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Nissan's Autonomous Car Now Road Legal In Japan

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the as-long-as-you-don't-program-it-to-run-over-mimes dept.

Transportation 205

Daniel_Stuckey writes "The current test vehicle uses what Nissan calls its 'Advanced Driver Assist System,' which isn't fully autonomous, but rather can be thought of as a really advanced cruise control system. According to the company, the system can keep a car in its own lane, while automatically changing lanes to pass slower vehicles or prepare to exit a freeway, which it can also do automatically. Along with that, the car automatically slows for congestion, and — most impressively in my opinion — can automatically stop at red lights. In other words, the car isn't fully automatic in that you can't simply type in a destination and have it do all the work, but the bulk of driving load is taken care of. Curiously, Nissan's goal appears to be to take sloppy human drivers out of the equation to eliminate road fatalities."

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Netcraft confirms it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974303)

Slashdot is dead

Curiously? (5, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#44974317)

Curiously, Nissan's goal appears to be to take sloppy human drivers out of the equation to eliminate road fatalities."

"We want fewer people to die" is a curious position to take?

Re:Curiously? (4, Informative)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#44974367)

Why? Dead people tend not to buy as many cars.

Re:Curiously? (5, Funny)

BreakBad (2955249) | about a year ago | (#44974451)

They sure do like to vote though.

Re:Curiously? (5, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44974593)

Hell, in Miami they still drive.

Re:Curiously? (3, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#44975387)

In Texas they become presidents!

Re:Curiously? (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about a year ago | (#44975635)

Dead, not brain dead.

Re:Curiously? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44974633)

"We want fewer people to die" is a curious position to take?

Maybe everyone texts while driving in Japan

Re:Curiously? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974897)

Or may be they have a real problem with aging population there.
So helping the drivers as much as possible and gradually going to autonomous isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Re:Curiously? (3, Interesting)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44974737)

As far as general availability of self-driving cars, I see it as a good step. The technology needs to mature much more before we should consider total automation. Keeping a responsible human in the loop is not bad too. Kudos Nissan.

Re: Curiously? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44975123)

This actually worries me, the natural inclination will be for people to stop paying attention while driving. Then when the sutuation has surpassed the cars ability, nobody will be in control and an accident could happen. At that time, it will be assessed as the "robot's" fault and may set back adoption of what is likely to be a safer form of driving.

Re:Curiously? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44975375)

As far as general availability of self-driving cars, I see it as a good step.

Well, once self-driving cars fill the roads in significant numbers, if they'll have provisions for mutual communication and data exchange, you can count on them being more polite to each other than human drivers would.

Re:Curiously? (0)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44975465)

Well, once self-driving cars fill the roads in significant numbers, if they'll have provisions for mutual communication and data exchange, you can count on them being more polite to each other than human drivers would.

What anthropomorphic hogwash. The cars will not be polite. They will behave as they were programmed to.

But here's the rub. My car speaks Toyota HTML, yours speaks Hyundai HTML, and the next guy's speaks Microsoft HTML. Kinda all the same language, somewhat close to the standards, but each manufacturer does it better by doing it their way just a bit.

I spent a wonderful half hour of my life I'll never get back writing with Word some material I wanted to put on the web. I kept indenting some paragraphs and exporting the document as HTML, but the web browser never showed an indent. Then I realized I was looking at it with Mozilla and not IE. Isn't it great that HTML is a standard? Can we survive when our tools that we depend on to keep us alive don't use exactly the same standards?

Re:Curiously? (3, Funny)

EnsilZah (575600) | about a year ago | (#44974841)

What's curious is the fact that this line has nothing to do with the car in the article and actually refers to Nissan's plan to build an army of ninja robots who would take sloppy human drivers out of the equation to eliminate road fatalities.

Re:Curiously? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44974917)

Curiously, Nissan's goal appears to be to take sloppy human drivers out of the equation to eliminate road fatalities."

"We want fewer people to die" is a curious position to take?

A lawyer must have written that. They are drooling, awaiting accidents so they can immediately dump it on tje deep pockets corporations. When it turns out safer, dammit! Oh they will still sue, of course, because that's what they do -- punish companies that make things net safer, in spite of their rhetoric.

