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  #81  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 2:28 PM
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My dad told me years ago that if the average driver was one percent more intelligent, that driving would become 10% more efficient.

The key to increasing traffic load is either to force people to drive smarter, or to use artificial intelligence to automate the drive smarter function.

However, the question boils down to cost. Cost reflects national and international realities concerning oil, resources, population, and, food prices. These costs in the future, will, as always been the case, vary between nations and between parts of nations. While the technology is fascinating, the economic realities and consequent governmental effects will provide the roadmap.

IMO, the central issue over the next 50 years, assuming a future with police actions but without world war, will center on redefining property for the sheeple of the world. While the well to do, worldwide, will continue to live in luxury, the masses will have to contend with using less of everything. The best way to accomplish this is propagandize future hipsters with the concept that sharing apartments, public transportation, and public cars will aid them in their quest to get laid.

In addition, future hipsters (or whatever the moniker of the hour will be) will have to be far more obedient in public (what is done in one's residence between consenting adults and the legal status of these adults is of no real relevance). Far more orders will be issued in response to more intense data mining on a person by person basis. Hipsters, in my view, in 2040 or so, will have algorithmic orders given directly to each of them via whatever interface(s) evolve. Once the future hipster leaves his or her dwelling, he or she will receive instructions concerning walking across streets (already done in Japan), instructions from cars to which riders respond verbally, real time instructions directed specifically to them while driving, instructions given directly to them by employers, etc.

What makes corporate owned autonomous cars likely will be the combination of the need for constant supervision and the reduction of peoples need for individual space.

I seriously doubt that privately owned autonomous vehicles have much chance, except in upper middle and lower upper class niche markets and these vehicles will have a fold away steering wheel and the convenient option for human control. I do believe, however, that autonomous control of public transportation and autonomous control of corporate owned rent-a-rides for the masses is inevitable.

Of course, users will realize that an autonomous car will lock it's doors and take the rider to the police station if the riders show "antisocial behavior",if any of the riders have warrants out for their arrest,if they own tax money, and, if the rider owes money to either the car owner or to any vendor that pays the car owning entity for the right to collect past due bills (I would imagine that bill collecting companies will be huge and completely algorithmically driven.)

As I said, we will become even more obedient than we are today.

I guess investing in the incarceration business will be a good investment, long term.
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Good read on relationship between increasing number of freeway lanes and traffic

http://www.vtpi.org/gentraf.pdf

Last edited by Wizened Variations; Jul 21, 2014 at 2:41 PM.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2014, 7:42 AM
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Many interesting points of view in the articles I've read today:



Could Autonomous Cars Increase Pollution And Sprawl?
http://gas2.org/2014/07/22/autonomou...lution-sprawl/

Quote:
Though we’re only at the dawn of the self-driving car era, many people are more than ready to welcome our new autonomous automotive overlords. Autonomous cars are being hailed as the solution to urban sprawl, pollution, and of course traffic congestion. But what if autonomous cars have the opposite effect, increasing fuel use and encouraging people to live even farther from their place of employment?

That’s what Ken Laberteaux, principal scientist of Toyota’s future transportation team, fears will happen. According to a speech Laberteaux gave at the Automated Vehicles Symposium recently in San Francisco, autonomous vehicles could pander to humanity’s never-ending quest for convenience, and the crux of his argument lies in the simple fact that most people are lazy. In an era where fast food, fast internet, and short attention spans are the norm, it’s hard to argue his point.

“U.S. history shows that anytime you make driving easier, there seems to be this inexhaustible desire to live further from things. The pattern we’ve seen for a century is people turn more speed into more travel, rather than maybe saying ‘I’m going to use my reduced travel time by spending more time with my family.”

Harsh but true statements I’m afraid, though it’s important to recall the many benefits autonomous cars could offer as well. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication could reduce or practically eliminate traffic accidents, one of the number one killers of Americans of all ages, and it could make traffic congestion nothing more than a distant memory. Far from vaporware, even non-automotive entities like Google realize the important of autonomous cars.

The future holds a lot of promise, but just as many pitfalls. Autonomous cars could be a blessing or a curse, though that has yet to be decided. Good thing we probably have a few decades left to figure it all out.
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Are We Ready to Give Up Driving?

Quote:
[...]

In his blog, [Roger] Lanctot compared highway fatalities with deaths resulting from gun violence (homicides and suicides combined). "Both figures hover around 30,000, or about 100/day."

The analogy is brilliant. At a time when so many people resist gun control in the United States in any shape or form, can we really expect those Americans to abdicate the freedom of using their own steering wheel, accelerator, and horn?

In his blog, Lanctot brings up Charlton Heston, five-term president of the National Rifle Association, to make his point. I couldn't help but picture Heston taking the stage at an American Automobile Association convention, holding up a vintage (Model A) steering wheel, and defying the federal government to rip it "from my cold, dead hands."

In a subsequent email exchange, Lanctot told me, "My point is that this touches on the very emotional attachment drivers tend to have with their cars." In his opinion, it will take a lot of disruption in people's emotional and even intellectual attachments before they embrace self-driving cars. As Lanctot pointed out, drivers will inevitably ask: "Are you questioning my driving skills?"

Just as any kid remembers the summer he or she learned to ride a bike and discovered the world beyond the home neighborhood, many drivers won't so easily forget the exhilarating sense of freedom -- not to mention the rite of passage -- of being alone on the open road, handling two tons of steel and 380 horses with nothing more than a steering wheel and a flick of the wrist.
Read More here:http://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?se...&page_number=2
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Wait Six Years to Buy Your Next Car

Quote:
[...]

