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Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the then-would-you-mind-taking-the-kids-to-school-every-day dept.

Transportation 722

An anonymous reader writes "At a robotics conference in Santa Clara, California, the head of Google's autonomous car project presented results of a study showing that the company's autonomous cars are already safer than human drivers — including trained professionals. 'We're spending less time in near-collision states,' he said. 'In addition to painting a rosy picture of his vehicles' autonomous capabilities, Urmson showed a new dashboard display that his group has developed to help people understand what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over.' This follows another (non-Google) study earlier this week that found the adoption of autonomous cars could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year. Urmson also pointed out that determining liability for an accident is much easier using the data collected by the autonomous cars. At one point, a test car was read-ended, and the data showed it smoothly braking to a stop before being struck. 'We don't have to rely on eyewitnesses that can't be trusted as to what happened — we actually have the data. The guy around us wasn't paying enough attention. The data will set you free.'"

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Show time (5, Interesting)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 10 months ago | (#45244581)

Have the Google robot take on the Stig round the top gear test track.

Re:Show time (5, Funny)

HxBro (98275) | about 10 months ago | (#45244681)

Some say, "he is actually the robot driving the autonomous cars... All at the same time"

Re:Show time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244721)

Oh please. They would probably just plant an IED under the track and blow it up as Google drove past and then exclaim that Google couldn't even finish the a single lap.

Re:Show time (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 10 months ago | (#45244747)

They had a robot car from Audi (I think?) a couple of years ago doing a lap around the track... it did pretty well, I recall.

Re:Show time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45245003)

call me when your injured and they want one of these to drive you to the hospital. then tell me how you think of these "autonomous" cars. i'm alive because someone put me in their car as kid and drove me to the hospital as a kid doing 80 the entire drive. believe me these things are going to kill people and the makers are going to be all "it's a flawless system"

Autopilots (-1)

jamesl (106902) | about 10 months ago | (#45244593)

And autopilots are better pilots than airplane drivers.

The problem is not the ability of a robot car to work, it is the ability of a robot car to operate in the highway infrastructure that is in place today. There will be a difficult time while we evolve from all human drivers through increasingly fewer human drivers to (almost) all robotic drivers. And no one has yet published the plan, the schedule or the expected cost.

Re:Autopilots (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 10 months ago | (#45244617)

If you had read TFA, you would have noticed that the robot car operates more safely than humans in the highway infrastructure that is in place today. We don't need to redesign today's infrastructure, if we switch over to autonomous cars.

"the expected cost" (2)

mha (1305) | about 10 months ago | (#45244783)

You complain about "the expected cost".

Did you ever think about that EVERYTHING anyone earns anywhere is a "cost" for somebody else? Nature and economies are circular systems.

You WANT "costs" to be high - that means incomes are high. Of course, you don't want ANY costs to be high - battle tanks, mines, bridges to nowhere, poison gas, etc. are costs that are bad to have. Paying people to do nothing, by the way, is not on that category - these days A LOT of people would be much better paid to do nothing because what they DO get paid for is actually bad for the majority of people.

So "costs" are over all GOOD, but you have to look at the details, what they stand for. Too much abstraction is bad, comparing apples and oranges ("cost, money" makes everything seem completely equal) has gotten WAY too far.

At what speed? (4, Funny)

Big Smirk (692056) | about 10 months ago | (#45244599)

Autonomous cars will more than likely drive at exactly the speed limit. So on that stretch of highway you were used to doing 65mph in a 55 zone... well that slow car (hopefully in the right lane) will be the Google one.

I guess that's when the human takes over?

Re:At what speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244723)

With more and more roads having automated ticket generators, like speed cameras, red light cameras, and the like, an autonomous car and it's data may end up being the only way to drive without incurring tickets.

Re:At what speed? (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 10 months ago | (#45244779)

Alternatively... you could just drive within the speed limit?

Re:At what speed? (2)

darkHanzz (2579493) | about 10 months ago | (#45244897)

Wouldn't that be cheating?

Re:At what speed? (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about 10 months ago | (#45244781)

I can see this as having a raft of unanticipated consequences.

