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Autonomous Cars Will Save Money and Lives

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the look-ma-no-hands dept.

Transportation 389

cartechboy writes "Autonomous cars are coming even if tech companies have to produce them. The biggest hurdles are the technology (very expensive and often still surprisingly rudimentary) and how vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication happens (one car anticipates or sees an accident, it should tell nearby cars). So what are the benefits to self-driving cars? They may save us thousands of lives and not a small amount of cash. A new study from the Eno Center for Transportation (PDF) suggests that if just 10 percent of vehicles on the road were autonomous, the U.S. could see 1,000 fewer highway fatalities annually and save $38 billion in lost productivity (due to congestion and other traffic problems). Right off the bat you can imagine autonomous driving easily topping your average intoxicated drivers' ability behind the wheel. At a 90 percent adoption mark those same numbers in theory would become: 21,700 lives spared, and a whopping $447 billion saved."

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I like my A4 2T 6 speed (1, Insightful)

vi.emacs (3407387) | about 10 months ago | (#45230009)

Autonomous driving? No thank you!

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45230021)

I like my horse, cars? no thank you.

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45230573)

false equivalence fallacy? no thank you.

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (1)

Deluvianvortex (2908365) | about 10 months ago | (#45230079)

I like my standard too, but I hate it when I have to drive 2000 miles in it. Can I just put it on auto and be there by morning, please?

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (2)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 10 months ago | (#45230213)

I like my standard too, but I hate it when I have to drive 2000 miles in it. Can I just put it on auto and be there by morning, please?

Driving 2,000 or even just 500 in my manual shift Jeep is fine, but it is the 5 mile trips that are annoying. Still, not annoying enough to trade it for an autonomous car. Do I want to ban these new-fangled cars? No, of course not. However, I sure as hell don't want it to be the only choice in automotive transport either.

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230609)

If you want to drive recreationally, on a closed course, I expect you'll be able to do that indefinitely in more or less whatever format you prefer. But there's no reason you need to endanger others with your manual driving just to scratch your recreational itch or satisfy some nostalgic idea of "freedom" (via dependence on the auto industry, the oil industry, and public roads).

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230629)

Suck my dick, socialist.

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (3, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 months ago | (#45230223)

Yeah, but your boss can't expect you to work on your commute. This is really about adding 10 hours a week to your workweek.

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (3, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 10 months ago | (#45230255)

And when you plow into a pedestrian in your Audi A4 while checking a Facebook message, better call Saul!

Re:I like my A4 2T 6 speed (2)

rnturn (11092) | about 10 months ago | (#45230365)

Or you could put the effin' smart phone away until you get to your destination.

I was wondering how far down I'd need to scroll to find a comment about how this would benefit people who can't leave their phones alone while they're behind the wheel of a car. As it turned out... not very far at all.

Lost revenue to the cops (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230017)

Cops won't like it because they'll see lower revenue from DUI fines, speeding fines, and all that crap they love taking money for.

Re:Lost revenue to the cops (5, Insightful)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 10 months ago | (#45230049)

Why do you think cops care about that money? Municipalities may care about that money, but the cops couldn't care less (they don't get a cut, after all). But cops do try to avoid hearing "how come everyone else writes more tickets than you do?" So they make a point of writing tickets. But they really don't care about revenues, per se.

Re:Lost revenue to the cops (2)

andymadigan (792996) | about 10 months ago | (#45230179)

They'll care if less municipal revenue means layoffs at the police department.

Re:Lost revenue to the cops (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 10 months ago | (#45230217)

Cops won't like it because they'll see lower revenue from DUI fines, speeding fines, and all that crap they love taking money for.

I'm sure the governments will figure out a way to bust people for DUI even if they are riding in an auto-auto. They already do it for sitting in cars that are not running.

38 billion in productivity or (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45230027)

30 minutes more sleeping?

Re:38 billion in productivity or (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230173)

Amen! The real savings is all that time people spend behind the wheel. Autonomous cars might make the U.S. livable again.

