Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Apr 2017 20:40 UTC
Google

After almost a decade of research, Google's autonomous car project is close to becoming a real service.

Now known as Waymo, the Alphabet Inc. self-driving car unit is letting residents of Phoenix sign up to use its vehicles, a major step toward commercializing a technology that could one day upend transportation.

This is going to change our society a lot quicker than people seem to think.

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Can't wait!
by WorknMan on Thu 27th Apr 2017 21:18 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

I'm visually impaired and can't drive. Those of you who can just hop in a car and drive wherever you want have no idea how good you have it ;)

Reply Score: 6

RE: Can't wait!
by JLF65 on Fri 28th Apr 2017 03:28 UTC in reply to "Can't wait!"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

I wanted to mark that "insightful", but I thought it might be insensitive. ;) So I marked it informative.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Can't wait!
by MarkHughes on Fri 28th Apr 2017 06:28 UTC in reply to "Can't wait!"
MarkHughes Member since:
2013-11-14

I was stopped from driving for medical reasons, For only two years though, But in that time I sure did learn to appreciate what I had, Funny thing is now I can drive again, I drive a lot less and I tend to enjoy my journeys much more.

Self driving cars will be nice for many people, I would have one to replace my little shop mobile but I would never get rid of my two manual drive classics. ;)

Self driving tech will change a lot of peoples lives both positive and negative. It's not going to be fun for everyone but it sure will have a big impact.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Can't wait!
by JLF65 on Fri 28th Apr 2017 18:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Can't wait!"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

We I was going to the Uni (UofH), it was too expensive to drive/park, so I tended to take the bus the vast majority of the time. If nothing will make you appreciate being able to go where you want, when you want, it's the city bus! I had to allot THREE HOURS travel time... EACH WAY. Most of that was spent at the next bus stop waiting for a connecting bus. Self-driving cars would have been a god-send back then... assuming the price was competitive with the bus. That was the ONLY positive: the bus was cheap.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Can't wait!
by Alfman on Fri 28th Apr 2017 18:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Can't wait!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

JLF65,

We I was going to the Uni (UofH), it was too expensive to drive/park, so I tended to take the bus the vast majority of the time. If nothing will make you appreciate being able to go where you want, when you want, it's the city bus! I had to allot THREE HOURS travel time... EACH WAY. Most of that was spent at the next bus stop waiting for a connecting bus. Self-driving cars would have been a god-send back then... assuming the price was competitive with the bus. That was the ONLY positive: the bus was cheap.


No kidding, the bus makes it extremely difficult to get anywhere in a hurry. Personal transportation offers a higher standard of living to those who can afford it. A short store run or bringing the kids to play sports in a league or something becomes extreme inefficient and even non-viable for bus riders. Many places don't even have a bus stop, you may need to pay more for a taxi to get you there and pick you back up.

While automation could bring down the costs of taxi rides by getting rid of the driver, it seems the bus will always be more economical, you can automate them too after all.

Edited 2017-04-28 18:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Can't wait!
by JLF65 on Sat 29th Apr 2017 01:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Can't wait!"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Paying a taxi would have defeated the purpose of going by bus instead of taking the car. So I walked almost a mile to go from one of the connections to another. The walk was actually less time than the wait after reaching the bus stop.

Reply Score: 2

Self driving bus
by Sauron on Thu 27th Apr 2017 21:48 UTC
Sauron
Member since:
2005-08-02

Still no sign of a self driving bus with onboard Dalek as a ticket collector though! ;)

Reply Score: 3

v Finally
by FooBat on Fri 28th Apr 2017 06:43 UTC
RE: Finally
by evil on Fri 28th Apr 2017 09:44 UTC in reply to "Finally"
evil Member since:
2013-05-22

And you never know, when some algo will fail. Software never is perfect. Most problems with new cars, are because of elecyronic fails, and they are harder to repair because added complexity due it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Finally
by FooBat on Fri 28th Apr 2017 12:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Finally"
FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08

And you never know, when some algo will fail. Software never is perfect.

