Drivers? Where We're Going, We Don't Need Drivers...

from the catch-up-on-your-reading dept

Sure, we've been hearing about driverless cars for years, but when most of the focus has been just on cars that can self park, or better adaptive cruise control (the kind that keeps you from hitting other cars), it seemed like real driverless cars were still a long way away. It appears at least one company in China doesn't think so. A Chinese car company is supposedly demonstrating an unmanned car, which they claim can go up to 90mph (the demo topped out at 37mph) and still stay within roadways, stop at street crossings and make turns. Of course, given that even demos of supposedly market-ready adaptive cruise control sometimes lead to crashes, it's likely that demo or no demo, we won't see too many unmanned vehicles on the road any time soon. Besides, I think I'd feel a bit more confident in some of the vehicles that made it through the Grand Challenge last year, completing a 132-mile course without drivers. Either way, though, it seems like there's plenty of research into taking drivers out of the automobile equation. Considering how worked up people get about driver distractions, perhaps that's a good thing.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 4:19am

    looking forward, fo that, i have been using tacies for 7 years no cause i keep crashing.

    with a driverless car ill save my self the annoying conversation with the driver

     

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  2.  
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    ?, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 4:20am

    Stinky Poo

    I guess I ought to get used to the idea that I might have to stop driving at an age earlier than my grandma because me + wheel + car will be obsolete

     

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  3.  
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    nunya_bidness, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 4:28am

    Nothing New

    Living in New Jersey, and driving to work for twenty years on the Parkway this is nothing new. I have been surrounded by driverless cars for decades. The classic Jaguar convertable, applying makeup, reading newspaper and on the phone, in the left lane going 50 is a common sight around here. It is amazing how these vehicles get to thier destination everyday while only cutting off maybe five or ten other cars along the way. Some of these cars actually prepare breakfast along the way, but they do occasionally lead to a fire about twice a month. Thankfullly they all are equipped with automatic deceleration devices that slow them to a crawl at the first sign of danger or rain. The only side effect of that is by time you get to an incident, it is already gone.

     

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  4.  
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    JustMe, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 5:20am

    I can just see it now...Stupid driving by the car making driving decisions moves road ragers from shooting the dirver to shooting out the tires and a headlight or two. Do these driverless cars come with the ability to inflict road rage on other vehicles if they get pissed?

     

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  5.  
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    BillGod, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:08am

    HA Chinese

    Anyone else find it strange that the people who's stereotype is their inabillity to drive are creating a car that drives itself?

     

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  6.  
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    Faz, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:17am

    but i enjoy driving, it relaxes me.. long distances

     

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  7.  
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    Rabid Wolverine, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:18am

    Driverless Ha!

    Gimme a 68 Roadrunner with a 426, dual fours, hurst on the floor...

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:27am

    Oh god... I'm with Rabid Wolverine!!

    Yeah - I can see it now, get in a crash and you don't sue the other driver anymore, you sue some software company... lol

     

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  9.  
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    Searcher619, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:28am

    Re: HA Chinese

    Could you be any more bigoted? It's moronic comments like this that help make the view of the "Ugly Westerner" less of an untruth. Your out of your ass comment smacks of jealousy.

     

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  10.  
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    The Original JustMe, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:28am

    To: The other JustMe

    I was surprised to see a comment from my standard nick. I guess I'll have to find another one.

     

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  11.  
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    The Original JustMe, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:37am

    Computers in Cars

    I've worked closely with computers for 20 years and I can tell you that there's no way I'm going to get in to a computer controlled car.

    There are too many variables to consider, and each situation is unique. Even if the programmer manages to consider most things, what happens when the unanticipated happens?

    A small plane making an emergency landing on the freeway (happened last month) but, because it is approaching from above, the interior sensors don't register it and the driver is prevented from braking because the cars behind him are too close for a safe decleration?

    What happens when two events happen which have mutually exclusive pre-programmed actions? Blue screen? Good plan!

    * Yes, I know that the majority of an airplane flight is handled by the flight computer, but that's actually pretty easy to accomplish. Lots of room around the plane, time to correct for errors, few unexpected problems showing up around the corner.

     

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  12.  
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    ebrke, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:46am

    Re: Nothing New

    Ah, yes, well said! As another NJ driver who is in constant amazement/panic at the antics of other drivers, all I can say is that between the traffic and the taxes, I am seriously considering relocating.

     

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  13.  
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    Faz, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 6:55am

    Pennsylvania Baby, Represent. O! i hate NJ roads and drivers, the state of jug handles when you throw a regular left turn, people get all confused. And what is with NJ drivers and driving under speed limit on the left lane (fast lane) on Rt 1 and 18.. proably not the best forum for this convo, but NJ drivers annoy me. sometimes as much as FL drivers

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: HA Chinese

    How about you chill the f*ck out? He said that there was a stereotype, he didn't reinforce it. You, on the other hand, are definitely reinforcing the whiny liberal stereotype.

     

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  15.  
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    Dosquatch, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 7:24am

    Re:

    Do these driverless cars come with the ability to inflict road rage on other vehicles if they get pissed?

    ** - Genuine People Personalities provided courtesy of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

     

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  16.  
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    Lay Person, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: HA Chinese

    Keep searching...

