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Thoughts on Our Future With Self-Driving Cars

Like so many of us, my childhood was dominated by Lego. I kept mine in an old suitcase that, I almost hate to admit, I still have somewhere.

What did we build with all of those Lego bricks? Cars. Lots and lots of cars. Some sort of resembled real cars, some followed our imaginations off into the wilds.

I remember a particular car built by Michael, my next-door neighbor. Among its defining features was a horizontal board hanging off the nose. It wasn’t a wing, but rather a snooper that could read the road. This feature allowed the car’s driver to join the other occupants in the pool–because, seriously, what Lego dream car doesn’t have an onboard swimming pool?

That amazing future is here now. Tesla Autopilot, despite that news-making fatal wreck, has delivered thousands of safe miles. We recently sampled a new Cadillac SUV that would steer back into the lane when we veered it too close to the boundaries. This week we’re driving a Subaru fitted with radar cruise control, something that once seemed sci-fi yet is now rather commonplace.

More useful technology: My home sprinklers talk to the cloud and only operate when needed. I’ll probably pull the trigger on a Nest home automation system soon, too.

It’s not about having the latest gadget. I think about it like this: Why should I waste my time and brainpower on those mundane chores, especially when in the long run I can save some electricity, too? I’m going to let computers handle those functions so I can do more fun stuff.

The big question, of course, is how much control are we each willing to give up when it comes to driving?

I recently made two back-to-back trips across Florida, meaning plenty of time on 1–4 while surrounded by both locals and tourists. My M.O. is simple: I get in the middle or right lane, pick a comfortable speed, and gobble up the miles. I don’t need to constantly speed up and slow down in a futile effort to pass every other car on the road. My goal: Arrive alive and not stressed out.

From my comfortable spot I can also watch the flow of traffic, and there’s one pattern that we have all seen: Someone in the left lane holds up the faster drivers, leading them to pass on the right. Most people don’t expect to be passed on the right–or they’re just that oblivious to everything–so this sometimes results in a bit of chaos.

On one of my trips I watched a bus attempt to pass a slower car on the right. And partway through the maneuver, the car being passed decided to merge to the right–smack dab into the real estate currently occupied by the bus.

But wait, that’s not all: While the bus was passing that car on the right, another driver was passing the bus on the right.

So from my front-row seat, I watched this whole cluster play out in real time. Like three drunks, first they swerved one way and then in near unison they swerved the other. Fortunately after this dance–and more than a few gasps–everyone regained their positions and we all miraculously continued west toward Tampa with zero paint trading.

I don’t think we can make the modern driver any smarter, especially with all of the distractions we now face. You can blame smartphones, Pokémon or whatever, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to the meatbag behind the wheel.

Perhaps it is time to make our cars smarter.

We have discussed autonomous cars on our message board, and Flyin’ Miata’s Keith Tanner posted a logical analogy: “Riding horses used to be something you had to do to get around. The car took them out of the equation, so horse riding became recreational with dedicated riding areas. You no longer had to ride a horse when you didn’t want to. It became something you did because you wanted to.”

So maybe that’s our future. Those of us who enjoy driving cars will get to do so away from those who don’t–and away from those who view the driver’s seat as a place for personal grooming, cell phone calls and Facebooking.

Of course, there is Skynet, the futuristic all-knowing computer system from the “Terminator” series: “Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination.”

Which future is the correct one? Personally, I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic.

This article is from an old issue of Grassroots Motorsports. Get all the latest how-tos and stories for just $20 a year. Subscribe now.

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Comments

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Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 12:38 p.m.

Except for a dip during WWII, between 30,000 and 55,000 people have died on the road each and every year since ~1930.

As much as I hate to say it: If widespread implementation of autonomous driving cars can decrease that by an order of magnitude, which I believe it can, then there is absolutely no question in my mind about what should ultimately happen.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 12:42 p.m.

I'm getting tired of breeding the lowest common denominator. Great. One more thing to take away the consequences of poor decision making.

smokindav
smokindav Reader
5/9/17 12:50 p.m.

It needs to make speeds of 120mph+ a normal thing. Imagine being able to drive 1,000 miles in 5 hours overnight while sleeping. That is the big pay off for me.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 1:01 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: I'm getting tired of breeding the lowest common denominator. Great. One more thing to take away the consequences of poor decision making.

"Breeding the lowest common denominator" and "the consequences of poor decision making" in regards to driving fatalities are NOT one and the same...Or would you like to share those sentiments as your 'condolences' to the all of the families grieving the loss of loved ones as the result of drivers in other cars having made poor decisions?

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 1:05 p.m.
Driven5 wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: I'm getting tired of breeding the lowest common denominator. Great. One more thing to take away the consequences of poor decision making.

"Breeding the lowest common denominator" and "the consequences of poor decision making" in regards to driving fatalities are NOT one and the same...Or would you like to share those sentiments as your 'condolences' to the families grieving the loss of loved ones as the result of drivers in other cars having made poor decisions?

Sorry, your outrage is unmoving. I'm a firm believer in removing all nanny devices and bringing back natural selection. But then again, the "think of the children" argument has been beaten to death to the point that many of us no longer hear it.

Your argument assumes that all driving fatalities are the result of someone else's poor decisions. That is completely false. The opposite is not true either. So let's leave silly strawmen to guard the tomatoes.

Toebra
Toebra HalfDork
5/9/17 1:07 p.m.

I have driven literally hundreds of thousands of miles and never had a wreck where I was at fault. If what is stated above is true, that the number of deaths has remained between 30,000 and 55,000, then the number of deaths per mile has fallen quite a bit, which is a more informative metric than the total number without considering miles driven. The "logical analogy" cited in the original post is a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. I would say it is more the opposite. The advent of cars becoming common place increased individual autonomy, the advent of self driving cars is more likely to lead to reduced autonomy, as the passenger at the steering wheel will be limited by whatever the software designer had in mind when setting up the car.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
5/9/17 1:19 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: I'm getting tired of breeding the lowest common denominator. Great. One more thing to take away the consequences of poor decision making.

So, you are in favor of walking everywhere, not going to the doctor, avoiding vaccines, farming your own food, etc?

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/9/17 1:23 p.m.

The 'self driving' or 'auto pilot' status we are in now in is a looser as it 'self driving' and 'autopiolot' go out the window boosted by a contractual legal jet pack once someone gets hurt then it is the drivers fault (or contractors fault in the case of Uber). I applaud Ford throwing down and road-mapping getting rid of the steering wheel and really making it auto pilot. Yes, it is wholly terrible. But it is necessary as people are not paying attention and that is not going to change. As to natural selection? The more people that say alive, the sooner we wipe ourselves off of the planet. Good Riddance.

JimS
JimS New Reader
5/9/17 1:23 p.m.

You don't want to drive. Take a bus.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 1:26 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote:
Driven5 wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: I'm getting tired of breeding the lowest common denominator. Great. One more thing to take away the consequences of poor decision making.

"Breeding the lowest common denominator" and "the consequences of poor decision making" in regards to driving fatalities are NOT one and the same...Or would you like to share those sentiments as your 'condolences' to the families grieving the loss of loved ones as the result of drivers in other cars having made poor decisions?

Sorry, your outrage is unmoving. I'm a firm believer in removing all nanny devices and bringing back natural selection. But then again, the "think of the children" argument has been beaten to death to the point that many of us no longer hear it.

Your argument assumes that all driving fatalities are the result of someone else's poor decisions. That is completely false. The opposite is not true either. So let's leave silly strawmen to guard the tomatoes.

Your comments directly imply that a person who makes a poor decision is inherently one of the least common denominator, that a person who makes a bad decision is inherently the one who suffers the worst of the consequences, and now that people who die in any given unintentional incident are are inherently the weak link rather than the fittest in the course of natural selection.

Call it what you will, but I have no idea how simply pointing out the completely illogical and irrational nature of your statements, and providing one all-too-common example that illustrates the weakness in your arguments, is somehow "outrage".

If you'd like to leave silly strawmen to guard the tomatoes...You are more than welcome to start doing so at any time.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
5/9/17 1:26 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote:
Driven5 wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: I'm getting tired of breeding the lowest common denominator. Great. One more thing to take away the consequences of poor decision making.

"Breeding the lowest common denominator" and "the consequences of poor decision making" in regards to driving fatalities are NOT one and the same...Or would you like to share those sentiments as your 'condolences' to the families grieving the loss of loved ones as the result of drivers in other cars having made poor decisions?

Sorry, your outrage is unmoving. I'm a firm believer in removing all nanny devices and bringing back natural selection. But then again, the "think of the children" argument has been beaten to death to the point that many of us no longer hear it.

Your argument assumes that all driving fatalities are the result of someone else's poor decisions. That is completely false. The opposite is not true either. So let's leave silly strawmen to guard the tomatoes.

But that BS line is getting really, really old.

Just as it is to pretend that life will get better if we remove driving aids.

If you want to drive that way great. But why pretend that having others be that way makes it any better?

While David suggests that modern cars and driving is leading to more distraction- this isn't a new problem. Distractions have been around since the dawn of accidents (which pre-dates cars by millennia). Even IF you got rid of phones, radios, and got your car back to the driving basics, the odds of you being distracted at one time or another is still 100%. Whether that turns into an accident is a different story.

Also, the "lowest common denominator" is total crap, too. Even the highest common denominator person makes mistakes.

But then the idea of just thinning the herd for the sake of thinning it is, well, disturbing.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
5/9/17 1:29 p.m.
JimS wrote: You don't want to drive. Take a bus.

Which is great IF there is a bus to take.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
5/9/17 1:40 p.m.

Certainly no buses in my area, or any of the 600 mile radius I generally cover.

I drive 60-70,000 miles per year. Damn right I'd be happy to have a machine do it for me!

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 1:41 p.m.
Toebra wrote: I have driven literally hundreds of thousands of miles and never had a wreck where I was at fault. If what is stated above is true, that the number of deaths has remained between 30,000 and 55,000, then the number of deaths per mile has fallen quite a bit, which is a more informative metric than the total number without considering miles driven.

Yes, miles driven has gone up considerably, and subsequently deaths per mile driven have gone down considerably...But consider how much of that has been due to government mandated "nanny devices" like seatbelts and crumple zones that allow us to walk away from what are now considered minor collisions, but would have more than likely killed us years ago.

Also, in my humble opinion, total deaths regardless of miles driven is still a completely valid measurement when you start talking about being able to reducing it from tens of thousands to thousands, or maybe even hundreds.

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
5/9/17 1:50 p.m.

Let's skip the transportation altogether. Put the kids in the tube and plug their brains right into Facebook. Let self-driving UPS and Fedex trucks and Amazon Prime feed them.

But really-- I agree that it's coming. It will be one of the greatest changes in the standard (not necessarily quality) of life that we will live to see. It will lead to whole new lifeways, and it's the only way to cope with the population pressure in urban centers.

Imagine a world where cars not only accelerate at the end of onramps, but embrace a complete lack of turn-signalling.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
5/9/17 1:52 p.m.

The day they outlaw operating a car by yourself is the day I leave this country. I have no desire to own a car that drives itself, and I have no desire to live in a country that won't allow me to operate an automobile without a computer deciding my every move.

For the non-enthusiast masses, it's no doubt safer. However, I don't live my life looking for the "safest" way to do everything---- actually it's quite the opposite. I frequently seek out danger as it keeps me vibrant and alive. I'd rather live in a dangerous world, than be isolated in a perfectly safe "cocoon" while my soul dies.

Get off my Lawn!

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
5/9/17 1:57 p.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: The day they outlaw operating a car by yourself is the day I leave this country. I have no desire to own a car that drives itself, and I have no desire to live in a country that won't allow me to operate an automobile without a computer deciding my every move. For the non-enthusiast masses, it's no doubt safer. However, I don't live my life looking for the "safest" way to do everything---- actually it's quite the opposite. I frequently seek out danger as it keeps me vibrant and alive. I'd rather live in a dangerous world, than be isolated in a perfectly safe "cocoon" while my soul dies. Get off my Lawn!

That's great and all.

But, once again, Enthusiests over estimate how many people out there actually like driving. Most of them do it because they have to. Just like 150 years ago, people had to ride horses. Some liked it, some did it because there wasn't a realistic alternative.

There are a lot of different elements to a engaged lifestyle. Some being dangerous, some being technical, some being personal. From a global standpoint, one isn't really more than another.

We car people need to deal with it.

People need to transport themselves to do stuff. And 99% of those times isn't fun.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro PowerDork
5/9/17 2:05 p.m.

As long as there is no self-riding motorcycle...

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
5/9/17 2:06 p.m.

Alfadriver---- To each his own. The masses are welcome to embrace autonomous living in whatever aspect they like---- just as I am welcome to live without those aids. I won't begrudge those who would rather let a computer take control.....that's just not me.

I love to drive-- even in mundane situations. It's one of the things I enjoy the most about being an adult. I can imagine a time in the near future when they take "meatbag driven" cars off the road, or restrict their use--- for safety's sake. I'd rather not live in that society.

If I was a horse enthusiast 150 years ago, I probably would've moved out to the country, instead of dealing with the auto's takeover. If technology does the same with cars---- I'll just move somewhere where "human driven" cars are still allowed. I'm sure these places will still exist for the rest of my lifetime.

wae
wae Dork
5/9/17 2:13 p.m.

In reply to Joe Gearin:

I'd say that I'd like to receive your newsletter, but I guess I already do! I've always said that a self-driving car would be like paying someone to drink my beer for me.

A self driving RV, though, might convince me...

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 2:14 p.m.

Another huge benefit to mass implementation of self driving cars, is the potential for significantly reducing traffic congestion and travel times in more urban areas. And I think that's really where the line would get drawn. In more urban areas, there may be restrictions on driving your own car within the next few decades. But I don't believe that can, will, or should be able to extend to more rural areas for considerably longer after that.

And when driving your own car in urban areas does inevitably go the way of the horse...You'll probably be able to find me operating an automotive 'dude-ranch' somewhere, so that city-folk can come out and experience what it was like to drive your own cars back in the day.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
5/9/17 2:29 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: Another huge benefit to mass implementation of self driving cars, is the potential for significantly reducing traffic congestion and travel times in more urban areas. And I think that's really where the line would get drawn. In more urban areas, there may be restrictions on driving your own car within the next few decades. But I don't believe that can or will be able to extend to more rural areas for considerably longer after that.

