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Old 12th October 2017, 12:37 PM   #1
Bob001
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Driverless cars coming your way

Driverless cars heading for approval in California:
Quote:
For some time, people have wondered when completely driverless cars — the kind devoid of human operators — would appear on California roads. The state’s residents now have a likely answer, one that suggests they could arrive as early as June 2018, and possibly even sooner, officials said. That’s when driverless test vehicles may be allowed to operate on roads and pick up human passengers (as long as they don’t have to pay), according to a revised version of proposed regulations released Wednesday by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...early-as-2018/
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Old 12th October 2017, 01:15 PM   #2
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Paywalled, but an interesting development.

This might be a mirror of the original - it quotes the Washington Post.
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Old 12th October 2017, 01:34 PM   #3
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What with a good chunk of the development here, and the (now defunct?) DARPA Challenge being right next door in the desert, I thought it was possible to register and operate various autonomous vehicles on Cal roads for at least a couple of years now.

And what's with the autonomous semis I thought were off to a good start already (presumably restricted to wider open stretches of various states highways)?
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Old 12th October 2017, 01:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Paywalled, but an interesting development.

This might be a mirror of the original - it quotes the Washington Post.
Almost identical.

Also, not much of a paywall. Turn off cookies and java script for WaPo and it loads the story just fine.
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Old 12th October 2017, 04:57 PM   #5
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We have a brainless government here so why not brainless cars.

I hope it is a good thing though, as the freeways here are so scary I almost want to stay home some days. Maybe this will be the one correct decision for California this year. I doubt it though.

We could sure use it. People out here drive like insane a-holes. Slow the hell down you idiots! Car accidents hurt!

ETA:
I am concerned with this race to be the first to use autonomous cars. It's going to be ugly if it's rushed, which in my opinion this is.

Make the drunks and bad drivers use them first. They can be our test dummies, and as a bonus we get them "off the road" in one swoop. And make them pay for it.

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Old 12th October 2017, 06:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
ETA:
I am concerned with this race to be the first to use autonomous cars. It's going to be ugly if it's rushed, which in my opinion this is.

Make the drunks and bad drivers use them first. They can be our test dummies, and as a bonus we get them "off the road" in one swoop. And make them pay for it.
I'm confident the transition will be gradual and, generally, safer that what we have today. There will be wrecks, some at high speed. But most will be between human piloted cars and autonomous ones. They'll be the human's fault, but they'll still be wrecks.

But, speaking of a race... I'd pay good money to see a fully autonomous NASCAR or F1 race. And, just seeing such a thing happen would help win support for autonomous vehicles in general.
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Old 12th October 2017, 09:19 PM   #7
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I'll make a prediction.

The driverless testing begins in June 2018.

50,000 websites will proclaim: "The era of driverless cars is here!!!"

After the first accident, these websites will do a lot of rationalizing about why it doesn't matter and these cars are safer than drivers.

Another accident and the rationalization continues.

By October there will be enough accidents to keep this from being accepted and testing will be revised and extended.
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Old 13th October 2017, 12:22 AM   #8
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I predict far fewer accidents than what humans would have had. And the majority of the accidents that happen would be the fault of a human driver, not the driverless car.

They would end up spreading throughout the USA and then the world. In 5 years time people will not bother to learn to drive in the USA and many other countries as driverless cars will take them wherever they need to go.
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Old 13th October 2017, 12:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
I'll make a prediction.

The driverless testing begins in June 2018.

50,000 websites will proclaim: "The era of driverless cars is here!!!"

After the first accident, these websites will do a lot of rationalizing about why it doesn't matter and these cars are safer than drivers.

Another accident and the rationalization continues.

By October there will be enough accidents to keep this from being accepted and testing will be revised and extended.
I'll make a counter-prediction: Testing started in 2016
First level-5 autonomous capable vehicle on sale: 2020
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Old 13th October 2017, 02:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jim_MDP View Post
What with a good chunk of the development here, and the (now defunct?) DARPA Challenge being right next door in the desert, I thought it was possible to register and operate various autonomous vehicles on Cal roads for at least a couple of years now.

And what's with the autonomous semis I thought were off to a good start already (presumably restricted to wider open stretches of various states highways)?

Found the error in my limited thinking on this subject...

