Google Being Pressured Into Crippling Self-Driving Cars

from the disruptive-innovation dept

One of the most common results of disruptive technologies is that the legacy players scream to the heavens (or, rather, the politicians) about how dangerous the new technology is and how people will die if that new technology isn't crippled. One of the most ridiculous examples of this -- from over a century ago -- was with the introduction of automobiles. Some transportation competitors raised such a stink about how dangerous cars were, that a few governments passed so called red flag traffic laws, that required someone to walk in front of any car, waving a red flag to warn people of what was coming. One of the most famous, in the UK, included this:
... one of such persons, while any locomotive is in motion, shall precede such locomotive on foot by not less than sixty yards, and shall carry a red flag constantly displayed, and shall warn the riders and drivers of horses of the approach of such locomotives...
Of course, those who were once the disruptors often become the incumbents, so it should be little surprise that automakers are on the other side of things when it comes to the eventual roll out of Google's self-driving cars. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that politicians and automakers are pushing Google to cripple their self-driving cars while also delaying the roll out.
Google Inc. , under pressure to slow down development of driverless cars, may crimp the capabilities of the first auto products that it brings to market, people close to the company say. That may mean that cars using Google's software may not drive faster than 25 miles per hour and may feature a foam front end to limit the extent of damage caused in the event of a collision.
Yes, there are some irrational fears about self-driving cars. Undoubtedly, there will be some malfunctions and accidents. And a lot of legal issues are unsettled. However, crippling the cars to the point that they're almost useless seems rather silly. Regular, human-driven cars are notoriously unreliable and subject to accidents. It's quite likely that as more self-driving cars are on the road that accidents will decline massively, as the technology will actually make the roads much safer.

While the article highlights the potential legal concerns and "public perception" of self-driving cars as a reason to cripple the first round of those cars, there are also, not surprisingly, competing automakers and tech companies in the mix, with their fear that Google's willingness to keep innovating may leave them all far behind:
Auto makers and technology companies have made significant investments in the development of self-driving cars, although they favor a much more cautious, step-by-step approach than Google's leadership does. How the car research plays out will say a lot about how Google's innovative process will work as the company continues to mature and enter huge new markets such as transportation. It has run roughshod over the wireless phone industry for the last few years, quickly establishing the dominance of its Android operating system. But the auto industry has seen that story unfold, and doesn't want to be cast unwillingly in a sequel.
In other words, spreading FUD about self-driving cars means Google can't be as aggressive in pushing the envelope, and maybe we can hold back the tide for a few more profitable years of the old, more dangerous, kinds of cars.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 4:04am

    "may feature a foam front end to limit the extent of damage caused in the event of a collision."

    And the reason regular non-self driving cars don't already have these foam front ends is because...?

     

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    Rabbit80 (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    Foam might not be effective at over 25mph?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:38am

    Jesus Tapdancing Eagle Christ, just THINK of what could possibly happen if one of these newfangled autolocomotion drivamobiles were to HIT something? JUST THINK! We can't possibly be prepared to deal with the impact of vehicular impact!

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re:

    Aren't modern bumpers mostly foam anyway?

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    The streets were full of them back then. As I'm sure you've never been near horses, they're easily spooked and large enough to do real damage.

    Your ignorance about real reasons to warn horses back then doesn't augur well for your notions about autonomous vehicles of the future. -- Just Windows on an ordinary desktop has been known to cause death.

    Remember the problems in Robocop, the entire Terminator series, HAL in 2001, "I, Robot"? Your usual sources are full of the dangers of automation. May still be a few bugs to work out.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re:

    Pretty sure foam won't be effective under 25 mph if the car has decided that it's not going to stop.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:52am

    or, more likely, hold off Google for a few more years so that the Automotive industry as it is today has the opportunity to catch up and then enter the market place at the same time as Google. that will mean competition which all companies should relish as it brings more innovation to customers. unlike the road the entertainment industries keep going down which does nothing except piss customers off and delays innovation for many years instead

     

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    Rich, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:54am

    Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    Um, yeah, I've been near horses. I use to show horses, for years. Horses are very intelligent and quickly get use to things. (This is why they don't bolt when someone fires a gun). A horse isn't going to run amok because it sees a car. Case in point: there are NO news stories if it happens, and there are still a lot of horses around today. We use to ride our along busy roads all the time.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Most modern "bumpers" are fiberglass and aren't distinguishable from the body of the car. They're also pretty useless in the two things that bumpers existed for - preventing damage to other things (people or cars) that you run in to, and preventing damage to the car itself in the event of a collision.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:55am

    The funny thing is, in some ways the old fears were right. Cars are dangerous, and they do cause a large number of deaths and other problems every since year.

