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Toyota To Show Off Autonomous Prototype Car At CES Show

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

Software 126

coondoggie writes "Toyota is going to show off its autonomous car/accident avoidance technology at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas nest week. The 2013 Lexus LS uses what the car company calls its Intelligent Transport System and is fitted with on-board radar, video cameras and sensors to monitor the road, surroundings, and the driver all with the goal of preventing accidents and avoiding problems."

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Drunk driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495169)

All of you alkies supporting and encouraging drunk driving in the earlier thread, you need one of these cars.

with the goal of preventing accidents and avoiding (0)

jkrise (535370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495175)

You could've simply said it does not run Windows instead...

Trains are the future (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495193)

In the future, nobody will use cars. Instead, we will use a combination of passenger rail, llamas, buses, bicycles, and dolphins. Also, dogs may or may not be involved depending on the terrain. Tomato is making a big mistake here. Automobiles are a dying technology. The future belongs to awesome things like trains and llamas. Good day, Slashdort! Remember that no matter how many linuxes you have, it does not equal infinity, which is a really big number that nobody can have except for a dog and an Italian.

Never really understood the point. (3, Interesting)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495207)

If you're the kind of person who's going to spend above the average list price on a car, you're either going to spend the money to 'help' the environment in some way (eg hybrid), hurt the environment in some way (Big/Fast car), or to simply make the journey more comfortable (heated seats, sound system, etc). You're certainly not the kind of person to spend the money on a radar system, sensors, cameras, computing power, and the extra petrol consumption needed to lug that equipment around just incase you have a lapse in concentration. For everyone else, cheap, reliable, and economical are usually the primary concerns. I imagine there may be a handful of people who are interested in this technology, but they're also likely to be the kind of cautious driver that only has an accident when someone else crashes into them. How will this system control the 'other drivers' ?

Re:Never really understood the point. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495275)

A couple times a year, I drive 12 hours each way to visit family. I'm very concerned about falling asleep or a lapse in concentration causing an accident sometime during those 12 hours.

In 10 years, my daughter will be going to college. I know how much sleep college students get. I don't want her to get in an accident coming home for a break because she's tired.

A better question is, who WOULDN'T want this technology? Do you have any idea how many people get killed every year because we don't have this technology?

Re:Never really understood the point. (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495365)

The problem is an immense economic gulf from where its technologically possible but horribly expensive, until its cheap enough that a college student econobox car has it. At this time, looking at the cost of tech vs how often you'll need it, you're probably WAY better off taking mass transit like a aircraft (chartered if necessary) and/or hiring chauffeur service and a limo. Its kind of like those guys who try to rationalize a giant $75K pickup truck because they buy approximately one sheet of plywood per year so the "need" the truck. In a similar way any alternative is better economically, than turning a commuter car into a 12-hour cruising machine.

Hmm for the cost of the in dash GPS on my wife's car, well into the 4 digits, I could afford a chartered helicopter flight from my nearby little airport to the big airport, then a chartered jet (only about $700/hr) to my mom's airport, followed by another helicopter flight at the destination. Yet its supposedly cheap and prudent to spend more on the in-dash GPS. F it I'll just use my wife's phone GPS to navigate us, which doesn't even lock out when the car is in motion unlike a POS in-dash GPS.

Re:Never really understood the point. (3, Insightful)

cruff (171569) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495511)

Hmm for the cost of the in dash GPS on my wife's car, well into the 4 digits, I could afford a chartered helicopter flight ...

You failed to amortized the cost of the GPS among all of the trips taken by the car, which brings the cost per trip down, unlike your example of a single expensive trip via chartered aircraft.

F it I'll just use my wife's phone GPS to navigate us, which doesn't even lock out when the car is in motion unlike a POS in-dash GPS.

Now that's a real reason to dislike the expensive POS in-dash GPS with its crippled functionality imposed by lawyers.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497089)

You failed to amortized the cost of the GPS among all of the trips taken by the car...

I only use GPS about once a year, if that.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42497735)

I thought you said it was your wife's car?

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498201)

I only use GPS about once a year, if that.

Some people actually drive more than 20 miles from their home.

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

weegiekev (925942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495951)

What you are missing is that you're thinking about private car ownership. These are much more likely to get popular on a pay per use model, where you rent them for a journey. Effectively they'd be somewhere between a bus, a taxi and a car share scheme. Think about the benefits here against all those models:
  • Mass public transport is efficient, but struggles with capacity planning - you can't run a bus route on demand very easily. As such they very often run somewhat empty.
  • Taxis are expensive as you're paying for a driver's time as part of the service. They're also often privately owned, so they're unused for the majority of the day when the driver isn't working.
  • Car sharing schemes require a local pool and you have to walk and collect them. You also generally need a subscription to access them, so you get a key fob or card.