(from the WaPo article...)
Quote:
Regulations for testing autonomous vehicles with a driver in the vehicle have been in place since 2014, according to the DMV, which noted that “42 companies hold permits to test autonomous technology on California roads.”

There are 285 autonomous vehicles licensed with the DMV and 996 drivers licensed to test those vehicles, DMV officials said. Assuming the state’s revised rules are approved, those drivers would no longer need to ride inside autonomous test vehicles.
The difference now would be... if someone hits the vehicle (as just happened to Google) the cops will have to wait for a vehicle owner to show up at the scene.

It seems the truck version has been operating for a couple three years with the same restriction.


This is an interesting tidbit though...
Quote:
But California won’t be the first state to allow completely driverless cars on its roads. Florida and Nevada allow autonomous testing without a human present.
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Old 13th October 2017, 03:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
...
Make the drunks and bad drivers use them first. They can be our test dummies, and as a bonus we get them "off the road" in one swoop. And make them pay for it.

I'm liking this idea.
Getting a hard core drunk driver to change is a serious struggle.

I'd like to see autonomous cabs where appropriate (now I'm picturing Johnnie Cab ).

With the problem of electrics being that... of the people who could use them the most, many live in housing without a place to charge them... combining the two techs will surely be an early concept.
Fleets of autonomous EV taxis that can head "back to the barn" for charging.


And if Trump and Co. get their way on immigration... we're gonna be short on cabbies anyway.

(I'll get my coat. )
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Old 13th October 2017, 04:10 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by madurobob View Post
I'm confident the transition will be gradual and, generally, safer that what we have today. There will be wrecks, some at high speed. But most will be between human piloted cars and autonomous ones. They'll be the human's fault, but they'll still be wrecks.

But, speaking of a race... I'd pay good money to see a fully autonomous NASCAR or F1 race. And, just seeing such a thing happen would help win support for autonomous vehicles in general.

Have you read about Roborace?
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Old 13th October 2017, 07:33 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Have you read about Roborace?
Excellent!
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Old 13th October 2017, 09:09 AM   #14
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Arlington, TX just demonstrated a slow-speed, driverless people mover bus... thing to go between the Ranger stadium and Cowboy stadium. They are less than 1/2 mile apart. The demo actually showed it on the sidewalk.

The Tesla 3 will allow for a software update for fully autonomous driving. You can order them now, but per this, the software update does not yet exist. Even if it did exist now, it would not be legal in most places for a while.

ETA - I can't wait for autonomous vehicles. My folks are in early 90s and reaaaaaaaaally should not be driving much longer. I'd pay a lot to keep their travel independence.
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Old 17th October 2017, 05:02 AM   #15
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Driverless cars are going to be fantastic in so many ways.

They won't completely replace meat driven vehicles as they won't be economical for remote areas. What they will do is render the taxi/minicab completely redundant as driveless cars can do the job on tap.

No worries about not being able to have a pint and still be safe to drive home, and old people and people with a disability will have their freedom and independence restored.

Accident rates will come down because a processor can respond faster than a meat.
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Old 17th October 2017, 07:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
I'll make a prediction.

The driverless testing begins in June 2018.

50,000 websites will proclaim: "The era of driverless cars is here!!!"

After the first accident, these websites will do a lot of rationalizing about why it doesn't matter and these cars are safer than drivers.

Another accident and the rationalization continues.

By October there will be enough accidents to keep this from being accepted and testing will be revised and extended.
Except testing has been going on for a number of years - look at Cruise Automation and Waymo (Google Car). The most high profile accident resulted in decapitation in a Tesla, which is not autonomous but has some features, and nothing changed.
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Old 17th October 2017, 07:59 AM   #17
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When accidents do happen, will the person in the left front seat (for right side of the road countries) still be liable for the car's movements? Or will it be the car manufacturer?
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Old 17th October 2017, 08:23 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
When accidents do happen, will the person in the left front seat (for right side of the road countries) still be liable for the car's movements? Or will it be the car manufacturer?
Right now it will be the manufacturer, because these vehicles will not be for sale to private users for a while. My guess is that it will continue that way since they are responsible for the software.
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Old 17th October 2017, 08:35 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
When accidents do happen, will the person in the left front seat (for right side of the road countries) still be liable for the car's movements? Or will it be the car manufacturer?
Has to be the maker if its truly self driving.
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Old 17th October 2017, 08:52 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I predict far fewer accidents than what humans would have had. And the majority of the accidents that happen would be the fault of a human driver, not the driverless car.
I agree - with one catch. Driverless cars will still have accidents, but many of them (most perhaps) will not be the same sort of accidents that human-driven cars usually get in. This will especially be true when the accident is between a human-operated car and a driverless car, as the humans and computers may make incorrect assumptions about that the other will do, especially with regards to things like lane changes/mergers and 4-way stop signs, where it may be common to to watch the other cars and see how they react.

