, the experiments will soon lead to tragic loss of human life and a great deal of law restricting the use of self driving vehicles.

However, I think it might only take about 10 years to get a self-driving car ready that could meet reasonable safety standards, but probably more time than that to weave through the legal and political minefield.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:34 AM
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For future reference, there are established levels of autonomy for cars to help facilitate discussion:

Autonomos Driving Levels 0-5: Understanding the Differences

At present, autonomous cars like Tesla and Cadillac are pretty much at Level 3: it can drive itself under some limited circumstances, but the driver is still required to pay attention and must be ready to intervene at any time.

So when you say this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by steronz View Post
When there's no expectation of the driver having to do anything on a routine trip. That is to say, I should be able to plug in an address in my driveway and take a nap without any guilt should something happen while I'm sleeping, nor should I have more than a minimal risk of waking up halfway through the trip to find that my car encountered some unsolvable situation and has parked itself for the last 3 hours waiting for me to rescue it.
You're talking about a Level 4 or Level 5 car.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:56 AM
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For future reference, there are established levels of autonomy for cars to help facilitate discussion:

Autonomos Driving Levels 0-5: Understanding the Differences

At present, autonomous cars like Tesla and Cadillac are pretty much at Level 3: it can drive itself under some limited circumstances, but the driver is still required to pay attention and must be ready to intervene at any time.

So when you say this:

You're talking about a Level 4 or Level 5 car.
Yes, thank you for the link and the definitions. It appears I'm talking about a Level 4 car, but the devil is in the definition of the "Operational Design Domain." I'm sure there are Level 4 vehicles now, such as the automated truck train, that just have a limited ODD.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:02 PM
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I'm sure there are Level 4 vehicles now, such as the automated truck train, that just have a limited ODD.
I wonder whether that's true. The Rio Tinto/Pilbara article is about a real train, as in "steel wheels traveling down a railroad," not a concatenation of 53-foot trailers towed behind a steerable tractor piloted along a paved surface.

To my knowledge, at this time there are no Level 4 autonomous road-going vehicles available for sale to, or use by, the general public.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:21 PM
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My WAG is that "adaptive cruise control" (inclusive of stop and go traffic) and "enhanced safety features" with V2V as part of the package becomes fairly standard on new vehicles fairly quickly.
If so, then thank goodness I bought a car just last year that doesn't have any of that. But the thought that there will be other cars out there with that technology scares the shit out of me.

Just this week (and it's only Wednesday), we've learned that a virus has infected the U.S. military's drone fleet, and NK has hacked into the joint US-South Korea war plans.

I'm not expecting cars to be more hack-proof than stuff like that anytime soon. And stuff that can be hacked, will.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:24 PM
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That's why cars shouldn't be networked. A hack should require physically going to the car.
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:21 PM
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That's why cars shouldn't be networked. A hack should require physically going to the car.
Self-driving cars without networking is a dead end. We'll just end up in massive self-driving gridlock if the cars can't communicate, and we'll lose a major benefit of self-driving cars which is to clear up the massive traffic problems in metropolitan areas. Hacking can be prevented, but since we've accepted shoddy protection in consumer products so far, and don't hold suppliers liable for allowing hacking in the first place, it's probably not going to change when it comes to cars.
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:46 PM
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Just this week (and it's only Wednesday), we've learned that a virus has infected the U.S. military's drone fleet
Do you have a link to this story?
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:34 PM
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Do you have a link to this story?
https://www.wired.com/2011/10/virus-hits-drone-fleet/
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:02 PM
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Self-driving cars without networking is a dead end. We'll just end up in massive self-driving gridlock if the cars can't communicate, and we'll lose a major benefit of self-driving cars which is to clear up the massive traffic problems in metropolitan areas. Hacking can be prevented, but since we've accepted shoddy protection in consumer products so far, and don't hold suppliers liable for allowing hacking in the first place, it's probably not going to change when it comes to cars.
Non-self driving cars will be networked also. Cars will communicate with nearby cars to keep their distance and automatically react to upcoming traffic situations.
If all work on self-driving cars stopped today, the hacking problem would be just as bad.
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:46 PM
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If self driving cars are still decades away, at least the ground will be well prepped for them by then:
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California’s Department of Motor Vehicles formally proposed rules Wednesday that starting next year will govern how everyday people in the trend-setting state can get robocars. It was a big step forward for regulations that were first discussed more than four years ago, first drafted in December 2015 and then substantially redrafted to accommodate companies’ concerns.
Quote:
in California alone the 42 companies with testing permits have been logging hundreds of thousands of miles on nearly 300 prototypes with few crashes that were clearly the technology’s fault.
Quote:
Automakers and tech companies have complained to lawmakers that a growing “patchwork” of state laws is threatening to inhibit deployment.

