Well, if Uber's cars are programmed in a manner consistant with the rest of Uber's philosophy
Then Uber cars are programed as if they are in "Death Race 2000".
A police report appears to support the claim that Uber was not to blame for a recent crash of its self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona. But the incident raises serious questions about what rules the startup's engineers are putting into the car's software. The report – made available Wednesday for anyone who is able to …
My impression was that she hit the Uber car in the side with enough force to push the Uber onto it's side. In any case, it was her responsibility to make sure the intersection was clear before entering it. Make this out to be Uber's fault? That's just P.C. in my book.
If they train experts system (AI) using reading taken from people driving in the beat the lights manner then it will try to beat the light because that is how it has been teached it should drive. Using expert systems (AI) is all well and good but you have to remember to teach it using good driving habits rather than bad driving habits.
But, wait! There's more! Get ready to test my new invention; fake traffic light projections onto self-driving vehicles with inexpensive LCD mini-projector, a smartphone, and a live crab. Patent Pending. We're still working out what the crab is for, but you'd be surprised, it does not function without one for the nonce.
The Uber car was knocked onto its side by the impact! Despite what witnesses might have stated, it's extremely likely that at the moment of impact the Uber cars speed was a lot lot less than that of the other car. It's very very hard for a slow moving car to knock a fast moving one onto its side.
It's very very hard for a slow moving car to knock a fast moving one onto its side.
Other way around ?
A stationary car can roll another. If the oncoming car turned across it, then it's (relatively) low bonnet would be first into the path of the Uber car. The Uber car could then "drive up" the bonnet like a ramp and do what in the film/stunt business as a pipe roll.
On the other hand, drive into a stationary or slow moving car "side in" and it's very hard to roll that car over.
So clearly you never saw the episode of mythbusters where they tried to use the bonnet of one car as a ramp for another. That myth was busted IIRC.
But in all seriousness it is very difficult to predict when a car will roll. It's often surprising which vehicles pass and which fail the elk test. One thing you can be pretty sure of is that the Volvo, being a Volvo, will have passed the elk test. As such it should be pretty damned hard to roll.
The photographs of the aftermath don't make it clear how the car was rolled, but visible damage to both cars does not speak of a high speed impact.
"So clearly you never saw the episode of mythbusters where they tried to use the bonnet of one car as a ramp for another. That myth was busted IIRC."
Not sure you can use Mythbusters as a reliable proof of whether something can be done. They once "proved" that robin hooding an arrow in archery (eg shooting one into the back of another) couldn't be done, yet even as an average archer I did it (I still have the two arrows stuck together on my wall), and when visiting the local archery shop with its own range (which the staff regularly used when not serving) they had a bin full of the things. At best they simply prove THEY couldn't do something after a few goes in certain circumstances.
"The Uber car could then "drive up" the bonnet like a ramp"
I had an office by an intersection that saw its fair share of this kind of crash (mostly caused by straight-through vehicles running reds and hitting turning vehicles on arrows).
This kind of scenario _never_ happened (ie: in no case did the oncoming car ride up over the nose of the turning one, or vice versa), but in one case the driver of the turning vehicle saw the crash coming and tried to avoid it. Instead of braking hard she hit the gas and ended up accelerating hard into the side of the straight-through vehicle, which ended up on its roof about 20 yards further on.
One of the things I learned from working there was that crash witnesses are highly unreliable. Most aren't paying attention and only start properly looking _after_ the noise happens, then assume the rest. Statements given to the police seldom tallied and CCTV footage (which is why the police would be in my office) usually showed something completely different to their claims.
The Uber car bounced off a traffic light / street light, /THEN/ rolled. and hit two other cars.
My guess: it rolled because it mounted the kerb.
Uber was overtaking on the inside. Stationary traffic in the middle lanes of the 6 lane road, uber in the inside lane, doing 38 in 40mph zone through a yellow light.. Uber was nudged on to the Right kerb by car making a Left Hand turn. Continued on, mounted the kerp, hit a pole, spun and flipped, hitting two other cars.
