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    Eoin Active Member

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    Every day there are articles about self driving cars. Do you think they will become a reality in the future?
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    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    Eventually, yes. The transition may take a while, but if we made self-driving cars the norm, the rate of accidents and collisions would drastically reduce. In fact, at that point I would imagine we would require higher standards for an actual drivers license - anyone can ride in a self driving car, but only those who actually show themselves to be good, responsible drivers can drive one.

    Additionally, self-driving cars could require 0 input from the occupants while in motion, allowing us all to do "more important" stuff, like text messaging, or business work.
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    firepa63 Former Prius Owner

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    They already have them ... they're called the bus and the train.
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    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Yep just what the world needs,
    Total Recall Johnny Cab ....

    ...
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H5k--n7sFI"]Total Recall Pivo Johnny Cab - YouTube[/ame]
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    mmcdonal Active Member

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    I doubt they will find their way into common usage in the US. We are too litigious. Who is at fault when there is an accident, and there will be accidents?

    Will there be indemnity clauses in car purchase contracts? Will GM indemnify me if my self-driving car hits either a stationary object, or is involved in a collision? There would be a chain of indemnity clauses to navigate through in the contracts between the car manufacturers and the component manufacturers. Accident investigations would practically have to involve an NHTSA investigation team, as with airline accidents. And that is only domestic manufacturers. Would my J-code Prius have a choice of forum clause? Could it be vitiated by international treaties?

    What about ECU failures? There are compounding reliability engineering problems in all system-of-systems, and a self driving car would be very complex and have to have lots of fail-safes. Granted, economies of scale would eventually allow manufacturers to commodit-ize the self-driving features, but they would be hugely expensive to purchase and maintain. ECUs now are a rip-off: $900 for a $30 circuit board.

    Piffle. Pie in the sky, and other geezerly grumblings...
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    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I think there will be self-driving cars, but I don't think they'll be available to the public in my lifetime. I can think of two ways they could function:

    1. Self-contained driving capability: You input a destination and the car has the ability to negotiate existing roads. This will require a level of sophistication that I don't think exists, or is even close today. The car must be able to make decisions such as: Is that a dog or a child and is it better to swerve and crash into the car next to me or hit that unknown object? A person can distinguish between a dog and a child. I don't think computers will be able to in my lifetime.

    2. Follow tracks embedded in the roadway. This is far more plausible, but will require the construction of infrastructure, which will take time.
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    cproaudio Speedlock Overrider

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    You can build cars to self drive in the current infrastructure with limited success. Youtube search volvo road train sartre. Or you can create a new infrastructure specifically for self driving cars. This include, roads with lane position emitters so the car knows where on the road it's at, road signs with RF signals so the car knows what the sign means even if it's being blocked by a tree. Since there are too many dumb cars on the road, self driving cars will not work within city streets. Self driving cars will have better chance of sucess on the high speed roads such as the freeway.
    Many laws must be passed to protect the occupants and the automakers in order for this to happen. Many self driving wireless protocols must be standardized so all the makes and models can communicate with each other.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZDv-hB2NHk"]Volvo's research with SARTRE for 'Road Trains' - YouTube[/ame]
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    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    They'll happen at some point but for now I doubt it. For one, who are you gonna sue if one actually does cause an accident and two, I see Google are heavily involved in a self driving car.

    I have previously joked that a Google self driving car will probably insist on driving you past sponsers shops, but the more I think about it the less it becomes a joke and the more I fear it'll probably happen.
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    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    I think that they will happen sooner than many people think. As others have mentioned Google has been testing them heavily and also in the news Nevada is in the process of passing laws pertaining to their use - I would imagine that the stakeholders have their lawyers camped out in Carson City helping to draft them. Once Nevada has laws in place and a small test fleet I would imagine that other states would be able to pass them relatively easily when the need arises.

    As for the liability issues - of course they would need to be hashed out before a company started selling them, but I would imagine that it would be done in much the same way that current technology is dealt with - cruise control and lane assist are technologies that can take control of a car but in all cases it is the driver who bears responsibility.
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    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    It's a matter of degree. Cruise Control was the first self-driving feature. Now we have added lane-keeping, radar CC, VSC, and collision avoidance. Features will be added incrementally, rather than introduced as a self-driving car all at once.

    It shouldn't be long before self-driving is possible under ideal highway conditions. City street driving is more chaotic; that will take much longer.

    Tom
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    Eoin Active Member

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    I can't see a day in the foreseeable future when parents will put their five year olds in the back seat of a car and say to the car "take him to school". For both technical and legal reasons drivers will be needed and must take full responsibility. I do think that technology will increasingly assist drivers and even help mitigate driver errors. Cars will almost certainly communicate with nearby cars which should dramatically reduce accidents. But, as pointed out, how will a computer distinguish between an animal darting in front of it and a child? All hell will break loose the first time a self driving car kills someone. So yes to computer-assisted cars, but no to completely autonomous self driving cars, at least in the next 50 years.
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    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Yes, but by the 200th time, it won't be near as big a deal. With about 40,000 death a year, time has shown how accepting we can be of car accidents.


    Good post, so realize my comment is not a critique, but an observation
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    perryma2 New Member

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    I think they will at first until they start checking their e-mail and facebook status and then get distracted by there mp3's and doing music searchea that I hope eveyone is ready for the bumper cars as they are going to on wild goose gps chases.
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    cnschult Active Member

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    we've basically got all the tools invented to allow self-driving cars on the expressway, but we're half a century at least away from having self-driving cars in the city, as that will require technology not yet invented for both the vehicles and the roads/lights infrastructure.

    the problem is cost, people went ape-sh*t when obama tried to unconsitutionally force them to buy health insurance, which some consider a "necessity", can you imagine if the government said everybody had to buy a brand new $40,000 car or spent $10,000 retrofitting your old car for a feature that most people would consider a "luxury".

    personally I have no problem with cars driving themselves on the highway, those miles are so boring and I owned a 2010 Prius V advance and can't tell you how cool the radar cruise was, a one hour trip felt like a 15 minute trip on my body, very relaxing. (interior of car drove me nuts so i had to go back to the nerdy prius with the flawless interior)

    But people are always going to want to drive themselves in the city, its just good fun, people who think otherwise are watching too many movies.
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    Southern Dad Active Member

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    First these cars will be experimental. Then they will be luxury vehicles at an expensive price. Economy models will follow.

    Eventually, they will be mandated by governments that all vehicles have this system. You will need a special permit to be able to actually use a manual drive vehicle.
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    Rebound Senior Member

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    You'll have to change your name to GrumpySomethingElse.

    The first ones will not be able to self-drive everywhere. Downtown San Francisco has so many tall buildings that GPS fails, for example. But in the long run, it makes sense to build the infrastructure to support them, because they will be safer and they'll reduce traffic congestion.
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    Trebuchet Senior Member

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    Might as well take a train, with WiFi, snack shop and fold down beds. Wait a minute, I am taking a train! :eek:
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    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    I thought that was already the case.
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    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Now if we only had trains...

    Tom
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    mmcdonal Active Member

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    I think you need a special permit to use a manual drive vehicle now. At least in Maryland you do. It is called a Class C Driver's License and is issued by the nanny state. Um, wait, what...?

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