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This topic came up in the gun thread and somewhat derailed it.  It seemed to me to be a topic a number of posters would like to discuss.

Autonomous cars: Absolute Godsend or Tool of the Devil?

Discuss.

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I don't think I would feel safe riding in one, esp. sharing the road with aggressive, unpredictable lunatics like we do now.

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If they were ALL autonomous you would basically solve the problem of people dying in car crashes.  I may go to **** for asking this question because of all the innocent lives lost in car crashes...this is not directed at them obviously, but how would we get Darwins theory to root out the morons who should not be reproducing?

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6 minutes ago, Melody said:

I don't think I would feel safe riding in one, esp. sharing the road with aggressive, unpredictable lunatics like we do now.

I would feel safer using an algorithm to keep a safe distance from an unpredictable driver.

Drivers tend to make mistakes when they are panicked.  That is where a self driving car should provide the most value in terms of safety.

We wouldn't need self driving cars if everyone adhered to the rules of the road and everyone went the same speed.

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3 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

 

We wouldn't need self driving cars if everyone adhered to the rules of the road and everyone went the same speed.

That is a true fact.  But then you have unexpected situations like pedestrians, debris in the roadway, etc.

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8 minutes ago, John_Brian_K said:

If they were ALL autonomous you would basically solve the problem of people dying in car crashes.  I may go to **** for asking this question because of all the innocent lives lost in car crashes...this is not directed at them obviously, but how would we get Darwins theory to root out the morons who should not be reproducing?

You will never eliminate all crashes.

First of all, no algorithm is fail safe.  They currently are much, much better at accident avoidance than a typical driver, but I doubt perfection is achievable.  I would suggest they will both reduce the number accidents as well as reduce severity of accidents, but I do not think they will eliminate them entirely.

Secondly, components on cars will occasionally fail suddenly, just as they do now.  If a tire explodes at highway speeds, it is entirely possible it leads to a fatality on the road independent of the car being self driving.  Or if the brakes suddenly fail, etc.

As to you other point, there will always be opportunities for fools to act foolish.

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1 minute ago, Melody said:

That is a true fact.  But then you have unexpected situations like pedestrians, debris in the roadway, etc.

Sure - my statement was over-simplified.  But you got my point - the crazier drivers are as a group, the more value a self driving car provides.

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12 minutes ago, Melody said:

I don't think I would feel safe riding in one, esp. sharing the road with aggressive, unpredictable lunatics like we do now.

I think a lot of people might feel unsafe initially.  It will take a while to weed out both the imperfections and for people to feel comfortable. 

I am feeling unsafer driving than I did 10 years ago mostly because there are more cars on the road with many of the drivers more distracted than they used to be.  I think I will welcome the new technology.  

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There are a number of legal issues WRT autonomous vehicles.

Who is responsible if one causes an accident?  The driver?  Car company? Data provider? Whomever remotely plausible who also happens to have deep pockets?

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1 minute ago, tiger337 said:

I think a lot of people might feel unsafe initially.  It will take a while to weed out both the imperfections and for people to feel comfortable. 

I am feeling unsafer driving than I did 10 years ago mostly because there are more cars on the road with many of the drivers more distracted than they used to be.  I think I will welcome the new technology.  

Agreed - the more people want to be on their cell phone while driving, the more I want driving to be like riding in mass transit.

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I see them as potentially the new mass transit. No need to own a vehicle if one show up when you need to take it to work, shop, events, etc. No need to pay for parking fares. The drop you off and return at a prearranged time.

Need to take a road trip, lease on like you rent a vacation cottage or hotel room. All servicing is handled by the leasing company.

I’ll love it, if it ever happens.

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Self-Driving cars can't get here fast enough.

All day - every day people driving and not even watching where they are going - some of them at 80mph.     j

Tuesday night in Dearborn/Allen Park I got stuck behind a person at two separate lights who totally missed a green light - sat through the whole green light at two different intersections because they couldn't be bothered to look up from her phone - and she wasn't a kid, either.    People honked at her.   The traffic in the other lane was moving - but not enough to get her attention but because the people behind me kept bailing into that other lane, I (and the car directly in front of me) could not get out from behind her.    Then when she finally does start going she has trouble staying in the lane because she refuses to look up.    

I see it every single day.  Light turns green and it can take 8-10 seconds for someone to look up and react.   Drives me crazy. 

I went out to Ann Arbor a couple of weeks ago (from Dearborn) to do my Saturday radio shift...........I got past 275 and realized I left my phone at home.   I went the next five hours without a cell phone and I lived to tell about it.  It's amazing.  

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The more I think about self driving cars, the more I like them.  A few us have pointed out that too many drivers are distracted and not paying attention to the road.  Another thing is we waste a lot of time commuting.  There was a time when I used to commute 15 hours a week on a good week.  Luckily I was on a train a lot of the time, so I could get some reading done, but many people commute that much in cars and it is a total waste of time.    

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I'm with MCS, these people drive me nuts.

If they can pay no more attention to what they are doing because they are on the phone; I should be able to have a beer in the 15 minutes it takes me to drive home.  I'm more safe than they are.

Not a fan of self driving vehicles.  I like to drive.

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1 hour ago, screwball said:

Not a fan of self driving vehicles.  I like to drive.