If they plan it properly (a big "if") I can see the possibility of reduced congestion through better traffic flow. In other conditions, where traffic isn't dense, it will likely take quite a bit more time to reach your destination---- unless they allow higher speed limits for autonomous cars than they do for human driven ones.

Keep in mind, an autonomous vehicle will travel at the speed limit......but not over. In today's travel nearly every driver is speeding 5-10mph over the limit. Some are going much, much faster than that. I can't see the insurance companies allowing autonomous cars to speed.

"Hal, I'd like to make some time and go 65 in this 55mph zone"

"Steve....I'm sorry, I can't allow that---- it's for your own safety"

"Dammit Hal, I'm late for my wedding, I need to get there quickly"

"Steve.....I'm sensing hostility.....perhaps you should sleep" (chemical fog enters car cabin....putting Steve to sleep)

ztnedman1
ztnedman1 New Reader
5/9/17 2:31 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: Another huge benefit to mass implementation of self driving cars, is the potential for significantly reducing traffic congestion, travel times, and subsequently energy usage, in more urban areas.

But it won't... For the same reasons floods occur.

It may slightly reduce, assuming no glitches or errors occur, but the congestion and rush hour traffic will never go away, especially when you keep 1 person per 60sq ft.

RevRico
RevRico SuperDork
5/9/17 2:39 p.m.

And the whole terrible conditions of the roads and bridges negating any possible increases in speeds from the autonomous vehicles.

Sure if every vehicle on the road is synced up they could travel at great speed safely. Except potholes, grading changes, the bridges that are falling apart all over the place, couldn't handle such an increased load and would probably make things more hazardous.

The long and short of it, from my perspective, is that mass implementation couldn't happen or wouldn't benefit as much without an equally massive infrastructure upgrade.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 2:49 p.m.

In reply to ztnedman1:

Of course the congestion won't completely go away, but I do believe the improvements could be substantial. We are locked into inefficiencies by design, due to the nature of human drivers, which are compounded by the inherent inefficiencies of average and below average human drivers. I has been long known how just one slow car, or one car braking more than necessary, can cause a miles-long traffic jam. Beyond that though, many roads are also not actually as over-burdened as many people would believe.

http://gizmodo.com/5984934/most-traffic-jams-are-caused-by-just-a-handful-of-idiots

Clickbait Article said: In a study conducted by MIT and Berkeley, 680,000 Boston commuters were tracked along their commutes—anonymously—as their cellphones jumped from tower to tower. The resulting data gave a better picture of commuter habits than any old-fashioned survey had in the past. During rush hour, a massive 98 percent of roads were below peak capacity. But the two percent that were over capacity were enough to cause traffic jams that spiraled out into the less crowded roads. Granted, not all cities are the same, but it goes to show the potential power of just a few crowded streets.
Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/9/17 2:51 p.m.

In reply to Driven5 :

I recently read an interview piece somewhere... wherin a transportation professor expert person hypothesized (and seemed to know what they were talking about) that self driving cars are better in many scenarios traffic wise that was not the case in the urban core. Even if the self driving cars have 4 passengers they will clog the urban core just the same as dumb cars as they are still way less human dense than buses or trains and pedestrians as the space needed for unloading, turning around, parking, fixing, towing, all that 'car' vehicle stuff remains low value urban clogging. I had not thought that until I read the piece but it is makes sense.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
5/9/17 2:54 p.m.

Everything Joe said.

You will definitely have to pry my steering wheel from my cold, dead, hands.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 2:57 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: Another huge benefit to mass implementation of self driving cars, is the potential for significantly reducing traffic congestion and travel times in more urban areas. And I think that's really where the line would get drawn. In more urban areas, there may be restrictions on driving your own car within the next few decades. But I don't believe that can, will, or should be able to extend to more rural areas for considerably longer after that. And when driving your own car in urban areas does inevitably go the way of the horse...You'll probably be able to find me operating an automotive 'dude-ranch' somewhere, so that city-folk can come out and experience what it was like to drive your own cars back in the day.

You're expecting the same people that can't figure out how to time traffic lights to be able to program millions of vehicles to ease traffic congestion. If you can't see the irony and laughability of that I can't help you.

And yes... we (as a society) have been giving up freedoms for the illusion of safety for decades. Sadly we end up with neither freedom nor safety in the end. Probably why I lean towards that whole Libertarian concept of you do you, I do me. I don't stop you, you don't stop me.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 3:03 p.m.

In reply to Shaun:

Obviously self-driving cars aren't as human dense as mass transit, and as such each self-driving car takes up just as much space as a dumb car on an individual basis, but I'd like to see where there is evidence that they would actually clog the urban core just as bad as dumb cars if utilized intelligently.

Ironically, the aversion of so many individuals to using mass transit, might ultimately be a significant part of the long-term downfall of individual driving in urban, and even suburban areas.

JeffHarbert
JeffHarbert HalfDork
5/9/17 3:03 p.m.

I love driving, but there are times when spending hours behind the wheel is a drag. I'd love it if an AI could take the drudgery out of long road trips and let me grab a nap.

Also, while I enjoy flying, I hate airports and airlines. Security theater, delays, clueless infrequent flyers trying to get away with five carry-on bags, crying babies, the entire experience sucks. Self-driving cars would completely replace domestic air travel for me, even coast to coast. Just wake me up when the car needs gas and let me out to stretch once in a while.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/9/17 3:04 p.m.

I'm on board with them, mainly due to safety. Traffic improvements are a bonus. Oh, and that^. Flying sucks. Autonomous cars could make regional travel so much better.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 3:10 p.m.

Mass transit only works when the population density reaches a certain point. While those limits are reached in places like New York, Chicago, LA,DC.... it doesn't in the other 95% area of the country. It's the same ol' Shtick with everything else. Lets push for the one solution to cover the entire country! It will either only work in the population density areas or more commonly it works for no one. Then it just costs everyone a fortune and we lose yet more liberties.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
5/9/17 3:16 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: Mass transit only works when the population density reaches a certain point. While those limits are reached in places like New York, Chicago, LA,DC.... it doesn't in the other 95% area of the country. It's the same ol' Shtick with everything else. Lets push for the one solution to cover the entire country! It will either only work in the population density areas or more commonly it works for no one. Then it just costs everyone a fortune and we lose yet more liberties.

Correction.

Actual data I have seen shows that there are 2-3 mass transit systems in the entire country which can run without government assistance based on selling tickets alone.

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/9/17 3:19 p.m.

So, if there are currently 30,000-50,000 traffic deaths per year in the US, and automated vehicles can cut that number in half (15,000-25,000) what kind of effect do all of those still-living people have? Over a decade, that's at least 150,000 more humans humaning up the place, along with all of the good and bad that entails. More available workers/fewer jobs? More tax base/more need for gov assistance? More need for food/less space to grow it? More strain on the environment/increased efficiency from robot overlords?

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/9/17 3:22 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: Except for a dip during WWII, between 30,000 and 55,000 people have died on the road each and every year since ~1930.

Has the number of total drivers on the road annually grown over that period of time? A real measure would be the annual percentage of drivers who get into accidents, and the % of accidents that are fatal.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 3:25 p.m.
tuna55 wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: Mass transit only works when the population density reaches a certain point. While those limits are reached in places like New York, Chicago, LA,DC.... it doesn't in the other 95% area of the country. It's the same ol' Shtick with everything else. Lets push for the one solution to cover the entire country! It will either only work in the population density areas or more commonly it works for no one. Then it just costs everyone a fortune and we lose yet more liberties.

Correction.

Actual data I have seen shows that there are 2-3 mass transit systems in the entire country which can run without government assistance based on selling tickets alone.

So, what you're saying is that the vast majority are not the panacea that we are told they are?

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/9/17 3:28 p.m.
alfadriver wrote:
JimS wrote: You don't want to drive. Take a bus.

Which is great IF there is a bus to take.

Oh yes, the "lifes not fair" argument. People dont plan to fail, they fail to plan. If youre not interested in driving, plan to live in a place where the non-driving-life-choice is logical. Dont make youre inability to drive properly - aka not facetweeting every 8 seconds - my problem.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 3:29 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote:
alfadriver wrote:
JimS wrote: You don't want to drive. Take a bus.

Which is great IF there is a bus to take.

Oh yes, the "lifes not fair" argument. People dont plan to fail, they fail to plan. If youre not interested in driving, plan to live in a place where the non-driving-life-choice is logical. Dont make youre inability to drive properly - aka not facetweeting every 8 seconds - my problem.

Bingo. Choices have consequences. We, as a society, have forgotten that.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UberDork
5/9/17 3:37 p.m.

Who here on this board (other than Mr. Wallens) has been behind the wheel of a self-driving car before?

"raises hand" I have. And it's WEIRD.

A co-worker has a Tesla Model S P90D, and regardless of what you think about electric cars: it's an incredible piece of technology. First off, it's by far the fastest car I've ever had the pleasure of driving. It's brain-meltingly fast, and your eyes and body don't know what to do when you mash the go pedal. You just hang on and do your best.

But the freaky part is Autopilot. My coworker LOVES driving, but he also LOVES technology. He says he can loaf to work on the highway while relaxing, sipping his morning coffee and reading the news. When the car needs him, it'l let him know. I tried it out, and the first impulse is to grab the wheel. He urged me not to, and the car started taking corners on its own and maintaining speed. When you want to take over, just grab the wheel or hit one of the pedals, and you are back in control. Simple as that. I'm sorry, but that's pretty damn cool from a technological standpoint. Strange, but cool.

Now, would I advocate for everyone to have a self-driving car? NO WAY. NEVER. But, if the option was there in more vehicles for a system like Autopilot, that wouldn't be such a bad thing, especially if you have a rural commute where you rack up the miles. In certain situations, it's brilliant.

Having experienced one, would I seek out that option in a vehicle? Not likely. It's too pricey, and probably useless on my commute, as I take a lot of back roads. And honestly, I hope it stays in the top tier cars, because the Corolla-driving road loafs I deal with on a daily basis would likely get more annoying and unpredictable if they were autonomous car road loafs.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
5/9/17 3:45 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote: Everything Joe said. You will definitely have to pry my steering wheel from my cold, dead, hands.

For the most part, I agree with both Joe, and Toyman. However, I don't necessarily see human operated cars being outlawed. I see them being cost prohibitive to insure. I also think the autonomous cars will "time" stop lights shortly after coming on line. Maybe they will be able to drive 1' apart since the human element has been removed. That should make up for having to drive the speed limit on the way to the city. Then again, maybe they'll be allowed to drive 120 mph with their superior brake modulation and space age sensors. I'm glad I'm middle aged. The future looks dull.

Image somewhat related.

DrBoost
DrBoost UltimaDork
5/9/17 3:47 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: Except for a dip during WWII, between 30,000 and 55,000 people have died on the road each and every year since ~1930. As much as I hate to say it: If widespread implementation of autonomous driving cars can decrease that by an order of magnitude, which I believe it can, then there is absolutely no question in my mind about what should ultimately happen.

The medical community is trying to figure out how to deal with the organ shortages that will come along with autonomous cars. Never thought of that.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/9/17 3:48 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: Dont make youre inability to drive properly - aka not facetweeting every 8 seconds - my problem.

I'm confused by this argument. This is exactly the current situation in society. A lot of people can't drive well, are distracted, tired, drunk, etc. and still choose to get behind the wheel. As Bobzilla said, choices have consequences. Unfortunately those consequences aren't always just for themselves.

Giving the masses, the majority of people who find driving to be a chore, access to cars that can drive themselves sure as hell seems like a win-win scenario to me.

KyAllroad
KyAllroad PowerDork
5/9/17 3:57 p.m.
DrBoost wrote:
Driven5 wrote: Except for a dip during WWII, between 30,000 and 55,000 people have died on the road each and every year since ~1930. As much as I hate to say it: If widespread implementation of autonomous driving cars can decrease that by an order of magnitude, which I believe it can, then there is absolutely no question in my mind about what should ultimately happen.

The medical community is trying to figure out how to deal with the organ shortages that will come along with autonomous cars. Never thought of that.

It all depends on your POV. If you look at each and every case, you'll cry out in anguish at the unfairness of disease/accident/death and insist that we as a society do everything we can to save every single life no matter what.

But back up and look at the numbers facing our planet and increasing the rate of die off isn't just a good idea, it's darn near a requirement for the survival of the species.

Since most of us fall somewhere in the middle of that continuum, I'll say this. Self driving cars are the future, hopefully we embrace the tech and have it work for us because if we go down the nanny state path we end up with something between HAL and Skynet. And that would suck.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 4:22 p.m.

While Dan Brown has definitely beaten the Catholic church to death and back again in his books.... his latest I can actually relate to.

I personally don't care anymore. Seriously. What has happened with our society as a whole, I'm ready for it to burn down and a new forest to regrow. Maybe it's fatalistic. Maybe I (like many others) are just fed up with the stupidity and arrogance of all sides lately. Maybe it's a little of both.

Irregardless, you want your silly self driving car go for it. I will mercilessly make fun of you for it.

ztnedman1
ztnedman1 New Reader
5/9/17 4:46 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: In reply to Shaun: Obviously self-driving cars aren't as human dense as mass transit, and as such each self-driving car takes up just as much space as a dumb car on an individual basis, but I'd like to see where there is evidence that they would actually clog the urban core just as bad as dumb cars if utilized intelligently. Ironically, the aversion of so many individuals to using mass transit, might ultimately be a significant part of the long-term downfall of individual driving in urban, and even suburban areas.

You need evidence that thousands of cars entering a finite area will still cause traffic?

Liquid by definition has perfect volume utilization, and does it autonomously! Keep pouring water into a finite area faster than it can release it and you got a problem.

An individual person is as small a space as someone can cover, yet walking around Disney is still a damn mess.

Merging is one of the biggest slowdowns during rush hour sans accidents. But you cannot fold the cars like a zipper. You would need to recreate the space between cars to handle the next merge which means the strings of cars per lane will increase each time. Add enough merging cars and enough merges and the car at the end of the line ain't moving very fast.

I fully believe that all this effort for autonomous cars will fail. However many active assists will likely survive and be adopted.

