back to article Human-free robo-cars on Washington streets after governor said the software is 'foolproof'

The governor of Washington has green-lit the testing of self-driving cars on the US state's public roads, with or without human operators, calling the technology "foolproof." Gov. Jay Inslee this week signed an executive order (PDF) that called for new rules on autonomous car testing and, for the first time, provisions to test …

  1. Graybyrd
    Angel

    Warning flags

    I think it's time to recall the early-days requirement for a jogging attendant running ahead of the vehicle, waving a red flag on a pole to warn of the approaching danger.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Warning flags

      "What Operating System does it use?"

      "Er..Windows"

      "We're all going to die".

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Warning flags

        Careful now...

  2. regregular

    Foolproof. Indestructible. Unsinkable.

    Cue Titanic jokes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Listen car. Did you run over that doggo there then carried on nonchalantly as if nothing had happened?"

      "Let me put it this way, Mr. Driver: No 9000 car has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error."

  3. Son 1

    software is 'foolproof'

    Compared to humans, this comment is not far off...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: software is 'foolproof'

      The problem with your thesis is that code is ultimately written by humans.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Yes, but

        "The problem with your thesis is that code is ultimately written by humans."

        Of course, however as there are huge differences in how safe people drive, there are huge differences in how safe people code. The self driving car industry (or whatever of it already exists) has the great advantage of still having a concept that appeals to people. Therefore they still get good people who are sick of recognizing product images to place more efficient ads.

        However in the comming years, as more and more companies enter that market, that might fade, and you only have average or even sub average programmers in such companies. Also programmers will realize that, although self driving cars sound cool, any car-based future is likely to fail, simply because we don't have the resources to sustain everyone having a car.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Yes, but

          "Of course, however as there are huge differences in how safe people drive, there are huge differences in how safe people code. "

          Some of us have driven for many years over many, many thousands of miles without being involved in an accident while others are the IoT security of driving.

    2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: software is 'foolproof'

      Washington state has such as great history of producing bombproof SW, I mean none of the systems running SW from Seattle that I own have ever failed or crashed not ever, not once.

      Oh and I do love that shade of blue my screen turns every now and then.

      1. TomPhan

        Do you mean Microsoft? Nothing to do with Seattle.

  4. jake Silver badge

    NOTHING is foolproof.

    Because fools are very, very ingenious.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: NOTHING is foolproof.

      And we seem to keep making ever "better" fools..

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: NOTHING is foolproof.

      The guy clearly didn't consult with his lawyers before mouthing off - they would have told him the operative word today is "fool-resistant"...

  5. Son 1
    Devil

    software is 'foolproof'

    Compared to humans, this comment is not far off...

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: software is 'foolproof'

      Compared to humans, this comment is not far off...

      And as a demonstration you post this twice.

  6. inmypjs Silver badge

    Have you ever heard of a politician...

    who wasn't technically illiterate and completely unaware of it?

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Have you ever heard of a politician...

      This.

      Washington has a lawyer governor so clearly he is qualified to judge the quality of software and self driving cars. As they say about lawyers, a fool and your money are soon partners.

      1. Flakk Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Have you ever heard of a politician...

        a fool and your money are soon partners

        Hah. Had not yet heard that permutation of the classic saying. Totally stealing it. Hope you enjoy your beer o'clock.

      2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: Have you ever heard of a politician...

        "Washington has a lawyer governor"

        Who eventually will go back into private practice. Perhaps personal injury law. This could be his most cunning job security maneuver to date.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have you ever heard of a politician...

      Have you ever heard of a politician... who wasn't technically illiterate

      Be careful what you wish for.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Have you ever heard of a politician...

        "Have you ever heard of a politician... who wasn't technically illiterate

        Be careful what you wish for."

        Ah, Thatcher. Chemist turned barrister turned politician.

        The "scientist" who decreed that the price of a primary source of energy, gas, should be raised to make a secondary/tertiary form of energy, electricity, more competitive.

        It only made sense once the privatisation of British Gas was announced.

        Efficiency of the Energy Supply Chain

  7. Palpy

    How does your brain percieve the difference --

    -- between a blowing plastic bag in the road and a running child in the road?

    "If you think self-driving cars can't get here soon enough, you're not alone. But programming computers to recognize objects is very technically challenging, especially since scientists don't fully understand how our own brains do it."