Certainly in European and Asian cities, car ownership is not that high, but it is very useful to have them occasionally. Maybe the driverless cars aren't going to be that popular initially for US suburban dwellers who use their car on a daily basis, but I can see it being massive for urban users elsewhere.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499999)

Driverless cars are extremely useful no matter where.

In European cities, one can call a van that can be used for moving goods. Stores could have their vehicles parked somewhere that isn't prime real estate in metro areas.

In most cities, it would mean that parking could be moved to outer areas without being a major inconvenience.

In suburban areas, it would allow vehicles to hit the shop while someone is asleep (and willing to pay a premium for off-hours repairs.)

In rural areas, it would mean that specialized vehicles (heavy tow trucks) could be rented easily and available, as opposed to taking up space and insurance.

All and all, driverless cars are a win/win for all involved.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496745)

until its cheap enough that a college student econobox car has it

...until it's been around long enough that an ancient college student econobox has it.

FTFY

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498179)

You overstate the prices of factory in-dash GPS. Its nowhere near that expensive anymore.
Further, there are aftermarket kits for under 500 bucks [bestbuy.com] and suction cup mount kits for under 200.

Factory in-dash is also coming down, and manufacturers are starting to unbundle it so you can buy that without it coming withe heated seats, and that is pushing the price under 900 bucks, (still excessive IMHO).

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499961)

As with most technologies, early adopters tend to front a good chunk of the costs to develop a technology. This is normal, because it takes time to make something that can be mass produced and stuck in all car models.

I have paid extra for safety technologies. My previous vehicle (which I bought almost 20 years ago, and is kept in roadworthy shape) I paid extra for four wheel ABS. My current ride, I paid for the higher trim level so I could get the backup sonar and a camera. Yes, it might be pointless, but a solid thump of another vehicle would cause enough damage to more than pay for the safety upgrade, and this isn't factoring in injuries.

Even the best driver makes mistakes. Of course, nothing is perfect, and if implemented wrong can be more of an annoying nanny than an actual safety feature, but if done right, can be extremely useful in situations where a human may not have the reaction time to handle a situation (swoop and squats on highways for example, which is more common due to people looking for insurance money.)

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495495)

In 10 years, my daughter will be going to college. I know how much sleep college students get. I don't want her to get in an accident coming home for a break because she's tired.

Easy fix: lose all of her college money at Texas Hold'em, so she won't go anywhere and you'll only have to worry about her walking from your basement to her job ad McDonald's.

Re:Never really understood the point. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495779)

when she is in college she won't ever have to drive anywhere while tired because she will be too busy getting filled with dick from all of the fratboys she can crash on their floors when they have finished busting nuts in her

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

mindwhip (894744) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495637)

Any employer who's employees do a lot of driving (everything from couriers and truck drivers all the way to photocopier engineers and salesmen) and provide the vehicles will probably see this as a way to reduce accidents and the resulting liability payouts.

It may even go one step further where NOT having this technology installed will result in employees suing when an accident that this could have avoided happens...

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497301)

Employers would be able to pay their employees less; they're no longer drivers, but just product handlers, moving it from warehouse to vehicle to delivery destination.

Also, who needs liability insurance anymore? The autonomous vehicle manufacturer would carry insurance for errors in their system, and only other drivers who still drive their cars would need insurance.

I waste upwards of 450-500 hours a year driving (at least). I would normally pay $30K-50K for a car. My billable rate is $125/hr, but I don't do any work for less than $75/hr. Assuming I value my own time at $75/hr, for a vehicle I own for 5 years, I would pay a premium of $187,500 for a self driving car. That premium I would pay is what a Google self-driving car costs (Prius + ~$150K in sensor gear). Amortize it over 30 years like a Cessna or other light aircraft, and you can have my money today.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497539)

The insurance is a point that a lot of people think will be a stumbling block. It is likely that you will still need individual insurance. The thing is, with the human equation out of it, the insurance on your car will be like the insurance you have for your tree dropping a limb on a guest in your home. The odds of it happening are so slim that it just gets rolled into your homeowners insurance and that is the end of it.

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

cigawoot (1242378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495719)

Additionally, I dislike driving. If I could beam myself to work and back, I would. However, lacking Star Trek-era transport technology, I'll settle with not having to deal with the road while driving to work.

Being able to just tell the computer where I want to go, sit back, and play my 3DS while it takes me there would be amazing.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498321)

For the occasional long ride, while potentially cumbersome for daily use, a $10, ear worn tilt sensor based nap alert device might already give a good safety improvement.

Re:Never really understood the point. (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495299)

I imagine there may be a handful of people who are interested in this technology

Old people... and there's lots of them. With a side order of rich parent buying new car for teenager that might be less likely to kill them.