Most people agreed that autonomous cars combined with Uber-like smart-phone apps would increase car sharing. But this wouldn’t necessarily decrease car sales, though it might decrease the size of the average car sold.

“Most people buy cars that are as big as they sometimes need, even if they don’t need a car that big all the time, which is why so many F-150s are sold,” said Brad Templeton, who has been thinking about what he calls robocars for longer than most. “If people can use an app to summon a large car on the few times they need one, they’ll buy a smaller car for their daily use,” he suggested.

Templeton also made a point for urban planners: “The Internet succeeded because the people who built it use a stupid infrastructure, rather than trying to design intelligence into it. The stupid infrastructure was easily adapted into all kinds of uses. Urban planners need to realize that because they don’t know what the future will be, they need to provide stupid urban infrastructure, for example, bus-rapid transit instead of light rail because bus lanes can easily be used for something else if large buses turn out to be unnecessary.”
Read more at:http://hplusmagazine.com/2014/07/22/...your-next-car/
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  #83  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2014, 8:06 AM
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Yes, Google deserves it's place at the top. I have no idea what Apple is doing on that list at all. Where is Tesla, the company that vowed to be the first to offer autopilot features in their cars? And the company that already uses Autonomous Vehicle technology on a daily basis? Yeah, they're at the bottom. Go figure.
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  #84  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2014, 7:44 AM
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Two actual news items:
1) Audi is testing their autonomous car prototype this weekend in Florida, meaning the express lanes on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway will be closed this Sunday and Monday.
http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/au...mon-expressway

2) Chinese search engine Baidu, which was earlier rumored to be developing a 'self-driving bicycle,' is in fact working on an autonomous car. They really do just copy Google, don't they?
http://www.techinasia.com/baidu-earl...riverless-car/
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  #85  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2014, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
Yes, Google deserves it's place at the top. I have no idea what Apple is doing on that list at all. Where is Tesla, the company that vowed to be the first to offer autopilot features in their cars? And the company that already uses Autonomous Vehicle technology on a daily basis? Yeah, they're at the bottom. Go figure.
Very interesting findings. I am now starting to wonder if it was all talk after all based on the chart. Anyway we'll have to wait until 2017 when the cars are ready.

Last edited by Perklol; Jul 26, 2014 at 2:54 PM.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:26 PM
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This is potentially very big news:

Driverless cars heading onto British roads in 2015

Quote:
Driverless cars will start appearing on British roads next year, ministers will announce on Wednesday.
The Government wants to change the rules to allow companies to start running trials of cars that do not need a human driver on UK streets, industry sources said.
It means the first computer-controlled vehicles will be seen on quiet British streets by January next year.
Ministers will update the law to ensure that driverless cars can take to the streets – a move which will require a change in the Highway Code.
Read more at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/...s-in-2015.html

___________________________________________

Also, remember that discussion a few posts back about insurance rates driving acceptability of vehicle autonomy?

Drivers are ready for self-driving cars: Survey
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101875953#.
Quote:
As autonomous cars edge closer to reality, a new survey found the majority of Americans are ready to hand over control to self-driving vehicles—so long as they're able to maintain a bit of control.

According to a new study by comparison-shopping website Insurance.com, three-quarters of licensed U.S. motorists would be very likely to consider, if not buy, self-driving vehicles. If they were offered lower insurance rates, that figure jumps to 86 percent.

"People are aware that they already drive cars controlled partly by computers," said Des Toups, managing editor at Insurance.com.
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  #87  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2014, 7:59 AM
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For driverless cars to work, will normal cars be outlawed?

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As exciting as the news may be that driverless cars will officially take to the roads in the United Kingdom and that several US states already host test drives for Google autonomous cars, a question nags even the most tech-forward car owners. Driverless vehicles may be safer and more efficient than traditional cars, and will likely perform even better without human drivers on the road. So will Americans one day need to give up the driving habit voluntarily or be legislated out from behind the wheel?
Finish reading at:http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/...rs-be-outlawed

____________________________________

Some say he is afraid of self-driving cars. Others say he's just scared of being put out of his job. All we know is: he's (or was) called the Stig!

Ex-Stig Ben Collins Says the Prospect of Autonomous Cars is Terrifying
http://www.carscoops.com/2014/07/ex-...ospect-of.html
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  #88  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2014, 2:23 PM
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Why would driverless cars need human-driven cars to be outlawed?
Some aspects would work best in purely autoauto enviorments, yes, but most of 'em are deisgned specifically to work in the messy roads of today. Including human-driven cars, human-pedaled bikes and actual humans just walking around and kids playing nearby.

Motorways might go autoauto only in 15 years or so tho. Wouldn't surprise me.
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  #89  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2014, 2:31 AM
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^^^^
It's all about the phases of adoption. Obviously at first autonomous cars will need to be able to share the road with everybody. But later, when a majority of vehicles in a given area are driving autonomously, then the urge to require autonomy in vehicles may be too much for governments to resist.

Like you say, motorways are a great example. They are limited access and grade separated, meaning you would have easily delineated autonomous zones. Motorways are also much more expensive to build and maintain because of the higher speeds and use. A motorway adapted for autonomous vehicles will be much less expensive to maintain and operate (no lanes, signs, lighting, shoulders, barriers, policing ect). The cost savings will become so great that making them legally autonomous-only zones is already inevitable. 15 years is ambitious, but very achievable.

Urban cores in cities will also be ideal candidates for autonomous-only zones. I imagine a city where autonomous cars take up less than half the space human-driven cars used to, most likely in the center of the street, while the remainder of the space will be designated for bicycles and other pedestrian uses. I think that the appeal of a city so transformed from traffic-jams and surface parking to bike lanes and currently-unbelievable density will be so strong that governments will create autonomous-only zones within the same time frame as motorways.

