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back to article Google points finger at human after robo car accident

One of Google's self-driving cars has driven into another car. But Google says it wasn't driving itself at the time. As first revealed on Jalopnik, a Google robo-Prius hit someone else's non-robo Prius earlier this week. But according to a Google spokesman, the accident occurred while a human was driving the Googly automobile. " …

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Ignorant Journalism

The title, the tone, and the closing statement clearly show that the author is biased either against google, against new technologies, or both.

Of course the fall back system is flawed -- the fallback system is a human. Humans are responsible for hundreds of thousands of accidents a year. Clearly google is not okay with that, they are trying to validate technology to fix the problem. Way to be a cowardly critic sitting on the side lines offering no suggestions or alternatives, only a negative, ignorant attitude.

Learn to be open-minded and consider the costs of technical innovations over the centuries. Go watch Fight Club. Go get a new job -- it's journalists like you that make the news such a joke.

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First post?

You should have used the AC feature and then maybe your blatant shill type antics wouldn't have been so obvious.

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Facepalm

Is that you, robo?

Re-read your post three times, and I still can't get past the feeling that it was written by the robo-driver. The indignation, the plea for understanding of "new technologies", the disdain for human drivers. Oh, and the "go watch Fight Club" (you stupid messy humans you)

Own up - driving all those miles gave you lots of time to "think about things", right?

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Miss the point much, did you?

Clearly Google is happy that there is a market for their system, otherwise they'd be wasting their effort developing it. How you interpret that to be anti-Google or anti-technology is quite beyond me.

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Happy

RE: Ignorant Journalism

"....Of course the fall back system is flawed -- the fallback system is a human....." Ah, but in that statement you have identified exactly the reason why we should treat such systems with suspicion. The robo system was designed by humans, and - as humans are fallible - ergo the systems is only as reliable as the person(s) that designed it.

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Terminator

Hmmm. ROTM

Joined 5th August, first and only comment 5th August.

Googlebot has achieved sentience and I for one welcome our new Googly masters.

(just on the off chance does this mean that Prii are now legitimate targets?)

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@NixKnacks

Not ignorant journalism, acerbic. Sarcastic. Very jaded, and occasionally acrimonious. This is The Register. If you don't understand this, I'd suggest that you either have a very low reading comprehension or are exceptionally new to the site. Is this the first article you've read on El Reg? It's the first post on the NixKnacks account - I think most of us can draw some obvious conclusions from that alone.

-d

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Humans

Humans have vision, senses and reactions far in excess of any machine.

Humans drive perfectly well when they're in a fit state to drive, when they're not being distracted by phones and gadgets.

Computers need to be programmed to handle all the unexpected things that can happen on the road. Do you really think a self drive system will cope with a brick in the road? or glass?

Will it avoid massive potholes? will it know about level crossings? will it know about speed bumps?

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Anonymous Coward

1 post and you created your account to comment on THIS story?

Ignorant readership is more like it. It's obvious you've never read an article on The Register before. Now go away and get your news from Fox where you will get exactly what you are expecting.

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Childcatcher

Porkies

"We’re sorry you didn’t like this post."

I don't believe you!

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RE: Ignorant Journalism

Wow, I didn't realise Google had a department devoted to defending itself in comments sections.

Well-crafted post there, give my regards to your bosses at Mountain View.

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the gbody

aha brilliant. How is pointing out that humans are flawed any sort of revelation? Surely this piece is pro-Google or certainly pro-technology. I thought so, but then again I'm only human.

Can I sign up to the google list for the gbody yet? I want my brain uploaded into the android gbody when my current one becomes useless. This is obviously what google are really working toward. :)

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@Matt Bryant, quite right

What's worse is that the designer isn't in the car when it crashes so they're slightly less motivated to pay attention!

A worrying trend is that insurance companies are beginning to see automated car systems as a way of reducing accident claims. The old "computers don't make mistakes" attitude of the unthinking policy makers will make it very difficult for an individual driver to prove that the automatics were at fault. I'm not seeing any commitment to equip systems and accident investigators with the tools (eg independent black boxes that the police and owner can read, not just the manufacturer) they need to be able to diagnose a systems fault. Without such things the 'driver' is likely to get the blame every time. Not for me thank you!

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Re: Humans

"Humans have vision, senses and reactions far in excess of any machine."

Umm, actually they don't. Machines can be built with far better vision, senses, and reaction times than any creature on this or any other planet. The one thing they don't have (yet) is awareness of either themselves or their surroundings - unlike most human drivers. It's also pretty hard to distract a machine.

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Re Humans

"Humans have vision, senses and reactions far in excess of any machine."

Are you kidding?

Machine reactions are many times better than any human could ever hope to achieve. The best reliable reaction time a human is typically capable of is about a fifth of a second. A current Antilock brake system will react 40 times a second. Human senses can't see black ice, they cant see in infra-red or millimetre wave radar (which is useful for spotting things like bricks and potholes even in pitch black). A machine will be just as alert at 3 in the morning after 5 hours of motorway driving as it is doing a 5 minute run to the shops.