Full autonomous cars are a fantasy just like flying cars in the 50s. They were convinced it would happen. It didn't. It's an incomplete and expensive answer for a question that has already been answered.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 5:02 p.m.
KyAllroad wrote: But back up and look at the numbers facing our planet and increasing the rate of die off isn't just a good idea, it's darn near a requirement for the survival of the species.

You're neglecting the option of reducing the birth rate instead. Of course, then one side will argue that saving lives through science and engineering is infringing on their freedom of unlimited procreation without overpopulating the planet. And the other side will argue that unlimited procreation is infringing on their freedom to save lives through science and engineering without overpopulating the planet. The question is, who gets to decide whose freedom gets infringed upon or lost?

The common theme in pretty much every major hot-button topic, which goes completely (and conveniently) ignored by both sides, is that BOTH sides are actually infringing on the others freedom. It is by no means a one way street, as each 'side' would so vocally try to get everybody else to believe.

So this whole notion of complete individual freedom as long as it doesn't infringe on another's freedom, also apparently known as "You do you, I do me. I don't stop you, you don't stop me.", is nothing more than a myth at best...And lie at worst. Every freedom ultimately comes at the expense of another freedom. To think otherwise is naive.

In much the same way, one side will argue their freedom to drive their own car, while the other side will argue for their freedom to not get killed by somebody driving their own car...It's not a question of simply losing freedoms, but rather is a question of which freedom is more important than which other freedom to society as a whole?

KyAllroad
KyAllroad PowerDork
5/9/17 5:14 p.m.

In reply to Driven5:

As long as berkeleying feels good there is ZERO chance that the birth rate will fall. And since we are all so very very wired to obey the pleasure center of our primate brains, that's not going away either.

The biological drive to reproduce is just ridiculous and (one could argue) completely against our self interests as a species. Look at parts of the planet which have been wracked with disease, famine, drought, and war for literally generations. Like Somalia for instance, you'd think that a sensible person would look around and say "no way I'm bringing my potential offspring into this environment". And yet the place is positively awash with kids.

And to fully steer this thread into the weeds, global famine or disease is the only realistic way to get the numbers back into the territory of "sustainable". The trick is something bad enough to make a real difference but not so bad that systems collapse and the population reduction becomes self sustaining and we regress to a pre-industrial condition.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 5:20 p.m.

Like, say.... a virus that limits reproduction to 1 in 3. that would work... for a while.

Also, personal freedoms are not fantasy nor a lie. Trying to force your way onto another is another story andsure doesn't follow the "you do you, I'll do me" philosophy in the least. It's like you're purposely ignoring what is said and going on a tangent.

If people would stop for a moment and realize the one simple fact of life: you're not getting out of it alive. So stop worrying about so much stupid crap. "I can't go to Paris now, the terrorists might blow us up" heard recently with co-workers. Sorry, I'm not that paranoid. IF my time is up, so be it. Until then I'll enjoy what I can. I just wish others would think the same way and stop trying to force others to do what they want them to.

patgizz
patgizz UltimaDork
5/9/17 5:21 p.m.

if I could hop in my truck with trailer hooked up and show up in Florida 14 hours later only having to deal with fuel stops i'd be happy as hell.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
5/9/17 5:35 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote:
Driven5 wrote: Except for a dip during WWII, between 30,000 and 55,000 people have died on the road each and every year since ~1930.

Has the number of total drivers on the road annually grown over that period of time? A real measure would be the annual percentage of drivers who get into accidents, and the % of accidents that are fatal.

Well, there are 200 million drivers in the US. 3% of them get into accidents each year. Half of those (1.5% of all drivers) are injury accidents. 0.0001% of the population (or less) are involved in fatalities... It's easy to be in the 97% of drivers that don't get into accidents each year. Extremely easy. It's mind-bogglingly hard to get that 0.0001% number much smaller. And really, at what cost?

But, and for those that think they'll move if autonomous cars get regulated into mandatory use, you really think there's going to be a developed nation that won't follow suit, that will also allow you the other freedoms you enjoy? Insurance companies being what they are, and safety of allowing a mix of autonomous and non-autonomous cars together will keep most civilized nations following the same path. Sucks for us that love to drive, but it's likely coming regardless and I really don't see it doing as much good as proponents claim (even if it would be nice to tell your car to take you home after a night on the town).

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 5:37 p.m.
ztnedman1 wrote: You need evidence that thousands of cars entering a finite area will still cause traffic? Liquid by definition has perfect volume utilization, and does it autonomously! Keep pouring water into a finite area faster than it can release it and you got a problem.

Please read my statement again, maybe a little more slowly this time. I said I'm looking for evidence that there would be no appreciable improvement with self-driving cars, not that there would be no problem at all.

What you're talking about assumes there are enough cars on the road to all physically be locked together, bumper to bumper. The article I reference above indicates that this is NOT actually the primary problem. And you cant just look at one one ramp to solve the problem. You have to look at the previous and subsequent on AND off ramps. Cars get on. Cars get off. There would necessarily be faster and slower flows, but the total flow rate could be maximized by altering car density and speed based on variables that could be known by the cars communicating with each other in advance.

Lets say the car immediatly in front of you exits, but your car knows another will be merging at the subsequent on ramp, so it maintains the gap for that car to time it's acceleration up the on ramp to enter the flow of traffic into. No speeding up, followed by no slowing down. Traffic could also be diverted actively to minimize overcrowding on the few roads that people don't know any better than to do so.

Or maybe that your car needs to move over two lanes to exit. The immediately surrounding cars could compress the spaces between themselves temporarily, to open a large enough gap to let the exiting car through, and then redistribute the space back once the existing car has passed through. But as long as they're not physically touching, that would only have to affect a few cars forward and rearward, since they're all communicating with each other to know it's a temporary (and thus localized) disruption. Meanwhile human drivers would cause the entire line of cars behind to slow down (more and more the further back you look) in order to open the same 'temporary' gap.

Yes it gets far more complicated as the number of different possibilities are expanded upon, but that's where the advantage of computers talking to each other grows exponentially over human drivers reacting to each other based on no communication beyond a few lights, a horn, and a finger.

Computers can analyze so many possible scenarios that they can come up with solutions contrary to even the best human minds, that end up working better. Consider the computer that beat one of the best human players of the game Go, at one point making a move during it's path to victory that was so incomprehensible to the human player that he had to leave the room for 15 minutes to regain his composure.

RevRico
RevRico SuperDork
5/9/17 5:38 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: . In much the same way, one side will argue their freedom to drive their own car, while the other side will argue for their freedom to not get killed by somebody driving their own car...It's not a question of simply losing freedoms, but rather is a question of which freedom is more important than which other freedom to society as a whole?

Freedom is an illusion created by laws. The fact that laws exist is proof that freedom doesn't.

As far as this example I quoted though, that goes back to actions having consequences. You made the choice to get onto a roadway, surrounded by 2 ton objects traveling at great speed. You're choosing to put your "freedom to live" in everyone else's hands at that point, regardless of who is in control of what.

Having so much trust and faith in machinery, or more specifically the programmers and manufacturers, it's almost deep enough for (redacted). To think a program and tool made by a man will have no flaws, no accidents, and not randomly break down just because the bag of meat isn't in control is as foolish as thinking the world is resting on the back of a turtle.

If you want to remove the "human element", design an AI that can learn, and let that create and design everything with magical unbreakable materials, otherwise, you're at the whim of designers.

Plus, already seeing government agencies trying to turn autonomous cars into weapons should be enough to tell the normal person this is a terrible idea all around, but that's another variety of off topic.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 5:40 p.m.

In reply to Chris_V:

People hate the real numbers. Much like the firearms debate, the actual numbers just don't play out for the amount of energy put forth. But numbers and facts have never gotten in the way of a good agenda before, so I see no reason for it to now.

According to this... there were 262 million registered cars, 13 million accidents, 1.7 million accidents with injury and 32,000 deaths. So, the starting numbers we have been quoting were already overly inflated... and the deaths per mile is insanely low. Don't forget this also includes pdestrians and bicyclists that will still pull out in front of 2-ton moving vehicles (5300 in 2015, dropping the overall down to 27,000) and another 1,000 bicyclists. So no we are down to 26000 motorists, of 218 million LICENSED drivers.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 5:46 p.m.
Chris_V wrote: 0.0001% of the population (or less) are involved in fatalities.

I think you need to multiply by 100x to get to a percentage on that fatalities.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 5:54 p.m.
Driven5 wrote:
Chris_V wrote: 0.0001% of the population (or less) are involved in fatalities.

I think you need to multiply by 100x to get to a percentage on that fatalities.

No... I don't think so. It works out to .00119% by the actual numbers. I know, I know... it doesn't fit the agenda. But I'm not going to cook the books so you can feel better about your argument.

EDIT: that is also the actual percentage for registered drivers..... go with total population like Chris is talking and that number drops to .00076%

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 5:59 p.m.

also, deaths per mile... that gets funnier. US DOE shows the total miles driven per year in the US at over 3 trillion. 26000 deaths.... 3 trillion miles. I'd say we're doing pretty well.

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/9/17 6:05 p.m.

You have a knack at taking a what could be a reasonable argument and just turning a phrase or two in order to make it sound really unreasonable.

Bobzilla wrote: In reply to Chris_V: People hate the real numbers. Much like the firearms debate, the actual numbers just don't play out for the amount of energy put forth. But numbers and facts have never gotten in the way of a good agenda before, so I see no reason for it to now. According to this... there were 262 million registered cars, 13 million accidents, 1.7 million accidents with injury and 32,000 deaths. So, the starting numbers we have been quoting were already overly inflated... and the deaths per mile is insanely low. Don't forget this also includes pdestrians and bicyclists that will still pull out in front of 2-ton moving vehicles (5300 in 2015, dropping the overall down to 27,000) and another 1,000 bicyclists. So no we are down to 26000 motorists, of 218 million LICENSED drivers.
Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 6:19 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: No... I don't think so. It works out to .00119% by the actual numbers. I know, I know... it doesn't fit the agenda. But I'm not going to cook the books so you can feel better about your argument.

Cook the books = basic math?

Chris was off by 100x, and you're still off by 10x.

32,000/262,000,000 = .000122
.000122 * 100 = .0122%

And while it's lying with statistics to only include motorist fatalities as being affected by this technology (many pedestrians/bikers are killed while by driver error while having the right of way, they don't all just illegally walkiin front of cars that have the right of way and can't stop in time), and even using a motorist statistic that include more than just licensed drivers as being potential fatalities but then dividing by the number of registered cars or licensed drivers, I also don't think it changes the percentage much. There would be reductions across the board. So it would most closely be approximated by total road fatalities divided by total number of Americans...Which is still (32k/320M*100) = .01%...Not .001% or .0001%

Which is still pretty good for framing it in a positive light, as a form of pushing a contrarian "agenda".

Kreb
Kreb UltraDork
5/9/17 6:34 p.m.

A few things:

-Someone listed crush zones and seat belts as nannies. I don't see it that way. A nanny actively intervenes in your behavior. Those two things are passive.

-I haven't seen it noted that accidents are in fact up - ending a very long run of safer and safer accident/mile ratios. I believe that's primarily a function of distracted driving, which suggests that a major part of driving automation is to make the world safer for idiots.

-It'll be a long time before I'll trust the things. It's one thing to navigate a pleasant, well-ordered freeway or suburb. But big cities are incredibly complex. Can you imagine a Tesla trying to wind its way through some Asian cities? If electronics could have a nervous breakdown, Ho Chi Minh City would do it.

-Some accidents will still happen. I'd much rather have a shot at saving my own bacon than leave it to a computer.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
5/9/17 6:41 p.m.

Put me in the not interested, no way, no how, never ever camp. I have no use for a self driving car.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 6:53 p.m.

Something for the pro side to consider: legal and moral implications when said self driving car must make the inevitable "kill or die" decision. Obviously these miracles of modern science will be designed to avoid accidents etc. what happens when it encounters another vehicle driven by a meat bag that puts it into a Kobyashi Maru? Where either the occupants it is carrying will die or the other vehicle/pedestrian/cyclist will die.

First off, do we as a society want to open that Pandora's box? Allowing a computer to decide which is better? If that is ok then is it ok to allow hospitals to decide that a patient isn't going to make it so stop treatment?

Even better, how will the courts decide fault? What if an autonomous car, in the act of avoiding an accident causes another?

The only way that these could be prevented would be if all non autonomous vehicles were immediately removed from all roadways and nothing but autonomous vehicles are allowed. Because I damn well guarantee that no matter how idiot proof we try and make these, there will arrive before us an idiot of unbelievable idiotness.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 6:57 p.m.

And on a last note...... meatbaga aka pilots have been out flying their replacements for a long time. Doing things that do not make sense but in the end is the right thing to do. Sully is one of those that did the unthinkable and did it without thinking. We don't have an AI yet that can free think like a human with tears of experience. That day may come. But until then, I'll take my chances.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/9/17 7:00 p.m.

You guys are looking at single year numbers...

The odds of a car occupant dying in a transportation accident were 1 in 47,718 in 2013; the lifetime odds were 1 in 606 for a person born in 2013.

http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/mortality-risk

Chances of dying in any type of motor vehicle accident during your lifetime if born in 2013: 1 in 113 Those are pretty berkeleying high odds. It is the #1 cause of death by accidental injury.

Obviously this is apples to oranges but... commercial airline flights are near-autonomous. Automotive fatality rates are 750 times higher per mile traveled. Should we not be concerned about safety on planes anymore?

The number of deaths per passenger-mile on commercial airlines in the United States between 2000 and 2010 was about 0.2 deaths per 10 billion passenger-miles, [23] [24] while for driving, the rate was 1.5 per 100 million vehicle-miles for 2000, which is 150 deaths per 10 billion miles for comparison with the air travel rate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_safety_in_the_United_States

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
5/9/17 7:03 p.m.

The loss of individual autonomy is the elephant in the room. I don't think it's possible to fully account for the psychological and societal side effects that would come from removing the most tangible aspect of personal autonomy that most people in this country have. Spend enough time examining the neurotic thought processes of people who 'cant afford a car' and you will start to understand how effectively the perceived lack of choice can predict the choices you actually end up making. America as a society is more or less based on the concept of placating enough of the population with a perceived quality of life that they will allow and even contribute to the absolute debasement of anyone outside their monkeysphere. In my mind, there's a very good chance that removing the illusion of autonomy and freedom that comes from the daily subconscious gratification of a powerful machine responding to your whims will render our fractious, classist, racist, jingoist mass of other-hating citizenry down into one forcefully 'integrated' class who will be far more aware of their assigned roles as drones and less willing to go through the motions of the fruitless labors they used to happily pilot their own cars to and from. The whole house of cards could go down!

