Self-Driving Car Accidents Will Make Us All Safer

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surphninja

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May 14, 2013
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Eventually, manual drivers will be the most dangerous threat on the road, and the day is coming when driving manually (at least on major highways) will be illegal.

It'll be really cool to see how an entire highway of linked autonomous cars coordinating traffic perfectly.
 

Vlad Rose

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Autonomous vehicles = no more drunk driving. What will counties do to get their funds from people? I wonder if it'd even be illegal to drink and be in the car still; open intox... lol

But seriously, it would be nice to be able to have a car that does all the driving for you so that you can either nap, do work, or even just relax. Anyone who's been on long distance road trips know exactly what I mean.
 

merikafyeah

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The headline is almost misleading. It almost makes you think the self-driving car "caused" some accidents but...

"None of the accidents were the fault of the autonomous cars..." "...the self-driving car hasn't caused a single accident."

In every case the self-driving car was on the receiving end of the accident, meaning it's the regular meat bags in regular cars doing all the harm, as usual.
 

Dkminors

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Programmers need to learn from these accidents. Some are certainly unavoidable, but I would suggest that some could have been avoided by a defensive minded human (or more refined AI). Anyone who has ever moved to a chicken lane to avoid being rear ended or otherwise avoided imminent impacts from other drivers knows what I mean. If I were to have the same accident rate per mile as these autonomous vehicles I would be involved in an accident about every 6 or 7 years vs. none in the last over 30 years of driving. How does an automated vehicle actively identify and avoid bad drivers before they can do their damage?
 

belardo

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If Google Self-Driving cars are anything like the latest Chrome update - then its going to be garbage.

For those who noticed the new "bookmark manager" that works like crap, there is a somewhat hidden fix (since Google wasn't smart enough to put a toggle on the UI or settings). Type this into the URL of Chrome:
chrome://flags/#enhanced-bookmarks-experiment

The first option is: Enable Enhanced Bookmarks Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android Provides an off switch for enhanced bookmarks experiment #enhanced-bookmarks-experiment

Switch it to DISABLED

Scroll to the bottom to save and restart Chrome.

Hint Google: The setting said "experimental" - it shouldn't have ever left your labs. its about as crappy a screw over as when you attached the cloud-bookmark manager into the desktop version without telling anyone or explaining what happens if you do it wrong (ie: I was never signed on with a google account, when I did - all my bookmarks were wiped out - thank you asshats)

Seriously Google - DO NOT hire the Windows8 team to work on your products.
 

shiitaki

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Humans are terrible at driving largely because, they don't think they are terrible at driving. The very people who think they are great, are delusional.

So the potential is there for the autonomous cars to be superior simply because a computer process multiple instructions in the time it takes light to travel a foot. Humans at 60 mph, can't process information any faster than about 30 in ideal conditions and state of mind.

30,000 people die in car crashes? And yet we do thing about gun violence?
 

bluestar2k11

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I'm going to pass on my car driving for me...
I prefer to be in control rather then rely on a machine to keep me safe or get me somewhere, there's too many things that could go wrong for my tastes, plus the general lack of control.

Unless we get a real life AI who loves humans, then I might reconsider, but an inanimate processing list is not suitable to drive my car.
 

pocketdrummer

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I like systems that act to prevent an accident or attempt to mitigate the damage, but I am completely against the idea that ALL cars should drive themselves everywhere. You can't tell me that my insurance won't go up if I decide to drive a car that does NOT have that system (when they become ubiquitous). You also can't tell me the government won't try to make laws that punish those who drive themselves or even outlaw it altogether.

I like what companies like Subaru do where they notify you if you're driving out of the lane or apply the brakes if it detects you are traveling into another object. Those are things we need. But, if we make self-driving cars mandatory, you can kiss motorsports goodbye. Nobody will want to buy a self driving Ferrari.
 
May 13, 2015
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At some point an autonomous car is going to have to make a morale decision, a child runs into the road, it can’t possibly stop in time, does it?;
A) Hit the child
B) Plough you into the oncoming traffic
C) Go the other way into the people waiting at the bus stop.