Suppose that driverless cars never broke the speed limit & other traffic laws, except in an emergency. Then, revenue from traffic tickets would disappear. Now, many police departments rely on those revenues. So, will they shrink, or find some other source of revenue? (I suspect the latter, and worry what that might be.) And, both the safety and the revenue desire to keep speed limits low will largely disappear, so many speed limits are likely to rise. Likewise, low speed limits are also used to keep people out of residential areas, and that could be accomplished by setting navigation preferences in the autodriver's GPS system, so those could rise too.

And, of course, if you want to have a mistress, she had better be within walking distance, or accessible by public transportation, lest Google start sending your wife ads for Private Investigators and Divorce Attorneys ...

Re:At what speed? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 10 months ago | (#45245017)

Never underestimate the creativity of the government when it comes to taxes.

Re:At what speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244809)

I'm fine with this. A slightly longer travel time if I don't have to focus on it and can do something else is not a big hassle. The optimization problem is no longer purely 'reduce time wasted in transit'.

When this takes off and more vehicles exactly follow the rules expect two things.
1) Stronger enforcement as revenues drop, have to start ticketing 5 over to keep the money.
2) Adjustment of the rules at least for the autonomous vehicles. When you know the 'driver' is focusing 100% on driving the safety rules that assume some lapses do not make sense.

The second one will take longer and require wide adoption first.

Re:At what speed? (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 10 months ago | (#45244943)

Yup, I agree. I can drive the speed limit to work and get there in 30 minutes, or speed and get there in 25. To really cut a lot of time off, you have to speed A LOT. I'd rather snooze for 30 than get there 5 minutes earlier.

I really want driverless cars. Enforcement will outright go away when nothing ever speeds. Speed limits will also go up, so you won't be complaining that you speed and do 74, you'll just be legally doing 75 or more.

Re:At what speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244849)

As more autonomous cars are on the road, traffic will flow better, since there will be less accidents and annoyances (i.e. people who don't know how to change lanes or merge), and therefore we will probably be able to raise the limits.

Re:At what speed? (2)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about 10 months ago | (#45244883)

Maybe if everyone's cars drive at exactly the speed limit, then people will realize how ridiculous some of them are and get them changed.

Re:At what speed? (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 10 months ago | (#45244953)

I think we'll see some high-speed lanes (like diamond lanes) for robo-drivers only. They can do 160km/h safely, bumper to bumper. When there are enough robo-cars, the main reason to impose a speed limit at all is noise or environmental concerns

Yup, and it doesn't matter. (3, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 10 months ago | (#45244603)

We'll soon reach a point where autonomous vehicles are orders of magnitude less likely than human-driven vehicles to have an accident. It won't matter, though; people would rather face a daily one-in-a-million chance of dying due to their own mistake than a daily one-in-a-billion chance of dying due to a machine failure.

Autonomous vehicles will still take over in the end. It's just that this particular rational motive to make it happen won't be contributing very much. So, it'll take longer than it should, and more people will die.

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (3, Insightful)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about 10 months ago | (#45244707)

Your assertion that autonomous vehicles will take over fails to take into account one of the major reasons we have such a large automotive industry - people like to drive. They like to buy new cars, repair old cars, and do stupid things in fast cars. At most, a car with auto-pilot would be a convenience feature for the daily commute, but so long as people get an adrenaline rush when they put the pedal to the floor, this will not change.

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244795)

Except, if you've read any of the news for the last few years, it IS changing. Young people aren't entering into the automobile culture the way their parents did. They are favoring bicycles, walking, public transit, and other non-car ways to get around. It's something the big car mfgs are worried about a lot because their customer base is rapidly aging.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/5-reasons-young-people-are-not-buying-cars-or-getting-their-drivers-license/

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244817)

And if and when they do take over, old style human driven vehicles will command a high price.

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (2)

qbzzt (11136) | about 10 months ago | (#45244875)

It won't go away, but it might end up being like riding. It used to be a common skill, necessary for daily life in many cases. Now it is an expensive hobby, and an extremely rare skill. When my son is 16, I'd much rather he get into a Google car that drives for him than drive. By the time he is an adult and able to buy a car for himself, that pattern will be set and he'll probably be looking for thrills elsewhere.

