Privacy campaigners have called in the national press for a debate over possible future car technologies being considered by the European Union. The Guardian "can reveal" today that the UK government "are the main backers" of the EU's Cooperative Vehicle-Infrastructure Systems (CVIS), details of which "will be unveiled this year …
You don't need it for self-driving cars.
Humans seem to be able to drive cars relatively well, acting purely on cues in the immediate vicinity and without knowing what every other vehicle within an umpteen mile radius is doing at the time.
Accidents are usually caused by inattention, failure to react quickly enough to a situation or driving in a manner to which the conditions are not conducive. An autonomous, independantly operating, self-driven vehicle will never take its eyes off the road, will always react faster than a human ever possibly could and will always operate within the parameters dictated by the situation which it finds itself in. Ergo, no CVIS requirement here.
Finally, if one were to postulate self-driving vehicles that *relied* on the CVIS information to do their stuff, anything on the road that wasn't CVIS tracked (pedestrians, cyclists, older vehicles etc.) would be dead meat! Rather less safe, in fact, than a purely autonomous solution designed to work with its immediate surroundings rather than some central system's idea of what's going on.
Which ignorant pillock at the EU connected this idiotic proposal to the self-driving vehicle concept anyway? It's bad enough that they're a bunch of swivel-eyed nazis without you adding fuel to the fire with your headline and subhead.....
"And it's worth noting that the only real difficulty in building cars able to drive themselves is that of letting the autodrive system know about other vehicles in a way it can understand."
This is utter tosh - the really difficult bit about producing cars able to drive themselves is not other vehicles (assuming they are suitably equipped). Far and away the most difficult part is dealing with real-world every day situations. All sorts of objects, animate and inanimate can be suddenly found on the road, need navigating around. Some of these can happen very suddenly indeed, and an alert individual will be able to sense when a child hasn't seen a vehicle and is about to run into the road, or a dog is loose on the pavement or somebody is unloading a van, or wheres pedestrians hidden by parked vehicles might emerge. There's dealing with temporary roadworks, not driving through a deep puddle and drenching pedestrians. People can hear and interpret audible warnings, they can see approaching weather patterns, they can see the unstable load on a lorry, that cyclist who is about to jump a light.
Yes, we might be able to produce vehicles which can drive themselves down a controlled environment, like a motorway, where the circumstances are controlled. However, in a suburban street the problem is vastly harder. There are still some problems where people and natural intelligence, whatever it's limitations, are vastly superior to anything possible in the field of Artificial Intelligence (which is very much the filed where this problem exists). #
This is yet another posting by an idealistic journalist who hasn't any real clue about the real complexity of this type of problem living in a dreamworld of flying cars and overstated demonstratioons a million miles from a workable technology.
In other news:
Self driving cars involved in pile up after someone covers their CVIS unit in Tin foil to evade motorway toll...
You seem to be under the impression that being able to track your vehicle's whereabouts is in any way linked to the desire to keep you safe on the road.
Do you also believe that Chip and Pin was brought in to protect the consumer?
Ghost in the Shell?
cars are still driven by the driver, but have options for computer controlled driving. The authorities however can track any vehicle on the road. Handy for tracking down rogues of any nature (including the ones that are employed by the authorities).
The helicopters are gathering...
The reason CVIS is cited is because current systems have trouble figuring out if the thing ahead of them IS a car. Cars come in too many shapes and sizes for reliable machine recognition. That's why the idea of a universal identifier for vehicles. Makes for one very simple thing for the vehicle to seek out.
As for non-CVIS objects, such things would not likely be allowed on roadways. Older cars would need to be retrofitted, and if the rules on UK motorways are similar to US interstates, bikes and pedestrians aren't allowed on motorways anyway.
"no need for CCTV operators to notice a tailback forming and intitiate road-sign warnings."
There are already automated systems in place that can do this. The Guardian article also mentioned using the CVIS system for traffic lights, when in fact the SCOOT system has been used for years.
