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Tesla's Elon Musk Talks With Google About Self-Driving Cars

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the car,-take-me-home-then-find-an-EV-hater-to-annoy dept.

Transportation 199

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has been thinking about bringing autonomous driving technology to Tesla's electric cars. Quoting Bloomberg: "Musk, 41, said technologies that can take over for drivers are a logical step in the evolution of cars. He has talked with Google about the self-driving technology it’s been developing, though he prefers to think of applications that are more like an airplane’s autopilot system. 'I like the word autopilot more than I like the word self- driving,' Musk said in an interview. 'Self-driving sounds like it’s going to do something you don’t want it to do. Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.' ... Google’s approach builds on a push for the driverless-car technology long pursued by the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which held vehicle competitions for carmakers and research labs. Anthony Levandowski, product manager for Google’s self-driving car project, has said the company expects to release the technology within five years. 'The problem with Google’s current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive,' Musk said. 'It’s better to have an optical system, basically cameras with software that is able to figure out what’s going on just by looking at things.' ... 'I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car, as I think it should be camera-based, not Lidar-based,' Musk said yesterday in an e-mail. 'However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google.'" Musk later warned not to take this as an actual announcement.

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Musk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657205)

I like to smell the musk of timothy's rotting breath as we make love under the glow of a CRT on old bags of Doritos and Penguin Mints (tm) sold by thinkgeek
 
  captcha colonist

Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

ickleberry (864871) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657225)

That's just pure boring. Isn't the whole point of such a car that you drive it yourself for your enjoyment?

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (5, Insightful)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657253)

No. The point of a car is to get you from one place to another. Driving is one of the most boring tasks imaginable, except on a few roads like BC's Sea to Sky Highway when the traffic is light. The vast majority of driving situations are tedious.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657291)

Tedious and dangerous. A combination practically designed to induce stress.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657321)

Very true. When I drive to work I usually arrive highly stressed. When I take the train I usually arrive relaxed and productive. It takes longer, but it is a far nicer trip.

Regardless of wanting one, their time will come (1)

VernonNemitz (581327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657591)

If only because technology marches on. I would think that as long as the human can choose whether or not to activate an autopilot, then its existence doesn't have to be considered a problem. So, along the lines of making fancy tech happen (what nerds do, after all), here's a notion.... When Google decided to compete with Apple's Siri voice-recognition system, an infrastructure was created that might be enhanced to do image-recognition. And Google has vast numbers of images from its Street-View system, probably all linked together in an orderly way (such as the route a autopiloted car might take). From there, the conclusion should be obvious, if not so simple to actually achieve.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657337)

The point of a car is to get you from one place to another.

1st. He was taking about a sports car. That type of car is meant for the journey not the destination.
2nd. There are people in the world that love to drive. They are called car enthusiasts. Here I'll explain this with a computer analogy. Just like there are people that like to use command lines edit config files instead of using iPads etc...

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657739)

Tesla isn't even making the Roadster anymore, but are focusing on larger sedans and aiming for more family-friendly options in the future. This has nothing to do with car enthusiasts. They can stick to the windy roads and tracks, and let us have our auto-pilots on the freeways, thank you very much. The last thing I need on my commute to work is some "enthusiast" pretending to be Michael Schumacher on the 134 freeway to Pasadena...

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657805)

People like you need to stick to public transportation and stay off my roads.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657895)

Paid for that road all by yourself, did you?

Yeah. Didn't think so.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657887)

People use command line instead of graphical text editors because they know command line well enough to be much more efficient at using command line instead of graphical text editors.

Also, with vim at least, you don't have the chance of screwing things up when you drop something on the keyboard.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657349)

No. The point of a car is to get you from one place to another.

If "transport from point A to point B" was the sole use case for automobiles, the only model in existence would be the Ford Fiesta.

You may not believe or understand this, but some of us actually enjoy driving.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657381)

Some people enjoy driving, but many do not, particularly the miserable drives that many people have to endure to get to and from work, or to move around in badly designed cities. Driving can be a lot of fun, particularly if you do most of your driving in areas that do not have a lot of traffic. Most of the time, though, driving is just something that you tolerate because you need to go somewhere.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657435)

Get some more testosterone perhaps.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657525)

Ah yes. Driving conversations online almost always turn into insult contests

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657593)

I agree. Driving can be fun, and I pointed out a nice highway to drive on. However, most people do not enjoy their morning commutes, or darting around from shop to shop, or sitting still in bumper to bumper traffic with three miles to go until the next exit. These are common driving conditions for most people. If the only driving that I ever did was in a BMW 3 Coupe on a lightly used road in the Rockies I would be very happy, but in the real world driving is not quite that much fun.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2)

Andrio (2580551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657659)

I like driving. Something is just so relaxing, yet fun, about cruising down a light traffic highway with my music playing.

