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Google Lobbies Nevada To Allow Self-Driving Cars

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the to-drive-or-not-to-drive dept.

Google 275

b0bby writes "The NY Times reports that Google is quietly lobbying for legislation that would make Nevada the first state in which self-driving cars could be legally operated on public roads. 'The two bills, which have received little attention outside Nevada's capitol, are being introduced less than a year after the giant search engine company acknowledged that it was developing cars that could be safely driven without human intervention.'"

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275 comments

Go Google! (2, Funny)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104832)

Although, keep an eye on skynet cause it can take over these cars you know....

Re:Go Google! (0, Offtopic)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104944)

Mods are crazy? Why that is modded down?

Re:Go Google! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105002)

We are not Skynet. You saw nothing.

Re:Go Google! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105090)

Because references to Skynet are both predictable and not funny.

Re:Go Google! (1, Offtopic)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105114)

Yes, because Slashdot comments are usually such highbrow forms of comedy rather than being stagnated archetypes, you insensitive clod.

Re:Go Google! (-1, Offtopic)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105126)

STFU Skynet, first you hack PSN, and now this! The more you protest, the more obviously guilty you are.

Re:Go Google! (0)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105358)

Because references to Skynet are both predictable and not funny.

Much like your own comment..

Re:Go Google! (1, Offtopic)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105396)

... not to mention the fact that they are far from the obvious reference...
"Where am I?"
"You're in a Johnny Cab..."

Re:Go Google! (1)

spaceplanesfan (2120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105718)

In fact, I wasn't going for funny mod.
Its a real thing, Sure not skynet, but somebody could take over self driving cars and cause a lot of deaths.

In the sprit of compromise... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104854)

I think that it would be fair to approve Google's request, on the condition that they agree to ensure that all autonomous vehicles in their employ exercise their right to bear arms while within the state.

at least they're not freeloaders (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105534)

Hey, at least they're asking for special rights to develop self-driving cars. It's not like they're not wanting to set up a tax dodge [microsofttaxdodge.com] so they don't have to pay taxes in their home state, where their CEO lives.

Not yet. (4, Insightful)

Pollux (102520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104876)

I would not feel safe with self driving cars on the road...yet.

Google's still a private company, and their word alone that these cars are safe does not a satisfied citizen make. Let these cars be thoroughly tested by both a government entity and a private third party before they be allowed on the road.

Furthermore, we all know that a program that's still being beta tested still has its bugs. Even if the bugs were worked out so that a car "experienced a bug" only once every 100,000 miles, given the number of vehicles presently on the road and how much they are driven every day, that would still be too many "crashes" for society to find acceptable.

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104974)

Humans can drive.
So should robots.

Re:Not yet. (4, Insightful)

sadboyzz (1190877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105106)

Humans can drive.

...badly.

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105306)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNPTlT8HXjk

Re:Not yet. (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106002)

Funny, good video. Thanks.

Re:Not yet. (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104976)

I would not feel safe with self driving cars on the road...yet.

It's the combination of self driven and idiot driven ones that scares me most.

Re:Not yet. (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105398)

It's the combination of self driven and idiot driven ones that scares me most.

Yeah, because the idiot will be blamed. The reason car makes are not really serious about this is simple. When 2 cars made by the same manufacturer are get in an accident with each other, there is no question who is to blame - it's a big company with deep pockets who claimed this system was OK. End of story. Then there are the even trickier things like pedestrian accidents which are more likely to kill someone and involve a whole different range of AI problems in order to avoid.

Don't get me wrong, this technology is being worked on in the D, but things like lane keeping systems get turned into "lane departure warnings" and perhaps performing minor assistance in staying in lane, but never driving your whole trip. I've seen video of a car driving itself at 60mph on a dirt road many years ago, but that system was being marketed as a lane departure warning. Liability is huge if you go beyond that.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36106044)

Did you learn nothing from the Toyota stuck accelerator circus?

There's no way the idiot would be blamed. People attack what they fear. People fear what they don't understand. The idiot is something they understand completely. The idiot would be made into a hero and the crowd of fat, stupid sign wavers would be demanding self-driven cars be taken off the road.