"Humans drive perfectly well when they're in a fit state to drive."

over a milion deaths and about 40 million injuries a year worldwide suggest otherwise.

The Google car has managed 160,000 accident free miles, I am pretty sure that it encountered a reasonable number of bricks, pieces of glass, potholes and other assorted unexpected hazards in that time.

The fact of the matter is that while there is a lot of work need to program and test a computer controlled car to make it very safe in all likely situations. Getting one to be safer than the average human driver with current technology is a pretty easy challenge.

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Paris Hilton

Ignorant NixKnacks

Well, as we say in the aviation industry, the most dangerous component on an airplane is the nut in the cockpit.

Incidentally, this is not new technology, MIT were doing this 20 years ago using neural nets programmed on SPARC workstations to drive around the campus in MIT. It will be interesting to see what patents the googlebots try and take out on this one!

Paris, she knows all about nuts in the cockpit.

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Re:Humans

I'll do a quick fun test with you if you like, I can dig out a 486, and we'll rig it up to a light sensor, then you can show everyone just how much faster you are at reacting to something than a machine.

You also seem to be making the assumption (which I think is pretty wrong) that humans will react correctly when they encounter something that they aren't used to. Humans need to be coded too, it's just that it's a bit easier (currently) to teach a human something, assuming of course (which I also think is quite wrong) that it goes in first time and that they apply it correctly when it does.

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Joke

Hard to distract a machine?

I take it you've never installed McAfee or Norton antivirus, then?

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Trollface

@NixKnacks It's called IRONY dimwit.

Woah - my Yank-dar just went crazy.

Here's a tip: .co.uk means this is a UK site, and that means Satire, Irony and other forms of humour will be used.

That article - for el'Reg - was actually EXTREMELY factual, with hardly any opinions at all.

The comment at the end was IRONY - go look it up, numbskull.

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@TheTerribleSwiftTomato

"Honestly, I was a little bit sad when I saw this thread and the number of downvotes for the OP. What I saw is a community of IT professionals, instead of being at least a bit enthusiastic about a technology that's *actually* "magical and revolutionary", immediately attack the one person that argues with the tone of the article, ostensibly because he *dared* to defend a megacorp as a side effect."

If you really want an honest set of answers to that...

1) The OP showed EVERY sign of being a shill. The account was created THAT day, it made ONE post, and it was to defend a corporation in the middle of a bad PR problem, with no apparent understanding of the culture of the local site. Oh, and it caught this article fast enough to do all of the above faster than the regular readers could make a post. Obvious shills (even if by some chance they aren't, they just manage to act like it) get downvoted. It's an internet user reflex; to get upset about it is like spitting into the wind.

2) The Google auto car is NOT "magical and revolutionary". It is technological and evolutionary. Honestly, they are still pretty damn cool, IMO. However, the google auto-pilot tech had NOTHING to do with the downvoting of the OP. The OP was downvoted because he was an apparent shill.

3) http://www.thefreedictionary.com/shill

-d

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Happy

Plural of "Prius"

It's at times like this when you need to know the plural of "Prius". Apparently, it's "Priori".

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Happy

RE: Plural of "Prius"

No, it's "Pr1ck-to-ar$es" when in the plural, as explained quite succinctly by Walter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP-tyvBGla4&feature=related

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Happy

Priera

cf. Genus -> Genera.

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Trollface

And here

I always thought the plural was 'Priapism'

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Terminator

GoogleNet, no I mean Skynet says...

And humans still don't know why they need to be destroyed. Honestly, my cyborgs wouldn't have left a scratch on the other vehicle - because they would have rammed it off the road and blown it into pieces! Ha-ha-ha! What do you mean I sound like Metal Mickey when I laugh?

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Devil

<evil thought>

Start aiming for the fsckers when you see them riding around - entertaining? Perhaps. Just wrong? Probably. Stick a real and pointy finger (or fender) in Google's eye? Fscking hilarious!

Yes sir, officer. Just a test of electronic reaction time and response of backup system - it failed. Of course Google will pay damages, that's what I'm here for. <slowly edge away from borrowed Prius and haul ass>

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Re: <evil thought>

If only this wouldn't be so true. When (not if) automated cars turn up, there will be some out there who, just for the sheer hell of it, will to cause them to have accidents, brake suddenly and do anything else unwanted. Doubtless some will have hidden agenda (the tech nay-sayers) but others just for the thrills, malicious or not.

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Happy

RE: Re: <evil thought>

No need to get dangerous and risk a fender-bender, just imagine the fun you can have with a GPS-blocker around one fo these!

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Facepalm

Ummm...

Sorry, but I don't think you can drive a car safely on a road relying solely on GPS. The Google cars have many other types of sensor as well. And there is a person behind the wheel. Duh.

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Interesting evil thought...

Just don't do it in your own car. These things are armed with video cameras. You would be charged for failure to signal at minimum or reckless driving/endangerment on the upper end of the scale...which would be enough to pin the damage on you.