However, invent an idiot proof car and evolution will invent a better idiot.

One interesting side effect is much like ABS and 4-wheel drive, this will probably just backfire and increase death rates. "Sure, I'd never go out on the steep mountain road in 50 MPH winds during a icestorm at night with my old car, but I'm sure the new car's computer will keep me safe no matter what... " followed by death and lawsuit. Followed by a quick firmware reprogramming job such that the car's sensors will be used primarily to shut the car down unless its well above freezing, no wind, no precipitation, horizontal terrain, and daylight. In other words, when you should probably be riding a bicycle. This is an interesting way to save gas, too.

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

Phrogz (43803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495479)

[...] much like ABS and 4-wheel drive, this will probably just backfire and increase death rates.

[citation needed]

Your post would amount to more than fear-mongering if you provided any links to data showing that, for example, anti-lock brakes have resulted in an increase in death rates.

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496057)

ABS brakes in particular can't be linked to any sort of beneficial or detrimental data beyond a few flawed tests in a lab.

What is provable is that they've led to an increase in low-speed collisions... data which you can find just about anywhere.

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

jcdr (178250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498221)

Even if your claims will be proved right, a low speed collision is certainly not a safety problem: the energy involved is not enough to cause injury. The lost of trajectory while braking at high speed is a serious safety problem that can cause fatal accident.

The ABS is only an automated (and in fact very efficient) way to do what's professional race driver used since a long time to keep control of the trajectory. But many people forget too often that it's the tires that make all the adherence with the road and that ABS can't overcome situations where tires lost adherence.

Re:Never really understood the point. (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498267)

But ABS brakes have drastically reduced the number of high speed collisions, mostly rear-end collisions, and missed turns and sliding into ditches at 50mph with the wheels all locked up.

Bullet proof vests have led to an increase in broken rips a bruised torsos.

Re:Never really understood the point. (5, Insightful)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495667)

Self driving cars will be huge. They'll start changing the world as soon as California allows these cars on the road without licensed rivers. At that point, a fairly expensive self-driving car will have plenty of uses.

  • Zipcar/taxis: now it picks you up where you want and drops you off where you want. They show up much more reliably and are cheaper.
  • Old people and people with vision impairments would buy them. The increase in personal freedom is worth a lot.
  • Working parents could schedule self driving cars to pick up their kids and get them to soccer practice.
  • Workers who's time is very valuable would by these cars so they could do their work while commuting.
  • When self driving cars start networking, they could save gas and improve traffic on freeways by linking up like a train.
  • Instead of having 2 cars in my garage, where they sit unused for 95% of the time, we'll be able to share a small fleet of cars among a large number of owners, saving tons of money.
  • For real cheapskates, and environmentally concerned citizens, these cars could automatically form car-pools, getting people around with a lot less gas per person, with a fraction of the hassles of carpooling today.

I personally suffer from Stargardt's disease, and am losing central vision. I'm expecting to be in a financial position to buy one of these. My preference would be a self-driving Tesla Model S, though beggars can't be choosers. I'll buy whatever is offered. I'll even move to California to be able to own and use one.

Here's a tough question: Should I start planning to move to California in a couple years, in anticipation of being able to own a car that can drive me around? What's the likelihood that California will be first by enough time to make the move worthwhile?

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495857)

The way things have been going, Colorado and Washington will probably beat California to the punch.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498277)

Depends on what is in the punch.

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496081)

I personally suffer from Stargardt's disease, and am losing central vision. I'm expecting to be in a financial position to buy one of these. My preference would be a self-driving Tesla Model S, though beggars can't be choosers. I'll buy whatever is offered. I'll even move to California to be able to own and use one.

Here's a tough question: Should I start planning to move to California in a couple years, in anticipation of being able to own a car that can drive me around? What's the likelihood that California will be first by enough time to make the move worthwhile?

Here's a tough answer: No, because for the foreseeable future, the requirements for these cars is going to be that a licensed driver is at hand to take over.
You are not him.

If you're independently wealthy to the point that moving across the country at will and buying Tesla S class cars, you're probably better off hiring a driver when you need one.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496341)

Here's a tough question: Should I start planning to move to California in a couple years

Actually, the question is not tough but the answer may be: No. [slate.com]

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496601)

I'm curious how the "pooled car" thing works. Because, you know, there will always be someone out there who spills a Big Gulp onto the seat and doesn't clean it up, or leaves baby puke all over the floorboards, or who is just one of those freaks who enjoys leaving his own feces for others to discover. What then?

Ah, yeah, go ahead and move to California. You'll be among kindred spirits there. You can enjoy paying their taxes, too, like a good little drone.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496803)

I'm curious how the "pooled car" thing works.