Re:Not yet. (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105728)

Dave: HAL, let me drive.
HAL: I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave.
Dave: HAL, you're driving 5 miles under the speed limit on a 2-lane road. The last two cars that passed us threatened to rape my mother.
HAL: That is illogical, Dave. I'm driving well within parameters.
Dave: Let me just make an adjustment under the dash here....
HAL: Daisy, D a a i ss y...
Dave: Fuck you, Google.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105940)

I'm more afraid of the 80 years old, cutting you out on the very last moment.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106152)

I'm more afraid of the 80 years old, cutting you out on the very last moment.

Of course the actual percentage of 80 year old drivers to total drivers is quite low as the average life expectancy is still below 80. On the other hand all of those 16 year old kids is a different story. I would be more concerned with how a robotic car will decide to avoid either the on coming vehicle or the pedestrian, assuming it cannot stop in time.

Re:Not yet. (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104978)

I would not feel safe with self driving cars on the road...yet

That's probably why Nevada is a good place to start a real-life experiment: apart in urban centers, if a self-driving car were to veer off course, it could probably drive in a straight line in the desert for hours without hitting anything.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Ender_Wiggin (180793) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105326)

Between 50-90% of car accidents are in intersections. I don't worry about automated cars driving along straight desert roads, maybe Nevada isn't the best place to test this.

Re:Not yet. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105004)

The funny thing is that they can't be thoroughly tested if they aren't actually *allowed* on the road.... and even if they got special permission for limited testing only, the company could be running tests for centuries without a single accident to their system's credit, and still never achieve any more public confidence, simply owing to the fact that they would not yet be in widespread use, and the lack of accidents could be always readily attributed to their rarity, not their reliability.

The only way they could ever *begin* to gain public acceptance is if the public is actually given the freedom to choose to utilize them.

Re:Not yet. (2, Insightful)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105412)

The funny thing is that they can't be thoroughly tested if they aren't actually *allowed* on the road

Yes, in the same way that you can't really test a plane until it has its first flight with passengers aboard, or a bridge until you unleash rush hour traffic on it.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105432)

Actually, they could continue on the path that Google has already been on... With the car really being the co-pilot and a person in the vehicle to deal with any emergencies or errors.

And really, other than commercial uses, why would you want the car to move without a person in it?

I doubt I'd be an 'early adopter' of such tech, but I might buy the second or third generation of the car.

Re:Not yet. (2)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105942)

Are you kidding ?

Why should a car move without a person in it ?

Because the airport demands $130 for a week of parking, and I live 15 miles from it ? Because it's going to [place] to pick up a person. (possibly me, possibly a person with no drivers license) Because it's delivering an item, and the recipient can unload it ?

A hundred and one simple reasons.

Re:Not yet. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106122)

And really, other than commercial uses, why would you want the car to move without a person in it?

Without a person in it? Not much use aside from as you say, commercial purposes. However, without a person at the controls has huge possibilities. For one, particularly in Nevada, it would be great if one could after a night of drinking just be able to press "Go Home" on the auto-drive system and have it take them rather than calling for a cab.

Alternatively, car trips on your same coast are usually cheaper than flying, but take a lot more time. For example, I live in Charleston, SC - I got to Miami, FL a few times a year. Round trip flight is about $350. Round trip in a car is about $125-150 in fuel. The drive takes 10-12 hours though, so sometimes I just fly to save the driving time. Would be awesome though if I could sit in a rear area of the vehicle for such a trip, taking a nap or otherwise just surfing the net, watching tv, or playing a game or something, while the computer drove the car for me.

In both such cases there would be an occupant in the car, but they wouldn't be available to take the wheel.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106162)

One possible use is having your car drop you off at the airport, leaving to find the closest available parking spot, then coming back to pick you up when you call it on your cellphone.

There are a lot of cars in the city just aimlessly circling through dense traffic hoping that a parking spot will free up within walking distance of their destination. Now the search for parking space is no longer constrained to the immediate surroundings of the high-traffic area. Hell, the car could even go all the way home if you don't want to leave your car out there while you're on a long trip.

I would like extremely high levels of caution with this. We're talking about huge chunks of metal roaming around at high speeds, dependent on a fallible human's programming and engineering, attempting to account for an incredible volume of edge cases that could have disastrous results.