And yet, that software is still much more perfect than human. Humans fail so much more often...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Finally
by Sidux on Fri 28th Apr 2017 09:54 UTC in reply to "Finally"
Sidux Member since:
2015-03-10

This applies to pretty much everything .. sadly. Teenagers these days don't like to take responsibility for anything and simply love the idea that somewhere and somehow things work out of the box for them to enjoy an easy life.
Autonomous cars won't solve the pollution problem that is present in many cities around the globe, won't reduce the noise level that affect so many families with kids that have no other easy option but to live in a noisy neighborhood and won't make drivers more aware of their responsibilities.
It's just a new way for corporations to make money and increase their profits.
Still it will be very useful in many areas (i.e public transportation, huge warehouses, commuting with special lanes).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Finally
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 28th Apr 2017 11:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Finally"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

This applies to pretty much everything .. sadly. Teenagers these days don't like to take responsibility for anything and simply love the idea that somewhere and somehow things work out of the box for them to enjoy an easy life.
Autonomous cars won't solve the pollution problem that is present in many cities around the globe, won't reduce the noise level that affect so many families with kids that have no other easy option but to live in a noisy neighborhood and won't make drivers more aware of their responsibilities.
It's just a new way for corporations to make money and increase their profits.
Still it will be very useful in many areas (i.e public transportation, huge warehouses, commuting with special lanes).


You couldn't be more wrong. Autonomous cars - even those running on dead animals and plants - will be quite a bit less polluting simply because there's no inefficient, idiotic, and stupid monkey operating the engine. This means less pointless revving, racing, or other idiotic behaviour. Even advanced cruise control systems today are already way more economical than manual driving.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Finally
by kurkosdr on Fri 28th Apr 2017 13:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Finally"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

You couldn't be more wrong. Autonomous cars - even those running on dead animals and plants - will be quite a bit less polluting simply because there's no inefficient, idiotic, and stupid monkey operating the engine. This means less pointless revving, racing, or other idiotic behaviour. Even advanced cruise control systems today are already way more economical than manual driving.


There will be an off switch so that the aforementioned monkeys can still drive manually when they want. Companies that make "drivers' cars" like Alfa Romeo, BMW, Mazda etc won't let any ban on manual driving happen.

On a more general note, autonomous driving has one big problem: If two autonomous cars crash and one of the two cars committed a violation of road rules, who is technically responsible? The car's CPU? For that reason, lawmakers will mandate human supervision (aka "pin it on the human behind the wheel"), and since sitting motionless with the foot on the brake carefully watching a car drive itself is so boring, the autonomous feature will be disabled almost every time by the human driver, save for very slow traffic jams.

Also, autonomous cars won't take any transport-related jobs for the same reason. If a driverless truck kills someone, who is legally reponsible? But it could probably make the act of hired driving much more boring (since disabling the autonomous system will be prohibited by the employer).

Edited 2017-04-28 13:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Finally
by Alfman on Fri 28th Apr 2017 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Finally"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

There will be an off switch so that the aforementioned monkeys can still drive manually when they want. Companies that make "drivers' cars" like Alfa Romeo, BMW, Mazda etc won't let any ban on manual driving happen.


I agree, don't see this going away any time soon.


On a more general note, autonomous driving has one big problem: If two autonomous cars crash and one of the two cars committed a violation of road rules, who is technically responsible? The car's CPU? For that reason, lawmakers will mandate human supervision (aka "pin it on the human behind the wheel"), and since sitting motionless with the foot on the brake carefully watching a car drive itself is so boring, the autonomous feature will be disabled almost every time by the human driver, save for very slow traffic jams.

Also, autonomous cars won't take any transport-related jobs for the same reason. If a driverless truck kills someone, who is legally reponsible? But it could probably make the act of hired driving much more boring (since disabling the autonomous system will be prohibited by the employer).



Whether it's human or AI, the insurance company would be the one footing the bill. Just like any other car owner, those with AI will be legally required to buy insurance. It doesn't really matter how they buy insurance, the important thing is that they have it. Obviously the insurance companies themselves will adjust their prices according to statistical rates of AI accidents just as with human drivers.


Still I can see that new kinds of technicalities could arise, like if the car is stolen or used without the owner's authorization. Assuming the person got caught, they could be sued over damages. Technically car owners today are already paying the insurance company to cover damages caused by theft or whatnot, so I imagine will happen is that the cost of insurance will just get adjusted based on the statistical odds of these things happening.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Finally
by kurkosdr on Fri 28th Apr 2017 23:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Finally"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

kurkosdr,

Ohioham,
(only you feel the need to address people on the internet by calling their name instead of a plain quote-block or a much more fitting "Kurkosdr said")

Whether it's human or AI, the insurance company would be the one footing the bill. Just like any other car owner, those with AI will be legally required to buy insurance.

