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Stanford Robot Car Capable of Slide Parking

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-human-would-drift-like-that dept.

Robotics 265

kkleiner writes "Stanford's Junior, the robot car that took second place at DARPA's Grand Challenge in 2007, has learned how to perform a tire-squealing 180-degree spin into a skin-tight parking space. Similar to a James Bond action scene, the maneuver is impressive and would be extremely difficult for a human to pull off. We won't be handing the keys over to robot cars anytime soon, but Stanford shows us that at least for some driving tasks robot cars can already meet or even exceed human ability."

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265 comments

Do niggers go to stanford? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32188878)

i'm curious..

Re:Do niggers go to stanford? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189276)

if they don't it's because of racism. it is certainly not because they have an anti-achievement culture where learning and working hard and getting ahead is "acting white" and severely scorned. obviously the pressure black people put onto other black people is because of white racism. nevermind that white against black racism would solidify them as a group because of "us against them". modern politics demands this is the one and only reason for all failings of american black culture and modern politics cannot be wrong or else you are a heretic.

Rude-bot (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188888)

To counter, I'm inventing the Automatic Finger to quickly signal my frustration at being cut-off from my parking spot.

Re:Rude-bot (3, Insightful)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189108)

c'mon, if a robot car took your park using the awesome sliding maneuver, you'd have to give it the thumbs up.

Three Points (1, Informative)

XPulga (1242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188910)


1. The proper reference is the Blues Brothers movie, not James Bond.

2. Parking like this is stupid and wears down the tires unevenly and too fast.

3. Uneven pavement, potholes, wet pavement, oil puddle: pick your disaster.

Re:Three Points (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188956)

And me opening my door and slam them with lawsuit.

Re:Three Points (5, Funny)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188974)

I detect insecurity in your tone, human.

Re:Three Points (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189006)

I was thinking more of the Ghostbusters.

Who you gonna call? STANFORD!

Nope, doesn't have the same ring to it.

Turbo Boost (4, Funny)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189028)

Now that the tire-squealing precision-skidding has been mastered, we just need the turbo boost and the annoying nasal voice synthesizer to round out the look and feel.

Re:Turbo Boost (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189038)

Damn robots with their sagging cases, showing the whole god damn world their CPUs. Get the hell off my lawn before I call Bruce Schnier on your asses!

Re:Turbo Boost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189390)

And those damn robots steal all my mom's drugs!
STUPID ROBOTS!!!

Re:Turbo Boost (1)

HybridST (894157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189700)

iirc "KIT" had at one point destroyed and was rebuilt with an upgraded 8MegaBits (yes bits) of ram.. not that I watched it very often.

Re:Three Points (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189100)

1. The proper reference is the Blues Brothers movie, not James Bond. 2. Parking like this is stupid and wears down the tires unevenly and too fast. 3. Uneven pavement, potholes, wet pavement, oil puddle: pick your disaster.

1. They reference it in the article-- if you even read it.

2. Once again, if you read the article,

The real story here is Junior’s ability to cleanly switch between various methods of driving.

3. That would be a disaster for pretty much any human attempting that sort of maneuver. I'd probably still put my faith in robots.

Re:Three Points (2, Insightful)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189130)

3. That would be a disaster for pretty much any human attempting that sort of maneuver. I'd probably still put my faith in robots.

To put one's faith in a robot, is to put one's faith in the [ability/morality etc of the] human(s) who designed said robot.

Re:Three Points (2, Interesting)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189252)

If your definition of robot is "machine controlled by an intelligent computer program" then I'm sorry to say, you're ALREADY putting your faith in such things, hundreds of times per day. Hell, you're putting your life in a computer's hands on a second-by-second basis just by being within ten miles of a nuclear power plant.

Re:Three Points (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189310)

If your definition of robot is "machine controlled by an intelligent computer program" then I'm sorry to say, you're ALREADY putting your faith in such things, hundreds of times per day. Hell, you're putting your life in a computer's hands on a second-by-second basis just by being within ten miles of a nuclear power plant.

