Getting Closer To Autonomous Cars: Vans Make The Trip From Italy To China

from the marco...-polo... dept

Back in July we mentioned that some researchers had begun an attempt to have an autonomous vehicle drive safely from Italy to China. Then, about a month ago, we also noted that Google had been successfully testing autonomous vehicles on the roads as well. Now, Slashdot alerts us to the news that the Italy to China effort was completed successfully. As with the Google experiments, it wasn't "perfect." Apparently, humans had to intervene during a Moscow traffic jam -- and at toll booths. They also mention that "at one point, a van stopped to pick up hitchhikers." That's quite a story the hitchhikers must have left with... Either way, it's nice to see so much research going on in this field. Hopefully we can start to see some of that research make its way into actual production vehicles, at least to improve accident reduction techniques.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 3:23pm

    Does this mean that if adopted "texting" would then be OK?

     

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  2.  
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    KnownHuman (profile), Oct 29th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Who Stands to Benefit

    This area of research should rather interesting to watch in terms of future business potential. It would be interesting to see the beverage and hospitality industry really get behind this, while the taxi (and to a lesser extent, insurance) industries argue against autonomous vehicles.

    Imagine the potential drop in drunk driving accidents.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 3:31pm

    Re:

    By practical means yes, by the law no, laws don't die they need to be repealed, why no one makes laws with expiration dates are beyond me.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    Robotics is a fantastic field.

     

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  5.  
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    Robert Ring, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 3:42pm

    That's hilarious. Van: "I think we should stop and pick these guys up."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Who Stands to Benefit

    Well, hard to say how insurance companies will respond. It depends entirely if their profit margins would be better or worse with lower accident rates (you'd only be reducing major accidents, not minor bumps and scratches).

     

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    Ryan Diederich, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    Several Things...

    Of course insurance companies would benefit; the odds of an accident occuring (this is what they base their rates on) go down. They get to offer a lower price if they desire, and pocket the difference.

    Anyways, I will never in my life give complete control of a vehicle to a machine. This is all well and good, and it should hit the brakes for me if Im in danger and whatever, but it shouldnt do everything.

    Remember the guy who followed his GPS up a goat run?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Several Things...

    Actually a robotic car could have prevented that, they can react faster and are always alert and use GPS as part of the system, with lasers and radar also, but I do get the point.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    Lets hope terrorists can't use this to drive autonomous vehicles into buildings.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Who Stands to Benefit

    What about autonomous package delivery vehicles. A car has a package and only the sender and receiver of the package have the keys to the car. The car simply drives from the sender to the receiver and the receiver then opens the car, takes the package, and locks it back up. The car drives back.

    Quick, I should get a patent!!!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Who Stands to Benefit

    (this is intended for large businesses that send lots of stuff back and forth across warehouses of course).

     

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    bob, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Re:

    I know of two laws that have or had an expiration date, one will soon usher in the largest tax increase in US history.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:51pm

    Autonomous Google Street View patrols

    Autonomous Google Street View patrols.

     

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    technomage (profile), Oct 30th, 2010 @ 9:04am

    I heareby welcome our autonomous roving overlords....

    ...as long as it revives the trans am line and gets William Daniels to voice the speech synthesis of the cars!

     

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    F1Mikal, Oct 30th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    I believe someone from google said that if the computer was invented before the car, people would never have had to learn to drive & there would never have been any drunk driver deaths.

    hmmm.

    Humans. Their own worst enemy.

     

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    tax cpe, Oct 31st, 2010 @ 2:14am

    autonomous?

    Autonomous meaning these vans were traipsing around with no human drivers? That's dangerous!!! Even with precision robots, there is still a huge margin of error, in my opinion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    So what happens if the computer operating the vehicle gets a virus - would it get a ticket for driving while impaired ?

     

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  18.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 7:35am

    Re: Who Stands to Benefit

    I'd imagine the taxi companies would be all for this - think if they could eliminate most of their labor expenses while at the same time making their entire fleet of vehicles available 24/7. Big profits.

    Once these things are proven safe and reliable, insurance companies will love them. They could offer marginally lower rates while greatly reducing their costs for accidents. Big profits. And if something goes wrong - you can bet they'll be suing the manufacturers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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