back to article Go park yourself: Brit firm flashes self-parking car tech

The UK Autodrive consortium is working on self-parking car technology, it has declared – which puts it head-to-head with German car tech rivals. Trials of the consortium’s self-parking car tech in Milton Keynes have included autonomous vehicles communicating with each other “to notify drivers of available parking spaces”, …

  1. Lee D Silver badge

    Self-parking park-'n'-ride?

    The day the first automated car is used to crash through the barriers of Downing Street and has been instructed to do so by someone that's almost untraceable, all that will end.

    And we just don't have the tech in place. In the cars, the roads, or the supporting infrastructure.

    When you can set up an entirely automated tram company (hard to go wrong here, really), then a bus company (special lanes, priority, slow and stop often), then a taxi firm, then a car hire company, then you can start thinking about just general personal use.

    Fact is most tube lines are still human-driven and the only one that isn't has human safeguards on board. Even the "newer" tube lines are also human-driven. And that's in an enclosed, safe, highly controlled, highly automated (dead man's switches etc.), highly-monitored track with almost no hazards in front of it and no lane-changes etc. to worry about.

    Solve that and then you can think about cars and other things.

    1. dnicholas Bronze badge

      There's only humans on trains because they have union power. Trans can and have been fully automated for yonks

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Also

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirRail_Link

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merry_Hill_Shopping_Centre#Monorail

        2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Boris initiative - the only way they could let him 'drive a train'

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "The day the first automated car is used to crash through the barriers of Downing Street and has been instructed to do so by someone that's almost untraceable"

      Follow the money (or booze). Ram-raiding your local offie will come first.

  2. JakeMS

    All well and good..

    It's all well and good in theory if all cars talk to each other.

    But what happens when there's a dumb car in that (as far as the self driving car is concerned) last empty space?

    Does it just sit there? Attempt it anyway? Where does it go?

    It's a minor detail, but worth thinking about. If we're having self driving cars it needs to be able to handle that situation.

    Maybe alert the driver?

    Also, if you can't park your car on your own, you shouldn't be driving.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. The Mole

      Re: All well and good..

      I assume it is just an extension of the already existing parking assist technology, as a car is driving round the carpark it detects empty spaces and communicates this to other nearby cars - it doesn't matter what is blocking the space and whether that is a smart car, dumb car or shopping trolley.

      Fun may be had by either sending spoof messages sending cars driving round randomly (they will check that the space is still empty when they get there) or by painting random sets of parallel lines on the road and watching cars think they are real parking spaces.

      If there is no space in this car park presumably the car will just drive to the next car park (or keep circling like meat drivers, or just park in the lane and mover whenever it is blocking another car) though what happens if it runs out of juice on the journey is an interesting corner case.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: All well and good..

        Your idea with the paint has been done already. (While I was looking for where I found that picture, I came across some more enthusiastic efforts at creative parking.)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

    CAAS == Cars as a Service

    No one will own a car any more.

    No one will need a driving license as all the cars will be autonomous and not even have manual controls

    No one will ever get run over by a car as the AI on board will stop them in their tracks with 50,000v tasers.

    Oh wait...

    This is all an some 'Ideal Utopia' where no one walks an inc, never walks the dog outside, never plays outside and it is all powered by Pink Unicorns.

    Meanwhile in the real world things are very different.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

      I think there is a need for the 'obligatory' Dilbert here - the prototype

      http://dilbert.com/strip/2018-03-19

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

      You mention cars and dogs, and I have both, which is why I am sceptical about the whole CaaS thing, given my car usually has the seats flat, covered by a folding plywood board I custom cut to maximise flat area, and minimise gaps paws could get stuck in. I glued Yoga mats to it, to make it more comfortable, and then have a huge furry throw I tuck under, which I can pull out and wash. Plus I have towels, poo bags, water, and a folding bowl tucked away. All of that would be a PITA to set up each time a CaaS showed up. Then I'd have to wipe down the CaaS before it left if my dogs shook in there. Or puked, which they do occasionally.

      Now, my in laws have similar setups for their offspring, child seats, shades, wipes, toys, books, etc. Again, they'd not want to be installing those in a CaaS each time.

      I'm not keen on getting into a CaaS that's ferried some drunk home either.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

        Your explanation shows how silly the concept of everyone using a CAAS for their transportation.

        I carried a Microlight engine in the back of my car yesterday. It leaked a bit of oil. I cleaned it up but there is still a bit of a mark left. With CAAS, that would probably leave me with a huge fine.

        I'll be collecting it next week after the overhaul is done. Over Easter, I'll be carrying people and a couple of dogs who leave lots of hair. Again, I'd have to valet the car before retutning it.

        CAAS ? Not for me thanks.

        Yet over on the Tesla Fan Sites they almost drool over the prospect of CAAS, autonomous driving and even taking a nap while driving. As above, I think the Pink Unicorns are out an about in force.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

          A couple of years back I considered joining a car club. Which is ,in effect, CaaS. But the penalties for any kind of spill etc. put me straight off the idea. I don't usually spill stuff, but I might. And the idea of having to be so specially carefully precious was too stressful, it put me right off. And that was just as a supplement to the main car, for driving near work.

          The main car has a boot full of supermarket bags and anything I might need for the day, including lunch, stationary and notes, even an umbrella at times, and a glove box with routine essentials ( including headache tablets spare leads etc.). In my youth I used to carry a shaver in the car. My daughter has pretty much an entire set of therapy resources stored in hers. A car isn't just a way to get oneself from A to B, like a personal taxi service. It's an extension of our lives. At the very least it has to contain what you need for the day, if you are away from home for your 8 hours or so.