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 10 months ago | (#45244941)

I agree. I love driving and enjoy my advanced footwork skills and I regret the evolution but it will proceed despite people regretting it.

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (5, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | about 10 months ago | (#45244901)

Very few people, even those who enjoy driving, enjoy more than a tiny fraction of the driving they do. In these situations, I find that the best touchstone is asking what very, very wealthy people do. They have essentially unlimited options, and what they do is reflective of human desire not limited by constraints.

Overwhelmingly, they choose to be driven. They choose to fly private jets. If you could afford it, you would do the same thing most of the time, because most of the time getting there is just a task, not a joy.

It will be the same with regular people. Imagine what society looks like when there are zero deaths due to drunk driving, distracted driving, and falling asleep at the wheel. Imagine how much lower car insurance premiums are when the risk of an at fault accident is nearly zero. People will still buy cars, because they will want one customized to them, but imagine all the things that can change when a human pilot no longer has to be accommodated: cars set up so that parents and children can face each other and play games together while traveling, lay-flat seats for overnight driving. You can leave Washington after work on Friday and eat lunch in New Orleans.

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 10 months ago | (#45245013)

We like to be ABLE to drive. We don't like to HAVE to drive.

I'll be fine with limiting my driving to some self driving counties or some weekend race track options if I don't have to
1. drive my work commute
2. sit in traffic
3. worry about my family getting in an accident
4. worry about parking
5. own a car
6. maintain a car
7. assume liability for a car and/or car accident
8. destroy the environment

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244877)

people would rather face a daily one-in-a-million chance of dying due to their own mistake than a daily one-in-a-billion chance of dying due to a machine failure.

Fortunately, the insurance company knows better.

Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 10 months ago | (#45244915)

"We'll soon reach a point where autonomous vehicles are orders of magnitude less likely than human-driven vehicles to have an accident."

No, we will not. You're too ignorant to think of the other thousands of extraneous factors that can make things go wrong outside of both human and computer control. Like metal fatigue causing physical wear and tear on brakes, rotors, axles, etc.

Who controls the software that produces the data? (1)

gQuigs (913879) | about 10 months ago | (#45244605)

Is it Google? Is it the consumer?

They are right that the data will have a lot of power over you in these situations...

Re:Who controls the software that produces the dat (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 10 months ago | (#45244673)

No way the consumer can control the data. If he could alter it, he could claim innocence while he is liable. So the "carputer" (it's an ugly name so somebody is going to use it eventually) will be closed source or DRM. It's great for public transport, but not for something you want to call My car.

Re:Who controls the software that produces the dat (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 10 months ago | (#45244963)

It doesn't have to be closed source, or DRM, which i think is not the term you want anyway. Having some kind of non-repudiation would be nice, but still not completely required. Just take speeding tickets now. The cop catches you on radar speeding and does what? Writes it on a piece of paper. Could he be lying? Absolutely! It's still accepted as evidence.

I wonder when... (2)

cronostitan (573676) | about 10 months ago | (#45244607)

...in the future you are being looked at as being crazy if you tell other people that you are still driving yourself.
"Seriously, how can you live with that - risking the life of others. Robot-Cars are much safer."

Re:I wonder when... (2)

mbone (558574) | about 10 months ago | (#45244689)

I suspect that that will be driven (or not) by insurance; an insurance policy that allows for non-emergency personal driving might become prohibitively expensive.

In the very early days of automobiles, it was assumed that the market would always be small because only professionals (chauffeurs) would learn how to drive, and only the wealthy could afford chauffeurs.

Re:I wonder when... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 10 months ago | (#45244811)

Why would emergency personnel be allowed to drive?

By the time you get to 90% autonomous vehicles on the road it starts to make sense to just ban non-autonomous ones, because the autonomous one can then use the space much more efficiently, travelling faster, and closer together (but communicating with each other to not collide). Even an emergency vehicle in this situation will 1) get there faster if driven autonomously, 2) be safer than if not driven autonomously.

