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Captain Hybrid
Slideshow: Autonomous Vehicles Leave the Driving to... Themselves
11/3/2011

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Autonomous vehicles built for the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge by Virginia Tech University used stereo vision cameras and laser range finders to sense obstacles. 
Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech University
Autonomous vehicles built for the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge by Virginia Tech University used stereo vision cameras and laser range finders to sense obstacles.
Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech University

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Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Leave the driving to humans
Beth Stackpole   11/3/2011 7:21:28 AM
While it's one thing to see these crazy vehicles as part of DARPA development projects, it's quite another to think of an autonomous car like the one Google is working on fighting New City cab drivers for right of way, crawling through the traffic jams in San Francisco, or cruising (hopefully not careening off) over the Golden Gate bridge.

As one that doesn't even trust the rear-view camera for backing out or parallel parking, I'm not sure I could leave the driving to the car--no matter how much onboard intelligence you pack on.

BreannaTansel
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Iron
Re: Leave the driving to humans
BreannaTansel   11/8/2011 3:49:30 AM
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That is right, I won't be able too be fully confident in letting my car drive on itself. Though the texting while driving is funny yet dangerous, that's the one causes major fatal accidents on the road. Yeah, I agree that General Motors is not yet on the verge of technological advancement to lead this kind of automobile innovation.

GlennA
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Gold
Re: Leave the driving to humans
GlennA   3/20/2012 8:37:41 AM
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There are some options that I think are a good idea.  Adaptive cruise control that maintains a 'safe' distamce from the car ahead, and then resumes speed.  But I don't like the function that the car applies the brakes if a collision is imminent.  Supposedly the braking will be harsh so that the driver that is texting rather than driving will be unnerved, and not rely on this feature.  I don't think I would be comfortable letting the car have control.  However, this might be perfect for the driver that would rather text or read a book.

dhenz
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Iron
Re: Slideshow
dhenz   7/14/2012 1:27:05 AM
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great idea to have self-driven cars but as they say, it could have disadvantages... not being safe enough. this volkswagen r5 has enhanced high tech car parts system like radar gps and inertial system. wish I could rebuild on my vw too... I do search car parts in jcwhitney site...this is where I get cheap car interior accessories

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Leave the driving to humans
Ann R. Thryft   11/15/2011 2:38:26 PM
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I agree with Beth. Although this looks to be a lot of engineering fun and challenge, I think it's going to be a long time before this becomes a (safe and sane) reality.

Lauren Muskett
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Platinum
Re: Leave the driving to humans
Lauren Muskett   11/16/2011 3:04:59 PM
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I agree it is definitely a fun challenge, but I do not know how much confidence I would have in a vehicle driving itself. Cars are already on the market that park themselves, but i am not sure if they will be able to market a car that drives itself by the end of this decade. 

T Hollenberg
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Iron
This is not completely new...
T Hollenberg   11/4/2011 10:40:37 AM
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We already have vehicles on the road that are driving themselves. It is called texting while driving. This latest technology will be a welcome improvement.

williamlweaver
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Platinum
Electric vs. Autonomous
williamlweaver   11/4/2011 11:56:01 PM
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I'm a bit confused by the further reading links provided. While all-electric cars are admirable, I'm not quite sure how they are related to self-driving cars. Stanley is a diesel-powered Volkswagen, while the Google self-driving cars are based on the hybrid Toyota Prius, the same platform used for their fleet of Google Street-view cars. I'm all for innovation and I am hesitant to disparage any engineering lab, but I find it difficult to believe that the self-driving car revolution will be led by General Motors. I've read GM's press releases but I haven't seen GM take the technology lead in the past. Please set me straight if I'm way off base.

William K.
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Platinum
autonomous cars
William K.   11/10/2011 7:12:33 PM
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I have spent a few hundred hours at the testing end of automotive production lines, as well as watching the electrical portions of the vehicles being built. My experience says that no way would the quality be high enough for a life-critical system. We could have driver warning systems that could enhance safety, but production quality would just not be adequate for a road-speed autopilot.

Besides that, the programs would probably be written by some of the same individuals that write the current vehicle system code. That means that the autonomous vehicle would not think at all in the manner that I think, and so it would undoubtedly be unable to handle any exceptions to what it expected. So leave the computers to the engine controls and the navigation screens, where the harm that they can do is much less.

Noswad
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Gold
I want one.
Noswad   12/7/2011 10:56:24 AM
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I think it is a great idea.

Flogge
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Silver
Rigorous testing
Flogge   3/19/2012 9:41:27 AM
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GM says they will be ready by the end of the decade.  I can believe it.  There are already mining trucks, ag tractors and other equipment that operate autonomously.  Highway speeds with other drivers are a different environment since there is much more variability.  these vehicles need to be capable of reacting to random human behaviour, just like we are when at the wheel.

We already have cars on the road, and every time one of these vehicles encounters a situation it isn't programmed for, we can add that to the abilities of the control system.  The testing required to deploy these vehicles in production will be in the tens of millions of miles I would guess.  A daunting task, but acheivable. 

In the early days, there may be vehicles with limited situational capability.  Lets say we have a vehicle that can handle highway traffic, but will require the driver to take over in any sort of urban environment with stoplights and such.  This capability still has value without being absolutely autonomous.

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
The Jetsons in the 21st Century
Nancy Golden   3/19/2012 11:42:14 AM
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Wow – we already have Skype (so glad there is a "no video" option - I think Jane would have preferred that for those early morning calls) and now yet another futuristic aspect of The Jetsons working towards reality. Now if I could only get a household robot like Rosey, my German Shepherd could learn to speak like Astro and we could all go to a three hour/three day work week like George – now that would be progress!

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Autonomous vehicles?
William K.   3/19/2012 4:58:32 PM
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One question on the whole topic: Would you be willing to sign your name to the certicicate stating that the system was "safe enough", in todays litigous climate? I don't think that I would be willing to do that. Yes, there would be honour and fame, but also herds of hungry lawyers. Not within a few hours.

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