Re: Curiously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974921)

In all seriousness, there is nothing curious about that for me. I wouldn't mind an automatic or heavily assisted driving vehicle for myself, sure. But I absolutely want EVERYONE ELSE to have one. I can't remember the last time I commuted home without people meandering into multiple lanes, turning into/through my clearly marked turining lane, or using a very liberal definition of "merge", and I don't think half of them know what a yield sign even means or are aware that they have turn signals.

Re: Curiously? (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#44974969)

Some of us like retaining control of our autonomy and are perfectly capable drivers. This automated car business will end up abused by governments. I want no part of it.

Re: Curiously? (1, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year ago | (#44975209)

I'd worry less about abuses by the gov't, and more about unintentional actions by the car.

The story says it will pass slower traffic. Great. But will it detect that guy you've seen in your rear view mirror switching lanes doing 40mph faster than you? I see a great chance to have a multicar accident just on that one thing.

It's not all that unusual either. I've seen quite a few close calls, where exactly that has happened. Either he takes the grassy median, or the other car swerves back.

If it can't figure out that he's back here, but you did based on observation, now you're going to have him rear ending you, and one of you hitting the slower car(s).

I wonder how it will handle unusual activity, like a car running a stop sign on a perpendicular road, or something not quite car sized like a dog, large bird, child, or object falling off another vehicle. I've seen wheels come off of cars; big rigs throw the tread off a wheel; a rock truck break a driveshaft, part of which went bouncing down the road behind him; and other various things that shouldn't have been on the road. If people get use to the car doing the driving, they *won't* be doing the driving themselves. They'll become more reliant on the fact that the car can do it for them.

Re: Curiously? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44975399)

The story says it will pass slower traffic. Great. But will it detect that guy you've seen in your rear view mirror switching lanes doing 40mph faster than you? I see a great chance to have a multicar accident just on that one thing.

More important, will it realize that the reason the fast lane is empty and everyone is slowing down in your lane is because there is a state trooper with someone pulled over on the left side of the road and your state's law says you must either pull over or slow down when going past him? Will you get to be the next recipient of a ticket from that trooper because your car endangered him?

Re: Curiously? (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#44975735)

Yes, that too. Computers are faster, for sure, but they are far less contextually aware. I don't want hurtle down the highway at 70mph knowing that the only thing between me and an accident are lists of bad assumptions made by cut rate programmers.

We cant even fully automate our trains, and they are fixed point traffic!

Re: Curiously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44975251)

Some of us like retaining control of our autonomy and are perfectly capable drivers. This automated car business will end up abused by governments. I want no part of it.

Yesterday I had some idiot screaming fury at me because HE didn't understand that at a 4-way stop, you take turns in a circle, NOT "opposites go at the same time". He was dead certain that his driving ability was flawless.
Sure, you might be perfectly capable. But from what I've seen, at least 25% of the people driving have no business even possessing a license at all, and a good half the drivers out there are only barely capable.

I feel the same way you do in terms of giving up my autonomy, but on the other hand it would be really nice to be able to go out to the bar, get stinking drunk, and just hop in my car and tell it to take me home... instead of waiting 3 hours for a sleezy cab driver to long-haul me back to my place and try to charge me ten times the normal rate. And then have to do it again first thing in the morning to go get my car.

Re: Curiously? (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#44975785)

That's fine, but I don't want to reduce my safety by trusting it to a badly programmed computer. A human running a stop sign can be accounted for since the human retains control of the vehicle. A badly programmed computer in an automated car cannot.

I am not willing to sacrifice my liberty and freedom for a bit of convenience. The moment a computer is inserted between me and the car I am responsible for, it won't be long before the dirty hands of government bureaucrats and insurance companies leave fingerprints all over it. No thanks. Unfortunately, the prevailing effeminate culture disagrees, which means, at some point, society will have to relearn what it's like to lose their rights in the first place. If the night life was a big part of my lifestyle, I'd move to such an area so I could walk.

Re: Curiously? (3, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#44975411)

The problem is the large percentage of people who *think* they're "perfectly capable drivers", but are not.

And no matter how capable you are, a computer has a faster reaction time.

Re: Curiously? (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44975615)

And no matter how capable you are, a computer has a faster reaction time.

