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Published 4 years ago with 28 Comments
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Conversation 11 comments by 8 users
  • idlethreat
    +17

    I hope that, by the time I'm too old to drive, that vehicles just like this will drive me to where I need to go. I can think of a million different uses (older americans, drunks, long road trips) where a self-driving car would be perfect.

    Wouldn't it be hilarious if uber is Google's first big client- buys up hundreds of self-driving cars and utterly shitcans the whole cab industry.

    • Nerdeiro
      +4

      I think this will cause a lot of problems of their own. Just because people of the future grew up with technology, it desn't mean they'll know how to use it right. Heck, just look at all the shitty drivers in the streets. Affordable cars have been around since the Ford Model T was released more than a 100 years ago and people still don't know how to use them properly.

      Put a techno-challenged person inside an automated cab and either comedy or tragedy will ensue.

      • idlethreat
        +4

        Einstein said it best

        Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

        I remember watching some guy getting into his truck and accidentally setting off the alarm. He proceeded to get flustered, pop the hood, and begin ripping out wires until his wife came out and stopped him, took the keys, and hit the alarm button on the key. There are abysmally stupid people on this earth. There will be quite a bit of regulation before they become popular.

    • skully
      +2

      Uber is already working on this separately from Google. Most recently they bought a bunch of tech and engineers from Bing.

    • CDefense7
      +2

      I think the taxi industry is a great spot for these. While you always have ever changing conditions with weather, construction, pedestrians and other traffic, imagine being able to tune the driving to one city. Your fleet operates in 1 city with 1 set of laws and driving character and etiquette. You could even fine tune it for certain intersections.

      Imagine a few different strategically placed hubs where a small number of employees work. The cabs, when low on fuel, find their way home to be cleaned, inspected and fueled (or charged). Algorithms already estimated when it would need to refuel so it intelligently worked its way back toward base, taking fares along the way. It was able to do this because the people who hailed the cabs on their smartphones have to give a destination as well.

      Employees at a central hub monitors interior and exterior cameras on the cabs, sensor data etc.

      Fares can be booked by smartphone or calling a call center that enters the fares into the same computer system that dispatches the cabs.

      • idlethreat
        +5

        Was thinking about the concept more, and playing with it. I think Tesla would be perfect as an automatic driving platform. Even better when you consider their battery swap stations.

        Need to go on a long drive? Plug in the address. Tesla maps out an optimal route in between battery swap stations. Car takes off, you doze off in the passenger seat. Car drives you to a battery station automatically swaps out your current battery for a long-distance battery, drives to the next station, gets you a topped off battery, and you keep going until you get to your destination.

        I'm just a slob on a website. I'm pretty certain people a lot brighter than me care whiteboarding all sorts of neat applications I haven't even come up with yet.

      • badger28
        +1

        I would be afraid of people vandalizing the inside of the cars, even with camera's it will still happen. Also, what about people like me who like to carry around cash.

        • ElGuzano
          +2

          Uber charges your credit card directly when you get a ride in one of their cars, rather than you paying the driver, so they're pretty much already set up to charge you for damage as well. So I don't think damage/vandalism would be a huge hurdle for the concept.

        • idlethreat
          +1

          The rental car industry seems to have that problem resolved. I can't see it being all that more difficult to address using automated vehicles.

          As for cash? Hm. I guess as long as you don't leave it in the car when you depart, you should be good to go.

          • Xeno
            +1

            Rental industry has the problem of people vandalizing the cars resolved? I don't think so, one I think it's a bit different because you physically give that car back to people... but every rental car I've been in has been absolutely disgusting.

Conversation 9 comments by 6 users
  • lustig
    +16

    Another rear end collision where the Google car was not at fault. They've been involved in 14 collisions since 2009 I think, and none of them have been the fault of the Google car. And this technology is still kind of in its infancy! And still, so many people don't want self-driving cars because of course they can drive better, and they won't make mistakes. If every car on the road was a self driving Google car, maybe those 14 collisions since 2009 wouldn't even have happened!

    • laebshade
      +1

      I want self-driving cars, but I don't want them replacing all cars. There's a certain level of romance in being behind the wheel of a car and in control. I could never give that up.

      • spaceghoti
        +4

        What if we started segregating lanes for self-driving cars versus manually driven cars?

