Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

VisLab Sponsors Milan-to-Shanghai Driverless Trek

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the with-a-bit-of-human-assistance dept.

Transportation 133

incuso writes "VisLab announced the most advanced challenge so far ever organized for autonomous vehicles. Two driverless electric cars will perform a trip from Italy to China to demonstrate the feasibility of autonomous driving in real traffic conditions. Each vehicle will be equipped with five laser scanners, seven cameras, GPS, inertial measurement unit, three Linux PCs, and an x-by-wire driving system. The mission will start on July 10 in Milan, Italy, and will reach Shanghai, China, on October 10 (10/10/10) on a 13,000 km route though Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and finally China."

cancel ×

133 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Auto-Autos (3, Funny)

wagonlips (306377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805376)

Should an autonomous car be called an auto-automobile?

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805474)

"Automobile" became "car". In other words, it could be "auto-car",

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805880)

Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and finally China.

if this goes according to plan then maybe 'auto-car' is right if not they missed off switzerland, france, spain, morocco, algeria . . . and auto-car becomes the modern equivalent of 'the fucking homing pigeon's lost again!'.

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806884)

It'll never make it that far.

My in-laws live in Serbia, and I've got $5 that says the car either gets stolen and stripped halfway between Sarajevo and Belgrade or the border guards end up raping that slutty car that was asking for it.

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

Random5 (826815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807536)

It's pretty safe to assume they'll be following it in a regular car.and the country's police will likely want to be following it too since a car without a driver is rather unprecedented and they'll see it as potentially dangerous (though I'm quite sure it'll be safer than a regular car given computer reaction times and immunity to distraction, fatigue and mistakes.

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808818)

Soon they will make a law demanding that a man run with a red flag fifty meters in front of the driverless car.

Re:Auto-Autos (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807796)

... or the border guards end up raping that slutty car that was asking for it.

That's why these cars have built-in bribe dispenser!

Re:Auto-Autos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805834)

autobots seems more fitting...

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806858)

autobots seems more fitting...

"Car-bot"?

If Apple markets the first one it'll be beautiful, but it'll be hard-programmed to only drive to Cupertino.

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806058)

I'm going with a train of wrecks myself. Either that or robo bumper car.

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

EmperorOuk (870377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807266)

No it should be call the fullautomobile.

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807678)

No it should be call the fullautomobile.

Better: fool-automobile

Re:Auto-Autos (1)

Vasheron (1750022) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808530)

No, it should be called an autobot!

Several key concepts missing from the summary (1, Informative)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805386)

These are " non-polluting and no-oil based ... vehicles" created as examples of "sustainable mobility ... central to the [World] Expo"

Autonomous is not really an accurate description: Humans will control the first vehicle. The second will follow the route of the first.

I expect China will disassemble, reverse engineer, and then copy these vehicles en masse. [[//satire]]

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (3, Interesting)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805428)

What happens if someone cuts off the 2nd vehicle?

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805538)

Didn't you read the summary, the auto-automobile has five lasers! Cut off at your own risk!

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805738)

Judging by the demo video, they're only going to be traveling around 30kph, with about 1.5 meters between them.
They might as well dispense with the engine in the "autonomous" car and just have the lead car pull it with a chain
I wouldn't be surprised if they have a police escort when they start their voyage as well.

This is hardly autonomous and looks well behind the technology already demoed by the DARPA challenges [darpa.mil] .

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31806626)

If you read well, they say that leader can also be far from the follower. This is totally new and not covered by the DARPA Challenges, in which they participated (they say that their TerraMax vehicle reached the end of the Grand Challenge in 2005)

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805480)

I expect China will disassemble, reverse engineer, and then copy these vehicles en masse.

If they work well, I don't care who makes them, as long as somebody does.. Better than having all the tech rotting on the shelf.

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805550)

"I expect China will disassemble, reverse engineer, and then copy these vehicles en masse" Oh yeah, if we copy you we'll always be one step behind, or be misled. Nice strategy though.

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805648)

How will they get the cars from the Russians?

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806944)

I expect China will disassemble, reverse engineer, and then copy these vehicles en masse. [[//satire]]

Well don't blame China for US' inability to do so...