And that's why when you make a mistake with a computer's help, you can do much much more damage than doing it by hand. It takes a long time to shred 100 paper files, and you can figure out after five minutes that it is a mistake and stop, and still have half of them. If you do that to computer files, five minutes later means you have nothing left but the regrets.

I'd go find a reference to the havok created by computer trading on wall street, where instant reaction times lead to financial catastrophe, but I think we probably are all well aware of these stories. Why we want to ignore those stories and assume that a massive system of independent computers would be perfection personified this time, when they've been problematic before, is a mystery. I sense a lot of money to be made for people shilling autonomous vehicles on an unsuspecting public...

Re: Curiously? (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#44975673)

We only have one data set for real world performance of an autonomous vehicle, 350k miles by Google's prototype. It has been involved in one accident- when a person backed into it. So it has been perfect thus far.

If it makes you feel better, lots of people thought that horses were superior to cars for years.

Re:Curiously? (2)

EEPROMS (889169) | about a year ago | (#44974987)

what is curious for me is at what point will insurance companies insist on automated assist drive systems in cars especially considering 95% of crashes are due to human error. In 100 years it may be impossible to get insurance if you drive at all on public roads.

Re:Curiously? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44975371)

what is curious for me is at what point will insurance companies insist on automated assist drive systems in cars especially considering 95% of crashes are due to human error.

Citation? And you do realize, I hope, that 95% (if true) being human error is because there currently is no "autonomous computer failure" category or contestants as regular participants. I expect that the numbers will be vastly different when there are.

Unless, of course, the NTSB uses the same standards for car crashes it does for aircraft mishaps and everything is labelled driver (pilot) error as an overarching cause. "Driver did not properly supervise the autonomous vehicle that wasn't supposed to require his supervision anyway."

Now it just remains to be seen... (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#44974349)

Now it just remains to be seen if drivers will continue to pay attention to the road, or if it becomes so autonomous that people start slacking (more) behind the wheel. It really won't work to have a car that drives itself 90% of the time and then expects you go randomly jump in for the last 10%. Still, nice to see this tech getting closer to reality.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (4, Insightful)

Dimwit (36756) | about a year ago | (#44974403)

That's what worries me. The transition to fully automatic cars needs to be essentially 100%, or at least 99% with a "pull over and stop moving" for the remaining 1%. Otherwise I would've be surprised if fatalities went *up* due to drivers taking a nap/getting drunk/reading a book and failing to notice when they need to take back over.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (2)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#44974469)

I dont think that is true at all.
I think it will start the way most things do. Baby steps. Most likely there will be dedicated lanes to encourage people to adopt the tech. Like fast trax or something.
No doubt there will be a charge by the state to actually use the lane though, thus reducing its appeal.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44974813)

Most likely there will be dedicated lanes to encourage people to adopt the tech.

Yeah, we have so many empty lanes now that dedicating one of them to a small percentage of cars that are "not autonomous autonomous vehicles" will be a really smart idea to solve traffic problems.

This "not autonomous autonomous vehicle" automatically stops at red lights? How nice. The local store has a red light in their signage out front and all the cars stop. Good for the store. Bad for the traffic, especially the updated version of the "not autonomous autonomous vehicle" which has that bug fixed and doesn't feel like stopping, and runs into V1.0.

"Hello, Toyota support? My autonomous vehicle computer crashed." "Did you try to reboot?" "No, I mean it crashed into the autonomous vehicle computer in the car ahead of me."

The headline is deliberately misleading. It's not an autonomous vehicle if is isn't autonomous, which even the summary admits.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44975167)

Get ready to be annoyed for about 30 years, because "automated" commonly means "more automated than before," not "automated in every conceivable way."

Your example about how this might cause a crash is incorrect, since the car doesn't just follow rules (such as red lights) in the hopes everybody else will also follow them perfectly. They do what you do - they also watch for and avoid other cars, pedestrians, and other obstacles (regardless of why the other car is doing whatever it's doing).