(remember, driving on Right in USA)
Observation (1). No sensible driver would do 38/40 through a yellow light inside of stationary traffic.
(2) Any sensible driver would have expected [Left Hand Turn] vehicles to be waiting for the light to change to complete their turn. They always do that.
(3) Any sensible driver would realise that the [Left Hand Turn] cars would be threading their way through and hidden by the stationary traffic, which is why you don't do full speed on the inside lane through a yellow light.
4)Uber radar and AI failed to detect [Left Hand Turn] traffic.
So two problems: driving AI took a bad risk. Detection AI failed.
Technically [Left Hand Turn] 'failed to give way'.
Practically, if uber drives like this, uber will have accidents like this.
"How can you drive so fast, while turning left at an intersection, that the freaking Volvo you hit rolls over!? Was the woman driving a tank?"
You can be doing zero, if the Volvo hits you at the right speed and angle to career off and hit something else and flip. Since the other person was turning left at an intersection, they won't have been going very fast, let's be honest. And 38 at a blind intersection is insane.
One for humans (visual), the type we are all used to.
The other (electronic) is for robot cars. All intersections have some kind of electronic signal which signals to robot cars that the traffic light is red, even though it is green. If the speed profile of the car is deemed safe, and a green is likely to be encountered at that speed profile when the car hits the junction then the light is cleared for the car to pass through. The speed profile is monitored throughout the approach and is triggered accordingly when it is assured that the overall process is under control.
I like the idea of providing non-visual information for the robot car, but I think you would be opening a new can of worms if you gave different signals to the car. In the example you give, neither the "safety driver" nor any non-automatic following vehicles, would expect the robot car to brake for a green signal.
It would perhaps be better, (and simpler from the traffic signal's point of view), to tell robot cars approaching the junction which signals were currently displaying green, and the timings of any upcoming changes. e.g. "now: E to W green, W to E green. in 29s : E to W green, E to N green ...".
That way the car would be able to decide how to handle the junction, without needing to detect the physical traffic lights.
One could combine something like a racetrack transponder (essentially an indentifying RFID) in the car with speed detecting loops under the pavement linked to the traffic controller. It should then be possible to pass information to that specific car about its chances of making through the intersection, as well as communicating the exact distance to the light to the AI.
And who should pay for all these electronic signals? Every light controlled junction in the world? That would cost billions and the people who should pay world be the manufacturers of autonomous cars, and therefore the buyers. The public purse shouldn't pay, why should the public purse subsidise this enterprise?
However these cars need to deal with the roads the way they are, the roads should not be changed to adapt to these cars.
If these things do take hold, it will be no different than any other infrastructure project. Where are the flaggers once required to walk in front of motorized vehicles? Who paid to pave the roads and build the current traffic infrastructure when the world moved away from horses and buggies? Is there a tax on the blind to equip intersections with auditory signals and warning tiles?
When all cars are fitted with a device that broadcasts locally 'here i am, this is how fast i am, this is what direction i am going in, my driver has just put the on the indicators/brakes/stomped the accelerator', something i expect to be relatively cheap, and could be used as a driver assist for ALL cars... That is the point i would expect autonomous cars to never be at fault in a RTA. When all autonomous cars feed each other this data, and they are predominant on the road, they'll be driving 2 feet apart and you wont need traffic lights...
So that's why Elon Musk is desparate to build a neural lace; it's so us cyclists can interface with the infrastructure required to make self-driving cars work properly.
And, as a thought experiment, the self-driving car has to be fully autonomous and safe in the event of a complete failure of the traffic signals, or has to be able to detect this failure and pull over until a human driver takes over or the failure is resolved.
When traffic lights turn to green, there is a delay before each successive vehicle in the queue can accelerate from rest. This is inefficient. With auto-driven cars that are in touch with one another electronically it would be interesting to investigate the possibility that vehicles "batch" their intentions together, all those doing so during the green phase of the lights that can make it through on that green phase can be bound together electronically and accelerate in unison through the intersection.
