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Cooperative Cars Battle It Out In Holland

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the chill-guys-what's-with-the-aggression dept.

Transportation 139

An anonymous reader writes "The first cooperative platooning competition, where vehicles use radio communication in addition to sensors, was held in Helmond, Holland a week ago. By using wireless communication the awareness range of each vehicle is extended, enabling vehicles to travel closer together which increases road capacity while at the same time avoiding the shockwave effects responsible for traffic jams. The Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge distinguishes itself from earlier platooning demos (e.g. the PATH project) by having a completely heterogeneous mix of vehicles and systems built by multiple researcher and student teams. Using wireless communication to coordinate vehicles raises concerns about the safety of such systems, would you trust WiFi to drive your car?"

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139 comments

Just because the first car drives off a cliff, (2)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225688)

does that mean all the others have to follow?

Re:Just because the first car drives off a cliff, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226380)

This might give a clue as to why they should not: [PDF] http://www.mate.tue.nl/mate/pdfs/11308.pdf

Of course yes! (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225692)

I would trust WiFi more than the tired trucker or the drunk driver in the other lane.

Re:Of course yes! (1)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225708)

Same here, not to mention, the people that hate the idea of self-driving cars seem to ignore the fact that you can take over at any time.

Re:Of course yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225782)

for now.. you know how this goes..

Re:Of course yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225964)

you can take over at any time.

Taking over from auto control to manual is always the most dangerous moment in any dual control system mission. That will produce anxiety and push for removing of "manual" option.

Re:Of course yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225742)

at least you can see the truck coming.. the programming? not so much.

The real question (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225958)

Would you trust a 15 year old WiFi with outdated software, on a poorly maintained vehicle?

Re:The real question (3, Insightful)

mad_minstrel (943049) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226082)

I don't know about the US but where I live there is such a thing as a periodic maintenance checkup. They could make sensor checks and software updates mandatory. And the software can always transmit its year/version along with the data so that our car can disregard any data from outdated systems. But it's all moot until there's law that says car makers are not responsible for any crashes the software causes - because they won't ever dare sell you an automated car otherwise.

Re:The real question (1)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226292)

Would you trust a 15 year old WiFi with outdated software, on a poorly maintained vehicle?

Maybe more than my 85 year old neighbor in her poorly maintained vehicle.

Re:The real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226604)

No, I wouldn't, but then, I doubt it would pass APK.

'bout time! (2)

fezzzz (1774514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225694)

Everyday I travel by car, I feel this frustration that the car still needs me. Having to stop at traffic lights as the cars aren't synchronized and worrying that I might be distracted when the car in front of me brakes suddenly are only two of my gripes with driving the car myself.

Re:'bout time! (1)

trigpoint (1230530) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225968)

Having to stop at traffic lights as the cars aren't synchronized

A good start would be to synchronise the traffic lights, like they used to do. Whatever happened to the 'Green Wave'? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_wave [wikipedia.org] Oh I forgot, councils need to create congestion to justify workplace parking and congestion charges.

Re:'bout time! (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226048)

There are synchronised traffic lights on a road that I use regularly in the West Midlands, UK.

Re:'bout time! (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226442)

It's still used, but it's difficult to get right. The problem is that traffic lights are not just random obstructions on a road, as they are in the picture in the Wikipedia article, they are used for junctions or pedestrian crossings. In both cases, you can often avoid the light turning red at all if there are no people waiting to cross the road, but that breaks the wave at the next set of traffic lights. If it's a junction, then you have a bigger synchronisation problem, because there are multiple independent paths between two sets of lights, and defining a wave in one segment may decrease the overall efficiency.

When I was bored a few years ago, I wrote some code to try to define the optimal traffic light timings for a portion of Salt Lake City (where I was at the time - it has a very regular grid pattern, which makes it easy to model) to maximise total throughput. The results were quite counter intuitive (and very different to the traffic light timings that they were using).

Re:'bout time! (2)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226814)

Whatever happened to the 'Green Wave'?

Sensors. Roadway sensors happened.

