back to article Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds

A third of Brits would use a fully driverless car, a third would not, and the majority want to summon them via an Uber-style app, according to polling carried out for the UK Autodrive consortium. Conducted by researchers at Cambridge University's Engineering Department and the Department of Psychology, the survey consisted of …

Integrated transport system

Gimme an app. I tell it where I am, where I wanna go to and it gives me a choice about how I get there, the time it take and at what cost. e.g Pick me up in a driverless car, take me to the train station, the app has booked my train ticket. at the destination train station another driverless car is waiting to take me to my final destination. If there's a problem, traffic jam, cancelled train etc, the app reroutes in realtime, gives me other choices and costs and we can chose one of those. At the end of journey it gives me one bill.

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Happy

Re: Integrated transport system

We can't even get luggage from A to B 100% of the time. You really want to risk all that?!

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Patent-bashing

Just on case it hasn't already been patented...

Can I have bluetooth, wifi or other short-range wireless homing between car and customer's phone, so it can actually manage the final stage of finding the customer. I don't think the mapping is yet good enough to reliably locate which house / flat / hovel is which, and it'll be annoying to have to walk half a mile to get to a car that's arrived by postcode only... Likewise, finding the autonomous car that's come to pick me up from the station, rather than the hundred other people. This doesn't work well, even with experienced taxi drivers, and is going to need a solution - and I haven't seen it discussed yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Integrated transport system

how I get there, the time it take and at what cost

And what do you do when it sucks air though it's virtual teeth, pauses, and repies "Hmm, I wouldn't start from here, guv."?

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Re: Patent-bashing

"finding the autonomous car that's come to pick me up from the station"

It'll be the one shouting "paging Mr. Short" through it's loudspeaker and competing with all the others shouting for their passengers.

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Devil

Re: Integrated transport system

This is London we are talking about, right? The city where cyclists, motorcycle couriers, Uber drivers with Outer Mongolian driving licences, demonic black cabbies and psychopathic London Bus drivers all conspire to kill, maim or injure each other for the right to use an ever decreasing road space?

Good luck with introducing driverless cars into THAT quagmire. Black cabbies (the car, not the drivers' skin colour) are practically taught to pull across traffic without notice to get a fare.

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Re: Integrated transport system

"Black cabbies ... are practically taught to pull across traffic without notice to get a fare."

And have the turning circle to do it.

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Devil

Re: Patent-bashing

@Doctor Syntax

I know it is my juvenile dark side and appreciation of The Simpsons talking, but now I am imagining a train station surrounded by Uber-cars calling out for arriving passengers:

1) Mike Hunt

2) Hugh Jass

3) Amanda Hugginkiss

etc.

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@short - "don't think the mapping is yet good enough"

A car only has to find your house once, and then it (and all other cars it shares its mapping info with) will know how to find you, and even remember special instructions like coming around the back of your house if you have an alley that's closer.

So I wouldn't really worry about this as an issue. For the destination it doesn't matter since you can give it precise instructions exactly where you want to be let off.

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Sunday (autonomous) driving

Having driven far too much last Sunday - is there going to be a speed control button on these things, so the elderly can set it to FUCKING DAWDLE at 35 on country roads, and then FUCKING SPEED at 40 through 20-limited residential areas?

If not, I can't see them getting a lot of use.

Automatic transmissions piss me off - 'like giving your drunk friend in the passenger seat the clutch pedal and gear lever'. I look forward to handing my drunk friend full control, oh yes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Have you tried peering through other peoples windows at 40mph?

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"Automatic transmissions piss me off - 'like giving your drunk friend in the passenger seat the clutch pedal and gear lever'. I look forward to handing my drunk friend full control, oh yes."

I concur. I have always been annoyed by automatic gearboxes. Without exception they make decisions I don't agree with and there is very little I can do about it. Coupled with the fact that I am just about the worst, most nervous passenger EVER, I do not anticipate enjoying the concept of the car driving itself.

I don't need my car to brake automatically for me.

I don't need my car to park itself for me.

I don't need my car to adjust my steering angle because it thinks I'm not paying attention to the road / conditions / other traffic.

I'll stick to driving my car myself, thanks all the same.