The only thing that I can see the CVIS system being used for is vehicle tracking. We are already doing a lot of other things using methods that can't track individual vehicles.
one minor problem
self driving cars may be able to react to road conditions, and get information about other cars to react to, but, the problem is those pesky pedestrians, animals , junk on the road etc.
there is a degree of prediction involved in driving, you may be in a 40mph area, but if there is a large group of kids at the side of the road playing football, you're going to slow down. Or if you see a pedestrian looking like they might step out. I can't imagine an auto drive system being able to do this, even if it can react faster than a human, it lacks the predictive element, unless AI is getting very advanced.
I just wont buy a car made after 2012. Simple enough.
They'll fix that by requiring that all older cars be retrofitted and make it part of mandatory inspections. IOW, no car new or old will be allowed on the road without one.
Can we tag other cars using an FOF based system when they cut us up, so we can be alerted when they are near again, to ram their faces off the road?
Anyone wanna buy...
...a mini faraday cage?
Track that Mo fo's....
Now who thinks that UK Gov would in anyway block this way of spying on people....
Abuse by Politicians
Picture the next use for this... Politicians so full of themselves deciding that their time is so bloody valuable (and yours isn't) have their vehicles tagged with a higher priority than yours so that you have to get the hell out of their way. Just as we see today when that cop car speeds by with lights blazing only to be overtaken minutes later at the side of the road, serving coffee and donuts to anther cop in another car. OK, tell me you haven't wondered at least once if that wasn't what was up as they sped by you on the motorway!
They are basically talking about low-jacking all cars on the road…
fsck me… big brother here we come…
I can just imagine a phone call to a car owner one night going something like this:
“Hello sir, I’m sorry to bother you at this hour, but this is constable <name> of the <insert police district> police, is this ” <persons name>
“Err… yeah, it is”
“Sir we would like to confirm that you are the owner of a vehicle with the tag number of “ <insert registration here>
“Err… yeah, that’s my registration”
Sir, we are currently showing your car parked at “<insert random dogging site>”, is this correct?”
Err… it could be parked there
Sir, as of <insert date> due to complaints by residents of the area we have installed CCTV cameras in the area and are currently monitoring the occupants of the said vehicle acting in an illegal manner. We would like you to know that if the car is there without your knowledge, the occupants will be arrested as soon as the patrol car gets there and that the video of the performance of the occupants will be posted on the internet.
We'll never have self drive cars!
Lawyers will see to that.
Imagine the situation.
You are driving down the motorway, and the car dies. You move over the hard shoulder and park.
You then get out of your car and walk to the phone box, because the stupid computer has gone BSOD on you. While you are walking down the hard shoulder another car pulls over under AUTODRIVE(TM) control and wipes you out. At this point up pops AUTOLAWYER&AmbulanceChaser INC and promptly sues the manufacture of AUTODRIVE(TM)
Now normally all SW companies avoid all product liability laws by claiming you said they weren't responsible for anything in the EULA. This won't cut in court when you've just killed someone.
Either the law would need to be changed to give SW companies the legal right to murder anyone they happen to accidentally kill or no SW companies is going to want to be involved.
At the moment you can't sue anyone when it does
As soon as it's automated the lawyers will know where to deliver the papers.
denial of service
Imagine a G20 protester, with a customized transmitter, on an overpass, broadcasting a stationary car or truck on the highway at rush hour. All traffic comes to a halt.
Imagine if you like to change lanes a lot, buying a pirate transmitter that tells the car to your side and behind that the car in front of them is braking aggressively. Now there's a nice spot for you to change lanes into.
Imagine detatching the transmitter from your car and setting it in a grocery store parking lot whilst you go commit some heinous crime, offering you an alibi.
All these things are made possible by the fact that a radio signal is not as reliable an indication as the impression of human senses interpreted by human attention and cognition. We are giving human responbsibility away to things that aren't nearly as responsible as humans (with all their flaws). The negative consequences will outweigh the positive.
I'd have to agree...
...that it is indeed the non-vehicular elements on the road that are indeed the achilles heal of such automated systems.