Unfortunately, though, the signal controller is only aware of the sensor states at its given intersection, so in practice you have two results worse than simple sync'ed lights: a) whole lines of dozens of cars stopping and accelerating at each intersection due to the influence of single cars tripping sensors with low latency, and b) single cars stopped at intersections with high latency for multiple minutes where no cross traffic occurs. (Latency being the time it takes for the light to change after you roll up on the sensor.)

Why don't we have distributed sensor networks yet? It's not like they're frickin' flying cars. How much fuel would we save and pollution would we prevent if we eliminated the first result, a) above? Every day on my commute I see fifty cars forced to stop at every light, many times for just one car on a cross street that has just arrived at the intersection, and then accelerate when it turns green. And I also sit for 4 or 5 minutes at lights that are red where there is no cross traffic for intervals 30 seconds or more, every day; if it were a stop sign I could cross easily, but to cross against a red would be illegal.

Both events are routine on every pass thru the system. Clearly it's the norm. And it's a huge waste of fuel, and clean air.

CPU cycles are cheap. The kind of bandwidth necessary is cheap. Why can't we build a network of these sensors and have them manage groups of traffic thru the system? And let them allow single cars to cross the main roads in the gaps? As an engineer, it's very frustrating to drive in these systems, knowing that it could be made so much better by the attention of just one smart person in city government.

Integrating with reality (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225704)

How well do these cars cope with human-driven cars thrown in?

Re:Integrating with reality (2)

GeniusDex (803759) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226006)

The whole idea of this system is that it can be slowly phased in. The system looks at other cars with the system nearby and looks at their behavior. If a car somewhat in front of you is breaking, a signal is sent to the driver that something is about to happen. It is not really autonomous right now, but supporting the driver.

Re:Integrating with reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36227046)

I don't know. Let's stick them on the road and find out.

so who do you blame? (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225730)

In case of an accident with human drivers, most countries have relatively sane laws describing who should be held responsible. How do you solve that with automated cars?

Re:so who do you blame? (4, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225810)

Answer: Lots and lots of money spent on legal cases with uncertain outcomes.

This is part of the reason why people say we should have one road for human drivers and one for automated (which makes them so prohibitively expensive, it's not worth it). Basically if there's an accident, the human "driver" of the vehicle is responsible, whether he was on cruise control or his ABS failed or whatever. You can still have that but with automated cars, I foresee instant-law-suit as soon as something like that happens (in the style of the Toyota lawsuits) blaming the car.

And on an all-automated road, if you have an accident then it's *GOT* to be the automation fault, right? So you think that the car companies and road companies are going to pick up the tab for the first 50-car multiple pile-up? What about the associated traffic delays for a thousand people driving their automated cars just behind? Again, it gets prohibitively expensive and risky for the car/road companies to operate.

If you have an automated car on a "human" road, then the human has to be able to take over (seeing as he is the one responsible in case of a crash!), so it becomes a little bit like cruise control and also becomes 100% the driver's problem, even if the automation fails.

More interesting - can you get arrested for something like "driving without due care and attention" if you're the driver of an automated vehicle and do something behind the wheel? If so (and current laws say "YES!"), you might as well just drive the damn thing yourself.

It's pretty much why these things are university projects and not actually on the road except in "tests" (and also things like the demonstration of two "crash-proof automated Volvo's a couple of months ago that, when aimed at each other head on at 30mph were supposed to stop before any possible accident - in front of the press they crashed about a dozen times and stopped once).

We've had the capability to remote-control and computer control a car for YEARS. Hell, we do it with aeroplanes and oil-tankers. But the fact of the matter is that we ALWAYS have a responsible human behind the wheel with the control to take over and, if they take their eyes off the controls, are deemed to be irresponsible (imagine if your airline pilot and his co-pilot both went to sleep and left it on auto?). The problem is that the law, economics and common-sense tell us it's a stupid thing to do.