Also, I'd so love to never interact with another cabby again, just horrible people far too frequently.

So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (2, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 months ago | (#45230037)

or put another way, what'll happen when we have half a trillion dollars less economic activity? Since our entire civilization is based around getting people to trade among themselves. I just don't see all these productivity gains are ever going to make it down to my level...

Re:So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230241)

Actually, Autonomous cars are a productivity gain that quickly translates, by allowing you to nap or read in the car after you buy one.

We want to put as many people out of work as possible, that's really the whole point of technological advancement, that's how we make our lives better. There are obviously powerful people who steal our productivity gains, like Wall St. and real estate brokers, our expanding law enforcement and industrial prison system, etc. We must reclaim these productivity gains for ourselves by enforcing transparency upon those that rule us, ala big banks, big companies, and governments, as well as by shortening the work week.

You know, after the industrial revolution, workers needed to do exactly this to but by forming unions, fighting in communist revolutions, etc. Unions were the ones who shortened the work week from six to five days during the 20th century, which helped bring about more prosperity. France has benefited economically form it's 35 hour work week more recently.

At present, our best way to force the government to shorten the work week is to : (a) Invent technologies that put masses of the pointless white collar workers out of work. High frequency trading helped reduce the number of people needed in finance, for example. And (b) obstruct Keynesian make work programs like the expansion of law enforcement through the war on drugs, war on terror, and surveillance state.

Autonomous cars are cool though because they require no connected political reform, just put all the drivers and cabbies out of work (yey!), and save everyone an hour or so per day (double yey!).

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie5zO-mF31M

Re:So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (0)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#45230313)

or put another way, what'll happen when we have half a trillion dollars less economic activity? Since our entire civilization is based around getting people to trade among themselves. I just don't see all these productivity gains are ever going to make it down to my level...

There are over 200 million cars on the road. The first $100 Billion will go toward bying 20 million cars and trucks.

Realistically, electronically controlled vehicles will roll out in this order:

1. Prototpyes (happening now)
2. Cabs
3. Rich people
4. Trucks and buses
5. Upper middle class
6. Middle income people who can't qualifiy for a license.

That's it. There will never be computer driven cars for the masses. It will always be cheaper for them to drive their own.

Re:So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45230353)

That's it. There will never be computer driven cars for the masses. It will always be cheaper for them to drive their own.

Not when the insurance companies artificially jack up the rates for human driven cars. They will force the majority into this, guaranteed.

Re:So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230481)

Preach on, bro! You'll also never see GPS for the masses, it will always be cheaper for them to open a map. Or power windows. Or automatic transmission. Or...oh, wait.

Re:So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (5, Insightful)

debrain (29228) | about 10 months ago | (#45230445)

or put another way, what'll happen when we have half a trillion dollars less economic activity? Since our entire civilization is based around getting people to trade among themselves. I just don't see all these productivity gains are ever going to make it down to my level...

Not all economic activity benefits society. Perhaps the most well known demonstration is the parable of the broken window [wikipedia.org] :

The parable of the broken window was introduced by Frederic Bastiat in his 1850 essay Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas (That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen) to illustrate why destruction, and the money spent to recover from destruction, is actually not a net-benefit to society. The parable, also known as the broken window fallacy or glazier's fallacy, demonstrates how opportunity costs, as well as the law of unintended consequences, affect economic activity in ways that are "unseen" or ignored.
 

The productivity gains failing to make it to your level are arguably a problem of inequality of the distribution of wealth, not lack of economic activity.

It already exists! (0)

cosmin_c (3381765) | about 10 months ago | (#45230041)

In a world slowly making people comfortably numb, even this would be over the top. If you want an autonomous car where you can check mail and send texts on your way to work, you can have it right now. It's called a bus.

Re:It already exists! (0)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 10 months ago | (#45230081)

In a world slowly making people comfortably numb, even this would be over the top. If you want an autonomous car where you can check mail and send texts on your way to work, you can have it right now. It's called a bus.

