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When Cars Go Driverless, What Happens To the Honking?

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the beeping-insane dept.

Transportation 267

blastboy writes "The potential upside to getting rid of drivers: 'Today car horns are still a leading source of noise pollution in urban centers. India's honking problem is so severe that the response to it—from both activists and government officials—mirrors the response to an actual epidemic. Officials in Peru, meanwhile, began treating honking like a serious crime in 2009, threatening to confiscate the cars of people who honk when they shouldn't.'"

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Driverless Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46124875)

They said driverless not hornless. Those in the car are free to honk their asses off. :)

K

Re:Driverless Cars (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46125501)

They said driverless not hornless. Those in the car are free to honk their asses off. :)

Simple solution: Put a horn meter in every car, and charge a 10 cent tax each time they honk it.

Re:Driverless Cars (2)

Garridan (597129) | about 8 months ago | (#46125709)

See, this is the thoughtless sort of legislation that makes the world an awful place to live. I immediately see your tax as an incentive to hardwire the horn on. I pay at most $.1 per trip in horn tax, and still get to use it as much as I like.

Re:Driverless Cars (4, Funny)

Zynder (2773551) | about 8 months ago | (#46125787)

I don't know what's wrong with the humor centers of my brain lately but I can't tell which one of you are joking. I thought Bill was but your comment falls into that category of sounding so insane that many would take it seriously. I'm so confused!

Re:Driverless Cars (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 8 months ago | (#46125761)

But then manufacturers will offer Free Nights and Weekend Honking, and contracts for 1000 honks per month (minimum 2 yr contract). Eventually, we'll get some good prepaid honks, but they won't always be as up to date as contract horns.

Re:Driverless Cars (4, Funny)

rusty0101 (565565) | about 8 months ago | (#46125903)

After 5 years, some provider will offer unlimited honking as part of their standard contract at lower than competitor's prices, but you'r car will only operate on limited access roadways and your horn will be bufered through the network with random failures to deliver horn notifications in a timely manner and occasionall complete loss of horn notifications. Subscribers will point at the low prices as evidence of better than expected service, impressively inovative and the customer service representatives will be rated higher than any of the competition.

A Button For Humans To Press (2)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 8 months ago | (#46125641)

The horn is an easy to access button that makes a noise. And like the other primates, if we have an emotional response we press the only button available because it is THERE.

We give babies toys that make a noise when you press different buttons, and adults we are little different and still enjoy pressing the button that makes a noise.

Ridiculous premise (-1)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 8 months ago | (#46124897)

We will not have "driverless cars". Ever.

Re:Ridiculous premise (1)

Shompol (1690084) | about 8 months ago | (#46125229)

Ridiculous premise is ridiculous.

Re:Ridiculous premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125359)

We will not have a "horseless carriage". Ever.

Re:Ridiculous premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125465)

Do you not understand the difference? Just because something happened once doesn't mean that now anything can happen. Jesus Christ the people with this childish "counterexample".

Re:Ridiculous premise (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#46125771)

I agree on the general principle of "just because fancy tech happened before doesn't mean every wishful idea will be achieved" (e.g. faster-than-light travel) --- but self-driving cars aren't an exotic future possibility outside the present domain of human knowledge. They're working prototypes cruising around today, and doing a pretty good job of it. At this point, there's a big burden of proof to establish why they won't become common, rather than whether they might be possible in theory.

Re:Ridiculous premise (1)

dead_user (1989356) | about 8 months ago | (#46125973)

I'm actually delaying buying a new car until I can get one that can drive for me. I mean door to door. I can see this as viable in the next 2-3 years, with me able to afford it in a couple more after that. :) As my current repair bills are far lower than a car note would be, I'm quite happy to keep fixing the minor bit that falls off and keep this baby on the road a few more years. So yeah, I think it is going to be a reality. Soon. The hard problems are basically solved. All that remains is establishing liability and letting mass production driving costs down. I mean, cd players were EXPENSIVE not 20 years ago. Yep. Doable. And Awesome!

Re:Ridiculous premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126093)

No one said we won't have self-driving cars. They said we won't have driverless cars. There is a difference. In the self-driving car, the car is the driver.

