I don't think you can compare aircraft autopilots to autonomous cars. Aircraft don't fly unless all of the nav systems are 100% operable, and there are backups for the backup in most commercial aircraft. Are you going to mandate double or triple redundancy in vehicles? Are you going to prohibit vehicles that are not 100% operable on the roads? The problem with cars is that for the systems described in this article to work, the reliability must be 100%, or there must be redundancy, and I just don't see the cost associated with getting this performance being passed on to car buyers or local governments, the latter of whom are having enough trouble keeping the potholes filled, let alone maintaining a sophisticated traffic network.
And TJ, if you want to ride in an autonomous vehicle to work, try a bus or train.
It is encouraging to view all of the solutions to traveling from A to B without disturbing the thought processes of the traveler. As an engineer, accustomed to dealing with certain laws of physics, and probability, I cannot help but "chuckle" at the proposed solutions. What is the problem? Hire a driver, with a limousine, and an iPhone, and proceed between A and B with no loss of valuable time, and work effort. Equally easy, hire a competent assistant and let him do the work, while you leisurely make your way. Much more cost productive, and less disruptive to the world around you.
To those of less self-importance, just take more time to live, and enjoy the benefits of being alive. Use public transportation where conviently available. If it is not available, take a "real" course in driving, with a comprehensive understanding of the applicable Motor Vehicle Code, and use it, not abuse it. You will be surprised how much more relaxed you will arrive at B.
It is obvious that somewhere along the road of life we, I include all, have been indoctrinated with the idea of being "first" in everything. Hence, we have the anti-social driver who defies all in his way in order to get to his B, FIRST. What does he accomplish, other than making evryone elses life miserable? He gets to be at the coffee machine before them.
When society understands Taylor's idea that "Time is Money" is not applicable to all things, we will all enjoy those few days we have in life. End of lesson.
I'm all for it. I drive way too much to ever claim that I am 100% attentive and skilled, and see plenty of other distracted bozo's just like me out there. Thus, I have no problem putting my trust into always-on electronic controls, and can imagine many other people embracing it, just as we have other technology.
My dream is to get in my car, punch in a destination, and get a 'ding' sound when I arrive. The challenge will likely be drivers who refuse to give up control, not the technology.
Probably some politicians who never drive themselves will mandate automated cars, and then we will be forced to have that segment of our lives run by lawyers and programmers, and a lot of intensely fearful policy makers. The automated roads will run until the first hundred car chain collision where people are killed because of some program problem. Then there will be quite a pushback, but the government will not acknowledge any error because it would open them up to lawsuits. There may be some changes at that point, but eventually it will be found that it is a poor idea.
What would be a hhuge contribution to driving safety are some rather draconian changes in what is allowed to distract the drivers. After all, 80% of all accidents can be tied to driver inattention. So it really is sort of important to help drivers concentrate on driving, perhaps by not allowing cell phone conversations at speeds over 10 MPH. I know that there are other distractions, they were there long before cellular technology started, but phones are now one of the main distractions. Perhaps the auto companies can be persuaded to not include so many distrations in the cars. But I don't think so, because that is where the big money is. And at all times, profit trumps safety, and safety does not sell, anyway. If safety did sell, then everybody would buy a Volvo. But they don't.
As for comparing it to digital television, DTV was about the money and the money to be made from the bandwidth. The benefit to the public was never one of the driving forces, because there is no benefit to the general public from digital TV. It was all about money for broadcasters, TV manufacturers, and those who profit from the released spectrum. The actual benefit to the general public does not exist, and will probably never exist. Yes, I know that there is much higher resolution available, but to see what? There is not much on over the air television today that would be any worse in low quality NTSC format. We all know this.
Agreed- some ideas are just too idealistic to become rational.Most of the "helper" ideas being proposed for cars fit that description. Unless a car becomes 100% autonomous, and I can sleep while the car carries me – like in a train on a track – I am not in favor of any of the so-called assistive technologies. Just too many bad drivers out there, who will still crash and still blame someone else.
While I really love technology, I think that much effort is being misapplied.
Years ago, I became offended at a comment made by one of my professors...'The only thing that has changed since we fell out of the trees is our level of technology.'