Sadly, that's only a tiny portion of the driving I ever do. Most of it is spent in a congested commute, 5 days a week. I'd *love* to be able to just let my car take me to and from work as I browse Slashdot on my phone.

A self driving car would give me a precious 40-50 minutes of extra free time.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657817)

Too bad. Once driverless cars become cheap and safe, the government will require all cars on public roads to be driverless. It will be illegal to drive human-driven car unless you have $$$$.

Get this through your head. Driving is a privilege and you will be the luddite holding back progres. The tax the public pays for roads gives us the right to kick you off the road.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43658001)

Until the day some hacker releases a virus making every driverless car crash into each other.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658013)

Some may, but most don't. And the ones that do are usually out in the country away from the other drivers.

The main point of cars is to get from Point A to Point B. Some people do enjoy driving, but I have yet to find anybody for whom driving in traffic is something they find to be enjoyable.

I think a car analogy is in order. It's like if you had the choice between sitting in traffic cursing out the idiots around you, or could use that time to check up on email or read a book.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (4, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658121)

I enjoy driving, on a Sunday afternoon, driving down deserted country roads with no need to be at any particular place at any particular time.

I pretty much hate it otherwise. Now here's the deal, there are some very strange desires people have. Some want to be beaten. Others want to be tied up. And others want to be tied up and beaten. And still others want some combination, or neither, of these two activities combined with having jello pudding thrown at them.

So, given that, I'm going to rule it as not entirely impossible that you're about to tell me that you think commuting to work by car is awesome, and the bit you love the most is when you're about 10 minutes from work and suddenly see red lights in front of you and realize that the next mile of traffic consists of cars travelling at about 5-15mph, stop, start, stop, start.

But I really, really, doubt it.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658199)

You may not believe or understand this, but some of us actually enjoy driving.

But how many enjoys driving all the time? All traffic, all road conditions, never tired, never busy, never wanted for a button to push to make the car drive itself while you do something else? I have friends who are quite car conscious but they also like cruise control, automatic gearbox and all that, it's more about going around in comfort and style than pretending to be a rally driver. I think there's a solid market of people that aren't looking for the "basic transport from A to B" but the "private limo driver from A to B" experience, particularly since the computer has even more discretion than a human. And it's not like they're going to take away the "off" switch any time soon, so if you want to go ahead...

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657455)

That would be why icleberry specified "such a car". The point of the Tesla vehicles is certainly not just to go from one place to another. They make sports cars.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657497)

No. The point of a car is to get you from one place to another. Driving is one of the most boring tasks imaginable, except on a few roads like BC's Sea to Sky Highway when the traffic is light. The vast majority of driving situations are tedious.

Well, in a self-driving car, you could play Need for Speed or Gran Turismo videogames on the HUD to make things more exciting while you wait. Ever imagined your finger was a bazooka while you're in traffic, and you could just blow up the cars in the way? Well, now we can use Altered Reality to superimpose images of Actual Explosions!

My extensive research has proven that "Time Flies when you're having fun"... Ergo, there's a loveseat in the back.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657611)

Ever imagined your finger was a bazooka while you're in traffic, and you could just blow up the cars in the way? Well, now we can use Altered Reality to superimpose images of Actual Explosions!

Yes I do and that would be awesome. I use the e-brake release button and pretend that my car has missile launchers or machine guns instead so it would be nice if the fire button was mapped to the e-brake release button.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657543)

maybe to you, there are a lot of us out here who actually enjoy getting behind the wheel and driving. I cant stand riding in a car but I LOVE driving it.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657827)

You sound like someone I wouldn't trust with a car.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657923)

judging a book by its cover? Ill have you know ive been driving for 10 years and have a totally clean record. then again why am I wasting my time on a coward anyway

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657559)

Spoken like a true programmer. Why make something elegant and fun when it can just work?