Re:I wonder when... (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about 10 months ago | (#45244755)

Love for cars and love of driving is too ingrained in our culture to permit the future you have just described. People don't simply buy the safest vehicle they can afford - they buy something that's fun/sporty/responsive/peppy/powerful/fast/etc. and safe. Safety is almost an implied feature, but it always takes second fiddle to something a driver can enjoy. At most, self-driving will be a switch for the morning commute.

Sounds Good (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 10 months ago | (#45244613)

if {collision}
then {arbitrary braking profile}
else {real data}

Re:Sounds Good (4, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | about 10 months ago | (#45244727)

if {collision}
then {arbitrary braking profile}
else {real data}

Burma-shave

Re:Sounds Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244827)

Google can't be trusted on this. They already tried to cover up Google self-driving car rear-ending another Prius:
http://jalopnik.com/5828101/this-is-googles-first-self+driving-car-crash

Re:Sounds Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244969)

Your magic link has no evidence that it wasn't being driven manually at the time, which it was.

Re:Sounds Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45245007)

There was no rear-ending. It was their Prius trying to make other self-driving little Priuses.

Conversely (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244619)

I'd come to a complete stop once too, and was almost rear-ended. Luckily, I'd been glancing in my rear-view mirror and noticed that the guy pulling up behind me wasn't paying attention. So I rolled forward a few feet, and he ended up just stopping in time. Autonomous and sensors are one thing, but picking up on non-sensor cues and reacting accordingly (going into motion when the vehicle is legally supposed to be stopped) are still beyond the realm of sensors and algorithms.

Re:Conversely (1)

belthize (990217) | about 10 months ago | (#45244659)

An autonomous car will be even better than you in that situation, *if* it's programmed for it. Not only can it always be looking behind (and sideways, forward etc) it can gauge the oncoming car's closing speed, deceleration etc and figure out how far to move forward.

The lesson learned from the example is they need to add some rules that it's ok to enter an intersection through a red light or stop sign if it means avoiding getting rear ended.

Re:Conversely (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 10 months ago | (#45244805)

And risk getting T-boned? You can only move a few feet forward in an intersection. If the guy behind you isn't paying attention and going full speed, you are still getting rear-ended. Having moved a few feet forward may cause your car to be pushed further into the intersection with cross-traffic.

Re:Conversely (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 10 months ago | (#45244865)

An autonomous car will be even better than you in that situation, *if* it's programmed for it.

One of the beauties of autonomous cars is that they can be programmed from simulations. Not only that, if these auto-cars have black boxes, then data from accidents can be analyzed and used to update other cars.

What is the use of being better Driver? (0)

rtoz (2530056) | about 10 months ago | (#45244623)

I came to know that the cost of a Robot car is around $150,000 including a $70,000 LIDAR (laser radar) system. So, what is the use of being better Driver while it is too much costly so that it can not be used by many people even if the Government allows self-driving cars in future?

Re:What is the use of being better Driver? (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about 10 months ago | (#45244671)

Get it into production, allow for Moore's law, and these could be competitively priced in a very few years.

Re:What is the use of being better Driver? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244679)

Of course, because prices never come down once the items are being mass-manufactured..

Re:What is the use of being better Driver? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 10 months ago | (#45244691)

So let me get this straight... prototypes and first-run units are expensive? Go figure.

I guess we should just give up on the whole thing now, because of course prices will never come down once the technology matures and production increases.

Re:What is the use of being better Driver? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244693)

Are you acting stupid or are you always like this?

Accounting 101 (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 10 months ago | (#45244891)

So, what is the use of being better Driver while it is too much costly so that it can not be used by many people even if the Government allows self-driving cars in future?

The cost of ANYTHING is high at first. The main reason for this is fixed costs [wikipedia.org] which are very high on a per unit basis if you haven't produced a lot of units. You need to scale up production to bring the costs down since that allows you to spread the fixed costs over more units. Since we are still in the R&D phase with this technology there is no point in mass producing anything in order to lower the costs. Furthermore as the technology develops we discover cheaper ways to accomplish what was previously expensive.

read or rear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244639)

The car was read-ended? Not sure that is possible.