There is also the issue of people hacking the software of the driverless cars to make the car drive more assertively or sporty or what not. I would assume only a tiny fraction of drivers would do that, though.

And the basic learning curve. Go outside, start the car. Clean snow of windows and windshield. Get back in car. Car refuses to move. Remember to get back out and clean snow off the cameras and other navigation doo-dads. Get back in car, maybe it will move now.

Quote:

They would end up spreading throughout the USA and then the world. In 5 years time people will not bother to learn to drive in the USA and many other countries as driverless cars will take them wherever they need to go.
I am more cynical. My guesses:
5 years before every major manufacturer that sells in the U.S. offers driverless as an option on more than one model. (Less than 10% of the new car market being sold driverless at that point)
10 years before driverless cars make up the majority of new cars sold in the U.S. Standard feature on higher-end models, still optional on lower end models.
20 years before the majority of cars on the road in the U.S. are driverless and the government starts requiring that all new cars be equipped for it..

I could imagine Japan, Korea, and Western Europe being ahead of that curve a bit.

Then again, I have not been keeping up on the development of late. I remember one question was the ability to navigate when the road surface is covered by snow, and the ability of the various sensors to work during heavy snow, to stay clear of snow. I saw a bit of testing on some light snow, but nothing approximating trying to commute across a large city during a heavy blizzard in the pre-dawn darkness when almost no stripes or other pavement markers are visible. I am thinking not so much of traction issues, but of basic visibility issues.

They (driverless cars) have commuted across the SF Bay area semi-driverless for years now under Google's testing program. And I've driven there, traffic can be really challenging. But Denver in a heavy snowstorm can be much worse.

Last edited by crescent; 17th October 2017 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 17th October 2017, 09:24 AM   #21
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City taxis and buses - yep, one day. Motorway freight yep - one day.
(though I fear the transition period, and people 'messing with robocar's mind').

But go to the city to have an evening boozing with buddies and expect your car to get you back up the twisty country lanes to your home? Tricky. Lack of detailed computer mapping, lack of road markings etc. That specific issue won't affect that many people, but it's a bit of an issue that maybe highlights the difference between the ideal and the real world. If people in the sticks continue to need hands-on driving then the AV v meat conflict doesn't go away.
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Old 17th October 2017, 09:26 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Has to be the maker if its truly self driving.
Sounds like an insurance nightmare.
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Old 17th October 2017, 09:46 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
I'll make a prediction.

The driverless testing begins in June 2018.

50,000 websites will proclaim: "The era of driverless cars is here!!!"

After the first accident, these websites will do a lot of rationalizing about why it doesn't matter and these cars are safer than drivers.

Another accident and the rationalization continues.

By October there will be enough accidents to keep this from being accepted and testing will be revised and extended.
Maybe driverless cars will get an NRA-like association behind them and the deaths won't matter.
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Old 17th October 2017, 09:58 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
But go to the city to have an evening boozing with buddies and expect your car to get you back up the twisty country lanes to your home? Tricky. Lack of detailed computer mapping, lack of road markings etc. That specific issue won't affect that many people, but it's a bit of an issue that maybe highlights the difference between the ideal and the real world. If people in the sticks continue to need hands-on driving then the AV v meat conflict doesn't go away.
How many times do you think a semi-autnonmous car need to make the trip to learn the path?
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Old 17th October 2017, 10:00 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Maybe driverless cars will get an NRA-like association behind them and the deaths won't matter.
Price of being able to drink in my own car!