Unless pebble bed reactors [wikipedia.org] become deployed on a commercial scale.

Re:Three Points (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189320)

Right, and I trust the ability of my fellow humans to program a machine that can do precise calculations at high speeds to perform this kind of maneuver a lot more than I would trust them to guestimate those calculations and attempt it themselves...

Re:Three Points (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189336)

Because slide parking has serious moral implications... as far as the "ability" of the stanford programmers/engineers go, I'd be willing to bet that the car they designed can pull off quite a few more successful maneuvers than any of those guys could.

Re:Three Points (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189590)

The people who designed those robots spend a lot more time than the average person does, thinking about the road.

Still, this needs a lot of testing.

Re:Three Points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189280)

2. Once again, if you read the article,

Who read the what now?

Re:Three Points (1)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189656)

I know - right? All of this talk about the article. Which article? 'The'? 'A'? What does grammar have to do with slide parking cars?

Re:Three Points (1)

slater86 (1154729) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189220)


An even better reference would've been Russ Swift for his Austin Montego TV ad.

Russ swift
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russ_Swift

The Ad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZA6g8r8U2o

Re:Three Points (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189392)

Oh, you really don't think that this would be a practical way to park cars in an everyday situation? Congratulations. They weren't doing it so that future generations of robotic vehicles could slide into parking spots all over the place, it was a fun exercise to further develop methods for modeling and controlling the cars movement in general.

Re:Three Points (4, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189680)

Why is this modded informative? This should be modded troll.

"2. Parking like this is stupid and wears down the tires unevenly and too fast."
Obviously the point isn't that this is an efficient parking method, it's that it's a fucking awesome method that's being performed by a ROBOT. Of course you can't do this on problematic conditions, that ain't the fucking point in the first place.

"We"? (0, Flamebait)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188926)

"We won't be handing the keys over to robot cars anytime soon..."

The Taco Bell University is still not good enough to lick the dirt off the dirty hippie Berkeley boots.

Toyota (5, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188930)

We won't be handing the keys over to robot cars anytime soon

Heh.....let's work on getting cars to stop reliably before we start talking about that

Re:Toyota (1)

Bevilr (1258638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189352)

New Toyota accelerates uncontrollably into perfect sliding parallel parking job

Re:Toyota (2, Funny)

Iyonesco (1482555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189426)

With the new auto-breaking system Volvos stop reliably without even the need for a driver:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNi17YLnZpg [youtube.com]

Er...okay maybe you have a point.

Wind noise (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188958)

I know it's all bobo-chis to shot amateur video and whatnot, but can a brother get some noise reduction up in here? I mean, DAMN.

I have to tel lthis story, it's too awesome (1, Funny)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188972)

Way back in the ancient days of 1987, I was given my grandmother's maroon Ford Fairlane (no radio). I carpooled to school with two other guys, including this asshole. I used to show off by swerving down this road, going fast and swerving from one far extreme edge to the other, just to piss the one guy off.

One day I lost control during a swerve, and did a perfect 180 turn the way this article describes. I ended up facing the exact right way (except the opposite way), and exactly in the right part of the lane. I just pretended like I did it on purpose and drove off like Mr. Cool.

This was a good thing.

Re:I have to tel lthis story, it's too awesome (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188996)

It was actually a Fairmont.

http://www.ls1tech.com/forums/attachments/vehicles-wanted/172653d1238176562-wtb-78-82-ford-fairmont-futura-mercury-zephyr-fairmont-futura.jpg [ls1tech.com]

From the Crappy Days of the american auto industry. I think it was built on a Friday :-)

Re:I have to tel lthis story, it's too awesome (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189414)

Wait -- Has the American auto industry ever had good days?

Well, except for the part... (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189170)

Well, except for the part that you very likely could have killed yourself and two other people, possibly more. You were extremely lucky, as 99 times out of 100, when you lose control of your car while swerving, EXTREMELY bad things happen. The fact that this once it didn't doesn't make this an awesome story, it makes it a bit of a sad one to hear that your stupidity was rewarded.