You want an automated vehicle? Get on the London Docklands Light Railway. Entirely driver-less. But they had to put conductors on the trains to reassure passengers because occasionally the things get stuck and go wrong even though they are on rails. "a Passenger Service Agent (PSA), originally referred to as a "Train Captain", on each train is responsible for patrolling the train, checking tickets, making announcements and controlling the doors. PSAs can also take control of the train in certain circumstances including equipment failure and emergencies." Been in operation since 1987, can only travel on the rails, can't go past their stated safe speed, and you can have actual physical objects on the rails that activate brakes to avoid collisions and STILL they have a "driver".

Automated cars are like the "flying cars" of science fiction - yeah, it'd be cool, and we probably have the technology - but do you really want joy-riders flying over your house?

Re:so who do you blame? (3, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225834)

Sort of right. But when the benefits are large enough and obvious enough, a way is found (by changing law, if need be).

Self-driving cars are significantly awesomer than normal cars, and I strongly suspect that their advantage is sufficient to force the necessary changes.

Imagine what self-driving cars would do to DUI, to child-delivery, to parking-problems, to taxi-prices, to overnight long-distance driving, to commutes, to airport-parking-prices, to accidents-from-tiredness, to congestion.

What will happen is -some- place will allow them, and shortly thereafter people elsewhere will demand that they be allowed, with sufficient force that they will be. (and in this case, industry is on the same side: the car-industry wants to sell these, at a significant premium initially offcourse)

Re:so who do you blame? (3, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225894)

Sell one car that will last until breakdown, require special roads, special taxation, special infrastructure, special laws, huge investment, extreme legal risk, having to ride around even-more-patents, having every politician in your pocket, etc.

Or sell lots of cheaper cars that occasionally get dented/smashed up (but keep the driver intact of course), profit from the spare parts market (even if through patent licensing), require none of the above and where almost all the risk is on the driver.

The car market is already over-priced and struggling (i.e. the ENTIRE UK car market had to be bailed out by the government just a few years ago, and it's not the first time). The governments already spend billions on road infrastructure (where a road is a bit of tarmac with some paint on it, not an isolated, obstruction-free, electronically-enabled, few-travellers, risky multi-billion-dollar venture) and, believe it or not, serious road accidents are actually rare given the number of cars in the road (multiply the number of air-accidents by the difference between the number of planes journeys and the number of cars journeys world-wide and see what happens!).

Additionally, human drivers speeding and parking in the wrong places etc. is actually a HUGE source of income (not to mention drivers licenses, driving schools, insurance, etc.). Until the economics vastly change, it ain't gonna happen. If we see it in my lifetime, I will be hugely impressed at the amount of administrative and economic crap we've had to remove to get to that point. And to be honest, I don't particularly want it either.

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226354)

You mean you never have, and expect you never will:

* Go to a restaurant, want to get home by car after a few drinks.

* Be a kid, and want to get driven somewhere - at a time inconvenient for your parents.

* Have kids, and need them driven somewhere at a inconvenient time.

* Park somewhere expensive

* Check something online, while going somewhere by car

* Deliver something somewhere, or pick up something or someone from somewhere, without spending the time sitting in the car yourself.

If you've not done any of these things, and can't imagine yourself wanting to do any of these things, I suspect you're a tiny minority. Keep in mind that a self-driving car may -also- allow manual driving, for those occasions when you want it.

It's not as if auto-pilots on a plane mean you CANNOT fly manually at will.

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226460)

- Taxi

- Taxi

- Taxi

- Taxi

- Taxi

- FUCK NO - pulling over takes less time than than it would to fiddle for the device. I only know of a handful of roads where you're not allowed to pull over in my entire countries (so-called "red routes" which invariably join to lots and lots of other roads where you can do just that - motorways have a hard shoulder and services for a reason).

- Taxi

Amazing things, taxis. Been around for centuries. Damn sight cheaper than buying an entire automated vehicle for such one-off episodes. Stick your kids in an automated car so they can go to the prom when you're working? Sod off. The logistics and legalities don't even bear thinking about.