As for everywhere else, such as the suburbs and the countryside, it will probably be a very long time before any of those places becomes mandatory autonomous zones - if they ever do.
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  #90  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2014, 2:45 AM
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Robo-cars, Uber Will Save Us Billions, Keep Us From Crashing And Put An End To Waiting At The DMV
http://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogo...ense-is-bleak/


Quote:
One of the great American rites of passage has been the teenager earning his or her driver’s license. Nearly everyone went through some version of a parent trying to teach them to operate the family car, the trepidation of taking the driving test and the subsequent few years, where statistically you were disturbing likely to kill yourself or someone else. The good news is if you’re reading this, you made it. The better news is that your children, if they’re young enough today, likely never will have to go through what you did. Driving as we know it — and the cars we do it in — are both endangered species. What’s coming to replace them will be safer, cleaner and cheaper. And it’s arriving sooner than you might think.

Three factors are at play here: First, we’re driving less overall, with per-capita miles driven having fallen for more than a decade. (Even total miles are more or less flat despite population growth and the economic recovery.) Second, when we need to get around, it’s more possible to do so without getting behind the wheel. Whether you’re taking an Uber or Lyft in places where taxis have traditionally been an expensive or inadequate option or live in one of the many cities undergoing a mass-transit renaissance, mobilty options are improving. Third, true self-driving, autonomous cars are coming. Probably not by decade’s end, though we’ll see some cars that can manage limited robotic capabilites on the highway sooner, but almost certainly by 2030. That, coincidentally is 16 years from now, right around when a baby born today would be getting a driver’s license.

We’re ready for our robot overlords

Despite the fact that nearly every story about self-driving cars mentions worst-case scenarios or brings up concerns about who will be liable in a crash, most of us are ready to let go of the wheel. Two recent surveys, one conducted by insurance.com and another from the University of Michigan showed similarly favorable reactions to the technology. In each survey, only 1 in 4 respondents were outright Luddites when it came to the technology, refusing to consider being chauffeured around by a robotic car. When the insurance.com respondents were told the self-driving vehicle would lower their rates, those that would consider one jumped from 75% to 86%.


Interestingly, the insurance.com survey also found that nearly 3/4 of people “don’t think the cars of model year 2040 will operate in ways familiar to the drivers of 2014.” The vehicle recently demoed by Google is the embodiment of this. Lacking a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals, it’s basically an automated people mover out of a theme park, except that it doesn’t require a pre-designed track to run on.

It’s fair to note that the Michigan survey shows a reluctance to pay a premium for these cars, but it’s also irrelevant. Once you can buy cars that drive themselves, those vehicles will be the best operated on the road. They will cost less to insure. And perhaps more importantly, they often won’t need to be owned. Many of us drive only occasionally, yet still pay all the costs of vehicle ownership. A fleet of Uber-like vehicles you can order to anywhere 24/7 but cost the customer less begin to render the very idea of having your own car increasingly absurd.

Time flies like an arrow

There will be those who live far enough from city centers that car ownership makes sense, even when the car can drive itself. Waiting 30 minutes for your robo-car to arrive every time you need to leave the house might not be acceptable. Similarly, those with the youngest children might choose to keep the same vehicle around loaded with the just-right car seat, a stroller and whatever else your baby always seems to require. But, of course, you’ll be especially interested in a car you don’t have to drive.


Quote:
The folks at Mojomotors did an infographic (shown above) compiling a list of predictions about when the self-driving revolution will start and also when the human-driver will become an endangered species. What’s important to note is that nearly every automaker on the planet is trying to advance this technology, not just Google. At first, what you’ll see is limited to what amounts to very advanced cruise control: the ability to not just maintain speed on the highway, but also to follow the curves of the road. That technology in one form or another will likely arrive from Mercedes, Audi, GM, Nissan, Volvo and Tesla before the end of the decade.

From there, fully autonomous driving on the highway won’t be far behind. Google’s prototypes based on the Lexus RX and the Toyota Prius already do this fantastically well, at least in good weather. While there is constant haranguing about cost, a startup called Cruise Automation plans on offering a retrofit kit for the Audi A4 for just $10,000 by early next year. Given that it’s talking small volumes and just getting started, it’s not difficult to imagine the cost going even lower very soon.

Google does use a much more expensive system, but even there a recent Wall Street Journal story that ostensibly was about how the laser arrays used are too expensive for mass production contained mostly a bunch of quotes from suppliers like “samples to car manufacturers [will run] about $10,000 apiece, but the price will go down to $500 or less by the time it is embedded in cars.” Everything needed is going to cost much less once it’s built into a lot more cars.

You say you want a revolution


In that respect, predictions about the future are almost certainly pessimistic when it comes to adoption of these new technologies. This chart* from Asymco illustrates how much faster things happen today than they once did. While it took decades for the telephone, the automobile, even electricity to fully penetrate society, it now takes just a few years for things like HDTV or the smartphone to find their way practically everywhere.

*http://www.asymco.com/wp-content/upl...chnologies.png

Those smartphones, each of which is location aware, make possible an app like Uber, which has grown faster than nearly everyone believed possible. Investors believe the company will ultimately be worth a Facebook-like $150 billion — or more. A similar phenomenon is likely to play out with self-driving cars and when they combine with transportation on demand, the downhill momentum will be unstoppable. Cars last an average of more than 11 years in part because reliability has improved while the economy has grown only slowly. But when we reach the point where owning an old car is more costly than either getting a new one — or not having one at all, it won’t take long for that to change.

