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#50790 - 01/01/19 06:09 AM Driverless Cars - Yes or No?
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
This is a link posted by Grelber in another thread, as it relates to a different topic. When I read this article I noted there were a lot of thoughtful reader comments on the topic of driverless vehicles in general, and concluded the topic might use a thread of its own.

Having said that, I like the idea of driverless cars for trips around town, thinking about a time when I might be deprived of a drivers licence due to age and/or diminished ability. I assume I'll still know how to enter a program and don't end up far, far from home. tongue


Edited by ryck (01/01/19 06:12 AM)
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#50791 - 01/01/19 08:59 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I like the idea because of the very factors you mention, and I see driverless passenger vehicles and even trucks serving usefully in shuttle type service such as Apple is using at their new headquarters campus and freight railroads are planing to implement to move and even deliver containers in limited zones in and around their intermodal facilities. But the idea a large numbers of autonomous driverless vehicles roaming our highways and byways gives me serious second thoughts.

It isn't fear of accidents, hopefully that would be reduced in spite of the millions of non-driverless vehicles on those same roads. I am reasonably confident that properly designed and coded AI can adequately accommodate the limitless number of unplanned road and traffic scenarios, at least better than many human drivers can.

What scares the H@** out of me is the automative industry's laissez-faire attitude toward network security. So far they have been able to get by with a so what when it was demonstrated that commonly installed systems on non-driverless vehicles could be used to disable the car remotely but thanks to Russia, China, North Korea, and a whole raft of other international and criminal operatives the internet becomes more dangerous every day. Fill the roads with driverless vehicles dependent on the internet and GPS and the possibility that a single operative could bring our cities to a grinding crashing halt becomes a too real possibility. This is not just because of a laissez-faire approach to security, it is because new security systems are becoming obsolete almost before they can be implemented. Two-factor authentication seemed a workable, if sometimes a bit annoying, methodology but experts no longer consider it sufficient because two-factor authentication systems have been hacked.

Before I will feel comfortable with roads filled with driverless vehicles, I want to see real solid, reliable security technology that will protect these vehicles not only from network vandalism but also protect their user's privacy.


Edited by joemikeb (01/01/19 10:27 AM)
Edit Reason: hit return too soon
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#50792 - 01/01/19 09:01 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Looks like you hit "Submit" prematurely.

(Posted in 5 seconds)
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#50793 - 01/01/19 09:42 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: joemikeb]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
... My hesitation is I live in one of the most rapidly growing major cities in the country. As a result of the growth virtually every major traffic artery in town is in a chronic state of construction, reconstruction, destruction, and interruption. Entrances, exits, lanes, access, etc. are literally changing hourly if not more frequently. ...

And therein lies the rub! Unless there's a foolproof — not ever likely — means by which to update such issues in nanoseconds, inevitable disaster is certain.
I recall using a slightly outdated travel GPS when on a trip (mostly on Trans-Canada Hwy 1) which, due to a fair bit of construction on same between Regina and Winnipeg, kept advising me — graphically too I might add — that I was somewhere in the middle of fields.
Recalculating ... tongue

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#50803 - 01/01/19 04:13 PM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I am reasonably confident that properly designed and coded AI can adequately accommodate the limitless number of unplanned road and traffic scenarios, at least better than many human drivers can.

The programming to accommodate every scenario brings up some interesting ethical questions. I recall listening to a radio show discussion of this topic and the participants were debating the right AI decisions for such things as: “A young lady pushing a stroller steps off the curb in front of the vehicle. The only way to avoid hitting her is to veer right into a bus shelter full of people. Who gets hit?”

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
What scares the H@** out of me is the automative industry's laissez-faire attitude toward network security.

Before I will feel comfortable with roads filled with driverless vehicles, I want to see real solid, reliable security technology that will protect these vehicles not only from network vandalism but also protect their user's privacy.