Perhaps, but then you have to sit next to people. People that could potentially do you harm when your situational awareness is fairly low. Also, who wants to listen to babies crying and mentally unbalanced people complain about things only they can see?

Re:It already exists! (1)

cosmin_c (3381765) | about 10 months ago | (#45230097)

Obviously it depends on how public transport is in your specific area, but then again, if the public transportation is lacking, or dangerous to use, I sincerely doubt autonomous cars will make their appearence there any time soon.

Re:It already exists! (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 10 months ago | (#45230141)

Not dangerous or absent. Just inconvenient, slow, and unpleasant.

Re:It already exists! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230559)

Full of niggers.

Re:It already exists! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230413)

Perhaps, but then you have to sit next to people.

Usually when someone says that, he is referring to brown people.

Re:It already exists! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230121)

They're constantly stopping making the entire trip slower, and we have to put up with shitbags such as yourself.

Re:It already exists! (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about 10 months ago | (#45230133)

If you want an autonomous car where you can check mail and send texts on your way to work, you can have it right now. It's called a bus.

Only if either A. you have access to a park-and-ride facility that is closer to your house than your workplace is, or B. the bus stops very close to both your home and your workplace. I've usually found that unless your commute is at least half an hour by car, you'll spend more time walking to and from the bus than you would spend driving, and even if you don't count the walking time, it still takes 2–3 times as long to get there. As always, YMMV.

Public transit is great for moderately long commutes, particularly if parking sucks at your destination. If I'm going into San Francisco, I take public transit. If I'm going to work, though, there's actually enough parking, so it isn't worth the 20 minutes of walking and 30+ minutes on a bus just to save 15 minutes in my car. It would probably be slightly cheaper, but the inconvenience is pretty severe. And that's without having to change buses at all.

Re:It already exists! (5, Insightful)

JonBoy47 (2813759) | about 10 months ago | (#45230291)

Public Transportation: A great way to get from someplace you don't live to someplace you don't work.

Re:It already exists! (0)

Ichijo (607641) | about 10 months ago | (#45230389)

it isn't worth the 20 minutes of walking and 30+ minutes on a bus just to save 15 minutes in my car.

So if you take the bus, you'll spend 35 more minutes on your commute, but in exchange you'll get 20 more minutes of exercise and 15 more minutes of gadget or reading time than if you drove by car. So it all evens out.

The IRS says it costs 56.5 cents per mile to drive. If your commute is 15 minutes, that might be 10 miles or $5.65 each way. So I think you're also saving around $7 per day, close to $2,000 per year, by taking the bus. What wold you do with a $2,000 per year raise?

Or instead of walking to the bus stop, you could ride a bike there and save another 15 minutes on your commute.

Re:It already exists! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 10 months ago | (#45230591)

I find that unless you go long distances most of the time riding the bus is actually waiting for the bus. For me, it takes me 5 minutes to walk to the bus. I have to wait on average 5-10 minutes for the bus. You can't plan to arrive 2 minutes before it get's there, because half the time it will be early, and then you have to wait 15-30 minutes for the next one. Then I take a 5 minute bus ride, get off, and wait for the next bus. That's another 5-10 minutes. Take another 10 minute bus ride, and I'm at work. So 5 minutes of walking, 10-20 minutes of waiting for the bus, and 15 minutes of being on the actual bus. 30-40 minute trip and half of it is spent waiting for the bus to get where I am. And people wonder why I ride a bike. Spend less time riding than I do waiting for the bus.

Re:It already exists! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 10 months ago | (#45230557)

This is why I cycle commute. Only marginally slower than a car (sometimes faster when there's heavy traffic) and way faster than the bus. The longest cycle commute I ever did was 25 km, but that was only for 3 month. It took me 1 hour 15 minutes tops. However, due to traffic, the same trip in a car took about 1 hour. Driving would have only saved me 15 minutes each way. And the standard deviation on bike is much smaller. Pretty much the same trip time every day. In a car, traffic could be really bad, and it could take an hour and a half, or 45 minutes, you never really know until you reach the destination. Now I'm only 7 km from work and cycling is great. 15-20 minutes and I'm at work. A car would take at least 10, so I'm really not using any appreciable time.