Legislation intended to clear away federal regulations has moved quickly through Congress. The House has passed a bill that would permit automakers to seek exemptions to safety regulations, such as to make cars without a steering wheel, and allow the sale of hundreds of thousands of self-driving cars. A Senate committee approved a similar measure last week by a voice vote.
(bolding mine)

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 10-11-2017 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:29 PM
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If self driving cars are still decades away, at least the ground will be well prepped for them by then(bolding mine)
Remind me never to drive a car in California again. I figured I'd be too old to care when the robots took over, but I see they won't be facing that much resistance in the first place, they won't be needing terminator style functionality. Now I'm surprised we survived the blender with a brain back in the 70s.

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Old 10-11-2017, 07:47 PM
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Non-self driving cars will be networked also. Cars will communicate with nearby cars to keep their distance and automatically react to upcoming traffic situations.
If all work on self-driving cars stopped today, the hacking problem would be just as bad.
Indeed the NHTSA has already "issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to mandate vehicle-tovehicle (V2V) communication technology for new light
vehicles in the United States." Cybersecurity is a definite item of concern they have.
Quote:
The current proposed design for the V2V system employs
a security level of at least 128-bit encryption and is NIST
compliant.
The proposed rulemaking remains consistent with the
security approach detailed in NHTSA’s V2V research
report, where NHTSA and industry research partners
developed a security system design based on the widely
and successfully applied public key infrastructure, employing
digital certificates. The system design consists of three
primary components:
1. A message authentication proposal designed to
enhance confidence in the authenticity of V2V messages
and secure the exchange of safety data;
2. V2V devices, which broadcast and receive safety
messages and ensure that each incoming message is
checked to detect and avoid misbehavior; and
3. A misbehavior reporting requirement to share signatures
misconfigured, or malicious vehicles enabling
other vehicles to block V2V messages from misbehaving
vehicles.
In addition, the Agency is also seeking comments on
potential alternative approaches to security and looks forward
to receiving comments on both the proposal and the
alternatives presented in the NPRM.
It is also true that the V2V input functions as one of many overlapping sources of data about what is going on around the vehicle. Input from any source that is discordant with input from the other sources is unlikely to be acted on in a drastic fashion. Car rapidly braking ahead via the V2V channel may cause some instant slowing down and only more complete braking if the information is confirmed via other channels, for example.

Certainly hacks that get past security systems and that somehow override other inputs are not impossible. OTOH deaths that occur every day from accidents that these systems will routinely prevent are a certainty.

To be sure though the full benefits will take some time to realize if for no other reason the simple fact that the cars on the road now will last a long time. I do also suspect that a requirement for cars to broadcast safety related information will precede any requirement for cars to be able to receive such information.

Devices like that and warns that merely warn a driver of hazards may be what the report meant by
Quote:
V2V devices can be installed directly in vehicles when the
vehicles are originally manufactured, after initial manufacture
via an “aftermarket” installation, or could potentially
be carried into vehicles by drivers in the form of a handheld
device (and perhaps, eventually, even as a function on
a smartphone).
Pertinent to this thread, they agree that V2V complements autonomous systems:
Quote:
It is the Department’s view that these technologies are
highly complementary to each other, and when deployed
in concert will have significant safety benefits. Vehicles that
contain automated driving functions—such as automated
emergency braking and adaptive cruise control—
generally rely on an on-board suite of sensors, such as
radar and cameras. V2V offers an additional source of data
inputs, which could help these automated technologies
better avoid or mitigate crashes.
V2V expands sensing performance beyond what is achievable
by “line-of-sight” sensors (e.g., LIDAR, radar, cameras).
With V2V, a vehicle gains capabilities like “seeing”
around corners, buildings or trucks, and many vehicles
ahead or behind. V2V has a larger effective sensing range
than conventional sensors, providing additional lead time
for decision algorithms, which is essential for higher levels
of automation. V2V packs a rich set of “vehicle performance
and status” information directly from the source,
which enables automation algorithms to “know” what
surrounding vehicles are doing and not have to guess or
estimate what they may be doing.
Is V2V a “must have” for highly
automated vehicles?
Our discussions with both traditional automotive and
“high-tech” companies involved in development of highly
automated vehicles suggests that within a given operational
design domain (ODD) as specified for a particular
product model, safe operation of such automated vehicles
is possible without V2V. However, industry stakeholders
also agree that, if available, they would utilize V2V
information to enhance their systems, and even further,
it would not be possible to optimize the benefits of automated
vehicles without V2V.
When the proposed V2V mandate becomes a Final Rule,
the technology will be required on all new light-duty
vehicles—including highly automated passenger vehicles.
And yes having cars so enabled paves the way for autonomous vehicle adoption.
  #35  
Old 10-11-2017, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
Road trains in the outback. An ideal use case for autonomous vehicles.
Yeah I'm familiar with road trains. Snowboarder's link was to a literal train though, one that runs on rails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo
I think it may well be 15 years or so before 75% or more of all vehicles on the road are autos, but I don't think it'll be more than 10 years before significant numbers of autos are on the road.