Still I do worry about how they will accurately see stoplights and stop for the intersection even if no other cars are in view. There are bad lighting conditions where it's extremely difficult to do. (I guess as a backup it could know the GPS location of stoplights and stop if it doesn't see the light and confirm that it is green). But I am sure we will end up with some level of instrumentation on the road such as stoplights that emit at a frequency not obfuscated by sunlight, snow, etc, like visible light is.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44975309)

Get ready to be annoyed for about 30 years, because "automated" commonly means "more automated than before," not "automated in every conceivable way."

Perhaps that's why the word being used is "autonomous", not "automated".

They do what you do - they also watch for and avoid other cars,

Part of fixing the bug that says "stop at any red light no matter where it is" results in "don't pay any attention to the red lights on the cars in front of you."

pedestrians

In my state, you aren't a pedestrian to be stopped for unless you are IN the crosswalk. Standing on the side of the road looking wistfully at cars as they pass doesn't cut it.

(I guess as a backup it could know the GPS location of stoplights and stop if it doesn't see the light and confirm that it is green).

So we're all expecting that they will stop when they have absolutely no reason to, which will certainly do wonders for improving traffic flow and safety. I love the idea of autonomous cars more and more each time the topic comes up.

But I am sure we will end up with some level of instrumentation on the road such as stoplights that emit at a frequency not obfuscated by sunlight, snow, etc, like visible light is.

We already have instrumentation in the roads that detect when cars are there so they can cycle the traffic lights. Before they came up with one sensitive enough for bikes, it was fun to watch a law-abiding cyclist (yes, there are some) stopped at a red light waving his bike around the road hoping to trigger the signal so he could go.

Sometimes, though, the sensor wasn't sensitive enough for cars, and other than backing up and trying again, there was no way of "waving your car" to try to get it to trigger, so you were left with deciding how long was too long and when you could justifiably run the red light. I can imagine a world where that sensor has a transmitter to tell the car it is at an intersection with a red light so the car will stop, and a world where a few critical transmitters fail and new autonomous not autonomous vehicles blow through a red and get t-boned by a semi.

I for one welcome our new robot overlords. Hand me the dikes, I need to clip a few wires ...

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44975491)

Traffic lights are already designed to be as visible as possible, and they do that job (being seen by human drivers) well enough that nobody worries about their frequencies being obfuscated by sunlight or snow.

A robot vehicle can have several advantages over a human driver. For one, it can pay attention at all times. For another, it would know where it was via GPS (with some dead reckoning should GPS fail) and where all the nearby traffic lights were - and even how high above the road to look. And yes, it could probably pick up infra-red pulses from traffic lights, speed limit signs etc. if such a system was in place.

Plus, if these cars were mostly used for regular commutes & shopping trips along the same routes, it would probably remember where it usually stops for red lights, where it usually spots a lot of pedestrians, where the driver swerved to avoid that cat that one time, and so on. Many new cars can park themselves, so soon we'll expect them to be able to navigate our driveways as well, so they'll need to be able to remember things like that.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44975655)

Traffic lights are already designed to be as visible as possible,

When your initial premise is wrong, expect the rest to be wrong, too.

Plus, if these cars were mostly used for regular commutes & shopping trips along the same routes, it would probably remember where it usually stops for red lights,

Judge: "Why didn't you signal your right turn?"
Me: "I always turn right at that intersection. Everyone knows that."
Judge: "Why, not guilty of course. How stupid of me to forget what you 'always do'."

Of course everyone will know where you "usually" stop for a red light and know you're going to stop there again when your computer fails to detect the green light.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44975129)

I dont think that is true at all.

Of course it is not true, because the entire premise of the GGPP's objection is false. Self driving cars do not expect the human driver to "randomly" jump in. If the SDC calculates that it cannot make the best decision, it will prompt the human to take over. If the human does not respond, the SDC will either continue if it is reasonably safe to do so, or pull over and stop. The people designing these systems are not morons.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about a year ago | (#44975649)

You don't think it stops if confronted with a situation it can't understand? I'd be surprised if it did anything else. What do you think it does, go into a mode of "coast forward with no control"?

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44974427)

I think that it would rather obviously need to fail safe. Depending on the contingency, this could include a panic stop - but the system can't just depend on the driver to "jump in".

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

toastar (573882) | about a year ago | (#44974539)

A panic stop on the freeway can be pretty deadly

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (2)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#44974527)

That's exactly the problem I'm most eager to see how Nissan solves.

