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Will Speed Limits Inhibit Autonomous Car Adoption?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the asimov's-laws-of-robotics-make-for-boring-drives dept.

Transportation 650

Maximum Prophet writes "Here's a thought: at the start, only rich people will be able to pay for a completely autonomous car. Auto-autos will only go the speed limit. Rich people don't like to go slow. Ergo, there won't be any market for automatic cars. Wait, I hear you say. The rich guy will just modify his car to go faster. But, if you go over the limit it's a fine, but to mess with the safety systems of even your own vehicle is probably a felony. Much more likely: the rich will get new laws passed to make it legal for automatic cars to go much, much faster than human-driven vehicles."

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No, it'll just be an OPTION (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641241)

I'm pretty sure that if self-driving cars ever do become prevalent (and I'm skeptical, to say the least), they will all allow human manual override at any time. In other words, control freaks who can't stand traveling at the speed limit will be able to assume manual control at any time and gun it to whatever speed they like (and get tickets if they pass a cop). The self-driving feature will indeed appeal to the rich on their high-end cars at first, but not so much for what it can actually do as for the status symbol of having it. At least at first, most drivers will probably only actually *use it* for times when they're really tired or have other stuff to get done.

Never underestimate the power of a status symbol. I mean, how many well-to-do drivers actually regularly *use* even half the exclusive features on their high-end Mercedes? But they're still happy to pay extra for the top-tier package, just to say they've got the top-tier package. And I say that as someone who still pays for an OnStar and navigation package that I used to brag on to everyone, but that I've only ever used a few times.

Oh, and you'll still be able to honk at the slow-poke in front of you too. Because you know he can still manually take over and doesn't HAVE to be holding up traffic in auto-drive.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (5, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641313)

Please keep your logic out of blatant attempts to further bait class warfare.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (4, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641351)

Yep this is what's gonna happen until autonomous cars are ubiquitous. The real question is, once they are, will the speed limits be bumped up significantly and will traffic lights be phased out for synchronized high-speed dodging, or will we continue to tool around like grannies? In other words, will speed limits ruin the greatest potential improvement that autonomous cars have to offer?

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641469)

I don't see traffic lights disappearing unless EVERY SINGLE CAR is autonomous, and probably not even then. How will pedestrians cross the street?

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641539)

Pedestrians? There will be no pedestrians in the future, only autonomous scooters!

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641639)

there have already been studies done to show that traffic signals increase accidents and decrease traffic congestion while increasing efficiency - what do you think comes next? less cars on the road = easier to cross.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641699)

there have already been studies done to show that traffic signals increase accidents and decrease traffic congestion while increasing efficiency - what do you think comes next? less cars on the road = easier to cross.

Increase accidents? You mean when someone goes through the red light? That accident was not caused by the traffic light.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641659)

Very quickly, I'd hope.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641673)

By stepping through mini wormholes on every corner of course.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641477)

My understanding is that cars run most efficiently below current speed limits. Meanwhile, self-driving cars mean driver time isn't wasted like it was previously - I can be reading a book or responding to email. Given these two factors, why would we want self-driving cars to go *faster* than current cars? Yes, it's nice to be at your destination sooner, but that's only one factor.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641571)

Slower is generally more efficient, we just have to find a happy medium, and I'm pretty sure it will be higher than today's speed limits in 20-30 years when everyone is driving electric cars with lots of range to spare.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641711)

thats not entirly true, slower is not generally more efficient. take for example driving 50MPH in a 2nd or 3rd gear, this will cause more gas to be used than driving 75 in a low gear

also why would "city" gas milage be lower (up to 10 MPH lower these days) if driving slow was better?

driving at a constant speed is the most efficient, regardless of speed.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641685)

Are you talking about fuel efficiency, or moving maximum traffic efficiently? My understanding was that on most roads the speed limit is set below the optimum because planners know that most people break the limit by at least a small amount.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641573)

I'd say the biggest plus is the freedom to go to a bar as a suburbanite.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641657)

This simulated intersection [vimeo.com] looks pretty scary for manual control. It looks like there's a small real-world test case [youtube.com] in India.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641365)

If I were a rich man, I'd love self driving cars so I could fondle my 19 year old lingerie/swim suit model and get a blow job while looking at her instead of the road.