So if our society wasn't disintegrating fast enough, maybe autonomous cars will accelerate the process enough that i'll see the beginning of the next phase of humanity in my lifetime instead of just the slow painful end of the last one!

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 7:05 p.m.

I love that there are so many people that can see the future with such certainty. Things like "there will be reductions across the board". Really? What if there's an increase across the board? You can guess all you want but in the end that is all it is. A guess. No better and no worse than mine.

My belief: we're already seeing an uptick in accidents. The pro-auto are attributing this to higher levels of distraction. What if it's the drivers waiting on the car to save them? "My other car tells me when there is another car beside me. I diidj t see it". "I thought the brakes would stop me even though I had the gas pushed".

The more we add, the more people stop driving and start allowing the car to do it for them. When those things break, they have accidents because they are no longer involved in actually driving. This is why I say take away the nanny devices. Active lane departure, brake assist, back up assist, self parking, etc. accidents are going to happen. Period. Making the vehicles structurally safer is smart. Making it drive for you is not.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 7:11 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin:

How many people die of natural causes in the us every day? What's the overall, absolute cause of death in every single human being born in the last 10,000 years? I can tell you it isn't cars, guns, religion or famine. It's not plagues, cancers, or sickness. It's birth.

Every single person on this board has a 1 in 2 chance of waking up tomorrow. Those, my friend, are the true odds. Cars are our outlet. Take that away and that 50/50 E36 M3 for tomorrow starts to get iffy.

So sorry. These odds and percentages are laughable. I'm willing to bet more people die of natural causes every week than are killed by a car in a year. Whatever numbers you want to use.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
5/9/17 7:30 p.m.
Nick (Bo) Comstock wrote: Put me in the not interested, no way, no how, never ever camp. I have no use for a self driving car.

I can think of one or two...

Others not suitable for mixed audiences.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 8:08 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: Every single person on this board has a 1 in 2 chance of waking up tomorrow. Those, my friend, are the true odd.

Schrodinger's statistics?...LOL!

KyAllroad
KyAllroad PowerDork
5/9/17 8:16 p.m.

In reply to Vigo:

Wow. Dude, I thought I had a dark view of the world. That's impressive!

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/9/17 8:16 p.m.

In reply to Driven5:

Life's odds. We don't know what tomorrow brings or if tomorrow will even happen I'll take that .01% chance that I'll die in a car. Hell if odds were that good in vegas we'd all be rich

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 8:41 p.m.

In reply to Bobzilla:

Well, I guess you win...I don't know anybody who can argue with somebody whose "life's odds" statistically have 50% of the current population dying each and every day.

oldtin
oldtin PowerDork
5/9/17 10:11 p.m.

Keith mentioned the car replacing the horse as an example. I think it may be more line air travel. Used to be kind of exclusive and a nice way to get around. Now that it's available to the masses it has its convenience, but also kind of sucks as an experience. Hmm. guess the same can be said of commuting now. The other day I'm making my way home cruising with traffic at about 70 and Joe Doushenozzle goes by outpacing traffic by 30-40 mph doing hard crosses of three lanes of heavy traffic, using the emergency lane multiple times and being an overall rolling hazard leaving havoc in his wake. As much as I hate the idea of autonomous cars I can see the appeal of not having to share the road with that guy at the helm of a 5,000 lb suv.

Stats are interesting for populations. On an individual basis things are binary

jstand
jstand HalfDork
5/9/17 10:19 p.m.
KyAllroad wrote: In reply to Driven5: As long as berkeleying feels good there is ZERO chance that the birth rate will fall. And since we are all so very very wired to obey the pleasure center of our primate brains, that's not going away either. The biological drive to reproduce is just ridiculous and (one could argue) completely against our self interests as a species. Look at parts of the planet which have been wracked with disease, famine, drought, and war for literally generations. Like Somalia for instance, you'd think that a sensible person would look around and say "no way I'm bringing my potential offspring into this environment". And yet the place is positively awash with kids. And to fully steer this thread into the weeds, global famine or disease is the only realistic way to get the numbers back into the territory of "sustainable". The trick is something bad enough to make a real difference but not so bad that systems collapse and the population reduction becomes self sustaining and we regress to a pre-industrial condition.

There some new technology called birth control, so you can get that good feeling without anyone getting pregnant.

So yes, there are regions where birth rates are still high, but the majority are declining.

If the data is accurate: Fertility rates are declining

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/9/17 10:22 p.m.

I think this is an entirely interesting post and Im a gonna think about it- Economists who study this stuff have some sort of metric to do with 'fake luxury', or something like that. It has to do with buying 'Gucci' or 'Kayane' (the dumbE36 M3) branded crap from Ross (where I have bought most of the clothes in my adult life) and ypu get to pretend that you are the 1%. The fake freedom of driving where ever the hell you want unthered in your trusty steel steed is absolutely essential to the rapidly evaporating 'American Dream'.

Vigo wrote: The loss of individual autonomy is the elephant in the room. I don't think it's possible to fully account for the psychological and societal side effects that would come from removing the most tangible aspect of personal autonomy that most people in this country have. Spend enough time examining the neurotic thought processes of people who 'cant afford a car' and you will start to understand how effectively the perceived lack of choice can predict the choices you actually end up making. America as a society is more or less based on the concept of placating enough of the population with a perceived quality of life that they will allow and even contribute to the absolute debasement of anyone outside their monkeysphere. In my mind, there's a very good chance that removing the illusion of autonomy and freedom that comes from the daily subconscious gratification of a powerful machine responding to your whims will render our fractious, classist, racist, jingoist mass of other-hating citizenry down into one forcefully 'integrated' class who will be far more aware of their assigned roles as drones and less willing to go through the motions of the fruitless labors they used to happily pilot their own cars to and from. The whole house of cards could go down! So if our society wasn't disintegrating fast enough, maybe autonomous cars will accelerate the process enough that i'll see the beginning of the next phase of humanity in my lifetime instead of just the slow painful end of the last one!
Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
5/9/17 10:29 p.m.

Aww, geez...this E36 M3 again? (Walks away from what could have been a decent thread.)

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
5/9/17 10:52 p.m.
wheelsmithy wrote:
Nick (Bo) Comstock wrote: Put me in the not interested, no way, no how, never ever camp. I have no use for a self driving car.

I can think of one or two...

Others not suitable for mixed audiences.

I'd give up alcohol, sex or whatever else you can think of long before I'd give up driving.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
5/9/17 11:49 p.m.

In reply to Nick (Bo) Comstock:

Yeah, ...Poor attempt at levity. I, for one, am not much of a quitter. (while true, also an attempt at levity)

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 11:55 p.m.
Appleseed wrote: ...what could have been a decent thread.

Welcome to GRM, where cars are politics and religion all rolled into one.

daeman
daeman Dork
5/10/17 12:59 a.m.

Post redacted due to being bleak and pessimistic.

I'm not keen on automated cars. AI and automation is bad news for man in the long run... I'll leave it at that

Trackmouse
Trackmouse SuperDork
5/10/17 1:38 a.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: The day they outlaw operating a car by yourself is the day I leave this country. I have no desire to own a car that drives itself, and I have no desire to live in a country that won't allow me to operate an automobile without a computer deciding my every move. For the non-enthusiast masses, it's no doubt safer. However, I don't live my life looking for the "safest" way to do everything---- actually it's quite the opposite. I frequently seek out danger as it keeps me vibrant and alive. I'd rather live in a dangerous world, than be isolated in a perfectly safe "cocoon" while my soul dies. Get off my Lawn!

Took the words out of my mouth.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/10/17 5:04 a.m.

Interesting No one wants to tackle the moral/legal implications of allowing machines to decide who lives/dies.

jstand
jstand HalfDork
5/10/17 6:08 a.m.

In reply to Bobzilla:

Actually it would be the programmer that makes that decision through the software.

While not there when the decision is made, the groundwork put in place by the programmer will determine the decisions made by the car.

Unless you are implying the car will learn morals and use that learning to make the decision.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
5/10/17 6:43 a.m.
Bobzilla wrote: Interesting No one wants to tackle the moral/legal implications of allowing machines to decide who lives/dies.

Your question implicitly suggests humans are more capable of making moral/ legal decisions than machines, which is false.

Right/ wrong in a legal environment is completely guided by rules and guidelines, which machines are far more capable of following than humans, especially when the rules and guidelines are complex. Humans prefer to follow the path that meets their personal needs than the one predetermined by societal rules.

The same could be said for moral questions.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/10/17 6:47 a.m.
KyAllroad wrote: In reply to Vigo: Wow. Dude, I thought I had a dark view of the world. That's impressive!

I've had similar thoughts for years. Our govt/politicians/inside powers have no need to make anyone "happy" - they only need to do just enough so that few are willing to die in order to affect change. Because for all of the general whining on both sides of the political spectrum, that is the only way real change will ever happen.

As far as self-driving cars... I see them happening whether we like it our not. However, I also doubt we will see a complete take-over. At least not for another 50 years, at best (or worst). I could see separated HOV lanes in high-density areas becoming self-driving only.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UltraDork
5/10/17 7:31 a.m.

I've said it before, but there is no way a computer could drive down the gravel road to my house after 3" of snow obscures the road edges and puts the car into a scenario where it needs to be going fast enough to have momentum for the soft spots. No programming is going to cover speeding up to smooth out washboards or passing farm implementation by driving on the shoulder.

The real question for me is why are all these people driving around anyway? We have the technology right now to do almost every desk job from essentially anywhere. How many traffic deaths would be avoided if the ten biggest office buildings in every town over 200k people were torn down and the jobs distributed to homes or dispersed office centers? Tear them down, and how many shops and restaurants, with their commuting employees, would be unnecessary? How much energy would that save; how much less co2 would be generated; how many lives saved?

Assuming urban lifestyle is the way of the future and forcing urban driven decisions on everyone is great and all, but maybe we should leverage our technology to consider other alternatives as well.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/10/17 7:51 a.m.
Driven5 wrote: I don't know anybody who can argue with somebody whose "life's odds" statistically have 50% of the current population dying each and every day.

WRONG - Thats very clearly NOT what he was saying. I appreciate your attempt to walk away with a snarky mic drop, but your conclusion does not reflect the discussion. Any one persons odd's are 50:50, the entirety of populations odds' are far more complex to calculate

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/10/17 8:06 a.m.

Lets also take into account how people maintain their vehicles. I see atrocious acts of automotive cruelty daily - cars with missing body panels, cars unable to maintain 50mph on the freeway, cars that do an awesome James Bond smoke screen impression...the list goes on and on.

Now, lets say that some form of autonomous vehicle legislation is passed. Now, that fudgepacker who cant keep his car idling well enough to slow to a stop without stalling, is now enabled to commute with even less involvement with his applia...err, car. 2 years later, with failing brakes and a wheezing head gasket, his rattletrap is even more dangerous. People dont maintain their cheap, old cars. I REALLY dont see them keeping the optical systems or the servos and steppers up to snuff that would be required to make a car drive itself.

Why are human-operated cars better than binary? Because humans can account for things like a mushy brake pedal or a blown strut. Im not convinced that a computer could. Or, at least, a computer of the grade and sophistication that the Auto industry has been able to turn out thus far. I can only imagine the complexity that an autonomous car would need in terms of cameras and sensors in order to truly mimic a humans decision making and ability to adjust to changing conditions. The cost alone would be prohibitive (to make it truly a replacement for man anyway).

Also, consider what happens when something really crazy happens - steering linkage breaks, or optical guidance camera shorts out, brake master cylinder seal blows out. All of these things, a human may be able to overcome, at least in the moment, allowing the car to be guided safely to the shoulder. Good luck convincing me that a computer could compensate for total loss of steering or brakes in the moment, and not create a spectacular fireball of doom.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/10/17 8:20 a.m.
SVreX wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: Interesting No one wants to tackle the moral/legal implications of allowing machines to decide who lives/dies.

Your question implicitly suggests humans are more capable of making moral/ legal decisions than machines, which is false.

Right/ wrong in a legal environment is completely guided by rules and guidelines, which machines are far more capable of following than humans, especially when the rules and guidelines are complex. Humans prefer to follow the path that meets their personal needs than the one predetermined by societal rules.

The same could be said for moral questions.

What in getting at is this: when a person chooses to sacrifice themselves to save others (which I've seen countless times) it's considered noble. What happens whe. The person no longer makes those choices? There's no longer the element of personal choice. So if the computer decides the same choice be person would have made you now have family members distraut by the death that THEY feel the computer caused.

Legally this will be one hell of a profitable solution to a lot of lawyers that is for sure.

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/10/17 8:24 a.m.

This entire thread should be marked as the definition of how every internet discussion goes...except no one mentioned Hitler yet.

Hitler.

There. Now it is perfect.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/10/17 8:28 a.m.

Glad the voice of reason showed up...eyeroll

red_stapler
red_stapler Dork
5/10/17 8:33 a.m.
oldopelguy wrote: there is no way a computer could drive down the gravel road to my house after 3" of snow obscures the road edges and puts the car into a scenario where it needs to be going fast enough to have momentum for the soft spots.

EDIT - My original reply was kinda sarcastic, so let me say this. There's a lot of smart people thinking about how to solve these kinds of problems.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fq_pIaJZKqI

also, this thread:

759NRNG
759NRNG Reader
5/10/17 8:36 a.m.

great for high school science fairs, but I hope I'm taking a dirt nap before I'm forced to submit

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/10/17 8:37 a.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury:

I really don't see the maintenance argument applying until decades down the road, if at all. The fact that self driving cars will probably be fairly expensive, coupled with the speed that electronics become obsolete, I doubt we'll see poor people limping old autonomous cars around. I think of them more like smart phones are now, where most people replace them every year or two in order to have the latest tech. This will probably increase subscription/ride sharing services.

Which leads to the question of how these will communicate with one another (and their surroundings), and what happens when that protocol changes? 20 years from now, will 5 year old autonomous tech even be compatible with whatever is current at the time, or are those 5 year old cars just junked at that point?

jstand
jstand HalfDork
5/10/17 8:45 a.m.
FlightService wrote: This entire thread should be marked as the definition of how every internet discussion goes...except no one mentioned Hitler yet. Hitler. There. Now it is perfect.