Come to the Boston area for a few weeks and let me know if you still like to drive.  :)

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8 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

Come to the Boston area for a few weeks and let me know if you still like to drive.  :)

Another true story.

Back in the 90s, I worked in the test lab of a transmission company.  I returned (drove) a truck to Boston we rented for testing.  I had to deliver it to a International Truck dealership somewhere on Beacon St.  I studied all the maps before I left, and thought I could find it.

Nope, not even close.

I drove this truck all over Boston, even until I ran out of land - hey - the Atlantic ocean.  I turned around (somehow) and went back the other way.  Got caught up in the square downtown, not far from "Cheers" best I can tell. Went around that loop for maybe a half hour.  Stuck on the inside, needed to be on the outside.  Finally made it.  Whew!  Then almost ran into a trolley car or something like that. Wasn't looking for one of them.

The plan was now changed to just get out of town, don't really care how. I have a corp card, find a hotel, tell the dealer - here's your truck - you come get it.

So I pulled up to a toll gate on my way out, paid the buck fifty or whatever (In Boston, you pay up front; no need for a ticket because they don't know where the road might end up (spaghetti)).  For fun, I asked the guy in the booth where Beacon St. was.  He said "you just got off of it."  Really????

Ok, how do I get back on?  Do a U-turn.  Here?  Yea, everybody else does.

So I did.  6 lanes wide (3 each side), horns honking, chaos.

Pulled up to the booth (I was half expecting to get arrested), the guy says that will be a buck fifty.  I said "I just paid over there."

He said "that is over there, this is over here."  LOL!  Too funny.  I paid of course..

It was fun when I think back on it.

I've been to Boston quite a few times.  I really don't want to drive there.

 

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4 minutes ago, screwball said:

Another true story.

Back in the 90s, I worked in the test lab of a transmission company.  I returned (drove) a truck to Boston we rented for testing.  I had to deliver it to a International Truck dealership somewhere on Beacon St.  I studied all the maps before I left, and thought I could find it.

Nope, not even close.

I drove this truck all over Boston, even until I ran out of land - hey - the Atlantic ocean.  I turned around (somehow) and went back the other way.  Got caught up in the square downtown, not far from "Cheers" best I can tell. Went around that loop for maybe a half hour.  Stuck on the inside, needed to be on the outside.  Finally made it.  Whew!  Then almost ran into a trolley car or something like that. Wasn't looking for one of them.

The plan was now changed to just get out of town, don't really care how. I have a corp card, find a hotel, tell the dealer - here's your truck - you come get it.

So I pulled up to a toll gate on my way out, paid the buck fifty or whatever (In Boston, you pay up front; no need for a ticket because they don't know where the road might end up (spaghetti)).  For fun, I asked the guy in the booth where Beacon St. was.  He said "you just got off of it."  Really????

Ok, how do I get back on?  Do a U-turn.  Here?  Yea, everybody else does.

So I did.  6 lanes wide (3 each side), horns honking, chaos.

Pulled up to the booth (I was half expecting to get arrested), the guy says that will be a buck fifty.  I said "I just paid over there."

He said "that is over there, this is over here."  LOL!  Too funny.  I paid of course..

It was fun when I think back on it.

I've been to Boston quite a few times.  I really don't want to drive there.

 

Typical Boston commute!

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16 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

Typical Boston commute!

I never had to drive there again.  In future trips I flew into Logan, got a shuttle to the hotel. They took me where I needed to go while I was there.  Some of those trips were during the "big dig."  What a mess.  I could have gotten a rental car, but I didn't want one.

 

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I can't conceive of a situation where I would ever consider getting into a self driving car. I will not give up control on the road. 

The matter of distracted driving is a separate issue. There have been dangerous drivers for years. Years before cell phones I saw people shaving on the highway, women putting on makeup on the highway- both with two hands. Once saw a guy balancing his laptop on the steering wheel. 

Then there is the issue of the elderly. I've seen senior citizens driving the wrong way on big beaver and lahser. I saw one straddle the center line on a two lane road once. For about 3/4ths of a mile....

 

 

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18 minutes ago, stanpapi said:

Then there is the issue of the elderly. I've seen senior citizens driving the wrong way on big beaver and lahser. I saw one straddle the center line on a two lane road once. For about 3/4ths of a mile....

 

 

This is the group where I think the automatic car will be most useful.  If you could no longer get a license because of your eye sight, wouldn't you consider it?  

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6 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

This is the group where I think the automatic car will be most useful.  If you could no longer get a license because of your eye sight, wouldn't you consider it?  

Probably not. I think I'd be more inclined to find a driver. 

The thing that I think isn't so well-thought out is how the "hybrid" situation is going to work. I'm not talking about hybrid cars. I'm talking about the period of time when you have both self driving and regular man-driven vehicles on the road together. You know those self driving cars are going to irritate the **** out of normal drivers. However they are programmed, they are likely going to respond in a way that will be really annoying to the normal driver....

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In summary, papi's logic:

a. I like to drive,

b. since there have always been dangerous drivers, we should always expect to have dangerous drivers on the road, and

c. the algorithms, which haven't seen use, will likely **** off drivers because we just know they will.

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I like to drive as well, for what it is worth.  But I don't mind riding on a bus or a train or a plane, either.

Removing the threat of drunk or impaired drivers would be nice.  Being automatically routed to a quicker route due to traffic would be nice as well.

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