But I guess that's why I'm not rich: I'm not into driving fast or fancy cars.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (4, Insightful)

bieber (998013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641579)

Once you get autonomous cars driving safer than humans on average (and I would be surprised if we haven't already passed that point, because humans get themselves into an awful lot of trouble operating motor vehicles), a manual override would be one of the worst possible things you could add. Think about it: when is a human driver most likely to override the car's AI? In a situation that they perceive as an emergency, say a pedestrian jumping out into the street, getting cut off at an intersection, so on and so forth. And when would the ultra-fast computational abilities of a computer be the most important? You guessed it, those same situations. If you give humans the option to take control, you can be sure that more often than not they're going to use it at the worst possible moments.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641653)

I tend to agree that the technology for acceptable self driving cars is probably quite a ways off.

The current crop of such cars are merely aimed at getting around safely and not running into anything. They don't currently notice that two lanes to the right they could be moving much faster, and are content to putz along in the slow lane following a city bus that stops every two blocks.

They don't watch brake lights 4 cars ahead to provide clues about the need to slow down, and instead rely on slower speeds and (more than) adequate spacing. They don't yield to people in the next lane with their turn signal on indicating a merge, and again rely on excess space so that they are never in situation of failing to allow a merge.

In many other ways, they drive like student drivers, except they do it ALL the time and never learn, never improve.

But I disagree that these will appeal to the rich or to high end car owners. You don't buy a high end car to NOT drive it.
If there is no environmentalism goodie-two-shoes angle, the rich won't buy this to park in the garage next to the unused Prius.

Commuters. People who can put the commute time to good use, are the likely target market. Especially where that commute time is an hour or more.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641697)

In other words, control freaks who can't stand traveling at the speed limit will be able to

...Modchip the car to manually select the operating speed of the vehicle. FTFY.

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641715)

Interesting point you make, but your point seems to make more of an argument against the wealthy using self driving cars.

While a self-driving car as a novelty may attract the wealthy as a status symbol, it most certainly wont replace the status symbol they already have: Hired Drivers.

Having the ability to pay for a Human Being to work for you is far more a status symbol than being able to buy a gadget. Besides, who'll take care of the Louis Vutton luggage in the trunk, deal with the dirty work of refueling and how will your car be treated in terms of special parking if no driver is present? You'd have to entrust it to a valet -- which is nasty, or park away from the place you are going, which once again defeats the privilege that having a driver provides.

Perhaps they should focus on hitting the upper-middle class price point -- for families who make 6 figure incomes.
Say $60,000 or $70,000 for the car, which can come with a hefty car insurance reduction since it is more "safe".

Re:No, it'll just be an OPTION (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641723)

I think the rich will gladly take the 15-20% hit to transit time in exchange for a nice nap or time with the iPad. Most commute time speeds are limited by traffic anyway, and even if they weren't we are only talking 5 minutes on a 30 minute commute.

To be safe, they still have to follow traffic flow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641267)

And besides, do you need the absolute fastest ride if you can actually focus on other work while riding? Do rich people in limos insist on going 85?

Re:To be safe, they still have to follow traffic f (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641317)

Yep. People drive fast because its fun and because it allows them to get somewhere where they can do what they want to do. If you can read a book or play games while driving, nobody is going to give a shit if it takes 10% longer to get somewhere. I don't think I've ever been on a bus where the passengers complained to the driver that he or she wasn't driving fast enough.

Re:To be safe, they still have to follow traffic f (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641327)

Hmm. I thought they did that for liability purposes.

Rich person accidentally hits someone, press goes nuts. Chauffeur hits someone, press is silent.

Rich people don't like to go slow? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641271)

It would seem the summary author hasn't been driving on the freeway anywhere in the US for the last 30 years. The normal speed of traffic is 10% over the limit. It is far from limited to the rich.

It seems far more likely that these cars obey the speed limit today simply as a condition of being used on the public roads. That restriction is unlikely to prevail in production, as a lot of people enjoy driving, and wouldn't buy them if they came with a huge number of restrictions. The rich seem to me to be the last group who will buy such cars.

Further there is no felony modification laws that I am aware of. As long as the vehicle is street legal just about anything goes. And if its not street legal its merely an infraction and a fix-it-ticket.

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641329)

There is a correlation between wealth and speeding infractions.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=96698#.UABqtPVH1yY

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641345)

10%? Apparently you don't drive in CT. It is more like 30% on my morning commute.

Furthermore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641403)

Truly rich people -- meaning financially independent -- have all the time in the world. So if being rich has any correlation with driving speed, I'd put my money (pun intended) on them going slower than the average peon.