It takes a couple of years driving experience before the average motorist starts to pick up subtle clues from other human being about to nominate themselves for a darwin award.
Most people here should be able to pick up on the subtle body language glance that tells you the bmw driver in front is about to change lanes without indicating. Again.
Motorways on the other hand are a prime candidate for automation - might even stop all that bloody rubber-necking!
One of the biggest causes for unesacery(?) delays though, is not accelerating or getting up to speed quickly enough, which has a chain reaction through the traffic.
The prime example, is those precious seconds wasted at traffic lights by those who waited til after they've gone green before putting the car into gear, checking mirrors, releasing the handbrake, and engaging the clutch.
These are the same people who take so long to reach 30mph, they've already arrived at the next red light. A handfull of these in your que, and your journey gains 5mins per mile.
I'm afraid to say (sorry in advance Sarah) the majority of these offenders are of the fairer sex, usually in their Chelsea tractors. They also come to a near complete standstill when encountering a speedbump.
CVIS not needed, but privacy danger is real
Something like CVIS would be a very bad way to design a self-driving car. In particular, the cars could only go where the centralized system was if they needed it. The real work in robocars involves completely independent cars that don't depend on anything external, though of course they will use whatever external info is available to them. But not depend on it. The first car on the road can't depend on it, and that's true everywhere.
I have a large collection of essays on the future of self-driving cars at http://robocars.net, and in particular one on privacy issues at http://www.templetons.com/brad/robocars/privacy.html
I plan to expand this area too. The risk is not the central system, but the fact that robocars inherently will have lots of sensors and cameras viewing all around them, and in many cases recording that, putting cameras everywhere, all the time unless we work to find a way to do it better.
If all cars are driven by computers, how do you hitchhike? Will a computer stop?
"As for non-CVIS objects, such things would not likely be allowed on roadways. Older cars would need to be retrofitted, and if the rules on UK motorways are similar to US interstates, bikes and pedestrians aren't allowed on motorways anyway."
We know this won't ever happen because we told people not to do it?
And just how are you going to tell a shed lorry load, or a fallen tree branch, that they are breaking the law by lying in the road? Or a small child? Or a deer?
Back in the real world
>> The network would have a complete and accurate map of vehicles on the road, so that car navigation systems would be able to plot their way around the traffic with confidence.
No it wouldn't because not everything that is allowed on the road would of could be fitted with the system. Pedestrians, horses, cyclists would all be impractical to fit transponders to. Are we also suggesting that every traffic cone will need to be fitted with one?
The whole idea of self-driving cars using current technology is laughably impractical.
"non-CVIS objects, such things would not likely be allowed on roadways"
I presume you've never seen episodes of "Police Stop" or other such low-rent TV where geese, swans, horses or other wildlife have managed to cause major traffic havoc?
Re: how do you hitchhike? Will a computer stop?
Some kind of electronic thumb device to transmit stop codes would be required.
Ability to transmit over sub-etha would be a bonus.
Buy an Italian car, there is no way the tracking system will keep running after the first year!
And even if by some miracle is does, you just put a hidden switch on it... If you're ever caught you can just shrug and say "Italian electrics" and everyone will nod knowingly...
Right, gotta go... I have a Lancia with an injection sensor problem to resolve... Grrrrr!
No benefits at all, only privacy loss
I've been in one accident in my 9 years of driving. A crazy woman gassed it in a parking lot, lost control and smashed into me. No amount of beeping of flashing would have helped. Perhaps making turns onto main streets in low visibility might benefit from some sort of alerts, but useful alerts that could come from automatic detection systems would have to be mostly preemptive and I don't want a dashboard full of potential warning lights.
The technology for self-driving cars is possible, I'm sure, but is extremely far from being even remotely possible at this point. Even it were possible, there would be entirely too many issues. The country where this would be implemented would have to go through massive social restructuring. The legal system would have to require little to no liability for these automated systems. The millions of car enthusiasts out there would have to willingly accept their cars becoming toasters, mere appliances.