Earlier this week, Elon Musk of Tesla said he believes electric vehicles will be cheaper to buy than gas-powered ones within a decade. Already, they’re cheaper to operate, with a sub-$1-per-gallon equivalent cost to “fuel.” But most drivers don’t put enough miles on their car to recoup today’s higher purchase prices quickly. In the future, fleets of self-driving electrics that rack up lots of miles each day rapidly change that math. Cheaper to buy and cheaper to power and cheaper to insure? It’s not difficult to see the synergies. The least expensive private vehicles will be ones you don’t buy, you don’t drive and you don’t fuel with gasoline.

But perhaps more than anything, this will happen because it’s something that technology will enable and we as a society will demand. More than 33,000 Americans are killed in auto accidents each year and crashes costs us a nearly unfathomable $871 billion annually. It’s a testament to American wealth that we can afford to incur such a cost every year — the losses are about 5% of GDP — but it’s a tragedy we can also afford to move past once the technology is ready. Exactly when that will be remains an open question, but the amount of research and development going to make it happen suggests sooner rather than later. Combined with the powerful trends away from driving and car ownership that have already taken root with millennials, the future for once is predictable.
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  #91  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2014, 8:04 AM
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Now Google plans driverless robot motorbike - and wants permission to start testing them on the road

Quote:
The Sunday Times reported Ron Medford, the director of safety for Google's self-driving car programme, requested permission in a letter to the California state government on January 13.
It said: 'It is certainly possible that future testing could include motorcycles or larger commerical vehicles.
'If some innovator can demonstrate that testing autonomous technology on such vehicles is safe, then they should be allowed to test.'
Finish Reading:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ting-road.html

Autonomous motorbikes sound kind of hokey to me, but what if Google is planning on making something like Lit Motor's C-1 autonomous?
(Picture below for anyone who is not aware of what the C-1 is):


An autonomous enclosed motorcycle (electric, like the C-1) would be the ultimate single-passenger taxi. It would have the operating efficiency of a motorcycle and the safety of a car, and would not be lugging around the empty seat for the non-existent 2nd person. But now I'm just fantasizing...
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  #92  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2014, 7:37 PM
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Don’t fear the robot car bomb
http://thebulletin.org/don%E2%80%99t...t-car-bomb7379

Quote:
Within the next few years, autonomous vehicles—alias robot cars—could be weaponized, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fears. In a recently disclosed report, FBI experts wrote that they believe that robot cars would be “game changing” for law enforcement. The self-driving machines could be professional getaway drivers, to name one possibility. Given the pace of developments on autonomous cars, this doesn’t seem implausible.

But what about robotic car bombers? If car bombs no longer require sacrificing the driver’s life, then criminals and terrorists might be more likely to use them. The two-page FBI report doesn’t mention this idea directly, but this scenario has caused much public anxiety anyway—perhaps reasonably so. Car bombs are visceral icons of terrorism in modern times, from The Troubles of Northern Ireland to regional conflicts in the Middle East and Asia.

In the first half of 2014, about 4,000 people were killed or injured in vehicle bombs worldwide. In the last few weeks alone, more than 150 people were killed by car bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, and Thailand. Even China saw car bombings this summer.

America is no stranger to these crude weapons either. In the deadliest act of domestic terrorism on US soil, a truck bomb killed 168 people and injured about 700 others in Oklahoma City in 1995. That one explosion caused more than $650 million in damage to hundreds of buildings and cars within a 16-block radius. In 1993, a truck bomb parked underneath the World Trade Center killed six people and injured more than a thousand others in the ensuing chaos. And earlier this year, jihadists were calling for more car bombs in America. Thus, popular concerns about car bombs seem all too real.

But what do automated car bombs mean to criminals and terrorists? Perhaps the same as anything else that is automated. Generally, robots take over those jobs called the “three D’s”: dull, dirty, and dangerous. They bring greater precision, more endurance, cost savings, labor efficiencies, force multiplication, ability to operate in inaccessible areas, less risk to human life, and other advantages.

But how would these benefits supposed to play out in robot car bombs? Less well than might be imagined.

Pros and cons. For the would-be suicide car bomber, a robotic car means eliminating the pesky suicide part. By replacing the human driver who is often sacrificed in the detonation of a car bomb, an autonomous vehicle removes a major downside. This aspect is related to the worry that nation-states may be quicker to use force because of armed drones, since those robots remove the political cost of casualties to their own side. When costs got down, adoption rates go up; therefore, we can expect to see an increase in suicide car-bombing incidents, driven by autonomous technologies.

Or so the thinking goes.

But this analysis is too pat. Part of the point for some guerilla fighters—though probably not for ordinary criminals—is martyrdom and its eternal benefits. So, dying isn’t so much of a cost to these terrorists, but rather more of a payoff. This demographic probably wouldn’t be tempted much by self-driving technology, since they are already undeterred by death.

Of course, it may be that a more calculating terrorist, who still seeks glory, would like to do as much damage as possible before he kills himself. (Though some suicide bombers are women, most of them are still men.) In this case, he may want to mastermind several car-bombing attacks before finally dying in one. Robot cars would enable him to do so, and still allow him to get credit for his work, an issue of importance to terrorists, if not to criminals.

And at the least, those not motivated by ideology might not want to die quite so soon. For them, a robotic driver would be an attractive accomplice.

However, other options are already available for terrorists who do not want to harm themselves—yet these options have not created any panic about car-bombing attacks. For instance, both criminals and guerilla fighters have been known to recruit and train others to do their bidding. Those designated as drivers sometimes are not even aware of their explosive cargo, which avoids the trouble of indoctrinating them toward fanatical self-sacrifice. Terrorists could kidnap innocent people and coerce them to become suicide bombers, which is reportedly occurring today in Nigeria.