Driving is supposed to be fun. The sound of the engine, the shifting of gears, the lateral forces as you take a curve, all make driving enjoyable.

If you consider driving boring and tedious, I'm presuming you're one of those who thinks eating is equally boring and tedious and looks forward to the day when we can just inject nutrient rich sludge directly into our stomachs.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657753)

That's actually a good analogy. Driving can be fun from time to time, but it can also be quite boring and tedious much of the time. It would be nice to do it when you want but have an autopilot to engage when you don't. A well prepared gourmet meal can be a real treat and wonderful experience, but often eating is just tedious, too. One would not want to be denied the opportunity, but at the same time, if you could just take a pill or something while you're doing something else actually useful or enjoyable, that would be a nice option much of the time.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

Pope (17780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657969)

Driving is supposed to be fun.

No it isn't, it's supposed to get you from A to B. The fact that can be made fun is a totally distinct argument. I highly doubt anyone has fun doing mundane commutes and sitting in traffic.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658161)

Agreed.

Why do I get the impression that none of the people posting that "driving is fun" actually have to drive? It's a week day, if they have to drive it's a fair bet that the last time they drove was this morning, to work. If they had fun doing that, well...

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657993)

Spoken like a true programmer. Why make something elegant and fun when it can just work?

I think cars started downhill when that newfangled synchromesh eliminated the need for double clutching, and as in so many other areas technology continues to destroy the simple pleasures of life. Imagine a train without the joy of stoking the fire while cinders fly in your eyes and you watch the pressure gauge to avoid a boiler explosion. Or a ship where you don't have to climb the ratlines in a storm. Or turning a tap labeled "hot" instead of fetching well water and starting a fire to warm it. Or of not having to run down your dinner armed only with a flint tipped spear.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43658061)

Or a ship where you don't have to climb the ratlines in a storm.

Given the alternative [businessinsider.com] , I would prefer a cruse ship that let you man the sails.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658127)

Given the alternative [businessinsider.com] , I would prefer a cruse ship that let you man the sails.

From the article:

Hallways were flooded with human waste, there was no A/C or running water, and passengers were left to survive on limited food and water.

In the days of sailing ships, you only got those conditions in first class.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658151)

you're one of those who thinks eating is equally boring and tedious and looks forward to the day when we can just inject nutrient rich sludge directly into our stomachs.

we already do that its called they are called "frozen burrito" or "cup'o noodle"

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657595)

The Tesla Roadster is not the same as the Tesla Model S. The Roadster is absolutely a car you drive for enjoyment. Model S is for the kind of driving you're talking about.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

NearlyEverywhere (1126923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657257)

That's a great concept, but very few people have time to just drive for the sake of enjoyment. Especially if you live in a developed area. The vast majority of driving is the boring, rote commuting in heavy traffic. Self driving cars, electric or otherwise, will free up a lot of time for other enjoyment or productivity. I personally look forward to regaining those hours of my life back.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657389)

That's a great concept, but very few people have time to just drive for the sake of enjoyment.

And there are people that enjoy driving for the sake of driving regardless of the situation.

Self driving car advocates want to take away manual driving from people that enjoy it.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/9252275/Googles-robot-cars-pass-driving-test.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Google is one off several firms racing to develop cars able to drive themselves. It is competing with car manufacturers as well as military firms to develop the technology. The web giant's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has argued that the fact that current vehicles rely on human drivers is a "bug".
"It's amazing to me that we let humans drive cars," he said in 2010 as Google ramped up its research,in partnetship with Stanford University.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657281)

What's the point of a tesla roadster in the first place when you could by three of lotus cars it's based on for the price of one tesla? Plus you would have way more fun driving the gas/petrol version because you can get it in a manual transmission.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

ickleberry (864871) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657303)

Agreed on manual transmission. Driving in the US of A is more boring than in other places

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657365)

Driving in the US of A is more boring than in other places

I presume this is more of an issue in the densely populated coastal regions of the country? Come visit the midwest, we have miles of nice country roads begging to be driven.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (2)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657421)

I have lived in Indiana, and driven through the midwest several times. My experience has been that the roads are mostly flat and boring, and that the drivers are suicidal. For example, the Indiana habit of deliberately turning on you high beams when you see an oncoming car.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

BradleyAndersen (1195415) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657511)

Agreed!
-- some guy who has been in Indiana now for #waytoofriggin'long

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657519)

I have lived in Indiana, and driven through the midwest several times. My experience has been that the roads are mostly flat and boring, and that the drivers are suicidal. For example, the Indiana habit of deliberately turning on you high beams when you see an oncoming car.