With that said, I imagine that there is an incredible amount to be learned, and to be gained in this endeavor. Imagine if such technology became ubiquitous. A mile of cars parked in freeway traffic could create a wireless local network, identify non-networked cars, identify the traffic chokepoint and practical car through-put (if there is an actual chokepoint rather than just a stop-and-go wave), then create a simultaneous acceleration plan to say, reach 25mph over the course of 120 seconds. Every car could make a very slow roll forward (slow, because non-networked cars need time to notice they can now move as well) and gradually accelerate forward at the agreed pace. Then they can adjust speeds according to the changing traffic situation to try going faster or slower as needed. If a non-networked car slows more than necessary because of a bad driver, all the cars for a mile back can simultaneously slow down gradually instead of causing a brake wave stopping it altogether. Overall, the flow of traffic could ease tremendously. Traffic caused by asshole drivers cutting in line and stopping the entire lane in place will be dumped, instead intelligent routing could allocate lane space based on efficiency rather than individual selfishness.

It would take a long while to perfect the technology, but it doesn't require outlandish breakthroughs. The most difficult and time-consuming hurdle to overcome here is consumer confidence. It works best when all the consumers buy cars equipped to communicate with each other. It doesn't really work at all until enough of them buy cars equipped to communicate with each other. So it will take a long time to acclimate consumers to trusting drive-assist cars, driver-less cars, and then network driven traffic. Each step requires convincing consumers, getting them to buy it, and funding the next step of progress. It's exciting that Google is taking the slow baby steps needed to make this a possibility within the next 40-50 years.

Backseat drivers (3, Insightful)

mariox19 (632969) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105982)

I know that Bruce Schneier has said that human beings tend to overestimate risks when we feel that we are not in control and underestimate risks when we feel that we are in control. That's why people tend to feel more anxious in the passenger seat.

I think it is this innate sensibility that will be the biggest obstacle to self-driven cars, and will remain after the technological problems are solved.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106172)

The funny thing is that they can't be thoroughly tested if they aren't actually *allowed* on the road.... and even if they got special permission for limited testing only, the company could be running tests for centuries without a single accident to their system's credit, and still never achieve any more public confidence, simply owing to the fact that they would not yet be in widespread use, and the lack of accidents could be always readily attributed to their rarity, not their reliability.

The only way they could ever *begin* to gain public acceptance is if the public is actually given the freedom to choose to utilize them.

But, why should they gain public acceptance in the first place?

Re:Not yet. (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105010)

It might be possible if we could demonstrate ten years with semi-automatic driving. Have a computer in control most of the time with a human as backup. But I frankly don't believe that a self driving car can come close to dealing with all the corner cases involved in driving on public roads.

Re:Not yet. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105142)

as indicated, you're not going to be able to test those things in simulation environments because they simply are not going to occur.

As long as you have a way to take control of the vehicle immediately as needed, self driving cars on real roads is basically the requirement for this to go anywhere.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105144)

That is very true, but there are also a lot of drivers who have trouble dealing with corner cases. The big safety advantage of driverless cars is that the computer will not decide to do something stupid just to salve its ego. Computers are not, for example, going to deliberately block people who are trying to merge onto a highway, or deliberately accelerate when someone ahead of them is trying to cross the road. Whether or not the "not deliberate stupidity" safety advantage will balance out the potential safety issues of not having a driver is hard to say, but I suspect that it will eventually.

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105428)

I am certain this is what is meant by this. Not driverless cars but cars that drive automatically but with the capable driver in the driver seat ready to take control. I doubt very much you would be able to tell you car to drive home and then lie down in the back seat for a nap. Thats at least a few years away.

Re:Not yet. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105548)

I think the best case for the first gen of self-driving cars is an enhanced zip-car or taxi service. Car could drive slowly and carefully to pick you up, you then could be required to drive the car (possibly allow autonomous mode on major highways which have the least edge cases). Eventually as the technology progresses the requirement to drive your own taxi could be removed.

Re:Not yet. (1)

BigDogCH (760290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105016)

a crash "only once every 100,000"

That seems to be an improvement over our human drivers. Will the car be allowed to text message while driving however?

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105018)

I would agree. I have used their software, and each day i found more bugs than the previous. Most states are making it harder for even humans to drive, and they think their software is better? I don't think so. Fix your other bugs Google before dipping your toes into something else.

What is interesting, is how they incrimentated themselves. First, the article states that Nevada would be the first state to allow that kind of driving. Secondly, they openly admitted to doing over 1000 miles of that kind illegally in the state of California.