Insurance doesn't cover everything. If you kill someone as a result of breaking the rules of the road, you will be criminally liable and may even go to jail for causing loss of human life by negligence, at least in some countries. So, if an AI is driving, the question is who will be held criminally liable for that.

Edited 2017-04-28 23:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Finally
by Alfman on Sat 29th Apr 2017 02:24 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Finally"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

Ohioham,
(only you feel the need to address people on the internet by calling their name instead of a plain quote-block or a much more fitting "Kurkosdr said")


Just because we share a custom doesn't make us the same person. Anyways...

Insurance doesn't cover everything. If you kill someone as a result of breaking the rules of the road, you will be criminally liable and may even go to jail for causing loss of human life by negligence, at least in some countries. So, if an AI is driving, the question is who will be held criminally liable for that.


Sure it's a good question, but even for involuntary manslaughter charges to apply to a regular human driver you'd usually need to pass certain criteria:

http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/involuntary-manslaught...

Elements of the Offense

Three elements must be satisfied in order for someone to be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter:

1. Someone was killed as a result of the defendant's actions.
2. The act either was inherently dangerous to others or done with reckless disregard for human life.
3. The defendant knew or should have known his or her conduct was a threat to the lives of others.

Charges of involuntary manslaughter often come in the wake of a deadly car crash caused by a motorist under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. While the motorist never intended to kill anyone, his or her negligence in operating a car while impaired is enough to meet the requirements of the charge.

Activities that are entirely legal can also result in involuntary manslaughter charges when carried out irresponsibly or recklessly. For example, if the operator of a dangerous carnival ride recklessly fails to ensure that all passengers are strapped in and people die as a result, the operator could face penalties for involuntary manslaughter.


Speaking generically, it doesn't seem to me that an owner using the car correctly could reasonably know that the AI was dangerous with respect to #2 or #3. But if the AI is found to be faulty, then I would think the courts should apply the same standards as though any other components were faulty due to the fault of the manufacturer.

http://www.resource4thepeople.com/defectiveproducts/brakes.html


Obviously, we'll have to see what the courts ultimately decide to do.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Finally
by FlyingJester on Fri 28th Apr 2017 17:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Finally"
FlyingJester Member since:
2016-05-11

Companies that make "drivers' cars" like Alfa Romeo, BMW, Mazda etc won't let any ban on manual driving happen.


I think you should check out the demos that some of the German car manufacturers have created in the last couple years about highly automated driving. You may be quite surprised about who is and isn't on the forefront.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Finally
by Carewolf on Fri 28th Apr 2017 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Finally"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

"This applies to pretty much everything .. sadly. Teenagers these days don't like to take responsibility for anything and simply love the idea that somewhere and somehow things work out of the box for them to enjoy an easy life.
Autonomous cars won't solve the pollution problem that is present in many cities around the globe, won't reduce the noise level that affect so many families with kids that have no other easy option but to live in a noisy neighborhood and won't make drivers more aware of their responsibilities.
It's just a new way for corporations to make money and increase their profits.
Still it will be very useful in many areas (i.e public transportation, huge warehouses, commuting with special lanes).


You couldn't be more wrong. Autonomous cars - even those running on dead animals and plants - will be quite a bit less polluting simply because there's no inefficient, idiotic, and stupid monkey operating the engine. This means less pointless revving, racing, or other idiotic behaviour. Even advanced cruise control systems today are already way more economical than manual driving.
"

Funny milleage for stick shift is still higher on average(not just good drivers) than automatic, dispite the "stupid monkey" having to manually control it.

Edited 2017-04-28 14:43 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Finally
by grat on Fri 28th Apr 2017 15:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Finally"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

I keep hearing this argument, but on average, manual transmissions still out-efficiency automatics, and unless your cruise control is hooked to a GPS that understands terrain, a hyper-miler in a Prius will still beat out a CPU running the same Prius.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Finally
by cfgr on Mon 1st May 2017 02:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Finally"
cfgr Member since:
2009-07-18

You couldn't be more wrong. Autonomous cars - even those running on dead animals and plants - will be quite a bit less polluting simply because there's no inefficient, idiotic, and stupid monkey operating the engine.