I have their system that's 1 step back from this: it can only steer gently with the brakes (using the brakes on one side or the other), but it will keep a safe distance form the car in front of you, even stopping as needed, keep you from drifting out of a lane if you're not paying attention, and, if you let it, brake for you in cases where it seems you're not paying attention. It's good enough that, even though you can't take your hands off the wheel, I sometimes have to remember in a hurry that my car won't stop for that red light if there no one ahead of me.

How and when and if the driver is supposed to "jump in" is really the rub. And how easy is it to override if it gets it wrong?

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#44974543)

Oh, nearly forgot my favorite feature: warn you if you're trying to change lanes and someone's in your blind spot.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (2)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44974689)

Pet Peeve

If you have a blind spot your mirrors are adjusted wrong. Every Drivers Education course teaches students to adjust the mirrors so that the driver can see the side of the car, but unless you're worried about a quarter-panel falling off and not noticing it you really don't need to see your own car. The mirrors should be adjusted outwards so that you need to move your head at least 6"/20 cm to the right or left before you see the side of the car. Once you've done that drive slowly past a parked car and you'll see that the car appears in your peripheral vision just before it goes out of view in the mirror.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year ago | (#44974773)

Pet Peeve

If you have a blind spot your mirrors are adjusted wrong. Every Drivers Education course teaches students to adjust the mirrors so that the driver can see the side of the car, but unless you're worried about a quarter-panel falling off and not noticing it you really don't need to see your own car. The mirrors should be adjusted outwards so that you need to move your head at least 6"/20 cm to the right or left before you see the side of the car. Once you've done that drive slowly past a parked car and you'll see that the car appears in your peripheral vision just before it goes out of view in the mirror.

None of that works when you're on the freeway trying to merge one lane to the right and someone 2 lanes to the right of you is trying to merge one lane to the left.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

holmstar (1388267) | about a year ago | (#44974931)

Exactly. You can use mirrors to keep an eye on your surroundings, but you should always take a quick glance over your shoulder to check for situations like that or, for example, a motorcycle that still manages to fit in your blind spot (even with your mirrors properly adjusted).

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44974873)

THIS!
Push the mirrors all the way out. The rear view and sides should not have any overlap ideally.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974933)

This does depend on the car. When I drive my wife's Toyota Yaris and set the mirrors correctly, I feel like I have a seamless 360-degree vision without so much as moving my head. When I drive my own Chevy HHR (which I bought for its other qualities), there are blind wedges pointing in every direction. I've had near-misses just backing out of my driveway with a good view along the road, because the passenger side B pillar is wide enough and perfectly placed to hide approaching traffic. So now I check by first leaning against the windshield, then leaning back and wedging between the front seats, to see around the damn thing. :P

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#44975363)

Which is great in theory, but you will always have a blind spot of some sort unless you have heavy-truck-size mirrors. RADAR doesn't have the blind spots, which is nice.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#44975413)

If you have a blind spot your mirrors are adjusted wrong.

You do realize that your advice only moves the blind spot, right? If I can't see the edge of my own car, that means the blind spot is immediately next to my car -- where a pedestrian or bicyclist might be.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (2)

CauseBy (3029989) | about a year ago | (#44975671)

That's one way. Another is to get blind-spot mirrors. I have a little one on each side and I love them.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#44974567)

It sounds like people won't have to jump in randomly or unexpectedly, rather there are some types of roads that the system won't handle, requiring the driver to take over. It also sounds that if these systems sense a need to switch to manual control, warn the driver but get no response (hands on the wheel), they can at least bring the car to a controlled stop at the side of the road.

The trouble with semi-automatic driving (2)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44974649)

Now it just remains to be seen if drivers will continue to pay attention to the road, or if it becomes so autonomous that people start slacking (more) behind the wheel.

That's a big problem with "driver assistance systems". With both lane-keeping and "adaptive cruise control" installed, the driver can take their hands off the wheel. Once that's possible, some drivers will stop paying attention to the road. That won't end well, because those two functions are only sufficient for good freeway conditions. They don't handle attempts by other drivers to change into your lane, for example.

