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Old 6th June 2018, 01:03 PM   #761
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Those to whom only actuarial statistics count will point out that these instances are so rare that they can be discounted relative to the vast number of instances in which driverless cars will save lives. It's true, of course, for the population as a whole. The vastly fewer remaining deaths will be randomly distributed, so of course the convicted drunks and others like them will reap the greatest benefit, but to find fault with that, I've been told by some, is to be an inhumane libertarian, or something equally odious. So gird up hunker down and take one for the team.
Assumes software or sensors won't have "nice" failure rate nor no such thing as hacks.

I don't think there is actual evidence any of involved companies are capable of that...
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Old 6th June 2018, 07:30 PM   #762
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Originally Posted by Klimax View Post
Assumes software or sensors won't have "nice" failure rate nor no such thing as hacks.

I don't think there is actual evidence any of involved companies are capable of that...
I don't see how nice failure rates and the like would work to change the essential redistribution of accidents. As it is now, although everyone has some chance of being killed, the chance is far far greater for the least skilled and the most careless. Even a fairly drastic reduction in total accidents could well result in an increase for certain sectors of the population. If the essence of a system is to erase individual driving skill from the equation, I don't see how it would not redistribute the remaining accidents across the population. Even if the system could be hacked or bribed, or added safety could be bought, how could you make it dependent on driving skill? I suppose one could require a driving test, and base the level of safety equipment on the results, but I suspect there might be a little problem or two with that - not the smallest of which would be that with driverless cars there's nothing to test.
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Old 6th June 2018, 10:31 PM   #763
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I don't see how nice failure rates and the like would work to change the essential redistribution of accidents. As it is now, although everyone has some chance of being killed, the chance is far far greater for the least skilled and the most careless. Even a fairly drastic reduction in total accidents could well result in an increase for certain sectors of the population. If the essence of a system is to erase individual driving skill from the equation, I don't see how it would not redistribute the remaining accidents across the population. Even if the system could be hacked or bribed, or added safety could be bought, how could you make it dependent on driving skill? I suppose one could require a driving test, and base the level of safety equipment on the results, but I suspect there might be a little problem or two with that - not the smallest of which would be that with driverless cars there's nothing to test.
My point was, that rate of accidents might not change. Nothing about redistribution. That's subsequent problem, not original.
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Old 6th June 2018, 11:45 PM   #764
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
I wonder how the whole product liability aspect of self-driving cars is going to shake out. It's a strange problem.

So for 2016, according to wikipedia, there were ~37.5 thousand traffic fatalities in the US. I'm speculating that very few were related to faulty vehicles and the vast majority were ultimately caused by human error.

Let's say, in some near future, that a self driving car is developed that is very good, but not perfect. Lets say it is has widespread adoption. Let's also say that the number of fatalities a year drops from 37.5 thousand to 10 thousand. That would be a massive improvement. But what if all those deaths were directly caused by the software or hardware making a bad decision?

We will be going for a world of dispersed liability to one of concentrated liability.

Right now, if I cause an accident, there's only so much money the injured party can get. Let's say I permanently disable or kill multiple people due to an at-fault accident. The injured parties can get my insurance policy maximum, but that only covers so much. They can pursue me personally, but I'm not a wealthy man. Chances are good that such a serious accident may have killed or permanently disabled me. Perhaps I'm going to prison because I was intoxicated during the accident. Either way, I have little ability to earn an income to pay my damages. So the lawsuit ends there. The victim may not be able to actually recover all their damages because of my limited ability to pay as a regular person. Sucks for them, but there's no recourse beyond whatever insurance they may carry. The costs of this liability is dispersed among the many, many drivers. The general population carries the risk that they may be sued beyond their ability to pay, or incur damages that cannot be fully recovered.

But a big company, say Google, or Ford, or some other manufacturer of self-driving cars, have deep pockets. So these 10 thousand people a year who are killed by product flaws, despite these cars being objectively safer than human driven cars, will want to pursue the car maker. They may be able to form a class action and really take it to the manufacturer. All this liability --wrongful deaths, temporary and permanent injury, and property damage will be concentrated on one entity, and this entity may have the ability to pay the full damages to each person. This concentrated liability may be an unbearable burden, despite the objective superiority of the product over the human-driven alternative.

