×

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

Thank you!

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

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

Nissan Develops Emergency Auto-Steering System

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the technology-take-the-wheel dept.

Transportation 391

AmiMoJo writes "Japanese automaker Nissan Motor says it has developed a new technology to help drivers avoid collisions. A new computer system automatically steers the car to avoid colliding with objects in the road. The system relies on radar and laser scanners. It also uses a front-mounted camera to provide information on what's happening outside the car. The system first alerts the driver to turn in a certain direction. If the driver cannot immediately turn in that direction, the system takes over the steering to help avoid a collision."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

391 comments

recipie for disaster (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688225)

How well does said auto-steering system perform on ice, mud, or fording small streams?

Re:recipie for disaster (4, Interesting)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688259)

Electronic Stability Control already does it on those surfaces.

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Informative)

Nexion (1064) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688325)

Aye, learned that the hard way the first time my RX8 met ice. Pro tip... turn off traction control prior to hitting ice. Your speed will not matter. It would send me into a spin at 20mph.

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688341)

I've actually met several ambulance drivers around here who say the same thing -- these days they simply outright refuse to even consider cars where you can't turn such crap off. Those things are just a major disaster waiting to happen.

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688721)

I've actually met several ambulance drivers around here who say the same thing -- these days they simply outright refuse to even consider cars where you can't turn such crap off. Those things are just a major disaster waiting to happen.

Hm. Depends, really. If they "fail" and cause fewer deaths or injuries than they save, isn't it a net gain?

Seatbelts have killed people. But they're still a net gain. Isn't that what matters? Or do we demand that safety mechanisms *never* cause problems? If so, their design would require that the benefits be considerably diluted.

Re:recipie for disaster (1, Interesting)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688739)

Ambulance drivers are usually far better drivers than the rest. They also understand their vehicle and its response far better than the average folk. So yeah, no wonder they prefer to take decisions themselves than trust the machine to do that for them.

Re:recipie for disaster (4, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41689115)

Ambulance drivers are usually far better drivers than the rest. .

Not based on what I've seen.

Re:recipie for disaster (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688961)

Have a buddy who was a county cop and said the same, he wouldn't let any of his family anywhere near a vehicle with the electronic traction control as he said 9 times out of 10 it would kick in at exactly the wrong time and cause an accident instead of avoid one.

I think the problem is they test this stuff on tracks where everything is rigidly controlled when IRL we all know its nothing like that, ice can be patchy, same with slick spots and gravel slung across the road, and these things have an "all or nothing" approach that goes too far in compensating. I know I wouldn't want my family in one, not after hearing some of my friend's stories on accidents he's worked where that crap was involved.

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Informative)

adolf (21054) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688417)

ASC+T works great on my E36 BMW with some slight modification, though it wasn't at all bad in stock form.

Pro tip... install appropriate tires prior to driving on ice. I've got a set of skinny Blizzaks that I use for winter driving, and the combination makes the E36 the most stable and predictable car I've ever driven on snow and ice. It just works.

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Interesting)

dubbreak (623656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688531)

Pro tip... install appropriate tires prior to driving on ice.

This.

Proper tires make all the difference. I have a FWD Rav4. Stock "all season" tires would cause it to go into a traction control seizure on slippery inclines (it would just shudder until you turn the traction control off). With some proper winter tires (full studable winter, not "winter rated") it was great in the snow and ice. I tried to get it out of control on purpose and between ETC and ESC it would right itself every time (this was in northern Canada with plenty of snow and ice in -20C).

Still have to watch for breaking though. If you are carrying too much speed and hit ice antilock isn't going to save you. Driving slow and engine braking will.

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688589)

Still have to watch for breaking though. If you are carrying too much speed and hit ice antilock isn't going to save you. Driving slow and engine braking will.

Engine braking can only be decreased by nudging the accelerator pedal, while normal braking can be varied. Fancier ABS than you get with a Toyota knows what to do in snow or on ice. And even with old ABS, you still get to steer, though you may not get to slow down appreciably.