Re:Several key concepts missing from the summary (3, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806964)

From the article :

The first vehicle will drive autonomously in selected sections of the trip and will conduct experimental tests on sensing, decision, and control subsystems, and will continuously collect data. Although limited, human interventions will be needed to define the route and intervene in critical situations. The second vehicle will automatically follow the route defined by the preceding vehicle, requiring no human intervention (100% autonomous). This will be regarded as a readily exploitable vehicle, able to move on predefined routes; at the end of the trip, its technology will be transferred to a set of vehicles to move in the inner part of Rome in the close future.

The first vehicle is a bit more than a drone and the second one is a bit more than a mere follower. From what they say, once the trip has been made once, a vehicle could be autonomously doing the road without following anyone. That is an interesting achievment.

What about the fuel? (2, Interesting)

daniel_i_l (1655579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805406)

Who fuels the cars on the way? Do they know how to spot gas stations and ask the gas station attendants to fill them up? How do they pay?

Re:What about the fuel? (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805546)

Yes, they have built-in AI just for that purpose.
or
RTFA and realize that they're running on solar energy. I guess that's too much to ask.

Re:What about the fuel? (1)

daniel_i_l (1655579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805936)

FTFA: "mainly powered by solar energy" (emphasis mine) What's the rest powered by? Water? To the best of my knowledge, even electric cars need some kind of fuel to provide electricity when there's little sun or during harsh conditions.

Re:What about the fuel? (2, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808838)

When driving downhill, it's powered by gravity.

Re:What about the fuel? (2, Funny)

bitflusher (853768) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805788)

Cars don't need fuel, that was just implemented to prevent sleep driving on long trips, this car has no driver so it does not need that function.

Re:What about the fuel? (2, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808190)

"Who fuels the cars on the way?"

FTA:
"Two electric vehicles will perform a 13,000 km trip mainly powered by solar energy, with no driver; two backup vehicles will be part of the trip as well. As a support, 4 Overland trucks will follow the expedition to provide a mechanic shop, storage, and accommodation; "

So they're solar and then they have FOUR trucks following them for support. Fuel shouldn't be a problem.

Why don't we see more of these? I remember watching a show nearly 20 yrs ago about a self-driving car running on a 486 processor. They had video of it driving and everything, looked like it did very well. Now we have quad core processors for less than $200 and we still don't have self driving cars. What happened? I'd imagine as cpus and sensors got cheaper we'd see faster reaction speeds.

The catch is, (3, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805414)

that it is probably illegal to drive such an automaton in real traffic in any country, incl. "Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and finally China."

Re:The catch is, (3, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805440)

Perhaps it is illegal to drive an autonomous vehicle, those 3 linux pcs are going to rot in jail if they ever get caught.

Re:The catch is, (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805472)

Forget the Linux PCs. This is a damn conspiracy from Redmond to put Linus behind bars.

Re:The catch is, (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805458)

Actually, an autonomous vehicle couldn't drive any worse than 90% of the drivers here in Shanghai, where driving tends to be a bit less organized than a mass emergency exodus from a burning aircraft.

Re:The catch is, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31806168)

Wouldn't be difficult, if the auto-car knows how to stop at a red light then its already won the contest.

Re:The catch is, (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807736)

Ha! That gets you run over... Red lights are just an excuse for other drivers to honk at you even more; stopping for one guarantees and accident!

Re:The catch is, (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805556)

You know, usually the way the law works is that you, as a citizen, are allowed to do anything it doesn't explicitly forbid. I don't think any law in any country forbids the use of automated guidance systems in your car, as they don't yet exist. I might be wrong, though.

Re:The catch is, (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805578)

But the car is going to be operated without a licensed driver driving it. The keyword here is "license", not "driver".

Or can we license an AI? I guess yes, if the AI manages to pass the driving exams. Or is this expedition part of the exam?

Re:The catch is, (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806028)

Or can we license an AI? I guess yes, if the AI manages to pass the driving exams. Or is this expedition part of the exam?

Turing Test 2.0, now testing on a highway near you!

Re:The catch is, (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806810)

If there is no driver, there might not be anyone breaking the law, or at worst someone is hauled up for leaving the brake off of a parked car and letting it roll onto the road.

Actually, they would have made sure they had permission, but the first is funnier.