    *However*, their utility and what they make possible outweigh these dangers. Utility and potential that would never have come to pass had the crippling restrictions remained.

    It's right to be cautious, but overly restricting new technology is equally problematic.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:56am

    Self drive cars should be safer. No morons behind the wheel doing the driving.

     

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    Rich, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:56am

    Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    ...and besides, you think the flags were to warn the horses? You really think a horse is going to see the flag and think, "oh, a car is coming. I need not be scared."?

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    I would say that moronic drivers are the cause of accidents rather than the cars themselves.

     

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    Rich, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:58am

    There is a law in the US (forget where, but I thinks it's still on the books) that when a car approaches an intersection at night, the driver must get out, wave a lantern three times, and fire a shot in the air before proceeding.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:01am

    Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    "Remember the problems in Robocop, the entire Terminator series, HAL in 2001, "I, Robot"?"

    I'm not sure what you're saying here. Are you saying we should be basing laws on works of fiction (actually, given your usual idiocy here, you probably are)? Or are you saying that despite having been deeply explored in both science fact and science fiction extensively over the last century, nobody at Google or elsewhere has considered the potential dangers of new technology?

    Well, at least you haven't gone on a paranoid lunatic rant about Google this time, even though the article actually mentions them. progress, I suppose.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:02am

    Re:

    Indeed. That's always my response when someone brings up the idea of flying cars - "have you seen how people drive when they're *not* in danger of dropping on you from 5,000 feet?"

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re:

    A bit of both. Cars are safer without the morons, but then a moron would cause a lot less damage if they could still only drive at 5mph...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:07am

    Another powerful lobby against this would be government established taxi-cab monopolists. They can easily see these things as taking away from their business and they have had a lot of success in coercing our legal system in their favor.

    The USPS might not like this either as it could potentially be used to provide anyone with driver-less delivery and hence not needing the post office anymore.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:11am

    Re:

    Well, to make any evaluations we need to compare cars to horses. There may not be 'horse accidents' per say but how many people, say, have fallen off a horse and hurt themselves? There have been historical accounts of such. So what are the relative percentages.

     

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    Amy, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Turcker Sedan

    Delaying to market, so the automotive industry can "compete" is a load of crap. We've seen what the automotive industry does when it's not ready to compete, it tries to squash the competition into the ground. See the Tucker Sedan, and how many years it took for its innovations to make it to market after being killed because the automotive industry didn't want to compete.

    Hopefully Google's big enough to stand up and defend itself, and I hope someone involved in this project is familiar with the Tucker.

     

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  21.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    Re:

    I don't see the taxi-cab *companies* as an impediment to self-driving cars. Perhaps individual taxi drivers, sure, since they'll be out of work when the companies replace them with an automated vehicle that can work 24-7.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    "Yes, there are some irrational fears about self-driving cars."

    And there are some perfectly rational fears, too. I could just as easily say "There are some irrational desires to force self-driving cars on everyone."

    How about THIS fear: Pack a car with explosives, set it to drive to your destination of choice, then jump out. Massive destruction without ever having to even enter the same general area as the target. OK, not enough of a worry to stop production or anything, but it's something to consider. And it's not irrational, it's GOING to happen as soon as they become common enough.

    How about THIS fear: The government wants to arrest you? It just sends a friendly note to Google (or a car company, once they catch up) and your car locks its doors, rolls up its windows, and drives itself to the police station. Inevitably this will happen to some 75 year old guy who bought the wrong used car, who will then got either shot or tazed at the police station when the 30 cops waiting for him mistake his confusion for aggression, even though the person they wanted to arrest is 22.

