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Rob Spiegel
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An affordable robotcar?
Rob Spiegel   4/26/2013 9:53:29 AM
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Nice video, Cabe. Quick, tell me who invented the automobile. OK, tell me who invented a process to make the automobile affordable. Ford of course. You're right, Cabe, finding a way to make a product affordable may be the most significant aspect of a product's success.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Cabe Atwell   4/26/2013 4:21:25 PM
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Transport vehicle 1st designs via Leonardo da Vinci.

Actual built model would be Karl Benz – first gasoline based automobile.

 

I would like to see a world of connected cars. I think it would be a safer place.

C

Rob Spiegel
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Rob Spiegel   4/26/2013 4:55:40 PM
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I agree, Cabe. With upwards of 30,000 Americans dying in auto accidents each year, we have a real problem. We certainly wouldn't put up with 30,000 people daying each year in plane crashes or by terror attack. Time to make cars safer.

Charles Murray
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Charles Murray   4/26/2013 6:17:21 PM
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Agreed, Rob. It's interesting that we accept those 30,000 fatalities so readily, yet resist autonomous vehicles in many cases.

jmiller
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
jmiller   4/28/2013 2:30:50 PM
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It's interesting that people are so resistant, almost scared of the autonomous cars and vehicles.  Yet, we will ride on a bus or on a train.  I think this is one of those situations where our fear of not being in control may be overwhelming our sense of good judgement.  It's interesting to see how many farmers are embrasing the idea of autonomous tractors.  They still ride in the tractors, but it's the GPS that does most of the driving.

Debera Harward
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Debera Harward   4/28/2013 4:23:13 PM
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Jmiller you are absolutely  correct uptill now we have heard of unmanned vehicles using GPS system however this is the different one i have come accross if it would have been using GPS there was no point of me getting fascinated by it because i myself have designed an unmanned ground vehicle using GPS routing and SONARS for obstacle detection.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Rob Spiegel   4/29/2013 12:02:57 PM
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There always seems to be resistance to safety restraints on vehicles, Chuck. I remember how we hated seat belts at first. Now, it's clear they were very good at saving lives. We Americans love to be in control of our vehicles. But if it could be demonstrated that RobotCars save lives, we're go for it. There also may be a generational aspect to it. I think young people would gladly give up some of their autonomy behind the wheel if it meant more time on their phones.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Cabe Atwell   5/3/2013 2:44:19 PM
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Despite what Rob said about Americans wanting to be in control of their autos, I personally think the autonomous car will take off. I see us all hoping into our cars and letting it drive us where we want to go safely. Like taking the taxi, a computer based personal driver.

I once spent 3 hours a day driving to a job. That's 60 hours wasted each month. I wish I could have done something else during that time.

I know... sleep while the car drive you to work!

WOW – that right there is the only reason needed for autonomous adoption.

C

Rob Spiegel
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Rob Spiegel   5/6/2013 11:01:22 AM
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Cabe, to some extent, I think this may be a generational issue. Young adults may be more willing to relinquish driving than older adults who still put a high premium on car ownership. Older Americans have a close personal relationship with their cars. Younger adults may view cars as simply a mode of transportation.

Debera Harward
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Debera Harward   4/27/2013 7:13:14 PM
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This indeed is a very good technology and it will be more helpfull for people who use the same route daily .That is daily commute , School and uni runs etc.If the cost of this robotcar drops down it will soon become very popular and people will try to buy it because it will make their lifes easier and will allow stressfree drive

jmiller
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
jmiller   4/28/2013 2:26:27 PM
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I like the use of a different technology.  This is one I haven't heard about until now.  Everything I had heard about with using GPS.  Using the idea of learning routes and being able to rememeber the way is really cool.

jmiller
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
jmiller   4/28/2013 2:26:28 PM
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I like the use of a different technology.  This is one I haven't heard about until now.  Everything I had heard about with using GPS.  Using the idea of learning routes and being able to rememeber the way is really cool.

Elizabeth M
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Elizabeth M   4/29/2013 5:00:55 AM
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Interesting perspective about affordability, Rob and Cabe. Yes, it's probably true, but I think also safety is an aspect that is important to success, especially in the case of a robotic automobile. Good coverage of this emerging player in the market.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Rob Spiegel   4/29/2013 1:42:15 PM
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As for affordability, Elizabeth, there may be some safety technology in the RobotCar that could become standard in all vehicles -- much like the seatbelt and airbags which we accept as part of the cost of owning a vehicle.

Elizabeth M
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Elizabeth M   4/30/2013 2:33:17 AM
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Now that would be a good precedent, and something worthwhile for both affordability and safety to come out of this type of development. I understand sometimes these features are trial and error and need to become standard over time.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: An affordable robotcar?
Rob Spiegel   5/2/2013 10:35:07 AM
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You're right, Elizabeth, many of these new developments will not hold their own over time. Remember the push button shift for the automatic transmission? That was seen as an advance when it came out on the Edsel. That certainly didn't catch on.

