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Concern Mounts Over Self-Driving Cars Taking Away Freedom

timothy posted about a year ago | from the shattering-your-illusions-at-high-speed dept.

AI 662

Lucas123 writes "Opinions in the blogosphere are building and run the gamut on self-driving automobile technology, but a survey supports the trend that most don't want their driving independence usurped by cameras, sensors and an onboard computer. The survey of British drivers last year commissioned by Bosch, a Germany-based supplier of automotive components, found that most would not buy a self-driving car. Only 29% of respondents said thay would consider buying a driverless car and only 21% said they would feel safe as a passenger in a self-driving car. David Alexander, an analyst at Navigant Research, pointed out that while driving yourself is often preferable, there's a lot of "grunt" driving that would be better handled by a computer. Navigant recently released a report stating that by 2035, 95 million autonomous cars will be sold every year."

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As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (5, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#44647249)

I'm in.

I would pay a lot of money to be able to drive distracted, asleep, or inebriated legally. Right now none of those are legal and one isn't even possible.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#44647265)

I'm not even too concerned about safety, as long as it's safe enough, the benefits would far outweigh the risk if it was as safe as the bottom quarter of drivers (which I am above, with 300 or so thousand miles, and no accidents).

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (5, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#44647513)

Technically most of the bottom quarter think they are in the top half.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (5, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | about a year ago | (#44647371)

Count me in as well. I do not actually like driving. That's a lot of wasted time for me. I'd rather do so many more things during that driving time. I could read all my commute time. Or even play need for speed! :)

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#44647403)

Count me in as well. I do not actually like driving. That's a lot of wasted time for me. I'd rather do so many more things during that driving time. I could read all my commute time. Or even play need for speed! :)

I don't like driving during my commute, however I do like driving for fun. Unfortunately driving for fun is beyond my economic means these days. Gas is 6 or 7 times what it was when I was a teenager.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (4, Interesting)

DutchUncle (826473) | about a year ago | (#44647409)

... and while incapable (my wife had a cast on her right ankle for multiple months), and while incapacitated (elder relatives are OK in sunlight but not in rain or darkness).

As another poster noted: As long as I can take manual control when I want to. But for law enforcement: It needs a mode that is PROVABLY un-take-controllable so that we can show we KNEW we were sleepy, inebriated, incapable, etc. and "handed over the keys".

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647443)

Just sit in the passenger seat. If it doesn't need you to drive, it definitely doesn't need you in the driver's seat.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44647511)

But us Americans want to look in control. Even if we're not. That's why we elect politicians.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (3, Interesting)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#44647661)

You win all the US internets for today.

Now please assume the party escort submission position. The GlaDos (definitely not the NSA) is warming up the.... I mean is baking you a cake.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#44647441)

I would pay a lot of money to be able to drive distracted, asleep, or inebriated legally.

Wait, you actually want the computer to override you while you're driving? I don't think it should work that way.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44647621)

Some cars already do work that way. They have automatic breaking when the car senses that you will hit something in front of you.

It would make no sense for it to work the other way round. A human's reaction time is far too slow to intervene when (s)he thinks the car computer will do something bad.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (5, Insightful)

ImdatS (958642) | about a year ago | (#44647539)

In fact, I wouldn't call it only 29%, but rather already 29%.

The reason is that the discussion about driverless cars is so new/recent that I wouldn't even have expected that many people saying that they would consider buying a driverless car.

My dream transport-solution is: (a) not owning a car at all; (b) call a car anytime I need one; (c) getting driven (automatically) to any place I want; (d) I pay for the time I use the car and can leave it anywhere in the country (obviously, in a village/town/city or so).

If we had a system like that and everybody would use it, it could be the solution to most of our traffic problems, including congestion (cars can communicate information faster and react faster than humans), parking problems, and more. Most of the time, cars are just parked somewhere and standing idle anyway.

So, yes, count me in...

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#44647645)

My dream transport-solution is: (a) not owning a car at all; (b) call a car anytime I need one; (c) getting driven (automatically) to any place I want; (d) I pay for the time I use the car and can leave it anywhere in the country (obviously, in a village/town/city or so).