Not quite "Price of freedom!" but maybe we can work with it.
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Old 17th October 2017, 10:10 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
How many times do you think a semi-autnonmous car need to make the trip to learn the path?
Depends what features it's using to detect the path. If it's street markings, kerbs, street furniture and so on it could be relatively quick, though Google have teams of mappers doing that manually (or at least they did until recently, dunno if they still do). Unmarked roads with few features seem like a different matter to me. "Where is the edge of this damn road anyway? Looks like a bunch of dirt to me."

None of which means that AVs aren't a viable proposition, but 100% AV is another matter.
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Old 17th October 2017, 10:13 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Has to be the maker if its truly self driving.
And this would be the major reason we may not see them for a long time. Liability. I can see some sort of impossible maintenance schedule or EULA on the software to protect themselves.
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Old 17th October 2017, 11:31 AM   #28
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Wikipedia article; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car

Who here would be comfortable with full automation (SEA level 5) of their car on a freeway in heavy traffic?

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Old 17th October 2017, 11:32 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Depends what features it's using to detect the path. If it's street markings, kerbs, street furniture and so on it could be relatively quick, though Google have teams of mappers doing that manually (or at least they did until recently, dunno if they still do). Unmarked roads with few features seem like a different matter to me. "Where is the edge of this damn road anyway? Looks like a bunch of dirt to me."

None of which means that AVs aren't a viable proposition, but 100% AV is another matter.
I would think after a few semi-autnonmous drives up even a dirt road the map will be fairly detailed. I don't think manual mapping is the path to success. But you are right that properly marked roads would be easier, other roads will take a bit more time. The challenge is in reducing that amount of time.
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Old 17th October 2017, 11:34 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Maestro View Post
And this would be the major reason we may not see them for a long time. Liability. I can see some sort of impossible maintenance schedule or EULA on the software to protect themselves.
I think it is more likely why you won't see these cars for sale to consumers. They will be operated by livery services and the like for some time prior to being available to consumers. That will allow the livery service and the manufacturer to negotiate the liability issues and put in place proper agreements to handle foreseeable issues.
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Old 17th October 2017, 11:43 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
Wikipedia article; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car

Who here would be comfortable with full automation (SEA level 5) of their car on a freeway in heavy traffic?

Ranb
It would likely be ten times safer than every Chinese cab I have willingly entered. I eventually got comfortable with making my way around Chinese cities via cab.
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Old 17th October 2017, 12:00 PM   #32
crescent
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Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
Wikipedia article; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car

Who here would be comfortable with full automation (SEA level 5) of their car on a freeway in heavy traffic?

Ranb
I have my doubts about utility in heavy snow, or in very rural areas. But beyond that, I think they'll be safer than regular cars and would be comfortable using them. The testing work they have done so far has had very low accident rates.

Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I think it is more likely why you won't see these cars for sale to consumers. They will be operated by livery services and the like for some time prior to being available to consumers. That will allow the livery service and the manufacturer to negotiate the liability issues and put in place proper agreements to handle foreseeable issues.
They are already selling cars to consumers that are capable of level 4 or 5 self driving. Tesla cars and a few others have all of the hardware, it's now just a software issue. Testing is expanding rapidly, the Tesla cars and probably a few others can have the software installed to make them become autonomous, even if they were not originally so. Some of the cars currently on the road now in consumer hands could be fully autonomous in a few years, once it is legalized the software is updated.

So I would say you are about 1/2 right. Fleet vehicles will lead the way, along with tech-heads, geeks, nerds, and technophiles with money.
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Old 17th October 2017, 12:03 PM   #33
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Autonomous cars head for the Big Apple