Re:It already exists! (1)

PhrstBrn (751463) | about 10 months ago | (#45230579)

It really depends. Where I work, parking is awful and I have to walk 5 blocks from a parking garage to my building, because all the parking garages near my building are full and have a long waiting list (apparently the waiting list is 20 years long for the better parking). Meanwhile, the bus only takes 5 more minutes than driving, and it drops me half a block from my building. So in some cases, busses can be literally faster. To be fair, it also helps that I'm only half a block from a main road, and that busline happens to go directly to my workplace.

Not a bus; a taxi (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 10 months ago | (#45230239)

Buses don't provide door-to-door, non-stop service. Taxis do - but of course now you have to cover the whole cost of the driver by yourself.

Re:Not a bus; a taxi (1)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about 10 months ago | (#45230415)

Buses don't provide door-to-door, non-stop service. Taxis do - but of course now you have to cover the whole cost of the driver by yourself.

Self-driving vehicles will change that trade-off...

Re:It already exists! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230277)

In Dallas, buses cost more than driving (even with the inflated driving costs that public transport agencies use for calculating car costs), and is slower than a bicycle. They are also inconvenient and infrequent.

Re:It already exists! (2)

n1ywb (555767) | about 10 months ago | (#45230409)

You, obviously, live in a major metro area. Plenty of people don't, and have no viable public transportation options, besides perhaps hitchhiking.

It's a race for ownership of the car's OS (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | about 10 months ago | (#45230067)

Whoever owns control of the car wins.

Re:It's a race for ownership of the car's OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230137)

I win. I use Foot and Hand OS 2.0. Completely bug free, and very mature.

Re:It's a race for ownership of the car's OS (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45230439)

Doesn't scale very well over long distances, though.

will smith (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230089)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bzg1mzwZDko

A breathalizer in the dashboard will do the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230095)

Want to keep drunk drivers from causing wrecks? Then make them blow below the legal limit to start the car. That device is much simpler to design than a self-driving car, guaranteed!

Re:A breathalizer in the dashboard will do the sam (1)

glavenoid (636808) | about 10 months ago | (#45230187)

It seems like there's always some not-drunk (but not necessarily sober) jackass who is willing to cheat these dashboard breathalyzer tests for inebriated drivers who are forced to install such devices due to DUI/DWI infractions. The device may well be more simple to design and implement than a self-driving car, but their efficacy is likewise simple to undermine.

I'm holding out hope for the Johnny Cab: "The door opened. You got in". Now *that's* what I call simple!

Re:A breathalizer in the dashboard will do the sam (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 10 months ago | (#45230347)

I'm not familiar with the dynamics of this situation but it seems to me that if there is a not drunk person who could pass the test that they would logically be the one to drive the car. I do, however, understand that "logic" doesn't always apply in these situations.

Re:A breathalizer in the dashboard will do the sam (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45230459)

Except that a johnny cab done today would report your travel plans to the local police dept, insurance company, and any other institution that has a vested interest in judging your behavior. No thanks. I'd rather walk.

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230111)

Did anybody ask if we want all this crap? Isn't this yet another way to cut our liberties/freedoms etc? Another step to completely control us? Sure there are enough cattle that will just blindly follow whatever they are told ( see Tesla owners) .. but at some point somebody will have to stand up and say "Enough"

Re:No thanks (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45230279)

Yup. There are plenty of apologizers keeping that worry to themselves just to avoid the 'conspiracy nut' label, and/or who don't care about anything besides convenience (until someone else's form of it intrudes on their own lives, of course). These people project their own whims onto everyone else and become surprised/fearful/offended when the rest of us don't step it up. If there's a root dynamic to today's societal ills, this is it.