So, a taxi then.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (1)

dlingman (1757250) | about a year ago | (#44647677)

Vinge covered this in Rainbows End - auto taxis were used in most places.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (4, Insightful)

coyote_oww (749758) | about a year ago | (#44647545)

Me too. People are not actually reading about the vehicles. They are reacting to what they think the vehicle will be like, rather than what they actually do.

My mom is approaching the point when we're going to have to take away the keys. She's fine for most things, she's just a bit indecisive, hesitant, and, well, wobbly when driving. Taking away the keys means she needs to live with someone, be given rides everywhere etc. Completely unnecessary when the technology exists *RIGHT NOW* to enable her to remain independent. Not allowing/adopting this seem just cruel to me.

Guys! YOU CAN TURN AUTO-DRIVE OFF!!!!

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (2, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44647553)

Until your car reports to the police that you are sleeping, distracted, or inebriated while inside the vehicle. Your car then nicely pulls over and won't let you out until they police arrive. Even better (and more likely) as you head to that rally supporting the first amendment, your car simply refuses to go and takes you to the local strip mall.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647557)

Exactly, not having to manually drive on my Southern California commute would be an awesome addition to my freedom. If I really feel a irresistible urge to drive, really drive, there are plenty of race tracks around where people can go for a reasonable fee, which would be a both safer and more fun to satisfy those urges. I bet there would be a big upswing in demand for race tracks open to the public and plenty of new businesses to cater to that need.

Re:As soon as the smart car counts as the driver (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#44647627)

I would pay a lot of money to be able to drive distracted, asleep, or inebriated legally. Right now none of those are legal and one isn't even possible.

There are documented cases of people driving while essentially alseep after taking Ambian...

Amusing scenario... (5, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about a year ago | (#44647275)

Driving a manually operated car through a hoard of autonomous cars. Splitting two lanes, step on the gas. The autonomous cars detect your car impinging on their lane, so they move out of the way, and the sea of autonomous cars parts like a wave in front of you.

They'll need a lot of algorithms to deal with the unexpected, and people who deliberately want to mess with them, heh.

Re:Amusing scenario... (3, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44647341)

Driving a manually operated car through a hoard of autonomous cars. Splitting two lanes, step on the gas. The autonomous cars detect your car impinging on their lane, so they move out of the way, and the sea of autonomous cars parts like a wave in front of you.

They'll need a lot of algorithms to deal with the unexpected, and people who deliberately want to mess with them, heh.

That kind of driving would be dangerous and illegal; whether you can do it without a crash or not. I'd assume that driverless cars would have cameras to gather evidence in case of an accident, because the passengers might not be paying attention, so you'd probably have a dozen videos being sent to the police, enough for a conviction.

Re:Amusing scenario... (2)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44647465)

I live in California where it is perfectly legal for motorcycles to do this, and a motorcycle would have the exact same effect on traffic.

Re:Amusing scenario... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647481)

So you want to pass a law that limits:

* How often I can change lane?
* At what speed I need to travel above the minimum speed?
* What maximum variance I must have over a certain distance when I'm driving?

I can change lanes as often I feel it is safe to do so. I can accelerate and slow down as I see fit and safe for the current road situation. If I see a plastic bag flying on the road, I can step on the brakes to avoid a possible hazard.

Re:Amusing scenario... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647547)

so you'd probably have a dozen videos being sent to the police, enough for a conviction.

which brings up the whole Google Glass privacy issue.

how long are these videos from driverless cars kept? Are they subject to a supoena by law enforcement just because your car happens to be in the area? How long before these are automatically routinely collected?

how do you know the video is accurate? Who calibrates and authenticates the cameras?

these are not made to be evidence collecting devices, but it isn't hard to see where they would be used to convict or exonerate someone

Re:Amusing scenario... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647673)

That kind of driving would be dangerous and illegal;

WRONG !

Your comment is a good example of why it is better to keep your
mouth shut and be thought a fool than it is to open your mouth and
confirm that you are indeed a fool.

Lane splitting is perfectly legal in California and it does nothing to
impede the flow of traffic, nor is it unsafe.

Re:Amusing scenario... (1)

Roachie (2180772) | about a year ago | (#44647415)

This is why we cant have nice things.

Re:Amusing scenario... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647483)

But why do that? Right now you can just add flashing blue lights and a siren and zip through traffic. Works fine.