We already know the answer, because it has already been done. A "pooled car" is commonly known as a "bus". Hundreds of millions of people use them everyday. The only thing that will change is they will become smaller, cheaper (since there is no paid driver), much more frequent, and instead of fixed stops they will pick you up at your front door and take you directly to your destination.

You are correct that sometimes there is baby puke on the seats, but somehow people deal with it and the world keeps on turning.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497565)

Unless forced to, most people deal with it by using a car.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497237)

Ah, yeah, go ahead and move to California. You'll be among kindred spirits there. You can enjoy paying their taxes, too, like a good little drone.

Low tax Nevada was actually the first to legalize autonomous vehicles, and the first to actually register one for use on public roads. Florida (no state income tax) has also passed a law to legalize autonomous vehicles, but I don't think any are actually registered there yet. Just like California, these states require a licensed driver behind the wheel, but it is a start.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

hawk (1151) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499511)

Given the amount of destination drinking here, I expect Nevada to stay at the front of the pack here.

Our legislature will allow an autonomous car once the current generation show that the driver doesn't need to intervene . . . but not before.

hawk

The next user reports a mess (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499147)

And the car drives itself to a cleaning service. Is that really your best objection?

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497307)

California, Florida, and Nevada have already legalized self-driving cars.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499577)

Repeat after me: A fully self driving car requires a strong AI.

We are decades/centuries away from strong AI's. Heck we don't even have the tools to measure Intelligence. Sure you can hack together an AI which will score 200 on an some IQ tests, but it will be about as smart as an IP-stack.

Sure you can ban non comforting vehicles from the road and upgrade the road somewhat, but all you have done is reinventing the railway system.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499699)

It drives me crazy that they cant just put the car on a rail/guide and then use a computerized driving system. The system would pay for itself in 30 days. I don't want to be trapped by our current transportation systems when I reach 70 years old. We probably wont live to see 70 if we cant change the current system. You will never be able to convince me that humans are an intelligent species.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495717)

I imagine there may be a handful of people who are interested in this technology

Old people... and there's lots of them.

Also absent-minded people. My mind tends to wander when I am driving. I have never been in a serious accident, but I have come close a few times. I would love to have a robotic car to "pay attention" while my mind was focused on designing an algorithm or whatever.

But there seems to be an assumption that this would cost a net amount of money. I think that as the price falls, this will be very quickly not true. You may pay a few thousand more for the car, but you will pay much less for insurance. You will also save gas because the car will adjust its speed to time traffic lights and smooth out stop-and-go traffic. If the government is smart, they will offer tax incentives to encourage adoption of this technology since they use the roads more efficiently (the carrying capacity of a single lane can increase five-fold once cars are capable of "platooning"), so that also will figure into the net cost.

Autonomous vehicles make car-sharing services like Zipcar [zipcar.com] work for many more people, so car ownership will become less common, saving people even more money. My wife and I each have a car, but in the future we could become a one-car-family if a temporary 2nd car car could be quickly summoned with a click on a smartphone.

 

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495787)

It's a generalization, but I find Toyotas (mainly Corollas ... surprisingly the Echos tend to be driven faster) are driven more slowly and more cautiously by a fair margin than any other car. I've generally attributed this to people buying Toyotas because they have a reputation for being safe. I think Toyota is the right company to attempt this as if the price is in the right ballpark, these people will buy it. This is good, as these people *need* it. At a certain point, overly 'cautious' driving causes a lot of traffic problems and stirs up the aggressive drivers out there increasing accidents. As I said, a generalization, but a fairly reliable one.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495861)

It's a generalization, but I find Toyotas (mainly Corollas ... surprisingly the Echos tend to be driven faster) are driven more slowly and more cautiously by a fair margin than any other car. I've generally attributed this to people buying Toyotas because they have a reputation for being safe.

It's a generalization, but I find Toyotas (mainly Corollas) to handle like dogshit. Obviously there are some notable exceptions but they are not as notable as you might imagine. The Supra is excessively heavy (all of them, but mostly the latest one) and it takes some doing to get it to handle as nicely as a Z. Which brings us to the competition, Nissans and Hondas both handle better than Toyotas. If I had a Toyota, I'd drive it more slowly and more cautiously than other cars, too. I've driven all three quite a bit, and indeed, when I've had to drive Toyotas, I've been more cautious.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496027)

True, they have a much softer ride than Hondas, which most Toyota drivers would call 'rough', or 'harsh'. I'm not sure it's enough worse that it would cause the excessively slow driving I generally see. I do see Corollas being driven fast on rare occasions, but I assume they're stolen. :)

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496371)

A softer ride than Hondas? That depends on the Honda. Accords are plenty plush, and feel like a much heavier car than they actually are, while still being able to pull some lateral Gs and accelerate at the same time. Civics are quite springy, but that's what you get from a car of that mass. But engage in some spirited driving and you'll see what I'm talking about very quickly.