On the desert roads of Nevada, maybe (0)

bazmail (764941) | about 10 months ago | (#45244643)

I get tired after about 5 hours straight driving. But for city and suburban driving, no chance. There is no tech yet that can anticipate a child about to kick a ball out onto a road, or to see that a pedestrian is about to walk out in front of you without looking first.

Re:On the desert roads of Nevada, maybe (4, Funny)

jovius (974690) | about 10 months ago | (#45244711)

Solution: robot children and pedestrians. Anyway, wearable computing will make the garments aware of the surroundings. Trying to cross the road? Your pants know better!

Re:On the desert roads of Nevada, maybe (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244829)

you are so funny - you think drivers (or you for that matter) are some magical being that can predict actions?

Re:On the desert roads of Nevada, maybe (2)

guruevi (827432) | about 10 months ago | (#45244831)

Yes there is and it's already on high-end non-robotic cars. There are IR sensors that can see deer/bicycles/pedestrians even if your headlights don't pick it up yet at night or if they are (partially) hidden behind a car. Also, a robotic car can respond in a matter of microseconds, the human brain easily takes up a second to respond in these situations.

Re: On the desert roads of Nevada, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244947)

Which will just mean in college towns like here the students know they'll just be able to cross whenever like they do now but *know* the automated car *will* stop, meaning more will just walk out and cross the street more often

Re:On the desert roads of Nevada, maybe (3, Insightful)

alexgieg (948359) | about 10 months ago | (#45244917)

There is no tech yet that can anticipate a child about to kick a ball out onto a road, or to see that a pedestrian is about to walk out in front of you without looking first.

Do you really think you 300ms senses are better at detecting 'random_object_in_car_path()' and doing a 'controlled_break( distance( random_object_in_car_path() ) / car_speed() );' than a laser detection system operating at sub-millisecond speeds?

Re: On the desert roads of Nevada, maybe (2)

jbo5112 (154963) | about 10 months ago | (#45244949)

I'm pretty sure that the cars are constantly watching in front, back and both sides (too lazy to double check). They have been tested accident free (or at least fault free) in San Francisco, and successfully navigated Lombard Street. There is also driverless technology to allow them to see traffic (possibly just driverless traffic) around blind corners, obscured by buildings.

Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You (0)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 10 months ago | (#45244653)

No they aren't.

Re:Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244857)

Ah, that ignorant human arrogance again. It's cute watching people gnash their teeth when a machine outperforms them at something.

But what about black swans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244657)

I can totally see these cars breaking down all at the same time when in some unforeseen extremely unusual condition. I think it is therefore premature to conclude they are safer than human drivers.

The data will set you free?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244661)

"The data will set you free"

That's what the NSA is saying too.

who cares if it's safer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244663)

Why is there some automatic assumption that if A is safer than B, we must permit A and eliminate B?

Are no other factors allowed to be considered? Not wanting everywhere we go to be logged by Google and the Government, maybe? How about just the visceral enjoyment of a perfectly executed heel-toe, nailing the rev match? How about the realization that by far what's most likely to kill me is a heart attack or cancer, not a car accident?

Yes, cars kill people. Yes, I can be killed by the next guy's car. I don't care. Life isn't about cowering from everything in sheer terror at minuscule risks. I also jump out of airplanes from time to time, and climb sheer rock walls. Both can be dangerous. I do them anyway, because I enjoy it.

Why are the "safety before every other thing" people always assumed to be right? We're insulating our children from any perceivable level of risk, and it's leaving them unprepared to deal with real life.

How did Caesar put it? "Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once."

Not that Google cares (2)

mbone (558574) | about 10 months ago | (#45244665)

"The data will set you free.'"

Or imprison you, as the case may be.

Agreed, Robot Drivers are better, but.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about 10 months ago | (#45244669)

the problem isn't that I wouldn't trust a Robot Driver, but, how can you be sure it won't get hacked? or malfunction? Some things should always be left to be in control by a human. Intuition isn't something a robot can acquire.

Perfect Synergy (5, Interesting)

some old guy (674482) | about 10 months ago | (#45244677)

Thanks to our dear friends at the NSA, law enforcement will soon have the ability to override the destination selection of autonomous cars and have any driver/passenger they wish promptly delivered to a convenient jail or donut shop.