I care about driving, I enjoy driving, my car is not just a tool to me, it is a wonderful machine, unique and distinctive, even amongst others of the same model. I understand it, I can hear AND feel when something is wrong, I don't need the computer to tell me. I'm sure a car which drives itself is a massive boon to those who hate driving or see it as a massive inconvenience, or just aren't bothered. Me? I love all aspects of it and I will continue to enjoy it for as long as possible.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

35 mph are you sure that is correct. I have always experienced this phenomenon as 40 on dual carriageway, 40 on A roads, 40 on B roads, 40 in 30 zones, 40 in 20 zones, 40 past the school, hospital, old people home. Its almost like there is only one speed, or the driver is too lazy to do any thinking.

Auto gearboxes, I am sure there must be good ones out there, but I have only experienced ones that wanted me to be sure the acceleration was what I really, really wanted. By the time it decided I did and and changed down, a nice safe gap turned into a clean trousers requirement.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Never tried an automatic but upvote for the 40 everywhere. My experience matches this exactly.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

One jackass yesterday (so he didn't even have Sunday as an excuse) was dawdling along at 40mph on a national speed limit dual carriageway. I was behind him, the moment I could overtake I did. But another jackass in a BMW came speeding up, so I decided to go back in front of the first jackass once overtaken.

The original jackass then flashes his lights at me, and made several rude hand gestures. It wasn't until he came up behind me (I had got to a red light) that I could see him calling me a wanker, with his blue badge on display on the dashboard.

I'm guessing it's not for the movement in his wrist at least.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Have you tried peering through other peoples windows at 40mph?

I need glasses. It took me two reads to spot the 'R' in 'peering'.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

@ DwarfPants

Have you tried using kickdown?

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"is there going to be a speed control button on these things, so the elderly can set it to FUCKING DAWDLE at 35 on country roads"

As an elderly country dweller my problem is with townies of all ages who come here, park in dangerously daft places irrespective of the proximity of car parks, when walking can't work out how to maintain maximum visibility in winding lanes and when driving can't work out an appropriate speed (that works for both alternatives*). Worse still, those who come cycling and worst of all, organize cycling events.

Walking parties who lack anyone who can read their map are another nuisance. I watched one party turn back a few yards short of the corner beyond which was the clearly marked (on OS and in reality) start of a public footpath and then head of up what was clearly signed as a private road instead.

*There are a great many roads here where your 35 would be vastly excessive as well as those which seem to attract drivers who are unable to maintain speeds uphill.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

I really like the CVT automatics. Hate intensely the tiptronics and selectors. You're right about them picking awkward change over revs. My old Rover 114 SLi had a CVT auto. Died a death when the CVT belt corroded through on one side, £400 for a rebuild / repair, but the car was only worth £200 anyway, and £100 of that was the stereo.

Now I've got the CVT in the Prius - the only way to couple all the drive systems sensibly was using a planetary, and it works beautifully. Plenty of torque from that electric motor, then the ICE kicks in as you speed up. The only disconcerting thing is when you're stopped and the engine starts up to charge the battery - rocks the whole car forward and back as the torque from the engine finds its way through the system.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"rocks the whole car forward and back as the torque from the engine finds its way through the system."

It must be very embarrassing if there's anyone following.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"Auto gearboxes, I am sure there must be good ones out there"

I'm not sure. An auto gearbox can only respond to what's happened, it can't anticipate. My car has an indicator to signal what gear it thinks I should be using. It regularly tells me I should change up again just before I encounter an uphill hairpin bend. Presumably if it were an automatic it would actually do that and then change down again.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Have you tried using kickdown?

Kickdown is great on a torque-convertor auto linked to a decent, torquey naturally-aspirated engine. On a modern DSG box with a little turbocharged lump attached, kickdown tends to become "pause, jerky downchange, screaming revs, slow acceleration until turbo kicks in, zoom" invariably followed by an upchange and drop in acceleration halfway through the overtaking manoeuvre. At least with a manual you can change down smoothly and get the turbo spinning in preparation, ready for the gap.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Oddly, I don't grumble at all when 35 (or lower) is an appropriate speed. It's the oblivious '35 is the right speed in any circumstance' that I (and others, seemingly) find vexing. I just don't understand how one can drive like that? Is the act of steering so overwhelming that there's no capacity left for altering the speed? Clearly it's not a safety thing, or they'd back off through the lower limit sections. I'm honestly baffled. Anyone who tends to do this want to pop on an anonymous mask and give me a hand?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

@Doctor Syntax .... There are good ones. A new DSG can change gear in 8ms, so it can go up then back down again in the blink of an eye without you even noticing. You can also choose the style of gear changing you want. A sporty ride with more emphasis on low gear high revs, comfy cruising or an economical driving style.