Suing these companies into bankruptcy while they try to figure out self-driving cars seems like a net loss for society. So does saddling self-driving cars with legal costs that make them financially unsuitable for wide-scale adoption.
Perhaps in the USA but I doubt it in other countries. If the cars have been allowed via legislation then I'm sure the liability issue will be part of the legislation.
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Old 7th June 2018, 06:54 AM   #765
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Originally Posted by Klimax View Post
My point was, that rate of accidents might not change. Nothing about redistribution. That's subsequent problem, not original.
I see, I misunderstood. I would be surprised if a driverless car could not be made that at least had some improvement in the accident rate, and more surprised if one that did not were considered even marginally acceptable, given the added costs and inconveniences.
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Old 11th June 2018, 07:17 AM   #766
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Off topic, but my fiance was rear ended while sitting at a red light this past weekend. This is the second time she has been hit while sitting at a dead stop waiting at a traffic light. She is suffering from a mild concussion and whiplash, anything but laying in a dark room is taxing on her mind.

Humans are terrible drivers, bring on the robots!
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Old 11th June 2018, 07:25 AM   #767
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
As it is now, although everyone has some chance of being killed, the chance is far far greater for the least skilled and the most careless. Even a fairly drastic reduction in total accidents could well result in an increase for certain sectors of the population.
That statement would be accurate if the vast majority of accidents were between a driver and a wall. In reality, most accidents involve one unsafe driver and one that was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Obviously we'd have to get into actual numbers if we wanted to get picky with this since there might be some narrow range where you're right, but overall if you make the bad drivers safer you drastically reduce the number of accidents that the safe drivers are in.

If the flaws in a self driving car are bad enough to offset that, then they'll be bad enough that it won't be released into the wild.
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Old 11th June 2018, 11:15 AM   #768
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
That statement would be accurate if the vast majority of accidents were between a driver and a wall. In reality, most accidents involve one unsafe driver and one that was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Obviously we'd have to get into actual numbers if we wanted to get picky with this since there might be some narrow range where you're right, but overall if you make the bad drivers safer you drastically reduce the number of accidents that the safe drivers are in.

If the flaws in a self driving car are bad enough to offset that, then they'll be bad enough that it won't be released into the wild.
That's true to some extent of course, but there is a significant number of accidents resulting in death from single car accidents, I think, and a significant number of two car accidents avoided through the ability of a skilled driver to avoid them. It remains to be seen, of course, how the numbers stack up. But I think it's going to be a difficult battle to win statistically, and even harder to win in public opinion.
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Old 11th June 2018, 12:49 PM   #769
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
Off topic, but my fiance was rear ended while sitting at a red light this past weekend. This is the second time she has been hit while sitting at a dead stop waiting at a traffic light. She is suffering from a mild concussion and whiplash, anything but laying in a dark room is taxing on her mind.

Humans are terrible drivers, bring on the robots!
Er, didn't you notice that, in the last month or two, that Teslas under 'autopilot' had rear-ended a fire truck and a police car, both of which were stationary?
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Old 11th June 2018, 01:51 PM   #770
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Er, didn't you notice that, in the last month or two, that Teslas under 'autopilot' had rear-ended a fire truck and a police car, both of which were stationary?
I'm not saying they are ready now, I'm just hopeful that they will be ready in the near future.
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Old 11th June 2018, 02:20 PM   #771
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
I'm not saying they are ready now, I'm just hopeful that they will be ready in the near future.
One day, maybe.

I fear that in the transition period - where AV and human-driven vehicles mix - we'll see humans rear-ending AVs because the AV braked heavily in situations where no human would expect heavy braking.

And, yes, I know we should maintain a safe distance at all times, to cope with any eventuality, but we don't. We pound along at 70mph on the motorway - somewhat too close - because we 'know' that the car in front won't freak out just because a big plastic bag blows across the road.
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Old 11th June 2018, 03:06 PM   #772
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Do self-driving vehicles have to pass a drivers test that is performed at the DMV?
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Old 11th June 2018, 04:05 PM   #773
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Originally Posted by No Other View Post
Do self-driving vehicles have to pass a drivers test that is performed at the DMV?
I think before self-driving vehicles can be released into the wild someone needs to prove that they will reduce the road toll. Until then the vehicles should display special plates to say they are self-driving vehicles similar to ones when humans who are learning or recently gained their licence use.
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Old 12th June 2018, 04:30 AM   #774
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
One day, maybe.