Tracking already available with cell phones?
Given that many/most people carry cell phones and the cell phone carriers have to be able to locate a phone within a fairly small area, doesn't this capability already exist?
What privacy safeguards are in place to ensure that wireless carriers aren't already tracking your movements and/or selling/marketing this information?
How about us motorcylists then?
I have been a biker for 20 years, what are we supposed to do, just consign our bikes to some huge motorcycle land-fill site? OK, bikes are dangerous if you are a tit (or the car pulling out of the side road in front of you is a bald bloke in Volvo, blond tart in Fiesta, arsey mum in SUV/MPV).
But the emissions and congestion caused by even big bikes are far less than cars.
It's going to be a long time before they can make a decent robot motorbike, and anyway I like riding it myself. Of course if they don't ban bikes, we'll all be even more pariahs than usual (if non self-driving bikes are not traceable) as all the criminals will be driving them.
Of course if motorcycles are traceable, all of the perps will be on bicycles. Until they put a tracer on them after which point all of the crooks will be on foot, so they can remedy that by fitting everyone with an electronic collar a'la "Battle Royale". Suddenly this is not looking such a good idea.
Funny about architecture choices
When it's a choice between an architecture to enable a solution which does not have a central database and does not enable mass surveillance, and one that does they alway seem to go for the central database option.
Self drive vehicles have their attractions. Fuel savings on HGVs could be significant (The difference between good and poor HGV driving can be a drop from 15mpg to 12mpg. Is it worth the massive surveillance capability?
People take risks
People drive to a perceived level of risk. Automating stuff and giving them airbags and other safety gearreduces the perception of danger so people drive faster and more recklessly.
If you really want road safety then you need to change that perception of safety. The road is a potentially dangerous place and you need to keep that fixed in the driver's mind. To that end, take away the driver's airbags and seatbelt (but leave them for passengers) and mount a 6 inch steel spike in the centre of the steering wheel.
Sure, accidents are not always the driver's fault. But in most cases the driver could have taken evasive action to compensate for other drivers or pedestrians making errors.
You have to love...
...politicians who have absolutely no concept of technology, apart from the "gosh, wow!" response.
Robot cars (which is what we're talknig about here) can barely get from one side of a fecking big desert to another without crashing or getting lost - asking one to navigate the average motorway, let alone a suburban street, is a joke.
However, there are other closer-to-reality possibilities, like a compulsory speed limiter. It's certainly possible to make such a thing that is entirely passive, sending no data back to Big Brother, but who wants to bet that the government go for an active compulsory system?
This is the mob that rolled out ANPR without any fanfare or vote, after all.
keep your fingers off my amperes
i need them all for my Amps !!
i can just imagine th quality of signal going to the sattelites
Where's the problem?
Haven't our clearly open and extremely competent government demonstrated every day that we can trust them implicitly to never to abuse or misuse any power available to them?
OK, perhaps this technology can wait for a century or two.
congestion-busting toll lane and adjustable speed limit parts
yes, to jack up tolls and reduce speed limits (never speed them up)...we all know how that part is going to work.
Now the part I want to see is who gets the gubmint job to program this mess....ha.ha.ha.ha
It will take another 400 years to implement, and yes...it WILL be over budget....and yes, it WILL be required with your ID card....and yes, it will be required with your computerized NHS card...
and then...and then....wait for it......
It will be hacked and there will be pileups everywhere....and wackqui and brownie will be recorded as parked in front of a whorehouse for days at a time...and the database will be left in a train, or mailed on a cd, or....well, you know how all that goes down.
I can see how a massive computer system like this will work reliably .... when organised by the UK Government. Not.
I'm off to re-read Gridlock (Ben Elton) and then Mutant 59 (Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis).
@We'll never have self drive cars!
BSOD? They wouldn't run it on windows, would they?We done the crash jokes yet?