Here's my view on it:

As long as it's read for entertainment, then its meeting its purpose.

For those that choose to participate, then this is their soap box, but it is unlikely to sway anyone's opinions any more than if they were to stand on the corner shouting their opinion at people driving past.

Everyone just needs to realize that no matter how much they write on an Internet forum, they aren't likely to change anyone's opinion on the subject.

But it has the potential to be mentally stimulating and sometimes fun to engage in the debate, just don't take it personally if someone doesn't agree.

So battle on, I need some more entertainment while sitting through meetings.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/10/17 8:59 a.m.

In reply to jstand:

pretty much. I think there are things that people haven't thought about that need to be brought up to think about. But I have no interest in changing anyone's opinion. I like reading dissenting opinions. I may not agree with them, or think they are smart but I enjoy seeing another viewpoint. Something that could be shared in our society a lot more rather than living in your own echo chamber

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/10/17 9:02 a.m.
jstand wrote:
KyAllroad wrote: In reply to Driven5: As long as berkeleying feels good there is ZERO chance that the birth rate will fall. And since we are all so very very wired to obey the pleasure center of our primate brains, that's not going away either. The biological drive to reproduce is just ridiculous and (one could argue) completely against our self interests as a species. Look at parts of the planet which have been wracked with disease, famine, drought, and war for literally generations. Like Somalia for instance, you'd think that a sensible person would look around and say "no way I'm bringing my potential offspring into this environment". And yet the place is positively awash with kids. And to fully steer this thread into the weeds, global famine or disease is the only realistic way to get the numbers back into the territory of "sustainable". The trick is something bad enough to make a real difference but not so bad that systems collapse and the population reduction becomes self sustaining and we regress to a pre-industrial condition.

There some new technology called birth control, so you can get that good feeling without anyone getting pregnant.

So yes, there are regions where birth rates are still high, but the majority are declining.

If the data is accurate: Fertility rates are declining

While that is great, Catholicism preaches the opposite. They are also quite actrive in 3rd world countries where BC is sorely needed. I'm not slamming catholics on this. It's your choice, your religion do what you want. But it is definitely having an impact.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/10/17 9:12 a.m.
oldopelguy wrote: I've said it before, but there is no way a computer could drive down the gravel road to my house after 3" of snow obscures the road edges and puts the car into a scenario where it needs to be going fast enough to have momentum for the soft spots. No programming is going to cover speeding up to smooth out washboards or passing farm implementation by driving on the shoulder.

Disagree. It's nothing more than data inputs and programming. Just like someone who has never driven down your driveway in 3" of fresh snow would need to learn how to, a computer would need to learn as well.

The difference is while a human driver generally only has their own experiences to drawn from when negotiating an unfamiliar situation, a computer has the ability to draw on thousands or even millions of other computers' experiences to base decisions on.

While I might personally rather be in control, I have been stuck behind so many tentative drivers in poor conditions that I would not be opposed to letting a computer take control away from them. And they would likely be happier about that themselves.

edizzle89
edizzle89 Dork
5/10/17 9:15 a.m.
jstand wrote: Everyone just needs to realize that no matter how much they write on an Internet forum, they aren't likely to change anyone's opinion on the subject.

exactly, that's why you should put your opinion on a sign and stick it in your front yard like with presidential candidates.

that's how you change peoples opinions, with a plastic sign so everyone who drives by can be swayed by your efforts

jere
jere HalfDork
5/10/17 9:32 a.m.

Personally I see self driving mass public transport as what the future will be. Why are there 600 cars all going the exact same direction as me at the exact same time in separate cars? If the postal system can figure it out with mail why not the mass transit system too? Why even have 90% of the jobs we have when they can be automated or done from home. Once all the luddites are out of the way you guys will see

As for self driving cars now, yes please! Just keep them out of one of the lanes. I want to be able to pass them and the long line of non-self-driving-lemmings that will be tailgating the self-driving cars, with their heads up their... phones

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/10/17 9:45 a.m.
edizzle89 wrote: exactly, that's why you should put your opinion on a sign and stick it in your front yard like with presidential candidates. that's how you change peoples opinions, with a plastic sign so everyone who drives by can be swayed by your efforts

In case you really cared.

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/10/17 9:48 a.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury & jstand:

You quip and jeer but on this forum, we tend NOT to bend to the norm in internet behaviors. Just seems really odd on the topic of self-driving cars gets us to the "normal" turn of events.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/10/17 9:54 a.m.

In reply to FlightService:

I disagree. I mean, we're on a cheap-skates motorsports forum that publishes a magazine with tips on how to be a better driver and the car better overall. It's not surprising in hte least that this topic would be heated and controversial.

It would be like going onto a gun forum and praising the newest magazine ban, or registration checks etc. Or signing into an atheist site and praising the newest church.

But at least we tend to keep the personal insults and insanity at bay. usually

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/10/17 9:58 a.m.

In reply to Bobzilla:

Yes and no. Personally, as much as I love driving, commuting is beginning to wear on me as I age. There is a part of me that on some days wouldn't mind walking out of my house or the office, getting into my car and just saying "home" or "work" and then taking a nap until I arrive.

RevRico
RevRico SuperDork
5/10/17 10:07 a.m.

The solution is simple.

Think space ship.

Automated whatever, with a manual override.

I'm in both sides of the fence with this whole thing though. On the one hand, I want to see automated F1 cars breaking 300mph through s bends, and not have to worry about every idiot on Facebook and Snapchat behind the wheel. On the other, I will not and can not put my faith into a single designer or programmers hand, especially when something as bass ackwards as the federal government is deciding the rules regarding software.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/10/17 10:07 a.m.
Ian F wrote: In reply to Bobzilla: Yes and no. Personally, as much as I love driving, commuting is beginning to wear on me as I age. There is a part of me that on some days wouldn't mind walking out of my house or the office, getting into my car and just saying "home" or "work" and then taking a nap until I arrive.

Move closer. LOL Wife and I have had this discussion. She drives 75 miles a day. But the pay is ridiculously good and she knows it. It's the sacrifice we make. She uses the time to decompress before she gets home. It's something I used to do as well. Use that time in the car to focus on driving, or keeping smooth, or missing every pot hole.... something along those lines. By spending that 30-40 minutes doing that, the other things you were focused on and worrying about slip away.

IT's great.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/10/17 10:15 a.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: Any one persons odd's are 50:50...

If you choose to believe that you actually have a 50% chance of dying on any given day, which is what a "1 in 2 chance of waking up tommorow" is explicitly stating, it is your right and freedom to do so...But I can't debate with somebody who doesn't want to understand any more than I can teach somebody who doesn't want to learn.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
5/10/17 10:19 a.m.
Driven5 wrote:
4cylndrfury wrote: Any one persons odd's are 50:50...

If you choose to believe that you actually have a 50% chance of dying on any given day, which is what a "1 in 2 chance of waking up tommorow" is explicitly stating, it is your right and freedom to do so...But I can't debate with somebody who doesn't want to understand any more than I can teach somebody who doesn't want to learn.

There's nothing to debate. There is a 100% certainty that we will all die. We are not in charge of when(unless you consider suicide, but that isn't an option I personally am willing to consider). We can delude ourselves into thinking that we are, but it's just a delusion. So all we CAN do is treat each day for what it is: a treat to be alive and enjoy it. Worrying about what can kill you at any given moment isn't going to really help do that.

What about that statement is false or debatable? Do you have a magic elixir of life stuffed in your closet? Wait.... did you find Ponce De Leon's fountain of youth?

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
5/10/17 10:24 a.m.
Sorry, your outrage is unmoving. - let's leave silly strawmen to guard the tomatoes. - If you can't see the irony and laughability of that I can't help you. - Oh yes, the "lifes not fair" argument. - I appreciate your attempt to walk away with a snarky mic drop - Catholicism - What has happened with our society as a whole, I'm ready for it to burn down and a new forest to regrow.

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/10/17 10:25 a.m.

This is a way higher level of reasonable discussion than is the norm on the inter-webs I'm used to. I agree with Bobzilla that the legal/moral implications of how self driving cars are programmed is a huge issue and one that (I'll venture a guess) will require a whole bunch of lawsuits to establish legal precedence which will then drive law/policy and thus the programming. Like: It very easy for me to imagine the CEO of Uber demanding that when he is in an 'auto-piloted' car anyone but him dies first no matter what, and when that occurs, the lawsuits fire up. Or 'autopiloted' trucks- what matters? a: keeping the load upright or b: avoiding hurting people in the wee cars. Huge legal stuff for sure.

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/10/17 10:30 a.m.
Toebra
Toebra HalfDork
5/10/17 11:07 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: Which is great IF there is a bus to take.

That, and the bus, aka the LC(loser cruiser) is populated by an "interesting" cross section of society

FlightService wrote: In reply to 4cylndrfury & jstand: You quip and jeer but on this forum, we tend NOT to bend to the norm in internet behaviors. Just seems really odd on the topic of self-driving cars gets us to the "normal" turn of events.

Not really. This is a forum populated by driving enthusiasts, folks who are not going to take being turned into a passenger in the driver's seat of their own car lightly. Not unlike the response you get when taking candy from a baby.

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
5/10/17 11:25 a.m.

Count me in the pro-autonomy camp. While I prefer to drive performance cars, we have four young children so my wife drives a minivan. We use the van for ferrying the kids, errands, and trips so our priorities for that vehicle were convenience, safety and comfort. Nose-to-tail airbags, ABS, traction control, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking--I wish that car had the full gamut. And every time we take a road trip on the interstate I wish it had autopilot. Performance driving never enters the equation for this vehicle, and I bet that most families with kids have similar use cases.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse SuperDork
5/10/17 11:46 a.m.

I notice poor Mr. Wallens is staying out of this poop storm. Good on you sir.

I think we can alleviate this heated discussion by remembering that "a world filled with self driving vehicles" will not happen in any of our lifetimes. It's so far off that only our children, or even grandchildren will have to engage in such fruitless debate, such as the one occurring now.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
5/10/17 12:00 p.m.

I love the idea of self-driving cars for one reason: my mother. You've seen her, she's the one going 50 in the left lane, oblivious to all traffic around her. If her car will drive itself and keep her in the right lane, maintaining 55-60, using signals to change lanes, looking both ways before pulling out, I am on board. It will make my job of driving 80 much easier.

rob_lewis
rob_lewis SuperDork
5/10/17 1:22 p.m.

I'll jump in.....

Self driving cars are a really cool idea. While my current commute is less than 10 minutes, it was much longer at one time and I would have loved the idea of getting in my car and having it drive me to work as I get in another 30 minutes of sleep or read or get started on the work day early. Or plugging in a location and having it drive me on a long trip. (Provided the mapping systems work, they still seem buggy....)

However, the transition to them will actually slow things down, significantly. Driving is inherently dangerous. It's not like an automated washing machine or even airline travel where there is little to no interaction with others. Furthermore, automated cars will need to interact with humans (of varying skills) and other autonomous vehicles which will, most likely, have different systems and software. But, I digress.....

The aids will come slowly (as they already are) and we, as humans, will want to rely on them more and more. There will reach a point that people rely on driving aids long before the aids are capable enough to handle every situation. Heck, manufacturers have all kinds of commercials now touting the feature that their cars will stop themselves. No need for you to even pay attention! LOTS of people will want that feature to give up one more thing they're responsible for. More aids, more people giving up on paying attention.

We'll see a significant (in my opinion) increase in accidents as people are rapidly willing to give up responsibilities of driving. I predict that these systems, for a time, will be outlawed or put on hold until the rest of the systems catch up. At that point, you'll be forced (by laws or cost) to have a fully automated vehicle and when 99% of the cars on the road are automated, the fatalities (again, in theory) will start to go down.

Case in point the Tesla driver last year who had a regular daily commute and let the car take over and it drove under a truck because it didn't see it. While a tragedy, it's a perfect example of people's willingness to give up the responsibilities of driving.

Now, one controversial item..... "If you don't want to commute, move closer". I'm in tech. Unlike my parents, my generation doesn't stay at a company for 40 years and retire with a gold watch and a pension. So, my commute changes every few years, whether by choice (better pay/job) or not (RIFS/Layoffs). Furthermore, companies grow and shrink and end up moving offices. Right now, they're talking of moving us to a location that will increase my commute by 10X or more. My wife has a job in a different part of the city. I don't make enough to pull up stakes and move every couple of years, so I have to commute to work. Would I like to always be five minutes from the office? Of course I would. But if I had that kind of money, I probably wouldn't be working, anyway....

-Rob

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/10/17 1:37 p.m.

Autonomous cars, in our lifetime, will make driver's cars more like horses are today. IMHO

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/10/17 2:33 p.m.

ERMAGERD...walk away...walk away...walk away...

Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
5/10/17 2:34 p.m.
Trackmouse wrote: I notice poor Mr. Wallens is staying out of this poop storm. Good on you sir. I think we can alleviate this heated discussion by remembering that "a world filled with self driving vehicles" will not happen in any of our lifetimes. It's so far off that only our children, or even grandchildren will have to engage in such fruitless debate, such as the one occurring now.

Naw..... he just pulled the pin on the grenade and walked away. lol

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/10/17 2:37 p.m.

cannot walk away...Im 12 years old at heart....

Colton wrote: In reply to 4cylndrfury & jstand: You quip and jeer but on this forum, we tend NOT to bend to the norm in internet behaviors. Just seems really odd on the topic of self-driving cars gets us to the "normal" turn of events.

Thanks so much for explaining to me how things work "on this forum". I see that like you, I too am a fan of posturing and passive aggression. Being a new member to this board, I need to meet people of a like mind and with similar interests, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

t25torx
t25torx Dork
5/10/17 3:09 p.m.

I think for the masses who don't care about driving, the steps were making in automation are great, there's been several times that I would love to have the car just drive me the 14 hours from Florida to Tennessee.

Here's another reason I like the idea of automation for the morning commute.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/iHzzSao6ypE

Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
5/10/17 3:11 p.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury:

Now you're just being obtuse when clearly this is a case for acute.

edizzle89
edizzle89 Dork
5/10/17 3:21 p.m.
FlightService wrote:
edizzle89 wrote: exactly, that's why you should put your opinion on a sign and stick it in your front yard like with presidential candidates. that's how you change peoples opinions, with a plastic sign so everyone who drives by can be swayed by your efforts

In case you really cared.

the guys making political signs probably paid to have that article written.

conspiracy confirmed!!!