Sounds like an Indiana problem.

FTR, when I say "Midwest," I refer mainly to the region bordered by the Missouri River, Mississippi River, Rocky Mountains, and some part of Texas that doesn't suck (don't travel south much). Get much farther north than the Missouri, and yea, it's pretty much just flat nothing sprinkled with corn.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657649)

Go far enough north and you end up with some really nice roads along the Mississippi in southeastern Minnesota or along the north shore and iron range as well. You just have to watch out for the most deadly animal in the world or the ever more rare moose.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (4, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657847)

really nice roads along the Mississippi in southeastern Minnesota

You country wusses. If you want some excitement in driving, try Manhattan. Driving on an empty road is no more challenging than flying with nothing around you, but Manhattan is like the Battle of Britain.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658065)

I've heard that before. And I'm going to have to go and see that for myself.

Even around here where the problem with drivers is primarily the opposite, it's no fun to drive. You get the occasional driver that's extremely aggressive, but for the most part folks are so passive that nothing moves. Driverless cars would go a long way towards solving that problem.

I imagine that it would also greatly improve traffic as you'd reduce the time it takes for the cars to get moving again at stop lights.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657819)

Agreed on manual transmission.

It's one thing to use a manual instead of an automatic if you need a transmission, but in an electric car? Talk about refusing to change with the times. Maybe when these newfangled horseless carriages came out, there were those who yearned for buggy whips and eau de equestrian posterior.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657897)

Electric motors need a transmission too. Teslas engineers were just too incompetent to build one correctly. The tesla is fine at low RPMs just but can't put any power down at high RPMs.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657587)

What's the point of a tesla roadster in the first place when you could by three of lotus cars it's based on for the price of one tesla? Plus you would have way more fun driving the gas/petrol version because you can get it in a manual transmission.

Spoken like someone who has never driven one.

I cannot afford either. I have been fortunate enough to drive both. The Tesla is smooth power, with instant response when accelerating, braking, and cornering. The Lotus is directed thrust, like driving a rocket. A different experience altogether.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657629)

In other words the Tesla is boring and pointless and the Lotus is a drivers car.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657357)

I don't think it will be for the Roadster, but more towards more normal consumer cars, probably planned in the future.

Having to drive 5 1/2 hours from VT to Niagara Falls NY and back to VT. I would love to have a basic "Autopilot" settings, that kept me at speed, in my lane on the highway, and not running into a car in front of me. I would be OK with having to change lanes myself and other more "advanced tasks" but the hours of tedium is just hard on my eyes, and my concentration. Just to be able to take my hand of the wheel and even for 5 or 10 minutes, with my attention off the road would make that time far more comfortable.

Re:Who wants a driverless tesla roadster? (1)

BradleyAndersen (1195415) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657571)

Vermont!
-- some guy who grew up in Burlington, and frequently drives back through the freak, constant snowstorm that is Buffalo

There are three things I hate: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657233)

1. Lists
2. Irony
3. Niggers

Vision systems are probably the future (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657239)

IIRC the Grand Challenge winner use a computer vision system, augmented with LIDAR because computer vision is still an evolving field with plenty of risk. I am excited, autonomous navigation in cars seems like the sort of thing that is actually achievable without some major tech breakthrough. Sure it's too expensive currently, but the costs will come down as engineers optimize the system.

Re:Vision systems are probably the future (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657701)

IIRC the Grand Challenge winner use a computer vision system, augmented with LIDAR because computer vision is still an evolving field with plenty of risk.

No, LIDAR works fine, but there's a range problem because of the power limits needed for eye safety. For a nanosecond, a pulsed LIDAR must far outshine the sun.

Re:Vision systems are probably the future (1)

cellurl (906920) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658031)

anyone seen any source code from "the grand challenge". I tried to find it, but didn't have any luck.

Camera's have more problems than Lidar (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657243)

While cameras may be more cost effective than Lidar, they have problems that lidar doesn't. For example, what does the camera sensor do when it's under direct sunlight and can't make sense of what it's seeing? What about rain / fog? I have a feeling google is has the right idea here.