Until there's a cop car. Then obviously you're going to lose your license, get a fine or maybe even go to jail. Still, it was awesome for the few minutes that it worked.

I don't understand why people think that if they're a jerk in a new and unexpected way everyone's going to be impressed rather than stomping on them.

Re:Amusing scenario... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44647493)

Kids will be even worse. Once they find a way to make the AI panic they won't stop until the AI code is updated.

The whole thing is hand waving anyhow. They aren't even close to being able to build one. Requires strong AI.

Re:Amusing scenario... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#44647533)

Then the police arrest you and use the camera and lidar data from 100 cars to make a 3d image of the driver just to prove it was you. :P

Re:Amusing scenario... (1)

coyote_oww (749758) | about a year ago | (#44647611)

The "algorithm" is a police officer, for whom the masses will also part, and cars that not only move out of the way when they detect impingement, but record video and contact aforementioned police.

Freedom? (1, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#44647295)

Freedom has become a nonsense word. It means whatever you want it to mean apparently. Might as well say shamalalalalala ding dong.

another thing to thank the knownothings for.

MOD PARENT UP!!!1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647519)

OMG FREEDOM FRIES AND STUFF

Its the so stupids and tee parties people. TEE BAGGERS LOLOLOLOOL

Re:Freedom? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44647537)

No kidding. People are acting as if you aren't just behaving like computer when you drive now - the route is limited to prescribed turns and lanes, there are signs instructing you on speed, when to stop, when to go, etc. All the human is doing is memorizing the rules of the road and following them until they reach their destination. Humans are not as good as computers at following directions and can't react as fast. We're better at pattern recognition and responding to unexpected scenarios, but those advantages are melting away steadily. This has nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with technology slowly getting better. Did the invention of cruise control cost us some freedom? How about autopilots or collision detection for airplanes? Goodness, you can still go wherever you want whenever you want, you just don't need to steer anymore.

Re:Freedom? (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44647649)

I agree with this. While I would love a care that will just go where I tell it, I would like to have the option of driving it myself as well. I can't see manufacturers taking that option away, as long as they even pay lip service to giving the consumers what they want, unless the Government tells them otherwise. Too bad they seem to be so ready to jump when the Gov. tells them.

But that's crazy talk, right? What are they going to do, tell us to buy insurance too?

In (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44647299)

I love driving. Everything about it, but even I want it. Better driving from everyone. Safer, better traffic, and you can play board games with the family while driving down the road.
All around awesome.

I wouldn't feel safe. I know I would be safer, but at first it would feel dangerous. That's from years of driving and being driven.

Re:In (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#44647475)

Agreed. I just hope my current car lasts until these start rolling out. As much as I hate Apple I would even buy an self driving iCar. And as long as it takes me where I want to go I don't see where the loss of freedom comes in.

Re:In (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44647551)

I enjoy driving as well. I drive a stick with very little of the modern convinces found in modern cars, like a tv, coffee maker, refrigerator, or sofa.

In reality, as soon as autonomous cars come around at a reasonable cost, most people will acquire them, put in a 50" flat screen tv, and let it drive wherever it needs to go. As soon as driver less cars no longer require a licensed driver, families will send their pre teens to the movies in the car.

One thing we can expect is increased traffic, pollutions, and fuel prices as driving is no longer down time.

As always the naysayers are looking back to a world that never existed. When cars were fully manual not everyone drove. Now that drivers and cars are not directly linked, more people can drive and more do. With power steering, anti-lock breaks, traction control, automatic transmission safe driving become easier and less skilled people are more likely to continue driving their entire lives Over the past 40 years traffic fatalities as fraction of miles driven has fallen by a third.

I completely agree. (5, Funny)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year ago | (#44647303)

I don't want to give up my driving freedom. Having seen how the rest of you drive, though, I want all of you to give up your driving freedom because I swear, I'd drive better sleepy, drunk, and texting all at the same time than some of you.

Giving up driving is a price I'm willing to pay if I don't have to risk my life on your competence behind the wheel.

Re:I completely agree. (1)

PIBM (588930) | about a year ago | (#44647449)

With enough good self-driving cars, you could automatically assemble car-trains to reduce consumption, and with a wide enough acceptance, they could be allowed to accelerate up to much greater speed than is usually allowed on regulars highways for non-automatic cars. Then, when you don't need them, once at work, you could allow them to be used as automated taxis and get some income out of it.