Sometimes it's not really Toyota's fault, but sometimes it is. The original Insight is said to feel relatively spry, and the Prius (at least the original) much like a land yacht of yesteryear. Both have to contend with basically the same issues. In general, Toyota's solutions to problems result in poorer handling. And they also do annoying crap like use A-arms with stamped-in ball joints so you have to replace the whole arm.

I used to far prefer Nissan to any other automaker, but now that they're merged with Renault I'm not so sure :) And I would still prefer a Nissan Patrol diesel to a Toyota Hilux diesel, but since I can't buy either one here it's something of a moot point. Consequently I have a big pig of an F250. Still gets better mileage than most gassers.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42496399)

I do see Corollas being driven fast on rare occasions, but I assume they're stolen. :)

It's my own car, Honest! I just happen to know that what the fastest possible way is to get this car through that corner and I can find out without risking a crash. You don't want to try and find out with a Ferrari.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498311)

I've generally attributed this to people buying Toyotas because they have a reputation for being safe.

No, its because people have long memories and the run-away vehicle and brake failures are still fresh in their minds. Toyota may think they have moved past that impression but they are sadly mistaken.

Nothing Toyota is offering in TFA is unique or new, and its long been in the market place on other vehicles. Don't be fooled by the use the word "autonomous" in their press release.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495965)

invent an idiot proof car and evolution will invent a better idiot.

Exactly. Look at the software industry. We had dozens of such cycles now. "Simpler" OS / program -> dumber user -> and so on.
And it brought us abominations like MS Clippy, MS Bob, iOS, auto-correct (both in Google and iOS), Windows 8, Gnome 3 / Ubuntu Unity, Plasmoids, and the word "automagic" (meaning: the computer thinks it knows better what you want, than you yourself, and only gets it right if you're the [now] "average" complete retard).

We learned, that it only does one thing: Cripple things until nobody but the dumbest of the dumbest users can stand the cumbersomeness and lack of freedom anymore.

See Windows 8... shown to be usable by a 3-year old (the average chimpanzee has the intelligence of a 4-year-old)... but completely hated by *everyone* else.

That is the path lawmakers want to go with everything, and companies want to go with all their products. Until we are all braindead consumer blob drones with no free will, that don't use what was once a computer, but get told what to want by it, and only agree with a grunt or hit of a big red touchscreen button saying "Like".
Easy to manage. Easy to milk.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42496607)

With a side order of rich parent buying new car for teenager that might be less likely to kill them.

Cars don't kill people. People do.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495327)

My minivan comes with all sorts of expensive safety features that are not required by law - I have to assume that market forces drove Toyota to include them. Getting ranked as a safe car by the insurance trade groups will help sales with some demographics.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495493)

Getting ranked as a safe car by the insurance trade groups will help sales with some demographics.

That is until all the complexity becomes too compex to manage. We're already seeing results of all the sensors in today's cars. Dust, like heat, humidity and handling will make them malfunction.

To make matters worse, some sensors are "programmed to fail" or to indicate potential failure even when they are still good. All this to make the driver visit a dealership, where he's advised to dole out cash 'or else..."

Folks, it's getting worse!

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495981)

Technical challenges aside, there clearly is a market for non-required safety features in certain types of cars. Volvo made this their mainstay for years. And to this day, I kind of shudder a little bit when I get behind a Volvo, despite the old stereotype no longer really holding true.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

MagdJTK (1275470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495407)

You don't understand the point of self-driving cars? Really? These will revolutionize travel if they become affordable. As for saying they're too expensive, everything is too expensive for most people when it's new; technology prices have a way of coming down over time, you see.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

darkHanzz (2579493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496201)

A real man drives a stick shift, self-driving cars are for whimps! (Yes, I'm european)

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498115)

A real man doesn't use those wimpy AUTO-mobiles!

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498465)

It' undeniable that many European (mostly man but not only) drivers are still thinking that way. Part of the problem is also the fact that historically automatic gears was more expensive, a bit less efficient, an not so well designed outside of a few (and costly) European manufactures. Now the situation is slowly changing because robotic gears with computer is efficient, easy to tune, and look like sport racer. Still too costly for the low to middle range price but like many others new features before, this will be solved over time.

The satellite gears with electromagnetic coupling of the hybrid Totota/Lexus are actually the most advanced way to solve the problem: it's simply outside of the common human capability to handle manually this gear part in real time while driving. And even if it was possible, an human will certainly fail to archive the low consumption compared to the computer.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498343)

This story is not about self driving cars. Re-read TFA,

Nor was the post your reply to about self driving cars.