    You really need to chill out. I don't think he's as much a bigot as he is just joking.

    Your reply on the other hand is definitely bigoted. "Ugly Westerner?" I never even heard of such a thing until you stated it. This suggests to me that these labels are rolling around in your mind and more revealing about you yourself.

    Besides Westerners, to me, are among some of the most beautiful people in the world. Asian chicks are hot too though...augh hell! Any chick is hot if she's hot. I wouldn't care if ahe was a robot.

     

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  17.  
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    alpharocker, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 8:01am

    Drivers?!?!?!?

    I don't understand!!! What does this have to do with making my video card work with linux???

     

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  18.  
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    Steven, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: HA Chinese

    My mother in law is Thai (as in she was born and raised in Thailand). My wife is half Thai. More often than not it's them telling me how bad old asian women drive.

    I don't know why it is, but old asian women, on the average, are just bad drivers.

     

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  19.  
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    Faz, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 8:26am

    Let's keep the comment non-racial and clean people. we are grown adults discussing technology, NOT STEREOTYPES...

    wait my car is blue screening. Damn Mic**S**t ... so i can not type while being auto driven, switching to Manual.. NO road rage program initiated... AAAH.. dont his the old lady on the street... NO NO ...

    USER ERROR: User too STUPID!!!

     

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  20.  
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    chris (profile), Sep 12th, 2006 @ 8:42am

    more stereo types

    white people always freak the hell out when someone makes a racist comment. that's why carlos mencia and dave chapelle are so funny, and white people love them so much.

    i have never heard of an ugly westerner, but i have definitely heard of an ugly american. you see it in europe all the time, americans don't speak the language, don't care about other people's customs or culture.

     

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  21.  
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    nunya_bidness, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 8:55am

    Re: Why you buggin?

    From a New Jersey point of view I feel the same way about Penn drivers. My father used to live in Upper Darby and I hated to drive there because of the same reasons you said. I can handle left and right turns and circles or jug handles, and all that other crap. But Penn drivers are the slowest around, and usually they are the ones on our roads in the left lane going slow. Not as slow as Fla drivers though, but they will be as soon as they move there, it's contagious. BTW what do expect from rt1 and 18 those are sight seeing highways for out of staters.

     

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  22.  
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    Ugly Westerner, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 9:01am

    Re: more stereo types

    I am not comfortable with the term Ugly American, it implies that in order to be ugly you have to be American or maybe its not specific enough - I mean should we talk about which hemisphere, is it Ugly North, Central, or South American? Or are you generalizing all Americans as folks from the United States of America?

    I will quite bluntly point out that everybody other then me is a bad driver. There that simplifies the entire thing.....

     

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  23.  
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    charlie potatoes, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 9:10am

    Fuck you, towel head.

     

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  24.  
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    Ugly Westerner, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 9:21am

    Re:

    Uhm, no?

    Oh yeah, Im still a better driver.....

     

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  25.  
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    Conductor, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 9:52am

    Driveless cars have existed for years ...

    They're also known as "railcars" ... they attached to an engine and they transport millions of people safely every day. We don't need driverless automobiles ... we need more public transportation!

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 9:54am

    Re:

    thats why they need it, hell anything is better isnt it?

     

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  27.  
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    Supperman, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: HA Chinese

    I would attest to this ...
    Happens all the time in California ...

    How can you be racist if:
    1) Comment is true
    2) Comment is not a slur rather just an ability or function

    So calling African American Taller and Stronger Atheletes a racist commentt?

     

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  28.  
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    Lay Person, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: HA Chinese

    Yeah, to some, just the mention of a particular group, creates a division. Even if there is a legitimate (albeit unproven) observation that follows.

    I'm a white dude. I don't think I'm racist. I try to be as objective as possible (due to a scientific upbringing). However because of our infamous white history in dealing with "others," I find it very uneasy to utter anything that smacks of societal differences.

    In my experience, it's the minorities that are the biggest racists. They are the ones always using racism as the wildcard even if race was never even an issue. It seems that society accepts minority racists but not whites, in general. I cannot even have a sincere discussion or comment on anything to do with race because, as a white, I'm immediately condemned for even harboring thoughts or opinions of observations or traits of other groups.

     

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  29.  
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    Mike, Sep 12th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    I am not a racist

    ...I hate everyone equally

     

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  30.  
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    Ewokh8r, Sep 13th, 2006 @ 12:15am

    Re: HA Chinese

    Yes, i find this hilarious. I am an English guy living in Shanghai, and i had to bite my tongue so as not to laugh out loud when i saw the title of this article pop up on Digg!

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2006 @ 10:26pm

    I for one am looking forward to driverless cars. They would be very convenient.

     

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  32.  
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    Girly Girl, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Driveless cars have existed for years ...

    Um... but how are we supposed to get to the public transportation? Besides, i don't want to have to lug my groceries six blocks to my home when I can pull into my driveway in my own vehicle.

     

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  33.  
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    Richard Nixon, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 9:07pm

    HUGE timesaver for parents

    I would LOVE to buy a driverless car for my 7 yo daughter to use. I assume she would not need a driver's license for her to drive around in a driverless car.

     

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