What you did shouldn't be glorified. These maneuvers are exciting to watch on television and in the movies when performed by professionals with years of training and under extremely controlled conditions (and, incidentally, medical personnel immediately ready in case of accidents, some of which have killed even those professionals). But frankly, it sounds to me like the guy who was pissed off wasn't the asshole. I would have been pissed off too, and would have rather taken the damn bus than ride with you again. Maybe after two or three people you know are killed in car wrecks, you'll look back on this story and "awesome" will no longer be the word you use to describe it.

Seriously. I feel like you're saying, "I played Russian Roulette with FIVE bullets loaded in the gun, and I won! It was awesome!" No, it wasn't awesome. You were a dumbass.

Re:Well, except for the part... (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189282)

Oh shut up. The guy was a TEENAGER.

I have a friend who swerved as he was coming over a rise and a truck was hanging ass into his lane (he was going a bit too fast). Swerved across the road, then back, hit the gravel, spun it, flew into an orchard, and miraculously flipped end-over-end 6 times keeping a perfectly straight line down the aisle. He crawled out the busted window and walked away from it.

Similarly awesome story to retell. In an infinity of alternate universes that guy is dead. No question about it.

Re:Well, except for the part... (0, Troll)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189484)

Oh shut up. The guy was a TEENAGER.

So? Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize he was a TEENAGER, that makes it all right. I forgot that teenagers are invincible, and that as adults we should look back fondly on the stupid ass things we did that should have, by all rights, caused us to get killed and take others with us.

Don't be a putz. What the GP described wasn't an accident. He wasn't "going a bit too fast," it was willfully and criminally negligent. "Hey, let's go toss 50-pound weights off a skyscraper an laugh about how close they come to bashing someone's skull in. It will be awesome! Afterward, we can run down the street and shoot guns in random directions!" Ah, those zany teenage shenanigans.

Again, this wasn't awesome. The GP was a dumbass, period, end of story.

Re:Well, except for the part... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189604)

You are wrong, whether or not you are willing to admit it. It is, actually, awesome.

His actions being stupid, reckless, and dangerous are not detractors from this being awesome. In fact, the reckless and dangerous part, in combination with nobody getting hurt, are the very things that make this awesome.

You clearly have a bad concept of awe. You yourself believe this event to be one in a hundred, yet he rolled that magic one on his first roll (roll being the metaphor for uncontrolled swerve, not swerving in general).

This should inspire awe, and is therefore awesome.

Now, don't forget to drink your prune juice, Grandpa Killjoy McPoopyPants.

Re:Well, except for the part... (2, Insightful)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189708)

I didn't realize he was a TEENAGER, that makes it all right. I forgot that teenagers are invincible

The point is - he was a teenager. His UID belies the fact that he's no longer a teenager. I'm pretty sure that he doesn't swerve side to side across the road anymore, or carpool to high school. I'm willing to bet that he doesn't drive in an unsafe manner at all, anymore. I'm also willing to bet that the reason for that is due, in part, to that little story. Have you ever been behind the wheel of a car that, even momentarily, was completely out of your control? Did it give you a fear-for-your-life adrenaline rush that you'll never forget? Unless you are a stunt driver, if the answer to that first question is yes, the answer to the second is _always_ yes (unless you were drunk, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms).

In conclusion, I'd be happy to find you the number of a proctologist who can help you with that stick problem.

Re:Well, except for the part... (0, Redundant)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189388)

Car goes "out of control".

1. Apply steady brake pressure, (DON'T PUMP).

2. If power assisted brakes are not responding, use manual ("emergency" brake). Apply steady pressure.

3. Downshift to slow your vehicle. Use the transmission against the engine.

4. Shift into neutral. You may blow up your engine via over-revving it, but it's better then losing your own life.

5. Turn off engine to "OFF position or "ACC". Do not lock the steering wheel or remove the keys from the ignition. You will lose power assist, but you will be able to stop the vehicle. (it will just be difficult to control the vehicle, but it can be done even at 65MPH).