     

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  23.  
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    Rabbit80 (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That depends.. if it comes off it might make a foam pillow as the car runs over the top of you!

     

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  24.  
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    Rabbit80 (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't know... most of my scrapes have been at under 5mph trying to maneuver in very tight spaces!

     

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  25.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    "And it's not irrational, it's GOING to happen as soon as they become common enough."

    Of course it will, just as the same thing already happens with cars that require a driver. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Glasgow_International_Airport_attack

    That doesn't explain why new restrictions would be necessary on the new cars that don't apply to the old. In fact, you could argue that the increased range and automatic control make them safer with regards to terrorism(more time to react, possibility of law enforcement remotely intercepting or redirecting car before it reaches its target without a risky high speed chase).

    As for the other fear? Meh. It's no different to no knock warrants and the like that happen now. If someone wanted to get you they can anyway, and "mistakes" regularly happen. No point crippling a new technology just because there's anew tool for them to do what they already do.

     

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  26.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, but you haven't been in danger of killing or maiming yourself, your passengers and other road users, surely? If so, you might have a dark hidden talent...

     

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    Joe Dirt, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    TD Community, please be a little more judicious when reporting a post.

    I concede that OOTB's references to Science Fiction as proof of the dangers of technology may be silly, there is none of the usual ranting or wailing at TD or Mike or even Google. There is no reason to hide his post.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    Indeed, when cars were first on the roads accidents caused by spooked out of control horses soared. Whoever reported your post to hide it is an idiot.

    The reason horses don't get spooked today is because they're more used to the cars, and the newer horse gear makes it so that the horses can only see what's directly in front of them, so that they won't be able to really see other cars on the road.

    But there's ZERO reasons for these silly restrictions on google's self driving cars. They've had only 1 accident, caused by someone else rear ending them at a red light. If self driving cars are so dangerous then I'd like car manufactures to explain how the parallel park yourself option on their cars aren't dangerous. At those slow speeds to park a foam bumper might actually make sense.

     

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  29.  
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    Steve, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    Re:

    Yeah, that would suck if you're in a "gun-free" zone.

     

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  30.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    "Whoever reported your post to hide it is an idiot."

    I suspect most people who reported it were doing so due to the handle of the author rather than the content of the post. Whether fair or not, most of ootb's posts contain little of value or truth, even if this one contained a nugget of such before going off the rails.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    no but the person riding the horse or buggy would see the flag.

     

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  32. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    most reported posts here are because they do not agree with the statement and have no reasonable argument against it.

    They prefer to censor, that to engage in a discussion.

    Also, you are a troll here, if you post something that does not agree with the article.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    And not give a flying fuck either.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Seen a very good documentary about driverless cars

    including Google's entry, makes perfect sense to limit their speed and employ other safety measures.

    Their level of accuracy and reliability has yet to be proven, it's not about crippling the technology, it's about ensuring the technology is up to the task, that will not be proven until it can be displayed that they can handle the current set speed.

    Gotta walk before you can run.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    Again, its not censorship you plonker!

     

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  36.  
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    James, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Do you not see..

    The self drive car will be the END of personal car ownership for most people. Instead you will just have fleets of self drive taxis that are much cheaper than owning your own car or using a taxi. Thin street car, but that can move its self about to where it needed, when its needed.
    It should be the taxi and bus companies that are fighting this. The automaker industry will benefit from a high turnover of a few regular models, even if the overall market for cars will shrink dramatically.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Auto industries

    Cannot even get the computers they employ in their cars to work reliability over time, and you expect replacing a driver with more computers is going to solve that problem ?

    why do you think they still employ pilots in aircraft that can fly fully automated from gate to gate ?

    Because computers WILL break down, or get confused, or have a sensor fault, and in those situations you need a human that can recognise the difference between a faulty speedo or a stuck accelerator.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    call it what you like, does not make it not what it is !

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:43am

    Re:

    Detroit declared bankruptcy today, not that Google is even close to producing their own driverless car..

     

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  40.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    um, have to disagree somewhat:
    1. live in a rural area where have more horses and cows as neighbors than people...