Catering to 'distracted' drivers may help in the short-term, but does anyone remember the introduction of.....horns, disc brakes, radial tires, seat belts, TURN SIGNALS, BRAKE LIGHTS, enlarged tail lights, steel door reinforcements, the 3rd tail light, seat belts, air bags? All were introduced to improve safety. How much has any of this really helped?
Inter vehicle communications can be a great advancement...but...help with people who are incapable of making rational decisions when their own lives and property are at risk? I think not.
Take them off the road, put them into public transportation. This act would take the place of the saber-tooth tiger of days past.
Nevada opening their roads to robotic driven vehicles is just the begining. I expect to be able to tell my grandchildren that "back in my day you were allowed to actually drive a vehicle manually", because in 25 years most roads won't allow "manually" driven vehicles. I envision a switch similar to the one we made from analog to digital televisions. At some point well traveled roads will be closed to all but automated vehicles because their carrying capacity and safety will be greatly increased if all of the vehicles are "smart".
There are a few of those computerized traffic lites here in Michigan, which are really stupid. The major and probably unfixable problem with all of those it they have no means of handling exceptions. In addition they are all programmed by programmers, who are not normal people. They just don't think the way normal people think. So they are not able to understand how the programs should work.
In addition, making cars so that they can be safely driven by the incompetent and inexperienced will certainly be a huge burden on all of those experienced drivers who do the correct things by reflex.
Perhaps, after a bunch of driverless cars successfully complete a 500 mile car race on a circle track, I might consider that they are ready to be given a tryout.
And it is a very good question, what happens whenna sensor fails? And what happens when a big piece of cardboard blows onto the roadway? Or when a tire blows out on the car ahead? Nobody has mentioned anything about how they intend to handle exceptions.
Island Al- Glad I made your day and hope that coffee didn't go into your keyboard :-)
A friend is an airline pilot and your comments about autopilots and pilot attitudes match his. Enroute they use the flight management systems for fuel savings and workload reduction. But the preference is to manually land to stay in practice...and of course there's an element of professional pride and a bit of paranoia in the automation. Part of their training and experience is knowing when to use the autoland. My friend laments that in 30 years, pilots will be in a locked glass booth at the front of the plane. There will be a hammer and a sign, "Break glass in case of emergency".
Driverless vehicles have been illegal in all states, thus no real push to produce such machines. Thus 'the law' (per usual) becomes a large impediment to the development of useful technology.Again trading freedom for perceived safety.A few months ago I read about these autonomous vehicles and their safety record.In several hundreds of thousands of driving miles it was involved in one wreck. It was waiting for a traffic light and was rear ended!
I am involved in aircraft for a living. The big new jets not only have autopilots, they also use auto takeoff and auto land! The flight deck guys are there in essence to feed the monkey.If there really is a catastrophic failure, it is really unlikely that the crew can prevent a crash.My prediction (as opposed to our chief pilot's opinion) is that in twenty years pilots will join the ranks of elevator operators. When I was a child every elevator really did have an operator, but few are old enough to remember those days.Then too cars, houses, schools, and most offices did not have air conditioning either, but I digress.
Autonomous Vehicles really are the wave of the future.The costs will not be prohibitive. Who would have ever guessed that engineers could pack millions or even billions of transistors in a tiny package all for less than the price of a pack of cigarettes? The distraction problem will be solved.Hell you can even sleep while driving alone. Cars can weigh far less eliminating bumpers, airbags, seatbelts, child restraint seats, and all the other crap the nanny state mandates we have.I can easily see the highway speeds going to a couple hundred miles per hour as the machinery dictates what is the 'safe' speed.No more speeding laws!The only downside I see is that old 'manual drive' cars will not be allowed on many of the roads due to 'safety concerns'.My old '58 Chevy truck and '76 Stingray will become museum displays.I'll miss the smell of burning rubber and the exhilaration of high acceleration and roaring down the highway at 100mph+ with the T Top off.
By the way I did have an autonomous ride over 50 years ago.She was a mule named Dinah. The smartest animal I have ever had.She even allowed me to shoot a rifle or shotgun while riding her, but would throw me if the gun went anywhere near her ears.Like I said, very smart, unlike myself.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Are you being paid enough? Do you want a better job? According to a recent survey Manpower released just before Engineers Week, employers and engineers don't see eye-to-eye about the state of US engineers' skills and experience.
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