It will have to decide who dies……..
 

wtfxxxgp

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I'm a petrolhead, I LOVE driving, so this future that some of you are yearning for is something I'm not 100% supportive of. The only aspect of it that I absolutely do agree with is the ability to use autonomous mode in peak-hour traffic. I travel 40km per day and due to traffic congestion it sometimes takes me 4 to 5 hours to travel such a short distance. I sit in traffic and listen to my music to keep me calm, but all the while I'm sitting there thinking "if only I could have used this unnecessary time to work". When I'm going about my personal life and need to travel, I'd prefer to have a manual car that I absolutely enjoy driving, because that is who I am. I do not see cars as nothing more than a means to get from A to B and I don't care who says what, I'd rather have a responsible person at the wheel than a cold machine.
 

atheus

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When self-driving cars are finally the norm, I will finally be able to relax during scenes in movies where people are talking in the car and the driver is constantly making eye contact with the person in the passenger seat.
 

Afrospinach

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Eventually, manual drivers will be the most dangerous threat on the road, and the day is coming when driving manually (at least on major highways) will be illegal.

It'll be really cool to see how an entire highway of linked autonomous cars coordinating traffic perfectly.
Yep, sure. But most accidents happen in cities not on major highways so back to the drawing board with that theory. They are also the worst places to drive a car anyway, no-one sits around excited and the idea of driving around the streets of London, unless they have never actually been there of course.
 

gregor

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At some point an autonomous car is going to have to make a morale decision, a child runs into the road, it can’t possibly stop in time, does it?;
A) Hit the child
B) Plough you into the oncoming traffic
C) Go the other way into the people waiting at the bus stop.

It will have to decide who dies……..
Are you saying that you'd have the time to make the decision?
The computer would have much better reaction times, so even if it decided on a) it may be travelling much slower than a human driver would be.
 

thrus

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Eventually, manual drivers will be the most dangerous threat on the road, and the day is coming when driving manually (at least on major highways) will be illegal.

It'll be really cool to see how an entire highway of linked autonomous cars coordinating traffic perfectly.
The problem here is that that will mean that the less traveled roads running parallel to them become congested with people that do not have the newer cars. the future you are thinking of is a long long way out, it won't even be considered until this feature is standard equipment on all cars for at lest 5 years, note that i said standard equipment for 5 years not out for 5 years. Even then it has to start to saturate the used car market as well. Making it illegal on the highway would just result in people saying well i can fake it I'm as good a driver as those computers I'm not spending $30,000 on a new car or $10,000 on a used.

I notice that the testing is all in CA not in northern states during the winter. How will these systems cope when the rear sensors have an inch of packed snow covering them? that is what happens to a cleaned off car when driving on the highway. How does it detect black ice at one intersection but not at the next? How and who updates it when roads get rerouted? Don't count on the owners we have enough trouble remembering to use turn signals let alone update roads that are 2 states away and we will only ever see once on a vacation. how badly can i mess this up by sticking a 2x4 next to the road with a construction sign saying 15mph on the highway (pranks will happen)?
 

JeckeL

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Yea there needs to be some sort of manual override where you switch back to manual operation. There are just too many unknown scenarios/variables to have a completely driver-less vehicle (i.e. no steering wheel, no way for a human to manually operate it). Therefore I don't think drunk driving will be completely eliminated...
 

none12345

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I personally cant wait for self driving cars. Thats not to say that i want to buy a self driving car, i do not!

First lets separate transportation from recreational driving, which are two completely different things. Its hard to make any kind of argument for self driving cars when talking about recreational driving, so ill just leave it alone.

Most of peoples time spent in cars are spent as transportation. You are in traffic, waiting on other meat bags to get the hell out of your way to get from A to B. You are wasting your time sitting behind another car staring at its rear, then doing what you want to do. Its not fun, its depressing, annoying, stressful, etc, etc. Even when you aren't sitting behind someone, you are doing a menial task of following someone in a dreary highway setting.

Its because of that that we have so many accidents caused by talking on cell phones, or texting on them, or doing whatever on them. Most of the driving is boring/menial, and with humans thinking they can handle it when they cant, they let their attention drift. Face it humans suck at driving in these situations. They might think they are great, and its so menial of a task they they will be fine, but they aren't.

Self driving cars are perfect for transporation. You get in the car at point A, do whatever you want, and then exit at point B. You you to talk on the phone, text, play games, do paper work. Go for it, whatever you want. You get back free time wasted in traffic.