I love technology!

Re:Perfect Synergy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244821)

That would do wonders for car theft. First, a sleeping agent would need to be released in the cabin with the windows up and locked.

I wouldn't trust it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244683)

Two times in the last two days google has blocked forwards from my MX, plus two other times in the last couple of months. That's four times I've had to ask them to unblock MX and whitelist me. (Each time they claim they're getting too much UCE from it – they're not, I have spam assassin and two dnsbls that block way more that what google lets through.)

If their driving software works as well as their ability to keep me whitelisted then I wouldn't trust it to drive me in a golf cart on a golf course.

Liability (1, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 10 months ago | (#45244697)

I commented about insurance and liability a couple days ago when another autonomous vehicle story was posted. This answered my question:

a new dashboard display that his group has developed to help people understand what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over

Well there you have it. As long as a human has the ability to take over, and it's a decision they have to make, then the liability goes from Google to the person sitting in the driver's seat. Subtle but clear as day. Google wants to transfer liability off of their system onto a person in the vehicle. I can see it in court now "Our dashboard clearly indicated to the driver 5 seconds before the accident that it could no longer maintain control of the vehicle given the circumstances involved and that the driver was to disengage the system and take over control."

Re:Liability (1, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | about 10 months ago | (#45245011)

a new dashboard display that his group has developed to help people understand what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over

How come you left out the next two words "the world"?

How about driving to rural cottage or snowy cond? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244713)

I'd like to see videos of these autonomous cars maneuvering in almost roadless situations going to various rural cottages, and snowy conditions.

Sure, they will eventually match and surpass us humans, but not yet.

Re:How about driving to rural cottage or snowy con (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244843)

It will do better than you will under those conditions, because it will have GPS, and it can react faster to slips than you can.

Re: How about driving to rural cottage or snowy co (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244981)

Yeah, and it will also stop driving as it doesn't believe there's road there. How would it handle parking at a college football game or a county fair where you're directed by a guy in an orange vest with a flash light pointing you to a made up spot in the middle of a grass field?
How will it handle a section of road handled by a flagger where your lane is closed?
How will it handle a flooded roadway? A section of road that has a snow drift where *you* know to slow down?

Innocent until prooven guilty (1)

burni2 (1643061) | about 10 months ago | (#45244729)

"we actually have the data. The guy around us wasn't paying enough attention. The data will set you free.'"
The old argument we collect all your data and IF you are acused of a crime we can set you free if we have ALL YOUR DATA, but with the data
we can adjust the payment for your insurance even if you have no accident.

This circumvents and undermines the common principles of law: You don't have to proof that you are innocent, an acuser must proof that you are guilty.

These are many steps that will eliminate the freedom in between and a new generation of 1984 conformists are born. Innocent until prooven guilty.

STOP - GOOGLE - NOW!

trains (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244741)

I really wish that development would progress toward trains than autonomous cars. Trains bring [energy and infrastructure] efficiency to the table, where autonomous cars... not so much of anything.

Industrial-strength (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45244743)

'We don't have to rely on eyewitnesses that can't be trusted as to what happened — we actually have the data. The guy around us wasn't paying enough attention. The data will set you free.'"

That's the only way this is going to work with thousands of predatory, fraudulent lawyers waiting to pounce with clients in cahoots. I would also recommend a video log of forward and rear for the inevitable Russian-like heaving yourself onto the car pretending to be hit.

It's also a huge concern for household robots that may clean your house someday.

Don't worry Cab / Truck / Bus drivers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244749)

You'll find jobs doing something else once the machines take over! No really - I read it on slashdot all the time!

Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think (1)

theodp (442580) | about 10 months ago | (#45244753)

Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think [technologyreview.com] : "Most daunting, however, are the remaining computer science and artificial-intelligence challenges. Automated driving will at first be limited to relatively simple situations, mainly highway driving, because the technology still can't respond to uncertainties posed by oncoming traffic, rotaries, and pedestrians. And drivers will also almost certainly be expected to assume some sort of supervisory role, requiring them to be ready to retake control as soon as the system gets outside its comfort zone."