Audi has an "adaptive cruise control" system in test which also handles stop and go traffic. That will tempt people to use it in cities with pedestrians. But its systems aren't good enough to handle a crowded city. That's probably why Audi isn't shipping it yet. That also seems to be about where Tesla is aiming. This Nissan thing sounds like lane-keeping plus adaptive cruise control plus a user control for "change lane right/left".

Real automatic driving means that the auto manufacturer takes responsibility for accidents. That's not unreasonable. It just means a lease package which includes insurance protecting both manufacturer and driver. Once automatic driving is statistically safer than manual driving, that will be financially feasible.

Re:Now it just remains to be seen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974759)

This is a well known problem with glass cockpits.

I am all for it (3, Insightful)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#44974359)

I cannot wait until we have automatic driving cars! I love to drive as much as the next guy. Hell, I am the go-to car guy among my friends and family. But I hate sitting in traffic to and from work. It is the same every day. I would love to be able to sit back and relax.
So long as I can still take my Jeep out on the weekends in manual mode, you'll hear no complaints form me.

Re:I am all for it (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44974399)

It also means we can have a couple drinks with dinner without either fearing a DUI while sober .

Re:I am all for it (2)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#44974439)

I already can. I live in Germany. I can literally drink a beer while driving. So long as I am not over the limit..it is legal. Not a good idea and I would not actually do it, but I could if I wanted.

Re:I am all for it (3, Interesting)

Dimwit (36756) | about a year ago | (#44974489)

Most state laws (I'm assuming you're in the United States) allow for a DUI conviction if you are in "actual control" of a vehicle. That means if you're asleep drunk in the car and the keys are also in the car, you can be found guilty. If you're parked on private land and drunk, you can be found guilty. If you're in the driver's seat in an automated car and the car could be switched to manual control, you could be convicted of DUI if you're drunk.

Re:I am all for it (2)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#44974629)

If you are inside a bar, with your car keys in your pocket; that STILL can count as 'physical control'... A lot of DUI laws are influenced by teetotalers who don't want people to be able to drink at all (ala Prohibition). I don't drink myself, and I have zero sympathy for drunk drivers, but some of it is being pushed a little too far than needed.

Re:I am all for it (0)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#44974727)

*Citation needed.

Re:I am all for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44975001)

Join me in Indiana where we can't buy booze or cars on Sunday (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_law and http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/19/indiana-strict-on-sunday-booze/1566476/). Next time you could use google yourself or just continue being an arrogant ass.

Re:I am all for it (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about a year ago | (#44975689)

Your cite is unrelated to his request. Being unable to buy beer on Sunday is unrelated to getting a DUI while inside a bar.

Re:I am all for it (2)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44974491)

It can mean intersections designed just for autopiloting cars. No signals needed, and instead of forcing traffic to stop, cars can be slowed down or sped up to keep an intersection constantly moving. Road upgrades is something that is something very few municipal areas want to deal with, and usually if it is a new highway, it is a toll road. This would allow existing infrastructure to work faster, especially if breakdown lanes are able to be used, and cars spaced on a road by width (SMART cars can be packed better than tractor trailer rigs.)

Of course, the ability for the car to go by itself to an all-night garage for an oil change, then be in the driveway and ready for the morning commute is a nice bonus.

No complaints here. Computers are not perfect, but they are better what we have.

building pedestrian bridges / underpass will cost (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44974713)

building pedestrian bridges / underpass will cost a lot so that sounds cool but likely will not happen in lots of areas.

Re:building pedestrian bridges / underpass will co (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year ago | (#44974811)

pedestrian underpasses also have the problem that they can easilly end up being dirty smelly horrible places due to a combination of homeless people using them for shelter and the fact they get less natural cleaning than an exposed pavement does.

Re:I am all for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974697)

Your weekends in manual mode are other peoples' autonomously-driven commute. Nobody thinks they're going to be the cause of an accident until it happens; committing to truly fatality-free transportation will likely require far more sacrifice than you're looking for here. Airlines are flown by professionals and (all of the way down to maintenance) highly-regulated by the FAA, yet still produce fatalities.

Maybe a better question: *can* we achieve fatality-free transportation systems? *Should* we, if it comes at the loss of freedom and/or pleasurable activities? I don't know the answer.