Of course who wants to own a car they cant drive? Might as well just call a taxi right? Yep! You are right! So, there is no point in buying a self drive car. Better to just have a small network of them. You get in them at point A and get out at point B. The car drives off for the next person. Now think of the benefit that brings. Most cars spend 99% of their lives parked. Their utilization is utter crap. Change that so the cars are spending most of their time moving, and you get tons of cars off the road. Traffic congestion goes WAY down when you remove a small percentage of cars off the road. There is a certain capacity that a road can handle before it starts to slow down. If that number is say 100, just going to 120 might cut the speed in half, 150 might stop it all together. (made up numbers). Even without less cars, you can potentially fit many more cars on the road at speed if they are self driving and can tell eachother what they are planning on doing. With communication, you can tightly pack cars together in traveling packets at speed safely.

Add to that the fact that humans are slow to react. A computer out think you, it can out see you, and it can out react you by orders of magnitude. As computer processing power continues to increase, it only becomes better. Humans never will.

So, lets see, you get more free time, you get to your destination faster because of less traffic, and you have less accidents because computers are better at following the rules and can react much quicker then you ever can. .... Who wouldnt want them to arrive as fast as possible for the daily commute.

I personal want to be able to get in a car at X time, have it take me somewhere while i screw around on my tablet/phone/whatever. Get out at point B, and have the car go drive off and do whatever(which would be driving others around) while im working. Then have it there waiting for me when i get off work, get in, screw off on my tablet/phone/whatever again, and then get out at home.

Or even better. How about its friday night, im off work, just had dinner and say its 10 pm. I throw a bag in the car, lie down go to sleep. And by the time i wake up im 500 miles away at a vacation resort. I spent 2 days there having fun. Then go to sleep in the car again on sunday night and arrive at home in time for work. I didnt have to waste 16 hours of free time driving 1000 miles on the weekend, but i got to enjoy a full weekend somewhere else. Sounds great to me!
 

Gurg

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All I know is that if I'm on a jury involving a serious personal injury lawsuit caused by a computer driven vehicle, the companies involved are going to be paying through the nose. And in contrast to generally accepted driving laws, these computer piloted vehicle must be driving erratically and at fault to have this many of them be rear ended.
 

TeraMedia

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I don't want fully-automated driving that can't be overridden. I do, however, look forward to the day when we have something akin to the autopilot on airplanes. If that autopilot is smart enough to keep me in my lane, brake safely for stopped traffic, keep the speed safe (and hopefully with safer roads and cars, speed limits can go up?), watch for and turn off at the correct exit, see and stop for stop signs and red lights, etc., then I can focus on risk factors, which would be primarily caused by malfunctioning vehicles at that point. Here's an example of how I see this working:

Presumably, the system could use radar or other sensor tech to identify risk factors such as blind alleys and driveways, children at play, deer and other potential future road-kill, downed tree limbs, and other possible problems in the roadway ahead. I would expect that in the "child runs into the street" (or the "animal runs into the street" variant) situation, the autopilot would slow the vehicle before the car got to the danger point because it would determine that the child or animal *could* run into the street, and therefore that the car might need to be able to react accordingly.
If the risk factor *is* a child, and the person behind the wheel can make eye-contact with that child and thus know that the child won't run into the street, then the person can override the autopilot and speed up in the vicinity of that potential "risk". But if the person can't make eye-contact, or can't see and assess all of the nearby risk factors, then the person can let the car continue on at a speed that the autopilot determines is safe. It will probably be slower than you drive through your neighborhood... but maybe that's not a bad thing. In this model, I don't see the "child vs. bus stop vs. head-on" situation being one that a properly-coded autopilot would be likely to face, because it would have already slowed down when it identified the risks. Rather, it will be drivers overriding the autopilot when such risk factors are present that may be the cause of such accidents.

This is going to have an interesting effect on insurance claims. The insurance company and/or police will likely check your car to determine if you were overriding the car's autopilot. If you were, and that was involved in the cause of the accident, you will likely be at fault. But if you were not, then we might end up with legislation that specifically does not find you at fault, at which point the insurance companies will issue policies based in part on the safety of whatever autopilot software your car has. Just like taking a driving course, you could upgrade the AP software or increase its risk-averseness settings to reduce your insurance premiums. Just don't expect to be home in time for dinner at that point.
 
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