Re:The catch is, (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806882)

I think most laws have a concept of criminal negligence, which would seem to apply, particularly if someone comes to bodily harm.

Re:The catch is, (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807190)

The car seemed pretty good at avoiding a pedestrian steeping out from behind a car, and since its reaction time is probably faster than a human's, it isn't very likely to cause an accident.

This is an area which needs to be sorted out, because given how fast this field has developed recently, it seems likely that these sorts of cars will be ready for use on roads in a decade or so, and it would be a shame if their use was blocked by out-o-date laws.

Re:The catch is, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805612)

depends on the foundation of the legal code, some legal systems default to illegal if not specified as legal. English Common Law (basis for UK and US law sans Louisiana defaults legal. I seem to remember Louisiana (Napoleonic Code based) had some areas default to being illegal, though I forget the context. Iran for instance would strike me as a country likely to default to illegal.

Re:The catch is, (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806738)

I expect many countries have laws prohibiting leaving a vehicle unattended in the middle of the road, though.

Re:The catch is, (2, Informative)

story645 (1278106) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805674)

Visalab is sending along 2 backup cars, 4 maintenance trucks, and 2 media vans with the two auto-vehicles, so they could probably just have someone get out and drive the cars (or just sit at the wheel) in the parts where they'll get in legal trouble for having the cars be autonomous. There are also long stretches (like Russia), where the cars will be the only thing on the road.

Re:The catch is, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31806600)

Apparently they did other tests like this before: the DARPA Grand challenge and the DARPA Urban Challenge. They also drove autonomously in Rome. I guess they know how to deal with these issues.

Re:The catch is, (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805944)

It's usually not law that's directly the problem. It's more likely to be a problem with insurance and the need for a vehicle to be insured to be legal. I've seen cases where a car has hit something, but nobody was driving so they refused to pay.

Re:The catch is, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805968)

I've seen cases where a car has hit something, but nobody was driving so they refused to pay.

[citation needed]

Re:The catch is, (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806848)

actually quite the opposite.
I read an article a while back where they pointed out that in almost all US states such cars would be perfectly legal, furthermore due to the wording of many traffic laws such vehicles could avoid many laws since they refer to the *driver* of the car and even specifically exclude the owner if he is not the driver.
I'll try to find it in a while.

For readers in other parts of the world (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805470)

... China on October 10 (10/10/10) on a 13.000 km route though Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, ...

Sorry for the confusion folks, that's thirteen THOUSAND km, not thirteen point zero zero zero km.

Re:For readers in other parts of the world (0)

andi75 (84413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805750)

I have heard that Americans don't know much of the geography outside the U.S., but if this was confusing to the average American, I don't know what to say.

Re:For readers in other parts of the world (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806032)

it wasn't the decimal that was confusing the US, it was the kms.

Re:For readers in other parts of the world (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808072)

Americans are extremely insular. It wouldn't be surprising at all.

Re:For readers in other parts of the world (2, Insightful)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806114)

The . as a thousands separator should die.
Especially when there's no decimal separator around.

Put a space if you really want to make it easier to read :
13 000
13 000.00
13 000,00

but
13.000 is just plain wrong.

Re:For readers in other parts of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31806550)

or, even better, an apex:

13'000,00

Re:For readers in other parts of the world (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806864)

There is a fairly long history of using ',' as the decimal separator and '.' as the thousands separator, and so long as one follows the convention for the surrounding text's language, neither is better or worse. Personally, I use ' ' for thousands and '.' for decimal, but it's not as though anything else is hard to understand, especially when context makes the order of magnitude so obvious.

Re:For readers in other parts of the world (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807766)

There is a fairly long history of using ',' as the decimal separator and '.' as the thousands separator, and so long as one follows the convention for the surrounding text's language, neither is better or worse.

That is completely false. The comma is a piece of punctuation used to connect run-on sentences, or so it commonly seems; either way, it separates portions of one complete thought. The period is a piece of punctuation which tells us that something has terminated. Using it for a decimal point is potentially confusing enough. Using it as a thousands separator is just plain stupid. I agree with others; it makes far more sense to eschew separating thousands.

Re:For readers in other parts of the world (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808214)

'.' as a thousands or decimal separator is always distinguishable from an end-of-sentence marker, except in poorly handwritten text, because it is never followed by whitespace in the former case but always is in the latter. The same applies to ','.