So if ease and costs are considerations, there are better alternatives than transforming robot cars into mobile bombs. For one thing, the only production cars being built today with self-driving capabilities are the Mercedes Benz S-Class sedan (that sells for about $100,000) and the Infiniti Q50 sedan (about $40,000)—not exactly tools for the budget-conscious terrorist, even if prices do fall in the future. Even then, their capacity to operate autonomously is primarily limited to things such as staying within a lane and following the flow of traffic on a highway.

Google’s self-driving car makes even less sense for this evil purpose. As the most advanced automated car today, it would cost more than a Ferrari 599 at over $300,000—if it were for sale, which as a research vehicle it isn’t. (Even if a terrorist could steal it, good luck figuring out how to turn it on.) Anyway, the car can operate autonomously only around Google’s headquarters, since ultra-precise maps beyond that area don’t yet exist. In sum, it is not a good choice for targets outside Mountain View, California.

If a fanboy terrorist really did want to go high-tech, he could more easily rig his own car to be driven by remote control. Or kidnap engineers to do the work, as drug cartels in Mexico have done to build communication systems. Or just get some kamikaze micro-drones. All of these options are more likely and more practical, getting the same job done as autonomous car bombs.

Besides bombing, are there post-execution reasons for using a robot car, such as minimizing forensics evidence? A captured driver, or even the DNA of one who is blown up, can attribute an attack to a particular group. But the same could be achieved by stealing a car and coercing an innocent person to drive.

Robot cars may actually be worse for the criminal who wants to keep a low profile. If they are networked and depend on GPS for navigation, the cars could be tracked as soon as they leave the driveway of the suspect under surveillance. GPS records could be searched to piece together a timeline of events, including where the car has been on the days and weeks leading up to its use as a weapon.

Furthermore, a self-driving car without a human in it at all won’t be in production any time soon. A human will always be “in the loop” for the foreseeable future; at the moment, any “self-driving” car is supposed to have someone in the driver’s seat, ready to take the wheel at a moment’s notice, such as when an unexpected construction detour or bad weather interferes with the car’s sensors and a human operator must quickly retake control. So a robot car bomb with no driver in it would likely raise immediate suspicions, if the car would even move at all.

Admittedly, hacks have already appeared that disable the safety features meant to ensure a human is present and alert. Networked and autonomous cars present many more entry points for hackers, possibly allowing a very knowledgeable criminal to cyber-hijack a robot car.

Theoretically, a terrorist could want to use a robot car as a bomb while he’s still in it—that is, forego the opportunity to spare his own life. It could be that he tends to get lost easily, wants to read last-minute instructions behind the wheel, has to stay in contact with his home base, or must baby-sit the trigger mechanism. A robot car would offer these benefits, however minor they may be.

Possible solutions. The threat of robot car bombers, then, seems unlikely but not impossible to become a reality. Some solutions to that possible threat include requiring manufacturers to install a “kill switch” that law enforcement could activate to stop an autonomous vehicle. This plan was already proposed in the European Union for all cars in the future. Or sensors inside the car could be used to detect hazardous cargo and explosives, similar to the sensors at airport security checkpoints. Or regulators could require special registration of owners of autonomous vehicles, cross-referencing customers with criminal databases and terrorist watch-lists.

But any of these options will face fierce resistance from civil rights advocates and other groups.

And a determined terrorist can get around technological safeguards and firewalls.

At the end of the day, there’s still no substitute for good old-fashioned counterterrorism, human intelligence, and vigilance: in recent weeks, security checkpoints foiled car-bombing plots in Northern Ireland and Jerusalem. Overall, it makes more sense to use these traditional methods; it is easier to continue to use checkpoints, and regulate and monitor the ingredients used in car bombs, rather than oversee the cars themselves.

In truth, in the idea behind robot cars, domestic and international security is facing a very old threat. The problem isn’t so much with robots but with stopping enemy vehicles from penetrating city walls with a destructive payload, which is a problem as old as the Trojan horse of ancient Greek mythology. (There’s a reason why a certain kind of malware goes by the same name). Robot cars merely present a new way to deliver the payload.

Maybe this is a problem that doesn’t demand immediate action and is just part of the “new normal”—if it even comes to pass. For hundreds of years, just about every kind of vehicle has been turned into a mobile bomb: horse-drawn buggies, boats, planes, rickshaws, bicycles, motorcycles, and trains.

This could be a case of misplaced priorities. Or, as journalists Matthew Gault and Robert Beckhusen phrased it in War Is Boring: “Americans freak out over small threats and ignore big ones,” For example, a terrorist with a single well-placed match in California during the summertime could easily do a massive amount of economic damage and disrupt transportation, businesses, and ecosystems. It’s the ultimate in low-tech terrorism, yet could plausibly cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

But the appearance of just one robot car bombing could set back the entire autonomous-driving industry, in addition to the loss of life and the property destroyed. And there are other uses, misuses, and abuses related to autonomous cars that should be of just as much—if not more—concern.

First-world problems. Weirdly, robot cars bombs seem to be a decidedly Western—or even American—fear, even though the actual threat posed by car bombs is generally located far elsewhere. Most suicide car bombs happen in the Middle East in a low-tech way, whereas they are very rare in the United States. But because most of the news coverage about a hypothetical robot car bomb has occurred in the US media, it gives the false impression that it’s a first-world problem. Autonomous cars would have a hard time operating on Afghanistan’s dirt roads without lane markings, for instance, even if one could be obtained there.