    MedicalXPress.com article on perception.

    1. Owain 1

      Re: How does your brain percieve the difference --

      "How does your brain perceive the difference --

      -- between a blowing plastic bag in the road and a running child in the road?"

      I understand your point, but applying the brakes seems like a reasonable response under both of these circumstances until they really can tell the difference.

      Also, I suspect this is generally something that people are not very good at either. Maybe we can't tell. Plenty of children darting into roads get hit. Plastic bags impacts aren't recorded...

      Additionally, I'd hope that the software can track 'unknown objects' while they are still on the sidewalk (or when they have JUST left the sidewalk ie. 100% awareness), such that the car could slow down in anticipation of the plastic bag / child running into the street. I.e. less emergency braking.

      Also, automatic cars might Actually drive fairly slowly in an urban setting e.g. 15-20 mph. In the UK we have signs that say 20 is plenty. So while I wouldn't want to get run over at 20 miles an hour (fatality 5% chance), it's WAY more survivable than being hit at 30 mph (fatality 45%). And hopefully the car would be stamping on the brakes anyway.

      Either way, automated cars erring on the side of caution in an urban setting seems reasonable, and who's to say that people are any better at not hitting children than plastic bags.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: How does your brain percieve the difference --

        "How does your brain perceive the difference --

        -- between a blowing plastic bag in the road and a running child in the road?"

        I understand your point, but applying the brakes seems like a reasonable response under both of these circumstances until they really can tell the difference.

        Well not necessarily. If a child steps out into the road in front of me I'll hit the brakes and pull what ever stunt is necessary to avoid them. If a plastic bag blows out into the road in front of me I'll look in the mirror first. So if that bloody great truck with the driver on his phone behind me is too close to stop before totally me I'll be a little more circumspect about braking. I don't want to die, but I'll die to try to avoid a dumb kid. I don't want to cause an accident for the sake of a bit of wind blown garbage.

        We've already had a discussion here about the ethics of a computer deciding between killing a pedestrian (a non-paying human) and killing it's occupants (paying customers), those choices will need to be made and a human driver will make them in the heat of the moment while a computer program will have had to be taught who it should kill in order of preference.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: How does your brain percieve the difference --

          "We've already had a discussion here about the ethics of a computer deciding between killing a pedestrian (a non-paying human) and killing it's occupants (paying customers), those choices will need to be made and a human driver will make them in the heat of the moment while a computer program will have had to be taught who it should kill in order of preference."

          Ethics? Odds are that the choices will be made based on factors like who has a premium account with the company operating* the autonomous vehicle(s) involved and who doesn't.

          * You're not assuming you'll be able to buy your own robocar, are you? It's going to be "Mobility as a Service" or something like that. Even if you are the sole person using one particular car.

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: How does your brain percieve the difference --

          If a child steps out into the road in front of me I'll hit the brakes and pull what ever stunt is necessary to avoid them.

          An autonomous car is being tested on the roads of Washington when the Governer. Jay Inslee, for it is he, steps onto the road. The autonomous car takes decides the best course of action is to swerve to avoid him when a child steps onto the path the vehicle would be taking moments later. What should it do?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How does your brain percieve the difference --

            If it detects a collision is unavoidable, it should go onto damage minimalisation mode and alert the emegency services before impact (if that impact is guaranteed).

            Next, calculate the potential injuries. Adult vs child vs driver. Driver has a protective box around them, can we put them into something without hurting anyone else?

            What vehicle are we in? A child is going under a car, an adult more likely over it. What's following behind to hit the adult afterwards? Can we hit the adult at an angle that'll knock them to the side (pavement) rather than leave them in the road?

            I'd work down those lines. While this is a worst case scenario, it'll still play out better than a meatsack who will instinctively avoid each obstacle as they arise without weighting them.

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Reg commentards claim software not to be trusted

    Shocked government pulls pacemakers, insulin pumps, AEDs, ABS, autopilot, ILS from market.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Reg commentards claim software not to be trusted

      The more defined the environment the device operates in the easier it is to understand the edge cases. And thus to write software that will be able handle the edge cases. Cars, however, do not operate in a well defined environment. It is likely there are the situations that either not considered or badly handled. Tbe examples you noted either fairly well defined or still have a human in the loop.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Reg commentards claim software not to be trusted

      If all cars were robot "driven" and none were meatsack driven, you would have a valid argument. But, when humans are involved in the operation all bets are off.