I assume that any vehicle would have a driver over-ride in case the system was hijacked but I certainly agree with your point on user privacy. Hackers would likely have access to things such as your driver’s licence number - a key piece of information in identity theft. Also, a crook would be happy to know you’re out running errands and your house is ripe for a break-in.
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#50804 - 01/01/19 04:19 PM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: grelber]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: grelber
I recall using a slightly outdated travel GPS when on a trip (mostly on Trans-Canada Hwy 1) which, due to a fair bit of construction on same between Regina and Winnipeg, kept advising me — graphically too I might add — that I was somewhere in the middle of fields.
Recalculating ... tongue

GPS from Regina to Winnipeg on the Trans Canada highway? I thought you just got on the highway heading east and didn't get off it. grin Your experience reminded me of a small town in England getting filled with big trucks because the GPS showed their town as a short cut. Unfortunately, the trucks were sent down a dead end street with no way out except to back up a few blocks.


Edited by ryck (01/01/19 04:20 PM)
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#50806 - 01/02/19 04:30 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: ryck]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
When every vehicle on the road is driver-less and they all interact with each other, I guess that is the future. The scary part is the transition period.

I like to drive. My car has adaptable cruise control and lane assist. Mostly, I have them switched off. In traffic jams, the car will come to a complete stop, then move on again without any input from me. Still, I keep my foot hovered above the brake pedal. I find it less stressful just to drive the car myself.
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#50815 - 01/02/19 12:50 PM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: freelance]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: freelance
I like to drive.

Ya, me too. I still fondly recall the car I had 50 years ago....Jaguar MkII 3.8 litre with 4 speed and overdrive. So much fun to drive and now, with a dog to haul around et cetera, I'm in a Volvo wagon. Sigh.

At least I can switch out of automatic and shift manually (sans clutching) which is handy in the mountains. It ain't heel and toe but..........
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#50862 - 01/08/19 12:37 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: freelance]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: freelance
I like to drive. My car has adaptable cruise control and lane assist. Mostly, I have them switched off. ....... I find it less stressful just to drive the car myself.

In this piece, the author suggests that, with fewer drivers like you....who maintain their skills, we could enter a dangerous world where drivers may not have the skills to take over when automation fails.


Edited by ryck (01/08/19 12:39 AM)
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#50863 - 01/08/19 05:51 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: freelance]
joemikeb Offline
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Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: freelance
When every vehicle on the road is driver-less and they all interact with each other, I guess that is the future. The scary part is the transition period.

…and that transition period will likely take at least a generation or more unless there is legislation making it mandatory.

Originally Posted By: freelance
I like to drive. My car has adaptable cruise control and lane assist. Mostly, I have them switched off. In traffic jams, the car will come to a complete stop, then move on again without any input from me. Still, I keep my foot hovered above the brake pedal. I find it less stressful just to drive the car myself.

I like to drive too, but I have reached the age where it would be foolish to ignore the fact my reaction times are not what they used to be. Last year I bought a new car, not because I needed or particularly wanted one, but because the new car had the newest semi-automatic safety features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, crossing vehicle warning, etc and I find I really like them. You and everyone else on the road with me should be grateful I made that decision as we are all a LOT safer thanks to these features. I am NOT physically or psychologically ready for a fully autonomous vehicle — yet. But in another decade, when I reach my 90's, that could well be the difference in being housebound or out and about.

My daughter is in her 50's and with her total lack of navigation skills and inability even to follow GPS directions she would be better off with a fully autonomous vehicle right now.

(Gateway Timeout)
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#50872 - 01/08/19 07:21 PM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: ryck]
David Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Indeed, and there is plenty of evidence and accident investigations in aviation, where automation and autopilots have been around for decades.

Here is a well studied example, of Air France 447: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/children-of-the-magenta-automation-paradox-pt-1/

A couple of relevant quotes from that article on the "automation paradox"

Quote:
The story they told was was about what happened when the automated system flying the plane suddenly shut off, and the pilots were left surprised, confused, and ultimately unable to fly their own plane.


