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back to article UN promises self-driving intelligent cars

The United Nations' ICT agency says that intelligent cars able to drive themselves could easily be built today - but they won't become available unless industry adopts global standards for the technologies underpinning them. According to a statement issued yesterday by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU - "the …

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Go

Why own a car?

The idea of the "robo-taxi" is ancient and has even been used in a few movies, most notably in Total Recall. If you live in a city then owning a car is mostly pointless. You will rarely get out of 2nd gear and will use more fuel whilst stationary than when moving. It will cost you a small fortune in fuel, parking fees, tax, insurance and depreciation and will probably get nicked due to being parked on the street in full view.

Far better to call a Robo-Taxi which will pick you up from wherever you are and drop you wherever you want to go. For longer distances it is proposed that they would link up into trains and travel on tracks far more efficiently than any car.

Lets face it, there are not many places in modern Britain where you can't get a taxi even now.

You just have to put up with having a human (mostly!) driver. ;-)

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Go

Ooh; I live in a city (right in the middle of it);

My -average- speed (across all the time that the engine is running) is 40mph; it costs me less than commuting by train would, parking is easy and cheap (when not free), the car smells of leather not vomit, etc etc.

How, you ask? Birmingham. That's how ;)

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Silver badge

<cough>

bollocks!

brum is a bloody nightmare :-D

guess id depends where you livcan and where you are going and what time, but rush hour is mental

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Go

@Naughtyhorse

Sir, I respectfully suggest that you are using the wrong roads.. :)

True, it *can* be a nightmare, but I would say that the average thursday (early) afternoon traffic in London would be the top story on Central News if it was like that in Brum. The one time that I've experienced it to be that bad was when there were gales that helpfully blew large objects into the middle of every road... that was fun.

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Silver badge

tru dat!

must have been the wrong roads, same as every other bleeder that day :-)

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Joke

I'm sure my car does that

Like you mentioned in the article, I nip to the pub for some refreshment after a hard day's graft, and when I wake up the next morning my car is magically on my drive. It must've automatically driven me home, Ossifer!

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Gold badge
Joke

Re: I'm sure my car does that

You must tell me where you got it.

All the ones I've tried have turned out to be crap at parking and end up magically on someone else's drive or magically on the pavement or something magically like that.

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Stop

My automatic car was stationary...

... when the automatic lamp-post magically jumped out in front of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Will the car still be personalised by then?

As in Minority Report etc, won't we just get the nearest available car rather than getting one to drive all the way across town from home just to pick us up?

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Anonymous Coward

How about driving lessons?

Maybe teaching people how to drive properly would have more value?

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maybe

That depends whether you want to just encourage better driving education, or whether you want to force it by raising difficulty of the driving test.

Making it more difficult to own a car wouldn't be a popular move.

Trying to teach people who don't think they need to be taught isn't going to be very effective.

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FAIL

ISO

Set standards but charge the earth if you want to know the details.

One of the many reasons TCP/IP dominated over OSI networking.

IEEE standards are free; the ISO needs to adapt.

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Already here

Just go to Hell-throw airport and look at the nice system that takes people to the parking for terminal 5. Very convenient automatic taxis.

Any why own your own and have it drive all across town to pick you up, when you could just get in the nearest one and get it to drive you home (Oh OK, because your own personal one wouldn't smell of vomit, but apart from that...)

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Stop

Lack of standards...

Like driving on the right vs left side of the road?

Beyond that, what standards are needed? The basic premise is for the car to be totally autonomous, as if it had a person driving, so surely every car would be required to work completely autonomously with only it's own sensors / processing to rely on, and without needing to communicate with external controllers or signalling. The main traffic signals (traffic lights, stop / give way signs etc) are fairly universal and surely very easy to recognise automatically.

The problem isn't lack of standards, it's that the technology to do this reliably is still a few years down the road

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Anonymous Coward

Someone's been reading too much 2000AD

"would simply circle the block until you were ready to board once more"

If we could do this, I would move into my camper van permanently.

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Linux

Good Idea as long as

Microsoft is allowed nowhere near the software.

Just thnk of the carnage if there was a BSOD at 120kph?

Remember the Eula that MS would probably attach to the S/W would preclude anyone from taking legal action against them.

Mr Teflon Shoulders Balmer must not be allowed to get his tacky mits on this.

Tux naturally

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Joke

Right icon there.

Autonomous cars are obviously made for Linux as they don't need a functioning driver.

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self-driving?

Hang on, in the absence of a link to the actual ITU statement, there is nothing in what was quoted from the ITU statement about self-driving cars. It just said they could navigate, much like the wife navigating when I'm in the driving seat, and foresee collisions, which is probably just a bit of obstacle detection. There's nothing to suggest "avoiding collisions" is anything more than automatic emergency braking. Is the lack of standards really the only barrier to self-driving cars arriving this year? I don't think so.