6. Head for the guard rail, and steer into it. You will eventually stop.

Re:Well, except for the part... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189756)

That's what you do if your car for some insane (and likely impossible in reality) reason accelerates by itself.

If your car is actually out of control, that is, sliding and not responding to steering and brakes, the last thing you need is locked up brakes or ramming a guard rail at 45 degrees angle.

Re:Well, except for the part... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189514)

What he did is exactly why insurance companies charge much higher premiums for young male drivers, and why parental guidance is highly recommended.

Lots of people here like to say "censorship= evil" etc, but basically you don't want to make it so easy for teenagers to get stupid ideas - they can come up with plenty by themselves. Once they've survived that period, then sure.

Re:Well, except for the part... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189594)

Exactly, please don't have kids.

Re:I have to tel lthis story, it's too awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189328)

I was coming down a winding hillside road road in the country a few years back, at night, driving somewhat vigorously in my MX5 (Miata to the Americans), I hit an unmarked patch of gravel on the road left by some workers right in the middle of a tight corner and went skating , for a couple of milliseconds I thought it was all going to end badly with me tumbling down the hill side sideways, but somehow I managed just your trick, a perfect 180 onto the opposite lane, and I drove off up the hill like nothing had happened.

Was still a serious brown trousers moment though.

Re:I have to tel lthis story, it's too awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189470)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootleg_turn

Here you go.

Re:I have to tel lthis story, it's too awesome (1)

Fred The Toaster (1428435) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189644)

Way back in the ancient days of 1987, I used to carpool to school with two other guys, including some asshole. He used to show off by swerving down this road, going fast and swerving from one far extreme edge to the other, just to piss me off. One day he lost control during a swerve, and did a perfect 180 turn the way this article describes. We ended up facing the exact right way (except the opposite way), and exactly in the right part of the lane. He pretended like he did it on purpose and drove off like "Mr. Cool." He was a douche.

Re:I have to tel lthis story, it's too awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189714)

dangerous car stunts with myself and other people in the vehicle

So wait, who was the asshole again? The passenger or the guy endangering the lives of everyone in the car, including himself, and anyone else on or near the road?

Robots still suck (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32188998)

This guy [youtube.com] does that like 50 times in a minute twelve.

This is awesome but... (4, Insightful)

bziman (223162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189014)

Do notice all the tire tracks that don't lead into the parking spot? Like all of the robotics projects I've been involved in, this took a LOT of tries.

Re:This is awesome but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189126)

did you notice the other videos where it doesnt come close?

Re:This is awesome but... (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189212)

IF you read TFA (a novel concept, I know!), it has a longer video which demos several different algorithms which fail variously; and then, ultimately, a final run which combines all of them to succeed. They claim that it is this smoothless combination is what is the real innovation here.

Re:This is awesome but... (0)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189408)

IF you read TFA (a novel concept, I know!), it has a longer video which demos several different algorithms which fail variously; and then, ultimately, a final run which combines all of them to succeed. They claim that it is this smoothless combination is what is the real innovation here.

I think that is really cool AI. But I don't know if failing a few times at a driving maneuver is really going to work for me as a passenger though.

Of course, I am sure they will work all the bugs out before this is incorporated into a real car.

Right Toyota?

Re:This is awesome but... (2, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189452)

I think that is really cool AI. But I don't know if failing a few times at a driving maneuver is really going to work for me as a passenger though.

To reiterate: the failures (on the video) were with a different AI (which they claim is the "conventional" algorithms used today). The success was with their AI, which is a combination of those techniques that, individually, were each failing on its own. There's nothing in the video that implies that their AI fails intermittently at this point.

Of course, I'd imagine that they've spent a lot of time testing & debugging it, and those skid marks could have come from there as well.