Re:Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 10 months ago | (#45244973)

Which would mean they're not yet suited for the two things I would like to have them for:
- taking me home when I've(we've) drunk more alcohol than allowed for driving
- dropping me off in the city and being able to find a parking spot by itself or just drive around till I call it up again.

Re:Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45245001)

The DARPA cars where required to demonstrate there handling of uncertainties posed by oncoming traffic, rotaries, and pedestrians before they where allowed to enter the race, and that was many years ago. So indeed further in the past than you think.

GYOU F+AIL IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244761)

a sad world. At o0r cause. Gay

NASCAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244767)

This is all an elaborate scheme to increase the fan base and therfore the profits of auto racing.

Grumble Grumble iGoogle, Google Reader, Desktop... (2)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | about 10 months ago | (#45244771)

That's all well and good until you're given a notice that they will be shutting down the automated driving service because they have Google Taxi now.

One better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244793)

Our robots drive cars better than your robot cars drive.

- Skynet

Good, good ... (3, Informative)

LordKaT (619540) | about 10 months ago | (#45244801)

Now go and take this out into New York City on 5th avenue at 5pm ET rush hour during the work week.

No, seriously, I want to see how well this car performs in a city where the posted 40mph speed limit oin the Staten Island Expressway is ignored by the vast majority of cops and motorists, the normal speed is about 70mph or so, and people will rear end you out of spite if you go too slow for them.

Then get me the data on how much less it costs to run this car.

Organ Donors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244819)

Unfortunately, since the organs from car accident victims can be used to save several more lives, driverless cars might cause a net increase in deaths due to fewer donated organs.

Data will get you jailed (4, Interesting)

almostadnsguy (2009458) | about 10 months ago | (#45244837)

1. Will you still be drving drunk if you have your autonomous car drive you home after a night of drinking? 2. What if you are driving link and ass and rear-end someone, will they be able to use that data against you? What if both people are at fault? 3. Who's going to absorb the liability for these cars when something unexpected breaks? The large automotives are going to drag their feet for years on self-driving cars. Their will need to be a lot of testing in real life before they mass produce any cars.

Here is what I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244839)

People seem to have no problem entrusting their lives to computers when they fly and now it looks like computers will drive soon.

So why is it when I say that computers should run City Hall for 90% of the work that is the same all over the planet, I get strange looks?

People have been living in cities for millennia, you'd think that 90% of the daily operations of a city would be standardized by now. Why does it take such an insane amount of redundant bloated bureaucracy to pick up garbage?

Confusing summary (1)

slasho81 (455509) | about 10 months ago | (#45244841)

The summary looks like a collection of vaguely-related sentences.

Up Yours Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244845)

Leave my roads alone, you pompous greedy lying, deceitful bhasturds. Stick to collecting data from browsers and phones.
That is all.

Re:Up Yours Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244903)

Came here to say this. Glad to see it's already said. Thank you, anonymous coward!

Fuck Google.

Oh really ? Let's see your Prius keep up with me. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244859)

Fuck these arrogant techno twits.

I have roadraced, I have competed in rally events, and there is no
way their silly little ecofascist suppository on wheels Prius is going
to drive as well as I do.

Not all of us are going to swallow your bullshit, Google boys.

I quit using your search engine, and I advise anyone with a modicum of
intelligence to do likewise. There are many very good alternatives which
do not help Google 'earn' more parasitic revenue.

No. Just not true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45244879)

FTA: " Urmson showed a new dashboard display that his group has developed to help people understand what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over."

If it was safer than a human driver, this would never happen. What he's saying is that it's safer than a human driver, except when it isn't.

The example accident isn't indicative of anything. If you rear end someone, it's nearly always your fault. There are rare exceptions, but data isn't setting anyone free here, the car in front of you can stop as hard as it wants, at anytime, for any or no reason, and it's your fault if you hit them because you're following too closely and/or not paying attention.

Another bit of his "proof" is that the car accelerated more smoothly than human drivers. Exactly how is this a safety issue?