Re:recipie for disaster (4, Informative)

dubbreak (623656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688633)

I didn't mean dropping it a gear in an emergency but rather driving in a lower gear at a slow speed so when you lift the accelerator you have the nice gradual braking. Decelerating in that way guarantees you have rolling friction rather than static friction of locking wheels. That's the aim of ABS, to have rolling friction rather than static locked wheels. Regardless of how fancy your ABS is, driving speed is what's going to make the biggest difference in braking distance.

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688913)

I am curious as to why engine breaking vs normal breaking would make a difference. As I understand it, slipping happens because of inertia, when you decelerate too quickly. I cannot think of a reason why it matters WHAT is robbing your car of speed, whether it is at your discs or in the engine or because you turned too quickly.

If Im mistaken here, I would love to understand why.

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Insightful)

similar_name (1164087) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688967)

My understanding is that static friction is greater than kinetic friction. For instance when you push say a sofa across the floor a greater force is needed to move it from rest (static friction) than to keep it sliding (kinetic friction). If you're tires are rolling they essentially keep static friction because the surface of the tire is static relative to the ground at any given point. Once the tires lock, kinetic friction takes over and your friction coefficient goes down and the tires slide. I believe engine braking would keep the tires rolling somewhat to maintain some level of static friction. ABS does the same by 'pumping' the brakes quickly over and over in an effort to maintain as much static versus kinetic friction as possible.

While I believe I grasp the idea, my terminology may be off so someone else may be able to provide a clearer answer.

Re:recipie for disaster (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41689097)

This.

When your tires are rolling, the friction in the direction they are rolling is far from zero, but it is vastly less (in normal road conditions) than from side-to-side. The "contact patch" of your tire is (relatively speaking) in a static position on the roadway, and so is under static friction. That is what keeps you going in the direction you point it.

When a tire is locked up, however, it is in dynamic friction. Dynamic friction is not only much lower than static friction, but since the tire is locked up, it no longer "cares" what direction it goes in, because the friction is exactly the same no matter what that direction is. Sliding is sliding, and the contact area is constant.

So if you are in a situation of rear-wheel lockup, but your front wheels are still rolling but braking, the rear of your car is going to "want" to overtake the front, and there is nothing at all keeping the rear from swinging out sideways and doing so, if there is any deviation at all from a perfect straight line. Not A Good Thing.

You can do this experiment with a small model car. Lock up the front wheels but not the back, and give it a good shove forward on a relatively smooth surface. Chances are, it will keep going more-or-less forward. Then free the front wheels and lock the back, and give it the same kind of shove. It will spin all over the place.

That is why for many years (before ABS), manufacturers would put disk brakes on the front but old-style drum brakes on the back. Because IF you are going to get a lockup, you want it to be your front wheels, not the rear.

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

Quietust (205670) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688993)

My guess would be that in low-traction situations, even light pressure on the brakes can be enough to lock the wheels, while engine braking cannot possibly cause the wheels to lock.

Re:recipie for disaster (2)

causality (777677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41689099)

My guess would be that in low-traction situations, even light pressure on the brakes can be enough to lock the wheels, while engine braking cannot possibly cause the wheels to lock.

When I needed a replacement car, I got a very good one at an even better price and have not regretted this decision ... but I certainly do miss a manual transmission for just this reason.

A secondary reason is that it's just more fun.

Re:recipie for disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41689111)

You certainly can get wheels to slip with engine breaking, although it is a bit more difficult. Only sounds like using engine braking to limit how hard you can brake. Although any decent ABS should handle that fine. The other day ABS's usefulness was discussed in the comments to another story, and there was a link to a study showing shorter stopping distance using ABS on ice (not loose snow though).

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

eggfoolr (999317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41689073)

Engine braking is only on the driven wheels and you have less control of modulation. So for a front drive car it may induce understeer and loss of steering control and in a rear drive car it may induce oversteer (for experienced drivers this is preferable). Under most normal conditions engine braking is fine though.

On a 4x4 the engine braking is more even but may still give you mixed results compared to the cars braking system that is better balanced and with all the electronic assistance of ABS EBC ASC etc.