That's not even mentioning the complete pipe-dream of being able to do that as a minor for many, many, many years to come (I doubt this century but that's a prediction). And I've already covered the problems with a car that has manual override too (as in how would you stop your kids having manual override capability too, and / or if you have manual override who's responsible if the car does something wrong and you take over, and who's responsible if manual override WOULD have saved the pedestrian you hit but you didn't use it?).

I suspect your minority is much, much, much tinier than my one.

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 2 years ago | (#36227076)

multiply the number of air-accidents by the difference between the number of planes journeys and the number of cars journeys world-wide and see what happens!

You end up with far more car accidents, still, and it's unsurprising given how (relatively) little training car drivers get.

Re:so who do you blame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225986)

Not to mention productivity! The only productive thing I can do while driving is listen to librivox recordings. Being a mostly bicycle commuter, I do not find most of my time squandered by driving, but I imagine there are those who if they could get an extra hour or two coding or other portable work every day in a robot car, would be to accomplish significantly more.

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226324)

that was sort of my point when I mentioned commuting.

Reading trough todays email, having a look trough the commit-logs, browsing some docs, taking those phonecalls -- is all more productive than sitting around steering a car.

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226234)

Basically if there's an accident, the human "driver" of the vehicle is responsible, whether he was on cruise control or his ABS failed or whatever.

Usually thats the case, but if there is a proven defect with the car(see the Toyota case last year) then the car company is responsible. However PROVING that it was the car is another battle altogether.

Re:so who do you blame? (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226376)

That was a (non-existent) "brake defect" where the drivers claimed they weren't able to brake. Not one case was proved in court where this was the case, to my knowledge. But, damn expensive for Toyota to prove otherwise, I should think.

However, an ABS failure, for instance, wouldn't necessarily be the car's fault as the device only operates when the car is skidding anyway (read: driver error). And cruise-control is a human-activated switch that warns against it's use and that doesn't excuse you from controlling the car.

So, yes, you may have an expensive proof. And the car company may have an even more expensive one. But it's hardly a get-out-of-jail-free card to the automated car manufacturer - they either assign the fault to the driver (and thus automated cars are worthless because the driver has to be 100% switched on, same as driving), assign it to themselves (and take on massive class-actions), or fight over who's to blame at great expense. All loss-situations for a company producing automated cars.

Re:so who do you blame? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226538)

Well, why don't they simply NOT program the automated cars to crash?
They can then avoid all these expensive liability lawsuits AND save developer time!

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

greylion3 (555507) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226674)

We've had the capability to remote-control and computer control a car for YEARS.

We've had remote-control for over a century. Nikola Tesla made a remote-controlled toy boat in 1898.
For computer-control, it's somewhere around five or six decades.

Automated cars are like the "flying cars" of science fiction - yeah, it'd be cool, and we probably have the technology - but do you really want joy-riders flying over your house?

Just like for airplanes, flight would very likely be restricted to air corridors over mostly low- and unpopulated areas.
Radar has been around for three-quarters of a century, and would likely be installed on tall chimneys and radio towers, partially for warning systems, partially for detecting off-limit flight.
So yes, the occasional/rare joyrider wouldn't worry me, since flying off-limits would practically certainly be punished much harder than reckless driving.

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226954)

This is part of the reason why people say we should have one road for human drivers and one for automated (which makes them so prohibitively expensive, it's not worth it).

It's not worth it if you spend the money to build an actual road which is expensive and space-consuming. It may be worth it in dense urban areas to build PRT, and then provide incentives to use it (or incentives against auto use, of course.)

Re:so who do you blame? (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225936)

Three simple words. No fault insurance. In the event of an accident, your insurance covers your car and your injuries. There are no legal battles, because everyone is responsible for insuring themselves. They do this where I live. If you decide not to drive with insurance, then you aren't covered, regardless of whether or not the accident is your fault.

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

dca58 (2036112) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226018)

How does it work if one runs over someone on the sidewalk ? Should walkers have an insurance too ?

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226072)

Different type of insurance. By "no fault" the parent means "no fault collision", which relates to damage to vehicles only. Liability insurance covers property damage and bodily injury.

