back to article Drivers? Where we’re going, we don’t need drivers…

Whether or not you’re currently filled with horror at the prospect of driving home for Christmas, again, you have to admit the internal combustion engine has been one of the key shapers of our current culture. So, what happens once the open road is something that is navigated by silicon, not us? Those were the sort of topics …

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Let's just say that...

the advent (nad eventual imposition of) driverless cars will be the equivilent of the abolition of cash---the 'end of anonymity' in a substantial area of life.

Whether that is a good/bad thing is another matter, but it certainly will be 'a thing' with actual and profound consequences, some of which will certainly be profoundly negative/destructive to healthy human society.

As always, follow the money, see who benefits, i.e. who gains power, and also who loses power and autonomy.

Just because something can be done, doesn't mean it should be done, or at least doesn't mean it should be done in the way that suits the selfish aspirations of the power and money hungry.

Oh well, it's a gloomy Monday anyway.

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Re: Let's just say that...

>end of anonymity

The end of the illusion of anonymity. Hint: ANPR.

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Re: Let's just say that...

On the contrary, the driverless car will probably result in a completely different way we treat personal transport. Instead of everyone owning their own car, most people will be hiring a car for each journey. These driverless taxies will be cheap enough to compete favourably with the running cost of a private car, and in many ways will be far more convenient. Message the central booking computer and a car will be waiting for you within minutes, ready to take you anywhere you need to go. No need to be an adult, no need to be sober, no need to stay awake, and no worry about parking. No need to have a separate car for each adult member of the family, no need to have a garage taking up valuable real-estate, and an end to the car-lined streets of suburbia and multi-story car parks dotted around the cities.

It will probably spell the death-knell for busses and passenger trains as well, because there is no reason why a journey could not be offered in a driverless car at a price that is comparable to public transport.

And much easier to be anonymous, as I am quite certain that there will be PAYG services available, so tracking the car will not result in tracking the passenger.

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Re: Let's just say that...

the driverless car will probably result in a completely different way we treat personal transport.

Almost a complete description of how the Git treats personal transport. He hates driving and much prefers taxis and public transport. Saved many thousands of dollars over the years which is likely why his friends own a car and the Git owns houses he rents out.

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Pint

Re: Let's just say that...

Cynic_999: on replacing private cars with driverless taxis

Replacing parked private cars with empty driverless cars driving back for more passengers points towards a DOUBLING of traffic congestion during rush hours.

Yes, the parking garages will be much less full. But the roads will be twice as jammed. By cars wandering around twice as much.

PS. Wasted fuel too.

If you doubt this common sense prediction, then go to Manhattan NYC and look at the swarming masses of yellow cabs, many empty of passengers, on their way somewhere.

Too much unthinking hype on driverless cars.

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Re: Let's just say that...

Apples and Oranges

NYC cabs (and taxis in general) operate as individual units all vying to maximize their own revenue. Even when the taxis are controlled by a central operator, the taxi firm has to be careful to evenly distribute work to all the drivers - especially as most drivers are not employed by the firm and directly rely on passenger journeys to get paid.

Taxi drivers are also some of the worst and most selfish drivers on the road - eliminating them will probably ease congestion by 10% alone

Automated taxis will have a completely different motivation model - that of maximising revenue for the owning company.

If ride sharing does take off then automated taxis will come in a wider range of sizes and have a higher occupancy rate greatly reducing the number of vehicles on the road. Try counting occupancy rates in morning traffic. The average number won't be much above 1.

Chaining vehicles may also become possible at some point. So 2 or three automated vehicle couple together and act as one. this further will reduce the road footprint of those vehicles and reduce traffic congestion.

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Pint

Re: Let's just say that...

I posted an obvious point about driverless cars vice congestion, and AceRimmer replied with some assumptions about "ride sharing" and essentially driverless taxi cabs. Ride Sharing with taxi cabs is as feasible now as it would be with driverless cars. Which is to say, not really (for many reasons); else it would be commonplace (which it isn't).