When in doubt put it in neutral and use brakes carefully. Again that's not necessarily the best result. A skilled driver can still modulate the engine revs to match road speed and gain more control. But 98% of people on the road are not skilled. (did I type that out loud?)

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688537)

" I've got a set of skinny Blizzaks that I use for winter driving, and the combination makes the E36 the most stable and predictable car I've ever driven on snow and ice."

I live in an area that often has very snowy winters, and trying to convince people to use narrow tires in the winter is like talking to a brick wall. They want to put monster tires on their trucks, for example, and try to claim that the big "contact patch" will solve all their problems.

But I have seen the difference with my own eyes. Listen to parent, folks. If you drive on snow & ice, get narrow tires. It might just save your butt.

Re:recipie for disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688595)

Also keep snow chains handy (and for heavens sake learn to put them on you vehicle). You never know when you are going to need them.

Re:recipie for disaster (2)

undefinedreference (2677063) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688627)

+1 on Blizzaks

I loved my Blizzaks when I lived in the snow country. I ran normal tires for years with good results (after all, where I lived you only had 5-10 days with snow on the ground to worry about in a normal year) until the year I did a project in Wyoming and decided it was a good idea to get snow tires. These tires are unbelievable, even on straight ice. They looked really weird, but their performance made me a believer.

Re:recipie for disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41689045)

I will second this. BMW seems to do dynamic stability control right.

I have an e90 BMW. It's a RWD car with ~340hp, so complete shit in the snow, right? Wrong! 51/49 weight distribution, slap on a set of blizzaks, keep traction + dynamic stability ON, and it's unbelievably awesome in the snow. In fact, better than any awd or fwd car I've had before. It is virtually impossible to get this car sideways with DSC on. Turn the computers off, and you can sit there spinning in a circle all day long if you wish.

(I have lived in Rochester, NY for 8 years so I drive on snow/ice very often)

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688939)

RTFM. The manual will tell you to turn off traction control on snow and ice. I live in Edmonton, and I can't get my car down the street in the winter unless I turn off traction control. As soon as one tire slips a tiny bit it'll cut power so you can't get your speed up. If you're in deep snow it's a sure way to get stuck because you have to be able to spin your tires a little bit as you drive.

Re:recipie for disaster (2, Informative)

DogDude (805747) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688353)

Electronic stability control is dangerous and a bad idea.

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688579)

Electronic stability control is hard to do right but is now mandatory. It's still a great idea, but you have to be careful who you get it from, and yet everyone buying a new car is getting it.

Re:recipie for disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688629)

That's what they said about Seat Belts (I'll be stuck in the car, and drown!), Air Bags (they'll explode and blind us!) and so forth.

Re:recipie for disaster (4, Informative)

danomac (1032160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688823)

I was in a vehicle in which the ABS system decided to malfunction. There's nothing like the feeling of standing on a firm brake pedal and noticing you're not slowing down. Thankfully is was at 10 kph. I was also glad there wasn't a pedestrian crossing the street at the time.

New technologies do have some issues. Although I really wish that system would have failed off than failing on (thinking I was in a skid.)

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688837)

Did the emergency (or the parking) brake fail too?

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688921)

parking brakes are supposed to be fairly terrible at stopping a car in motion.

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688947)

It is decent if you dont lock your wheels. It may take twice as much distance to stop compare to your regular brakes, but are really good as a backup.

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Informative)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688293)

The real problem is false positives: the car detects falsely a problem, avoids a non-collision, and even brakes by mistake. Worse will be when a false positive will induce an accident that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

Re:recipie for disaster (5, Insightful)

Mspangler (770054) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688617)

"Worse will be when a false positive will induce an accident"

That was my first thought too. Car sees a monster tumbleweed coming and swerves me into the other lane (boom) or the ditch trying to dodge it, not realizing that Ramming Speed is fully authorized with tumbleweeds.

Even worse would be the car dodging a big dog and hitting a small kid instead.

Re:recipie for disaster (0, Troll)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688853)

That was my first thought too. Car sees a monster tumbleweed coming and swerves me into the other lane (boom) or the ditch trying to dodge it, not realizing that Ramming Speed is fully authorized with tumbleweeds.