Re:This is awesome but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189450)

"succeed" being a very subjective term. After watching the video, the "successful" run barely put half the car into the 'parking spot', meaning it would have been about 3 feet away from the curb. It was ludicrously close to one side of the pylons. The space in itself was big enough to have easily parallel parked in... and lastly, it would require that the car be DRIVING IN REVERSE DOWN THE ROAD FOR A LENGTH OF TIME.

By far one of the most ridiculous, retarded, half-assed 'success' stories I've read in a while.

Re:This is awesome but... (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189482)

"Succeed" is clearly defined by ending within the desired rectangle with the precision of 2 feet. It's all in TFA (*sigh*). It even points out that it's nowhere near enough to safely park the car in real-life scenarios.

The point is that no-one came up with a working model that could do what they're doing on the video before.

Re:This is awesome but... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189262)

If you read the article, you will see that they tried three different algorithms. The first two failed, but the final one succeeded quite reliably.

So it's not like they were trying a bunch of times and then only filmed the one that worked (I assume that's what you meant, your post wasn't quite clear).

Autonomous? (2, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189020)

If a robot does exactly what it is programmed to do, is that autonomy? Is sounds like they programmed it to perform this maneuver (going backward at a decent speed and sliding into a specific zone), and then it did (after several failures apparently).

Re:Autonomous? (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189084)

Yeah, but programming it to do it is real hard. Yeah, it's for damn sure that a system like this isn't ready for prime time, but it's still an accomplishment.

Re:Autonomous? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189440)

It is quite a programming feat to be sure, but the difficulty of the work really has nothing to do with the autonomy of whatever product said work produces.

Re:Autonomous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189736)

An excellent point. Alas, I've already commented on this thread...

Re:Autonomous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189116)

but they gave it some leeway in its actions- neither the open or closed loop methods worked by themselves. It makes some judgements of its own.

Re:Autonomous? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189402)

Does it? From what I read it sounds like they programmed it was a litany of possible maneuvers and then put it in a situation where it could only use one. I think the 'towel folding' robot I read about recently is more autonomous than this one. But not nearly as sexy :)

interesting, but not mind blowing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189086)

From the little Slashdot highlight, I was thinking this car to do something super human. While it maybe cool, it's not something you couldn't train a person to do and I don't know why anyone would ever need to do this in the real world.

My question tends to be, why aren't they spending time programming/teaching the car to do real world challenges? Now I make that statement not having researched the cars capabilities, feeling to lazy to right now.

Just a few points... (4, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189090)

  1. Guided missiles have been able to direct a few hundred pounds of ordnance traveling at mach 5 into a spot the size of a trash can for the last few decades now. The fact that a computer can park a car with perfect precision - while cool - is hardly revolutionary.
  2. Liability and lawyers have done more to keep advancements like these from the market than any engineering challenge every has. The first time a car parallel parks into a toddler, you can kiss the feature goodbye.
  3. While I don't intend any sexism, the fact is that parallel parking is difficult, and many women would rather have the car do it than try it themselves. Parking assist (without the tire-scorching 180) is going to be a very popular feature among the minivan crowd.
  4. This is *really bad* from a freedom perspective. As soon as computers can reliably and safely drive cars, anyone who *dares* drive the car themselves will be considered negligent; they'll probably pass a law against it. And with pervasive networking, you can be assured the police will have the ability to remotely disable your vehicle, should the need arise (the can already do it with GM vehicles, which is problematic enough...). I do not look forward to a future where my movement *in my own vehicle* can be arbitrarily and capriciously monitored and regulated remotely.

Re:Just a few points... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189150)

While I don't intend any sexism ...

Then why did you make any reference to gender at all? You could have made the exact same point without introducing any stereotypes.

Re:Just a few points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189180)

Regarding your fourth point:

When you're at home, you're on land you own in a structure you own. (Or at least within a structure you rent.) That structure is not moving. You're not posing an INHERENT risk to those around you, as you do when you start moving a multi-thousand pound vehicle down the road.