    2. had g'friend i lived with for a number of years who had hayburners... my friends down the road have a bunch...

    3. i'm not saying horses are dumb (although a lot of horse owners might), but they are not pigs (or even dogs)...

    4. horses number one defense mechanism is to RUN AWAY (while they can kick the shit out of you, *and* pick you up with their mouths and throw you like a rag doll, running away is their main defense mechanism)

    5. in furtherance of that defense mechanism, horses ARE spooky... i don't care how well trained they are, how well they have become acclimated to gun shots, etc (some don't, by the way, just like dogs, they can be gun-shy), their defense mechanism kicks in when they are confronted by unknown situations: a snake/rattler, smoke/fire, a car backfire, or even the wind blowing a plastic bag against a fence a half mile away can send them rocketing away without any warning...

    also, do NOT turn your back on any horse you don't know (and even if you do), some are very mischievious (sp?), and they WILL nip you out of curiousity, spite, fun, or simply boredom...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    Who's legally responsible

    if the car kills someone ?

    It's a simple question, without a simple answer!

     

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  42.  
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    Simon, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    I suspect it's not so much that the incumbents object to the technology, they just want to introduce it very slowly in small increments to encourage drivers to always be buying new model cars.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re: Auto industries

    Self driving cars doesn't mean there is no human able to take control. What it does mean is a more intelligent traffic pattern, where lights are timed properly, merging happens in the correct manner and cars miles away from a jam can adjust their speeds automatically so that the jam lasts a shorter timeframe.

    Self driving cars NEEDS to happen.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    Re:

    Everything we saw in Minority Report, in some way or another, either will happen or is already happening.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re:

    (and by hurt themselves I mean like became paralyzed and such).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re:

    When I have my own automated vehicle and can control it remotely via my phone why do I need a taxi cab? I need to go to the airport. I take my car to the airport and have it automatically drive itself back home for the rest of my family to use.

    I need to pick someone up at the airport. They can take a taxi instead because I'm at work. Nevermind, I'll just direct my car to pick them up, take them home, and come back to pick me up at work.

     

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  47.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re:

    I think we can safely assume that drugged out psychics floating in a pool predicting murders won't happen. And cameras that can get your retina-print from many meters away aren't likely, either.

     

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  48.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re:

    How do you know, are you a precog?

     

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    aldestrawk (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    Driver-less cars have to be stopped period. Will it take a bomb-fueled massacre at the next FBI square dance before the government realizes this?

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:42am

    Re:

    > It just sends a friendly note to Google (or a car company, once they catch up) and your car locks its doors, rolls up its windows, and drives itself to the police station.

    For security reasons, any self-driving car will have a manual override, so the driver can take over if it misbehaves. In a farther future where there are cars without manual controls, the manual override will stop the vehicle. In either case, there will be a way to manually open the doors from the inside, in case the vehicle lost power or the door systems malfunctioned.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re: Auto industries

    > why do you think they still employ pilots in aircraft that can fly fully automated from gate to gate ?

    Can they really? As far as I know, the pilot has to program the autoland, like is done with the autopilot. It is more like a very smart cruise control than a fully automated system.

     

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  52.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    The standard, normal bumpers on passenger cars only provide protection in collisions up to 2 MPH (1 MPH for corner collisions).

    I suspect the performance of foam would be even worse.

     

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  53.  
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    Chris Brand, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Hmmm...

    When I put this quote - "Auto makers and technology companies have made significant investments in the development of self-driving cars, although they favor a much more cautious, step-by-step approach than Google's leadership does." together with "That may mean that cars using Google's software may not drive faster than 25 miles per hour and may feature a foam front end to limit the extent of damage caused in the event of a collision.", it makes me think that the auto makers' cars have problems if they go faster than 25mph.

     

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  54.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    I didn't flag the comment, but there was the mild insult in there. OOTB is normally rather egregiously offensive, so I suspect there's less tolerance when it comes to him.

     

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  55.  
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    Ready4carrevolution, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    Revenue Enhancement Problem

    Seems to me that the real problem with Google Cars is that they will limit the number of revenue enhancement tickets, you know, those red light camera and cell phone type tickets. Our communities love to use that income to balance their budgets.