Quote:
We appear to be locked into a cycle in which automation begets the erosion of skills or the lack of skills in the first place and this then begets more automation.


As a side note, there is always the "startle factor" to consider, where it takes some time before we recognize what is happening, what it means, and what to do in response. Practice -- driving without automation -- builds the muscle memory to react faster in those situations, and the situations become simpler without having to understand what the automation was trying to do.

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#50878 - 01/09/19 08:50 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: David]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Like it or not the days of human vehicle operators are apparently limited. As example:
  • Volvo has already contracted to build trucks with no cab or other accommodation for a driver to be used to shuttle freight containers from the port of Los Angeles to the railroads intermodal rail facility. A trend that is certain to extend to other intermodal facilities across the continent, if not to the nation's interstate highways.
  • Railroads are seriously discussing whether any crew is needed on long haul freight trains.
  • Boeing and Airbus both have designs for future airliners on the drawing board that have no cockpit or other provision for a pilot. (If they can design autonomous airliners what is going on in Lockheed-Martin's skunkworks?)
  • Volkswagen's design for the replacement for the iconic microbus (possibly a 2020 model?) features a folding steering wheel/tiller that disappears into the dashboard until needed and the "driver's" seat can swivel to face the passengers in the second row seats.
  • Apple is operating a fleet of autonomous vehicles to shuttle employees between facilities in Cupertino.
  • A $1,000 drone is available that can autonomously track and video a selected target at up to 35 mph for half an hour.
How long before driving/piloting/manually operating a vehicle will be as much of a lost art as driving a four horse hitch is today? (If you think driving a four horse hitch is so easy anyone could do it, you haven't tried it.)
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#50879 - 01/09/19 09:06 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Volkswagen's design for the replacement for the iconic microbus (possibly a 2020 model?) features a folding steering wheel/tiller that disappears into the dashboard until needed and the "driver's" seat can swivel to face the passengers in the second row seats.

And when the thing needs a driver the driver will be facing in the wrong direction. crazy

I'd much prefer to be born into a fait accompli than watch it developing.
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#50880 - 01/09/19 09:43 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: David]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: David
As a side note, there is always the "startle factor" to consider, where it takes some time before we recognize what is happening, what it means, and what to do in response.

One of the reasons that, as I’ve aged, I find my self doing a lot more ‘anticipatory driving’. i.e. “What if that car on the side road pulls out in front of me….” “What if one of those cyclists ahead veers into the vehicle lane…..” et cetera.
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#50881 - 01/09/19 09:51 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Volvo has already contracted to build trucks with no cab or other accommodation for a driver….

That may not be a bad thing. If there’s anything that worries me on the highway, it’s the semi trailers. There’s a lot of pressure on those drivers to deliver within a time frame (and their pay depends on it) and so we have many drivers who are overtired while behind the wheel….or are staying awake through drugs.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Railroads are seriously discussing whether any crew is needed on long haul freight trains.

In Vancouver Canada, the public transit train system has not used operators for a few decades.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Boeing and Airbus both have designs for future airliners on the drawing board that have no cockpit or other provision for a pilot

That one makes me nervous. Driving across country starts to look better all the time.


Edited by ryck (01/09/19 09:51 AM)
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#50883 - 01/09/19 03:17 PM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: ryck]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: ryck
‘anticipatory driving’

I have always felt that the best defensive driving skills are learned on a motorcycle. If everyone had to ride a bike for a year before getting a car license, maybe the drivers would be safer. Or, um, maybe just fewer.

Speaking of 'startle factor': soon after buying my new car, I was driving on the motorway in auto pilot. A car cut in front of me leaving a gap of a full five feet. The adaptive cruise control let out a loud shriek, the dash went all red and said "BRAKE!" In other words, "your turn – you do it!"

I'd been paying attention, so it was not the drama the car sensed. But, and this is the worrying part, it just gave up.
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#50884 - 01/10/19 06:11 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: freelance]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: freelance
I have always felt that the best defensive driving skills are learned on a motorcycle.