Plenty of muddled thinking on this topic.

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Re: Let's just say that...

Calm down dear, I used the "If" conditional, I was not making an assumption

Incidentally the ride sharing concept is already being used by Uber, time will tell how successful that is but a lot of people do appear to be prepared to share a taxi for a reduction in their fare.

Now go and have a proper think about the other points on how automated vehicles can be managed as a group to minimise congestion

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Re: Let's just say that...

" Message the central booking computer and a car will be waiting for you within minutes"

Yes folks, another thing that will only be true if you live within the M25 and it's not closing time on Friday or Saturday evening.

Though I suppose to be accurate, several hours - or even the next day - can still be looked on as "minutes" - it's just a matter of arithmetic.

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Re: Let's just say that...

AR, "...how automated vehicles can be managed as a group to minimise congestion."

Maybe after delivering their payload, they could get off the road and turn off their engine. Failing to park can only *increase* congestion on the road.

Your plan seems to be wishful thinking and 'Magic Happens Here' predominantly featured on your Gantt chart.

You're fired.

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Re: Let's just say that...

Chaining vehicles may also become possible at some point. So 2 or three automated vehicle couple together and act as one. this further will reduce the road footprint of those vehicles and reduce traffic congestion.

I think you'll find we already have these in various sizes starting from a minibus through to a London double decker... Ride sharing once it goes beyond 3 people is probably just a private bus; which introduces a whole set of new regulations for companies such as Uber to complain about...

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Re: Let's just say that...

These driverless taxies will be cheap enough to compete favourably with the running cost of a private car, and in many ways will be far more convenient.

Only whilst they are gaining market share, once they have effectively replaced the private car we can expect prices to rise to "market levels"...

No need to be an adult

This is going to be an interesting discussion point, namely at what age should someone be allowed to use such a vehicle and the level of parental consent and involvement required. Remember our society is much more concerned about "protecting/nannying the children" than it was when many of us grew up.

It will probably spell the death-knell for busses and passenger trains as well, because there is no reason why a journey could not be offered in a driverless car at a price that is comparable to public transport.

Price might be comparable but journey time, just think of the congestion and the running meters...

And much easier to be anonymous, as I am quite certain that there will be PAYG services available, so tracking the car will not result in tracking the passenger.

But you will need a mobile phone to make a booking and pay for it, plus the car's will "for your convenience and security" have face recognition video cameras...

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Pint

Re: Let's just say that...

One needs only *think* to see that driverless cars are nearly equivalent to taxicabs as compares to private motorcars. OBVIOUSLY private cars go straight from A to B and then get off the road for the rest of the day. Taxicabs drive around EMPTY (of passengers) for some hours per day and OBVIOUSLY this can only increase the congestion. Any empty driverless car is an EXTRA car on the road.

Vague hopes of some magic is naive and foolish.

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Joke

... we travelled from ethics, to robotics

I know where Essex is but Robotics?

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Re: ... we travelled from ethics, to robotics

I don't know - but the county town is Lolchester

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Anonymous Coward

Driverless car + British roads

Doubt the Google cars would survive a village visit with a double round-a-bout as well as partially mapped roads that transition into public walkways.

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Re: Driverless car + British roads

Some wag is going to rearrange some nicked redirection signs into a great big self-driving-car-capturing circle aren't they...

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Features

The car could offer new destinations that you may find interesting based on previous usage.

Auto-tweeting - Can be set for destination arrival or even every junction you pass, e.g Just turned left again LOL.

Speed dating - the car lets you know when you are going to approach a compatible person and you can drive next to each other for 30 seconds.

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Re: Features

Can any one help me?

I need to erase the history of my car journeys, so that my partner does find out that I've been visiting Waitrose and not Asda like I've been telling them...