(No, I'm not rich myself.)

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (5, Insightful)

csubi (950112) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641537)

as a lot of people enjoy driving

I guess you speak of the 17-25 age group. Because I really don't know many working age adults who enjoy driving their daily commute on congested highways.

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641695)

Oh please, I'm in my 40s and I love driving. Its very therapeutic. Then again my daily commute is opposite traffic and there are multiple back roads alternatives if I need them.

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (5, Interesting)

drouse (34156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641575)

I could see people wanting the laws for autonomous vehicles to follow the laws for aircraft -- where parts and software have to be certified and it is illegal to use non-certified or modified parts. That path would make autonomous vehicles a lot more expensive (and have fewer "toy" features).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parts_Manufacturer_Approval [wikipedia.org]

I think the real problem with autonomous vehicles is that there is a sizable percentage of people who would "bully" them. You know the thing is going to give you the right of way and slow down to keep a safe distance, so why not cut in front of them, etc. Then who wants a car with a pushover as an automatic pilot? But what lawyer would okay even a slightly aggressive autopilot?

I'd say autonomous vehicles would be great for taxis in cities with large, dense urban areas ... but the taxi companies would fight that I think (unless they decided they could replace all the drivers with minimum wage button pushers).

Maybe they would be big in Japan :-)

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641675)

>The normal speed of traffic is 10% over the limit

Not at 55mph highways. Anybody driving below 70mph on the road is considered rightfully as an obstacle.

During traffic hours there is a short period of time (in the beginning) where traffic is saturated and reaching traffic speeds of 75 mph. At this time cops have enough common sense to interrupt it by even mere appearance on the road. This is a blessed time.

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641713)

As long as the vehicle is street legal

All that means here in Minnesota is the following:

1) vehicle has required by MNDOT safety equipment (seat belts, lights, windshield/wipers, etc)
2) vehicle has required by MNDOT registration of ownership in cab (vehicle title, usually in glove box)
3) vehicle has required by MNDOT license plates with properly affixed registration tabs
4) vehicle has required by State Law insurance policy (I think no-fault is the basic requirement here)

Your vehicle can pretty much be anything as long as it meets those prerequisites for sharing a public roadway. Notice how this will cover most if not all "kit" cars, motorcycles, buggies, hot-rods, etc. Here in Minnesota (at least in the Minneapolis area) "street legal" was a colloquial term that implied your lack of knowledge of cars. Usually when used it denotes a common misunderstanding that a car with "too much" horsepower is illegal to drive.

Rich people don't like to go slow? (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641283)

I am poor as fuck and I have a sick fetish for speed!

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641435)

For some reason I just got a flash of Timothy Olyphant's character in that episode of "My Name is Earl"--the white trash guy whose biggest claim to fame in life was his souped-up Trans-Am.

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641495)

I like to think of myself as more of a Carol Shelby type (young, clever Carol Shelby, not old, litigious Carol Shelby.)

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641505)

Similar reasoning has revealed that rich people also hate waiting in line at the bank, filing their taxes, and telemarketers. In fact, rich people are a lot like you and I—it's just that they're the ones who will most likely be the first adopters of the cars being discussed.

But wow, what a summary. Not only did it start with a bizarre rhetorical question, it answered it, with a solution that was obvious to anyone who had ever seen Will Smith chase robots around for two hours [imdb.com] ! Now all we have left to discuss are minutiae like whether rich people enjoy sleeping in as much as everyone else. Bravo, submitter.

...maybe I should lay off the David Mitchell rants.

Re:Rich people don't like to go slow? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641701)

Maybe the fondness for speed isn't caused by being rich, but being rich is caused by a fondness for speed. You'll be one of those jerks someday!

Faulty logic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641287)

"Rich people don't like to go slow."

Um, is there any evidence at all to support this statement?

Re:Faulty logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641439)

"Rich people don't like to go slow."

Um, is there any evidence at all to support this statement?

I swear, every guy who is speeding like a maniac doing like 90 on the interstate, also happens to be in one of those DAMNED euro imports like a BMW or a Mercedes. Since only rich assholes drive those, it must follow that all the rich assholes are also in a super hurry and eager to break the speed limit in order to get where they are going before all of the peasants. Further it only makes sense that the reason for this is an even greater level of exclusivity obtainable by only the wealthiest individuals, that provides them sufficient satisfaction to sleep soundly at night knowing not only is everyone poorer than them, but everyone is also slower and therefore later than them. Richer, Faster, Sooner are all status symbols, of course. I mean, why else do you think that the fastest cars in the world are also the most expensive?