This, so much this. Or any other objects that you'd rather hit than the alternatives.

Even worse would be the car dodging a big dog and hitting a small kid instead.

Here, I respectfully have to disagree. Given a choice, I would rather save a dog's life than a kid's. I don't think one animal is worth more than another, and while there are plenty of both, there are more kids in the world than dogs.

Re:recipie for disaster (2)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688793)

The anti-lock brakes on my work truck do this all the time, 1 tire hits a small patch of gravel/ice/manhole cover and suddenly I feel a drastic loss of braking power on all 4 wheels. It has nearly caused many collisions.
For some reason the anti-lock brakes on my personal vehicle, despite being very annoying, have never caused me the same problems, despite being on a vehicle nearly 15 years older (so theoretically not as advanced a design)
If I could find a vehicle without them I would definitely have it, for safety reasons!

Re:recipie for disaster (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688935)

easy fix. open the fuse box under the hood. look for the one labeled "ABS". Pull. done.

Re:recipie for disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41689019)

Fortunately driver-less systems will not care about your perceptions of braking power and will be able to respond accordingly based on empirical inputs rather than gut feeling and the constant conceit by American drivers that they perform that task as expertly as anyone could. Give me a half broken computer over a human expert any day.

Re:recipie for disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41689071)

That's because your car is Japanese and your truck is a crappy US vehicle.

Re:recipie for disaster (3, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688945)

I've run into this on my car. I've got radar based crash avoidance (it's just brakes, no steering assist); it sometimes detects an imminent collision for a fraction of a second just before crossing railroad tracks. Luckily, it's so quick that I get the audible alert, but the brakes don't kick in. It's disconcerting though. If it took steering control, that would be terrifying.

Re:recipie for disaster (2)

Jstlook (1193309) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688973)

Seriously! If I wanted my vehicle to drive for me, I'd take the bloody bus!

If they're so hot on not letting me actually drive a vehicle I own, why should I pay for it?

Re:recipie for disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41689043)

How well do people?

Hmmm... (2)

Nexion (1064) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688235)

I bet it will be just AWESOME on ice!

Re:Hmmm... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688257)

I wonder who the first fucker will be to hack together a radar/laser jamming system that sends these cars onto random uncontrollable trajectories and sets it up by the 405 at 7:30 in the evening?

Re:Hmmm... (5, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41689081)

"I wonder who the first fucker will be to hack together a radar/laser jamming system.."

It's called a 'ball'.

I hope (5, Insightful)

Cute and Cuddly (2646619) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688265)

I hope that there will be plenty of logs, just in case that when your car avoids a dog and kills a kid you can go to cort and blame Nissan for it

Re:I hope (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688497)

"I hope that there will be plenty of logs, just in case that when your car avoids a dog and kills a kid you can go to cort and blame Nissan for it"

You nailed it. Because that's the typical history of this kind of technology:

1. It is introduced.

2. Somebody sues on the grounds that it caused an accident, rather than avoiding one.

3. It is taken off the market.

4. It is gradually improved, and finds its way back into the market. Fairly typical time frame: 10 years.

Re:I hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41689051)

There is no typical history for this kind of technology because nothing remotely like it has ever existed in widespread use.

Bugs (4, Funny)

multiben (1916126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688269)

Programmer accidentally casts unsigned to signed: steering wheel turns full lock right instead of a bit to the left?

God, I love Japanese scientists/engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688273)

Whenever they're on TV, they display this awesome mix of pride in their work, humbleness, and cheerfulness. Makes me want to go on a tour of a factory or something.

I, for one,.... (2)

jimbouse (2425428) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688283)

I , for one, welcome our new automatic steering overlorrrrdd....... Wait, no I don't!

Traffic accidents happen fast. Normally due to 2 distracted (or impared) drivers crossing path.

If you are a defensive driver, you always have an "out". I, like a responsible adult, keep my distance, travel at a safe speed, respect the road conditions, etc. I have only had one near-miss and it was due to someone running a red-light.