They may be more efficient than human drivers, but there will be a lot of cars driving empty to pick people up. Today, empty cars are parked and don't pollute.

For example, a family with two cars will have those cars parked at work most of the day. If they had one car, that car would have to drive back and forth being empty half the time, so more kilometres driven for the same result. In the best case, both partners could share one ride and then it's no different from one partner dropping off the other.

Autonomous cars increase traffic due to the empty rides but they may cause better throughput due to fewer accidents and fewer idiot manoeuvres. More traffic means more pollution but less traffic jams means less pollution. It's simply impossible to draw any conclusion on what the net effect will be.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Finally
by Alfman on Mon 1st May 2017 03:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Finally"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

cfgr,

...Autonomous cars increase traffic due to the empty rides but they may cause better throughput due to fewer accidents and fewer idiot manoeuvres. More traffic means more pollution but less traffic jams means less pollution. It's simply impossible to draw any conclusion on what the net effect will be.


You know that's a pretty good analysis, although if cars are making extra trips I think that will add up faster than any micro efficiencies an AI can compensate with.

I think more gains could be made by sharing cars rather than driving them around empty. So instead of your car driving between different members of the family, they could use a service to hail a nearby AI car instead.

If we're willing to go a step further, on-demand carpooling could combine multiple parties by driving them together. A busy store or location is quite likely to have multiple people who need to go in the same direction just by coincidence. So instead of driving separately, a service could suggest sharing a ride dynamically based on real time input of everyone's destination.

Commuters around here might drive 70+ miles a day alone, and most of it at the same time during rush hour. If we had AI ride sharing, we could probably cut back commuting traffic to 1/3 without too much inconvenience.

Although one person committing a crime against other passengers could probably turn public opinion against carpooling in AI cars.

Edited 2017-05-01 03:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Finally
by darknexus on Fri 28th Apr 2017 12:11 UTC in reply to "Finally"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Be careful what you wish for. What you want to apply to cars could easily apply to something else you do want to own. Don't ever advocate for taking away owners' rights. It's far too slippery once you start down that mountain.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Finally
by FooBat on Fri 28th Apr 2017 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Finally"
FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08

Be careful what you wish for. What you want to apply to cars could easily apply to something else you do want to own. Don't ever advocate for taking away owners' rights. It's far too slippery once you start down that mountain.

You know, as long as that "something else I want to own" has the potential to kill several people (including me) every time I take it for a spin, I would be more than willing to surrender it.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Finally
by Savior on Fri 28th Apr 2017 15:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Finally"
Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

"Be careful what you wish for. What you want to apply to cars could easily apply to something else you do want to own. Don't ever advocate for taking away owners' rights. It's far too slippery once you start down that mountain.

You know, as long as that "something else I want to own" has the potential to kill several people (including me) every time I take it for a spin, I would be more than willing to surrender it.
"
Do you cook? Because you know, that knife has the potential to harm and/or kill people by accidentally slipping from your hand. Also, you can always kill your spouse/child if you drop an electric appliance (e.g. hairdryer) into the bath tub they happen to be using. Your very feet could kill you by slipping on a banana, so please use wheelchairs from now on.

Should I continue? Your point of view is utterly ridiculous, and to someone who lives in a post-communist country, which seems very much on the way of going back to the "glorious" past (Hungary), it feels also insulting and dangerous.

Especially since the problem we are talking about does not call for such extreme measures. If you want to avoid accidents, you could ensure that the car does not allow the driver to exceed the speed limit, for instance; to take control only in case of emergency; or to communicate with nearby vehicles all the time (anonymously). Taking away freedom from humans should always be the very last resort.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Finally
by JLF65 on Fri 28th Apr 2017 18:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Finally"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Sorry, but you're making false analogies. That knife in the kitchen may slip... and I nick my finger. End result: I need a band-aid. The car? One slip... and I plow through a crowd of pedestrians, or maybe head-on into oncoming traffic. End result: several people in the hospital, and possibly a few dead. They're nowhere near analogous in results from minor slips.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Finally
by FooBat on Tue 2nd May 2017 14:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Finally"
FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08

Sorry, but you're making false analogies. That knife in the kitchen may slip... and I nick my finger. End result: I need a band-aid. The car? One slip... and I plow through a crowd of pedestrians, or maybe head-on into oncoming traffic. End result: several people in the hospital, and possibly a few dead. They're nowhere near analogous in results from minor slips.