I don't think it'll even be 6 years, and I think most of them will be electric or hybrid engines.
The average age of cars on the road in the US is about 11.5 years. Even if every single new car on the market from tomorrow on was self driving, it's going to take over a decade before you see 50% penetration in to the market. Given this is clearly not the case, even in the best of circumstances, it will be at least 15 years before there is anything close to 50%. 75% will be much longer.

Last edited by Richard Pearse; 10-11-2017 at 08:52 PM.
  #36  
Old 10-11-2017, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
Yeah I'm familiar with road trains. Snowboarder's link was to a literal train though, one that runs on rails.
Aye, a freight train. With no humans. That can successfully cross hundreds of kilometers. Did I mention that there are no humans involved?

You know what else is becoming largely autos (or drones)? Every other physical aspect of mining.

I was just using it to illustrate that the argument "it'll be decades before robots can x" are far off the mark. The early days of it are here; they are happening.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
The average age of cars on the road in the US is about 11.5 years. Even if every single new car on the market from tomorrow on was self driving, it's going to take over a decade before you see 50% penetration in to the market. Given this is clearly not the case, even in the best of circumstances, it will be at least 15 years before there is anything close to 50%. 75% will be much longer.
Good info; thank you. Forgive me if I respectfully disagree with your estimates, however.

I want an auto as soon as I can get one. As soon as they are available and affordable for me, I'm done driving unless absolutely necessary. I still want to get places in my comfortable little bubble, I just don't want to have to do the actual driving, not when the auto can do it safely and efficiently. I suspect that there are a lot of people like me and that the transition will go faster than you anticipate.

Still, I'd be willing to concede that the 15 year mark should start when they actually hit the road, not today.
  #37  
Old 10-11-2017, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Aye, a freight train. With no humans. That can successfully cross hundreds of kilometers. Did I mention that there are no humans involved?
Is this actually a good example of the future being right upon us? There have been automated railroads since the 1960s.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-11-2017 at 11:52 PM.
  #38  
Old 10-12-2017, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Aye, a freight train. With no humans. That can successfully cross hundreds of kilometers. Did I mention that there are no humans involved?
Yeah, but, you know, a train. It would be the most simple thing a robot has to do. It has to start and stop and that is all. If anything it is surprising it hasn't been done earlier, particularly in outback Australia where the biggest thing that can go wrong is that it hits a kangaroo.



Quote:
I want an auto as soon as I can get one. As soon as they are available and affordable for me, I'm done driving unless absolutely necessary. I still want to get places in my comfortable little bubble, I just don't want to have to do the actual driving, not when the auto can do it safely and efficiently. I suspect that there are a lot of people like me and that the transition will go faster than you anticipate.

Still, I'd be willing to concede that the 15 year mark should start when they actually hit the road, not today.
Well people will get cars when they can afford one and they can justify the expense. I doubt the introduction of self driving cars will make many people buy cars when they otherwise wouldn't. More likely they will consider the self driving option when it comes time to replace their car.

The way cars are marketed suggests that lots of people enjoy driving. What percentage? I don't know. I know I enjoy driving and although I would certainly use auto-drive in some circumstances, I would not always use it. For one, if I'm going to be sitting in a car for 30 minutes, I may as well drive it, if only to give me something to do. So for me at least, I'm not going to buy an auto when I wouldn't already be buying a car. When it's time to buy I will look at the self-driving option and if it is in my budget I may get it, but there are other much bigger priorities such as boot space, rear seat space for child seats, turning circle, etc. The last time I bought a car I declined to get the lane assist, parking assist, and all that because it wasn't worth the cost.