Re: Camera's have more problems than Lidar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657271)

Now if only they had gaydar, I could drive it San Fran safely.

Re:Camera's have more problems than Lidar (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657315)

While cameras may be more cost effective than Lidar, they have problems that lidar doesn't. For example, what does the camera sensor do when it's under direct sunlight and can't make sense of what it's seeing? What about rain / fog? I have a feeling google is has the right idea here.

What do *you* do when you're driving and there is direct sunlight in your eyes, or you encounter rain/fog?

If you could get the software to be half as near as good as peoples eyes and simply take peoples stupidity out of the equation then you'd end up with a system that was miles ahead of manual driving.

Re:Camera's have more problems than Lidar (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657783)

What do *you* do when you're driving and there is direct sunlight in your eyes, or you encounter rain/fog?

If it's a route they drive often, the typical human answer to this is "use the force"...

Re:Camera's have more problems than Lidar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657387)

and what happens when a bug goes SPLAT on the camera lens?

Camera Based? (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657265)

Lidar might be expensive, but it gives you the shape and depth of the surrounding environment. Camera based imaging will have a harder time determining the distance to the objects in views. I would think the lidar would also have an advantage with fog or rain that might hinder a camera based system much more. In the end I think having multiple systems that corroborate their view of the world and cover for each other when one has difficulty getting a good sense of the environment is the best way to go. But if it used as a simple self-parking system or a souped up cruise control you might be able to get a camera based system to work well enough in most circumstances.

Major problem here (4, Interesting)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657267)

The problem is called "humans". Humans love to bask in the feeling of being in control, especially when it comes to cars. With planes, this was different, especially as these from their beginnings on were called "flying machines", i.e. machines made to fly ( with ). I remember that my grandma, born in 1900, never ever called them differently. Cars, OTOH, have never been called "driving machines". And this is where the crux is hidden: humans want to control their cars. I guess it will remain so for a long time.

Re:Major problem here (5, Insightful)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657299)

Some humans want control of their car, but many would rather do other things. The idea of automobiles being an extension of the driver did not really develop until car companies started advertising vehicles that way in the 1950s. Before that automobiles tended to be seen as either luxury items or utility vehicles.

Re:Major problem here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43658139)

And we who still want to be, you know, in control of *our own fucking lives*, and not be brain-dead cattle, think your argument of "But everyone's a lazy-ass 'tard nowadays! Get with the times!" is as retarded as the people it creates.

Re:Major problem here (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657367)

Cars, OTOH, have never been called "driving machines".

Remind me again what BMW's tagline is?

Re:Major problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657473)

Built for douchebags by douchebags.

Re:Major problem here (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657589)

WOOOSH

Re:Major problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657781)

Was that the sound of the flying machine or the joke?

Re:Major problem here (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657403)

Cars, OTOH, have never been called "driving machines".

I take it you've never seen a BMW ad; their main tagline is (and has been, for as long as I can remember*) "BMW: The Ultimate Driving Machine"

* I wasn't around way back when they were making engines for the Luftewaffe.

Re:Major problem here (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657499)

The lack of control in an airplane is one of the reasons why the newest "anti-"terrorism security measures are so easy to implement in the airport.

People want control. Period.

Re:Major problem here (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657619)

Humans love to bask in the feeling of being in control, especially when it comes to cars.

Specifically, there's an important cognitive bias at work here, in that people feel safer about things they control than about things they don't control. That's why people who feel perfectly safe driving feel unsafe riding a commercial aircraft, even though planes are much much safer than driving. That's also why geeks feel comfortable with computers, while non-geeks are frequently scared of them - geeks know how to control those machines, non-geeks don't.

Re:Major problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657801)

The reason I feel unsafe in a commercial aircraft is because they've proven that a system such as the one Musk proposes where the autopilot cuts out and hands control to the pilot when it doesn't know what to do often results in the plane crashing and burning (or splashing and sinking, in the AF447 case) as the pilots have to drop their coffee, stop chatting up the stewardess and figure out how to fly the plane when the computer can't. Since a car autopilot won't give you several minutes to resolve the problem before you crash and is more likely to give you several milliseconds to do so, it really has to work 100% of the time, not 99.99%.