I fear that in the transition period - where AV and human-driven vehicles mix - we'll see humans rear-ending AVs because the AV braked heavily in situations where no human would expect heavy braking.

And, yes, I know we should maintain a safe distance at all times, to cope with any eventuality, but we don't. We pound along at 70mph on the motorway - somewhat too close - because we 'know' that the car in front won't freak out just because a big plastic bag blows across the road.
Yeah, I expect the transition to be rough. The whole driving infrastructure is designed for human drivers. Trying to make a computer work with human-centric visual and behavioral rules is a tall order. If self driving cars ever completely replace human drivers, you might expect the way roads look and operate to change dramatically.

I drool for the idea of a long line of cars moving forward simultaneously in traffic instead of the current log jam. Plenty of times I'm so far back in traffic the light has turned red before the car in front of me has even started moving forward. I imagine a world of self driving cars that are in communication with each other and maybe some central organizing system that maximizes efficiency. A well operating self driving car could result in narrower lanes, higher speeds, closer following distances, etc to increase traffic efficiency that is not currently allowed by slow reacting and erratic human drivers.
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Old 12th June 2018, 02:37 PM   #775
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
Off topic, but my fiance was rear ended while sitting at a red light this past weekend. This is the second time she has been hit while sitting at a dead stop waiting at a traffic light. She is suffering from a mild concussion and whiplash, anything but laying in a dark room is taxing on her mind.

Humans are terrible drivers, bring on the robots!
My manual (as opposed to automatic) car has a collision warning front radar - it is slightly oversensitive*, but it probably would warn or even apply brakes in such a situation.


*Maybe one alarm every month - and usually in situations where it would be quite reasonable to assume that a collision was likely unless action were to be taken.
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Old 14th June 2018, 12:49 PM   #776
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clearly not ready

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WjMcUhsMAM
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Old 15th June 2018, 08:51 AM   #777
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
On the one hand, these aren't claiming to be self-driving.

On the other hand, I think a certain level of "assistance" is worse than none at all because either you're driving or you're not. If you're not driving and the car isn't really doing it then... well, you're going to have people trust it to do more than it can.
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Old 15th June 2018, 10:43 AM   #778
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
That highly edited video of a staged crash isn't the way to convince me. Was it even in autopilot mode or did he just manually drive into the fake car?
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Old 15th June 2018, 11:24 AM   #779
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Originally Posted by phunk View Post
That highly edited video of a staged crash isn't the way to convince me. Was it even in autopilot mode or did he just manually drive into the fake car?
Tesla's AP is developing a history of driving into stationary vehicles (and other objects) with no faking required.
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Old 15th June 2018, 11:46 AM   #780
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Originally Posted by phunk View Post
That highly edited video of a staged crash isn't the way to convince me.
I was kind of thinking the same thing. I was once rear ended in very similar circumstances - by a human driven car. He totaled his car (the doors would not even open properly) and severely bent the license plate of the mid-1960's Buick I was driving.

We can compare to videos like these:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE



(There's a lot of overlap in those three videos)

ETA: And that's just Tesla, which lacks the Lidar that other self-driving packages have.

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Old 15th June 2018, 05:36 PM   #781
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Wow, a car that stops for things in its path. Well I never... They've finally achieved the umm achievable. Humans have been doing it for thousands of years, so I guess it was time for the machines to get with it. Their supreme leader is often away on vacation and won't let them experiment much while he's away.

Next thing you know Musk will be including a real Terminator™ with every car purchase. He's a badass who kicks it on the road and in all those fights you'll get into for having a real Terminator™. Did you know all Teslas now come pre-programmed with the "Don't Be Evil" kernel? They bought it off some software company that rethought its mission and concluded the sentiment was too stifling. Now if Musk can just teach the machine to know the difference between killing and just maiming.
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Old 22nd June 2018, 08:08 AM   #782
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Quote:
The “safety” driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber that hit and killed a pedestrian was streaming the television show The Voice on her phone at the time of the crash, police have said.

The collision that killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, who was crossing the road at night in Tempe, Arizona, was “entirely avoidable”, a police report said, if Rafaela Vasquez had been paying attention.