Hope this is enough evidence for you.

Rich people (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641305)

Damn those rich people screwing us over again. Do you actually sit around all days trying to come up with new ways to be outraged at rich people or what?

Re:Rich people (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641335)

Damn those rich people screwing us over again. Do you actually sit around all days trying to come up with new ways to be outraged at rich people or what?

Slashdot seems to have become the last, best hope for Communism on the Internet in the last couple of years. Probably as the technical content has declined, the libertarians have moved elsewhere.

Re:Rich people (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641383)

Perhaps they all committed a mass suicide when Bitcoin crashed.

Remember Bitcoin? Those were some hilarious times. "No, it's not a bubble for BTC to go from 0.01 USD to 35.50 USD in a matter of months! It just means every government currency is failing at once, proving us right after all!"

Re:Rich people (5, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641483)

Damn those rich people screwing us over again. Do you actually sit around all days trying to come up with new ways to be outraged at rich people or what?

Slashdot seems to have become the last, best hope for Communism on the Internet in the last couple of years. Probably as the technical content has declined, the libertarians have moved elsewhere.

Why the outrage at this? I mean, if we are going to compete with the Chinese (a constant theme both on /. and in the rest of society) then the first step is obviously to become better communists than them.

Re:Rich people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641419)

Damn those rich people screwing us over again. Do you actually sit around all days trying to come up with new ways to be outraged at rich people or what?

Nope, but it's a known trend by certain right-winger libertarians that they do want the right to buy themselves out of speed limits and other restrictions.

I've seen the idea put forward for the past 20-30 years. It's presented as a way to reduce costs or fund highways with "voluntary" contributions, but it's pretty obvious what the intentions really will result in.

I'll be back. (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641323)

"...honking does no good, because robots do not care if you honk at them."

Not if the auto-pilot is an 800 series terminator.

no does the speed limit today on most roads (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641331)

no does the speed limit today on most roads.

Hell trying to go 55 on any of the Chicago area interstates is not that safe then the roads are wide open.

even the trucks go 65-70.

Re:no does the speed limit today on most roads (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641591)

I live in Chicago. I never do slower than 75-80 on the expressway.

I'm currently vacationing in Nevada/Utah. The speed limit on open roads? 75 MPH, with most people doing 80-85 MPH.

Re:no does the speed limit today on most roads (1)

dbrueck (1872018) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641667)

Yup, and in a few places the posted speed limit is 80, which means you go 85-90! :)

to many slow fucks on the road here already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641665)

Try driving on 141 here in gerogia, there are numerous fucks who get their rocks off going 7 below; and sticking right next to another fuck who is also going 7 below. Yes I want fucking auto-drive. it should have maybe 3 optimization setting: fast, fuel economy, and balanced.

And no I don't want it to be an option, I want the slow fucks to just stay out of the fucking way.

for poor people (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641333)

Self driving cars will be the vehicle of choice for non-rich people. The cars will be programmed to do ride sharing to reduce costs. People who primarily use autonomous vehicles won't need to own a car. Basically they will be like mini-busses that don't follow set routes or schedules. They will be used by people who are taking the bus today.

Rich people will own their own cars and pay the increased insurance rates to keep the option to drive manually.

Re:for poor people (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641527)

Self driving cars will be the vehicle of choice for non-rich people. The cars will be programmed to do ride sharing to reduce costs. People who primarily use autonomous vehicles won't need to own a car. Basically they will be like mini-busses that don't follow set routes or schedules. They will be used by people who are taking the bus today.

Rich people will own their own cars and pay the increased insurance rates to keep the option to drive manually.

Finally, some thinking outside the box. A city that implements an autonomous bus system would be HUGELY desirable to live in for any urbanites who wish to live car-free. Having a solution that doesn't rely on awkward routes and even more awkward time schedules (not to mention, is dramatically scalable) would be a game changer.

designated driver (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641341)

were I rich, I would be all over autonomous vehicle for a few reasons: 1) you can probably drive it yourself if you want to speed 2) I could hit the pub and get wrecked and have the car drive me home without worrying about getting arrested for DUI

Re:designated driver (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641393)

were I rich, I would be all over autonomous vehicle for a few reasons:
1) you can probably drive it yourself if you want to speed
2) I could hit the pub and get wrecked and have the car drive me home without worrying about getting arrested for DUI

So, our roads would be safer, but covered in puke?