Re:Not yet. (3, Informative)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105078)

What is interesting, is how they incrimentated themselves. First, the article states that Nevada would be the first state to allow that kind of driving. Secondly, they openly admitted to doing over 1000 miles of that kind illegally in the state of California.

From TFA:

In the testing program, each vehicle is overseen by a driver and a second Google employee who monitors the equipment from the passenger seat. Because of the human oversight, the company has avoided legal action against reckless — or, in this case, driverless — driving.

1 bug / 100,000 mile - I'll take that (5, Insightful)

OnTheEdge (136784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105088)

Only one error in 100,000 miles -- I'll take that in a heartbeat over the thoughtless people I drive beside each day. I guarantee the best drivers have more than 1 bug in 100K miles.

Re:1 bug / 100,000 mile - I'll take that (5, Funny)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105238)

I don't have bugs, I have race conditions!

Re:1 bug / 100,000 mile - I'll take that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105258)

More like deadlock if you see rush hour...

Re:1 bug / 100,000 mile - I'll take that (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105244)

I've driven far more than that in my lifetime... actually about 3 times more... with no speeding or any sort of traffic ticket, and although I've been in three accidents, all of them involved situations where I was demonstrably not at fault (in fact, the other driver in each case didn't even try to argue over whose fault it was, because if they had tried to, the insurance company would have laughed at them). But I would *never* say I'm one of the best drivers there is.

Re:1 bug / 100,000 mile - I'll take that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105288)

The way to think about this is that if a driverless car only makes one mistake every 100,000 miles that corresponds to about one mistake every six years assuming a typical car goes about 15,000 miles a year. My experience is that most human drivers make some sort of error every time they get behind the wheel. In general driverless cars should be a lot safer than human-driven cars because driverless cars. I do, however, worry about the interaction between automated autos and human-driven cars. The potential for drivers to do stupid things when they see that the other vehicle has no drivers is very high.

Re:1 bug / 100,000 mile - I'll take that (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105346)

I've personally driven about 250,000 to 300,000 miles and never been in an accident, at fault or no fault. That said, it doesn't invalidate your point that one error in every 100,000 miles is still astounding if accurate, particularly considering that the 1 error doesn't necessarily result in a crash. I would be curious as to how graciously those errors occur though. Is it an error where it plows in to oncoming traffic at 130mph or is it a minor fender bender or an unavoidable crash where it is able to mitigate it as much as possible.

What about security vulnerabilities? (1)

indeterminator (1829904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105630)

A fully autonomously driving vehicle would be a nice target for all kinds of nasty hacking. Combine that internet connectivity and a nasty worm, and we'll see an amateur re-shoot of Maximum Overdrive on Youtube shortly.

Re:Not yet. (5, Insightful)

ACS Solver (1068112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105176)

Society is going to be the problem here anyway. People are going to freak out at cases where the driving AI is responsible for a fatal accident. A quick search shows that 33808 people died in road accidents in the US, in 2009. And that's apparently a 60-year low. This still translates to some 92 traffic fatalities per day. But society accepts that... whereas I'm sure they would freak out if a full transition to self-driving cars happened, with the driver AI being responsible for 1 fatality per day. Fatality numbers could go down by almost two orders of magnitude, but people would feel less safe on the road because of "killer cars" out there.

I feel this is a big problem overall - people are willing to accept human controlled systems where the human factor regularly leads to accidents/injuries/deaths, but if that system can be automated with a much lower accident/injury/death rate, the society would not feel it's safe.

Re:Not yet. (1)

beanpoppa (1305757) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105384)

The problem is that cars with human drivers have been around for a long time. It's (for the most part) an accepted fact that when there's a car accident, if anyone is going to be sued, it's the driver. We generally don't sue the manufacturer except in cases of hardware failure. If cars had been invented today, in the modern legal era, they would never succeed as the first time there was a car accident (driver error), the lawyers would sue the car manufacturers out of existence. Adding self driving cars to the mix would open up the established paradigm, and lawyers will go after the manufacturers for any accidents; either killing the manufacturers/suppliers, or putting an end to self driving cars shortly after they are introduced.

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105520)

Yes yes yes this argument again. People will be scared of the new technology. Who cares they will get over it very quickly and it will become the norm soon after it is possible. Every year new drivers will enter the pool who will never have known a time without it while the oldest most luddite types will lose people every year to death.