It's one thing to automate repetitive tasks and another to automate living life; the latter being what happens when the control of this automation is handed to governments/corporates. At that point it's slavery. Because of this, these technologies only become interesting to me when the leadership and cultures of so-called free nations are sufficiently mature to understand and handle the concept of freedom. Currently, they are not, and now we see how every new device with a computer inside has some kind of remote use-tracking featureset built into it, marketed as convenience of course.

It is highly unlikely they've worked all the flaws out of these cars. The problem is just too intractable for that. The last thing I want is to hurtle 70mph down a highway under the control of cheap chinese embedded computers programmed by the lowest bidders when the manufacturers still can't get their relatively simple electronic throttle controls working right.

What utter crap (1, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about 10 months ago | (#45230119)

Hey, let's play this game with computers, after all we don't need freedom behind the keyboard either and **AA's claim piracy cost the economy countless billions of dollars every year. Let's have autonomous computers! We'll make the operating system and hardware completely closed to prevent anyone from altering their 'trusted' environment. Now in order to keep anyone from hacking into their computers and driving by themselves we'll have to make sure that we take away the ability to install software that hasn't been approved.

We'll do this through a centralized market place where every application is signed and approved. Now the signing agency is taking on a lot of work to act as big brother and censor everything so it's only fair that they get a cut of 30%. How if your application sells well we'll cut the fee down to 20%. Now we have to make sure that your computer can't be used to pirate software so we'll keep up the autonomous trend and make all updates automatic. By locking out software from any distribution method other than the market and ensuring updates are automated your environment will stay trusted for software companies to continue offering you software.

Welcome to Microsoft Surface RT of the future, big brother knows best. What possible legitimate reason do you have for driving your own computer and endangering the economy by enabling the possibility of piracy? Think of the children!!!

you 7ail $it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230123)

To ha7e regulAr [goat.cx]

Less dead people! (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 10 months ago | (#45230125)

"the U.S. could see 1,000 fewer highway fatalities annually and save $38 billion in lost productivity (due to congestion and other traffic problems)"

...and less dead people unable to be put to work

Re:Less dead people! (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45230303)

and more people sent to the gulag for 'terroristic travel patterns.' GO USA!

Skeptical (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230131)

You know . The way they're painting this , it seems like there's not going to be any unforeseen problems with it.
I can already predict crashes due to hacking/ buggy softwares and etc.

Don't get me wrong. I agree with the fact that automated cars are a step in the right direction. However, what I dislike is how it is being presented here. It is presented as if it was a holy grail of driving. The solution of all problems. That's very misleading and dangerous. That's what I can't stand. The dishonesty of it all.

  We should be very honest here with the end users about what auto cars can accomplish at this point and what they can't.

Re:Skeptical (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 10 months ago | (#45230185)

Slashdot management have a serious car-boner for this tech so you'll read lots about it here. Also, page hits.

Re:Skeptical (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230317)

The number of crashes from buggy software is much higher with human drivers than computers. How many computers hit the wrong pedal and slam into buildings?

However, what I dislike is how it is being presented here. It is presented as if it was a holy grail of driving. The solution of all problems. That's very misleading and dangerous. That's what I can't stand. The dishonesty of it all.

Humans driving is much worse than the worst automated design. You misunderestimate how badly humans drive.

Re:Skeptical (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45230417)

The number of crashes from buggy software is much higher with human drivers than computers. How many computers hit the wrong pedal and slam into buildings?

And you know this how? Please don't say Google, because they just say "cool, X zillion miles without an accident, blah, blah, blah". We have no idea what the driving conditions and other factors are.

Re:Skeptical (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45230323)

Agreed. This dishonesty should set off alarm bells about their true intentions and priorities.

Re:Skeptical (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#45230587)

I think it's a wonderful idea - maybe because I'm older. It would allow my in laws, for example, to continue being mobile in their late 70-s and 80's, whereas now they can't drive. It would allow me more mobility too, since I can't really drive due to health reasons. I can imagine automatic-only roads, where the speed limits are increased and traffic flow is automated - no more traffic jams, traffic lights would result in faster trips and more efficient fuel use.