Re:designated driver (5, Interesting)

schlesinm (934723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641499)

were I rich, I would be all over autonomous vehicle for a few reasons: 1) you can probably drive it yourself if you want to speed 2) I could hit the pub and get wrecked and have the car drive me home without worrying about getting arrested for DUI

The way DUI laws are written currently, I wonder if you could get a DUI for being in an autonomous vehicle while intoxicated simply because you have the option of taking over control.

Re:designated driver (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641669)

This is a good point. I believe that one must be in the driver's seat to get arrested for DUI...laws will no doubt evolve to keep extracting money from us.

Re:designated driver (3, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641555)

were I rich, I would be all over autonomous vehicle for a few reasons:
1) you can probably drive it yourself if you want to speed
2) I could hit the pub and get wrecked and have the car drive me home without worrying about getting arrested for DUI

Just don't try the voice activated car options...

"car, take me to the pub so i can get wrecked"

"Okay, we are going to wreck into the pub."

Re:designated driver (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641651)

Mother of God! You have done me a great service. I will be more careful when I get my autonomous vehicle.

Re:designated driver (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641597)

Or you could pay someone to drive your around. Why go with a robot if money isn't an issue?

Re:designated driver (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641643)

Oh come now. We all know that wealth doesn't trickle down. Just because I'm rich doesn't mean I can't also be cheap.

Written by a middle-class American (4, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641357)

If you've ever ridden public transportation, you realize that by not being behind the wheel the need for speed as a passenger is greatly reduced. Similar situation for being a limousine passenger. Pont de l'Alma aside, celebrities for the most part relax while their chauffeurs work to preserve their licenses and future income.

Now, the rich are always seeking competitive advantage; otherwise, they wouldn't be rich, right? I see the rich buying larger less fuel-efficient vehicles that have a full office inside -- or at least what appears to be a full office -- in order to conduct teleconferences during their trips.

Re:Written by a middle-class American (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641389)

Yup.

Re:Written by a middle-class American (2)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641703)

If there are cars behind you and no one is in front of you, you are not rich, you are not poor, you are a sociopath.

I believe the James Downey said it best: (5, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641367)

Mr. Prophet, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

What a load of (4, Insightful)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641375)

utter supposition and conjecture. "Rich people don't like to go slow"? "...is probably a felony"? "the rich will just get new laws passed"?

Pull yourself away from your Starbucks latte and at least put some effort into it.

Laws will need to be adjusted (3, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641391)

This is just another law that will need to be adjusted. Self-driven cars will need to be able to drive with the flow of traffic to be safe, which may be above the posted speed limit. So the law should allow self-driven cars to exceed speed limits by a given amount if they detect traffic conditions that necessitate it. If an officer disagrees, the car will provide all the data necessary to validate or dispute the claim.

Of course, once we all have self-driven cars, and speeding tickets cease to be a source of revenue, they'll have to reset all the speed limits to be what is really a safe speed to drive--or just eliminate the concept for self-driven cars once they prove to be able to self-determine a safe speed. That will happen at about the same time human-driven cars are banned from major highways.

That would be unsafe (-1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641401)

The main reason autonomous cars could be safer than human drivers is that they drive carefully and obey the rules. If we create exceptions for them, they will become unsafe for their users and everyone else on the road.

even not thinking about costs a change over time f (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641409)

even not thinking about costs a change over time frame to auto-cars is a long time and there are still likely to be area that will need to be manual drive. As haveing mixed auto drive / manual drive car can lead to some issues.

Also stuff like Bucket Trucks and other stuff like them on the road will likely also need to be manual drive and at times need to be on auto drive only roads.

Wow.. that is a pile of great logic (4, Funny)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641415)

Your post is built on assumptions on top of assumptions. Only people who are religious nut jobs, or politicians do this. Nobody likes either.

Ergo, you have no friends..
The only reasonable conclusion I can come to about the submitter..

The rich! The rich! The rich!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641423)

Class envy much?

Deliberately divisive much?

Auto drive trains to go faster in commute times (1)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641425)

If autonomous driving means access to a special lane that moves faster during commute time then the rich will gladly pay up. Hybrids are expensive too and a lot of people bought them so they could drive solo in the carpool lane.