Re:so who do you blame? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226796)

Government funded healthcare goes a long way to cover medical expenses. Also, I'm a big fan of being responsible for your own mishaps. You can get (term) life insurance or injury insurance for yourself if you're really that worried about being hit by a car. Sure in the very rare event that somebody hits you with a car, while walking, it would be nice to get some money out of them, but you can't really bank on that, as a lot of the bad drivers out there have no insurance/license anyway, and probably not much of a job either. There's so many other ways you can get hurt/killed where the person reponsible wouldn't have insurance that would cover it, or there wouldn't be anybody responsible at all, that you should probably have insurance anyway. Unless you have no family and no debts, then you could probably forgo the insurance, but that doesn't describe most people.

Re:so who do you blame? (3, Informative)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225998)

Well, for starters those sane laws you mention are usually just the traffic code, so those would apply equally. If a car doesn't yield when it has to then it doesn't make a difference if it was driven by a computer or a human driver.

So probably no difference when it comes to other responsibility towards other drivers.

Most interesting questions:

- Would it be OK to be drunk in a fully computer driven car? (where the driver seat is just occupied by a passenger)
- Would it be OK for someone without a driven license to use one of these cars?
- In case of accident, assuming the computer was driving, do car owners take a hit in their driving license if they have one?
- If the car is a rental or loan, how's the responsibility divided between car owner / insurance company / car driver / etc?
- While we are at it, if cars are really able to drive themselves, do they actually need to have a human passenger at all? Can I send my car to my mom's to pick something up and come back?

Anyway, obviously self driving cars would have a shitload of system getting data from external sensors, so it would actually be easier to find out exactly what happened in case of accident, particularly if more than one car is involved and you have two sets of data to compare.

About mixing human and computer drivers, I'm not worried about it. I have no reason to believe that if the guy in the next lane is driving drunk and suddenly steers towards me I would have a better chance of solving it than a computer. I'd say the computer would actually react faster and with better control than I would. Sometimes accidents are inevitable by the way, and under some external circumstances there's no way at all to prevent them (even if you could replay the thing over and over). If I'm involved in one, I prefer to make sure its effects are minimized by a computer that knows what its doing.

I wouldn't trust humans to drive cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225754)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

Re:I wouldn't trust humans to drive cars (2)

instagib (879544) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226190)

Interesting. Of the 5 countries with the lowest rates (ignoring islands and very small states), 2 drive on the left and 1 has highways without speed limit.

Re:I wouldn't trust humans to drive cars (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226394)

In my personal experience speed limits on highways make people that are too nervous and shouldn't be driving on them to begin with feel safer, and able to drive on them. My mother is a prime example of this. She either shouldn't have a license or should be restricted to roads with a speed limit of 60km/h or less. She's way too nervous and in a serious event simply can't react fast enough.

I had to save both our asses from rear-ending a dump truck that twisted off its u-joint and stopped abruptly as the drive shaft slammed into the ground. She was death gripping the wheel, I had to turn it and her for the car to veer into the other lane to avoid the collision. If she'd been in the car with someone else, or alone, that would have been an accident with one or multiple fatalities. The only thing that saved us then is that she was too scared to think of slamming on the brakes, which would have meant I wouldn't have been able to turn the car in time.

Its anecdotal I know, but at least 2 male and almost every female member with a few exceptions in my family are like this. Then they complain when other people don't follow the law to the letter etc. and it wasn't their fault. If you can safely avoid rear-ending someone when something goes wrong in their car or they don't follow the rules etc it should be your fault when you don't avoid it.

Or you could just use the bus (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225756)

If car-people had the slightest awareness of their environment then they might actually choose to live somewhere near to public transportation and then we wouldn't need automated road-trains like this.

But car-people are irrational and can only talk of their "freedom" to cause and sit in traffic jams.

Re:Or you could just use the bus (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225796)

Many people could take public transportation, yes, but that's not reasonable in many other cases.

Besides, public transportation could benefit from this too.