In sport mode it will beat the same car with a manual box over a 0-62, and in economy mode it will give better mpg than driving manually. You milage may vary.

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NXM

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

True, but you forgot about them driving down the middle of a country lane for miles and miles and miles, past passing places aplenty while totally ignoring you behind, getting later and later for whatever it was you had to get to, flashing your lights, leaving the indicator on all the time, and fuming.

Selfish bastards.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"Kickdown is great on a torque-convertor auto linked to a decent, torquey naturally-aspirated engine"

I can vouch for that: The only automatic I've ever owned or driven was an old Jag XJS that - for some reason - I convinced myself was worth buying. The automatic box was in fact excellent and very easy to control. It's kickdown was responsive to how you were driving, and really easy to control through the accelerator: Plant your foot down to overtake and the box would instantly react, dropping one or two cogs as appropriate, and then upshifting at suitably high-rev points. Then, once past the dawdler / lorry / whatever, a slight relaxation on the accelerator is all it would take for it to settle back to smooth low-rev cruising. It became very natural very quickly, and I never once missed having manual shift (although regularly missed having a reliable car!).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

I'd say modern day autos are pretty good especially DSG ones and you can always stick it in to "manual" and change yourself. We used the self park feature in the wives company car, a Merc and it was a bit rubbish parked ok but was about 2ft from the curb!

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Oh I don't know, I've always insisted on manual transmission, but took a BMW with their wizz-bang / charge the earth "sports" gearbox and it blew me away.

I brought the car and whilst I can drop it into flappy paddle mode or use the center console stick to go ma ual I never do.

The dual turbos gets around the tradition lag on kickdowns and the sat nav is integrated with the gearbox too so incline / decline and corners are taken into account, as well as the driving mode too.

Certainly changed my mind. YMMV.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

> Have you tried using kickdown?

That's what he's describing. Auto gearboxes just aren't that good at it.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"It's the oblivious '35 is the right speed in any circumstance' that I (and others, seemingly) find vexing."

IME it's been a safe rule of thumb for at least half a century that the driver doing 35 in a 30 area will also be the driver that does 35 in a 40 area and vice versa. There's something magic about that number.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"A new DSG can change gear in 8ms, so it can go up then back down again in the blink of an eye without you even noticing."

A handy trick to fix mistakes but it still falls some way short of anticipating needs.

"You can also choose the style of gear changing you want"

I can do that with a manual without telling a machine.

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FAIL

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

getting later and later for whatever it was you had to get to, flashing your lights, leaving the indicator on all the time, and fuming.

It's not me guv: last time I drove anything was in 2005, when I hired a white van to move house.

But if you behave like that behind me when I'm out on my bike, I'll certainly be tempted to make a special effort to slow down and NOT let you past. Quite the opposite to how I'll treat the vast majority of road users who behave in a civilised manner.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

" but took a BMW with their wizz-bang / charge the earth "sports" gearbox"

It was a £150 option on mine, very rarely specified though, the steering wheel paddles are handy for overtaking, however most of the time it just stays in drive and I knock the lever over into sport on the approach to tighter bends so it will use a lower ratio. Mine has the ZF6 and I hear the ZF8 is better still at being in the right gear.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

they can change gear far better than a human. Auto's used to be toilet back in the day 70's, 80's etc auto's didn't do as many miles to the gallon as manual's now its the other way around, shows how far auto's have come.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"Anyone who tends to do this want to pop on an anonymous mask and give me a hand?"