Of course I like driving as much as the next guy, but I wouldn't mind if it became relegated to a "hobby" as opposed to an unavoidable daily chore.

And all the rest (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230139)

Aircraft, busses, taxis are all going to be autonomous! (What does auto mean, anyway?)

And then when that all works -

The rest of the system goes on-line August 4th, 2017. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes elf-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

And when we come back, we'll have... "The Rest of the Story".

Re:And all the rest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230419)

Gee, my birthday is August 3rd. Maybe my friends will all blame me for the events you project for August 4th?

Right off the bat? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 10 months ago | (#45230149)

>Right off the bat you can imagine autonomous driving easily topping your average intoxicated drivers' ability behind the wheel.

Didn't anybody pay attention to the DARPA Grand Challenge?

Re:Right off the bat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230437)

I sure hope the self driving cars are better than the first round of Grand Challenge competitors. The Hummer I saw go through the qualification was weaving around, much worse than any drunk I've ever seen. The viewing point was on top of a high berm, well above where the truck was driving. By the second round, I believe the winners were much better.

Personal Time Saved (5, Interesting)

Salgat (1098063) | about 10 months ago | (#45230159)

I'm extremely frugal and I'd still buy one the instant an affordable one is released simply because an autonomous car represents a potential savings of 4,000 hours of my life over the life of the car. That's represents 2 years of a full time job. That's time that could be spent doing whatever I usually do at home, including sleeping, entertainment, and personal work/finances. It's incredible to think about.

Risk Perception 101: People are Idiots (4, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 10 months ago | (#45230183)

People are willing to endure a risk orders of magnitudes higher of crashing by human error than by machine error.

Much as they're okay with the risk of dying from flu every year by not vaccinating, but not the comparatively negligible risk of a terrorist attack.

Re:Risk Perception 101: People are Idiots (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 10 months ago | (#45230403)

You can sue an individual with some chance of winning (though mandatory insurance tries to make us into mini corporations, it doesn't completely succeed.)

If the accident is blamed on a company like Google, do you think their attorneys would have let the product out the door without closing off the product liability exposure? Google et. al. will not roll a product like auto-drive out to the general public until they've successfully lobbied themselves teflon body armor.

Re:Risk Perception 101: People are Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230533)

Cessna stopped making small airplanes in the mid 80s because of lawsuits. $480 million in a single suit.

Don't think Google will put up with multiple $500 million lawsuits and keep making them. Even if it is human error with the car, most likely due to poor maintence, they will still be sued.

Just look on the roads next time you drive and spot cars over 20 years old that shouldn't be on the road. Now imagine that same care taken on a self driving car and tell me it will work 100% as designed.

Assuming no faults in the driving AI. (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 10 months ago | (#45230211)

That's the problem.

Currently, they're looking at data for autonomous vehicles in a complete vacuum.

I'm quite sure that having such cars on the roads in percentile quantities will yield their own sets of unique fatalities sooner or later.

In the mean time, I'm not an quadriplegic. So I'll choose to drive my own damn car.

Re:Assuming no faults in the driving AI. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230333)

Assuming massive faults in the AI, it's still better than people driving.

Re:Assuming no faults in the driving AI. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45230435)

Yup, GIGO. Let's assume that this tech works great under real-world conditions. Then we know that it will be a big improvement. Wow, such insight.

Re:Assuming no faults in the driving AI. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230529)

Assuming no lethal faults, yes -- there a number of faults that an automated vehicle could handle without an serious risk to occupants or bystanders. But even if the AI is only 10% safer than humans it's still a staggering reduction in the number of vehicle-related deaths.