During heavy commute times, speed limits are largely irrelevant.

safer to go with the flow then have cars at mixed (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641429)

safer to go with the flow then have cars at mixed speed (big gap) on the same road.

Let's see auto cars at 80 and others at 55 is not going to work that well and at best the non auto cars will also drive 65-80

Am I the only one... (1)

Roogna (9643) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641431)

... who just isn't in a rush when I'm driving. I just leave on time to get where I'm going.

cruise control with steering (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641451)

I've always imagined self driving cars as just cruise control with steering. You set the speed turn it on and then read a book, any touch of the steering wheel or brake pedal would disengage the whole system and return it back to manual control.

Model of automatic driving is wrong. (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641453)

Most people get the market case for automatic driving wrong. It's not for driving on freeways. It's for driving your car without you, to and from parking. You drive to where you want to go, and then your car goes off and parks somewhere. When you want your car back, you call it, and it comes to you. Malls, airports, and downtowns equipped for this will be very popular.

Parking gets cheaper, because it can be further away, stacked higher, and not on high-value land. Automatic cars aren't bothered by having to drive to level 14 of the parking structure.

Started saving a while ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641459)

I'm not even gonna buy a new car until the auto-autos hit the market. Saving money for it now and hope there will be a few models within 5-10 years.

Can anyone explain this... (4, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641467)

...with a good car analogy?

Probably not as irritating as you may think (5, Insightful)

e3m4n (947977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641471)

if you're allowing the car to self-drive, then chances are you are distracted by some other activity like watching tv/movie, surfing the internet, following up on a litany of work email messages. If you do the math, going 15mph over the speed limit only saves, on average, about 6 - 8 min to destination except for longer trips. Ive wasted more than 6 - 8 min just scanning slashdot this hour. I don't think there would be much notice about not going 'fast'

for those 1hr commutes just take a nap till you reach destination.

for those late night bar activities - tell the car to take you home, meanwhile you're crashed in the back seat

Re:Probably not as irritating as you may think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641705)

I hate this baloney "driving 15 mph faster only saves X" minutes. Can we please be adults? The fractional time saving is precisely (v+15)/v over a time v, assuming that you can drive precisely that speed. But that's not the important effect: you get off the road that much faste. Not so that you get there quicker, but so that the road is more clear for everyone else. You reduce congestion by driving faster (as long as you don't adversely affecting other people's driving). You can see this clearly on the freeway when 4 people decide to drive next to each other at the same damn speed, and it backs up traffic for a quarter mile.

Bigger hinderance are other what-ifs... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641491)

The real question is, how will the autonomous vehicles deal with vehicle malfunction or scenarios that immediately affect road safety? What happens when the vehicle has a blow-out or hits a patch of ice? How will they account for all of these eventualities? I don't think it's even possible to program reactionary responses to all of those situations. Also, will the vehicles have to communicate with one another so they can accomodate a quick-braking situation from a vehicle in front or will it rely on reactionary detection like radar to gauge distance and braking? If it does it will drastically affect the density of cars that can travel safely due to the distance between them that will be required. Anyway, what I'm saying is I think the issue of how fast the vehicles can travel is by no means the "long pole in the tent" when it comes to making this happen.

Lessons from the Autobahn (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641497)

There is no speed limit on the Autobahn, due in part to the fact that it's illegal to pass on the right. You can drive at any speed you like, and it's perfectly safe, as long as you're in one of the left lanes. So this is the first law we need to pass.

What's to stop slow moving vehicles from driving in the left lanes and blocking fast moving vehicles? There's already a law against obstructing traffic, but it doesn't get enforced because traffic can pass on the right, and therefore slow moving vehicles in the left lanes aren't obstructing other vehicles. Making it illegal to pass on the right would change that.

Rich People do drive slowly (1)

yoctology (2622527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641509)

Who says rich people don't like to drive slowly? They enjoy driving that way because they can. No appointments. No worry. Just tool along enjoying the drive. They chuckle to think of all of you aspirants rushing to get to the investor's meeting, get to the office, rush home since you don't have a nanny or house manager or work assistant.

Where is the research that the Rich Drive Fast? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641529)

He is going on the Assumption that the Rich People like to drive fast.

Rich people tend to buy Mercedes, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Audi... These cars can Go Fast, But they don't always speed in them. They often buy them for other reasons too, as these are Luxury Cars not sport cars.