          [ AC because mention of other family member].

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

            "The main car has a boot full of supermarket bags and anything I might need for the day, including lunch, stationary and notes, even an umbrella at times, and a glove box with routine essentials ( including headache tablets spare leads etc.). In my youth I used to carry a shaver in the car. My daughter has pretty much an entire set of therapy resources stored in hers. A car isn't just a way to get oneself from A to B, like a personal taxi service. It's an extension of our lives. At the very least it has to contain what you need for the day, if you are away from home for your 8 hours or so."

            Or 16 hours, or 32 hours. Most people I know have an assortment of things ranging from documents through electronic items to winter survival kits... it would be an enormous inconvenience to keep installing/removing everything, and they would probably charge for parked time to, rendering the costs on a 24 hour / 7 day basis rather high.

          2. dave 76

            Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

            "A couple of years back I considered joining a car club. Which is ,in effect, CaaS. But the penalties for any kind of spill etc. put me straight off the idea. I don't usually spill stuff, but I might. And the idea of having to be so specially carefully precious was too stressful, it put me right off."

            Honestly, how much of a problem is that really? Modern car mats are pretty easy to clean off and if I was transporting anything potentially seriously messy (paint maybe), then I put it on a spillsheet or in a cardboard box.

            I've been a member of car clubs for over 10 years and have never made a serious mess or seen a car in that state. It's not something I stress about.

            "The main car has a boot full of supermarket bags and anything I might need for the day, including lunch, stationary and notes, even an umbrella at times, and a glove box with routine essentials ( including headache tablets spare leads etc.). In my youth I used to carry a shaver in the car. My daughter has pretty much an entire set of therapy resources stored in hers. A car isn't just a way to get oneself from A to B, like a personal taxi service. It's an extension of our lives. At the very least it has to contain what you need for the day, if you are away from home for your 8 hours or so."

            If you use your car as a mobile cupboard I can see why CaaS is not for you, but there are enough people who don't need to carry their entire life with them at all times that CaaS works.

            Like anything, this is horses for courses. Not everyone will adopt CaaS but for a significant proportion of people, it is a perfectly viable option.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

          "Your explanation shows how silly the concept of everyone using a CAAS for their transportation."

          Indeed.

          Can you imagine how much they would hound you if you accidently left guns and ammunition in the trunk of a CAAS vehicle? No thanks.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

          "I think the Pink Unicorns are out an about in force."

          You wouldn't believe the mess they make when they start to moult.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

            "You wouldn't believe the mess they make when they start to moult."

            But that's offset by the fact they shit gold.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

        ... my car usually has the seats flat, covered by a folding plywood board ,,,

        You list a lot of things, but the one thing I didn't see in your car was a safety net between the dog area and the human area, to minimize distraction and fend off flying projectiles in case of an accident. You might want to think about that, particularly if the dogs and other stuff mass more than a kilo or so.

        Oh... that's a point... I bet they would complain if one drilled holes to anchor the safety net. Being forced to transport loose animals without one would be unacceptable and quite dangerous.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

        @GruntyMcPhugh

        I don't suppose you have much of a problem with people asking if you can give them a lift.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't worry folks, the CAAS thing will be along soon

      visit any public toilet to understand why unattended public cars will not work as an idea.

  4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Oh, We're announcing what we're 'working on', are we...

    .The UK Autodrive consortium is working on self-parking car technology, it has declared..

    In that case, I'm working on a flying office which comes to commuters rather than the other way around. Powered by unicorn dust. I've already created a successful doodle on the back of an office circular....

  5. Aitor 1

    Humm sounds familiar...

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/futuristic-600-space-car-park-lies-empty-for-last-four-years-1-1252153

    Here, the optimism:

    https://trid.trb.org/view/719956

  6. Doctor Evil

    let's think about this a bit more

    "At the advanced level, the driver is able to summon the vehicle back to a pick-up point, rather than wasting the time saved by having to trek around the car park hunting for the auto auto."

    I can see exactly the way this is going to go: self-important gits will summon their vehicles well ahead of time so that they don't have to wait even a single second before jumping in and zipping off to their next destination. This, however, will cause a choke at the pick-up point because their vehicle will be sitting and waiting for them to emerge, blocking it and backing up everyone else behind them. Brilliant! (And bloody typical.)

    With a human valet, at least, there's a rate-limiting step involved and a queuing mechanism to regulate this sort of behavior to some extent.

  7. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    or park out-of-town

    hmm I imagine people who drive such cars would go in to town for lunch and become instantly outraged to find the car is stuck in traffic (Because I can't imagine it would ease traffic at all).

  8. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    CAAS, the new wonder

    And the ideal place to leave your thumbdrive full of personal information about 1000's.

    No more having to leave it on a bus or train. Much more entertaining!

  9. M7S
    Coat

    "which puts it head-to-head with German car tech rivals"

    a problem mainly caused by the Germans (and most other countries) driving on the incorrect side of the road.

    The dayglo yellow one with the reflective chequered bands around the sleeves, thank you

  10. x 7

    "The UK Autodrive Consortium"..........................."Autodrive’s main vehicular members are Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors and Ford."

    Well, considering Tata own JRL, that Fords UK car assembly plants were all passed on to JRL, and that the Ford Transit plant closed, then that really boils down to a consortium of one.............

  11. Valerion

    To paraphrase Jasper Carrot

    Who has right of way at an unmarked junction?

    That's easy. Me.

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