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standards

What kind of standards are they talking about? If they're talking about setting safety levels for the IA capabilities - i.e. it must be able to avoid an accident in X circumstances, surely that's more a kind of regulation than a standard. But it seems more likely that they're talking about standards for things like road signals, traffic lights, inter-vehicle communication and so on. This is all pretty much a standard already. So, are we talking about standards for RFID-enabled road signals and traffic lights and wi-fi inter-vehicle communication? Okay then, I can understand this definitely requires standards, however I'd hardly say that the lack of standards is what's holding the concept back. More like the lack of infrastructure.

Bottom line, either the autocars can run on visual signals like humans do, or they can't. If they do, there's no need for new standards. If they don't, standards are the least of our problems.

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Thumb Down

Bollocks to self driving cars...

I'm still waiting for my rocket boots.

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Welcome

talk about rise of the machines

I, on the other hand, welcome our new auto-driving autobot overlords.

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Silver badge

in the words of donald fagin

I was born yesterday

When they brought my Kamakiri

When they handed me the keys

It's a steam-power 10

The frame is out of Glasgow

The tech is Balinese

It's not a freeway bullet

Or a bug with monster wheels

It's a total biosphere

The farm in the back

Is hydroponic

Good, fresh things

Every day of the year

Good, fresh things

Every day of the year

With all screens and functions

In sync lock with Tripstar

This cool rolling bubble

Is all set to samba

This route could be trouble

(This route could be trouble)

ahhh blisss (not too sure bout balinese tech tho)

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Grenade

What could possibly go wrong?

Doesn't such a system rely on complete and accurate route information? What happens when there's an emergency road closure, or a burst water main flooding an underpass? It can be some time before the police or HA puts up physical barriers that the collision avoidance system can recognise. Will the system know the current status of every variable speed limit sign, every traffic light (including road works)? Who's going to manage it?

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The only thing missing

is a computer system I'd trust to drive me anywhere.

Welcome to the new windscreen of death

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Go

Getting there

To all:

The tech to do it exists in all its pieces but not as a whole. Of course we should do this, to argue otherwise is to condemn the countless people to accidental death on the roads. A decent system should cut crashes by 90%, then 90% of that over the years. And car ownership would be silly for most. How much do you pay to drive? Gas, car payments, parking, garages, carports, massive parking lots, and insurance? Would you like to cut that (and pollution) by at least 2/3 and also save lives and also be able to work or sleep or otherwise while you normally drive? No? Are you nuts? I love cars and F1 racing on TV, but I would drop *my* driving in a second if given the chance.

There are many large obstacles (opportunity costs) to adoption, as some posters here have shown. The biggest is probably trust of the system, which will sometimes fail. I suggest that transition systems will be the answer: you choose whether you drive or the car drives. Your will would be absolute in this instance, though signals indicating driver malice or incompetence would go out immediately along with lights, comms, etc. to give warning to others. The best means would be accessible mechanical clutches for steering and pedals. And I for one welcome.....

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Lewis made the self-driving car bit up...

http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2011/10.aspx

http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/ict-auto/201103/cfa.html

...and I think all above have fallen for it !

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Paris Hilton

United Nations ITC.... OM(f)G NO!

The post is required, and must contain letters.

Actually, dear automated text form, the entire quality content of this post was very neatly injected into the title, without which I was already aware that my post would not be accepted.

This rather neatly demostrates the validity of my post (oops, sorry, TITLE). The very concept of an ITC department (normally the highest concentration of poorly motivated contractors in any workplace) operating (I resist the urge to use the word 'working' in the interests of accuracy) inside the UN (definately the Worlds most Lumbering Committee). After squeezing out the last vestiges of intelligence from a workforce, 'Elf n Safety' leaves it struggling to cope on a supply of the semi paralysed or brain damaged, the army of one-legged lesbian single parents with weight problems and degrees in arranging pot-plants.

Even Paris isn't swallowing this.

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Oh joy, more muppets

"The United Nations' ICT agency says that intelligent cars able to drive themselves could easily be built today"

Of course they can. Hell, I remember Tomorrow's World showing us cars doing that in the early 80s. What we don't have is cars intelligent enough to drive themselves in an environment with people doing random crazy shit.

As for the intelligent infrastructure, I'm all for it. Think about it - currently if you want to know that there's heavy traffic here and roadworks there, you need to sign up for some third-party system which only works in your country, and then only if you're lucky, and which is competing with other third-party systems. It's like mobile phones used to be. If they can all share data then navigation to avoid jams gets a whole lot smarter.

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Unhappy

Phorm?

I worry about a world where, after driving past the Phorm HQ, your car develops a strange tendency to veer toward business that pay for carjacking...

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