Exactly. Comparing things like that is called "reductio ad absurdum" and is a logic fallacy. People use this tactic when they just don't have anything better to say in a discussion.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Finally
by FooBat on Tue 2nd May 2017 14:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Finally"
FooBat Member since:
2016-09-08

Do you cook? Because you know, that knife has the potential to harm and/or kill people by accidentally slipping from your hand. Also, you can always kill your spouse/child if you drop an electric appliance (e.g. hairdryer) into the bath tub they happen to be using. Your very feet could kill you by slipping on a banana, so please use wheelchairs from now on.

I don't understand why are you trying to sound retarded. How many deaths were caused in last month by accidental kitchen knife dropping on the floor? Do we have a safer alternative to kitchen knife?
How many deaths were caused in last month by accidental drop of electric appliance to the bath? Do we have a safer alternative for such appliances?
Now compare the same statistics to fatal car accidents all over the world. And remember that autonomous cars are a safer (and better) alternative in every single way, except it takes control from a dumb monkey behind the wheel.

Especially since the problem we are talking about does not call for such extreme measures. If you want to avoid accidents, you could ensure that the car does not allow the driver to exceed the speed limit, for instance; to take control only in case of emergency; or to communicate with nearby vehicles all the time (anonymously). Taking away freedom from humans should always be the very last resort.

You are talking about the illusion of freedom, and a very shitty one: if my car does not allow me to decide how fast to drive, is it really freedom? If I can only take over control in case of emergency, am I really still in control? No.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Finally
by grat on Fri 28th Apr 2017 15:33 UTC in reply to "Finally"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

I'm guessing you live in an urban setting.

Those of us in more rural areas think you're nuts. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Finally
by JLF65 on Fri 28th Apr 2017 18:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Finally"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Now THAT is a good argument for not getting rid of non-autonomous cars. I've lived in rural areas... and even some not so rural, where there's not a chance in hell of an autonomous car being able to navigate the (laughably named) roads in the area, even if there was one within 10 miles of where you live. I see some cities/suburbs banning manually controlled cars in the (near) future, but not in rural areas.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Finally
by FlyingJester on Fri 28th Apr 2017 18:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Finally"
FlyingJester Member since:
2016-05-11

My suspicion (I work on the software used to make the maps for highly automated vehicles) is that in the midterm there will be "autonomous" lanes and "non-autonomous" lanes, and in the longer term the "non-autonomous" lanes will be the edge case similar to HOV/carpool lanes.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Finally
by JLF65 on Sat 29th Apr 2017 01:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Finally"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Hmm - that seems like a reasonable approach to it.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by Anonymous Penguin on Fri 28th Apr 2017 12:05 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

There are many reasons why one can't drive. I am a CFS sufferer. While in the past I'd drive thousands of miles, now my limit is 40 or 50 KMs. If I need to go farther I need a driver, and most of the time I have to pay.

Reply Score: 2

Future is hard to predict.
by Treza on Fri 28th Apr 2017 18:48 UTC
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

This may change a bit our society far more slowly than some people seem to fantasize about.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Future is hard to predict.
by JLF65 on Sat 29th Apr 2017 01:23 UTC in reply to "Future is hard to predict."
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, it could turn out like jetpacks... still waiting for mine. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Mon 1st May 2017 05:05 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I don't believe autonomous vehicles will replace personal or family vehicles any time soon. I also don't believe we'll see major societal changes any time soon either. To do this the right way, we'd need to rebuild our infrastructure. We need to do that anyway but it's going to take a long time and a lot of money. Next, the cost will need to be reduced down to the point where it deprecates vehicle ownership, and is competitive with less desirable alternatives (like public transportation). Additionally, it will take some time to optimize this new method of transport. Let's not forget people have to want this more than they want what we have now and they have have to be willing to invest into it through taxation and personal choice.

To think society is going to change rapidly over the spread of autonomous vehicles I think is pretty naive. It will take over over areas of transport (cargo, delivery, etc.) long before it takes over individuals and families. It will happen eventually but don't hold your breath.

Reply Score: 2