Re:I am all for it (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44974891)

We can at least try.
Roads are for transportation not pleasure. If you want that drive on private roads or a track.

Re:I am all for it (-1, Offtopic)

Ângelo Roncally (3318817) | about a year ago | (#44975533)

muito bom Desconto netshoes [cupom-e-desconto.com]

Re:I am all for it (0)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44975563)

Roads are for transportation not pleasure.

I'll be sure to tell the local and state road departments to take down all the "Scenic Loop" signs and close all the "viewpoint" stops in the mountain roads. Transportation, not pleasure, you hedonistic bastards!

It's too bad in your universe that roads cannot serve more than one purpose.

what happen when it miss reads an light? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44974453)

That can be very unsafe / lead to a big accident.

I know of quite a few unusual road Unusual traffic light situations / intersections in the local metro area.

Re:what happen when it miss reads an light? (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#44974499)

It seems a bit unlikely that a computer will miss read a color. I would say that a human is far more likely to not see a light. Besides, I imagine that once an automatic car system is in place, they will not be looking at a light, but rather receiving a radio signal with the current light conditions.

Re:what happen when it miss reads an light? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#44974635)

As long as it's programmed to handle all traffic contingencies with caution. We have a couple of one way streets in our town with legal left turns on red.

Re:what happen when it miss reads an light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974733)

In Eindhoven, there was one particular road junction with a Media Markt on one corner. It had the entire wall covered in big shining letters, flooding the entire area with red light. I really wonder how a car would deal with these kinds of environmental distractions.

The radio signal thing would probably make more sense, but what would it take to install such a system into every big junction?

not missing an color but reading the wrong (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44974753)

not missing an color but reading the wrong head or choking on Unusual traffic lights / intersections.

radio signals can be hacked / blocked / jammed / or misread as well. And a small gps accuracy issue can place a car on a main road with an green light when it really on the forage road that has an red with an radio based system.

Re:not missing an color but reading the wrong (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44975239)

not missing an color but reading the wrong head or choking on Unusual traffic lights / intersections.

A computer would be less likely to get this wrong than a human. Especially since the "weird intersection" is probably already in its knowledge base.

radio signals can be hacked / blocked / jammed / or misread as well. And a small gps accuracy issue can place a car on a main road with an green light when it really on the forage road that has an red with an radio based system.

Self driving cars have multiple sensors: GPS, cameras, radar, inertial sensors, rotation sensors, compasses. The readings from these sensors are continuously crossed checked. If the GPS suddenly reports that the car has instantaneously transported itself to a new location, I don't think it will be blindly trusted.

Re:not missing an color but reading the wrong (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44975701)

If the GPS suddenly reports that the car has instantaneously transported itself to a new location, I don't think it will be blindly trusted.

You're in the middle lane of I65 going 65MPH surrounded by other cars when YOUR car suddenly decides it doesn't know where it is and needs to stop. Welcome to computer dementia. Happy travels, citizen!

Re:what happen when it miss reads an light? (1)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about a year ago | (#44975367)

There's a traffic light near where I live that is unusually dim. Furthermore, with LEDs, it is possible that the light can be covered in snow. A human can see the dim red through the snow whereas a computer may not. Finally near where I live they have put in some funky new lights that indicates you can only turn left, but must yield to traffic. Threw me for a loop the first time I saw one.

Re:what happen when it miss reads an light? (2)

LanMan04 (790429) | about a year ago | (#44974577)

I bet it misreads a light less frequently than a person blowing one accidentally/because they weren't looking.

Re:what happen when it miss reads an light? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974831)

In Samurai Japan,
All unusual lights are sliced out.

Sounds great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974503)

...if you're not a mechanic. Well, if you are a mechanic, it might be great in that there's so many systems to break, so much more income for you. Of course, most modern cars already have at least half of the systems automated, so it'll just be an incremental additional cost to most. If you drive an old car you'll be in for a big surprise!

So let me get this straight (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#44974559)

The autonomous vehicle in the headline is actually just an advanced cruise control / driver assist system according to the synopsis. It doesn't surprise me that this is all this is (proper autonomous vehicles are a pipe dream for at least a few decades if not more) but it does make me wonder how a headline and description can be so far apart.