Re:Ridiculous premise (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#46126169)

So, the horseless carriage was never invented, because the motor is the horse? Rather, "driver" has, in common meaning, indicated the person controlling the car; and, if you see a car coming down the street towards you without a person at the wheel, you think "holy shit, that car has no driver!" (just like someone might have thought "holy shit, that carriage has no horse!").

Re:Ridiculous premise (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 8 months ago | (#46125885)

No I don't know the difference. Educate me. Experience tells me that if humans can do it, then we will do it. At least once.

Re:Ridiculous premise (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46125537)

I'm curious why you think this is the case? There are driverless cars right now. They cost millions of dollars, but I've seen a few things drop in price in the technology department in my few decades.

Re:Ridiculous premise (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 8 months ago | (#46125643)

We'll have driverless trucks first. At first required to only operate at night in clear weather but eventually the machines will develop a dependable track record of safety.

Re:Ridiculous premise (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 8 months ago | (#46125861)

Say the people standing to make a lot of money from them (and their fanboys), yes. The problem is that reality tracking technology and heuristics are not even close to making a safe autonomous street robot. The clues are all about us in the non-critical technologies we have already, like voice recognition. It's been 20 years, and it still can't tell what someone's saying when the person has a cold, or even get it 99% correct in ideal conditions. it's slow too. Face recognition is getting slowly better, probably because of tons of government interest in the ability to auto-track everyone, but even that is easily fooled with a bit of makeup or disguise. 'Brittle' programming like this has no business at the top of the driving decision 'train', or any other critical situation.

I see it happening to trains because a fixed point to point track that dictates the physical movement of the vehicle is far simpler to predict than random events in an open terrain. Even then, I'd still want a human engineer at the console in case something happens. Computers may be faster, but humans are still much better at contextual awareness.

Re:Ridiculous premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125927)

Google is already doing it. Their cars have driven hundreds of thousands of miles without an accident. Do you they are lying?

Re:Ridiculous premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125995)

Bot is botting, better bot next time?

It's getting bot in here, so take off all my close.

Re:Ridiculous premise (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46126211)

Human train engineers make mistakes all the time. Just recently we've had two "going around the corner too fast" fatal incidents. Those are two accidents that would not have happened with a robot at the wheel. Now, you might be correct and the robots might be less able to react to "random" events - but then how rare are random events compared with engineers dozing off, spacing out, or showing up impaired? In any case, most systems still stick a guy up there, even if he doesn't drive the train under normal circumstances... so that probably covers both cases. So sure, you still pay a driver, but you gain safety and you gain the ability to run trains closer together.. capacity.

I can certainly see the same thing happening with semi trailers. Computer reaction times are fantastic, so the semi trailers can tailgate one another for aerodynamic efficiency. If the human can sleep while the vehicle is underway, then driver fatigue no longer needs to be the limiting factor and vehicles can keep their speeds down for further fuel savings. When the truck is ready to exit the easy highway driving, it can alert the operator to take over. If it encounters a situation it can't handle, it can pull over or even panic stop and let the operator take over.

Even for passenger cars, we are seeing baby-steps toward automation. One Infinity, the Q50, no longer uses a steering column... it is fly-by-wire. It will stay in it's lane by itself, stay a safe distance behind the car in front, even take curves. Mercedes has similar technology. BMW has a system to automatically parallel park the car. I expect luxury cars to slowly become self-driving, without people even realizing it, and the technology to trickle down as it becomes more affordable, and as people demand it for insurance rate benefits.

Driverless cars are already here (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46126121)

You are absolutely right. Those Google cars currently tooling around the country are purely imaginary. As are that other company's that can drive F-1 cars around Nürburgring in the pouring rain with professional-grade lap times(IIRC). The technology is already pretty much there, one more order-of-magnitude improvement and it will be pretty unquestionably superior to human drivers in all but the most contrived of corner-cases. After that the question is just cost and public acceptance.

Cost can reasonably be expected to diminish rapidly thanks to independent advances in computers and computer vision systems for other, more immediately profitable products.

And I'll bet you small automated "mall trolleys" that smoothly shared the walkways with pedestrians while averaging 10-20mph would go a *long* way towards generating public acceptance, while also increasing mall profitability. Hell, make it a "bug bounty" game - put big signs on the trolleys

"If this car is at fault in *any* damage to you or your property,
  get $10,000 within 24 hours just by calling --- --- ----,
with the time and license number,
so that we can learn from the recordings of your creativity.
WARNING: clearly fraudulent claims will be prosecuted."