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: Reg commentards claim software not to be trusted

        Even if all cars were automated, they still have to deal with pedestrians, cyclists, animals etc. that are not automated.

        The only way to be 100% certain would be to only run these vehicles in a controlled environment where nothing else could interfere and there is no chance of unpredictable situations.

        1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: right of way

          > Even if all cars were automated, they still have to deal with pedestrians

          And if I know that a auto-car is going to stop then I'll just walk across the road. WGAF!

          I'm not waiting for no silicon driver. If the resulting emergency stop causes the meat payload to spill their coffee WGAF! to that too.

          1. DryBones

            Re: right of way

            Cool. People have been getting injured and/or killed by improper interaction with machines for decades, why should you be an exception?

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: Reg commentards claim software not to be trusted

          "The only way to be 100% certain would be to only run these vehicles in a controlled environment where nothing else could interfere and there is no chance of unpredictable situations."

          So, basically a fenced-in railway system.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reg commentards claim software not to be trusted

      If the motor-vehicle driving software was subject to the combination of testing, checks and analysis, as well as the acceptance of responsability that I know (having worked on) safety critical medical device software is, I might feel more sympathy for self-driving cars. But my impression is that this software is not carefully planned and subject to FDA style regulations as all medical device software is.

      Feel free to enlighten me - what IEC software standard is the AI systems of these self driving cars complying to?

  9. perlcat

    Yeah, sure, pull the other one

    Anybody that uses the term "foolproof" in a non-humorous way is clearly unqualified to judge the efforts of fools on account of being one.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Things that are foolproof:

    - gravity

    - death

    - entropy

    1. The First Dave

      Re: Things that are foolproof:

      I'm not quite so sure about Gravity...

    2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      Re: Things that are foolproof:

      Entropy just isn't what it used to be.

  11. Your alien overlord - fear me

    A fool and his money

    are soon elected governor of Washington

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When one of these foolproof cars runs someone over who is going to be liable or have they just skipped that part as they are clearly foolproof now?

    Using foolproof is the proof of fools.

    1. WilfForrow

      Only need to be better than human drivers

      They don't need to be foolproof - they only need to be better than human drivers. And they definitely will be - we just don't know whether that's 1 or 10 or 50 years. Massively better.

      When (not if) the risk becomes less than a human driver, then insurance will cost less. If It's up to society to make insurance work, and to stop lawyers trying to make money by sue-ing the programmer.

  13. Filippo

    Total confidence is dangerous

    So, mr. Governor is certain that the robocar is absolutely trustworthy. I wonder what will happen when a robocar inevitably runs someone over - because, statistically, the chance for this is 100% regardless of how good the software is.

    Wouldn't it be better to just recognize that a robocar is successful not if it never causes an accident, but rather if it causes *less accidents than humans*?

    1. Patched Out
      Joke

      Re: Total confidence is dangerous

      Too bad its Washington State and not Washington D.C.

      I'm all for allowing self-driving vehicles in Washington D.C. If they do run someone over, it will more likely be a politician, lobbyist or lawyer!

  14. Putters

    Obligatory ...

    ... XKCD reference.

    https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1720:_Horses

  15. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Wrong word?

    Foolproof was probably not the word that most describes the sentiment he wanted to put across.

    If you read the quote, he was trying to say that an automated car doesn't drive drunk, on drugs, on the phone, tired, distracted by dogs/cats/kids/significant others etc. or without due care and attention. all of which are 'foolish' things for a human driver to do.

  16. Disgruntled of TW
    Joke

    Who is the more foolish ...

    ... the fool, or the fool who follows him?

    --Obi Wan

  17. Potemkine Silver badge

    Foolproof is not enough

    It should be at least idiotproof.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Foolproof is not enough

      You can't idiotproof anything. For example, you know why they call the warning lights on your car's dash "idiot lights", right? Because idiots ignore them ...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Foolproof is not enough

        you know why they call the warning lights on your car's dash "idiot lights"

        Is that an industry insider thing? I've never heard them called that myself.