I do not look forward to a future where my movement *in my own vehicle* can be arbitrarily and capriciously monitored and regulated remotely.

I agree with you here ... SO LONG AS YOU ARE OPERATING THAT VEHICLE ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY. As soon as you move out onto PUBLIC roads it's a different story.

Sorry, but as someone who lives car-free, I don't see this as a "freedom" issue. I see it as a welcome step towards a future in which vehicle owners are not such a massive (pun intended) threat to my life.

Re:Just a few points... (3, Insightful)

trawg (308495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189194)

While I don't intend any sexism, the fact is that parallel parking is difficult, and many women would rather have the car do it than try it themselves. Parking assist (without the tire-scorching 180) is going to be a very popular feature among the minivan crowd.

heh every girl I know is awesome at parallel parking. I (male) have done it a grand total of twice in the more than ten years since I got my license; I would rather drive another few metres and walk a bit further than embarrass myself trying and hold up traffic.

I know it's the sort of thing I would learn with practice, but I drive infrequently and its just not a skill I need where I live, so I just can't do it.

For me, driving is a painful chore that I must do to get from point A to point B. I know some people enjoy it but I find it tiresome, boring, and a waste of time. I cannot wait for the day that I can get in my car and punch in a destination and sit back and read a book or idly stare out the window!

Re:Just a few points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189206)

  1. While I don't intend any sexism

*rolls eyes*

Re:Just a few points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189218)

Who the fuck said it was revolutionary? Nobody. It's just cool, as you said.
Oh look, now you're all on about how it's stealing our freedoms. Dude, they made a car that can do a pretty 180 into a parking spot for fun.
Weeeee.
I think one of us is taking this too seriously and it's definitely not me.

Re:Just a few points... (4, Insightful)

Sibko (1036168) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189232)

While I agree there are some issues with freedom therein, I can also see how taking control of motor vehicles out of the hands of the general person, and into the hands of a computer is going to massively improve safety.

Think of all the dangerous maneuvers and careless driving you've seen. That will be no more - speeds on highways can be increased, distances between cars can be decreased. You won't be driving the car yourself anymore, but you'll get to your destination faster and more safely than you do now.

Anyways, I very much doubt manually driving a vehicle will ever disappear. Driving is fun, it's something people enjoy - what this will simply do is eliminate all those times you wouldn't have fun driving, by giving control over to the computer whenever you feel like stopping.

Re:Just a few points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189260)

Sexist.

Re:Just a few points... (5, Interesting)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189304)

I'd gladly hand control of my car over to a computer if it would get me to work in half the time, and let me do other things while I "drive". And this will someday happen. Where I live, traffic slows down because of a bend in the highway. Rubbernecking causes massive jams and delays. There has to be a better way.

Re:Just a few points... (1)

chromas (1085949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189490)

A series of (pneumatic) tubes.
Get the scientists working on the tube technology, immediately. (tube technology)
Chop chop! Let's go!

Re:Just a few points... (4, Insightful)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189344)

anyone who *dares* drive the car themselves will be considered negligent

That's about the only thing you said I agree with. Driving is stupidly dangerous [wikipedia.org] and I can't wait until computers are driving every car on the road. Freedom? Pfff, driving a car doesn't make you free. The idea is just marketing done by the auto industry to make you feel American and Free by buying 5 cars per family and the gas that goes with 'em.

Also, there is a HUGE FUCKING DIFFERENCE between a bomb, where the payload is intended to destroy, and a car carrying passengers. Think about fault tolerance...

Re:Just a few points... (5, Funny)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189422)

While I don't intend any sexism

I guess it must just come naturally then.

Re:Just a few points... (1)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189430)

This is *really bad* from a freedom perspective. As soon as computers can reliably and safely drive cars, anyone who *dares* drive the car themselves will be considered negligent; they'll probably pass a law against it.