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/10/17 3:31 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote:
Colton wrote: In reply to 4cylndrfury & jstand: You quip and jeer but on this forum, we tend NOT to bend to the norm in internet behaviors. Just seems really odd on the topic of self-driving cars gets us to the "normal" turn of events.

Thanks so much for explaining to me how things work "on this forum". I see that like you, I too am a fan of posturing and passive aggression. Being a new member to this board, I need to meet people of a like mind and with similar interests, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Stop using words you don't understand the meaning of and I take umbrage to your opinion to the members of this forum being like every other forum on the web.

I plainly stated, and not passive-aggressively, that this forum doesn't act like you are acting right now. We tend to not call people names like you just did and we tend to behave ourselves with a little more decorum. This particular thread has bent to your apparent mentality, and apparently your opinion of what the GRM forum always has been.

So after 9 years of being on this board, you think that calling people names and this forum are similar to every other forum on the internet, not just this thread, but the forum? Because that is exactly what you just did.

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/10/17 3:32 p.m.

In reply to edizzle89:

I snorted when I read that.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/10/17 3:54 p.m.
FlightService wrote:
4cylndrfury wrote:
Colton wrote: In reply to 4cylndrfury & jstand: You quip and jeer but on this forum, we tend NOT to bend to the norm in internet behaviors. Just seems really odd on the topic of self-driving cars gets us to the "normal" turn of events.

Thanks so much for explaining to me how things work "on this forum". I see that like you, I too am a fan of posturing and passive aggression. Being a new member to this board, I need to meet people of a like mind and with similar interests, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Stop using words you don't understand the meaning of and I take umbrage to your opinion to the members of this forum being like every other forum on the web.

I plainly stated, and not passive-aggressively, that this forum doesn't act like you are acting right now. We tend to not call people names like you just did and we tend to behave ourselves with a little more decorum. This particular thread has bent to your apparent mentality, and apparently your opinion of what the GRM forum always has been.

So after 9 years of being on this board, you think that calling people names and this forum are similar to every other forum on the internet, not just this thread, but the forum? Because that is exactly what you just did.

My last post to you:

I called you out on being a troll. Your holier-than-thou facade is thin and entirely unconvincing. You assume the stance of someone staying above the fray, claiming conflict avoidance is the norm, as you demean the commentary of other members, you try to tell me that I dont understand the terms Im using, and you can say with a straight face that you're not posturing? You deem my posts "quips" and "jeers", and patronize me, as though I dont understand the forum, and that is speaking plainly?

You very likely are a decent guy in person. The web is an odd lens through which to view someones attitudes and beliefs. I just think that the best case scenario is that you and I dont post in the same threads anymore...at least not "in reply to" each other anyway.

chada75
chada75 Reader
5/10/17 3:56 p.m.

In reply to Bobzilla:

Tbh, Her drive sounds like an Awesome Excuse to get her a new Miata!

Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
5/10/17 4:22 p.m.
chada75 wrote: In reply to Bobzilla: Tbh, Her drive sounds like an Awesome Excuse to get her a new Miata!

2 reasons that won't work: She doesn't like 2 door coupes/convertibles and the drive is all highway straight roads. Also, we're in Indiana. A convertible is about as useful as a second belly button.

EDIT: But her Rio does have H&R's on it.

jstand
jstand HalfDork
5/10/17 4:41 p.m.
FlightService wrote: In reply to 4cylndrfury & jstand: You quip and jeer but on this forum, we tend NOT to bend to the norm in internet behaviors. Just seems really odd on the topic of self-driving cars gets us to the "normal" turn of events.

I agree, on many topics the members of this forum maintain civility do not relegate themselves to the typical bashing and personal attacks seen on the internet.

I mean, how often can you find a mixture of enthusiasts with such diverse tastes that have the sense of camaraderie that isn't restricted to a brand, style, or other criteria.

But there are some topics that are polarizing enough to watch the discussion slowly (sometimes quickly) devolve into the typical internet shouting match.

Normally those seem to be topics that lean towards politics and particular finance discussions (i.e. the economy and investing).

Occasionally the poor behavior can be found in automotive related topics such as towing capacities and the occasional "What pickup truck" which turns into a debate about whether or not a truck is really needed, but that poor behavior is the exception and most automotive topics remain above the fray regardless of the actual intent of the discussion.

Self driving car topics lead to unusual behavior from the typical well behaved membership on here, with the opinions and rationales leading into other tangents that seem to raise the level of conflict even higher and more personal and the page numbers increase.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
5/10/17 4:45 p.m.

One thought on this subject that hasn't been posed yet. Will the autonomous vehicle give the would be driver more time to be productive, or more time to argue on the internets?
Please be nice to each other on this forum. If the urge to bicker overwhelms you, take the time to go work on your car before the robot overlords take that job too.

HapDL
HapDL New Reader
5/10/17 5:11 p.m.

I like driving, no way will I give that up to some robot dork thing. Probably I'll be drooling and wearing Depends in the old foks home by the time that happens, but if I'm fortunate enough to be around and still able to drive, I will. Absolutely no way I would buy a robot car. I'm glad I'm in the last quarter of life and not the first one, things are not better and not going to get better anytime soon.

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
5/10/17 5:26 p.m.

I recently spent three days in the Fairfax/DC area.

Lots of traffic and I mean LOTS. All flowed well and no jams. Never saw an accident.

I had lots of time to observe as I was riding in a tour bus.

Maybe some of those drivers would welcome an autonomous car. Not me. I look at driving as sort of a game.

Toebra
Toebra HalfDork
5/10/17 5:53 p.m.

Wait, arguing on the internets is not a productive use of time?

I need a gif of Fonzie jumping a shark, STAT!

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/10/17 6:05 p.m.
iceracer wrote: I recently spent three days in the Fairfax/DC area. Lots of traffic and I mean LOTS. All flowed well and no jams.

This is not possible.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse SuperDork
5/10/17 6:23 p.m.

On the topic of traffic jams, the answer is simple. People need to freaking move out of the city. It is insane to drive in Los Angeles in super-retard traffic, all the while knowing that just 50 miles --> thatta way is an empty desert with prime, cheap, real estate. As noted, most jobs can be done from home. So why live in the concrete jungle? (Keep in mind, I've lived in the corn fields of Illinois and in the middle of the city of Portland, Orygun.)

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/10/17 6:35 p.m.
Trackmouse wrote: On the topic of traffic jams, the answer is simple. People need to freaking move out of the city.

Most people in the city don't want/need car much, and certainly don't use it to commute. People who drive into the city are the source of major traffic jams.

Also, I'd love to see some stats on what % of jobs could actually be done from home. I can picture mine being from home maybe 2 days a week... with massive software upgrades at work, and a direct fiber connection from my house to the servers at the office. And a lot of people have jobs that are way more hands on than mine.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
5/10/17 7:50 p.m.

None of the jobs I've ever had could be done from home. I certainly don't believe most jobs could be done from home. Some of them sure. No where near most.

Back in the driving thing. I love driving. I always have. Doesn't matter the situation, driving is my favorite thing in the world to do. I hate riding. I'm​ not a good passenger. Whether a human or A.I. is piloting me I will always be a very reluctant passenger. I will never willingly give up driving under any circumstances.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/10/17 9:24 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote:
Ian F wrote: In reply to Bobzilla: Yes and no. Personally, as much as I love driving, commuting is beginning to wear on me as I age. There is a part of me that on some days wouldn't mind walking out of my house or the office, getting into my car and just saying "home" or "work" and then taking a nap until I arrive.

Move closer. LOL Wife and I have had this discussion. She drives 75 miles a day. But the pay is ridiculously good and she knows it. It's the sacrifice we make. She uses the time to decompress before she gets home. It's something I used to do as well. Use that time in the car to focus on driving, or keeping smooth, or missing every pot hole.... something along those lines. By spending that 30-40 minutes doing that, the other things you were focused on and worrying about slip away.

IT's great.

Move closer? I look at housing prices (and TAXES) near either office and wonder what kind of money do people have to make in order to buy a $500K home??? Because it sure ain't gonna happen on my salary.

Trackmouse wrote: I notice poor Mr. Wallens is staying out of this poop storm. Good on you sir.

I have a mental image of Margie walking over to his desk and smacking him on the back of the head, "Why did you start that???"

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/11/17 6:08 a.m.

Before I respond to this, I would like to say that I am in general against the argument of "If you don't like driving, move where you don't need a car." It isn't that simple for everyone/anyone.

Ian F wrote: Move closer? I look at housing prices (and TAXES) near either office and wonder what kind of money do people have to make in order to buy a $500K home??? Because it sure ain't gonna happen on my salary.

That said, I find it hard to find a scenario where a commute longer than 10 or 15 miles would be acceptable. I find my own 9 mile commute ridiculous.

Driving an extra 10 miles each way to the office at a cost overall of $0.25/mile translates into approx $100 extra/month. At current rates, that will buy you $20,000 more mortgage. Of course, there is a tax deduction for mortgages as well so that $100 is really more like $130 which is good for more like $28k.

$0.25/mile is fairly conservative for most people (probably closer to avg. here on GRM). If you drive something that does not get good mileage, or anything remotely new that will depreciate, its probably more like $0.35/mile, which makes those numbers ~140 and 180, and mortgage numbers more like 30 and 38k respectively.

I understand in most megaopolises, the rate of home value climbs faster than that, but also in those heavily populated areas, your extra $$/mortgage is buying you an asset that will appreciate more than your current home and not depreciate like your commuting appliance will. IMO, once you add it up, living in the boonies and commuting is never as much of a savings at it appears to be at first.

And yes, obviously there are plenty of other reasons to liver further from work.

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
5/11/17 6:52 a.m.
Ian F wrote: Move closer? I look at housing prices (and TAXES) near either office and wonder what kind of money do people have to make in order to buy a $500K home??? Because it sure ain't gonna happen on my salary.

People take jobs in the city, where competition for labor and higher cost of living yields higher salaries, then they buy more house with that money out in the burbs. Boom...traffic.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
5/11/17 6:57 a.m.

Considering the average term of a job between job changes is now only 3 years, I find the "Move closer" argument ridiculous, perhaps even insulting.

I know the average member of this forum is in a career position, but that is now the great exception nationwide.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
5/11/17 7:24 a.m.

Before you all get your panties bunched realize I used the ol' LOL to denote it was a joke.

As for cost per mile, the last car the wife had cost us $.03 per mile to own and operate. I've been through the math enough before. I'm sure it's in here somewhere.

Wife has considered moving to a school closer to home. Her problem is she'd lose ~$30k per year. That's pretty huge cut to drop her drive from 75 miles a day to 25. Although starting in August that does now drop to 60 a day as They are moving her to a new school. And it's only 180 contract days she has to drive compared to the normal 250 for the rest of us slobs.

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/11/17 7:26 a.m.

Nobody makes people switch jobs every 3 years. Nobody makes people live where they live, or drive what they drive. We're all free to make our own choices that (hopefully) result in the lives we want. Having the freedom to choose is elemental to our way of life. It's no different when behind the wheel. I'm not going to begrudge anyone for the choices that they make, even if I don't understand them. But, personally, I'm unwilling to sacrifice any more freedoms than we already have.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/11/17 7:37 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote: I am in general against the argument of "If you don't like driving, move where you don't need a car." It isn't that simple for everyone/anyone.

I think it is that simple, if you plan for it. Many people do not think past the end of their nose. If you PLAN to not drive a car, you must PLAN to live in a situation where not having one makes sense. You cant have all your wants, all the time. If you dont WANT to drive, but WANT a big yard, and also WANT to work in the city, and WANT to do all of that with the salary you get doing the job you WANT, then youll either need to PLAN to attend med school so you can become a world renowned neonatal neurosurgeon, or youll need to compromise somewhere. But, if you MUST drive because your life circumstances dictate it (you live far away from the office because you bought the big house with a big yard, but its far from the city because thats where your salary could afford that much house...all the outcomes of your choices, your PLAN), you must actively engage in that drive. I understand that you may not WANT to, but too bad. Your PLAN got you here, suck it up and deal with the outcomes of your choices.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/11/17 7:42 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin:

Giving mortgage differences is not relevant for me as my house is paid for and I'll be damned if I will get another one. Having been essentially debt-free for the past 3 years, it would be very difficult to sign for a loan again. It's why I continue to drive old, high-mileage cars. I simply can't stomach the idea of spending $500/mo (or whatever) on a car loan again.

And again - you are not looking at the difference in taxes. If I were to move to a house closer to either office (never mind the IT AIN'T BERKING HAPPENING option of moving to NJ), my property taxes would more than double. Yeah... so I get some percentage of that back. Big effin deal. I'm still paying a butt-load of money for little benefit and completely blows your cost savings equation out of the water.

While I live in a suburb of Philly, I don't work in Philly. I just work in different suburbs.

So I agree the comment of move closer to be condescendingly insulting.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/11/17 7:48 a.m.

In reply to Ian F:

No condescension or insult intended in the move-closer argument. its all about accepting the outcome of your choices. If you dont want to live close, plan to drive - theres no way around it. If you must drive, plan to drive well - be engaged, pay attention, be courteous, respect proper road etiquette. I can certainly understand that you dont want a mortgage, I completely respect your choice, and even applaud it. Freedom from debt is a great achievement, you should be proud! But, since you choose to live far from work, and you choose to work for an employer who dictates you commute to the office, and you choose to not take out a loan to purchase a home closer to work, then you must accept that one outcome of those choices is to drive a car. You say theres little benefit in moving closer...thats what you perceive. One benefit of living close is that mass-transit is an option. If you dont want to drive a car, then its a HUGE benefit actually. Location, Occupation, Transportation - pick two.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/11/17 7:53 a.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: then you must accept that one outcome of those choices is to drive a car.

...or let an autonomous car drive you to work.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/11/17 7:56 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote:
4cylndrfury wrote: then you must accept that one outcome of those choices is to drive a car.

...or let an autonomous car drive you to work.

One option fits smoothly into the current norms of American society. The other requires radical change to a vast majority of that same society. Its enacting a solution to a problem, which in turn, creates even more problems.