Quote:
Autonomous vehicles are already navigating the verdant hills of Pittsburgh and cruising the pitched avenues of San Francisco. They may soon be tested by the chaos of downtown Manhattan,
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Old 17th October 2017, 12:50 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
I'll make a counter-prediction: Testing started in 2016
First level-5 autonomous capable vehicle on sale: 2020
As far as I'm aware, the best performing experimental car is the one that Nvidia has. And they currently have no idea how to bring it to production. That fact does not support your contention.
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Old 17th October 2017, 12:54 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Tesla cars and a few others have all of the hardware, it's now just a software issue. Testing is expanding rapidly, the Tesla cars and probably a few others can have the software installed to make them become autonomous, even if they were not originally so.
Tesla has no idea how to test its software. This isn't a careful, step by step improvement that will deliver a finished product at some point. Tesla is stuck. Their only two options today are to: Release the software and cross their fingers, or don't release the software. There is no development at Tesla that is moving the software from beta to car-ready; this only exists in Musk's motivational speeches.
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Old 17th October 2017, 02:07 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Tesla has no idea how to test its software. This isn't a careful, step by step improvement that will deliver a finished product at some point. Tesla is stuck. Their only two options today are to: Release the software and cross their fingers, or don't release the software. There is no development at Tesla that is moving the software from beta to car-ready; this only exists in Musk's motivational speeches.
That is a big problem with driverless cars. They are tested on a small scale and their is no evidence that they are dangerous. But what do they do next? If they are mass produced and are shown to be dangerous then it would kill the company and the car. It would be expensive to test it on a bigger scale at their cost. When can they expect revenue from driverless cars?
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Old 17th October 2017, 03:30 PM   #37
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They are testing on fairly large scale though. San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Arizona, now Manhattan. They drove a driverless 18-wheeler from Fort Collins to Pueblo a few months ago (with nobody even in the driver's seat for the majority of the run). Volvo/Uber are running driverless cars in Michigan, Audi seems to be running them in Sweden. These are all open, public roads.

Mass production is probably not an issue, as in the first few years of this change the biggest difference between a vehicle that is autonomous and one that is not will be software. If the tech proves unsafe, then the manufacturer just pushes a software update that disables the fully autonomous function, then you are back to a regular car with lane following, collision avoidance, and lots of the other features that many high-end (and some mid-price) cars currently have.

Concerns about Tesla may be valid (or not, I don't know), but they're just one player in a crowded competition.

You've got a number of the largest companies in the world running hundreds of test cars in multiple cities. Alphabet/Google/Waymo, GM, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes. Audi is looking to start selling fully autonomous cars in 2020. Volvo expects to start selling fully autonomous cars on 2021. Chinese car companies are working on it. I would guess that Mahindra and Tata are probably working on it as well.

These things have already put in tens of millions (or hundreds of millions?) of miles on public roads, mostly in busy cities but also on interstates and rural roads. Things are starting to snowball in terms the miles being put in on open, public roads and the amount of data being collected. We've gone from a handful of cars in part of San Francisco to probably close to a thousand cars being run in dozens of cities around the world.

Public acceptance of the new technology will probably be a much greater barrier than any technological limitations.

Last edited by crescent; 17th October 2017 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 17th October 2017, 05:10 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
Wikipedia article; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car

Who here would be comfortable with full automation (SEA level 5) of their car on a freeway in heavy traffic?

Ranb
Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
It would likely be ten times safer than every Chinese cab I have willingly entered. I eventually got comfortable with making my way around Chinese cities via cab.


Yeah, this. By the time we get to level 5, eliminating the steering wheel, this technology will be quite mature. I've had more than one incident of having to tell my taxi driver they were about to run a red light, and I can't imagine any commercially available self driving car would be bad enough to miss a red light.
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Old 17th October 2017, 05:45 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
Yeah, this. By the time we get to level 5, eliminating the steering wheel, this technology will be quite mature. I've had more than one incident of having to tell my taxi driver they were about to run a red light, and I can't imagine any commercially available self driving car would be bad enough to miss a red light.
...or self-deluded enough to think: "Well, the light won't have been red *that* long by the time I enter the intersection, and I'm obviously in more important of a hurry than everyone else on this road, and everyone else runs lights like this all the time, and I know I'll be able to react fast enough if I really need to, and..."
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Old 17th October 2017, 10:27 PM   #40
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I'm sorry; I keep forgetting that some of the posters may not be familiar with this process. The avionics used in passenger jets needs to be perfect. It can't have any unknown states or actions. The way you check this is by tracing through every single line of code and checking for any boundary conditions that could create an undefined state.

The problem that Musk and others are having is that when you use neural networks, the actual process is unknown so you have no idea what the boundary conditions are. This means that failure conditions or pathways are unknown. This makes it impossible to fix the code ahead of time because you don't know where the problems might be. So, the code will always be beta. This is true of every existing, so-called, self-driving car. This means that the question is not if it will fail but when and how bad.
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