Re:I completely agree. (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44647647)

What happens if some terrorist gains control of the lead car, and sends it over a cliff. If your friend jumps off a cliff, would you?

Re:I completely agree. (1)

coyote_oww (749758) | about a year ago | (#44647683)

Along your lines, the two problems with current auto-drive legistlation (both based on assuming computers aren't as good as people):

1) Requiring a driver to be ready to take over from the computer at all times, and
2) Not allowing computer controlled cars to decide on their own speed (with comms to the police to verify that its actually a computer controlled car). The ability to get from A to B faster if you let the more reliable and safer computer do the driving is an excellent incentive to get people to give up control.

And everyone should always remember ALL AUTO-DRIVES PROPOSED CAN BE TURNED OFF. So, if your in the mood, you can drive for pleasure. You just don't HAVE to drive.

Re:I completely agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647485)

In other news, 80% of the population are convinced that they are better drivers than the average person (exact statistic paraphrased)...

Re:I completely agree. (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year ago | (#44647619)

Exactly. My willingness to give up the keys is a reflection that those other incompetent drivers probably feel the same way about me, and they might even be right. Truth be told, I was a horrible driver when I was young. Of course, I thought I was excellent.

Re:I completely agree. (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44647595)

I'll freely admit that I've made major mistakes behind the wheel, and I'm just lucky not to have encountered another car. I've missed red lights and stop signs. I've been fixated on a dangerous swerving driver only to ignore my blind spot. I've been so busy looking left that I missed a pedestrian crossing from the left. Shit happens. I'm human. I have no doubt that computers will someday drive more safely.

Re:I completely agree. (1)

ImdatS (958642) | about a year ago | (#44647601)

I don't want to give up my driving freedom. Having seen how the rest of you drive, though, I want all of you to give up your driving freedom because I swear, I'd drive better sleepy, drunk, and texting all at the same time than some of you.

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers. --- Item 12 on the list of "16 THINGS THAT IT TOOK ME OVER 50 YEARS TO LEARN - from Dave Barry, Nationally Syndicated Columnist (found on the Internet a loooong time ago).

Not interested. (0)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44647305)

I've seen the writing on the wall, there's nothing desirable about the things that would come with such a technology. It's bad enough that the NSA tracks us in every other respect.

Self-driving cars are for the next generation... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647309)

...of drivers.

Not for current drivers. I imagine there was a large subset of oldies that didn't want to give up the freedom of riding their horse.

Safety (5, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#44647311)

Except that self-driving cars are already greatly safer than those driven by humans. If such a car doesn't cooperate with government surveillance, it doesn't degrade your freedom -- and as an useful tool, actually improves it. You can do whatever you want when travelling...

Re:Safety (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647401)

So how fucking likely is it that a self-driving car won't be govt. controlled?

Re:Safety (5, Insightful)

DutchUncle (826473) | about a year ago | (#44647435)

If such a car doesn't cooperate with government surveillance, it doesn't degrade your freedom . .

"If". Such a small word, to express so much hope.

Re:Safety (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44647623)

Of course they also cost a fortune and look like a moon buggy :)

Zzzz... (1)

donut1005 (982510) | about a year ago | (#44647313)

As long as I have the option to take manual control at any time, I would LOVE a self driving car. I took mass transit for a year and LOVED being able to divert my attention away from where I was going for the duration. Reading, sleeping, or whatever would go over great in my self driving car. Like I said, as long as I can take over manually whenever I want.

Re:Zzzz... (1)

sporkbender (986804) | about a year ago | (#44647377)

That will be interesting if they'll publish an API to work with.

Premature Panic (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647317)

Despite this technology not existing yet, it scares the shit outta me!

Can you imagine my self-driving car crashing? Next I would be loaded into a self-driving ambulance and taken to an automated hospital where a self-operating robot might cut off the wrong leg. I'll be right back, my Roomba is stuck in the corner again.

Re:Premature Panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647487)

This technology does exist, but it is just not available to the general public yet. Google has driverless cars taking google maps pictures all around the country. These cars of course have passengers that can take control at any time but they are "driverless" for the most part.