Nobody's mentioned leccy-tech yet.... will they be tagging all those old biddy invalid carriages?
and cyclists .... I can see the government being in a "class action" position here on privacy vs duty of care in bringing about prosecutions, AND it'll be ugly.
ho hum... another white elephant , like the olympics and it'll make them seem more incompetent than ever.
Black helicopter is my ride ....cheaper.
I'm going to offer 'defective' models.
My transmitters will randomly change their serial number or vehicle make/model/owner on every startup. As well, they will inaccurately report position by 0-30 meters each startup, slowly improving their accuracy to meet standards within the first minute.
I figure every privacy nut out there will buy one, even if they just put in in their handbag, or on thier bike, or hide it on the bus. Let's make the signal/noise ratio a favorable one for privacy, shall we?
@Dazed and Confused
"You are driving down the motorway, and the car dies. You move over the hard shoulder and park."
Assuming that the car hasn't died due to a catastrophic systems failure within the auto-driving gizmos, resulting in nothing auto-driving the car whilst you're halfway through your beer and pasty with a laptop on your, er, lap, trying to work out which cup holder to stick the bottle in whilst you try steering with your knees*, or that you *have* had a catastrophic systems failure but are able to fight against the now no longer powered power steering pump and brake servo, both of which have a failover mode of locking out meat control when previously under AutonomousAuto(TM) control.
What wonders await us.
* I know this is a typical situation currently for [insert automotive company name favoured by hated drivers], they'll be used to it, but it's not so good for the rest of us.
Id love to see where they plan to fit one of these (Arial and all) on a striped down street fighter. Im sure there is a way, but I get the feeling they think that everyone travles in a deathcage.
I'm sure they know what they're doing. They'll just hire a company to implement everything for them for a few billion. The company, being very security conscious, will insist on making little tamper-proof computers to fit to all cars, which use encrypted communications at all times. Fitting these boxes to vehicles will be mandatory.
This will also solve the problem of people endagering lives by getting cheap knockoffs fitted, or worse yet, installing some kind of hippy crap open source firmware on the box. So we don't have to worry about the situation ever again: it will be totally locked down. Even if the government gets ideas in the future about ditching the company they hired, they won't be able to for technical reasons, so we're safe from radical politicians who think they know better than their predecessors.
This is good for children and bad for terrorists. I'm all for it.
"This is yet another posting by an idealistic journalist who hasn't any real clue about the real complexity of this type of problem living in a dreamworld of flying cars and overstated demonstratioons [sic] a million miles from a workable technology."
You've obviously never heard of DARPA Grand Challenge / Urban Challenge then.
The technology already exists and will appear in production cars in the next couple of decades. The big US automakers are already looking at it.
Personally, I'd be willing to trade the very limited privacy I already have on the roads for the ability to reclaim all that wasted travel time every week.
Already had it happen; my Benz decided to suffer some form of electronic meltdown as I was driving it. Speedo failed, rev counter failed, indicators failed, PAS offline, ABS offline, gearbox in limp mode.
Fortunately it was still just about drivable without any of the frilly bits, if suddenly a lot more difficult. Really glad it wasn't in AutonomousAuto™ mode.
Anyway I pulled over, and turned it off. Tried to turn it on again, but I couldn't get anything except a beeping noise from the dashboard and flickering segments on the dash displays.
Called Mercedes Assistance, and they said "No worries, it's covered under warranty". So, they dragged it off for diagnostic. Came back and told me the warranty was invalidated by the failure (as it appears to have munged the service indicator during the failure, and they wouldn't believe me). That left me 800quid out of pocket.
So I'm not impressed by them, and not impressed by the concept of AutonomousAuto™ either. I would say I'd rather walk, but to be honest with cars crashing all around me (in both senses of the word) I'd rather be surrounded by a large number of concrete walls. No doubt Wacqui Jacqui has that well in hand ;)
I stand by what I said. If an autonomous system can't even recognise another bloody car and deal with it, how the f*** is it supposed to handle wandering drunk, loose dog / horse / cow / sheep / giraffe (I've not seen one, but I know someone who has), shed tyre carcass (common) / exhaust system (less so), sodding great railway sleeper (A1 Nottingham about 15 years ago - very scary*), forty foot yacht (don't ask), Mercedes with all its electrics b0rked (look Ma, no CVIS) and all the other things that you may find wandering around / lying on a motorway carriageway?