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495419)

This technology may be expensive now(just like EVs) but in the end, as international standards, safety guidelines, sensor/actuations technology as well as suport technology envolves, this technology will become as common as automated transmission. Personally I like driving, but I hate "commuting". Driving for work, driving the same route every fucking day is boring and a big waste of time. I'd gladly have a robot to do that for me while I do something productive or fun or just sleep in the back seat.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495621)

Please note that you still have to be awake and in the driver seat for the duration of the trip and you also need to not be intoxicated. Law says so. But yeah, the future will be less boring. I just hope they let me kill all those safety measures and drive the car myself is so I want.

The implicit problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495433)

... How will this system control the 'other drivers' ?

It won't, it will just react to them, trying to keep you on a safe, comfortable-margin, avoidance path. And that's why it won't work in the real world. In heavy, aggressive, traffic (i.e., normal city driving conditions) it will have to constantly use high jerk (third derivative - the derivative of acceleration) controls to maintain safety margins. This will 1) make the ride completely unacceptable to passengers, and 2) force the car behind you to likewise execute high jerk maneuvers. Consider the time constants in any system, however small, and such disturbances will propagate, turning freeways into an unending series of panic maneuvers (nach freeway “wave action” on steroids.)

Only if all cars have such systems, w/o driver control, can such systems work. And even then it would require very clever control system design...

Re:Never really understood the point. (2)

Ikonoclasm (1139897) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495659)

You don't see automated driving as a comfort feature? I can't wait for the day when I get to ignore the responsibility of driving and focus instead on reading or doing other tasks that require too much attention to complete while driving.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498597)

Mod parent up.

While I was young I was not so stressed to get my driver's licence, because I thought that I was losing times concentrating on anything passing into my head without raising risk and that self driving car will soon make driving licence useless anyway. Well, 22 years later, I finally take the time to get my driver's licence two years ago because is more comfortable with a family. But I lost my bid on the self driving car availability and lost opportunity to concentrate on new ideas on my head. Because driving still require a lot of attention trying to detect soon enough irrational situation on the road. Russian cars webcam for example show a lot of incredible situations when it's not always trivial to avoid collateral damage. In this regards I am very curious how self driving cars will handle such situations.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495837)

You're certainly not the kind of person to spend the money on a radar system, sensors, cameras, computing power, and the extra petrol consumption needed to lug that equipment around just incase you have a lapse in concentration.

You are certainly speaking with your anus. Car companies are already selling more limited versions of these features to drivers with more money than you with great success. If you would open your eyes a bit when you drive around you would notice that the really expensive cars that have enough power and rubber to pop your neck are being driven by superannuated fossils too old to actually enjoy opening the taps, or pushing the Gs up near the skidpad numbers. And the more expensive the car, the older the driver likely is. Corvettes are known as midlife crisis cars for a reason. I saw a pair of Maseratis (a Quattroporte and a GranCabrio) out for a spin around Lake Berryessa and the drivers could easily have been and probably were grandfathers if not great-grandfathers. These drivers most definitely want assisted driving aids, so long as they can be disabled. They won't actually ever disable them, but it's important to their shriveled manhoods that they be able to.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499279)

You don't know what the random strangers you saw want, or what's important to them. And you know it. So stop lying by pretending that you do.

You're as stupid as you are dishonest, which is why you always get caught lying here and you always end up running away with your tail between your legs.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42496325)

It is new technology. It has limited reach so the economics are not favorable for everyone. Over time this kind of technology could increase efficiency and safety on our roads. But it doesn't work for *me* *right now*, so we should skip it all together.

Re:Never really understood the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42496603)

To help women drivers?!? ;-)

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496655)

I wouldn't buy one, but I would be very interested in a service like ZipCar, but with self-driving cars, so I'd be able to just schedule one to come and collect me and take me to my destination, or be available for me to use for a half day or day. This sort of usage would be too expensive in a taxi, but this sort of vehicle would be very affordable for occasional use (I live in a city where bicycles are the primary means of transportation, so I rarely need a car).

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

Pro-feet (2668975) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497827)

> I imagine there may be a handful of people who are interested in this technology

I imagine there's going to be a huge number of people who look forward to the possibility to go out, get drunk, and drive home safely with their own car. And that's probably the worst reason among the several I can think of.

I'd happily give up my heated seats for this.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498117)

You're certainly not the kind of person to spend the money on a radar system, sensors, cameras, computing power, and the extra petrol consumption needed to lug that equipment around just in case you have a lapse in concentration.

Ah, No, that's not true for several reasons.

First and foremost, is that what Toyota is claiming as autonomous is pretty much the same as you find in mid to high end cars these days. You don't have to buy a luxury car or an Euro import to get these accident avoidance features any more. Ford and Chevy are putting these in relatively inexpensive cars. Toyota has nothing new here, they just found some buzzwords the marketing guys dreamed up. Autonomous? Please.