Re:Assuming no faults in the driving AI. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#45230619)

That depends. Although I agree that road conditions could, for example, become suddenly unpredictable in an earthquake or land-slide or bridge collapse and the computer couldn't handle them. But then it can be argued that a human driver would not have been able to do better, either.

what's acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230219)

Humans have a hard time justifying even a single death due to computer error yet will discount a million deaths due to human error by saying "There was nothing he could do". We'll never make automated cars 100% safe. That's the stumbling block that we have to overcome in order to make automated cars acceptable.

No more DUIs or the deaths caused by them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230235)

Bam.

Um, what? (2)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 10 months ago | (#45230243)

Right off the bat you can imagine autonomous driving easily topping your average intoxicated drivers' ability behind the wheel.

Um, what? Self-driving cars will drive better than drunks? That's an endorsement?

10% of 25,580 is 2558 (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#45230245)

Just sayin'.

And I don't think that 10% computer driven cars would do much to change congestion.

No they won't.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#45230275)

Because people won't trust them.

Re:No they won't.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230551)

Old people won't trust them. Young people will wonder why old people are trying to kill them with their 2-ton death rams, and ask the computer to stay off the non-automated-only roadways.

save lives like the 55 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230311)

In the beginning this might reduce accidents. Eventually, this is going to turn into another way to screw the poor. There will be some 'market-based' solution to address travel time, and YOU will be stuck in traffic while someone with a fatter wallet buys a shorter drive time. As hyperbolic as this sounds, it will further erode our democracy.

Don't be first! (2)

jcdick1 (254644) | about 10 months ago | (#45230315)

Because you know that as soon as your car is recognized as autonomous, some asshole kid is going to say "Let's make it crash!"

I disagree with the exact numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230331)

By my calculations, it will save 1,400 lives annually,not just 1,000. And will only save $17 billion, not $38 billion.

If they can extrapolate from 0 lives and $0 currently, so can I. And my estimates are just as valid, despite that I just made them up.

Insurance (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 10 months ago | (#45230351)

This topic has been discussed here several times now, but one thing I haven't seen brought up is insurance. If my vehicle is driving itself and causes an accident, then what driver is to blame? The person sitting behind the wheel? Why would my insurance company want to pay for an accident caused by a piece of software when they can go after the company that produced the software? Or what if they will only insure Ford cars and not Chrysler because statistics show that one auto-driving system performs better than the other? If my car's autonomous system just flat out runs over a little girl playing in the street and kills her, could I be charged with manslaughter because I was behind the wheel reading the newspaper?

Think back a few years to the Toyota "auto acceleration" issue, and the lawsuits and government testing, etc, etc that was going on over that one issue. And that was possible hiccup in a single system that merely relayed user input to the engine. It wasn't even remotely as complex as a vehicle actually driving itself.

There's going to be a whole lot to figure out in the legal, insurance and liability areas that makes the technical challenge and development look like child's play.

Re:Insurance (3, Insightful)

SeanBlader (1354199) | about 10 months ago | (#45230399)

Self driving cars do not cause accidents, therefore insurance isn't necessary. Autonomous cars are such a huge game changer in society because of the number of ancillary things that go away because of them. Traffic cops, car insurance, taxicabs, truck drivers, all disappear. It's the next massive paradigm shift in world society, at a level comparable to the changes brought on by steam and electricity. The effects on the global economy and society won't be fully understood for decades afterwards. Flat out, it's going to be huge.

Re:Insurance (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 10 months ago | (#45230485)

The problem is, that kind of autonomous car isn't here yet. There is no autonomous car that doesn't require a person to be sitting in the driver's seat ready to take over in case something goes wrong. That's why I think this whole thing is stupid. If I have to be sitting in the driver's seat, paying attention to the road, I might as well be driving. Because if the car is doing most of the driving, it's more likely that I won't be paying attention when something bad happens. Until the cars are good enough that they don't require a steering wheel, gas pedal, or brake, I don't see much point in them.