Cooperative humans (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225890)

If car-people had the slightest awareness of their environment then they might actually choose to live somewhere near to public transportation and then we wouldn't need automated road-trains like this.

But car-people are irrational and can only talk of their "freedom" to cause and sit in traffic jams.

Agreed. If car-people were rational they would just follow the traffic regulations that exist in most places that say the left lane is for passing and traffic jams would be much reduced.

Traffic jams and too many accidents are caused by left lane hogs. Unfortunately, these people seem to believe the road is theirs alone as long as they do not exceed the speed limit. They classify any driver behind them as a "tailgater" who should be treated with contempt. They never stop to think that the ultimate cause of many accidents is the vehicles being too close together, and that situation is caused by a few people who drive slower than all other drivers and refuse to move to the right lane.

Re:Cooperative humans (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226706)

If someone is driving in the "overtaking lane" at the speed limit, how can you legally get close enough to tail gate them?

Re:Or you could just use the bus (1)

Chatterton (228704) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226358)

I live in front of a bus stop and I work at 6km from home (bird distance).

These 6km bird distance are 6.4 km by car or 9.6 km by bicycle going thru very dangerous streets for a cyclist. 3 days over the 5 days of the week I can't take a bicycle due to my sport activities and the equipment I must take with me.

With my car it take me 15 min (with traffic jam) in the morning to go to work and 7 min to go back from work or 15 min to go back from my sport activities.
With the bus it take me 10 min (with traffic jam) in the morning to go to work and 30 min to go back from work or 7 hours to go back from my sport activities because there is no more bus from 22h00 until 05h00 the next morning.

Then I can still live in town in a shoebox appartment for the same price I pay for an house with a garden just outside the town.

If I could do this with a shared automated car I would do it without thinking a bit about it. Imagine a world where you can 'order' a car, the car come in front of the door where you are and take you in front of the door where you want to go. Its like taxis without the cost of the taximan, the congestions...

Holland is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225774)

Holland is a province in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the country. Holland is also a city in Michigan.

Never go to Michigan.

Re:Holland is... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225790)

Go to Hell.

Re:Holland is... (1)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225838)

Go to Hell.

Hell is a small rural community in the middle of the Netherlands.

Re:Holland is... (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226386)

Hell [google.com] is also a tropical paradise on Grand Cayman. My wife and I were married not far from there, and in fact went thru Hell to get married.

Re:Holland is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226016)

It's like using England instead of The United Kingdom

About England vs The United Kingdom
http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/britain.html

About Holland vs The Netherlands
http://www.archimon.nl/general/holland.html

Re:Holland is... (3, Insightful)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226108)

It's more like saying Belfast, England as Helmond does not belong to any of the Holland provinces.

Re:Holland is... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225808)

Holland are in fact two provinties in the Netherlands, one is called Noordholland (capital Haarlem) and the other one Zuidholland (capital Rotterdam).

Re:Holland is... (2)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226080)

Helmond is definitely NOT in Holland. Maybe in The Netherlands, but not in Holland.

Safety is relative (2)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225792)

How about this:

Using coloured lights and human eyesight to coordinate vehicles raises concerns about the safety of such systems, would you trust Joe Sixpack to drive your car?

Humans are fallible, and hundreds die on the road every day. Would we accept a computer system that causes hundreds of people to die? Of course not. So any computer system that's considered capable of driving a car will almost certainly be safer than a human driver. Probably a thousand times safer.

Re:Safety is relative (1)

UnresolvedExternal (665288) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226070)

Would we accept a computer system that causes hundreds of people to die? Of course not..

I know the Therac-25 [wikipedia.org] didn't kill hundreds, but, a radiation therapy machine is not a car.

So any computer system that's considered capable of driving a car will almost certainly be safer than a human driver. Probably a thousand times safer.

Probably not if I wrote the code...

Re:Safety is relative (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226414)

One thing that makes the Therac situation different from an auto-driven car - you can _see_ when the car messes up; radiation is invisible.

Holland? (2)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225800)

Helmond is in North Brabant, not Holland. Both are provinces in The Netherlands.