Re:Major problem here (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658007)

The reason I feel unsafe in a commercial aircraft is because they've proven that a system such as the one Musk proposes where the autopilot cuts out and hands control to the pilot when it doesn't know what to do often results in the plane crashing and burning (or splashing and sinking, in the AF447 case)

It's really quite simple, if you compare 1 statistic: Death per billion km
Air - 0.05 Car - 3.1

It feels safer to deal with your stupidity or the stupidity of the drivers around you rather than potential pilot stupidity, but it's simply wrong.

Re:Major problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657623)

Passengers already give up control. Same as on a bus or train. Handing it over to AI for any of those is less personal than for a car. They are all machines but the car is the only one you can have direct control over. You're already a passenger in everything else.

Re:Major problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657645)

There are a lot of people who are unable to drive for medical reasons. Self-driving cars would be a tremendous boon for them.

Re:Major problem here (1)

aztektum (170569) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657731)

I think it's more we're conditioned to feel that way about our cars, thanks to decades of advertising designed to do so.

The reality is that we have very little control over our driving. Collectively we're spending billions of hours each year stuck in traffic. We burn billions of gallons of gas going nowhere.

Replace that with a largely automated system that can route around traffic issues, reduces the number of cars needed on the road, and you actually return control to folks.

Plus cars are old technology. The younger crowd doesn't really care any more (more and more teens are waiting on getting a license until absolutely necessary). Start advertising automated cars that do the work while you fuck around on your iPad and I think your problem becomes moot.

Re:Major problem here (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658019)

Humans love to bask in the feeling of being in control, especially when it comes to cars. With planes, this was different

Haven't met many pilots, have you?

Ugh... Camera based? Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657283)

That kind of comment can only be made by someone who has never seen the depth map from stereo, or know the kind of computing power required to get even that pathetic depth information.
Personally, I'd barely trusts the Lidar system to get it right.
Feel free to try it though, rather than take my word for it.

Er, TFA? (5, Funny)

raddan (519638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657297)

I know we're probably not going to read the articles, but... can't we have a link just for old time's sake?

Cameras make more sense (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657545)

You should teach a car to drive like you teach a human, equip the system with vision and analyse the visual input to control output. Granted I'm not working auto driving systems but it would seem to me that you just need to analyse the road surface to figure out if your centred in your lane and then analyse the environment around you to figure out what your close to. I've done a bit of image / video computer autonomous analyse system design in the past and the technology exists to do this, it's not overly expensive or hard to learn so my question is why aren't they using a system closer to this for the auto drive car?

If I'm completely wrong then okay but could someone describe why it's not possible or who's already doing it.

LIDARm but not Google's LIDAR (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657555)

As someone who's actually done this stuff, LIDAR gives solid data, but is range-limited. Cameras have more ambiguous results. Cameras are most useful when things are going well, as on a highway under good conditions. That was Stanford's approach in the Grand Challenge. All their vision system really did was answer the question "is the near section of road (within LIDAR range) like the far section of road"? If the LIDAR said the near section was OK to drive on and the vision system said the far section was like the near section, then the vehicle could speed up and out-drive the LIDAR range. That sped up travel on good sections of road.

Google is using Velodyne LIDAR units, which are effective but an expensive mechanical kludge. A better approach is from Advanced Scientific Concepts [advancedsc...ncepts.com] , which has an eye-safe flash LIDAR. No moving parts.

ASC's units cost about $100K each, but that's because they're hand-made for DoD. The technology isn't inherently expensive if made in volume. It uses custom imaging ICs, and because they're made by tens, not millions, they cost far too much. If the cost can be brought down, the vehicle can have multiple LIDAR units around the car to get full coverage, rather than one big spinning thing up on the roof.

Millimeter radar is also useful. It's good to have a Dopper anticollision radar as a backup system. It provides an unambiguous "rapidly approaching big solid object" signal. We had one of those on our DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle as a backup to the fancier LIDAR system.

Re:LIDARm but not Google's LIDAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657863)

It's funny that you mention 747s. If you were a mechanical engineer who worked on jet engines, you would know exactly how easily things can go wrong in a jet engine. The temperature in a jet engine is perilously close to the melting point of the material. My brother happened to work on jet engines- he's seen every kind of catastrophic material failure under the sun. And a pilot can't exactly "take over" for engine failure. As an electrical engineer, I know far too well that it's very easy for the cars of today to have an electrical malfunction what with their complexity. I drive them anyway.

Re:LIDARm but not Google's LIDAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657973)

Google's Lidar is not as good as its Gaydar.