Probably only on public (taxpayer-funded) roads. Which I'm entirely in favor of. Public infrastructure exists to meet the needs of the public at large, not for individuals to play at being Dale Junior. I'm sure "stunt driving" by humans will remain legal on closed courses and tracks.

I expect a transitionary period with controlled-access roads like interstate highways and motorways going automation-only first, and surface streets following. And frankly, I can't wait.

Re:Just a few points... (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189478)

This is *really bad* from a freedom perspective. As soon as computers can reliably and safely drive cars, anyone who *dares* drive the car themselves will be considered negligent; they'll probably pass a law against it. And with pervasive networking, you can be assured the police will have the ability to remotely disable your vehicle, should the need arise (the can already do it with GM vehicles, which is problematic enough...). I do not look forward to a future where my movement *in my own vehicle* can be arbitrarily and capriciously monitored and regulated remotely.

You know, there's a reason why "slippery slope" is classified as a logical fallacy rather than a logical argument.

Re:Just a few points... (2, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189602)

I know, how dare anyone post something that isn't COMPLETELY REVOLUTIONARY, and change the way everybody does everything, in their lives. Anything less than that is not worthy of my attention. That is why I am so much fun at parties.

LDoBe (0)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189098)

This is essentially like playing lunarlander. The trajectory has to be just right, but once you nail it, you can do it a thousand times. I'm pretty sure this video only exhibits the persistence of the programmers, not the intelligence of the vehicle.

Re:LDoBe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189250)

No, this isn't like playing lunar lander. Or maybe it's like playing lunar lander with crosswinds because the same trajectory would never work the same way twice. The problem they encountered was that their physics model doesn't predict what happens to the car when it's sliding. The solution they came up with was to compute new trajectories while merging in old trajectories that fit the same situation.

dom

Dodgy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189114)

They got it to slide in the same place over and over again, then put the cones in place.

mecanum wheels (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189138)

Why not just put mecanum wheels on an all wheel drive electric car?

Faked? (1, Troll)

jaryd (1702090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189196)

A youtube comment points out there are people in both the driver and passenger seats. The person in the driver seat looks to be spinning the wheel, and then ducks down as the car comes to a stop. There is a response from the uploader claiming the driver is there for "safety reasons" -- pretty dubious in my opinion. What is safe about a driver and passenger inside an autonomous car? Don't they have remote kill switches for that?

Stanford hasn't heard of gymkhana, apparently. (3, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189256)

Similar to a James Bond action scene, the maneuver is impressive and would be extremely difficult for a human to pull off.

Bullshit [youtube.com] . Yeah, he's one of the best- but he's doing that in a 500hp AWD car, not a 100HP FWD diesel station wagon, at speeds several times higher than what Stanford was doing. Call me when they can do what he does.

It's also extremely difficult for a human to pull off crochet if they haven't been taught how. Or to shoot a rifle and hit a target a mile away. Or fly fighter jets in formation feet apart. Yet we do that. The question is: how hard is it to train someone, and how consistently can they do it, and how much effort did it take to get the computer to do it?

The answer to the first part: Top Gear did a show segment where they had Russ Swift [youtube.com] teach a bunch of people off the street how to do it. If I recall, they were grandmothers. They were going for a larger area, but come on- they were octogenarians.

The answer to the second part:

Apparently Stanford hasn't heard of rallying or gymkhana. Tens of thousands of people do stuff way, way more impressive than what Stanford is demonstrating- at much higher speeds in much more powerful cars. It's not hard, and the Stanford guys are grossly overexaggerating the complexity of the problem to model, as well. The whole point is that you use the car's momentum and lock wheels to make it slide predictably. Practice makes perfect for timing and aim (in the case of Top Gear, they practiced with inflatable boxes that were harmless to the cars.)

And, how many tries do you suppose it took the Stanford team to get it right?

Re:Stanford hasn't heard of gymkhana, apparently. (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189348)

Wow. What bug crawled up your ass? If it's so fucking easy, why the hell should I be impressed by what's-his-face doing it?