It is obviously a bad idea to use '.' as the thousands separator in English text because we expect it to mean a decimal point, but French, German, Italian (which is where this number was copied from, so it was probably a simple copy/paste mistake) and many other European languages use the opposite convention, so if you are writing in those languages, it would be stupid to use the English convention. That's what I meant by "so long as one follows the convention for the surrounding text's language, neither is better or worse," that neither convention had any particular superiority, but you should follow the convention of the language of whatever text surrounds the number, making it easy to parse, say 1.234,5 appropriately. Sorry if I wasn't sufficiently clear, it is rather late here.

I already explained my own personal practice, in the GP.

Is autonomous such a hot idea ? (2)

Quietlife2k (612005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805544)

I think I would rather not be the CEO of the first company who's "autonomous" system exhibits "Toyota" like behavior.

The first avoidable death attributed to such systems should see the end of this nonsense.

I cannot however, argue with the ecologically friendly developments that this experiment will hopefully promote.

Re:Is autonomous such a hot idea ? (2, Insightful)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806146)

Lets say we have 1000 traffic deaths each year, if an autonomous system in all cars reduces this to 250 (due to programming errors) should everyone get back on the wheel then?

Re:Is autonomous such a hot idea ? (1)

stevenmenke (1590623) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806154)

Yes, because people driving cars never kill anyone..

Re:Is autonomous such a hot idea ? (1)

kombipom (1274672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806338)

The main problem is that people won't look at the situation rationally. Even if the cars are statistically safer drivers than people the general public will not accept deaths from equipment malfunction. The resulting law-suits will probably kill off the idea never allowing the cars to get really good. The result - continued carnage on the roads.

Something should be done but not this... (1)

Quietlife2k (612005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806530)

Where I live I stand the following risks...

1 in 2 chance of death from heart related problems.
1 in 25 chance of death from cancer.
1 in 5000 chance of death from road traffic accident (pedestrian or driver).

The percentage risk of death from road traffic accidents has not risen in the last ten years.

Better planning, requiring local bodies to consider the impact of new structures and sub-divisions of old, in regards to road capacity availability as a PRIORITY, would be a start. Further better planning for the location of the premises for local services rather than the focus on cost. Forcing businesses to have a set percentage of workers arrive via public transport is still another idea perhaps even prompting businesses to move to the workers rather than the other way around.....

Just not autonomous vehicles.

Re:Something should be done but not this... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806866)

what's with the irrational hatred if autonomous vehicles?
It's entirely possible that given a few decades they'll be able to drive better than the average human.

If you could cut that chance down to 1 in 10000 would you choose otherwise for nothing more than your ego?

Re:Something should be done but not this... (1)

Quietlife2k (612005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807070)

It's a matter of acceptable risk, in five thousand different ways of dying only one involves a car.
For me that is a small enough risk not to loose and sleep over.

Why some people are scared by it I do not comprehend.

Re:Something should be done but not this... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807248)

I'd be interested in a source for your figures since they seem extremely low.

In the US for one year I found:
approximate cost of accidents:230 Billion dollars.
2.9 million people were injured and 42,636 people killed.

Total deaths in a year:2426264

fraction of deaths due to traffic accidents:

1/56.6 approx

which would make it a fairly common way to die and an extremely common way to get injured.
I know the US has a somewhat higher than normal number of road deaths but what country has a death rate 100 times lower?

In the UK it seems to be about 1 in 150 but still nothing like your claimed 1 in 5000.

Brilliant Idea!! Re:Is autonomous such a hot idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807406)

Yes it's a good idea. 10 years ago I would have said there is no way in hell this will ever take off in North America. It's part of the American Psyche to go on long road trips in 'your' car. 'You' own the road.

These days... with the amount of cell phone calling, texting, eating, shaving, movie watching and drinking etc.. that people do, while they are supposed to be controlling their vehicle... I can see autonomous vehicle upgrades being a #1 seller aftermarket add on in just a few years. If you can remove the need to have a license to be 'in charge of a moving vehicle' (not in control), I can also see the need for full service pumps coming back.

Also imaging what this will do to the cost of 'parking' downtown...