Re:So let me get this straight (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#44974757)

Multiple auto manufacturers disagree with your "a few decades (or) more" assessment.

Re:So let me get this straight (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#44975537)

Such as?

Re:So let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974791)

It seems odd how they are trying to go "straight to the road". Seems like they should be having self-driving cars continually running at big businesses such as warehouses, airports, etc delivering materials, etc and see how many accidents they have. If this works OK, then next step would be do the same routine delivery type function that might use a public roadway for part of the trip.

Next up: "drone truck fleets". Long-haul semis with coast-to-coast runs driven by drone pilots from warehouses. Never have to worry about sleep needs or potty breaks. A new driver can take over at another pilot station at any time. Give them large gas tanks and they wouldn't even need to stop. The routes would be continually mapped out by the trucks that drive them. Not used for city at first where there are too many unknowns.

Re:So let me get this straight (1)

holmstar (1388267) | about a year ago | (#44975103)

It seems odd how they are trying to go "straight to the road". Seems like they should be having self-driving cars continually running at big businesses such as warehouses, airports, etc delivering materials, etc and see how many accidents they have

Automated fork lifts are already becoming fairly common in larger warehouses and factories. These are actually fairly easy, since you have a controlled environment and areas that can be marked as off-limits to humans. Airports have an *awful* lot going on ramp-side, so it would take a bit more effort to automate the fleet of trucks, tugs, and other service vehicles. I'd wager that self driving cars will be here before significantly automated air ports.

Fukushima Tour (1)

upto0013 (1144677) | about a year ago | (#44974579)

Well that's good, nobody wants to drive through a radioactive wasteland and not see the sites.

Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44974591)

Detecting a red light is probably the easiest thing in the whole system.

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44974687)

You're not impressed that a car AI can do something that most people can't?

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (2)

harvestsun (2948641) | about a year ago | (#44974721)

No, I'm not. Would you be impressed by a computer capable of multiplying two large numbers in half a second, just because most people can't? Ok that's a mediocre example, but it illustrates the flaw in your logic...

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44975335)

Would you be impressed by a computer capable of multiplying two large numbers in half a second, just because most people can't?

If it was the first of its kind? Certainly.

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about a year ago | (#44975699)

I think he was kidding but maybe not.

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974803)

Embedded control system != AI

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#44974747)

Yeah, it's not much of an AI is it? Actual artificial "intelligence" would be detecting a red light and figuring out whether you think you can make it through without crashing and without the cops catching you.

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (2)

bityz (2011656) | about a year ago | (#44975199)

That's nothing. Actual AI is seeing that the light has gone red, knowing that you should stop, but feeling that you don't really want to, and hoping that if you time it right you can kill the guy sitting inside you without damaging your own mind.

maybe at basic intersections (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44974763)

But as I said before that are lot's of ones where it can miss read them.

Re:maybe at basic intersections (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44975073)

Surely you mean "misread" not "miss read".

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#44975077)

Detecting a light colored red is very easy. Differentiating between every red light you are likely to see on the road and an actual stop stoplight is a bit harder. Detecting the transition to yellow and determining if it's safe to stop is also a bit harder. Determining where the stop line is, also a bit harder. Doing it all with 8 9's of accuracy? Damn hard.

Re:Impressed by the most unimpressive aspect (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#44975093)

Vision is something that's easy for humans but very hard for computers.

meet your new overlords (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44974775)

In unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy Japan, car drives you

What worries me with cars like this (3, Interesting)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year ago | (#44974779)

Is that drivers will stop paying attention and/or take their hands off the controls. Then when something bad happens that the automatic system can't handle they will be in a much worse position to deal with it than if they had been driving the car manually.

The same is true to an extent of autopilots in planes but with a plane you usually have much more time to respond to problems than in a car. Still at least one plane has crashed because the pilots accidentally disabled the autopilot and failed to notice.

Great start... (1)

TractorBarry (788340) | about a year ago | (#44975159)

This is a good start but if cars "evolve" to be full automatic I hope they're going to include a bar in the final design. No more excuses for sobriety :)

Will open my garage door? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44975559)

I can imagine waking up to find my car went on a bender at 2 AM and came back without opening the garage door. A helluva mess it'll be.

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