Serious answer. I'm early 60s, and I don't do this. But I do have a suspicion - I think it has a lot to do with physical capability, reaction times, caution and confidence (rather like the well-documented tendency of elderly drivers to cling to the middle of the road). My own years of always driving like a bat out of hell, if they ever existed, are long behind me; now it's all about comfort zones. On dual carriageways I know, for example, that when I'm feeling wide awake and alert, and the road is reasonably empty, I can struggle to stop my speed straying well over the limit. Whereas if I'm very tired, I'm much more likely to potter along in the inside lane at a good 10mph under the limit - it may take longer to get places, but it's what feels comfortable and within my ability to react, at the time (and I know that my reaction times aren't what they used to be - and if I ever forget that, I only have to go play a video game or two against someone younger, to get my nose rubbed in the fact). And personal observation somewhat bears that out; for example, I remember a couple of elderly relatives of my wife, both of whom were medically fit and deemed competent to drive, but who in practice could be downright scary to be in the car with at "higher" speeds (which, in one of the two cases, by the time they stopped driving, was anything over about 25mph). I've noticed the same sort of thing with other, elderly friends, too - mostly, the older, the slower. So it could well be that those "35 mph everywhere" drivers are actually reckless, devil-may-care elderly speed-freaks, utterly ignoring the limits and belting along at what passes, in their cases, for comfortably flat out...

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

@ DwarfPants

Have you tried using kickdown?

Standing up (as much as I can) for my vertically challenged brethren

Kicking Down Dwarfs in Pants ain't allowed.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"Kickdown is great on a torque-convertor auto linked to a decent, torquey naturally-aspirated engine"

I can vouch for that: The only automatic I've ever owned or driven was an old Jag XJS ...

I agree, the best automatic I had was a 1980's Audi with a carburettor and accelerator cable - kickdown, did exactly what it said on the tin.

I've found that modern drive-by-wire cars - both manual and automatics (eg. Qashqai) have real problems with the concept of a quick get away at traffic lights.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Oh so you're the tit who instantaneously appears around a blind, wet, rural bend at 47 mph. Still, when you're not overtaking the aforementioned elderly driver at least you sometimes appear on the correct side of the road on that blind bend. Of course that won't help you next time there's a combine harvester there, or your doppelganger.

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NXM

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

"But if you behave like that behind me when I'm out on my bike, I'll certainly be tempted to make a special effort to slow down and NOT let you past. Quite the opposite to how I'll treat the vast majority of road users who behave in a civilised manner."

Bikes? Where did that come from? I never even mentioned bikes, and treat them as vulnerable as pedestrians. If you deliberately block other road users because you don't like something they're doing, on a bike, then you're breaking the law and putting yourself at risk. Not a good idea at all.

No, its the elderly, tourists, or worst of all, elderly tourists. They seem to think that if they're on holiday, everyone else must be as well.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Prius, the car for people who hate cars.

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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Bollocks. I have an ageing Jag S Type R, 4.2 supercharged V8. Kickdown means kickdown, believe me.

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If people were really interested in this technology, it would have been implemented to a lesser extent. For example, smart speed and brake controls would be common. How long has cruise control been out there? How little does it get used?

Self driving cars look like the next 3D TV.

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Anonymous Coward

Do any commentards have self-parking? If so does it get used or is it a neat gimmick that gets ignored after you've played with it a couple of times?

The 3DTV comparison might be the right one if people are so used to doing these tasks that having them automated doesn't seem like enough of a benefit to be worth paying for.

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Agreed, never use my self parking its such a faff. I think the problem is with the implementation not the general idea, if it just realised you were hovering near a parking space and said 'park here sir/madam?' and then got on and did it, that would be great. But the system on my car is so unintuitive I can never remember how to do it, which is surely a sign of bad design.

We part company on self driving though - bring it on, I can't wait.

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My partners car has the self parking facility. It was used to make sure it worked when she first got the car, and it gets used whenever there's a new person in the car to show off to but the rest of the time, it just gets parked manually.

Other peoples MMV

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Anonymous Coward

Cruise control veteran - wouldn't buy a car without it. No so much about the other stuff, maybe parking sensors when you want to get extra close.

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"Do any commentards have self-parking?"

Yes ( for years ) and I NEVER use it - what's the point ? If I drive another car I still have to know how to park it. Where I normally park on our drive it can't cope anyway.

Cruise control on the other hand - fabulous for (French and other empty ) motorways. Means I can exercise/move both legs easily. Adaptive CC takes a little getting use to.

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Cruise control is great in roadworks, saves quite a few tickets. More usefully, I used to have a car with a speed limiter - I could set a maximum speed at any time, allowed me to control the speed through roadworks without exceeding the speed limit.

Self parking - nope. Had it, never used it. I think it's more useful with an automatic gearbox.

Self breaking - no chance - had a warning system that told me I should break. would forever go off for no reason. Certainly wouldn't trust on a motorway.

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