Re:I, for one,.... (0)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688545)

If you keep a safe distance and always have an out, then this system will never activate. This is so one of those two distracted people's car will save their dumb asses for them. Then they can go home and continue raising their kids into dumbasses instead of them turning into drug dealers when their parents died.

Re:I, for one,.... (1)

Velex (120469) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688733)

I disagree. In order for this to work, you have to have an out. I'm no luddite when it comes to automated cars. Automated cars will save lives. But this system makes me wonder.

An automated car will be leaving itself an out, making sure other drivers see it, and using all the other keys of the Smith System with more precision than a human could hope for. Is this system tracking all those things too? Is this system up to par with Google's?

Or is this system going to send me into another car because a squirrel runs in front of me and it's only tracking what's directly ahead of me?

I am wary of these (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688303)

I cannot help but actually be quite wary of how these kinds of things are starting to crop up in modern cars. How well do these work e.g. in an abnormal situation, like e.g. there's flood water on the road, or lots and lots of snow like we here in Finland tend to get, or what if the system detects something on the road that it really wants to steer away from, but doesn't detect what's coming up on you from the side and steers you in even worse direction against your wishes? Hell, a proper snow storm is a common occurrence here in Finland and even humans have trouble keeping track of everything that's happening; I really, really doubt a computer can do a better job at it.

These things might be good for people with serious attention deficits or other kinds of similar issues, but an experienced, careful driver could quite possibly make better decisions than these and thus these systems would actually be detrimental in such cases. Hell, they could just as well turn a not-so-serious crash into a major disaster if they screwed up and took control of the car over the driver.

Re:I am wary of these (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688403)

These things might be good for people with serious attention deficits or other kinds of similar issues, but an experienced, careful driver could quite possibly make better decisions than these and thus these systems would actually be detrimental in such cases.

The key phrase in what you said is "an experienced, careful driver." Unfortunately the majority of drivers on the road are not experienced, careful drivers. Too many of them are driving beyond their abilities or just doing plan stupid shit - like the police officer I monitored on the freeway this morning, trying to drive the cruiser while he used a mobile phone in one hand and managed a cigarette in the other. Why do you suppose he was having problems staying in his lane? The proposed system might actually help. Maybe.

Re:I am wary of these (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688493)

I agree that there's a huge lack of decent responsible drivers on the road. Unfortunately, I can't help but feel like this is the wrong approach. Instead of fixing the drivers and punishing the ones who don't improve, this simply enables those who can't drive well to stay on the road. I will admit that I'm heavily biased, and an idealist, so my opinions on this matter should be taken with a grain of salt.

Re:I am wary of these (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688591)

Given that there are only a finite number of cops on the road, and some offenses are difficult to detect let alone stop someone for, I assume that means you are in favor of more automated enforcement? Like red light cameras, don't-block-the-fucking-intersection cameras, insurance company dashboard boxes, etc. There are only two options to improve safety: make driver's licenses more like pilot licences in rigor, or make the cars drive themselves. Nissan just got closet to the latter. Just like Google said, self-driving car technology will be introduced slowly until eventually the cars *can* drive themselves.

Re:I am wary of these (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | about a year and a half ago | (#41689037)

You're absolutely right, and I definitely lean toward a hardened licensing process. I also support higher fines/penalties. Unfortunately, these will not realistically happen.

Re:I am wary of these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688501)

I suspect that they wouldn't implement this system unless it's better than the average driver. However, it is far more common to be afraid of flying than afraid of driving a car, because with the latter you have the illusion of control. I doubt it'll catch on because people will think of the miniscule chance the system steers them into an approaching semi or treeline to avoid a deer in the road (i.e. you're going to hit one of the three). Obviously that's more likely than user error, if only in the eyes of the car buyer.

Re:I am wary of these (1)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688519)

Have you ever considered that these systems might be connected to other systems?

If you're in a low area of Florida, near a coast, river, ocean, etc (determined by GPS), during a wet/hurricane season (determined by date/time, humidity and temp sensors), crossing standing water (determined by moisture, humidity sensors, on-board cameras, input from differential and traction control sensors, engine speed, load, and RPM, emergency warning systems via radio), and going less than 25 MPH (speed sensors, GPS, cameras, etc)... then perhaps the system could be bypassed for those occasions when you needed to cross a foot of water over the road.