Wake up. Get in car. "Good morning Car, take me to work." Wash face, shave. "Oh wait. Starbucks/Tim Hortons/(ok Mc Donalds) first." Drink coffee etc... Watch morning news. Get out of car. "Good car. Go park somewhere free or go home. Don't forget to run from the meter maid. I'll see you at four." (16:00 for those of us that prefer it).
== work work work ==
(Incoming call) "Hello" "Thank you car"
== work work ==
Walk out the front door at work at 16:02. "Hi Car". Get in. "Let's go" Have a nap.

---
Feminism: I was going to change the example to but then I realized that shaving while in traffic would have an entirely different meaning.

Re:Brilliant Idea!! Re:Is autonomous such a hot id (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807870)

I dream of this day.

Re:Is autonomous such a hot idea ? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808882)

Toyata's problems were caused most likely by a glitch between the pedal and the chair. In fact the multiple investigations have revealed no issues. The mat issue was the only issue they've had in the last 20yrs. People just suck. Thankfully computers won't get confused and stomp on the gas instead of the brakes.

While a fully autonomous system will likely kill a few people it will likely save many more. It would END drunk driving for one...

Avoiding conflict (2, Informative)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805564)

I just saw the route on the map and man, are they going a looong way just to avoid the middle east conflict zone!

Re:Avoiding conflict (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805620)

> The mission will start on July 10 in Milan, Italy and will reach Shanghai, China on October 10 (10/10/10) on a 13.000 km route though Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and finally China.

There's some confusion about the route...

Autonomous? (0, Troll)

yoldapirate (1304207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805606)

How autonomous can it be if you need to manually refill the tank? Or maybe they discovered some perpetual machine to power the cars!

If you can't RTFA, at least RTFS: (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805634)

How autonomous can it be if you need to manually refill the tank? Or maybe they discovered some perpetual machine to power the cars!

From TFS:

Two driverless electric cars will perform a trip...

Re:If you can't RTFA, at least RTFS: (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806932)

Not to mention that they are mainly solar powered! Continuing your quote:

... mainly powered by solar energy ...

So they will not need to refuel that often :D

A great race? (1)

Dillenger69 (84599) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805656)

Does this great race come with a Natalie Wood ride-along and a pie fight in eastern Europe?

How about humans... (1)

synoniem (512936) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805754)

do they autonomous control them too? No doubt that those cars can navigate their way to China the technology exists and this is a nice proof of concept. But human behavior especially on the road is not very rational. You need a lot of AI to interpret such behavior in a way to avoid all kind of trouble and sounds like a real quest to me.

John Conner (1)

scottnix (951749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805768)

Whatever happens, let's pray the two cars can't communicate with each other lest Skynet become self aware.

Really?? (2, Funny)

Hermaniac (1658955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805876)

So, to "demonstrate the feasibility of autonomous driving in real traffic conditions" they are sending the cars not only through areas that, for the most part, have fuck all traffic, but also on a trip that practically no-one would do anyway. Well done.

Re:Really?? (1)

Nil000 (927828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806086)

But first they have to get out of Milan...

Re:Really?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807262)

Indeed, I'm sure cruising St. Tropez would have been far more convincing proof of the viability of this technology.

Re:Explains the variety of cheeses then (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805956)

This bit caught my attention:

Moreover the Municipality of Rome, an active player in this project, is planning to exploit these vehicles downtown to deliver goods to shops, collect trash, and arrange sustainable mobility in the last mile.

I'm reminded of the time when I was growing up that we had garbage men hanging off the back of city-owned garbage trucks. Yeah we liked it that way, just as we liked most of the guys doing the work for us. Unsurprising (or not), it was also a time when a single-earner paycheck could support a family.

But let's put nostalgia aside and embrace the promise of cutting edge green technologies that offer cost efficiencies for governments and businesses alike, I wonder what, if this technology is successful and widely used (bound to happen sooner or later), will happen to the livelihoods of, say, UPS and FedX drivers? Or postmen, bus drivers, cabbies and pizza delivery drivers? If they're to be considered the buggy drivers of tomorrow, what form will a job for the ordinary guy graduating high school take? Seems those kinds of jobs are increasingly eliminated with little or no acknowledgement of the consequences.