     

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  56.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    You are wrong.

     

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    Michael, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    Re: Who's legally responsible

    edward snowden.

     

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  58.  
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    Michael, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    I susect it's not so much that the incumbants to technology

    Correct. They do not object to technology, they object to competition

     

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  59.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    When I have my own automated vehicle and can control it remotely via my phone why do I need a taxi cab?

    Why would I need my own vehicle at all if there are plenty of automated cabs all over that I can easily summon from my smartphone for cheap?

     

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  60.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I want to live in this world. It would be awesome to not have to own a car.

     

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  61.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 10:46am

    Re: Who's legally responsible

    I think there is a very simple answer to this: the driver is responsible. Just because the car can drive itself doesn't eliminate the need for a human driver behind the wheel (yet, anyway) for safety purposes. The human driver would still have responsibility for what the car does.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:13am

    1--- no valet parking, no dhs sanctioned act of violating the constitution.

    2--- no suicide bombers, just have a car drive up to the front of an airport, then come apart at super sonic velocity.

    3--- profit.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    How are automakers competitors?

    Can someone please explain to me how google is in direct competition with car manufacturers?? Google isn't looking to put out their own line of cars last time I heard. What real incentive do car manufacturers have for limiting this when google could, and is, installing the software into current car models? Whether or not slowing the progress of self-driving cars is a good thing, techdirt once again makes ad hominem attacks against anyone it thinks hurts its version of "innovation." How about some real discourse instead of simply dismissing any true claims from the other side in favor of using the old and too often repeated "they must hate technology and/or are in bed with the greedy content owners"?

     

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  64.  
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    Dogbreath, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They'll just fall back onto iris scanning from a distance, and only use the more intrusive retinal scan for when you are "detained", for any reason.

     

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  65.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    That would depend on the OS. Riding in a Microsoft car would give a whole new definition of "computer crash". And what thoughts would flash through your mind seeing the Blue Screen Of Death going 75 MPH?

     

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  66.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    drugged out psychics floating in a pool predicting murders won't happen


    I'll bet there were more than a few of these in the '60s.

    cameras that can get your retina-print from many meters away aren't likely


    This is actually very likely. Already, there are commercial systems that can get iris prints, from a substantial distance, of everyone in a crowd passing by at the same time. For most purposes, this is as good as retina scans. Nonetheless, progress is being made in doing the same thing with retinal scans.

     

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  67.  
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    PRMan, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:40pm

    That's OK

    Some other country somewhere else will allow them, make their roads 20X safer and make us look like the 3rd world country we are becoming.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re:

    Or update in progress do not switch off!

     

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  69.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 12:51pm

    Re: That's OK

    /pendant mode on

    "Third world" means not allied with the United States or the Soviet Union (when it existed). It doesn't actually mean "impoverished," although most third world nations are. (There are first and second world nations that are impoverished as well.)

    The US, by definition, can never be a third world nation. We can certainly become impoverished.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    Are you Amish by any chance?

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 2:48pm

    Try that red flag thing in Mexico. Talk about bringing a car to a bullfight.

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Who's legally responsible

    And when a faulty sensor or algorithm glitch causes a car to swerve and flip at high speed faster than a human can react, is the (probably dead) driver still to be held responsible?

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 4:24pm

    Re: How are automakers competitors?

    Vitriol aside, I was wondering about the competition too. Is Google actually going to manufacture cars? If not, why do the automakers care?

     

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

  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: That's OK

    /pendant mode on

    What are you hanging from?

    But seriously, "third world nation", while technically a matter of alliance, has come to be synonymous with "developing nation".

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    Censorship involves the removal of speech so as to block it from being read or disseminated. Since the speech is still there and easily read, it is not being censored by definition. Making it more difficult to read speech is not removing the speech.

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 6:39pm

    Re:

    The automotive industry actively opposes competition. Try starting up your own automotive company and see how well that works out for you.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Have you ever been to Santiago-Chili? Many people there don't own cars. They take taxi - cabs everywhere because it's cheap. When I arrived the people who picked us up from the airport took a taxi - cab to the airport and we took a different taxi-cab back. At the airport exit there are many people practically begging to have you choose them as their taxi-cab driver. People take taxi-cabs to work and back.