I'll take one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647321)

I've had my fill of driving and I'd love a car I could just kick back in and go to sleep because after 2.2 million miles OTR driving becomes very dull.

Can't wait for self-driving cars (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647337)

There are people who have medical or other reasons which make it so they can't drive. For them a self-driving car gives a huge amount of freedom: freedom to get yourself from point A to point B without relying on favors or public transit or taxis.

Re:Can't wait for self-driving cars (1)

dosius (230542) | about a year ago | (#44647491)

It would me certainly.

I have a tendency not to notice things in my field of vision, so I'd be a danger on the road.

Insurance companies... (5, Interesting)

babymac (312364) | about a year ago | (#44647347)

Just wait until insurance companies start requiring automated driving. That is likely to be decades away, but I think they will be a big factor in the push toward driverless vehicles. The irony of this is that ultimately the need for auto insurance will decline dramatically once accident rates plummet. At that point I think we're likely to see auto insurance become the domain of the auto manufacturers rather than the auto owners.

Re:Insurance companies... (4, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about a year ago | (#44647461)

Actually the biggest driver (no pun intended) will be people themselves. Think about it, do you buy cars where you have to brace yourself or do you choose the model with the automatically deploying air bags? do you buy the car with all manual brakes or the one with ABS? do you buy the car with manual headlights or the one with AUTO setting? Do you buy the car with manual radio tuning buttons or the one with SEEK forward and backward functions?

Ditto for newer features. If you ever driven a car with radar activated collision warning (and if no response breaking) you would never go back to one without one.

People will surrender their "freedom" (which in this case is a bullshit choice of term) for the safety of a car that drives himself, just like you, along with the rest of us, sacrificed the "freedom" of your ice box for a fridge that turns itself on and off. Come to think of it, that is the complete opposite of "sacrificing freedom" we actually stopped the slavery of having to feed an ice box by having a machine take over.

Same goes for an automatically driven car. Al you are surrendering is your mechanical input to the machine. You are no longer a cog in the driving system. Yay for (real) freedom!

Re:Insurance companies... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44647567)

You are no longer a cog in the driving system. Yay for (real) freedom!

I'm really looking forward to a car where the front seats can rotate into a rear-facing position, and a card table pops up from the floor.

Anybody who's done 13-hour road trips with the kids in the back of the car knows what I'm talking about (and will likely agree with your characterization).

Re:Insurance companies... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#44647471)

As long as insurance is required by the government, there is no reason for the rates to drop, even if they never have to pay out a dime. They can charge whatever they want and legally you just have to pay it or go to jail if you get caught driving without.

Re:Insurance companies... (3, Insightful)

MooseTick (895855) | about a year ago | (#44647651)

"As long as insurance is required by the government, there is no reason for the rates to drop, even if they never have to pay out a dime."

Your own sentence proves your wrong. Ig GEIKO, Allstate, or someone else charges you $2000 a year and never needs to pay out, someone else will start a new insurance company that only charges $200, knowing they won't ever have to pay out.

Re:Insurance companies... (2)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#44647529)

I think the changes to our society would be even greater. There wouldn't be any need for most people to own a car. Once it scales up it would be much more cost effective to just summon one with your pocket / wrist computer that would take you where you want to go for a fee.

Re:Insurance companies... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44647571)

Just wait until insurance companies start requiring automated driving. That is likely to be decades away, but I think they will be a big factor in the push toward driverless vehicles. The irony of this is that ultimately the need for auto insurance will decline dramatically once accident rates plummet. At that point I think we're likely to see auto insurance become the domain of the auto manufacturers rather than the auto owners.

Well, wouldn't autonomous driving shift liability from the driver of the car to the manufacturer? If I wreck driving my car, I am responsible. But if my car wrecks while under the control of a manufacturer's algorithm, then I cannot be at fault. The manufacturer would be. That would require them to purchase insurance as protection from lawsuits and liability. Now, what I could see happening is autonomous cars having a setting to allow manual driving. States could then put on the books that to drive manually you have to carry insurance. This would keep the insurance companies from fighting autonomous cars, because they would get premiums from the manufacturer as well as from those that prefer to drive manually (so in many cases they will get paid twice for the same vehicle). What I wonder about is what autonomous cars will do to the antique/classic car market. They might get banned from the road, or prices might go up (non-autonomous/monitored/whatever advertised as a feature) or down(can only be driven in certain places/at certain times, reducing value and utility) dramatically.