I'd be interested to know what self driving would be worth to people. To me it's worth about $5000. Any more and I wouldn't bother.

I suspect there are a lot of people like me and that the transition will go slower than you anticipate . Honestly I don't know. I don't know if 10% are like me or 90% or 50%.

I'm not a luddite, I would like to see it all happen, I just think it will be a slow gradual process
  #39  
Old 10-12-2017, 02:55 AM
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$5,000 sounds about right for me too, but I imagine the value of an autonomous vehicle will really depend on your situation. Someone facing an hour-long commute through stop-start traffic with a daily battle to find a park will find a lot more value in an autonomous vehicle than someone with a pleasant 10-20 minute drive with little traffic.
  #40  
Old 10-12-2017, 12:25 PM
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The technology is basically there. But the regulatory hurdles and insurance issues will drag the whole affair out another 10 years.
  #41  
Old 10-12-2017, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
Is this actually a good example of the future being right upon us? There have been automated railroads since the 1960s.
As one example, the short train between the Oakland BART station and Oakland airport has no driver. Ever. And no place for one. I think there is some access panel where I suppose someone could plug in controls.
And it certainly was not the first such train.
  #42  
Old 10-12-2017, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Doubticus View Post
The technology is basically there. But the regulatory hurdles and insurance issues will drag the whole affair out another 10 years.
No; it won't. See Post #32.
  #43  
Old 10-12-2017, 06:18 PM
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Have you ever driven in Mountain View and surrounding communities? I have. I've lived in Boston - they aren't quite as bad, but not exactly quiet country lanes.
How deep does the snow get in Mountain View?
__________________
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  #44  
Old 10-12-2017, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Self-driving cars without networking is a dead end. We'll just end up in massive self-driving gridlock if the cars can't communicate, and we'll lose a major benefit of self-driving cars which is to clear up the massive traffic problems in metropolitan areas. Hacking can be prevented, but since we've accepted shoddy protection in consumer products so far, and don't hold suppliers liable for allowing hacking in the first place, it's probably not going to change when it comes to cars.
Bolding added.

There are a lot of benefits to self-driving cars - safety, reclaiming your time, etc - but the bolded part isn't one of them. It just isn't going to happen. For two reasons: first, while it's true that automated cars that communicate can travel closer together and make more efficient use of street space, any freer-flowing areas will be immediately consumed by induced demand. More people will drive to work rather than take transit, or take a quick errand for lunch, or to pick something up, etc. It's like opening a new road, there's more capacity, but it's almost immediately used up. But opening a new road basically causes stasis in overall congestion: it's not better after the new road opens, but it's not usually worse either. The second reason you won't clear up traffic problems in urban areas is that the additional road capacity caused by automated vehicles comes with an increased willingness to tolerate traffic. If you're sleeping, or reading, or watching a movie - or not even in the car - you're more willing to put up with the horrible traffic. Automated vehicles will cause such an increase in demand for road-space that it will more than compensate for the efficiency-induced increased availability. Traffic will be worse once fully-automated vehicles become wide-spread. Count on it.
  #45  
Old 10-12-2017, 10:45 PM
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I don't think many people realize how autonomous cars are going to be sold and marketed.

First, it won't add just $5k to the vehicle cost. Try 10 to 50k. Second, it's not a one time cost. If you want the autonomous car to go anywhere, all maintenance must be performed. Once the computers or sensors become deprecated, they must be replaced with newer, better computers and sensors. All critical components (brakes, tires, etc) must be inspected by a licensed professional according to a service interval - and the car will track this.

Once the car framework becomes deprecated, it is to be recycled.

Nobody wants to "own" an asset like that, since they won't really own it. Much better to lease. And since leasing is expensive, much better to rent it out to as many people as possible and just borrow an auto from the pool when you need to go somewhere.

The reasons for all this is because the manufacturer is 100% liable for every crash. So they aren't going to keep autonomous vehicles on the road with known flaws, or try to maintain a second set of software to run on older computers in older models. Better to just recycle and rebuild the vehicles.

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-12-2017 at 10:47 PM.
  #46  
Old 10-13-2017, 12:13 AM
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How deep does the snow get in Mountain View?
I think the ash from the fire may be piling up.