Also, human drivers braked harder. Did anyone doubt that their algorithms would be conservative? And would never exceed the speed limit? Or maybe the human perception is way more advanced at judging when it's ok to brake later and harder?

Taking over during emergency... (4, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 10 months ago | (#45244885)

So when you're driving today you're in a state of being aware of the situation and are engaged with the surroundings.

If you're letting the car drive, I highly doubt you're paying that much attention. Why wouldn't I let the car drive and I read, do email, surf the web or turn around and talk to the passengers in the rear seats.

In the event where you need to take an emergency action, it's much easy in the first case to go to heightened state than in the second one. Atleast in the first one you aren't completely surprised by the events you're facing before you.

Think of the case of a gravel truck that has a loose load. If I know there's a truck in front of me, I'm not 100% surprised if some gravel comes out, whereby if i'm reading/emailing and I'm forced to take over to avoid gravel, it's more of a surprise and I'm forced to figure quite a bit more out about the situation before I can act. One could also panic because of the amount of elevated emotion or adrenaline dump that would be taking place since you'd go from "reading iPad" to "dodging gravel".

Defensive Driving (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 months ago | (#45244931)

It took me a while to learn what that meant. Basically, be aware of situations where you could be in an accident and get out of them as soon as you can. Also,try to make it a rule that if there's more than 2 things that could go wrong with a driving maneuver I don't do it :).

It's a hard thing to teach though. When I did driver's Ed as a kid they tried to hammer it into us so hard it just came off as a joke ("Blood on the Highway!"). For me, I'm more than a little neurotic, so it came natural :), but I struggle with how to get the point across to my kid that she should periodically be taking stock of her situation.

Self driving cars do all that without the messiness of trying to teach them :)

John Henry was a Steel Drivin' Man (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 10 months ago | (#45244965)

Time for a contest [wikipedia.org]

Very obvious point they are making (2)

houghi (78078) | about 10 months ago | (#45244979)

EVERYBODY says they are a good driver and better then others. So why would Google do otherwise?

I also like the bit at the end: The data will set you free.

Also : yes, you need eye witnesses. Or at least external experts.
I would not trust a company saying they are innocent in an accident and back it up by THEIR data. "We promise there was no software error in ANY of the cars. All people need to do is sit on the left cheek and hold the doorknob with the right hand. People just are using it wrong. They also signed a waiver when they opened the door. Look it up. It is in the Company-Is-Always-Right law that was passed last week."

It will not matter at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45245009)

Before you go out from your daily work, you go to Google maps from your Google desktop using your Google browser (chrome) and you are asked:
(start)

Hello Mr. Smith, do you want to go home or going somewhere else?

- I would like to go to a Chinese restaurant with crab noodles, and on the way pick up my girlfriend.

Checking your girlfriend availability. ... ... ...

She confirmed availability.

These are the restaurants available with tables, please choose one:
- Restaurant one (table available in 35m, 25m to arrive there)
- Restaurant two (table available in 45m, 35m to arrive there)
- Restaurant three (table available in 1h10m, 40m to arrive there)

Thank you for choosing restaurant two. Please await outside at bay 12 for your car. It will arrive in 3m.

(end)
And you will be able to change / track what is going on with your Google glass goggles, your Google clock, your Google belt and your Google wearable computer (the one that was called before a mobile phone in the old days)

can't wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45245019)

They can't come soon enough. We continually build highways wider and wider to solve, really, our own ability to drive properly in rush hour. Rush hour would be very free flowing if we had autonomous cars that automatically made way for merging cars, for instance, instead of those idiots who block them on purpose just to remine 1-2 car lengths in front of them. Rush hour traffic is mainly caused by cars having to force their way in, causing all other cars to have to brake as all those cars are following too closely to begin with. Truly autonomous cars could tailgate each other SAFELY. The density of traffic you could support on our roads would go tremendously.

Also, I'd love a day where I don't have to own a car but I instead say "I need a car in my driveway at 1:15 to take me to work". It arrives at 1:15, and if more people are going to my destination. maybe the car picks them up also. The possibilities are endless, and can truly solve a lot of the problems with the roads today.

However, of course, insurance will be an issue. They won't go down lightly and will find a way to fight it.

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