Maybe it also just has an "off road" mode that would disable it (after a nice lawyer screen).

False positives (4, Insightful)

AaronW (33736) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688337)

I can just see it, a metallic balloon drifts through a lane of traffic and the Nissan goes into panic mode and starts a big chain reaction because the radar, camera and laser scanner detect it as a threat. A real driver would just try and pop the balloon.

That is also one of my questions about how the Google self-driving cars behave in similar situations. Do they panic when a tumbleweed blows across the road?

Re:False positives (1)

profplump (309017) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688699)

First, it's dangerous to drive into any obstacle. You do you know that box/balloon/etc. doesn't have a bowling ball in it?

Second, why do you assume the system would be any worse at choosing among the options -- left/right/straight -- than a human would? There aren't a lot of details on this system, but there's no reason to believe it doesn't *also* check beside the car before telling you which way to turn.

Re:False positives (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688799)

What atmosphere do you live in that a regular balloon can lift a bowling ball? That's some dense air!

Human judgment is needed in picking a direction (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688829)

First, it's dangerous to drive into any obstacle. You do you know that box/balloon/etc. doesn't have a bowling ball in it?

Given he was describing it as "drifting", not rolling, across lanes I think it would be pretty obvious which you were dealing with.

Second, why do you assume the system would be any worse at choosing among the options -- left/right/straight -- than a human would?

Because it's very hard to have enough sensors and computing power to make that choice.

Ditch or nice smooth road off to the right? An easy choice for the computer, the road. The human driver? Probably not going to pick the smooth road where he can see just cresting the hill a semi truck heading the opposite way at 70MPH.

Or possibly either are really bad and you should just hit whatever it is you are going to hit because that is the best possible option. How long before such a system can decide that is the right thing to do?

Re:False positives (1)

RandomFactor (22447) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688757)

"a metallic balloon drifts through a lane of traffic and the Nissan goes into panic mode and starts a big chain reaction"

Red ones are the worst about this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14IRDDnEPR4

Re:False positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41689055)

Why a significant portion of slashdot users just assume the Nissan engineers are idiots? If you can think of this corner case within the infinitesimal time span used for slashdot surfing, I'm sure the engineers who work 40+ hours a week must have thought of it and addressed it properly.

Even more complicated systems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688363)

Anything regarding machine vision/learning I've seen/played around with had way too many false positives for such vital decisions.

I wonder how hard it would be to apply a formal proof of correctness for that bit of software.

Predictable... (5, Funny)

kiwimate (458274) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688395)

If Slashdot had been around 120 or 130 years ago, the first story about a new invention with four wheels and a motor would've been rife with comments about pedestrians not being able to get out of the way, horses being frightened, and predictions of other problems so severe the automobile would never see the light of day as an invention for the common man.

Re:Predictable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688463)

That actually did happen.

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

Re:Predictable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688521)

Everything but the last part, which is the key to the point...

Re:Predictable... (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688491)

Those were all real problems with the first automobiles. It was about 30 years from Karl Benz to the Model T. We are still firmly in the "Stanley Steamer" era of automated cars. Pedestrians and horses were well-advised to avoid such monstrosities.

Sheesh! Programmers!, What do *they* know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688561)

Yeh, jeez, what do a bunch of computer geeks and coders know about this! They're just luddites.

Re:Sheesh! Programmers!, What do *they* know (1)

jrmech (2714225) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688825)

I believe it's pronounced "Mechanical Engineer" not "Programmer"...

What could go wrong? (2)

dunkindave (1801608) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688413)

I mean really, I have complete faith in those automotive engineers to have envisioned every single possible condition the system will have to deal with. And also to have designed the electronics so that even if a component or wire fails, hell, even if a bunch of them fail, the system will automatically do the right thing. Don't you?

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688489)

I have complete faith in these humans to envision every possible condition they will have to deal with, and to have the reaction times and attention to the road needed so that even if any component of their car fails, they will always automatically do the right thing. Don't you?