        • xg549
          +4

          Segregation has not worked well in the past, are you trying to start another civil war? :^)

          • spaceghoti
            +4

            Playing the race card, eh? All you see are shades of black and white? Well the joke's on you, my car is green!

            (do I need a joke tag here?)

        • lustig
          +3

          I think it would be a huge effort to set all of the roads up like that, and, with time, manually driven cars will most likely become less common and perhaps disappear completely. When that happens, it would be a huge effort to change the roads again. I feel like the best way forward is to integrate them gradually, and as new roads are built or old ones are overhauled, maybe include features that accommodate driverless cars better.

          The world health organization claims that approximately 1.24 million road traffic related deaths occur every year, with between 20 to 50 million more people suffering non-fatal injuries!!! A lot of these are people in poorer countries, so self driving cars won't fix everything overnight, but self driving cars aren't susceptible to intoxication, fatigue, emotions (road rage etc.), speeding, distractions, texting while driving etc. They should theoretically be able to see and monitor the position of every car/bike/pedestrian in their 360 degree field of view at all times. They should be able to perform much more complex calculations than humans too! And, when all cars on the road are self driving cars, they should be able to communicate with each other which will further increase safety. The fact that self driving cars can and will be safer is pretty much indisputable.

        • ClassyCritic
          +3

          I actually really like this idea. I'd be in favor of manual cars, with much more advanced autopilot features to help prevent accidents.

      • lustig
        +2

        I can see where you're coming from, but there's also a much larger degree of risk involved in being behind the wheel of a car and in control. As I said in another comment "The world health organization claims that approximately 1.24 million road traffic related deaths occur every year, with between 20 to 50 million more people suffering non-fatal injuries". And it's not like, in being behind the wheel and in control of the car, you're the only one who's at a higher risk. It puts other road users in more danger too. Is it fair to have more people die or become injured so that some people can enjoy the romance of being behind the wheel of a car? I think one fairer solution is to have tracks or designated zones for manual driving. Like take a nice stretch of road along the coast and put it aside for manual use, for example; let people drive manually and enjoy the scenery and the feeling of being in control of their car. That way, everyone who uses that dedicated zone has accepted the risks and some poor sod who wants to be as safe as possible in their self driving car doesn't get wiped out by user error in the name of preserving the romance of manual driving.

      • jmcs
        +1

        You could always drive in closed loops, this accident is one more proof that letting humans drive is dangerous and will hurt and kill people.

  • eilyra
    +13

    It's quite interesting to see how well these cars seem to be doing, so far not being responsible for any of the few accidents they've been part of. Hopefully this means we'll get safer roads through self-driving cars soon & that such initiatives aren't blocked by dated legislation or needless scaremongering.

    • Targetq2
      +6

      Not sure if you ever saw the video where they talk a bit about how the cars work, but it's very interesting. They can actually see 360 degrees basically at all times. The things they can do goes far beyond what a human is capable of.

      • ressmox (edited 4 years ago)
        +4

        Not only that but computers don't suffer from lack of sleep, or distractions. Yes there are some behaviours that can be analogous, but they don't 'fatigue' nearly as often as us humans.

      • eilyra
        +2

        I hadn't seen that no, thanks for the link! I was familiar with some of the principles, but seeing the visualisation & the car in action helps making it more concrete. On thing it did make me think of though, is that it's currently only being trained on US driving rules & regulations, hopefully adding different countries to the mix isn't overly challenging so that the rest of the world isn't left overly behind.

        • Targetq2
          +1

          I think mostly driving would be the same in all countries. I mean, Miles -> Kilometers, some countries drive on the Left instead of Right. I don't think a lot of the fundamentals would be that hard to change around. Not sure.

  • davidrools
    +2

    Ironically, the guy who rear-ended the google-car was checking his gmail at the time. (not really, but they say he was probably distracted, as he didn't brake at all before impact)

  • kimkam120 (edited 4 years ago)
    +1

    I think the car getting in these kind of accidents are hilarious because I have seen someone before bring up the argument "They arn't safe, they get in all kinds of accidents!" but they don't realize that the accidents have been of other drivers not paying attention.

    Also here is an amazing gif showing the accident from the cars POV. http://i.imgur.com/fBvWdVS.gifv

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