Second, these things cost virtually nothing in weight or gas mileage. The radars are simply those little round circles embedded in the bumpers of cars to sense proximity. All of them (usually 8 per vehicle) weigh less than the tennis racket you toss into the back seat on your way to the court.

Computing power? Chuckle. It takes FAR less computing power than you have in your smart phone.

Cameras? Again, its about the size of the camera in your cell phone, but much less sophisticated.

Blind spot monitoring, Adaptive cruise control, collision warnings, lane drifting detection, etc., all these things cost very little, and weigh very little.

However, (and this is where you miss the point), you will get an insurance rate break by having these safety packages installed which will come pretty close to offsetting set both the original price of the package and the extra power consumption over the life of the vehicle. My recent "safety package" which included everything Toyota was promising (except the 700mhz vehicle to vehicle radio) added about $1000 to the price of the car, but reduced my insurance by $180/yr over the same model without these features. The more expensive the car the more the insurance offset is.

These things are finding their way to the lower priced cars these days. Which is precisely why they are showing up on Toyota.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498645)

While undeniably more electronics consume more power, it's not on the same scale compared to the power used by the transmission. Even 100 Watt of electronic equipment is very few to the the power need to accelerate a small car.

Re:Never really understood the point. (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year and a half ago | (#42499963)

but they're also likely to be the kind of cautious driver that only has an accident when someone else crashes into them.

Isn't that everybody?

Makes you wonder... (1)

korgitser (1809018) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495241)

...how are they going to blame the driver for spontaneous acceleration now?

Re:Makes you wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495349)

...how are they going to blame the driver for spontaneous acceleration now?

They won't need to. As soon as they suspect any troubles these cars will simply drive themselves to the dealership to have recall maintenance service performed. Better hope you're not on "Lover's Lane" or on your way to <insert important event here> at the time.

Re:Makes you wonder... (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495447)

They won't need to. As soon as they suspect any troubles these cars will simply drive themselves to the dealership to have recall maintenance service performed. Better hope you're not on "Lover's Lane" or on your way to <insert important event here> at the time.

Yeah noob programming error as if those two conditions are mutually exclusive. More likely bigger problem with unmanned autonomous vehicles is people sending carefully crafted control packets "Hey car, did you know you have a recall requiring immediate service, oh and BTW your local dealer service center has moved to (insert sketchy street address deep in the 'hood)?"

Other hollywood plot style problems with autonomous driverless vehicles are cars driving off with little kids trapped in the backseat, etc.

"Hey I'm the iphone valet parking app, trust me, I really am, and would all the expensive new cars in this parking lot please line up behind my tow truck which will shortly be enroute to the chop shop, err, I meant to say I'm your owner and I'm done shopping please pick me up at this door."

Re:Makes you wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42496209)

Easy: If something bad happened, you used it in the wrong way. If something good happened, it was their software who did it. Disagree? Good luck suing them!

That's how things work in a dog-eat-dog capitalist industrial feudalist society.

Choice of sensors (1)

hammeraxe (1635169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495337)

It will be interesting to see what combination of sensors Toyota is using and how they've incorporated the ungodly looking sets of LIDARs and cameras into the body of the car.

Re:Choice of sensors (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495845)

They had a picture of the car on the news last night and it still has a big lidar sticking out the top and is clearly a research vehicle in many other respects. Even though Toyota is exhibiting the car at CES, it is years ahead of what they are actually marketing.

Re:Choice of sensors (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498373)

Go read TFA, and you quickly realize they are not talking about autonomous vehicles at all, but simply a car that has all the sensors and safety technology you routinely find on mid-to-high priced cars today. They talk like its new an innovative, because they blur the lines between what you've heard was possible and what they are actually offering.

The Ford Focus offers just as much as Toyota will be offering, they just don't use words like "autonomous" in their press releases.

Re:Choice of sensors (1)

darkHanzz (2579493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496219)

Radar (around 60GHz) is quickly becoming more cheap. It's antennas can be much smaller (and cheaper) than a LIDAR setup.

Re:Choice of sensors (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498541)

Radar is already common on many vehicles [sabertek.com] with Parking assistance, Collision avoidance and or Adaptive Cruise Control.
Most of this is in the 24GHz range (Ford, Chrysler, etc). 77Ghz bands are also in wide use, Japan has opted for 60GHz.

I wasn't aware of anyone using 66GHz.

Re:Choice of sensors (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498733)

What's will happens when the radars of many cars will interfere ? Even with visible light spectrum, others cars illuminations can produce situation where the perceived image is hard to interpret correctly in detail. Using a lower frequency is not likely to make the problem simpler.

I am sorry, Dave, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495385)

but I am afraid I can't do that.