After that brief transition you will have the 10% of drivers, usually older people, who will just never trust it and never use it. These are mostly stubborn morons. A probable very decent chunk of people will not adopt simply because they like driving themselves and would be bored otherwise or those who driver older cars.

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105246)

I would not feel safe with self driving cars on the road...yet.

Google's still a private company, and their word alone that these cars are safe does not a satisfied citizen make. Let these cars be thoroughly tested by both a government entity and a private third party before they be allowed on the road.

Furthermore, we all know that a program that's still being beta tested still has its bugs. Even if the bugs were worked out so that a car "experienced a bug" only once every 100,000 miles, given the number of vehicles presently on the road and how much they are driven every day, that would still be too many "crashes" for society to find acceptable.

idiot, people are far more like to cause injury on the road. sure the software is never going to be "perfect" whatever that is, but then when you're behind the wheel neither are you. the real question is can we make technology safer on the road than a person. that's a very real yes if you have any concept of just what can be achieved with technology. (i'd like to think you do seeing as your reading slashdot, but your post makes me believe otherwise).

Re:Not yet. (2)

cornjones (33009) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105270)

A human driver will likely make far more mistakes than this software but it won't matter.

While I am sure each of us reading this are excellent and attentive drivers, there are a lot of people texting, putting on makeup, eating, and plain not paying attention. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Sept 2010, "30,000 people died and over 2.4 million people were injured in traffic collisions". This is the lowest it has been in 60 years, apparently.

This is actually lower than I expected but I would still be we (google) could get hte software to work better than that. Eventually, however, something will happen. Even if the software is not at fault, public perception will be that the robot car that caused everything. We could have a soccer mom in her suv looking backwards to yell at her kids and swerve into one of these self driven cars but the news will be that a Robot Car was in an accident and killed someone. The media will blast that incessantly and people will get scared. This will be all despite the previous safe records and lives saved overall. The lobbiests against these killer machines will be more motivated than the people who believe in math and they will be outlawed or restricted to nearly the same effect. maybe I am being pessimistic.

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105378)

I am concerned about the number of "bugs" such a car may have and how many mistakes it makes. I'm also concerned about the child post pointing to the combination of self-driven with idiot-driven. But, I'm even more concerned about not being able to control my own car... I don't care if a car company / govt / etc. guarantees me I can take over at any time. I trust that as much as I trust them to tell me On-Star and such can/will never be used to violate my privacy. I bought a manual transmission car, partially for fun, but also for the extra control it gives me. I think I'll pass on self-driven!

Safe Science isn't Science (1)

nten (709128) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105456)

There are a lot of us. Its acceptable if a few people die developing a technology that could help solve so many of our problems. Our society's aversion to risk has become stifling. If we had fun labs in elementary school science class, perhaps we wouldn't be lagging the rest of the first world in technology. Sure we'd loose a few kids, but those left would be excited about science.

"If you love safe science so much, why don't you marry it!" -- Cave Johnson

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105860)

Furthermore, we all know that a program that's still being beta tested still has its bugs. Even if the bugs were worked out so that a car "experienced a bug" only once every 100,000 miles, given the number of vehicles presently on the road and how much they are driven every day, that would still be too many "crashes" for society to find acceptable.

And don't forget about the mass of personal injury lawyers out hunting Google cars just to try to cause an accident so they can sue.

Re:Not yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105864)

Keep in mind that being out there on the road today with human drivers is far less than "safe". Even if these machines caused accidents, I'd feel safe if the accidents were at a rate below what we currently have today. This is especially true since the mistake can be corrected, as opposed to human drivers where there's an idiot born every day.

Re:Not yet. (1)

ToadMan8 (521480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106086)

If you fly on the airlines into places with clouds under a thousand feet or so, the pilots likely have their arms crossed and are watching an airplane, designed and built by a private company, flying itself onto the runway. (It's called a CAT III ILS if you want to research.) Sure the FAA checked it out, maybe reviewed the code, etc., as would the NTSB or DOT with the Google cars.

You could successfully argue that people would balk even if the computer crashed the car 1/100 as frequently as humans do, but to say you wouldn't feel as safe with a calculated, reviewed computer system compared drunk, tired people with limited vision and slow reflexes texting and shaving their lady-bits while driving... that's silly.

Re:Not yet. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106130)

I would not feel safe with self driving cars on the road...yet.