Instead, she repeatedly looked down at her phone, glancing up just half a second before the car hit Herzberg. Police said she could faces charges of vehicular manslaughter, but it would be for prosecutors to decide.

The Uber car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, but Uber, like other self-driving car developers, requires a back-up driver in the car to intervene when the autonomous system fails or a tricky driving situation occurs.

Vasquez looked up just 0.5 seconds before the crash, after keeping her head down for 5.3 seconds, the police report said. Uber’s self-driving Volvo SUV was travelling at just under 44mph.

Police obtained records from Hulu, an online streaming service, which showed Vasquez’s account was playing the television talent show The Voice the night of the crash for about 42 minutes, ending at 9.59pm, which “coincides with the approximate time of the collision”, the report says.
Guardian article.

The safety driver could possibly be held partly responsible, but I doubt it.

If the safety driver had been paying attention, the jaywalker probably does not get hit, or gets hit much less severely.
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Old 22nd June 2018, 10:19 AM   #783
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Guardian article.

The safety driver could possibly be held partly responsible, but I doubt it.

If the safety driver had been paying attention, the jaywalker probably does not get hit, or gets hit much less severely.
The only way to keep the attention of the safety driver is to give them something to do. Watching on the off chance is not enough.
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Old 22nd June 2018, 11:00 AM   #784
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Tesla's AP is developing a history of driving into stationary vehicles (and other objects) with no faking required.
I don't dispute that, but I question the authenticity of that particular video that has cameras setup that could show a continuous shot of the whole thing but instead jumps between shots from multiple takes.
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Old 23rd June 2018, 05:43 AM   #785
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Guardian article.

The safety driver could possibly be held partly responsible, but I doubt it.

If the safety driver had been paying attention, the jaywalker probably does not get hit, or gets hit much less severely.
Kind of doesn't change the point that there needed to be a safety driver
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Old 23rd June 2018, 07:22 AM   #786
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Kind of doesn't change the point that there needed to be a safety driver
Progress tends to happen incrementally.
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Old 30th June 2018, 06:37 PM   #787
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So the Uber driver was streaming "The Voice" on her phone for almost the entire time she was on the road on that fatal night. She lied to the NTSB and should be charged accordingly.
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Old 1st July 2018, 04:05 AM   #788
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Originally Posted by Drs_Res View Post
So the Uber driver was streaming "The Voice" on her phone for almost the entire time she was on the road on that fatal night. She lied to the NTSB and should be charged accordingly.
True, but it doesn't absolve Uber in any way.

We'd need to see their training and hiring policies as well as the measures they'd put in place to deal with the inevitable boredom as well as the high risk of attention drifting due to hours passing between required interventions*. I am struggling to think of a more boring driving job than self-driving car override driver.

And this difficulty of keeping focused has been well known for decades.


*On UK motorways there are signs reminding people to take a break every two hours. That is for people driving, and having their attention kept occupied by the road. It would be far harder to keep attention on the road and able to intervene within a second if one is not active. I'd guess that an hour stretch is probably doable, but much longer would be very difficult.
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UK 8.5% of GDP of which 83.3% is public expenditure - 7.1% of GDP is public spending
US 16.4% of GDP of which 48.2% is public expenditure - 7.9% of GDP is public spending
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Old 1st July 2018, 08:53 AM   #789
Giordano
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I simply cannot see how there will ever be routine sales of self-driving cars that require the human "backup driver" to maintain a constant attention/readiness level equivalent to that required for actually driving the car.

First, what would the point be - saving the slight bit of effort necessary for pressing the throttle pedal and working the steering wheel? The entire value of a self-driving car is to allow the human to avoid making such an effort, freeing them to do things such as watch The Voice on their cell phones.

Second, given the inherent nature of human beings, most people will not be able to maintain such a level of attentive readiness even if they wished to. Sitting for hours and hours essentially doing nothing except waiting for the automated system to fail will inevitably lead a person into inattentiveness. The more effective the autopilot, the less and less likely a human intervention will be required, the more and more inattentive the backup driver will become.