Economic feasibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688499)

Has the price for a really good, really reliable and solid laser scanner gone down much from $5k recently? That's before we look at the rest of the system, which can't be cheap either...

No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688505)

I'll take my car, and my own very good driving skill, thanks.

Not all of us are so inept that we need a machine to do the job
for us.

And for those of you whose faith in technology is such that you believe
a machine could do it better than I can, I challenge you to a race. The winner
takes all the loser's assets. I'm open to all challenges. Five laps of any track in the world,
and when I win I get your house, all your money, and I get to fuck your wife up the ass.
And she will LOVE it.

Re:No thanks. (1)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688859)

The problem is, these won't be optional.
How easy is it to find a car now without ABS? or even traction control? both of these systems cause far more problems than they solve with even a half way competent person behind the wheel, and yet you can't buy a vehicle without them. This will just be one more mandatory expensive system that you MUST pay for on every new vehicle, and if it causes a crash, it will be considered your fault just as it is today if your ABS or traction control do the same.

What is really needed in the automotive safety world is to make sure drivers are half way competent before we let them out on public streets. Unfortunately that sounds too much like personal responsibility and how dare you deny someone the RIGHT to drive just because they don't know how!

Re:No thanks. (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688963)

How easy is it to find a car now without ABS? or even traction control? both of these systems cause far more problems than they solve with even a half way competent person behind the wheel, and yet you can't buy a vehicle without them.

The problem is a dearth of halfway competent people behind the wheel. Even if only a tenth of all drivers were incompetent, mandating things like ABS and traction control will have a positive impact on accidents. And reality is that most drivers would lose the cool and slam on the brakes in a dangerous situation.

IMO, we need two levels of driver's license. A higher level that requires true training, and is much harder to obtain, and which brings privileges like being allowed to disable certain "safety" features when they have shown they can do it manually as well as or better than the expert systems, or exceed speed limits on certain roads like divided highways.

How much force does it turn with? (1)

dubbreak (623656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688603)

I was recently in a car accident. An elderly man drove into us from the front passenger corner. We had nowhere to go as there was a tall meridian on the driver's side. Basically a case of: scrub off as much speed as possible by emergency braking and brace for impact.

When we were struck the steering wheel was forced to one side. Much like the auto system in the video. The difference was I didn't know that was going to happen (like the testers) so I didn't let go. The spinning wheel resulted in a broken radius and I now have a large plate and many screws in my arm holding it together. Are you expected to let go of the wheel when the alarm sounds? My guess is most people won't be able to react like that. No problem for the tester since he knows it's going to occur, in real life you most likely won't be able to react that quickly or your reaction will not be to let go.

Personally I'm a fan of systems like Mercedes has that primes the brakes for you when a possible collision is detected (so it's easier to apply full brake force). Auto braking is OK too, but there are too many factors in auto steering imho. Lane correction is one thing, this type of emergency steering is a whole other beast.

Re:How much force does it turn with? (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688901)

Tall meridian? Was he from Meridia? I thought people from Meridia were very short.

Where I live we have medians, though some people insist on calling them "mediums".

Deadful idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688619)

An extremely awful idea.

The best collision is head on. I don't want my car's automation to remove this life-saving decision from my hands.

I can see it now, avoiding by turning right, and putting me right in the path (driver's door) of death.

Rather than continue to turn out more gimmicks (which do nothing but interfere with natural selection), how about a car that can get 100 Miles to a gallon. Nissan: please go back and work on this one for a while and leave us alone.

No. Just No. (3, Insightful)

epp_b (944299) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688663)

There are just too many unpredictable situations that a computer just can't calculate.

Just like ABS, traction control, stability control ... they're all just ways of allowing drivers to become stupid, lazy and less involved. If it were up to me, automatic transmissions would be illegal (except for special cases like disabled drivers, etc.), I really think it caused drivers to pay too little attention.

We need to stop trying to mitigate stupid drivers and just get rid of stupid drivers, either by improving the training regimens or getting them off the road and providing them with viable transportation alternatives.