I don't know the degree to which solutions for the Municipality of Rome would apply in the US, but I expect the concept of getting fastfood without having to drive to the drive-thru (or, with sufficient automation, remove any need for you get off the couch) would have near universal appeal. As would getting rid of cab drivers. Everyone hates cab drivers, right?

Disclaimer: Readers of this post may note that it has fuck all to do with cheese (aside from the possibility that the poster has watched too many episodes of Wallace and Grommit). My excuse is that I've just now discovered that when making a post, the Subject field offers a pre-populated set of choices. If the powers that be at Slashdot considers those valid, legitimate and appropriate Subjects, then cheese it is. Hmm. Maybe I am feeling a bit peckish?

Re:Explains the variety of cheeses then (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805992)

Disclaimer: Readers of this post may note that it has fuck all to do with cheese (aside from the possibility that the poster has watched too many episodes of Wallace and Grommit). My excuse is that I've just now discovered that when making a post, the Subject field offers a pre-populated set of choices. If the powers that be at Slashdot considers those valid, legitimate and appropriate Subjects, then cheese it is. Hmm. Maybe I am feeling a bit peckish?

I would suspect that the contents of the subject field depends on what you've entered there before, as per your browser's record of such things for filling in forms automagically..

Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31806040)

You can take your argument to its logical conclusion. When we create advanced robots with strong AI, then every job in the world won't be good enough for humans. Even the smartest and strongest won't be able to make a living.

Government intervention is the only solution for cab drivers, etc. Help them find new jobs and fund their education, at least with loans. Better than having society break down with a large unemployed population.

Re:Well.. (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806158)

Everyone gets a robot at birth and has to put that to economical use. Or we can resort to communism because we can just do nothing all day.

Re:Well.. (1)

anotherzeb (837807) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808362)

Tools like the vacuum cleaner and washing machine were supposed to give us all more leisure time - it looks like we're not very good at using it well - yet. There would be some who would want to be creative with their robot and others who just want to make the most money possible with theirs (maybe a form of creativity? I don't think so, but others might). With sufficient technology, here's a possibility of what could be done (not my work): http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]

Re:Explains the variety of cheeses then (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806912)

pretty much every advance in technology leads to someone losing their job.

"Computer" used to be a profession.
Sitting in a bank, adding up columns of figures all day and doing simple calculations(distinct from an accountant.).

What happened to all those people who were put out of work?
knitting and weaving cloth used to be a common profession.
Now massive looms create huge volumes of cloth for a fraction of the cost.

every one of these advances has put people out of work but every one has created a handful of other jobs and made society wealthier as a whole.

Sure it sucks for the weaver put out of work but it's great for everyone else who can now buy a pack of 3 shirts for 5 bucks rather than it costing a weeks wages.
The computers may be out of a job but the electronics that replaced them make banking far cheaper and allow for far smaller and cheaper transactions.

If cabbies were put out of a job then the cost of hiring a cab could be massively reduced.
If hiring a cab cost me cents not euros then why would I even bother buying a car?
And so I and the rest of society would be wealthier.

"UPS and FedX drivers Or postmen, bus drivers, cabbies and pizza delivery drivers"

their jobs will be gone but when they get new jobs it will be far cheaper if they want to send a package, catch a bus, take a taxi or order a pizza.

Re:Explains the variety of cheeses then (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807120)

Where I am, the gangs of men hanging off the back of trucks have long gone, they now have one man per dustcart with an arm which reaches out to the kerb, grabs a wheelie bin and dumps it in the top. The old-style, rear-loading dustcarts are only common for things like municipal bins and at the universities where bins are often in awkward locations (and even there, they usually use wheelie bins).

Since a wheelie bin is a standard size and shape (and usually colour, although you do see painted ones now and then), automating the process of picking up the rubbish would be pretty trivial as CV projects go. I would not at all be surprised if these become automated within 5 years of this technology becoming mainstream.

Pizza delivery and postmen would still be important because ensuring deliveries go the the right house is still too hard for AI to manage reliably. Bus drivers would probably be moved to being ticket inspectors/conductors, since you still need someone to deter fare evasion (although social pressure does a reasonable job on my normal route) and safely operate the disabled ramp on suitably-equipped buses. There is also a hard-AI problem of spotting potential passengers running for the bus.