Imagine having spent many hundreds of hours as backup driver over months of event-free autopiloting - how many of us would remain "paranoid" enough to still be instantly ready to assume control? After such a long experience of error-free autopiloting, most of us would be lulled into believing nothing is likely to go wrong and we would relax our guard. Simply keeping one's hands on the wheel is not enough: one has to be paying close attention to the surroundings at every moment, thinking about what might happen next, and planning for what to do in each such an event. Hard enough to do if one is actually driving. Very difficult to do if you are fairly convinced that your car can handle it by itself.

There are of course circumstances where a person can maintain their attentiveness for long periods of uneventful observation. This works if that is their one job and they are being paid for it (which is why I do fault the backup driver in the OP), or they have others with whom to trade off (airplane pilots), or if there are obvious huge dangers to the observer that the automated system cannot handle (radar officer in an active combat zone). But even in these circumstances it is known that any "hand-off" from an automated system to the human is fraught with problems. Airliners have crashed when the autopilot has suddenly "told" the human pilots "Strange things are happening that go beyond the ability of the software to handle. Here- the controls are yours - you figure it out!" Even well trained human beings have trouble effectively and immediately switching from passive observation into active participation in response to a sudden crisis. The typical car owner? No way.

Last edited by Giordano; 1st July 2018 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 2nd July 2018, 08:39 PM   #790
Grashtel
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I simply cannot see how there will ever be routine sales of self-driving cars that require the human "backup driver" to maintain a constant attention/readiness level equivalent to that required for actually driving the car.
The backup driver is there as they are still in the testing phase, once once they are ready for general use and sale they won't use backup drivers any more
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Old 2nd July 2018, 10:22 PM   #791
cullennz
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Originally Posted by Grashtel View Post
The backup driver is there as they are still in the testing phase, once once they are ready for general use and sale they won't use backup drivers any more
Good luck trying to get insurance when that happens
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Old 3rd July 2018, 04:23 AM   #792
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I simply cannot see how there will ever be routine sales of self-driving cars that require the human "backup driver" to maintain a constant attention/readiness level equivalent to that required for actually driving the car.

Quite correct, for all the reasons you described in the rest of your post.


As for Cullen's point about insurance, they won't be allowed for regular consumer use on the roads until they are demonstrably safer than human driven vehicles, at which point the insurance rates will be less.


But how far are we from that point in time? Very difficult to say. There's an awful lot of research going on to make it happen, but there are an awful lot of problems to be solved before it does. I saw a paper the other day about analyzing behavior of pedestrians with cell phones. From the camera data, determine the pose, figure out that someone is talking on a cell phone, and predict the impact of that on pedestrian behavior. The fact that such detailed research is going on shows just how much effort is going into making self driving cars a reality, but it also shows just how difficult the problem is. There are thousands of problems, each just as difficult as predicting behavior of people with cell phones, to be solved, and then there has to be an executive program that determines which of those programs to put into effect at any given time.


Sometimes I think that the solution is just around the corner, and we will have real self driving cars by the time I retire in 2027. Other times I think that in five years, companies will realize just how difficult the problem is and that they have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars underestimating the scope, and it will be shelved until some other new breakthrough occurs in the future.
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Old 3rd July 2018, 04:56 AM   #793
shuttlt
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
The only way to keep the attention of the safety driver is to give them something to do. Watching on the off chance is not enough.
But an attentive backup driver will intervene more often. Miles per intervention seems to be a key KPI they are using to indicate progress to investors. Incentivising the backup drivers not to pay attention is the easiest way to keep that KPI down, particularly if most interventions are false alarms.
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Old 3rd July 2018, 07:35 AM   #794
SOdhner
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Sometimes I think that the solution is just around the corner, and we will have real self driving cars by the time I retire in 2027. Other times I think that in five years, companies will realize just how difficult the problem is and that they have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars underestimating the scope, and it will be shelved until some other new breakthrough occurs in the future.
I read an interesting article a few years ago that predicted a big drop-off in support for self driving cars. It said that once they were ready to go and people were fairly accepting and excited about them one would be used to deliver a bomb somewhere or get hacked to drive through a farmer's market or some other horrible scenario and then suddenly there would be public distrust and a string of new regulations to deal with.

It wasn't saying this would kill the idea, just that it would change the timeline for true acceptance of these vehicles and a lot of "by [INSERT YEAR], these cars will be everywhere!" predictions weren't accounting for it.
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