Perhaps the reason for America’s obsession is that the car bomb is a special, iconic weapon of terror—our prized possession turned against us. Different from rockets and drone missiles that fall from the sky, car bombs can be more insidious. They would infiltrate civilized society, sneaking up on its most vulnerable points. Like matches, cars are omnipresent in the modern world, and thus nearly impossible to control. But very few elaborate car bombings have been attempted, even though they could be done today via remote control or through the use of a kidnapped driver, for example. Simple still works. As an actual threat, the robot car bomb seems overblown.
I agree with the point of this article, which is the problem of using a car as a weapon is already here. Autonomous technology doesn't change that. If people want to use cars for malicious purposes, there are already cheaper and easier ways to do it than with autonomous cars.
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  #93  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2014, 7:51 AM
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Will Autonomous Cars Kill the Traffic Light?
http://gizmodo.com/will-autonomous-c...full+(Gizmodo)
Quote:

The first electric traffic light blazed to life a century ago this month, transforming the way our cities managed vehicular flow. But this icon of the automobile age could become a rarity on our American roads, thanks to the advent of autonomous cars.

In a great piece over at ReadWrite, Bradley Berman speaks to Christoph Stiller from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, who has been working on autonomous vehicles for 20 years. He believes that self-driving cars will be on the streets in five to seven years, and with cars able to communicate with each other as they move through the streets, they could make the traffic light obsolete sooner than you'd think. Here's a great video where he talks more about his theories.

Video Link


Since we'll still need a centralized way to exchange data on the streets, think of the traffic light morphing into more of an information hub that sends information directly to cars. We could use the existing LTE network that our cellphones already run on, or launch a new Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) network, which would require new hardware to be placed on cars and in roadways. This would be more reliable, but also more expensive to install. However, a dedicated system would also be much more secure, as one concern remains that traffic lights are already incredibly easy to hack (which hopefully won't be the case with those information hubs... or autonomous cars).

But think for a minute about the aesthetic implications of replacing traffic lights with tiny data centers. Right now they take up so much space in our cities (as do street signs, which we also won't need). Imagine these steel beams strung with dozens of lights being erased from our view as we stroll down the sidewalk. It'd be nice!

There is one tiny caveat in the demise of the traffic light: Pedestrians. People will still need to know when they can walk through four lanes of traffic. Whether it's a glorified version of a "beg button" that we see at crosswalks today, or perhaps an app we use to signal to the information hub that we want to cross, walkers will still have the power to stop all cars at an intersection and safely cross the street.
_________________________________________

In the video, a need for a high speed high capacity communication system in order to create a Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) network, not to mention Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) which would also be required if we are to do away with traffic lights.

In several articles already posted, the lack of channels for this huge amount of data transfer, and the lack of foresight in preserving frequencies specifically for V2V and V2I have been bemoaned by autonomous car promoters. But what if these communications between vehicles and infrastructure didn't come in the form of radio frequencies or channels at all? What if pulsing lights were used instead?

Ahem:

Flashing LEDs could create a mesh network for self-driving cars
http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1...f-driving-cars
Quote:

Engineers are working on all sorts of technologies that could make cars smarter and help drivers stay safe–lasers, radar, ad-hoc WiFi, and advanced image recognition are all on the table. However, these are all complicated and expensive to implement. Intel research scientist Richard Roberts has a different idea. It may be possible to use visible light emitted by LEDs to create a low-cost automobile mesh network. Many cars already have LED headlights that could be used in such a system, so we’re already off to a good start.

Intel has been working on so-called visible light communication (VLC) since 2008, but it has been on the back burner as of late. Roberts hopes that its potential as a car-to-car communication platform could renew interest. The system described by Roberts and his colleagues would use a series of rapid pulses of visible light to relay information from one car to another. These LED flashes would be so short as to be invisible to the human eye, but could potentially tell other cars about traffic conditions down the road, positioning, possible collisions, and (if you put it all together) even as part of an autonomous driving system.



The necessary data rate for sending this information from one car to another is low enough that a regular camera could be used to receive it, and LEDs already used in cars could easily relay it. However, special equipment can make VLC much more robust. That makes VLC a much cheaper form of V2V to implement than sticking radar in every new car. Make no mistake, radar and lasers are better overall technologies for making cars aware of their surroundings, but the costs are much higher, and the maximum benefits won’t be realized until at least 10% of cars on the road are equipped with such a system. Researchers estimate that’s the lowest proportion necessary to form a basic mesh network.

VLC comes with some drawback because unlike radar or wireless networking, it relies on line-of-sight. The systems being worked on right now won’t work reliably enough to be released into the wild. In bright daylight, the glare from the sun will blot out the subtle flashes from LEDs. Inclement weather like fog or snow would also make the system less effective. While this is certainly an impediment to making VLC work, it can also be a benefit in some situations. If a large number of cars have radar, for example, those signals travel outward in all directions, which can result in a lot of signal noise. The visible light flashes only relay information to nearby cars.

This might not make sense as the heart of autonomous driving technology, but VLC may be valuable as an additional layer of protection for self-driving cars in the future. Roberts is working on a set of IEEE specs that could guide future development of VLC in cars. In teh short term, it could find use in regular cars to make us safer until the robots take over the roads.
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  #94  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2014, 4:20 AM
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Google Testing Its Self-Driving Cars In A Complete Virtual "Matrix California"
http://www.popsci.com/article/cars/g...f-driving-cars
Quote:
The idea of sharing the road with one of Google’s autonomous cars can be a bit unnerving. What if one of them malfunctions mid-drive and turns right into the middle of a busy intersection? Plus, who do you get to yell at if one cuts you off?