The future of driverless cars looks like a bus (5, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | about a year ago | (#44647357)

If I had a truly self-driving car, I would rent it out 23/7. My own personal taxi company. After all, I only need my car for about an hour a day on average. Maybe RelayRides will expand to accommodate this business model- I block out times when I need my car, and when someone books it for a ride, it drives off, takes them where they want to go, then comes back and parks in my spot. Or maybe I decide that since I only need a car for an hour a day, I personally don't need a car at all, and can rent one from the pool of public cars if I need to go somewhere.

We might not have flying cars, but the driverless car is now a legal problem, not a problem of unreasonable expense or technological ability. We have the technology to build them now, and mass-produced, probably for less than $60,000 a piece. We also have systems for issuing commands remotely over the internet ("car, come here") and systems for renting of personal vehicles (Relayrides, GetAround, Lyft). It is only a matter of time before someone ties them all together and forces the law to change, or the law changes and the floodgates open.

Re:The future of driverless cars looks like a bus (3, Insightful)

babymac (312364) | about a year ago | (#44647447)

Expect to see a lot of competition and lobbying from local taxi authorities to prevent you from doing exactly this. They will argue that it's not safe for individuals to rent their cars out in this way - and to some extent they will have a point. Plus, when your fancy new car comes home with vomit (or worse) all over the interior you're going to be really angry.

Re:The future of driverless cars looks like a bus (1)

sporkbender (986804) | about a year ago | (#44647585)

"Hi Ho Silver, Away!"

Self-driving cars are liberating (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44647367)

It's mass transit without the masses. Imagine your own personal bus, taxi or train. Mass transit is good for many people because it enables travel without so much stress... or at least without the same type of stress and certainly less danger. But among the problems of mass transit is the crowding and congestion which often accompanies more dense populated areas.

I think having HOV lanes replaced with "Automated" lanes, self driving cars are likely to take you anywhere you need to go, respond to traffic problems by dynamically re-routing and generally even out the flow of traffic all over. Even if a driver decides not to participate in the use of self-driving cars, when there are enough self-driving cars, it will likely benefit the non-participants as well.

One caveat is the fact that non-participants will see it as a license to be an even bigger asshole than they were to "other drivers." They would be bigger because they would drive rudely around machines which would, ostensibly, not be offended... (the passengers might though... imagine cutting off a self-driving car and how it might respond)

There are probably a lot of scary scenarios which I haven't considered, but I recall batman movies and the self-driving batmobile and how that could be really useful. A car that will let you get out at your destination then drive away to park somewhere? Awesome... especially if you can notify your car that you are waiting to be picked up and have it arrive in a few moments. There's a lot of awesome there... and some scary.

useless Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647369)

Is this really going to happen...Specially in crowded traffic...These ideas are too far fetched..

Re:useless Idea (2)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year ago | (#44647455)

Of course it's going to happen. Especially in crowded traffic. In those circumstances I'd much rather my life depend on something with a reaction time that will make the moving cars seem almost stationary.

Here's how this should play out:

1) Smart people with lots of money start developing these (happening now)
2) In real life trials, they work, and are statistically safer than human drivers (looks promising...)
3) In time, they're indisputably a lot safer than human drivers (we'll see, but I think this will happen).

Once you get to 3, not switching to driverless cars becomes rather dumb.

different from a bus how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647373)

How is this different from riding in a bus or passenger in someone elses car? In both circumstances you are on a road driving and have absolutely no control over what happens.

Re:different from a bus how? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#44647555)

This was my point about the word "freedom" used in the headline...

How is one losing freedom? You're not losing any freedom to go anywhere. You are still determining the destination. It's different from public transport or being a passenger because you still going from point to point and through a route.

So what is the difference? You're losing the freedom to run someone off the road or get them into an accident. You will still be able to use your middle finger if you like..

Re:different from a bus how? (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year ago | (#44647559)

1) not having to deal with others who are loud, smelly, or otherwise not decent company
2) going wherever you want, whenever you want
3) presumably, self driving cars will be better at driving than we are. If they aren't, we shouldn't adopt the technology and the whole argument is moot.