I think a lot of Rich CEO types would love a automatic car where they can sit back talk on their phone and send emails and in general do work while in transit. If there is a reason why they are rushing, it is because this driving time, is time they are not working on making money.

We might not feel the need for speed. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641533)

I don't know about the premise that rich people (or anyone else for that matter) won't want to drive the speed limit. Once your car is autonomous, you are freed up to do things you cannot do while you are driving. This more than compensates for the need for speed.

That chain of logic is weird (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641535)

Most of the time i drive fast because i like driving fast. Honestly the amount of time saved by going 85 or 90 instead of 70 is pretty trivial. But here's the thing about driving fast, at least for me. It's really not the same thing if someone _else_ is driving fast while i'm in the car. At best it makes no impression at all, at worst it's terrifying. You don't get the same sense of zooming down the freeway when you're not at the wheel.

So i think if you _really_ want to drive fast, you're not going to be interested in an autonomous vehicle. If you're interested in an autonomous vehicle it's because you don't want to deal with the hassle of driving yourself. And if you're kicking back reading or cruising the internet or whatever while the car drives itself, do you really care if a 15 mile commute takes 11 minutes at 85 mph or 13 minutes at 70 mph?

I'm sure the speed limits will be raised for autonomous vehicles once there are enough of them to make a difference, but it will be purely for logistic reasons, not because rich speed demons are demanding to be driven by a CPU at a higher velocity.

(And for that matter, the people rich enough to influence laws to that degree already have autonomous vehicles. They come with a special module called a "chauffeur" which can be directed to drive at whatever speed they want, traffic permitting.)

Rich People already have automatic cars (4, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641551)

It is called a proffesional driver. Rich people don't need an expensive robot to drive for them when a cheap employee will do.

Baby steps (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641561)

I think I recall seeing something a while back about an auto-drive feature that only works when you're in a traffic jam, and you set it to follow the car in front of you so that you don't have to be pissed off the whole time, and if enough people have it then it makes resolving the jam more efficient because all the cars move together. I think you're going to see a lot of stuff like this before you see truly autonomous cars on the road, and these features will be sold on mid range cars.

Faulty premise (4, Insightful)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641563)

Yes, everyone wants to drive fast. But, what's the trade-off for going a little slower? Oh, that's right... HANDING OVER COMPLETE CONTROL.

If you commute in rush hour traffic, you don't care about the speed limit, because you're not going to get the chance to hit it, anyway.

What this technology will do, in fact, is encourage longer commutes. People will be able to work, nap, play games, watch TV. The interior of the car will be redesigned to accommodate the driver engaging in a range of activities while commuting.

I say that automated cars will sell very well.

Top 10 worst /. Article Summaries (3, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641587)

This one definitely belongs.

Poor people like to drive fast too... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641599)

What does economic class have to do with how fast or slow someone drives? I get passed by jalopies on the road all the time, and I usually drive about 5 over the speed limit, sometimes 10. True, there is definitely a financial incentive for poor people to obey the speed limit (they can't afford the ticket & increased insurance rates), but sometimes the reason people are poor is because they make poor decisions.

Automatic cars don't need speed limits (1)

andr386 (703803) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641611)

I don't see the point of the economic argument at all. With growing traffic and very slow speed in some urban area. We want to make the cars go faster. But on a grander scale. How can one improve the traffic efficiency in a country, as opposed to one person gaining 5 minutes by over speeding on an unencumbered highway. If autonomous car, networked to each other and with the city grid. One can find automatically the most efficient path for all stakeholders. Safe speed limit would be far different for cars that drives automatically.

What the rich hate even more? Wasting time. (1)

esme (17526) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641615)

Except for the rare drive for fun, driving is mostly just wasted time. So I expect self-driving cars to mostly be attractive to people rich enough to buy luxury cars who would rather be reading, checking email, etc. while driving.

Slower is better (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641619)

Too bad you phrase this as a class struggle. It is not. Poor people and middle class people like to go fast. Speeding has nothing to do with class. It's simply dangerous. It's a real pain in the butt as well as being dangerous. People need to slow down.

Speed limit won't matter as much (1)

dbrueck (1872018) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641625)

My experience is only a single data point of course, but I think I speed because I'm focused on the driving and usually want to get it done - I want to get out of traffic, stop dealing with all the stoplights and other motorists, and move onto something that either requires more of my focus or less. Driving is one of those tasks that takes enough of your attention that you can't focus on something else, but not so much that you feel engaged usually (which is probably another reason why I speed - it's riskier and therefore more engaging).