Well, in order to minimize these problems on the streets, Google has created what it’s calling a “Matrix-style” simulation of the entirety of California, to test the self-driving vehicles before they mingle with the normal human-operated ones. According to the Guardian, this virtual world is housed inside computers at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, and provides a complete map of California’s entire road network. It even throws in some real life obstacles to trip the cars up, like overzealous motorists and jaywalking pedestrians. And Google has asked state officials to permit the virtual California to serve as an official proving ground for the cars, in place of physical driving tests.

In a letter obtained by the Guardian, Google’s safety director, Ron Medford, says Google wants to make sure testing regulations are “interpreted to allow manufacturers to satisfy this requirement through computer-generated simulations.” He goes on to say that simulations are actually more valuable, “as they allow manufacturers to test their software under far more conditions and stresses than could possibly be achieved on a test track.”

So far, Google claims the cars have “driven” more than 4 million miles inside the simulator. In the real world, the autonomous cars have driven approximately 700,000 miles over 2,000 miles of test roads. Researchers have then taken data from these tests and incorporated them into the simulator, creating various situations that can be tested over and over again, e.g. Google used the Matrix to test a new emergency braking system over 10,000 miles.

"In a few hours, we can test thousands upon thousands of scenarios which in terms of driving all over again might take decades,” according to the letter.

However, it seems unlikely that Google’s simulator can plan for the nearly infinite possibilities that can happen on the streets. And Google still has some more work to do before they can unleash their cars into the wild. When Google first debuted their prototypes this May, the cars lacked a steering wheel and a working gas pedal. Yet California rules stipulate that a person has to be “capable of taking over active physical control of the vehicle at any time,” meaning Google has to rework their design.
In the meantime, Google has asked the DMV to clarify its rules for testing autonomous vehicles, and the DMV sated that the virtual simulation is not prohibited. Yet the state says that physical testing is still required and that the simulator alone isn’t going to cut it.

Now what we want to know is, if a car crashes in Matrix California, does it die in the real world too? What even is the “real world?”
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  #95  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2014, 7:38 AM
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  #96  
Old Posted Aug 28, 2014, 7:34 AM
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More news from Google:
How Google's Driverless Car Detects Aggressive Drivers
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how...essive-drivers
Quote:
Driverless cars will be safer than regular ol' manned automobiles because they don't drive recklessly. The same cannot be said of humans, who are nothing if not reckless drivers. But a new patent request from Google suggests that the company has figured out a way for its autonomous cars to deal with aggressive drivers.

With several countries slated to put autonomous vehicles on public roads within the next couple years, driverless cars are going to need to be able to deal with jerks who weave between lanes, speed, and are otherwise unsafe.

In a US patent request, Google says it's figured out how its cars will detect those with road rage, and then adjust its driving modes to be safer.



Images: US Patent Office
It's not just speeders. There's a whole bunch of different inputs that the sensors baked into Google's driverless vehicles will be able to detect, that will ultimately decide whether another, manned car is a threat or not.

The tech giant says its cars will be able to recognize other vehicles that are "exceeding a speed limit, driving fast for given road conditions, excessive lane changing without cause, failing to signal intent to pass another vehicle, tailgating another vehicle, using the horn excessively, and flashing headlights excessively at oncoming traffic."

The car will also be able to detect other vehicles' sizes and will be able to make a value judgment about what's more of a threat, given two or more reckless drivers. A reckless motorcycle, for instance, might be less of a threat than a reckless semi truck, so the car would stay further away from the truck. (Presumably, one hopes, without further endangering the motorcycle).



The driverless car 408B detects that both car 404 and 402 are driving recklessly and adjusts accordingly. Image: US Patent Office
There are a few implications of this sort of technology. For one thing, if driverless cars are ever going to work well on existing roads with existing drivers, this sort of tech is absolutely vital.

Driverless cars are better than us in that they don't get distracted and generally follow the rules of the road, but human drivers have a small advantage in that we're able to look at a driver and see if he or she is on a cellphone, or eating, or fighting with someone else in the car, or reading a newspaper. (Seriously, what are you thinking?)

We can pay attention to a truck that's been swerving for 10 minutes or a guy who seems like he might be drunk, and avoid them to the best of our ability. That's what Google is trying to approximate here—our ability to sense and avoid—with this technology.

But then, if Google's driverless cars are always connected and are able to detect aggressive drivers, what's keeping the company from then alerting law enforcement or a professional driver's employer? Those "How's My Driving" bumper stickers that everyone ignores (everyone ignores those, right?) might soon become obsolete as a driver surveillance method. Who would need them, when driverless cars can detect everyone who isn't driving safely, automatically?
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  #97  
Old Posted Aug 28, 2014, 7:39 AM
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And who didn't see this comming?
Singapore pursues driverless car technology
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/...cle6356410.ece

The picture-perfect utopia of Singapore. My bet is on them to be the first to go completely autonomous. Anyone willing to bet against me?
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  #98  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2014, 6:41 PM
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2017 Cadillacs to go semi-autonomous and add V2V
http://www.slashgear.com/2017-cadill...-v2v-07345093/

Quote:
The US government may be considering making talking cars mandatory, but GM isn't waiting for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) to become a demand not an option, announcing that advanced semi-autonomous driving and V2V tech will hit select 2017 Cadillacs. The 2017 Cadillac CTS will be the first from the luxury marque to feature V2V, interlinking cars wirelessly, while an all-new 2017 Cadillac will introduce Super Cruise, the company's take on self-driving tech for the real world.

Super Cruise isn't intended to completely take over from the person in the driver's seat, unlike Google's autonomous cars. Instead, it will pull together a number of smart systems intended to take some of the repetition out of more predictable driving, like on freeways.