      2. Bryan Hall

        Re: Foolproof is not enough

        No, they are called idiot lights because they are there as a cost reduction by bean-counters over functional gauges. Idiot lights only tell you when something HAS failed, as opposed to a gauge with an educated driver who can see that something isn't right and stops and has it fixed BEFORE it fails. Good examples are the ammeter gauge and oil pressure gauge.

        I'll take the gauge any day over a stupid light.

  18. Zimmer

    Who really wants robo-cars??

    .....people who can't drive...

    (and companies who want a monopoly)..

    feel free to add to the list..

    1. Bob Rocket

      Re: Who really wants robo-cars??

      I'll take six (but I'm keeping my two manual ones as well)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who really wants robo-cars??

        I'll take six (but I'm keeping my two manual ones as well)

        Isn't that "I'll roll the hard six"?

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Who really wants robo-cars??

      Lots of people.

      For example, a robocar could take me to the pub and bring me home sloshed.

      It could take me to the airport then go back home, instead of paying through the nose for airport parking.

      It could take my kids to and from school while my wife and I are on a beach in the Caribbean.

      Loads of things.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Who really wants robo-cars??

        For example, a robocar could take me to the pub and bring me home sloshed.

        Uber.

        It could take me to the airport then go back home, instead of paying through the nose for airport parking.

        Uber.

        It could take my kids to and from school while my wife and I are on a beach in the Caribbean.

        Uber.

        Why do you want to deprive Uber from being able to squeeze their slaves some more and boost Kalanick in the "being an absolute arse" ratings[0]?

        [0] mistyped as 'ragings' at first.

    3. Chunes

      Re: Who really wants robo-cars??

      Right. Just because you can stick a computer in something doesn't mean you should. Like toasters, hairbrushes….

  19. James 36

    accidents in teh UK

    here is a link to the top 5 causes of RTAs in the UK

    http://www.seriousinjurylaw.co.uk/resources/blog/5-major-causes-of-uk-road-traffic-accidents-and-how-to-avoid-them/

    which ones do you think could be reduced by removing the meatsack ?

    I think it could show an improvement (ie a decrease) in all of them. From my limited understanding the key technologies are in place albeit still costly (eg LIDAR) the things that need work are (in no particular order)

    1) security , cos that always needs work

    2) legal framework - road traffic laws I think all assume a person is responsible for the control of the vehicle and the decision making process (IANAL)

    3) complexities of a mixed environment,, there will always be people like me who want to drive though for fun more that the commute if this does take off, eg the possibility that the autonomous vehicle is capable of making an error must be taken into account in any accident investigation and any claims that is not possible ignored.

    getting these things out on the roads has risks associated with it and I think the manufacturers/developers need to take safety as seriously as the Aircraft or space industries do in their designs. If the main selling point is safety then the vehicles had better prove to be safe. I guess the arguments will be around defining "safe" legally and unambiguously. The car industry doesn't have a great track record in independently making things safer. Though as it will be easier to market them as bringing convenience I expect the safety stuff to drop down the priority list under commercial pressure.

  20. handleoclast Silver badge
    Joke

    The biggest cause of road accidents

    Is the nut behind the wheel.

    Old joke. But one worth remembering. It's not always bad driving that causes accidents, either, but bad maintenance: I know somebody who drove around with mismatched wheels (not tyres, but wheels).

    The question is whether driverless cars will cause fewer accidents than humans. That remains to be seen.

    1. 's water music Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The biggest cause of road accidents

      Is the nut behind the wheel.

      Do NOT be tempted to remove the nut from your steering wheel as a result of this. Do not ask me how I know this

      Originally spotted in Viz Letterbocks but presumably older than that....

    2. Milton Silver badge

      Re: The biggest cause of road accidents

      True. And given the sheer stupidity of half the drivers on the road, coupled with fatigue, lack of skill, alcohol, drugs and poor vehicle maintenance, it's not hard to imagine a world in which self-driving cars easily exceed the safety record of those driven by humans.

      But then there is the question, how much risk, and how many accidents, will we still be prepared to tolerate? Achieving fewer traffic deaths than we have now is desirable but not necessarily impressive. There must be some vastly lower accident rate that we should aspire to and work towards and which future passengers will consider acceptable—just as they understand that today, getting into a western-built plane belonging to a major western airline means they'll be safer aboard than they are at home in the tub.