Im all about making things better - evolution is necessary in order to achieve advancement. But lets make a better driver. Much easier, more effective, and less liberty infringing than making a better enormous-juggernaut-of-the-social-construct that is commuting in a car.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/11/17 8:04 a.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury:

No. It IS condescending. I would love to live closer to the PA office. I'd be closer to a number of my friends as well. The benefits would be numerous. I flatly can't afford it and the maybe $200/mo difference in commuting costs would barely make a dent.

Hell - the difference in taxes alone would be many times more than that, much less the difference in housing costs.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
5/11/17 8:23 a.m.

So, I know a lot of folks in this thread would rather not buy an autonomous car. That's fine by me, I'd rather not buy an SUV. Easy peasy. The real question I am interested in is does anyone have a real problem with someone else buying an autonomous car?

No one is forcing anyone to use a smartphone. Or a bank. Or hell, even a toilet that flushes itself. So what's the problem here (all of those things have become ubiquitous because of their usefulness, just like most people see autonomous cars)?

There are also likely thousands of other benefits (and some problems) that will come from autonomous cars that we have no way of predicting. I am also personally excited to see all the economic, health, technology, etc benefits and growth that we will experience. What OTHER things could become a possibility or reality with autonomous cars?

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/11/17 8:51 a.m.

In reply to Robbie:

I have zero problem with it, so long as it doesn't negatively effect my ability to drive myself. But long term, I don't see that happening. I'd imagine that insuring non-autonomous vehicles will become more expensive over time as it will be seen as a higher risk activity. If most of them are electric, as seems to be the expectation, then gas stations will likely be less ubiquitous and therefore harder to find fuel for the traditional vehicle. Those are the only things that concern me about the prospect of autonomous vehicles becoming common place.

I'm not negatively affected if somebody wants the latest smart phone. But I do think there's a pretty strong likelihood that autonomous vehicles will make it more expensive and more of a hassle to own and operate my own non-autonomous vehicle.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
5/11/17 9:01 a.m.

Well, cars certainly have made it harder for people to ride bikes, especially in cities. So I do agree autonomous cars will possibly have the effect of making it harder to daily drive a vehicle yourself. But of course if they reduce traffic, or open up parking spaces, etc, we may have the opposing forces as well (autonomous cars do not have to park where the occupant wants to get out). The gas/electric thing is also an issue, but really is not the autonomous car's fault. The electric revolution is coming with or without autonomous.

I used to think the same as you about insurance. But now I wonder if autonomous cars may have the opposite effect in the long run. If less people crash into you, then your insurance rate can technically be linked more closely to your personal risk, rather than the risk of you and your surroundings like it is now. That means good drivers should benefit.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
5/11/17 9:10 a.m.

I don't expect most people in this forum to be happy about autonomous cars.

They are, however, coming. They are coming fast, and will change everything. Because the majority want them, and they will be enormously profitable to the people who can build them and the related industries.

Bottom line- car enthusiasts are in the vast minority. 20 years ago, no one used cell phones either.

Every time autonomous cars come up on this forum, everyone seems to feel the need to voice their negative opinions on the subject, loss of freedoms, etc. Nobody actually cares if you don't like them- they are coming anyway.

The far better conversation among car enthusiasts would be to discuss the opportinities they will create, and how we will respond as enthusiasts.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/11/17 9:18 a.m.

I hope everyone drives them, as even if I drive a "traditional" car, it will make my life on the road much more safe. Even more so on my bicycle.

The one concern I have is related to the commuting subject we had earlier. A lot of people don't want a 1 hour commute because they don't want to drive an hour, especially in traffic. With a robo-car to do that work instead, it would not surprise me to see the number of super-commuters increase by a large amount. Would that offset the traffic improvements that could be achieved from perfectly attentive robot drivers and less accidents? Maybe?

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
5/11/17 9:22 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin:

Yes, I think so. Some traffic experts have speculated that 90% of today's current traffic jams would be eliminated if only 10% more people used simple cruise control.

Traffic is truly a lowest common denominator problem. Taking only a few of the very worst off the roads would blow our minds.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
5/11/17 9:23 a.m.
SVreX wrote: The far better conversation among car enthusiasts would be to discuss the opportinities they will create, and how we will respond as enthusiasts.

Agree 100%. I'll restart our prior conversation on this.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/11/17 9:28 a.m.

In reply to Robbie:

Indeed. Traffic would improve exponentially if everyone gave up the need to be at their destination 1 minute sooner when conditions don't really allow it. I can drive as fast as just about anyone - and often do, but I also recognize when speeding is a fruitless endeavor and just go with the flow.

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/11/17 9:35 a.m.
Robbie wrote: Well, cars certainly have made it harder for people to ride bikes, especially in cities. So I do agree autonomous cars will possibly have the effect of making it harder to daily drive a vehicle yourself. But of course if they reduce traffic, or open up parking spaces, etc, we may have the opposing forces as well (autonomous cars do not have to park where the occupant wants to get out). The gas/electric thing is also an issue, but really is not the autonomous car's fault. The electric revolution is coming with or without autonomous. I used to think the same as you about insurance. But now I wonder if autonomous cars may have the opposite effect in the long run. If less people crash into you, then your insurance rate can technically be linked more closely to your personal risk, rather than the risk of you and your surroundings like it is now. That means good drivers should benefit.

I'm certainly not going to get upset by the prospect of other people driving more safely. I do think that it's important to plan for the worst, and hope for the best, because like SVRex noted, it's coming. I'd much rather be pleasantly surprised by your scenario than be stuck with mine, but I hope to be prepared for either situation should it arise.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/11/17 9:37 a.m.
Robbie wrote: In reply to ProDarwin: Yes, I think so. Some traffic experts have speculated that 90% of today's current traffic jams would be eliminated if only 10% more people used simple cruise control. Traffic is truly a lowest common denominator problem. Taking only a few of the very worst off the roads would blow our minds.

That seems optimistic to me. But yes, removing a few bad apples could improve a lot. But if miles driven skyrockets to 160% in urban areas, can they handle the flow? And there will still be some bad apples, because you will still have some drivers in traditional cars... whether they prefer driving them, can't afford to upgrade, etc.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse SuperDork
5/11/17 9:41 a.m.

I think if self driving cars start up it'll make driving for us car loving people very easy. It'll be like the motorcyclists of today where they weave the traffic lines.

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/11/17 9:46 a.m.

In reply to Trackmouse:

With traffic enforcement becoming the revenue generator that it has, I'd expect lots of attention from the local authorities to be focused on vehicles that aren't new enough to have autonomous driving capability. Since we're assuming that autonomous vehicles won't break traffic laws, cops will learn to overlook them completely. Not only does that effect driving enthusiasts, but it would also disproportionately effect low income people. Essentially, it becomes another poor tax.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/11/17 10:27 a.m.
STM317 wrote: In reply to Trackmouse: With traffic enforcement becoming the revenue generator that it has, I'd expect lots of attention from the local authorities to be focused on vehicles that aren't new enough to have autonomous driving capability. Since we're assuming that autonomous vehicles won't break traffic laws, cops will learn to overlook them completely. Not only does that effect driving enthusiasts, but it would also disproportionately effect low income people. Essentially, it becomes another poor tax.

Depending on the mix of autonomous/not, I could see states abandoning traffic enforcement as revenue generation. At some point the number of non-autonomous drivers on the road will be low enough that enforcement won't be worth pursuing.

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/11/17 10:35 a.m.

Purely anecdotal support of your observation but I notice the same thing in LA/SoCal. People go, the answer is go, and people are used to going, the driving culture is honed and the infrastructure spending has been massive in the name of go. Of course there are still accidents and traffic 'jams'.

iceracer wrote: I recently spent three days in the Fairfax/DC area. Lots of traffic and I mean LOTS. All flowed well and no jams. Never saw an accident. I had lots of time to observe as I was riding in a tour bus. Maybe some of those drivers would welcome an autonomous car. Not me. I look at driving as sort of a game.
STM317
STM317 Dork
5/11/17 10:42 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin:

Agreed. Until that happens though, vehicles that are obviously non-autonomous make prime targets

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/11/17 10:47 a.m.

The trucking industry might be a bit of a glimpse into the future as it is now so heavily GPS monitored with fuel efficiency, loading dock timing, at load capacity as much of the time as possible driving the drivers who are overseen by personnel in what look like NASA command centers. Drivers are given dings and bonuses based on avg speed. When trucks pass each other these days it is by 1mph in order to maintainer their averages. I certainly noticed the change in driver behavior- the only trucks I see 'hauling ass' are the mostly independent logging trucks on secondary roads.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
5/11/17 11:07 a.m.

Knowing how our gov't works, its not the individuals buying these cars that bothers me. It's the special interest that requires all cars on "X" roads to be autonomous by "insert unrealistic date". Then there will be special tax breaks on auto-n cars and all non-will have to pay a specific user rights task. Then special licensing required which requires extra classes that really teach nothing are just a money drain on society.

Look, I know they're coming. I'm not happy because I'm looking at the long game here although, apparently, I shouldn't. I don't have offspring that will have to deal with it and if I can hold out another 20 years I'll be golden so screw everyone else.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/11/17 11:21 a.m.

In reply to Shaun:

That may depend on the trucking company. I have a friend who is a day-driver for a pet store chain. Has been doing it for years and has even stayed at the same company for years. He told me a story about how one time he made a conscious effort to essentially hyper-mile his rig and managed to get something like 2 additional MPG. Management didn't give him any more recognition than a shrug.

Unfortunately, I suspect Bob's comment about government lobbies and influence will play a much larger role in how this happens than any sort of rational logic we might think of.

jstand
jstand HalfDork
5/11/17 12:24 p.m.

In reply to Shaun: Even the independent drivers are going to have to go to electronic log books that integrate with the ECU and GPS at the end of the year.

Older truck are exempt, and will continue with paper logs, but anything built within approximately the last 15 years will need to be electronic.

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/11/17 2:37 p.m.

Wow! Didn't know the latest- Thanks

jstand wrote: In reply to Shaun: Even the independent drivers are going to have to go to electronic log books that integrate with the ECU and GPS at the end of the year. Older truck are exempt, and will continue with paper logs, but anything built within approximately the last 15 years will need to be electronic.
racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
5/11/17 3:58 p.m.

It will be interesting in years to come to see how they handle trucks and other industrial equipment that must also use the road. I do agree that it is coming, and faster than many of us here would like. My nothing to back my opinion is that by 2030 almost all cars sold with be some form of electric, and a good portion of those with autonomous capability. Or if you were ready Yahoo, "10 Reasons why you were wrong about gas engines."

Personally, I'm still waiting on the Jetsons!

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/12/17 3:52 p.m.

My wife's first car just out of high school was a Chrysler Imperial with a square steering wheel, fender wings, push button transmission, pointy chrome rocket doo daads, all that stuff! Bought it for $500. Someone(s)torched it on the mean streets of New Orleans.

racerdave600 wrote: It will be interesting in years to come to see how they handle trucks and other industrial equipment that must also use the road. I do agree that it is coming, and faster than many of us here would like. My nothing to back my opinion is that by 2030 almost all cars sold with be some form of electric, and a good portion of those with autonomous capability. Or if you were ready Yahoo, "10 Reasons why you were wrong about gas engines." Personally, I'm still waiting on the Jetsons!
Grizz
Grizz UltraDork
5/12/17 8:17 p.m.
Trackmouse wrote: I think if self driving cars start up it'll make driving for us car loving people very easy. It'll be like the motorcyclists of today where they weave the traffic lines.

Or more likely they'll be deemed a safety hazard and you wont be allowed to use them on public roads.

759NRNG
759NRNG Reader
5/12/17 8:48 p.m.

EXCUSE me ,but let's remember this is GRASSOOTSMOTORSPORTS....fossil fuel rocks this house and y'all can theorize till you're BLUE in the face...if ELON M is your savior I have nothing more to say......peace out

Jaynen
Jaynen Dork
5/12/17 8:52 p.m.

I don't think manually driven cars are going to disappear any faster than cars without airbags and disk brakes etc. I do think the self driving cars are coming and for general commuting which is not really enjoyable most of the time anyway I think it will be great especially if it happens to be cheaper so I can throw more money at a enthusiast car for the weekends

759NRNG
759NRNG Reader
5/12/17 9:07 p.m.

Let us not forget that fossil fuel rocks this house ........if ELon M is your savior ......carry on bro, and let Al gore guide y'all to the promised nether verse ....err what did he promise?.....sorry I'm old and going TO BED. BWAHahahahahahahahha!!!! yu millenulz have got a lot to c o n t e m p l a t e

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
5/13/17 8:01 a.m.
759NRNG wrote: Let us not forget that fossil fuel rocks this house ......

So, no top fuel dragsters, no electric drag racing, no jet fueled cars, no pneumatics, no hyrdogen, no methane...

And definitely no flux capacitors!

I don't think so.

(BTW, most electric in this country is still generated by burning fossil fuel- so Elon Musk fans can go right ahead and enjoy burning coal!)

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
5/15/17 9:40 a.m.
759NRNG wrote: Let us not forget that fossil fuel rocks this house ........if ELon M is your savior ......carry on bro, and let Al gore guide y'all to the promised nether verse ....err what did he promise?.....sorry I'm old and going TO BED. BWAHahahahahahahahha!!!! yu millenulz have got a lot to c o n t e m p l a t e

No more posting while drunk, ok?

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/15/17 10:37 a.m.
Chris_V wrote:
759NRNG wrote: Let us not forget that fossil fuel rocks this house ........if ELon M is your savior ......carry on bro, and let Al gore guide y'all to the promised nether verse ....err what did he promise?.....sorry I'm old and going TO BED. BWAHahahahahahahahha!!!! yu millenulz have got a lot to c o n t e m p l a t e

No more posting while drunk, ok?

I mean srsly...jeez. Have another one for me

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
5/15/17 11:04 a.m.

Does autonomous mean electric only? Haven't heard that.

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/15/17 11:36 a.m.

In reply to iceracer:

No. But autonomous tech, and electric tech are on similar paths right now, and the overlap between the 2 is only anticipated to grow. Tesla's autopilot, Lyft planning to use autonomous Chevy Bolts in a couple of years, Google and Apple's aborted car projects, etc are examples. Most of the other autonomous stuff currently on roads is hybrid at the very least, and often offer some type of electric only range.