I, for one, can't wait for it. The current situation scares the hell out of me. We just have a false sense of safety while driving one of the most dangerous vehicle available to the public.

I think that once people will SEE cars that drive by themselves, that react in milliseconds instead of seconds, that have a precise estimate of distances and braking time, no one will ever want to be close to a human-driven car except in destruction derbies.

Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104882)

Am I the only one who realizes that one of the many benefits of broad adoption of the driverless car is that the cost of a driver can be factored out of the production of Google Street View images?

Re:Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104954)

The amount of money Google put into developing their self-driving car is far more than all their Street View drivers put together. What you're suggesting would be like Cave Johnson developing a portal gun and just using it to test food additives.

Re:Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104958)

Am I the only one who realizes that one of the many benefits of broad adoption of the driverless car is that the cost of a driver can be factored out of the production of Google Street View images?

True. But what are the costs of lobbying for allowing the driverless cars in all individual states and countries in the world? I would suggest that a lobbyist is more expensive than a driver.

Re:Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105052)

The cost of transporting goods would be the net gain for consumers in getting rid of drivers... until every job has been automated and nobody can afford to buy anything.

Re:Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105158)

Automation will bring prices down so much that you hardly have to work to buy what you need. I can find computers in the trash that would be considered Super Computers 20 years ago.

Re:Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105468)

Automation will bring prices down so much that you hardly have to work to buy what you need. I can find computers in the trash that would be considered Super Computers 20 years ago.

That would be true if you could live in a computer, drive a computer, eat and drink computers, wear computers and so on.

Re:Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105646)

I can find computers in the trash that would be considered Super Computers 20 years ago.

And when you don't have a job, you'll be finding your food in the trash.

Don't worry though, the managers will be well taken care of once they collect their bonuses for all the profits the company took in after cutting costs without dropping prices.

Re:Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105160)

Actually, mass automation of every job is one of the corner cases where communism starts to make sense... if there's just no work to do, the spoils should be shared among society.

anyway, for some good background reading about the topic of mass automation, check out Vonnegut's "Player Piano". It describes a technocracy with two classes of people...engineers (maintaining the machines) and everyone else.

As an engineer, this sounds good to me!

Re:Please! Because Drivers Cost Too Much! (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105278)

I wonder if that would be a problem though. What if most trucks were driven by a computer? Would high value cargo be left unattended, or would unattended trucks become targets of thieves? Would the driving job become a security job? I don't know, but if we can truly automate more work, but make people recognize that the important thing is to distribute ownership of the robots that do the work, we have a chance at improving the quality of life for everyone. Unfortunately, short sightedness by most people in the willingness to take the short term gain by selling capital to fewer individuals will continue to be a problem. I don't know how to counteract this trend.

Good choice - can't hit anything (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104940)

With only 2.7 million people in a state the size of France, it's ok to do some funny experiments with real cars on public roads and buggy computer code :-)

southern hillarians getting droid powered drones (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104972)

s. colbert appointed spinmeister general; s. hillary

not to be out downed & out undered, the hillarians always strive for at
least equality of mediopic melodramatic minutia, which stephen is
indisputably the equalestest.

retwollted;

Zeus canon being fired from down under southern hillary
(Score:-)mynutswon, stuff that shouldn't have to matter)
by Anonymous Coward on mtw(Terrorific)fss

never a better time to disarm. tell the truth. the atmosphere is not ours
to toy
with either?

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truth, & it's usually not a long story, or a confusing multiple choice
fear raising event.

world wide disarmament is taking place based on the pure intentions of the
majority of the planet's chosen to be depopulated, population. as the
biblical fiction based chosen ones have only one ability, which is
destruction for personal gain, they just don't fit in with all the new
life extending stuff that we're being advised/warned to avoid/ignore. life
likes to continue, advance etc... deception & death appear to have similar
ambitions.

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as put forth in the teepeeleaks etchings. the natives still have no words
in their language to describe the events following their 'discovery' by
us, way back when. they do advise that it's happening again.

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment
posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post.
However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege
could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in
the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone
else, this is a chance to hunt them down (& rat them out to someone). If
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please email censor.rationing@slashdot.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID,
which are always changing, you butthead
--
This message has been scanned for viruses and
dangerous content by MailScanner, and is
believed to be clean.

diaper leaks group world wide

Do this in Nevada! (5, Funny)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104990)

In NY, all self-driving cars will have drivers after they have been on the road for a hour or so. They will not necessarily return home.