William K.
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Platinum
The robotcar and safety, are they related
William K.   4/29/2013 3:14:31 PM
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Interesting that so many folks tend to think that the robotic car will improve safety, without realizing that the robotic car will reduce efficiency a whole lot, because the robotic car will not be able to think. The car will stop for a cardboard box in the roadway rather than going around it, and it will probably stop for a coat hung over a sign alongside the roadway, if that coat is blowing in a breeze. And there is no way that a robotic car would be able to swerve and miss a person running across a roadway. The point here is that the programs will not be able to handle exceptions, but will rather, at best, become paralyzed, and stop. WE will all recognize, when we stop and think about it, that all autonomous car software will be written with the primary goal of protecting the sellers from any possible liabilities in the event of an accident of any kind. Thus the control algorithms will all be quite fearful and neurotic, the two qualities that make for the worlds most irritatinly slow drivers. So while an autonomous system could be a great idea for military vehicles it looks to me like they are a very poor choice for driving in the general urbal area.

A far better choice would be to develop systems to assist the drivers in being aware of hazards. The other action that would improve the safety of our raodways the very most would be to remove those 5% of thew drivers who aresimply not able to drive safely. The problem, at least here in Michigan, is that the main requiremen tfor becoming a licensed driver is having the fee required to obtain a drivers license. The ability to pay attention to the task of driving, and the skills to make the correct decisions quickly, are neither required nor tested for. That is a big problem.

Charles Murray
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Re: The robotcar and safety, are they related
Charles Murray   4/29/2013 7:30:58 PM
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If we don't fix the trend toward bringing more electronic junk into the car, we will need autonomous cars. The National Transportation Safety Board is still pushing to get rid of all phones in the car, whether or not they are hands-free and Bluetooth-enabled, but consumer groups ar fighting back. Talking to industry engineers recently, I even heard that drivers in Asia are now starting to watch TVs in the front seat (more about that in a couple of days). If trends like that continue, the autonomous car will be a must.   

William K.
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Re: The robotcar and safety, are they related
William K.   4/29/2013 10:07:35 PM
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Charles, actually, thye way to getrid of the problem of drivers watching television while driving would be for the TV to disable the airbags and release the seatbelt latches. That would do a bit towards making certain that the consequences of TV watching were directed back towards the drivers. And it would not be any big deal if the drivers are only watching TV while stopped in some of those notorious Tokyo traffic jam-ups. Of course it would be fairly simple to observe drivers watching television, just look at them as they pass under a bridge. I saw a seatbelt survey done that way back in the mid 1970's and it did seem to be getting very good data. The main tool is a set of wide field medium magnification binoculars. That and a tracking camers coupled with a means to trigger the picture recording, and  there is an enforcement unit, working from the comfort and safety of an overhead bridge.

But of course there is so very much money to be made from cellphone using drivers that it will be much harder to regulate than cigarettes ever were, since the phone companies have a lot more money to spend. 

One potential cure could be devices to disrupt cellular connections located every half mile along the expressways. Probably not legal, but probably quite effective.

Charles Murray
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Re: The robotcar and safety, are they related
Charles Murray   5/1/2013 10:02:04 PM
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I checked with the National Highway Traffic Administration, William K, and they said there is currently no law per se against watching TV while driving. So now we have a very odd situation: Using a handheld phone while driving is illegal in many locales, but watching TV isn't, at least at the federal level. More about this tomorrow.

William K.
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Re: The robotcar and safety, are they related
William K.   5/1/2013 10:30:52 PM
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Having the driver watch TV while driving is, or at least WAS, illegal in Michigan. That might have changed, since it is no more dangerous than drunk driving. And, amazingly enough, the civil liberties people have not come out in strong defense of drunk drivers. It is amazing based on all of the other dumb things that they do.

apresher
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RobotCar
apresher   4/30/2013 4:57:33 PM
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So do we have anyone who will give an opinion on when self-driving cars might be available on a commercial vehicle, and the cost?

apresher
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RobotCar
apresher   5/6/2013 4:33:53 PM
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Rob, I think it's a generational issue as well. But overall, the key to driverless vehicles is the user controls (ability to override the system, especially in the beginning until drivers gain confidence) and cost.  I know that the RobotCar is a trendsetter in predicting a low cost adder per vehicle but I look at other systems current in cars, and it just seems like this can't be a low cost for consumers (especially in the beginning). And then there's the threat of lawsuits and litigations from the inevitable crashes ... a whole other story.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: RobotCar
Cabe Atwell   5/10/2013 4:03:10 PM
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Just so you know Rob and Apresher, cars are still loved by the younger gen. Especially the male population. I know so many people with "tuner cars" and motocycles. They all love manual control too. However, when it comes to the daily commute, they have their beaters.

Or in the future, their robot cars, I am sure.

C



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