Actually, they want to test in snow, they drive it to Tahoe. And California buys these things first anyway. I assure you, when I get old, if I'm still living here, the inability to drive in snow won't matter a damn.
Though of course it will be fixed long before then.
  #47  
Old 10-13-2017, 12:19 AM
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B Traffic will be worse once fully-automated vehicles become wide-spread. Count on it.
In some areas, mass transit is unfortunately not a significant factor in a commute, so any avoidance of it will not be significant. There is no reason that autonomous vehicles cannot be bound by carpool lane laws, which should cut down traffic.

But the main reason is that a lot of traffic woes come from collisions. Reduce the number of collisions and you reduce the congestion. Another factor is irrational driving by a minority. For instance we have dive bombers, that cross three lanes from the fast lane to an exit in a few hundred feet. Get rid of them and things will improve.
So traffic will be a wash or may even improve.
  #48  
Old 10-13-2017, 12:53 AM
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In some areas, mass transit is unfortunately not a significant factor in a commute, so any avoidance of it will not be significant. There is no reason that autonomous vehicles cannot be bound by carpool lane laws, which should cut down traffic.

But the main reason is that a lot of traffic woes come from collisions. Reduce the number of collisions and you reduce the congestion. Another factor is irrational driving by a minority. For instance we have dive bombers, that cross three lanes from the fast lane to an exit in a few hundred feet. Get rid of them and things will improve.
So traffic will be a wash or may even improve.
None of that matters. Drivers switching from transit is only one source of pent-up demand. A lot of trips aren't taken (or are time-shifted) in metro areas to avoid traffic. Lessen traffic, and those trips will happen. It finds its level. There are only a few places in the US (Kansas City, eg) that could reasonably be called metro areas where infrastructure is sufficiently built out that there is little pent-up demand, and in larger metros, there's just no opportunity to build new freeways. If you wanted to add new freeway capacity in Seattle, for example, you either have to tunnel, or build it on top of existing freeways. That get pricy fast.
  #49  
Old 10-13-2017, 07:13 PM
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Waymo just dropped a 43-page white paper called the Waymo Safety Report that provides a wealth of new details about Waymo's vision for the self-driving car product the company is getting ready to launch.

Officially, the document is a regulatory filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has encouraged—but not yet required—the makers of self-driving cars to file a report describing how they expect to deal with a variety of safety issues. But the document is also another part of the public education campaign the company has been running to convince Americans of the benefits of its technology.

It's fundamentally a marketing document rather than a technical one, so it leaves a lot of unanswered questions about exactly how Waymo's technology will work. Still, it provides a lot of new information—and publicly confirms a lot of rumors and educated guesswork—about how Waymo envisions the self-driving car product that Waymo could launch as soon as this year.

Here are five big things I learned from reading the report.
1) Waymo is putting safety at the center of its pitch
2) Waymo says its cars can handle nighttime driving and light rain, but its cars will be geofenced
3) Waymo is sandboxing safety-critical systems and building in a lot of redundancy
4) Waymo cars will feature a “pull over” button and one to call customer service
5) Waymo seems to be gearing up for commercial release
https://arstechnica.com/cars/2017/10...ng-car-report/
  #50  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
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...

So when you say this:

You're talking about a Level 4 or Level 5 car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by steronz View Post
Yes, thank you for the link and the definitions. It appears I'm talking about a Level 4 car, but the devil is in the definition of the "Operational Design Domain." I'm sure there are Level 4 vehicles now, such as the automated truck train, that just have a limited ODD.
The difference between L4 and L5 vehicles is whether the external conditions are controlled or not.

L4 testing is happening; Navya for example was going to be trying out 2 autonomous shuttles at UMich this fall (though it doesn't seem to have kicked off yet). I believe there will be L4 vehicles running somewhere in the next 5 years, but they will effectively be trams, i.e. running in very closed circuits.

The L5 example I always give is that I wake up in the morning in Boston, in the mood to see a playoff game at Wrigley. I program my Tesla to do so; on the way there is a snowstorm (of the type I could very carefully manage myself), followed later by heavy freezing rain, followed by plastic bags blowing across the road, followed by a brutally bright sunset in my face. And I would like to sleep through all that.

I think at least 30 years for that to happen and for those cars (Tesla or whatever) to be in the economy at a price that non-millionaires can afford.

My 2 cents.

Last edited by Maserschmidt; 10-13-2017 at 08:47 PM.
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