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Anonymous Coward

Get a grip on reality

Numerous surveys have shown less than 50% of current drivers would even consider an AV. Woman in particular seem to not trust the technology and for good reason. When faced with the reality that AVs will get people killed - and they will for years before the Feds finally clamp down on AV makers, don't expect AVs to be the majority personal transportation of society for at least another hundred years or more.

AVs offer potential benefit to many in society once the vehicles are properly designed, engineered, manufactured, license and maintained. That unfortunately is at least 20-30 years off. In the mean time we will get rushed-to-market dangerous and deadly half baked vehicles that will most definitely cause preventable deaths and injuries. The fact that programmers can't even get the basic programming correct or start with the concept of an unhackable O/S, illustrates the rush-to-market mentality and disaster waiting to occur. The talking heads that promote AVs as the second coming of Christ, are duping the gullible for windfall revenue.

The evil politicians in some states like Nevada and CA, are screwing their constituents over royally by spending tax payer money to buy EV and AV makers new business. Dealing with the toxic waste from EVs and AVs is a sizeable problem the politicians are ignoring.

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Headmaster

Re: Get a grip on reality

When faced with the reality that AVs will get people killed

Citation needed.

On average, around 90 people die every day in car crashes, in the US alone. It's hard to imagine that "AVs" will do a worse job.

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Terminator

Re: Get a grip on reality

""Woman in particular seem to not trust the technology and for good reason.""

Most women hate pointless automatisms and I for one I'm with them.

I want my toaster as simple as possible, my washing machine less cybernetic, and I wish my TV wouldn't assume an HDMI signal means it has to do all sort of "clever" unasked adjustments on the image.

I'm not sure if anybody feels like this, but most automatisms try to be clever just to fail in stupid ways.

Not to mention that nothing is repairable if everything is software driven and you have no access to the source...

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Re: Get a grip on reality

"On average, around 90 people die every day in car crashes, in the US alone. It's hard to imagine that "AVs" will do a worse job"

Don't have much of an imagination do you.

90 a day is about one for every 93 million miles driven. Or your typical 14k miles a year driver will be killed once every 6640 years.

All googles AVs combined have barely done 1 million (dawdling) miles so far.

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Re: Get a grip on reality

Exactly. At the moment we see careless drivers explaining to the judge that the accident really wasn't their fault but the judge won't believe them.

In the future we'll see careless coders explain to the judge that the accident really wasn't their fault and there's a big chance they'll get away with it.

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Video.

Who's got time for video? Where's the transcript?

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Re: Video.

And that is why so many of us skip this sort of thing.

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Re: Video.

Or even an audio podcast. Trying to watch videos while driving to work would seem to be a bad idea...although maybe once we've got driverless cars :)

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to walk in the shoes of others....

Not everyone *can* drive. Once you are unfortunate to have a family member lose the ability to drive, perhaps you will recognise that this use of technology that will have massively positive societal effects.

I would caution, however, those in wealth and power might not like your proximity to *them*....

P.

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Re: to walk in the shoes of others....

Seizure disorder (catatonia) here so it wouldn't be at all good to allow me to drive. For me, this would be awesome even if it were limited in utility. As it stands now, I have to pad any expeditions, even a medical appointment, by two and a half hours on both sides as that's the required accuracy of our services here. [One hour early, one and a half late.] And given that I have to schedule at least twenty-four hours in advance, unplanned trips to the doctor/hospital, store-runs, etc. are right out unless I spring for a taxi.

There are quite a few of us out here that are seriously limited in the scope of what we want to do let alone the must. Even with all the negatives cited above, that's a risk-reward tradeoff that I could live with.

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Re: to walk in the shoes of others....

> I would caution, however, those in wealth and power might not like your proximity to *them*....

No doubt driverless cars will sooner or later be offered with a '1st class' option that costs ten times more but has priority on the road, with other dvr< cars moving out of the way automatically.

So there'll be little chance of you or I being stuck in a jam in proximity to the wealthy and powerful.

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Happy

@2+2=5 - Re: to walk in the shoes of others....