Re:Holland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225826)

Hear hear!

Re:Holland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225914)

It's also good to know that "Helmond" literally translates to "Hell Mouth".

I've been there a few times, and never had any trouble.

Re:Holland? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226028)

To be more specific: Helmond is in North Brabant, not in North or South Holland. All three are provinties in The Netherlands.

Re:Holland? (1)

jopie_b (543754) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226440)

And because there is no single province named "Holland" it is always obvious that when people refer to Holland they mean the whole county, not just a province.

Where is Buffy when you need her? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226038)

So cars are starting to drive themselves in the Dutch place called Hellmouth. I suggest we sent in Buffy or Willow to investigate asap.

Re:Holland? (1)

KFT (663082) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226068)

Using Holland to mean the whole country is widely accepted usage, also in the Netherlands. Some people from outside of the two Holland provinces (and also some pedantics, and Belgians) have a misplaced sense of inferiority and dislike it when you call them part of Holland.

Anyway, I'm happy to Netherlands is at least putting some effort in to get to automated driving. With my skills, if I drive myself I will be dead within the day by some stupidity.

What are the dangers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225814)

I can imagine sudden accidents where there is no explanations except unless one knows about the strange occurrence of remote control systems in these devices

Safety (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225820)

TFA doesn't make it entirely clear but it seems like the radio network isn't critical to the cars safe driving. It supplies additional information that they can use to optimise their driving, but ultimately the car's own sensors take precedence in all safety related matters.

Of more concern than loss of signal is the potential for hacking. People have already demonstrated accessing a car's wireless sensors for things like tyre pressure on high end models. It is difficult to validate data coming from other vehicles.

drivers (3, Informative)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225854)

would you trust WiFi to drive your car?

Do I trust the drivers of the other cars?

Cars are these strange things that drive our minds crazy. I don't know how much is cultural (i.e. movies, etc.) and how much is psychological, but there are few areas in life where the disconnect between reality and subjective is so dramatic.

Everyone thinks he's an above-average driver. Of course, that's statistically impossible.
Almost everyone overestimates his (or her) ability to handle a car in unusual circumstances.
Very few people can correctly judge road and weather conditions and their impacts on things like brake distance.
Most people do not have a correct sense of speed anymore if they've driven at speed for a few hours.

and so on and so forth. Car accidents are within the top reasons of unnatural death in most western countries, but most of us feel more uneasy going on a rollercoaster (which cause what, a dozen or so deaths a year, world-wide?) or on a plane (around 1000 deaths per year, world-wide) than taking the car to work (1,200,000 deaths per year, world-wide). Yes, that's the real numbers, here [planecrashinfo.com] and here [autoblog.com] are some sources, or google your own. Plane crashes fall way below the rounding error margin of car crashes.

Really, you would have to put really bad engineers with pre-historic computer equipment and unstable wiring into those cars to make them worse than human drivers.

Re:drivers (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225962)

I agree. Other drivers can't be trusted and should be replaced with computers. Not you and me though, right?

Re:drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226026)

Although I agree with you the examples are distorted:

Absolute death numbers do not give a good picture.

Death per mile traveled would be a better indication.

Re:drivers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226064)

Everyone thinks he's an above-average driver.

Of course. Everyone knows she's the below-average driver.

Let's pull this sexist remark a bit in the extreme, and assume all males are perfect drivers. Then they all have the same, average driving level. Now, add this one woman to the traffic (you know which woman - if not, google is your friend). Immediately, the average driving level sinks, if only so little, and all male drivers are above-average.

Now forget about the irrelevant male/female part, and repeat after me:

Everyone thinks he's an above-average statistician.

Re:drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226280)

I think I found the woman [encyclopediadramatica.ch] you refer to.