      So we have to work towards something that is outstandingly reliable and safe. What it will never, ever be, of course, is "foolproof": a word bandied only by fools themselves.

      My suspicion is that the bigger challenge in all of this is yet to come, and it won't be lidar, radar, GPS, or any of the increasingly quotidian bits of building a good automotive robot—those problems are all solvable.

      No, the biggie, lumbering across the horizon to complicate everything horribly, is security. It won't be difficult to make a self-driving car that drives safer than a human. Butu it will be extremely difficult to make one which is as resistant to hacking and sequestration as a human.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The biggest cause of road accidents

        "But then there is the question, how much risk, and how many accidents, will we still be prepared to tolerate?"

        Almost certainly, the answer to that is none. At least the more shrill segments of the media will tell us that's what we should think. People "accept" road deaths and injuries today, despite the shockingly high numbers, because most are human error and humans make mistakes, right? Take that and transfer it to automated machinery, and "people are being killed by machines, BLAME SOMEONE!!!!, SUE SOMEONE!!!!!"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trucks not Cars is the Goal

    Korporate Multinationals want to get rid of truckers the last blue collar job standing. Its a thorn in their side in their quest to accumulate as many billion dollar dachas as possible. The goal here is self driving trucks.

    1. Jediben

      Re: Trucks not Cars is the Goal

      Appropriate lane control, reduced accidents through sleepy drivers, more complex (efficient) scheduling which can run over 24 hours due to removal of need to sleep, larger loads, ensure bridges will be avoided... what's not to like?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trucks not Cars is the Goal

      There are also Konsumers Everywhere insisting on super-cheap deliveries, with ultra-short delays.

      They, too, will have to be ready to pay higher S&H costs, so those truckers can get decent wages, not be forced to drive 60 hours a week, and have enough vacations to spend with their families.

  22. DropBear Silver badge
    Meh

    I dread anyone who knows "one thing".

  23. SteveWS602

    The governor will have his moment of fame..

    Can’t wait to see the clips of the Gov. approving this when the inevitable disasters happen.

  24. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    How far way is it?

    I wonder if we'd have segregated lanes for semi-autonomous vehicle by now if the promise of fully self-driving wasn't on the table as being "Real Soon Nowtm"

    It was proposed quite some while ago to add in an extra barrier on motorways/freeways for what would be quite simple automation of long distance driving. But no government is going to invest billions in something they are told will be obsolete within a very short time. I wonder what the reality of self-driving cars will actually be in a few years? Will we reach a point where it actually works or a point where, like fusion power, we realise it's actually 20 or 30 years in the future?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one

    wondering how these cars will see the lanes in a snowstorm?

    Oh sure, we can implant beacons of some sort, buried RFIDs or whatever, but until they're everywhere there might be that kind of visibility problem I don't want to see those empty driver's seats near me in winter.

    1. TomPhan

      Re: Am I the only one

      If it's a snowstorm then Seattle closes down, so they won't need to drive anywhere.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one

      Likely better than the meatsacks, which could be a problem if they stay in lane but the human drivers don't.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "automated processes that are digital and foolproof"

    1 out of 2 isn't bad. Considering the source, I mean.

  27. noddybollock
    Stop

    What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    as title, in the words of Jez Clarkson

  28. chivo243 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Human Free?

    Like humans ride for free? I'm all for it! Oh, you meant on the hood\bonnet ! Pass...

  29. DougS Silver badge

    This could backfire on them

    All it takes is one child killed or crippled by an autonomous car driving around with a human behind the wheel (or without a wheel) and they'll set back the cause of autonomous cars by a decade.

    Stupid states are competing to see who can have the most lax regulations to encourage development of the technology in their state, but only a foolish governor would call the software "foolproof" at this point! Hell, I'm not sure I'd consider any software "foolproof"...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: This could backfire on them

      "All it takes is one child killed or crippled by an autonomous car driving around with a human behind the wheel (or without a wheel) and they'll set back the cause of autonomous cars by a decade."

      Yes, it's an oddly human thing. Kids die or are crippled every day, many times per day, all over the world, by cars driven by humans and few people bat an eye at that.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: This could backfire on them

        Yes, it's an oddly human thing. Kids die or are crippled every day, many times per day, all over the world, by cars driven by humans and few people bat an eye at that.