Give it a couple years, let the thrill-seekers get bored with jumping in front of the things hoping to cash in on a stubbed toe, and I bet you people are perfectly willing to let it do the driving for themselves and their neighbors as well. Meanwhile it will probably be one of the cheapest and most viral marketing campaigns *ever*. I mean who *doesn't* have a hilarious and heart-pounding personal story of some lunatic at the mall trying to throw themselves under the wheels of your trolley? And the personal realization that the automated systems had gracefully dodged an outcome that would gave given you nightmares for years if you had been at the wheel.

People would be beating down the car makers' doors for the things, especially if they would save enough on insurance premiums to pay for the auto-chauffeur within a couple years.

I imagine it will stay (5, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 8 months ago | (#46124925)

I imagine that driverless cars will honk quite frequently, just to be on the safe side. They will be able to communicate silently to other car 2.0s but the old style drivers and the pedestrians will need warnings that there is a car that they might not be aware of.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about 8 months ago | (#46125271)

Electric cars could eliminate noise pollution. What did our bright lawmaker mavens did? Legislate it so electric cars must play artificial noise, because someone might be jaywalking with a nose in their smartphone.

So I'd expect 50 years of the equivalent of having a person walk before the car waving a red flag before we can enjoy the benefits of new technologies.

Re:I imagine it will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125287)

Because someone blind might be walking and not hear a silent car, idiot.

Re:I imagine it will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125477)

Why the fuck are they walking in the road? Is the driver also blind?

Re:I imagine it will stay (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 8 months ago | (#46125863)

Why the fuck are they walking in the road?

I feel like this is the start of a bad joke, but the honest answer is "because they want to get to the other side". Blind people need to cross streets too, in case that thought hadn't occurred to you, and knowing if there is a car sitting at the corner that may be about to make a turn across the crosswalk they're using is something they may interested in knowing. Or they may want to know if a car is nearing them in a parking lot. There are plenty of reasons for a blind person to want to know where cars are located, and, surprisingly, they all pretty much line up with the sorts of reasons why you might want to know where the cars are located when you're near traffic.

Re:I imagine it will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125881)

In the case of computer driven cars, it might as well be.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

clemdoc (624639) | about 8 months ago | (#46125493)

The same argument was made every time a new generation of cars became more quiet than the previous one.
I do not fear that regulations will force cars to be louder than necessary, at least not for long.
Reason: People will get used to and appreciate quiet cars. Politicians will do so as well. And even if cars are forced to produce some noise - which I don't think will last for a long time - a more or less even humming is far more tolerable (at least to me) than the ugly whining of engines revving up and down and the tank-like grunting of broken exhaust pipes. YMMV (SCNR).
And after all, you still have tire noise, that's unlikely to go away anytime soon.
So I agree with GP: It's far easier to add noise to a silent car than to silence a noisy car. At least I will not miss the noise and I do not think that the blind people you mentioned will either.

Re:I imagine it will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125911)

You might not miss it but many will. A Harley is nothing without it's sound. So much so they patented it (or trademarked, copyrighted whatever they call it). If you want a motorcycle that performs, there are plenty better ones. But if you want one that turns heads and gets bitches all wet you buy a Harley.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

clemdoc (624639) | about 8 months ago | (#46126133)

You're right, of course, but it's very limited in scope.
I actually hadn't thought of it, but now that you mention it, I still don't think it matters in terms of noise prevention.
Most vehicles are bought (I think/guess/believe) without giving a second thought (iaw shit) about the noise they cause.
They're bought because of price / space / availability / whatever. If that behaviour stays the same and cars overall get more quiet, there will be less noise. That's cool with me.
People who buy Harleys will continue to do so. Those machines are bought, as you wrote, because of their image (getting bitches all wet). They are cool, great, fantastic and they will get bought. AFAIK, Porsche invested quite some money to *keep* the sound of the 911 the way it was when they switched from air cooling (VW Beetle! proud former owner of a 1302 speaking) to water cooling (which is far more efficient) in the second half of the nineties.
If the majority of cars will be less noisy, I shall be pleased.