Machines are better, let them drive (3, Insightful)

silviuc (676999) | about a year ago | (#44647389)

Humans are simply not built for monotonous, repetitive activities. Driving is one of those. If you look at the main cause of accidents there is rarely faults in the machinery it's humans that are either sleepy, drunk or just plain dumb. I really do want to see smart roads and smart cars.

Ugh we really need to learn to let machines do the jobs that we simply can't do well in a consistent manner.

Overcoming the Fear of the New (5, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | about a year ago | (#44647395)

This reminds me of when the internet was new and my relatives were amazed when I told them I did most of my Christmas shopping online. They couldn't believe that I trusted web sites on the internet with my credit card number and they said they had absolutely no interest in doing that. The very next year, most of those same relatives were raving about how convenient it was to shop at home and not fight car and foot traffic to buy gifts. The point is, people fear new things that they don't understand, but once they see the benefits and convenience of new technologies, it usually isn't long before they consider life without that technology as primitive.

Manual vs Automatic (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#44647405)

If you asked that question in the early 1950s, I'm sure it would have similiar results and apprehensions.

Re:Manual vs Automatic (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44647581)

They were right. Slushboxes suck. Slushbox drivers, can't drive.

All whio say they dont want it.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647411)

Are probably the idiots that shouldn't be driving anyhow!

Self-driving cars CREATE liberty for some folks. (2)

Drewdad (1738014) | about a year ago | (#44647421)

If you can drive, for whatever reason, it seems to me that a self-driving car would be a godsend. Folks with visual impairment, seizure illnesses, physical challenges, etc. are suddenly able to go wherever they want.

Automatization (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | about a year ago | (#44647427)

Changing gears is so fun! Who can possibly buy a car that takes away the freedom of changing gears? Oh, wait...

Re:Automatization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647633)

Who can possibly buy a car that takes away the freedom of changing gears?

People living in driving shitholes. EG, the majority of California; large swaths of New York, and most major metropolitan areas.

Anywhere you're not dealing with some moistened twat yapping away on a cell phone and incoherently braking every two feet instead of travelling at a reasonable, sustained speed whilst in traffic?

You're a tool if you drive an automatic. Automatic's for bitches, son. Bitches. Commie pinko Islamofascist UnAmerican freedom-hatin' bitches.

Who did they ask? (0)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#44647433)

With an aging demographic, I am sure there are many older people who would gladly use a self driven car. The rest of us would be glad about this too ;-)

Self-driving cars? Shut up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647445)

...and take my money!

Sure (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44647451)

I'm willing to get a driverless car........once it's been tested. A lot. Not before.

Re:Sure (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44647525)

I'm willing to get a driverless car........once it's been tested. A lot. Not before.

were only our human drivers so well-tested.

Not until.... (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about a year ago | (#44647469)

As long as the self driving car only slavishly follows the ridiculously low speed limits in most of the northeast it will be more hazard to other drivers than benefit, and it will also be slower.

Re:Not until.... (2)

Bucky24 (1943328) | about a year ago | (#44647579)

While you have a point, I'd note that for people stuck in rush hour traffic, the average speed is usually lower then the posted speed limit anyway.

like digital cameras (2)

MooseTick (895855) | about a year ago | (#44647505)

This reminds me of when digital cameras started becoming mainstream. A lot of people poo pooed them and said they would never replace real cameras. They had to be able to feel and hold pictures. Well, we see how Poloroid and Kodak fared. A similar attitude was had when automatic transmissions first appeared. People wanted the freedom to shift when they wanted and not when some mechanism decided it should be done.

  I expect driverless cars to follow a similar path. Once available, they will slowly be adopted and then a tidal wave. There will always be the Jenny McCarthys of the world who have some freak incident and blame technology on their woes, but 99% of those who can afford a driverless car will use them 99% of the time.

But first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647523)

Lets have autonomous Trains, Planes, Buses etc, i.e, mass transit. May be then we don't need autonomous cars, or may be we will trust them better. I am not going to get into one of these "i have a mind of my own" cars anytime soon or may be ever and I am not concerned about safety as I am about control.

Driving Freedom Never Existed (5, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44647535)

Driving is a privilege, that you have to earn, and comes with a thousand point list of rules and regulations.