    The reason why there are so few taxi-cabs here isn't because cost is high. It's because prices are artificially high. It's because of the government established monopoly involved. Monopoly reduces supply, resulting in fewer taxi-cab drivers, and increases prices. and taxi-cab drivers here in the united states don't get paid well, most of that money goes to the medallion holders (ie: a corporation or whatever). The taxi-cab cartel does not want automated cars competing with them, they will have to reduce prices if such cars did compete which will cause them to reduce profits.

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The artificial lack of competition is so intense that it's possible to be profitable offering free taxi-cab services solely from advertisements on your car.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090625/0207255356.shtml

    The reason your dreamworld isn't true has little to do with cost and much more to do with corrupt regulations.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090813/1814005872.shtml

    http://www.techdirt.co m/articles/20101024/21393211556/company-making-cab-limo-rides-more-efficient-ordered-to-stop.shtml

    and what's really outrageous

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090825/0453005994.shtml

     

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  79.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Must be different in Canada as we call them "five mile per hour bumpers."

     

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  80.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:46pm

    Re: Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    Tell that to my step-sister who just had every rib separated from her spine last year after being thrown and trampled by a horse when a four-wheeler(ATV) passed them.

    I've never shown horses except to visitors, but I have lived on a farm and as you may have guessed, have relatives who still live on the farm.

     

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  81.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'd hate to be run over by a car even if it was only going 5 mph.

     

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  82.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re:

    But newer technology just makes for a bigger pie. There will be more money available to pay them to do something else; Such as walking in front waving a flag.

     

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

  83.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 19th, 2013 @ 8:03pm

    Re: Re: Who's legally responsible

    "The human driver would still have responsibility for what the car does."
    Would a Pinto blow up on its' own or when someone lost control and rear ended you? Who was held responsible?

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2013 @ 6:37am

    Re: The red flags were to warn HORSES, sonny.

    Did you seriously just cite luddite scifi stories as cautionary tales? You do know they're fiction, has in all made up.

     

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  85.  
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    Gerald Robinson (profile), Jul 20th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Self driving cars

    Theses comments miss the elephant in the room. All today's motor vehicles are dangerously dependant on computers. The onboard computer controls the brakes and in some cases the throttle as well as having the ability to fire the air bags. These are easily hacked remotely as seen from papers over the last several years at hackers' conferences. Waiting for a good time on the LA Freeway and firing the airbags in multiple cars would cause a disaster—not as big as 911 but not trivial. BTW if more than two airbags trigger the car is totaled by the insurance company!

    All vehicles should be rigorously examined and required to pass independent security audits especially self driving cars.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2013 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    werd!

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2013 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "newer technology just makes for a bigger pie."

    That never stopped the MPAA from lobbying against newer technologies.

     

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  88.  
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    Gerald Robinson (profile), Jul 20th, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Self driving cars

    BTW there is one unverified report that someone (government implied) used the on board computer in a Mercedes to kill an inconvenient journalist.

     

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

  89.  
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    Gerald Robinson (profile), Jul 20th, 2013 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The auto industry got Tucker. And the Author's Guild is still trying to stop Google Books. Those who adapt survive. A distant cousin of mine inherited the family buggy whip business back in the '70s. There were only two old guys still there and no apprentices. The were making dressage and carriage whips for the horsey set. He looked around at demand and started making custom signal whips (used by the BDSM set). He is up to 12 employees and has a 3 month backlog. He still makes the carriage whips etc. but his business has expanded with the times.

     

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  90.  
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    John85851 (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 3:44pm

    Computer drivers could be safer than human drivers

    What I find interesting/ scary/ sad is that the incumbent car companies have had around 100 years to innovate and what do we have?
    We're still driving basically the same vehicle as we did 100 years ago: an internal combustion engine, powered by gasoline, and driven by a human. Sure, there have been huge cosmetic changes, such as aerodynamic (and stylish) car designs, larger interior space, and (usually forced-upon) increases in gas mileage.