Re:Insurance (2, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 10 months ago | (#45230521)

Self driving cars do not cause accidents, therefore insurance isn't necessary

That's ridiculous. Things will happen to autonomous vehicles that will result in deaths and destruction of property, even if 100% of vehicles are autonomous. Insurance will not go away because the stakes are too high both with liability and the cost of the hardware involved.

Alll this plus..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230447)

more people in the unemployment line!! YAY!!!

And no one will ever use it to their advantage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230451)

To get where you want to go faster, send the crash warning with a location a lane or two over and 100 feet ahead, change lanes into the convenient gap you created, and repeat.

BMWs & Audis will come preloaded with this feature.

If cars were like computers... (1, Funny)

Shompol (1690084) | about 10 months ago | (#45230461)

This is very old, but in some wierd way relevant. In fact, #10 already materialized.

If cars were like computers [york.ac.uk]
If General Motors had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:
  1. 1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
  2. 2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
  3. 3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason, you would simply accept this.
  4. 4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
  5. 5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive -- but would run on only five percent of the roads.
  6. 6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "General Protection Fault" warning light.
  7. 7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
  8. 8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
  9. 9. Every time GM introduced a new car, car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
  10. 10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

Re:If cars were like computers... (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 10 months ago | (#45230563)

You left out the part where the car goes a million miles per hour, runs on electricity from a rechargeable battery, and costs $100. Unfortunately, it fits in the palm of your hand.

Moving off from the lights all together. (1)

Circlotron (764156) | about 10 months ago | (#45230475)

It would be great to see a line of 100 cars all beginning move forward at the same instant instead of stretching out, and you moving forward only after the light has turned red again. Much greater throughput at the intersection. Also it opens the possibilities of a long line of cars safely tailgating, therefore slipstreaming one another and saving fuel. Being out at the front of the line would no longer be desirable.

Re:Moving off from the lights all together. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230561)

It would be great to see a line of 100 cars all beginning move forward at the same instant instead of stretching out, ...

I haven't been to see for myself, but a good friend reports that in Tokyo, when the light changes all the cars in line move forward together. If you don't go, you get bumped from behind.

Re:Moving off from the lights all together. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230571)

If you could get people to stop driving "stop lights" would be entirely obsolete -- they're only necessary now because humans aren't good at threading through perpendicular traffic.

Even if you didn't want to deal with high-speed orthogonal traffic automated cars could coordinate their speeds and paths to ensure they rarely if ever had to stop at intersections; they could simply arrange to not be there at the same time.

Whe they say they will save you money (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 10 months ago | (#45230493)

When leftist do-gooders say they will save you money, watch your wallet. There are a lot of Tesla owners who will soon be facing $50000 battery replacement costs.

and 1 bad accident / death will lead to a lot of c (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45230501)

and 1 bad accident / death will lead to a lot of time and money in the courts??

and will they be able to have some outsourced coders be forced to come to court / how much will the courts like to have to deal with a big list of contracts / Sub contracts to get to who did what piece of the over all system.

How much can be attributed to bad driving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230511)

I dislike the disrespect some proponents of computer controlled cars give to the human mind. Specifically, roads, speed limits, and traffic signals are designed with humans in mind. Some European nations have an accident rate half of America's. Sweden's accident rate is one third of America's. Europe tends to have stricter driving tests and stronger punishment of traffic violations. Here, in America, one might get 6 months in prison for manslaughter, while driving drunk.

airplanes autopilot still don't cover all stuff (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45230525)

airplanes autopilot still don't cover all stuff and they have less to deal with then a car does.

What does the Self Driving Car do if? (1)

PastTense (150947) | about 10 months ago | (#45230535)

What does the Self Driving Car do if there is a young child or dog playing along the edge of the road?

Is this what you would do?

Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230565)

If you can't pay attention long enough, if you're that prone to distraction that you can't drive without causing a wreck and killing someone then you have no business behind the wheel. You are a moron.

Autonomous cars? Just start pulling these idiot's licenses.

OR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45230603)

we could eliminate most the driving done by half the population in the u.s. by building real mass transit options and proper land use planning and development based upon those options...

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