Re:No. Just No. (1, Troll)

pclminion (145572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688841)

The less involved the drivers are the safer the system is. The system is safest when the driver cannot control the car at all.

Re:No. Just No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688871)

Make the driving tests more difficult, and traffic problems will evaporate. The problem is that in the U.S., no one considers themselves too stupid or too poor to engage in an activity as dangerous to others as driving a car.

Jap car no good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688767)

They try fuck roundeye. Press gas, car stop on train station. Press brake, car drive in side of train. Nip car only good for nip whore drive on wrong side road eat much rice fucky sucky long time give poison fish.

Only in Datsun is dumb cunt. Make big crash on america road. Die when GI Joe run over with big american car.

Stop make car now or giant dog send big bomb hiroshima nagasaki many dead nip.

This car is for bad drivers = good result (1)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688801)

I have to ask myself what kind of people will buy a car that will assume control in emergencies? Answer: people who are unsure of their own driving abilities, aka bad drivers, e.g. the elderly with failing vision and slowing reflexes; this seems to be obvious. In that case, the car will more probably be better than their driving abilities in oh, say some very high percentage of emergency situations and maybe it will save THEM from crashing into MY car!

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

ntropia (939502) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688827)

Let's see, if we trust the summary to be a real summary of the article (no, it wasnt' enough to trigger my interest in reading TFA), there are only few [sarcasm] points where the choice of parameters for the training of this feature could go wrong:

radar and laser scanners: false positives? sensitivity? distance cut-off? Am I going off-road because of a restaurant at the end of the road?

front-mounted camera: image recognition accuracy? influence of light condition/weather?

alert the driver: how is the driver going to react to a very friendly red-blinking "Imminent death" widget in his dashboard, or a soft-voice "We'reAllGoingToDie" reminder? AirFrance disaster anyone?

if the driver cannot immediately turn: what's the timeout? why he can't turn? Maybe there are obstacles on the sides the front-mounted camera can't see? Just sayin'...

Oh, and let's not forget the most important one!

A new computer system automatically steers the car

That's possibly the worst that can happen when there's a driver trying to do... well... the driver.

Waiting for the first report... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688855)

of this system steering a car into a ravine "for safety".

It's not that this doesn't seem like a nice idea, just that it's rife with the same sort of trouble that, oh, a state-mandated speed limiter in every car "for safety" causes. You know, the kind where it cuts off the accelleration just when you're passing a semi because technically you were going over the limit and any transgression prevented equals safety improved, right? Right?

I've done Thrun's robotic car course, and so I know a little about making them. Yes, I know it's but a little and while more than nothing it's not actually very much. It is enough to have an idea what they can and cannot do, though. From that knowledge I don't mind a fully robotic car, actually, but I do mind systems that yank control from underneath the human because they presumably know better. They don't, they're just full of prior assumptions by the programmer (who isn't on the spot) and then try and "fix" a bad situation by, well, often as not making it worse. On balance, the "saves" may well not be worth the extra trouble they cause. Especially since you're not up to mere nature (as fly-by-wire systems are) but against for machines extremely hard to predict adversaries, other humans.

This sort of system does best with untrained, barely minimum standard capable drivers. Thus, if you must put such systems into cars, at bare minimum there ought to be a way to disable this sort of thing. If we need legislation about this at all, legislate that it must be possible for any driver-overriding system to be turned off. In the end, someone must be responsible, and that someone is the driver. If he cannot bear that responsibility, then he must not be allowed to drive.

Possible scenario (2, Insightful)

DodgeRules (854165) | about a year and a half ago | (#41688925)

The driver of the car in front of you jams on his brakes. The road is wet and your car can't stop in time. There is a truck to the left so your brand new intelligent car decides to swerve to the right because there is only a small object there and won't cause as much damage. Too bad for the student walking home from school.

This idea, while the concept has good intentions, just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen with a huge lawsuit for an ending.

New Technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41688955)

I can think of some more ways to avoid collisions.

Keep your eyes on the road.
Put your cell phone in your pocket when you're behind the wheel.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...