So even in a relatively controlled environment like a motorway, relying on CVIS to identify all the potential threats for you is a recipe for an instant inferno of death and, to be useful, it's still got to get you home from the junction it leaves the motorway at anyway.
For any such system to work it's *got* to be capable of acting in a purely autonomous fashion. Nothing else will do from a safety perspective if no other.
It's a spy / tax system very badly disguised as a traffic information system and that's it.
*A mile up the road from the obstruction in question I found a plod car on the shoulder booking some poor prune for whatever. I pulled over and told them about the bloody great lump of wood on the road. The chap they were in the process of booking was effusive with thanks as the cops instantly leaped back into their car and buggered off with the blue lights on at about warp 12.......
retro fitting? really?
I wouldn't mind watching them have a go on my +ve earthed Morris Minors with totally original wiring looms. They'd better bring a few dozen spares.
Requirement for AutoDrive UK™?
We already have things which permit you to be chauffeured at high speed the length and breadth of the country: They're called 'trains' and 'buses', and although they're a tad more inconvenient than cars (mainly due to lack of funding and/or the ridiculous nature of rail privatisation in the UK) I fail to see a requirement for any auto-drivy things on the motorways.
The phrase 'sledgehammer to crack a wallnut' springs to mind.
I have heard of the DARPA challenge, and if those vehicles running under wholly artificial controlled environments are some idea of a practicable technology that can be introduced into production in the next couple of decades, I think you will be severely disappointed. Yes, we might see something on collision avoidance, automatic parking and the likes but we are a huge distance away from a safe, reliable, everyday cheap technology. Yes, they ran in "mixed" mode simulated urban, but nobody is going to let these things loose on a real urban area for other than a test in a long, long time.
As for the US motor manufacturers looking at this? If they manage to survive their current financial problems in any fit state to do any of this it will be a miracle. As it is they are begging for bail-outs by the US government and are in for some serious restructuring.
Now I suppose the government might have some development money to throw at the problem, but I think they would be better off investing it on weening themselves off of imported oil.
- Require all cars to have compulsory CVIS trackers.
- Make every CVIS tracker demand a swipe of all passenger's and the driver's ID cards every time a car door opens.
- Combine CVIS tracker with a remotely controlled immobiliser.
- Put all tracking and ID information into one big database.
- Feed the database info to a flat screen in her bedroom (and a repeater in Mr Darling's bedroom he was the champion of that idea in the first place).
- Affix a large red "STOP" button to Jacqui's desk, so that every time she is caught cheating on her expenses she can vent her negative emotions by immobilising every vehicle in the country.
Naturally, every Albanian mechanic in a garage near you will offer to disconnect all of this crap and to temporarily reconnect it just before the MOT test. All for cash, no credit cards accepted, of course (there is a solution to that: Jacqui can fit an RFID into every banknote with the help of, who else, Mr Darling, of course!).
'Big Brother' - the price of self-driving cars
Ideal for terrorists, they will just need to find the code of the vehicle carrying their target and they will be able have a roadside bomb activate as the vehicle passes it.
"The technology already exists and will appear in production cars in the next couple of decades. The big US automakers are already looking at it."
Perhaps that should be changed to "the surviving big US automakers"
Would that be Chryslers 2nd or 3rd US Government bail out?
"find the code of the vehicle carrying their target " "have a roadside bomb activate as the vehicle passes "
Nonsense. Such a critical system will be protected by the most secret strong encryption affordable.
Can the devices be equipped to generate random identification codes on a per-trip basis?
Mistaken for an April Fool joke
What's worrying is that the most prominent website collecting together all the April Fool jokes for 2009, thought this was one of them!
God help us. Mine's the one with the ticket out of here!