Re:Stanford hasn't heard of gymkhana, apparently. (5, Insightful)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189480)

Yeah, he's one of the best- but he's doing that in a 500hp AWD car, not a 100HP FWD diesel station wagon, at speeds several times higher than what Stanford was doing.

It's a hell of a lot easier to pull off maneuvers like that in a powerful, lightweight, AWD car set up for sliding than it is in a family wagon....

Do you know anything about control theory? At all? It certainly doesn't sound like it. They're not just programming the car what to do and when, the car sees where the cones are and works it out for itself.

Re:Stanford hasn't heard of gymkhana, apparently. (2, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189626)

Call me when they can do what he does.

Ok mr super unimpressed, you forgot to leave your phone number.

Re:Stanford hasn't heard of gymkhana, apparently. (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189638)

I'll raise you one: Ari Vatanen driving up Pikes Peak:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKgeCQGu_ug [youtube.com]

And Ari's not only a wonderful driver, he doesn't need to do spin-out videos just to show off how great he is.

Umm... I have a question. (4, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189322)

If one parks a car this way, is it possible to un-park it?

Re:Umm... I have a question. (3, Funny)

chromas (1085949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189580)

Doesn't matter—they always explode just as you're approaching them.

Re:Umm... I have a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189614)

Sure. Put on the hand-brake, start burning out with the front tires, turn the wheel and release the brakes.
How do you un-park?

Re:Umm... I have a question. (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189662)

If one parks a car this way, is it possible to un-park it?

Depends if it is a Hummer or a Hyundai parked in front of you.

Just like Hollywood repeats a scene... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189326)

look at the obvious tire marks on the pavement. This was done several times before. Stop and think everyone...
 
They start the car at a precise position, have it do a backwards run and slide. Then place the cones to miss the tire tracks...repeat program.
 
Just like most action scenes with cars from Hollywood (where you see the repeated skid marks right where cars are in a chase scene), this was obviously done a few times before...Why should anyone believe the cones where there and the car figured out how to do this using its camera

Re:Just like Hollywood repeats a scene... (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189488)

No, you missed the point, the car works it out itself -- you can move the cones wherever you want and it'll park between them.

Meh (4, Insightful)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189330)

I'll get the car into the tight spot - call me when the car can autonomously find a parking spot.

Impressive... (5, Funny)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189346)

But where's the style? I thought it was common knowledge that the very first thing you're supposed to do after you've programmed a park to screech into a parking space is install a loudspeaker behind the grille which yells out, "heeeee-like a glove!"

Re:Impressive... (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189356)

goddamn it, I'll sooner win the lottery than post a joke to slashdot without a glaring typo in it

Re:Impressive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32189444)

goddamn it, I'll sooner win the lottery than post a joke to slashdot without a glaring typo in it

CAPITALIZE the FUCKING S.

Telling (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189376)

Makes sense that a bunch of nerds would use their mom's station wagon for the project.

VW's luxury brother already poked fun at this... (5, Funny)

1984 (56406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189400)

... before it even happened. A few Lexus introduced the automatic parallel parking feature, and Audi responded with this:

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3593724097279407250# [google.com]

Amusing retort. Irrelevant for 99.9%+ of people, but sold right into the person you'd love to be.

Human vs. robotic sensor suites (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189578)

This really isn't so surprising at all. Humans have a rather limited sensor suite compared to some of the robotic systems we can now build. Maneuvers like the one described are all about full panoramic visibility and awareness, something humans don't really possess... at least not individually. Is it any wonder that humans so often cooperate in similar situations where one set of fixed eyes and ears really isn't enough? Think about a squad of soldiers: it's as much about combined awareness as it is combined firepower. We can design robotic systems what don't have that limitation.

Dun Dun Dun-DuttleDun Dun-Duttle Dun Dun Dun! (1)

TheSlyPig (1803330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189636)

One more step towards kit!
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