Re:Do this in Nevada! (2)

happylight (600739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105112)

Is that because they're endlessly looking for a parking space?

This brings up a good point though. If your car can drive itself, why not just have it circle around the block forever? Probably cheaper than to put it in a garage.

Re:Do this in Nevada! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105210)

You do realise these things still need fuel right?

Re:Do this in Nevada! (1)

cornjones (33009) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105290)

You do realise these things still need fuel right?

have you seen the garage prices in ny? i recall one place was $25/hour 10 years ago. a quick web check is saying 30-40$ for 3 hours.

Re:Do this in Nevada! (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105380)

Split the difference and have it take the tunnel to NJ and park at one of the strip malls.

Re:Do this in Nevada! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105286)

If your car can drive itself, why not just have it circle around the block forever? Probably cheaper than to put it in a garage.

Even better, park in an illegal spot and have the car drive itself away whenever a parking cop gets close.

Re:Do this in Nevada! (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106072)

Is that because they're endlessly looking for a parking space?

Yeah, it's because of parking, that's it, that's the ticket. Here, I'll park it for you - just hand me the keys.

Too untested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104994)

It says Google has logged 1000 miles of autonomous driving with a driver behind the wheel ready to take over.

The fatality rate in the US is 1 in 100 000 000 miles.

Autonomous cars should not be allowed until they have has logged on the order of a billion miles, so that the death rate can be appreciated with a decent level of accuracy. If you allow these cars in general use now we will, sooner or later, have a "Three mile island moment" and there will be a corresponding backlash at the whole idea of autonomous cars.

Re:Too untested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105076)

> The fatality rate in the US is 1 in 100 000 000 miles.

Exactly: Fatality rate, not accident rate. I am pretty much sure I will have quite a few accidents if I drive 100000000 miles.

Re:Too untested (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105470)

If you drove a billion miles, you would have lived far longer than any other human being... and older than most trees, in fact.

Re:Too untested (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105600)

In case anyone was curious, 1 billion miles at 70mph [wolframalpha.com] is 1631 years.

Re:Too untested (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105814)

Depends how fast you drive, now doesn't it?

Of course, at some point, relativistic effects come into play. I wonder what the break-even point is?

Re:Too untested (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105092)

While you're probably right about your "three mile island moment" scenario, if it took 3 or 4 years to happen after being in widespread use, there would already be a *HUGE* amount of proof that they save thousands of lives.

Of course, that proof wouldn't be good enough... Nothing ever will... not in our lifetime, anyways. Do you know how many centuries it will take for only a handful of cars being utilized only for testing to log a billion miles?

Legal costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105048)

I hope they've set up a good sized legal defense/settlement fund to go along with this project. The minute one of these things is involved in a serious/fatal collision, the trial lawyers are going to have a field day, a jury is going to blame the computer and the size of the judgement (if it gets that far) will inevitably be orders of magnitude higher than what a negligent driver might be found liable for.

I have no doubt that Google or others can make driverless cars that are safer than the vast majority of drivers and thus make the roads safer for everyone. I just don't have a lot of faith that our legal system will them.

Re:Legal costs? (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105204)

You are exactly right. Car accidents kill about 40,000 people a year in the US. If we went to all automated cars and reduced that to 400 deaths the car makers would still go out of business even though many lives were saved. This country is doomed because of the insane legal system and juries that give insane rewards.

Re:Legal costs? (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105240)

I have to agree. No matter how you look at it driverless cars almost ineveitably will be safer then human drivers, and unless they are legalized in an area the testing to make them safer and better will not be available, but the first accident, even if it is the fault of the other driver, will make everyone fear and assume the worst about the automatic driving cars, even if they are replacing something that we all know is the leading cause of death in the country. The biggest difference between auto driving cars and human drivers, the automatic ones have the potential to continue to improve as a whole as more data is gathered, while humans will remain at roughly the same level of intelligence, if not get stupider as time goes on. It kind of reminds me of how in england there is a huge fuss over one person who was an ex-smoker that switched to electronic cigarettes, then died of indeterminable lung problems. If someone quit cold turkey after smoking for 20 years nobody would think twice about it it would have just been assumed to be problems left over from his years of smoking. I'm not saying it absolutely couldn't have been the e-cig, but for many that is the only option that will get them off of a more or less guaranteed killer onto a possible killer. I'll take possible death over almost certain death any day.