    It's like GM complaining they couldn't compete with Japanese car companies simply because they chose to make SUV's instead of hybrid cars.

    Yes, a computer-driven car can malfunction, but how does this compare with human drivers, who could be drunk or tired or texting or distracted or lost or any number of other things. Or rather, compare a computer driver with human drivers during stressful times, such as merging onto the highway (that's a yield sign, not a stop sign) or obeying traffic laws (yes, you can turn right on a red light; slower traffic stay to the right, etc).

     

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  91.  
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    Gerald Robinson (profile), Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 6:59pm

    Re: Computer drivers could be safer than human drivers

    Well you don''t understand computers if you seriously think that! Current cars are subject to remote hacking of their computers and an least one suspected murder has occurred by that method. There is a Black Hat Conference paper on how to remotely control today's cars with $25 of hardware and a little code. So far Oracle hasn't managed to get the bugs out of JAVA in spite of over 10 years of massive efforts. What makes you think that a computer driver can be successfully debugged and protected from attack? I don't believe it.

     

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  92.  
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    Jared, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    Safety and Legalities

    I have mixed feelings about self-driving cars. I was in a car accident with a real human who did not know how to drive. She wasn't paying attention and I'm still dealing with the physical consequences a year and a half later. But what if it was a self-driving car? Who would be at fault? Would it be a product liability issue? Although I think with a lot of the bad drivers, it might be an improvement...

     

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  93.  
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    Gerald Robinson (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

    Self driving liability

    Not a bad point as a 20 year EMT and still a first responder I can say that most traffic accidents are not! maybe 3 to 4 in a hundred are. Drinking, eating, futzing with the radio, MP3 player, CD player, DVD player, texting, chatting on the cell phone (even the heads up ones), or messing with the in car navigation (better than trying to read directions or a map though) render yet one more driver dangerous at any speed!
    These cars will have massive black boxes that record everything including video and audio from inside the car.

    But without intelligent legislation at this point it will be determined by case law.

    What about the case where the driver—who is supposed to back stop the car is inattentive (very likely), incapacitated (drunk, drugged, a sleep, or just employees bad judgement like today?

    Now how about the car computer is hacked and it is driven by some one else into other cars or a bridge abutment?

    BTW check up on this http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/journalist-michael-hastings-killed-car-crash-article-1.1376 574

     

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  94.  
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    William, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 2:19am

    My only fear of this technology

    My only fear is that what would happen if for some strange reason the software or something about the technology malfunctions when someone happens to be crossing the street?.

    I doubt a foam bump would help if the car runs over somebody like your Mom, your Grandma or your best friend. But I guess a human being could also "malfunction" when he's drunk or thinking about something else while driving.

    Still. It's natural to be scared of new things at first... I suppose.

     

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  95.  
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    Gerald Robinson (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    The 15 mph bumpers are big heavy and expensive and don't work all that well. They can limit the damage to the car, but not other: vehicles, objects, pedestrians or even horses A 25mph bumper may be technically feasible but it will not be foam.

     

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  96.  
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    Gerald Robinson (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Autonomiious automobiles are currently a terrible idea

    As a 20 year EMT—now retired to a first responder—I know from experience—that only 3 to 7 "accidents" are actually accidental. The other ones are caused by a failure of the same component in one or more vehicles—that is the nut behind the wheel! This argues in favor of these cars.

    Against this are two things: today any computer program complex enough to do something interesting can't be completely debugged.
    Second is the inherently faulty design of the car's control systems. They are all on one common buss and compromise of any system will compromise vital ones as well as the WiFi or the entertainment center. This means that today's cars are easily hacked remotely via things like the tire pressure sensors. There have been presentations at most of the recent hacking conferences on the vulnerabilities of today's cars. Unless these are systematically addressed; which the automakers aren't interested in doing, cars and trucks are increasingly hazardous!
    Hopefully any autonomous vehicle will address these problems. But the lack of reliable software still remains.

     

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  97.  
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    Smith, Jan 28th, 2014 @ 5:23am

    self driving cars

    10% of all new cars in 2035 will be self driving

     

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


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