> other dvr< cars moving out of the way automatically.

Well at least they're more likely to move over when I'm filtering past them on my motorbike :-)

(Instead of being a cunt and deliberately moving to block me because "If I have to sit in this jam, then so should everyone else...)

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Boffin

I worry most about the IT security and liability aspects of these cars

Let's face it, the IT industry's record on being able to secure their products and stay ahead of hackers is not great. I worry about putting the entire transportation system in the hands of information technology, when a hacker could conceivably cause tens of thousands or even millions of cars to malfunction.

Also there is the liability issue. Who pays if your car gets hacked and bricked? What if your car can't foresee and operate in a certain situation and property damage or even death result? Is Google/Ford/Diamler-Benz going to fork over millions of dollars because their ran over a schoolkid? If you are the owner of the self-operating car, what is your liability? Will you find yourself liable because you didn't download some software patch somewhere in the past, or have the electronics in your car inspected on schedule? Patching and maintaining the electronics is going to be a lot for your average car owner to deal with.

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Re: I worry most about the IT security and liability aspects of these cars

Patching and maintaining the electronics is going to be a lot for your average car owner to deal with.

Hence why the vendors are copying IT companies, such as Microsoft and will include an always-on 3/4G Internet connection to allow auto update. However, as we've seen with Microsoft such a channel is open to abuse.

As for liability, well look at the typical software EULA. I expect any sensible vendor will effectively put the user in a catch-22 situation: In the new world you won't own the car, you will only have a license to use it and like software EULA, you install/use the car at your own risk. Also the user must allow the car to auto-update or be in breech of the EULA, however, software downloads are "as-is" and the vendor can accept no liability etc. etc.

So if the car you are licensed to use is involved in an accident, just hope you've got sufficient public liability insurance cover...

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Unhappy

Re: I worry most about the IT security and liability aspects of these cars

Yes, Roland6. But that ever-present data connection makes hacking and tracking more of a danger.

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Brainless people

People cannot read anymore, can hardly intellectually understand soap operas anymore and soon they will not be able to drive cars anymore. At parties they cannot even talk anymore, exchanging messages via iPhones.

I still like driving my BMW on a german highway. I do it all by myself - and it is fun.

And sometimes i write handwritten letters - for special occasions. And I am not yet 90 years old.

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@robertcirca - Re: Brainless people

> I still like driving my BMW on a german highway.

But can you still use the indicators (unlike most British BMW drivers)...?

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Re: Brainless people

And can hardly shear a sheep, or kill a sabertooth barehanded, or knap a good flint arrowhead any more!

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Pint

Fair Weather technology

Much of the development is in SoCal. Bring it up to Canada in February, when the roads are covered by snow (no visible lines), and let me know how well it works then.

Rebuttals mentioning ill-defined "GPS" magic as a solution to one foot accurate (!) lane-keeping will be ignored.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fair Weather technology

You seem to in the know here so I will just pile in the ability to do a diagonal/slanted parking between the snow banks in the street and mandatory snow shoveling and brushing.

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Anonymous Coward

Link to paper

Does anyone have a link to the paper he cited on peoples choices when faced with having to make driving decisions?

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Drivers?

I thought the article was going to be about device drivers.

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Driverless cars are a scam. They will not become a thing. They will remain perceptually in development, with constant news articles promising they are just round the corner.

At least the fusion researchers only have to figure out a few physics problems.

The driverless car manufacturers need to invent hard AI.

yeah good luck with that. not falling for it.

Get back to me when the AI in the 100% controlled environment of GTA drives cars remotely credibly.

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@Nom^3

You are correct.

I'm going to hold out for a 3D Printed, Self-Driving, fusion-powered (too cheap to meter), Flying Car.

For a start,perhaps someone can explain lane-keeping on snow covered roads. Talk about 'strong AI'. Or a whole new navigation system, supplanting GPS.

Too much child-like naivety on this topic. In the long run, yes. But much further out than anyone is expecting.

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