Re:Explains the variety of cheeses then (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807810)

But let's put nostalgia aside and embrace the promise of cutting edge green technologies that offer cost efficiencies for governments and businesses alike, I wonder what, if this technology is successful and widely used (bound to happen sooner or later), will happen to the livelihoods of, say, UPS and FedX drivers? Or postmen, bus drivers, cabbies and pizza delivery drivers? If they're to be considered the buggy drivers of tomorrow, what form will a job for the ordinary guy graduating high school take? Seems those kinds of jobs are increasingly eliminated with little or no acknowledgement of the consequences.

Won't someone please think of the buggy-whip makers?

In the USA, the education system has not changed substantially since we decided we needed it to produce factory workers and soldiers. That's right, Public School's primary job is to prepare our nation for war. The Powers That Be don't give one tenth of one shit about what you're going to do out of high school. If you become a criminal, it's that much easier to funnel you into the military. We can try you as an adult, or you can get entry into the military on your 18th birthday! I don't really know what the school systems are meant for in most other countries, never having studied them or attended school there, but if your school system is training you to repair autonomous cars, you'll probably do OK; if like ours, it's training you to put your head down on your desk and wait quietly when you're done with your current assignment for the next instruction from your overlord, then you're probably fucked.

Best of Luck To You... (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805984)

...And thank you for not performing these tests anywhere near my hometown.

"driving in real traffic conditions"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31805990)

Have they ever seen those in Russia? The whole road is an obstacle! http://www.tandrag.com/images/uploads/russian_highway.jpg

Why always from Europe to Azia? (1)

Leon Buijs (545859) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806234)

It strikes me that such enterprises always start in Western Europe and end in the Far East. Anybody have an idea why it's not the other way around?

Re:Why always from Europe to Azia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807686)

No but I can tell you why they don't start in Alaska and end in Chile or Argentina.
Google Maps: Roads on the Panama/Columbia Border [google.com]

Silk road. (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806366)

The original silk road sadly leads to territories which are politically to unstable.

Re:Silk road. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807492)

The original silk road sadly leads to territories which are politically to unstable.

Unstable...?? Oh you mean there is a WAR going on. 'Unstable' What a disgusting way of neutralizing the idea that people are fighting and dying over there.

What anti-theft protection do they have . . . ? (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806436)

When renting a car in a western European country, the first thing that Hertz will tell you, is that you are not allowed to drive the car to an eastern European country. Because "the car will not make it back." Hertz says the same thing when you rent in Texas: "You cannot take this car to Mexico".

So what anti-theft-AI is planned for these vehicles? Maybe those lasers can do more than just scan?

A car loaded with so much luxury high-tech accessories would surely make a tempting target for a thief. Maybe the cars will just autonomously disappear?

Re:What anti-theft protection do they have . . . ? (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807138)

One car has a driver in it to handle navigation and regulatory requirements, and there are two large support vehicles following with camera crews, engineers, and so on.

Two Russian problems (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806564)

In Russia there always been two problems: fools and roads.
It's really interesting how these super-cars shall overcame that problems.

Re:Two Russian problems (3, Funny)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807386)

Well, strong motor and chassis, good tires, suspension, tough bumper let you drive over one of the two problems. But then again, there are also roads on the way.

Not fully autonomous, human controls the lead car (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31806602)

The first vehicle will drive autonomously in selected sections of the trip and will conduct experimental tests on sensing, decision, and control subsystems, and will continuously collect data. Although limited, human interventions will be needed to define the route and intervene in critical situations.

The second vehicle will automatically follow the route defined by the preceding vehicle, requiring no human intervention (100% autonomous). This will be regarded as a readily exploitable vehicle, able to move on predefined routes; at the end of the trip, its technology will be transferred to a set of vehicles to move in the inner part of Rome in the close future.

This project is a little sketchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807600)

Who is vislab? As far as I can tell it was just a research group at a university. Does that make the university responsible for anything that goes wrong? It is one thing for DARPA to stage it. They gave people over a year and each team had to prove ability in stages. It sounds like vislab is giving this a free for all.

And Once In Shanghai, Chinese will seize all... (1)

littlewink (996298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807898)

systems and use them to create SKYNET.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?