What people are missing: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495459)

Cars do not kill people. *
People driving cars BADLY kill people.

*Yes, there are some very rare exceptions where design flaws have been found to cause death/injury that could not be avoided by a competent driver.

Of course, if cars drive themselves, this will definitely change and cars WILL begin to kill people eventually.

Better than self-driving cars would be to increase the driver ability standards and require competence behind the wheel.
For those who do not wish to exercise self-discipline and drive well- there are buses, trains, cabs and more- you can safely operate your cell phone, laptop or read your newspaper just fine while using any of them, and conserve resources for the planet as well.

Those who do prove the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely and competently could then do so without worrying as much about the idiot who just has to send a text to their significant other while changing lanes at 80 mph on the highway without using a turn signal.

While we are at it- modify the traffic laws to promote rapid, safe transit:
higher speed limits
larger fines for safety infractions:
failure to use a turn signal while changing lanes? $100 for first offense annually, $200 for second, 30 day suspension for 3rd offense in a 1 year period.
Failure to keep to the left hand lane clear except when passing (when possible)? Same fine as above.
Run a stop sign or red light? $250 first offense, $500 2nd, 30 day suspension for 3rd.
Offenses past the third in a calendar year: 90 day suspension, 6 month, one year and so on.
Using a cell phone/tablet while driving? 30 day suspension for first offense plus $100 fine.

It is not the CARS that are dangerous, folks, it is the DRIVERS.
Lets get rid of the DANGER we already have rather than add a new one.

Re:What people are missing: (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496453)

Yet making safer cars has decreased the amount of deaths per car by what, 10 times? There are many times more cars than in the sixties, and less than half of the deaths.

Re:What people are missing: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42496809)

I agree with your statement completely.

I do not agree that autonomous cars or cars with "driver nanny" aids will prevent people from being idiots behind the wheel, or even be AS safe as competent human drivers would be.

Those cameras are illegal in Germany. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495523)

Here, it's illegal to record somebody without his permission. If you want to put up a stationary camera, you have to place big signs that can't be missed *outside* of the filmed area. Otherwise, you'll find yourself on the bad side of a court room.

And that law is good that way!

Also, since we *can* actually drive here in Germany, self-driving cars will be considered pussying out.

So this won't catch on here anytime soon.

Re:Those cameras are illegal in Germany. (1)

krovisser (1056294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495937)

Define "record". If the car takes a few snaphots in the highway, but no one's there to see it, does it make a recording?

Re:Those cameras are illegal in Germany. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498587)

He didn't even define "stationary".
Nor did he address the fact that German cars already have backup cameras. He seems to know of one particular law and thinks it applies to every case.

Great step forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42495559)

Great way of making their cars even more boring to drive. You don't have to drive at all now. Great boon for the typical Toyota customer.

Re:Great step forward (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497133)

Oh no! Removing a trivial task so you can do something else during your commute. That would be awful!

Re:Great step forward (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42498749)

Use a horse, it's certainly not as boring as a car.

Bad Idea (1)

MadJackRacham (2423800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42495633)

From the article: ...Show (CES) in Las Vegas nest week. The arguments over coding standards are legion and the same is true for testing. The bottom line dictates what the acceptable level of error is. I'm waiting for the ads for beta testers.

need to work on legal liability civil and criminal (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496015)

need to work on legal liability civil and criminal.

and no some Eula will not cover criminal stuff as well big parts of the civil part.

I don't think that some on the street can auto sign a eula just before getting hit by a failing autocar.

Missing tag (0)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496179)

whatcouldpossiblygowrong

Toyota already has the autonomous acceleration bit figured out. Now all we need is a car that steers itself wherever it wants.

Not really autonomous? (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42496259)

Bummer.. So this is not really autonomous, just a car with very advanced collision avoidance technology.

Though it probably is a good step towards fully autonomous (self-driving) cars. Considering that traffic is the leading cause of accident fatalities in the world, this is a great thing.

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feature to include: unmanned driving (1)

fikx (704101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42497291)

I hope with all the hype for autonomous cars, they do at least consider what it would take to have a mode for no one in the car...
Seems like all the talk so far is for normal driving and requiring a driver, but how about some talk about what would be allowable for no one in the car? Like max speed of 5-10 mph, flashers on all the time, etc. I'd like to be able to send a car home that I didn't need anymore, or call the car to be in a parking lot. Or, even the service call like mentioned elsewhere in this thread: send it to the dealer or service station on it's own. Not sure if it's possible yet, but I haven't heard any mention of what it WOULD take (legally) to let a car drive itself somewhere....

Surefire marketing pitch for this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42498503)

Now you can *legally* use Facebook while you drive...

Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42499467)

v2.0 should include detecting farts ^_^

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