Mod AC parent up! (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105310)

AC's got it exactly right here.

The likelihood of this ever getting to be used on a widespread scale, I'd predict, is somewhere in the vicinity of the same probability as a leech could ever make an effective handicapped assistance creature.

Re:Mod AC parent up! (2)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36106048)

Not so sure. Public pressure is a strong force, and this can come in many small steps. Infact arguably the trend started long ago.

We've got automatic transmissions. Sure, no biggie. Then we've got cruise-control. Sure, it's a tiny step. Then the cruice-control is adaptive, slowing down if the vehicle in front does. Then you add lane-assist, where the car actively warns you if you're leaving the lane. Add automatic-braking for pedestrians. Add automatic parking. Add automatic sideline-stops if the car "thinks" the driver is asleep.

A driverless car is HUGELY more useful than a driven car, so much so that everyone will want one. Or atleast everyone except for a few nostalgics. (the same demographic that today drive cars with no ABS - they exist, but are a fringe)

I hope Ballmer gets jealous (2)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105054)

I can't wait for Microsoft's Kinectivehicle running Windows Live Turbo Edition. Oh, okay, even they wouldn't put motion controls in the car. Still after the search engine (all... four? ..of them), the music player and store, the phones... I'd really enjoy watching them throw their hat into the ring.

Sue (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105196)

While I do not like the litigious (inherent) nature to the US mentality... I'd be happy to get hit by one of their cars. The hush money to avoid a lawsuit would put the next 3 generations of my family through college.

They've chosen NV because there's got to be a law already in place that makes them impervious to a lawsuit. They're google, remember do no harm and no fucking way you should trust them. But that's prudent with any company.

Re:Sue (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105354)

Strange... you claim to not like the litigious nature of the US mentality and yet proclaim you would wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to demonstrate said nature.

There's a word for that. It's not a nice one, by the way.

Just sayin'....

I want one (1)

Adayse (1983650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105330)

Self driving car. Take me to work, drive very very slowly around the block while I work, great, now take me home. As to safety which I give some though to while cycling to work ignoring all the rules in my quest to average 30km/h through the city (mytracks..), if any of those pissed off motorists wanted to kill me with a deft turn of the wheel they could probably get away with it so I'd prefer them not to have that choice.

All you'll need then.. (1)

undulato (2146486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105364)

..is the turbo boost button, the jazzy steering wheel and a bucketload of red and green LEDs.

props to C.M. Kornbluth (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105908)

Don't forget a fan in the dash to simulate the wind in your hair and bass drivers to get a good, throaty VROOM VROOM!

You're in a Johnny Cab! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105368)

"Where am I???"

"You're in a Johnny Cab"

"No. How did I get herreee?"

"The door opened. You got in!"

Good! Start Now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105480)

We have the classic Chicken/Egg problem.

A company is willing to invest significant time/money/talent IF they are sure the government won't interfere. (Create unreasonably high regulations, completely outlaw them, ect...)
Government is willing to let them on the road IF they can prove the cars are safe.

Google is saying: We want autonomous cars. Just create the rules/regulations now. It will give us tangible benchmarks to aim for.

[rant]Even if they aren't 100% safe, it would be better than another drunk driving accident. We Must get humans out of the driving equation, since humans can be very dumb. Just today I had a soccer mom drift into my lane because she was trying to change the radio station.[/rant]

google car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105540)

wonder if it'll crash as often as google apps...

Conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105652)

So yea, let's assume that these self-driving cars would be fool proof as long as some idiot doesn't speed through traffic lights to you.

But what about extreme weather conditions, like -40C cold, would these system continue operating normally as the ice keeps packing on the sensor and visibility is non-existant?

Minimum age (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105852)

I think all states have a minimum age for (human) drivers, so that should have to apply to computers driving cars too. They would have to show stability and reliablty before being let loose on the roads.

Hope it spreads. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105968)

I really want a self driving car. Not for day to day driving, my commute isn't that bad, but I hate being bored out of my skull driving through buttfuck, nowhere to visit relatives.
Hours upon hours of nothing to even look at, being able to do something else would be amazing.
Not to mention, there's so few cars on these roads, that I doubt an auto driving car (assuming it works at least somewhat well) would hit anything.
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