Further, a good driver often checks the gauges, dials, etc., so they are constantly looking at the speedometer, and fixating on it IMO contributes to the desire to speed - limit is 65 so I nudge up to 68 or 69, then over 70. Oops there's a cop, slow down. Ok, ease up again, get to 75, another cop slow down, etc. It almost becomes a lame game to deal with the boredom.

OTOH if I am in a self-driving car I can pretty much ignore the road and focus on a book or a laptop or the scenery or a conversation. While I'll always want to "get there" faster, whether I'm going at 65 or 68 or 72 becomes much less of an issue - I'd make that trade any day as it's similar to mass transportation but without all the stops along the way. And if self-driving cars get their own HOV-ish lanes to encourage adoption/throughput or if enough people switch to those cars, then overall we should have fewer traffic jams and accidents anyway, so the average speed can really be close to the speed limit (as opposed to right now where it's often bursts of speeding, then congestion, then speeding).

correction (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641627)

>Rich people don't like to go slow.

1/ People who value their time and the time of other motorists don't like to go slow

2/ But they will have to, because you only can drive as fast as the car in front of you

Idiots at the Keyboard (2)

infochuck (468115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641633)

I can't decide who is dumber: the submitter, or the Slashdrone who accepted this story.

"Rich people don't like to go slow."

What? Says who? Since when? And others do? Data to support this claim?

No, instead, the submitter prefers to a) make a faulty and ludicrous assumption; b) pose a question that follows from the faulty premise, backed by flawed logic; c) proceeds to answer own question with wild assumptions. Fuck the submitter, fuck "Soulskill", and fuck Slate.

I'm Not Oss, Drunkiffer (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641637)

I expect DUI laws to play as much or more of a role in auto-car adoption.

How about mandated breathalyzers forcing cut over to auto-driving?

What happens to MADD and DUI task forces when no one can drive intoxicated any more?

So what if they only go the speed limit? (2)

dwillden (521345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40641661)

Human nature is the cause of most speeding. The "I wanna get there as fast as I can," the "This is fun zipping through traffic" or the "Why won't this guy move over and let me pass" thought processes as well as tendencies to try to keep up with or ahead of other drivers is what leads most people to speed either intentionally or by unintentionally going just a little bit faster and faster until they notice they are flying 85 mph in a 65 zone.

But with Autonomous cars you take the human nature out of it. Only if I left late will I really want the car to go faster and faster. If I can truly just let the car drive, I don't care how fast it's going, I'm too busy reading my book or surfing the web or engaging in a phone call or text conversation. If I can trust the car to get me there safely, with it able to read and even communicate with the other cars on the road to deal with traffic, road hazards, and other obstacle, I won't be paying attention to what the other cars will be doing.

Plus once we get the majority of cars on the road so equipped, and they do prove to be safe (substantially reducing the frequency and severity of accidents) I can easily see the speed limits being boosted to match what the cars are capable of.

Speed itself is rarely the cause of accidents, it's people who are speeding trying to weave through slower traffic, taking curves and corners too fast and encountering unexpected weather conditions (wet or icy roads) while speeding. Autonomous cars, talking to the traffic system and to other cars should be able to more quickly and safely maneuver through traffic, allow for differing speed limits for different lanes of traffic, merge onto and off of freeways more smoothly and safely due to planning and communication with other vehicles to allow merging, no more jumping 5 lanes at the last second because the driver wasn't paying attention and nearly missed his exit.

Truly autonomous cars should actually be able to travel much faster, far more safely than today. But even if they don't, if the car is driving, not the emotional meatbag behind the wheel, the NEED TO SPEED will greatly drop.

Speed li..... what ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40641693)

What is a speed limit ? Sorry, the are countries in the world without a speed limit.
Well, not really, even here in Germany we have limits. But self driving cars dont need to go fast !

My Audi speed up and brakes by itself, it has radar. I simply have to hold the steering wheel, very relaxing. It "sees" other cars, When using the radar (Adaptive Cruise Control) I dont care about going fast. Even doing 55mph behind a lorry/truck is OK, but mostly 70-90mph with the others. When I drive by myself my foot always speed up beyond 120mph.

ACC doesnt cost much, it would be available for a $500 extra, sadly car makers sell it only in high end cars for more $$$. The hardware is simple, just 1 sensor

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