Hey, maybe we could have them follow each other in a kind of, I don't know, erm - train! Then the one at the front could have a real driver, let's call them the, erm, train driver!
If you're going to rework city infrastructure at public expense to cater for transport, do it properly and put in a decent mass transit system. This ticks not just the 'cheaper' box but also the 'safer' and 'less polluting' ones.
If Uber want something different they can lease the space to install and maintain their own equipment, city by city.
"Curious what you think is "batshit insane" about US intersections"
Well, four-way stop is a reasonable thing, but I've seen a (very small) number of four-way yield intersections on American roads. And right turn on red is a classic, especially as it isn't universal. In New York (the state), it is permitted except where prohibited by a "No Turn On Red" sign; In New York (the city), it is prohibited except where permitted by a "Right Turn On Red" sign.
And there was the set of traffic lights I saw one time near the Capitol building in Albany, NY, with side-by-side lights.
And other gems, like intersections governed by flashing red in one direction ( = STOP sign ) and flashing yellow in the other ( = YIELD / Give Way sign ).
But they don't have anything like the Magic Roundabout in Swindon.
Where I live we've been introducing roundabouts here and there to avoid four way controlled intersections. Those of us who have been to the UK and successfully navigated them (it is harder than you think when you aren't used to them, and driving on the wrong side of the road to boot, so we apologize for slowing down unduly when approaching them on occasion) know what to do, but a lot of people are lost. Especially those from out of town.
Don't underestimate how difficult it is to deal with something you aren't used to. People who grew up where there are roundabouts understood implicitly how to drive them before they ever got behind the wheel, simply by being in the car when others did. There's a lot more thinking required to navigate them than a four way with lights. You just do what the lights tell you, easy peasy. Yeah, it isn't always the most efficient, but assuming you do like most do around here and have two seconds of all red to avoid problems from people who chase the last nanosecond of yellow, they are probably safer in the US than roundabouts. Maybe things would be different if we had roundabouts our whole lives, but there are very few places in the US where that's the case (and they still have problems with visitors)
One thing that I think has helped with the yellow light chasers is that most of the walk/don't walk signs in intersections have a countdown timer. When the clock reaches 0, the light goes yellow. So you can tell a block away whether you will be able to make the light or not. It acts as sort of a pre-yellow warning so you don't see very many cases of someone racing through while it is in the process of turning red.
They have one in Ellijay, Georgia, US and ever since I've encountered it, I've avoided the town completely when going that direction.
I cannot compare this roundabout with anything else due to poor State of Georgia signage and Google Maps losing it's fucking mind when reaching that roundabout. Just nope.
We're forgetting a major factor here: The human driver that turned left **Into oncoming traffic** without ensuring that traffic was clear. If the light was red, yellow, green, or pink, they seem to be the ones at fault, not the Uber. (weasel wording, because I haven't read the traffic report).
The Uber car in this case:
1) Was going under the speed limit.
2) Did not disobey a semaphore
3) Did not hit anything (it was the vehicle that got hit)
Also note the Bloomberg article states "the light turned yellow as the Uber vehicle entered the intersection". It did not say: "The light turned yellow when the Uber was 1/2 a block away, at which point onlookers heard the roar of the engine as the crazed robocar raced to beat the light".
Now: what if ALL cars in the intersection that day used Uber's self driving software? would the Honda have chosen to turn into oncoming traffic?
One other thing to consider -- the unreliability of eyewitnesses.
In this case, if the other cars traveling in the same direction as the Ubermobile slowed when the drivers saw the yellow light, then the witness who claimed that it "sped up to beat the light" may have simply been perceiving the relative differences in delta-V and, in the moment, attributed it to what s/he EXPECTED to see, rather than to what actually happened.
Eyewitness accounts are wildly unreliable. I'd be happier with video evidence.
FWIW attributing fault can be a complex issue with road traffic incidents, usually best left to insurers - those are the guys who will ultimately decide if Uber's cars are fit to be on the road.
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