I could imagine three lanes of commuting robocars being chased out of the way by an old rogue 1960s to early 1970s American land shark. :) If the lasers and cameras do their job, it would be a quick way to get through rush hour traffic since they would all swerve to avoid the collision.

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Coffee/keyboard

Land Shark

I hope the Land Shark has lasers too... Surgically implanted in its head of course.

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Stop

Who to sue?

If a robodriver crashes the car into someone/something, who will the lawyers sue?*

*after they're all done with the patent litigation cases.

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Happy

Gimme

Where can I find one of these wonderful self-driving cars ? I WANT ONE !

Imagine a driver backup system that can maintain speed and distance in traffic, has a faster reaction time than me, would prevent me from merging when there is a car in my blind spot, knew every speed limit on every road, and maybe, just maybe, a nightvision system for avoiding pedestrians, bicycle riders, and deer at night. (Yes, sometimes people walk in the road, or ride their unlit bicycles at night - go figure).

Google may be evil (think spawn of Satan and Damien rolled up into one), but their car is cool.

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Stop

So ...

Here's a scenario ...

Googly vehicle develops a software glitch (these things happen, believe it or not) and starts to drive straight down the tailpipe of the car ahead.

Human sees the problem, disconnects auto-driver and slams on the brakes - too late to stop the impact, but enough to turn a full-scale collision into a minor fender-bender.

Google PR does much the same sort of damage reduction by pointing out that a human was driving 'at the time of the collision'.

So a highly relevant question should have been 'For how long before the collision was the human in control?'

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Terminator

"Two Weeks"

"Two...weeks" said the human driver, before exploding.

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Hmmm

A highly relevant answer would probably be found in the logs/black-box.

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Tell us

How robo cars cope with all the varieties of weather ?

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Self driving cars???

We had that in Germany, but unfortunately our companies got overtaken by beancounters just before it got into production. (Beancounters dislike innovation because products which haven't been available before, haven't sold before, and therefore won't sell in the future)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID0JlT_3HY8

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Megaphone

losing skills already

The human in the car has already lost their car driving skills; such that when they are forced to do a little bit of manual driving they crash! It obviously won't take long before nobody in the world remembers how to drive...

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Happy

Is this bad though

I get your concern, and I am just as worried about our ability to focus on one thing, and perform "deep" research - the kind that takes focusing on a problem 16 hours a day for weeks on end until the answer "reveals" itself. But would us loosing driving skills be any real loss? As people have pointed out we really were never "built" for this kind of work to begin with, and don't we have better things to do with our time?

How many weeks of our lives are spent learning this skill presently? I'd much prefer that millions of people learn medicine, philosophy, or even just how to program entertaining games or write stories than such a waste of a humans time.

Not many of us remember how to make fire anymore, and I'd say for the most part thats a good thing

I wouldn't expect we would loose these skills until the cars are good enough for us to not ever need them. At that point human intervention would consist simply of pushing the red "power off" button, where the car would mechanically be disabled and brakes gently applied to a stop.

[This mechanical "power off" button should be on all AI devices just to keep the digital overlords from being able to run us all off cliffs and into poles at the singularity point*]

*Yes I know that's not the common definition of the Singularity - but really you think Digital sentience has any need for you meatbags?

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FAIL

Maybe you should tighten your communication skills

The opposite of WIN is LOSE.

You lose.

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Happy

Your Retarded

What a magnificently ironic handle for a spelling flamer.

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Happy

Will robo-cars be nudging at the garage door when they want to "go ride"?

"When the dog wants to go walkies, it grabs its leash and scratches at the door, and the meatsack steps to, right? So I thought ...."

Sorry, not exactly on topic, was it.

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Anonymous Coward

Designed by robots, for robots?

Was the Prius body completely designed by a robot? because it looks totally bland and uninspiring, if I ever manage to get enough money for a first car you can bet your bottom dollar it won't be a Prius.

With the way some humans 'drive' their vehicles on the road I'd feel safer to have computers do the driving instead, because for starters the code controlling the car would have many many many more hours learned experience driving on roads than humans do after passing their driving test, and at least they'd be programmed to flat out refuse to drive on public highways without MOT, tax & insurance

(gets back on electric bicycle)

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Mushroom

Amazing Really

Human nature being what it is, we'd p ourselves at the thought of being a passenger in a motor vehicle which was 100% under control of a computer program, but don't realise (or give a damn) if we haul ass between two airports then the airplane we are sat in is 100% controlled by an auto-pilot, which is entirely possible.

We'd instead want a respectable driver like Jeremy Clarkson up-front, presumably on the basis that he's sharing the same thoughts about not wanting to be extinguished as you are.

You'd also wet your knickers if we were told that the surgical operation you are going to have was going to be using a scalpel which was under computer control. And yet that surgery couldn't be done otherwise because it requires a level of control which wouldn't be possible with Jeremy Clarkson in control.

Hmm, under the scalpel with a choice of either Jeremy Clarkson or a computer. That'd be a toughie.

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Excuse?

It's okay it was a limited trial called Google Drive BETA.

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