That's an excellent point. When you're on a motorcycle you know that, if something happens, you are certain to be the loser and it won't be minor. So, you tend to be aware of everything within 360 degrees.

I recall many years ago an employee told me about his son getting hurt while on his motorcycle. A car veered, cutting him off him, and he lost control of the bike. The result was a very serious injury.

I've always wondered whether the brain of someone in a car does an sub-conscious calculation: "If I do this, and I'm wrong, who gets hurt?" That is, the lane change decision is very different when the other vehicle is a motorcycle than if it's a 44 foot tractor-trailer with a load of steel.

EDIT: Ironically, the motorcyclist would be safer if it was a driverless vehicle because it would not be making any sub-conscious decisions. It'd simply be, there's a possible collision or there's not.



Edited by ryck (01/10/19 10:33 AM)
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#50886 - 01/10/19 11:07 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: ryck]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
There is an element of danger to motorcycle riding, which is part of the attraction. If you ride a bike, you will come off it at some point. I managed 40 years without injury, even though I came off the bike several times over the years.

Finally, in 2010, I had an accident I didn't walk away from. Turned out all I had was a fractured big toe, but I stopped riding my bike in central London. Last year, I realized I had only put 86 miles on the clock in 12 months, so I sold it. End of an era.

The trouble with bikes is that other road users don't think about you. They don't see you. (Same for bicycles.) They don't anticipate, they don't use their mirrors, they don't indicate for turns – you have to do all the work for them. The compensation is riding in the Alps or threading your way through stopped traffic.

Bottom line: I'm 71 and don't miss it. I have a nice car now. The other day, I almost pulled out in front of a bicyclist that was hugging the curb. Good thing I gave a second look.
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#50887 - 01/10/19 12:13 PM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: ryck
I recall many years ago an employee told me about his son getting hurt while on his motorcycle. A car veered, cutting him off him, and he lost control of the bike. The result was a very serious injury.


A doctor told me the best place to get a bargain on a motorcycle is at a teaching hospital the day after a new crop of medical students have their first rotation in the ER. The first motorcycle accident victim is enough to convince the most ardent motorcyclist they need more protection than is possible with only two wheels.
Originally Posted By: ryck
I've always wondered whether the brain of someone in a car does an unconscious calculation: "If I do this, and I'm wrong, who gets hurt?" That is, the lane change decision is very different when the other vehicle is a motorcycle than if it's a 44 foot tractor-trailer with a load of steel.

I think in most cases there is no calculation, conscious or unconscious. The driver sees the truck, they don't see the motorcycle. That wall of steel (the truck) is infinitely more visible than any motorcycle can possibly be — not to mention a ♌︎♒︎⚕︎⚕︎ of a lot more intimidating to any sane driver in a four wheeler.
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#50895 - 01/11/19 09:46 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: joemikeb]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
At Kings College Hospital, London, where I was taken, the nurses call motorcyclists "organ donors".
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#50896 - 01/11/19 09:58 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: freelance]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: freelance
At Kings College Hospital, London, where I was taken, the nurses call motorcyclists "organ donors".

That appears to be universal. My daughter is an RN and apparently they have a similar saying here in the middle of the BC mountains.
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#50897 - 01/11/19 10:28 AM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: ryck]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
I love nurses. Kings is my home away from home. I have a million (okay, several) nurse stories. This one from my motorcycle accident:

I was on a gurney with my head and neck in a brace and had just been x-rayed from head to toe. I got a compliment from one of the nurses: she handed me and my gurney off to the next nurse, saying, "He's very compliant."
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#50898 - 01/11/19 04:33 PM Re: Driverless Cars - Yes or No? [Re: freelance]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: freelance
Kings is my home away from home.

I got a compliment from one of the nurses: ... "He's very compliant."

If you spend much time at Kings you ought to have that tattooed on your forehead.

I've seen how non-compliant patients, i.e. my very cantankerous best friend, are treated.
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