So, there'll be hands-off lane following, braking, and speed control while on the highway. We've seen similar systems from Mercedes-Benz and others - in fact one Infiniti tester decided to jump into the passenger seat while his Q50 took over, not something most car firms would recommend - and they're widely expected to be the gateway into true autonomous driving.

GM demonstrated an early iteration of the technology in the new Chevrolet Electric Networked-Vehicle (EN-V) 2.0, the second-generation version of the company's concept "pod" car for the city. The four-wheel drive microcar mixes together data from cameras, LIDAR and V2X for low-speed autonomous driving, all on electric power.

The EN-V 2.0 may look outlandish, but it's a long way removed from the sensor-encrusted "Boss" which GM and others built to compete in - and win - the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. The self-driving Chevrolet Tahoe was able to pilot itself around a 60 mile course, handling merging traffic, stop signs, speed limits, and active intersections without remote control or driver involvement.

Meanwhile, the 2017 Cadillac CTS sport sedan will get V2V communication, which will allow the car to communicate data such as location, speed, and direction of travel with other vehicles. Intended to add to the tools available to the driver, rather than replace them, it could also be tied into systems such as forward collision warning, giving them a heads-up on perils out of the line of sight of the person at the wheel.

The NHTSA has been working on V2V proposals for some time now, announcing back in August that it intended to put forward new laws in 2016 around how cars should be able to intercommunicate with other road traffic.

Two sets of data are suggested, with cars permanently transmitting essential information such as position, speed, heading, brake status, and vehicle size, while a more comprehensive second set would only be pinged out if the data involved actively changed. The NHTSA estimates that more than a thousand road deaths from intersection collisions alone could be avoided each year, if the technology is implemented.

SOURCE GM


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  #99  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2014, 7:51 AM
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Some very interesting news from Google today:

Google shows off winning image-recognition system, likely to assist in autonomous car efforts
http://9to5google.com/2014/09/08/goo...s-car-efforts/



To summarize the article, Google's computers are getting very good at interpreting what images are.

A quick recap: There are two prevailing ideas about how Autonomous Cars should work: Google's, and everybody else's. Google's method (thus far) has been heavily reliant on pre-mapped routes (mapping every detail, such as how tall the curbs are and where the sewer covers are to within inches) and Lidar, which is an ultra-expensive radar-esque system that uses lazers instead of radio waves. All of this is meant to generate a large 3D model in which the computer can navigate.
The other approach is to use the many cheap cameras and sensors already on most new cars, only have a super-smart computer analyse the images, thus forgoing the expensive Lidar sensors and detailed maps.
That's what makes Google's advancement with interpretive software so interesting. Could it be that Google is realizing that Lidar is perhaps a little too much - that an easier solution exist?
Who knows. Google, obviously isn't telling.

I am a fan of the optics method. Before I get to why, though, here is another news story:
Verizon CEO: Autonomous Vehicle Could Happen In 3-5 Years
http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/09/...-in-3-5-years/

Now, you may rightly ask what Verizon ought to know about Autonomous Cars. I did. The answer is that Verizon is interested in the communications between vehicles and infrastructure (V2I) that, they suppose, must preclude autonomous cars. If you read the article, you will find Verizon talking about chips embedded in roadway striping and cameras mounted on bridges and buildings adjacent to Highways in order to create 'Smart Highways.' And of course they would want that, because they are a communications and network company. If Autonomous cars are developed along that route, they would stand to benefit greatly.
My problem with this is, autonomous cars that require chips in the road or bridge-mounted cameras to coordinate their lane changes aren't really autonomous, are they? In the same way that Google's car now needs extensive 3D maps in order to drive, these cars are limited to environments built for them, only in this case physically instead of digitally. The cars are not the ones making the decisions, but the infrastructure is. That is bad.

It's easy to think that cars will develop that way, reliant on infrastructure, because so far almost every mode of transportation we have involves dumb vehicles and smart infrastructure. Trains follow switches and signals and cars are required to follow stoplights and painted lines on the asphalt, even when these things are not efficient because the networks get bogged down.
One of the revolutions that will be brought on by autonomous cars is the switch to smart vehicles and dumb infrastructure - or at least minimally involved infrastructure. Autonomous cars (and in the future, even autonomous buses trains) will know their destinations, the traffic conditions around them, and all the routes available to them. The car will make the choice, not the infrastructure. The cars will negotiate among themselves how best to use all the available pavement. There will be no need for painted lines or coordinated stop lights. Pedestrian crossings will still exist, sure, but they will work differently - perhaps not requiring cars to stop, but merely drive around pedestrians crossing the street. The cars will be fully autonomous in that they will communicate with each other and not need the supervision of infrastructure to govern what they do.
Anything short of that will be a handicap.
Just my thoughts.
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  #100  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2014, 6:22 AM
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ELON MUSK: TESLA CARS COULD RUN ON “FULL AUTOPILOT” IN 5 YEARS
http://www.fastcompany.com/3035490/f...lot-in-5-years
Quote:
Self-driving cars might be on the roads faster than most people think, says Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. Musk told reporters in Tokyo that Tesla is developing the technology for “full autopilot” consumer cars in just five years.

This new timeline is faster than some experts--even Musk himself--had anticipated. IHS, a research firm, previously predicted self-driving cars would not be on the road until 2025.

Around this time last year, Musk was skeptical of this concept, telling the Financial Times, “My opinion is it’s a bridge too far to go to fully autonomous cars.” Now it appears the ultra-competitive entrepreneur, who is also CTO of SpaceX, is trying to outdo competitors like Google and Volvo who are also working on autonomous cars.

"I think in the long term, all Tesla cars will have auto-pilot capability," Musk said Monday.
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