        But in those cases the driver is almost always to blame, are held liable, and cannot escape the consequences.

        With a self driving car, who is liable? Who goes to jail? I've yet to hear any of the self drive researchers / developers volunteer for that role, and it certainly shouldn't be the car's occupants...

        It's a big social deal if the law says no one is to blame anymore.

        However I doubt it'll get that far; when the discussion is concluded it will be the manufacturers, and I can't see them having the stomach for it.

  30. Chronos Silver badge
    FAIL

    Only a fool

    ...declares anything foolproof. Nature will always evolve a "better" fool.

  31. Johndoe888

    "One thing I know about radar, it doesn’t drive drunk, it doesn’t drive distracted,”

    If we eventually get these, will there be no driving test for them, and will I be able to drive to the pub, get pissed, then put it on auto and sit in the back seat to drive home ?

    Edit

    Thinking about it I suspect that while being able to get off the train and phone my car to come and get me (empty), that once inside there will be a BRB meaning that I become "in charge" :(

  32. Mr Miser
    Devil

    Dangerous bugs?

    The link to the so called dangerous bugs is an article about self driving cars not merging into the bike lane before turning right. As a bike commuter in WA, I can assure you that most drivers do not merge into the bike lane before turning right. I think they don't know they are supposed to. They intuit that they are not allowed to drive in the bike lane so they avoid it even when turning right. I've just learned to always watch the driver on my left. The self driving cars should definitely get this right, and I would not be surprised if there are dangerous bugs, but this particular behavior is not worse than human drivers where Jay is from. The Spawn of Satan, because it looks like a haunted sports car to me.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Dangerous bugs?

      The USA has very balkanised traffic regulations, different in each state and some cities.

      I very much doubt that any drivers know them all.

      A self-driving vehicle could, in theory, but we all know how well current software deals with varying local standards...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Dangerous bugs?

        "A self-driving vehicle could, in theory, but we all know how well current software deals with varying local standards..."

        Or is updated frequently and promptly :-(

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Dangerous bugs?

      "The link to the so called dangerous bugs is an article about self driving cars not merging into the bike lane before turning right."

      We have similar problems in the UK. Few drivers seem to understand cycle lane markings, ie a solid line means stay out, cycles only and a dashed line mean shared space, be careful. Not helped by so many cyclists who seem to think they can switch between "pedestrian" and "vehicle", without getting off the bike, randomly and with no notice, purely to suit their own convenience, eg at junctions and/or traffic lights. Or the one I saw yesterday riding the wrong way down the road in a cycle lane and never once realised that all the cycle lane markings (a picture of a cycle painted in the lane) were "upside down" and the signs were not visible.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    aaar! It's driving me nuts!

    There was one car,

    It hove downstream.

    She pulled it together

    Collect horsepower in a jar,

    knows how many penalties he's got

    Skynet does a risk assessment:

    His nibs inside is living next door.

    No countermand,

    no flagman on the road.

    No triggering

    of forward-prop.

    These spoons

    are perfectly aligned!

    They run past

    one another.

    Bam-bam

    Bam ba bam ba bam

    Bam ba bam

    Bam-bam

    Bam ba bam ba bam

    Bam ba bam

    It's become a habit

    A way to start the day

    With car parts, bottles and cutlery

    Or whatever they find

    Lying around

    Bam-bam

    Bam ba bam ba bam

    Bam ba bam

  34. 101
    FAIL

    The Governor must have got a huge 'donation' to come up with that load of horse dung.

  35. mIRCat
    Terminator

    Innocent until proven faulty!

    Man kills man. There has never been a single documented case of a computer system intentionally killing a human.

    If the keyboard don't fit, you must acquit.

  36. Ron Luther

    Programming for Mechanical Failure?

    I realize that a great deal of effort and research is underway attempting to work issues of obstacle identification through low light and glare, or being able to identify the proper course on a three lane road in the Pennsylvania hills at night in the rain.

    Just wondering if anyone has seen any work on reacting to mechanical issues? A tire rupture at highway speed? A leaking brake fluid line? Once the cars are on the road there will be pressure to control costs that will lead to 'less than top quality' components ... that will break.

    And will they have a special driving mode when college students load them down and lash a mattress to the roof before having them drive to the dorm at uni?

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