Both areas (autonomous tech and full electric) seem to be getting heavy investment from companies across the automotive realm, so the manufacturers and suppliers seem to think that's the future. Or they're trying to steer the market that way because they see higher profits than traditional manufacturing.

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/15/17 12:00 p.m.

In reply to iceracer:

STM is right. GM had autopilot I think on test Buicks in the 1980s. They were being tested on a special section of road out west. It used special markers embedded in the road and radar in each vehicle to travel about 6" apart at 80mph.

I will see if I can find the video.

The TerraMaxx is a DARPA winning military autonomous vehicle. It has human backups in an offsite location but it decides on its own what to do.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/jV51BGIzkwU

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
5/15/17 12:07 p.m.

Article in USA Today said:

"Tech companies such as Alphabet and automakers such as Ford are targeting 2021 for the first commercial rollout of self-driving ride-hailing fleets".

That's 4 years, fellas.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/15/17 12:09 p.m.

I can imagine some other advantages to autonomous cars besides snoozing during a long commute:

  1. You get to the office and it's pouring. Sideways. In lieu of parking the car some hundreds of feet away and then dashing across the parking lot getting soaked, you have your car drop you off by the front door and it goes off an parks itself. Likewise, when leaving, you "call" your car and it comes to the front door and picks you up.

  2. For those who live in congested cities, there could be centralized parking areas where you keep your car. For electric cars, these spaces can be equipped for charging. When you're getting ready to leave your mid-town flat, you call your car and it comes to you.

  3. Similar to above, you go into a city for whatever reason - a show, visit friends, whatever. You drive in, your car drops you off at your destination, and then goes off and finds parking without you. To anyone who has spent 30 min driving around frantically looking for a parking spot, that sounds like heaven.

While example #2 doesn't really apply to me living in a single suburban house, #1 and #3 definitely could.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
5/15/17 12:58 p.m.

I'm vacationing this week on a FL island. Typical beachy laid back environment.

If I had a bicycle, I could cover the entire island. I don't. Well, I guess I could rent one.

Each time we need something, I realize the last thing I actually want to do is get in the car, but the island is a bit too big to walk.

But, if there were autonomous golf carts that I could hail with my smart phone.... HOLY crap! I'd be totally in!

The technology exists right now, and there would be minimal legal challenges etc. Such a system could be programmed with every single driveway, crosswalk, pot hole, street address, and dive bar on the entire island, along with current events and upcoming activities. Family and friends could ride together, and the thing could be programmed to never cross the bridge or leave the island.

I suspect there are many similar subsets of transportation in all kinds of environments that could use the technology exceptionally well, with significantly lower liabilities and semi-controlled environments.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse SuperDork
5/15/17 1:22 p.m.

This thread is STILL going???

mtn
mtn MegaDork
5/15/17 1:25 p.m.
Ian F wrote: I can imagine some other advantages to autonomous cars besides snoozing during a long commute: 1. You get to the office and it's pouring. Sideways. In lieu of parking the car some hundreds of feet away and then dashing across the parking lot getting soaked, you have your car drop you off by the front door and it goes off an parks itself. Likewise, when leaving, you "call" your car and it comes to the front door and picks you up. 2. For those who live in congested cities, there could be centralized parking areas where you keep your car. For electric cars, these spaces can be equipped for charging. When you're getting ready to leave your mid-town flat, you call your car and it comes to you. 3. Similar to above, you go into a city for whatever reason - a show, visit friends, whatever. You drive in, your car drops you off at your destination, and then goes off and finds parking without you. To anyone who has spent 30 min driving around frantically looking for a parking spot, that sounds like heaven. While example #2 doesn't really apply to me living in a single suburban house, #1 and #3 definitely could.

The other big things: People with MS/ALS/Other disabled people, and the elderly.

chaparral
chaparral Dork
5/15/17 1:27 p.m.
SVreX wrote: The far better conversation among car enthusiasts would be to discuss the opportinities they will create, and how we will respond as enthusiasts.

For one, it'll be the best thing that ever happened to karting. If your road car drives itself, then all you will want to drive for is fun or competition, and a kart takes up less space/time/money than any car.

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/15/17 1:42 p.m.

In reply to chaparral:

This might be true in the short term, but I bet over time, people will lose interest in piloting their own vehicles, or even in owning their own vehicles at all. And that's probably not good for karting or any motorsport.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/15/17 1:52 p.m.

In reply to STM317:

Possibly. But then we go back to the horse analogy.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
5/15/17 2:11 p.m.
Ian F wrote: In reply to STM317: Possibly. But then we go back to the horse analogy.

This. Horses for recreational use seem to be doing fine 100+ years after being retired from transportation duty.

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
5/15/17 2:49 p.m.
Chris_V wrote:
Ian F wrote: In reply to STM317: Possibly. But then we go back to the horse analogy.

This. Horses for recreational use seem to be doing fine 100+ years after being retired from transportation duty.

More than one person I know got into racing because horses were too expensive. Doesn't bode well for affordable motorsports.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
5/15/17 3:42 p.m.

The horse analogy makes me wonder.......

Can I ride a horse down a city street? Could I take my horse to work? Seriously I'm not sure if it's legal to ride a horse anywhere you like, or if there are restrictions--- like you can only ride on private property-- zoned for horses, or in State-owned conservation lands.

Are we going to have to rely on automated tow vehicles to take our "dumb" cars to a far away "Country Club" racetracks / driving areas? 200 years ago, your horse was your primary transportation device. These days, they are relegated to farms, wealthy home-owners, or polo clubs. Will this be the case for non-automated cars? I dunno.....but I hope not.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UltraDork
5/15/17 4:09 p.m.

Thinking about the horse analogy and the all-electric comments earlier in the thread made me just realize that aside from the speed component I could probably come up with an autonomous vehicle challenge winner for about $10k plus a few months of training. How tough would it be to modify a fitbit for a horse/dog/camel and build a box to simulate a rider to guide the animal? Put a tiny sled behind a Husky with a dozen command in mp3 files and who needs a drone?

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
5/15/17 4:48 p.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: Could I take my horse to work?

Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
5/15/17 4:56 p.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: The horse analogy makes me wonder....... Can I ride a horse down a city street? Could I take my horse to work? Seriously I'm not sure if it's legal to ride a horse anywhere you like, or if there are restrictions--- like you can only ride on private property-- zoned for horses, or in State-owned conservation lands. Are we going to have to rely on automated tow vehicles to take our "dumb" cars to a far away "Country Club" racetracks / driving areas? 200 years ago, your horse was your primary transportation device. These days, they are relegated to farms, wealthy home-owners, or polo clubs. Will this be the case for non-automated cars? I dunno.....but I hope not.

I had the same thoughts earlier as well. I don't think that the horse has faired all that well in modern times as transportation. In fact, it's been relegated to nothing but a pet.

racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
5/15/17 5:54 p.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: The horse analogy makes me wonder....... Can I ride a horse down a city street? Could I take my horse to work? Seriously I'm not sure if it's legal to ride a horse anywhere you like, or if there are restrictions--- like you can only ride on private property-- zoned for horses, or in State-owned conservation lands. Are we going to have to rely on automated tow vehicles to take our "dumb" cars to a far away "Country Club" racetracks / driving areas? 200 years ago, your horse was your primary transportation device. These days, they are relegated to farms, wealthy home-owners, or polo clubs. Will this be the case for non-automated cars? I dunno.....but I hope not.

Funny you mention that, but I saw a guy riding a horse down the middle of town last week. It looked very odd. Of course he was wearing a cowboy hat, so I suppose that made it ok.

Furious_E
Furious_E Dork
5/15/17 6:40 p.m.

I think where the horse analogy falls apart to some extent is that the difference in speed capability between a horse and your average car is much greater than that from an autnomous to non-autonomous car. Living in central PA, it's not uncommon to experience the occasional horse and buggy and the speed differential can make for some sketchy moments around a blind hill or turn. I don't think there will be any inherent reason why you couldnt operate autonomous and old fashioned cars together on the road, as that will have to be the case by necessity while the technology develops.

That being said, I could definitely still see insurance or government regulations of nefarious intent making road driving prohibitively expensive or illegal.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
5/15/17 8:23 p.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: Can I ride a horse down a city street?

Most places, yes. You can.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/16/17 7:03 a.m.

Philadelphia still has a mounted police force. I believe NYC does as well. I would guess many large cities have them as mounted police officers have advantages in many situations.

Thanks to the Amish, it's not uncommon to see horses on local roads in NY, PA, OH, etc. I've seen civilian horses on side roads in NJ while road riding.

Most of the mtn bike trails I ride on in the Philly area are also near equestrian stables, so I see horses often.

Legality of horses on public roads generally isn't the issue. It's training a fairly skittish animal to be comfortable around cars and unexpected loud noises. Police horses are so well trained a bomb could go off and it won't phase them. Civilian horses (often retired race horses) tend to be less so.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
5/16/17 7:38 a.m.

The problem for motorsports in the horse analogy is its kinda easy to make new horses when the old ones break down. If car makers stop making dumb cars, the fodder inputs for motorsport declines, and the sport will eventually die of starvation. The only materials available will be from a hobby-crafted cottage industry - parts availability and quality could suffer.

Then again, other tech is growing in the private sector...perhaps in 2117 youll be able to 3d print your own racecar, and the kids of the day will ridicule the adults for having to take part in operation of said vehicle.

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/16/17 7:38 a.m.

Our driving enjoyment aside, there is another aspect of this.

"Almost 3 percent of all working American are drivers of some sort — more than 2 percent are truck drivers, 0.4 percent are bus drivers and 0.3 percent are cabbies and other types of drivers, according to Census Bureau occupational data."

That is estimated to be 5 million jobs in 10 years by some people.

You guys want to argue fossil fuels vs electric, hell, the more pressing question is going to be what are we going to do with 5 million unemployed? Global warming could kill in 40 years, an angry mob of out of work drivers could kill us in 10. (Not to be hyperbolic or anything )

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/16/17 9:00 a.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury:

I tend to believe 3D printing will allow for parts availability we can only imagine of right now. The potential is there for parts to be stronger, cheaper and easier to get.

Either way, trying to predict the future is a fool's game.

Yes - considering truck driving is one of the nation's largest employers, the prospect of all of those people becoming unemployed has not gone unnoticed.

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/16/17 9:11 a.m.

In reply to FlightService:

Add to that, the expected lives saved by autonomous vehicles every year (15-50,000 in the US alone based on numbers earlier in this thread), and however many warehouse workers (950k total in the US) or manufacturing workers (12.4 million) who will be out of jobs when their facilities go "dark" and are fully automated.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
5/16/17 2:28 p.m.
Bobzilla
Bobzilla MegaDork
5/16/17 2:34 p.m.

What we don't know is this is all silly because a meteor is going to crash into the earth and erase humankind on August 11th, 2018 at 2:22am

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
5/16/17 2:41 p.m.

After nearly having the someone merge into the front right quarter panel of the MS3 at 70 miles an hour for the second time this month on a basically open highway, autonomous cars can't get here soon enough. Yes she passed me on the right and thought she could shoot the gap between the car in front of her and me when only 3/4 of her car could occupy the entirety of the space (berkeley physics I have a Subaru.) Luckily the brakes on the MS3 are quite large.

I'm so tired of other people putting me at risk because they apparently have somewhere super duper important to be.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/16/17 3:02 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: What we don't know is this is all silly because a meteor is going to crash into the earth and erase humankind on August 11th, 2018 at 2:22am

Promises, promises... get my hopes up and then dash them on the rocks. Damn you.

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy HalfDork
5/16/17 3:12 p.m.

If autonomous cars become widely accepted, financially viable, and overcome the legal hurdles- I foresee cars becoming disposable appliances, like most electronic devices. Depleted battery packs will be harder and more costly to replace, and I could see "cars" no longer being able to take the latest software updates. Time to recycle and get a new one.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/16/17 3:41 p.m.

In reply to Boost_Crazy:

Absolutely, but one could easily argue the industry has been moving towards that goal for some time now.

Advan046
Advan046 UltraDork
5/17/17 7:42 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote:
iceracer wrote: I recently spent three days in the Fairfax/DC area. Lots of traffic and I mean LOTS. All flowed well and no jams.

This is not possible.

LMAO!!!!

As a former DC Metro resident, I can only imagine the government was not working those days or you were going reverse commute in a big way!

Advan046
Advan046 UltraDork
5/17/17 8:03 a.m.

OK I am probably way to late to this thread but why not....

Autonomous cars will happen in some form. It has been considered the next step for too long such that it is ingrained as the only future option. In Metro Detroit a recent mass transit bill failed a vote and I heard a lot of commentary about buses and light rail being old fashioned and that the plan should be autonomous flexible transit thingies. I think as a society the USA is not recognizing driving training and culture as the prime areas to fix the issues with auto accidents. I think things would be a lot better if people stopped tyring to run the yellow or beat the train crossing gates or "win" the battle to change three lanes before the next red light. Going autonomous does get the drivers' emotions out of things but that isn't the only solution. Automation in aviation is very successful because all the pilots are highly trained to handle system errors or natural occurrences that the automation can't. Plus most relevant to us, they won't try to "flash" their plane's software to make it faster or more aggressive etc.

Putting on my infrastruture engineering hat I don't actually worry about the cars themselves as much as I do worry about the systems they use to maintain safe control. At the end of the day people maintain and control the system at some point. GPS is not secure or perfect. Even the best software evaluating the video data from cameras/sensor is written by someone and updated by someone. I don't see the USA government or business entities in a position to secure the infrastructure to make autonomous driving safer than current. What corporate lawyer is going to actually say that their system is 100% reliable without the "". 100% reliabilty claim is only for vehicles operated on closed circuit roads with enhanced positioning signals and a pack of guide dogs.

The most deadly metro accident in the DC area was due to some maintenance issues with the automatic train control location system.

All that being said our society views this as THE way to go. It will fix everything, as long as you ignore the other risks created by the tech everyone will be happy until the autonomous thingies are commanded to "Disable organic component" to improve efficiency and profitability of the transportation company.

STM317
STM317 Dork
5/17/17 11:12 a.m.

In reply to Advan046:

For what it's worth, It's a little dated now, but a few autonomous vehicle manufacturers have stated that they will accept legal liability if their tech is found to be responsible for a crash.

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