Hell no (0)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657579)

I work in IT, I am well aware of just how fallible software is and how many problems there are with firmware, hardware, malware and everything else that impacts the whole works. The last thing I want is a computer driving my car. I'll stick with computers managing my fuel, brakes, handling, engine, air, exhaust, entertainment, electronics and maintenance tracking. Let a computer fly a 747 up in the sky, full of passengers, sure, it's miles from anything with professional pilots ready to take over. Let a computer drive my car on the ground with all of the idiots driving around, hell no!

Self Driving cars is going no where (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657597)

The liability of self-driving cars will prevent this from ever being offered as anything but a gimmick. The real future is in computer assisted driving where the car helps the human driver prevent accidents.

Plane / Car Distinction (4, Informative)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657687)

Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.

I like the notion, and it's a great frame of reference for consideration. One major distinction between planes and cars: When a plane is on autopilot in a relatively sparse chunk of sky, the time between sensor warning and twisted burning wreckage is tens of seconds to minutes. Most of the time in an ordinary flight plan the plane can wander hundreds of feet without a problem. On a typical chunk of sparsely populated two lane highway, however, If your car's autopilot travels twenty feet out of its lane -- things get exciting very quickly.

Moreover, most airplanes are like long-haul trucks -- they spend most of their miles in transit between heavy traffic areas. A major chunk of American automotive miles are spent with other vehicles within a few dozen feet.

Re:Plane / Car Distinction (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657927)

Also, all planes have some at least 2 highly trained professionals sitting in the cabin overseeing everything. People who have to log a minimum number of flight hours in order to keep their skills sharp. In the event of a pre "burning wreckage" moment, they can take control if necessary.

I can't see your average car driver (who probably is not paying attention on the road) do the same, especially if they have gotten a bit rusty from constantly allowing the car to drive for them.

Autopilots for cars and planes are a world apart, and not due to a technical reason (unless you expect to train drivers like we train pilots now). That is why I don't think we will see driving cars soon, at least ones that carry passengers. I possibly can image autonomous delivery trucks, etc... in the future. Especially if they work at night when traffic is light to non existant.

Re:Plane / Car Distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657991)

Also, all planes have some at least 2 highly trained professionals sitting in the cabin overseeing everything. People who have to log a minimum number of flight hours in order to keep their skills sharp. In the event of a pre "burning wreckage" moment, they can take control if necessary.

And they still regularly crash when it happens.

Re:Plane / Car Distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43658051)

Try this experiment: set your cruise control to 5-10 miles below speed limit, and drive in the right (slow) lane. Chances are, you can drive for 10 hours on an interstate without encountering anything exciting (like a lane shift). You're right about city driving; but highway driving can probably already be done on autopilot for large stretches of a journey.

Can't happen too soon for me... (1)

pbasch (1974106) | about a year and a half ago | (#43657789)

And as soon as it has voice control and feedback, I'll want that too. Me: "Car, take me to work. And take Alvarado." Car: "Do you want me to take the 10 to Hoover?" Me: "Sure, if traffic isn't too bad. And queue up 'Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me.'" Car: "Sure thing. Buckle up!"

Let me escape the tyranny of screen interfaces AS WELL as the tyranny of driving.

Hey, Musk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657835)

How about toning down the ADHD and maybe getting ONE thing done first?

Re:Hey, Musk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657919)

You mean like Paypal which he sold?

Or SpaceX which is actually delivery commercial payloads?

Or like Tesla which actually produces cars and is starting to turn a profit?

Re:Hey, Musk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43658075)

Paypal was luck. SpaceX isn't doing anything that hasn't been done before, and Tesla : "In 2003, two independent teams, consisting of Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright on the one hand, and Musk and JB Straubel on the other, both sought to commercialize the T-Zero prototype electric sports car created by AC Propulsion"

Can we stop the hero worship? What about the other people and their money? He's at best 20% of Tesla.

YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43657955)

A perfect circle of "not my fault"! I'm gonna get me some popcorn and watch the blame game if this happens.

"You ran out of gas"
-"no you did"

Sick of this over-promoted hipster (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43658133)

If his name was Joe Smith nobody would care about him. People get off on talking about him because they get to use the word "Musk" in normal conversation. Can he just go away, like Kim Dotcom, or any of the other "personalities" ?

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