You can only drive when they want, where they want, and how they want. So were is there any freedom to loose?

People will hate it until they try it. (3, Interesting)

CmdrPorno (115048) | about a year ago | (#44647565)

You wouldn't believe how many people I know were dead set against satellite navigation systems, how they would be forced on us, etc. Every one of those people now owns one, by their own choice.

I think people have a similar visceral reaction to autonomous vehicles, but once they experience not having to deal with the stress of everyday driving, will change their opinion.

If you (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647575)

If you reject it because driving is fun; your fun doesn't override others' need for safety.

If you are concerned they aren't safe; your concern does you credit, but will eventually be proven wrong.

If you are concerned that one morning, after a scathing tweet about the head of Coca-cola, your car will lock you in, black the windows, and drive you to a secret FEMA detention camp.... well, being paranoid doesn't mean you are wrong.

freedom? (3, Insightful)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44647591)

the freedom to be stupid and cause accidents/deaths? or the freedom to speed at ridiculous speeds(i like this one)? or even the freedom to keep score while running over grandmothers?

Plenty of room for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647637)

For those of you who want to drive yourselves... and who CAN drive yourselves, good on you. Have fun.

I want driverless cars yesterday. I can not drive due to significant eyesight issues. I have places I need and want to go and public transport (assuming it exists) doesn't always go where or when I need it. What's more, I don't care if the driverless cars only go 45 miles an hour; are painted caution orange with black stripes; and, have flashing lights. I don't care if they are the ugliest vehicles on the road as long as they WORK, are safe and are designed to accommodate whatever mobility assistance devices an operator/owner might need.

While I think autonomous vehicles would benefit everyone I would be really happy if they first benefited those that need them most.

I wouldn't buy a driverless car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647653)

But not because of freedom issues. Owning a driverless car is a complete waste of resources. Driverless cars need to be operated as a fleet of taxi like vehicles where you open up an app on your phone, call for a car (you could select from different models.. the cooler it looks, the more expensive it would be) and pay a small fee just for that trip. In a few minutes the car would arrive, take you safely to your destination, and then move on to the next customer.

This way driverless cars could be better utilized to reduce downtime. Cars needing to be parked all day long while you're working would be a thing of the past. Lets replace those big ugly parking lots with grass and trees.

Of course it will (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#44647657)

And that is all part of the plan. Freedom is outdated, haven't you heard?

The loss of end-user control (2)

guanxi (216397) | about a year ago | (#44647663)

It's interesting to watch tech trends change. End-user control used to be a priority; the Internet was built around it. With the rise of widespread connectivity, centrally controlled services have become much simpler and more popular. You don't update the OS on your phone, someone does it for you.

You lose the benefits of end-user control, which include more privacy, freedom (as in speech), openness and innovation. Who will track where you self-driving car takes you? On your iPhone, you only can use apps that Apple approves. Facebook was built on open technologies that emphasized end-user control; it allowed them to create something that the creators of the Internet technologies didn't envision and didn't have to approve; what will be built on Facebook?

I'm not against centralized services completely, and many of these issues could be mitigated if the service providers were motivated to do it, but I am concerned that it's a serious trade-off that's being made without discussion.

Only as an 'accessory', not a primary function (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year ago | (#44647665)

If you're offering it as a greatly enhanced 'cruise control' feature, then yes, I'd be OK with that; being able to take my hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals for a while on long stretches of highway so I can stretch my feet, legs, and arms, and maybe grab a snack or drink something without impacting road safety? Sure, that'd be great. Having manual control of the vehicle be an afterthought, or having no way to manually control the vehicle, or even not having immediate, non-countermandable manual override? Hell, no. I wouldn't accept a vehicle like that for free, even. Get in a cab that has no human operator overseeing the vehicle? I'd sooner play Russian Roulette for peanuts.

What if someday they make it mandatory? I'll be riding a motorcycle all year 'round again, then.

Rename them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44647667)

Not self-driving-cars, but Freedom-Cars... Problem solved...

So the technology arrives at an impasse already? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44647669)

The point of self-driving cars is to reduce accidents. If people won't actually let cars drive themselves because they are too hung up about fearing the very thing that the cars are supposed to prevent, then where do go from here? Just give up on the whole idea entirely?
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