Re:drivers (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226242)

It's not really psychological, it's a side-effect of how humans assess risk. We assess a risk lower if it is: common (driving every day), self-controlled (driving yourself), failures aren't personified (hitting a tree is a different risk than a person driving into you), and if we've seen the event a lot. We assess risks higher if they are: rare (many people only fly once or less per year), something you can't control (someone else piloting), and if failures are spectacular (fireball from the sky). Add in being able to personify a risk (terrorist hijacking), and you begin to see why hijackers flying planes into buildings pushed so many people's buttons on 9/11.

Re:drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226622)

Not to support blanket statements, but that sounds like it falls under "psychological..."

Re:drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226730)

Aren't those statistics only meaningful if everyone drives, flies, and rides roller coasters in equal amounts? It seems like a no-brainer that more people die in car wrecks since the vast majority of people worldwide are much more likely to be driving than flying or riding roller coasters.

It seems to me that fatalities per hour of would be a more useful comparison. I'm not disagreeing with your overall point at all, however.

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What's the problem? (1)

kieran (20691) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226052)

If the wi-fi fails, you just fall back to the data gathered by your own vehicle and drive more conservatively.

("you" in this case presumably being the program driving the car)

Talking of accidents (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226100)

it would be trivial for the last 30 minutes or so of 360 degree video recording + sensor data to be stored in a black box style device.

Analysis of this after any accident should give a clear enough picture of who is at fault

Re:Talking of accidents (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226244)

Could work, but surely if it was such a big deal placing blame someone would have mandated this. No idea about the stats, but I'd guess there aren't that many unexplained car crashes?

With airplanes, they don't crash so often, and it's good to have an explanation for each crash. I suppose this has something to do with the perception of danger and the length of the dev process. With cars, the debris isn't as scattered, there's more crashes, and the fix can be implemented more swiftly.

Sure, when the backup is right (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226140)

I can trust WIFI for driving cars providing there's a fail-safe backup system.

But hopefully not of the kind where all stop and sit around till the night shift system operator is roused...

Anus politics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226198)

More problems from American culture. Always the fault of the penetrator; no concern to who really lined up the cock in the ass.

Wikipedia article (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226290)

The Wikipedia article references a William J. Beatty:

It has been said that by knowing how traffic waves are created, drivers can sometimes reduce their effects by increasing vehicle headways and reducing the use of brakes, ultimately alleviating traffic congestion for everyone in the area.

I've been doing this as routine behavior for almost 30 years now, after observing these "waves" and theorizing the causes. I've been setting an example how to stop the waves (if not the jams altogether)... not that anyone recognizes the point of what I'm doing. Can't explain it to them! They just think I'm trying to piss them off, being lazy or not paying attention.

That last is really why traffic jams occur, so taking the controls away from humans and giving it to machines that always pay attention, and thus know what to do and when to do it, is a good thing.

Security issues (1)

kiwix (1810960) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226372)

The problem is not that the WiFi might or might not be secure. The problem is that the basic premise of the system is to trust data send by random unknown cars. What happens if a malicious car sends false informations?

I'd trust WiFi more than (2)

RealGene (1025017) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226406)

the woman in the Infiniti texting while driving in the left lane of the Mass Turnpike yesterday...

Would you trust Google? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226416)

would you trust wifi to drive your car

I believe there is an Audi concept car that does, if I remember correctly, by using google. The car gets data about weather conditions, not to mention road and traffic conditions from google. If your car veers into the opposite lane, the steering will be adjusted to bring you back to your lane. I believe it was a concept car, and was being test driven by Car and Driver or Motor trend, one of those magazines. I remember reading about the driver trying out that particular stunt, but not on a busy roadway, of course.

That depends ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226428)

Does it run linux?

I wouldn't risk a BSOD with windows. The implementation would be too literal.

Would you trust a car controlled by WiFI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226822)

Oh hell no.

Wi-Fi? Seriously? (1)

mindbooger (650932) | more than 2 years ago | (#36227048)

Unable to RTFA (server not responding), but seriously? They _can't_ be talking about actually using 2.4GHz ISM band, _unlicensed_ spectrum, full of all kinds of crap that you have to accept, to build even a supplimental safety system. That's just the submitter putting a generic name to "wireless communication", right? *boggle*

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