Mandatory car sounds not so bad? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46126185)

> a more or less even humming is far more tolerable

Yeah, but it has no *style*. How about Hollywood-esque hovercar sounds? Or for the retro-inclined the sounds of a team of long-legged horses running on soft ground (because nobody wants to listen to a team of horses galloping down a cobblestone street). We could have a whole *palette* of soundscapes to play with as phttp://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/01/31/2331231/when-cars-go-driverless-what-happens-to-the-honking#eople got accustomed to the idea.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 8 months ago | (#46125669)

Good, natural selection at work. Don't play on the road, idiot.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 8 months ago | (#46125879)

My grandfather was left blind for reasons that were not related to his genetics, so natural selection is hardly at play, and even if it were, the fact is that the blind have just as much reason to want to know where cars are as you do. If I'm in a parking garage, I oftentimes hear cars before I see them, and the way that some of those drivers careen around corners, it oftentimes falls to me to keep myself safe from them, since they aren't looking out for me. And if I'm crossing the street at a crosswalk, cars can still take a turn at the corner and go over the crosswalk I'm using. Understandably, I may be interested in knowing if that's happening, since I've had to avoid them in the past when they look out for oncoming traffic but forget to check for pedestrians.

Suggesting that this is about blind people playing in the streets and that they deserve what they get is just moronic.

Re:I imagine it will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126173)

Kings vs Toys

My king, my king, my KINGDOM, 4 a horse...

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#46125795)

In this case, you don't need a honking horn, just, e.g., an audible engine-like rumble when cars are approaching intersections. I assume (hope) you don't lean on the horn every time you see a pedestrian at the corner. And, if a blind person is crossing, you should never have a need to honk --- you should have brought your car to a stop at the intersection and given pedestrians their right of way (not be caught unawares blasting through a stopsign). Self-driving cars will probably, on average, do a lot better job of this than humans.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 8 months ago | (#46125357)

Ridiculous! Utter rubbish! They would use that fluorescent orange colour.

Re:I imagine it will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125917)

What! Even more rubbish! Fluorescent orange is reserved for construction and hunters. They'd use fluorescent yellow also known as chartreuse.

Re:I imagine it will stay (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125369)

Last week I saw a couple of women walking under the umbrella.
The wind was blowing pretty hard, so they held the umbrella in front of them and couldn't seen anything.
They almost walked into a crossing tram. A bunch of people yelled at them and they stopped in time.
seconds later they continue walking and almost walk straight into traffic because they couldn't be arsed to look in front of them.

That's where I stopped feeling sorry for them.
I understand making a mistake, but when you almost get run over and then don't stop being an idiot, that's on you.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#46125497)

Still, the car ought to be able to tell that someone is there, standing or walking toward the street.

After all, the noise was demanded because there were drivers in silent electric cars, and the cars had no smarts to tell them about their surroundings.
Driver-less cars will have cameras and radars and should be able to make noise only when appropriate. Of course, appropriate means everywhere on a busy city street, so a huge racket thrown up by otherwise quiet cars.

It would be cheaper to offer free pocket car sensors to every blind person, than to inflict that noise on everyone.

Re:I imagine it will stay (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#46125601)

To be fair, the only way for me to get to anywhere from my house by walking is by jaywalking. There's only a sidewalk on one side of the street and I'd be walking on the side of the road if I didn't cross straight in front of my house. In winter snowbanks stop me from walking on the lawns until I get to a safe crossing point. Also the road is curved, so its hard to see when cars are coming. I often use my ears, as well as my eyes to determine when cars are coming. Sound is probably the more important factor since I can't really see that far down the road.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 8 months ago | (#46125703)

Electric cars could eliminate noise pollution. What did our bright lawmaker mavens did? Legislate it so electric cars must play artificial noise, because someone might be jaywalking with a nose in their smartphone.

Or they might be blind, and really have no way to know that a silent car is approaching them. Or they might just be used to the idea that they can hear cars approaching, having never encountered a "ninja Prius" before.

The noise doesn't have to be loud, it only needs to be projected in front of the car, not everywhere, and it only has to operate when the car is going slow enough that its road noise isn't inaudible. This particular noise isn't going to bother anyone any more than the traditional engine noises it's meant to replace, and it's going to save lives. In this case our bright lawmaker mavens did the right thing.

Re:I imagine it will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125409)

I think you are confusing driverless with electric.

india asks for honks! (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 8 months ago | (#46125451)

wtf, every truck in india has a huge sign that says please honk. it's considered rude NOT to honk in india. not being sarcastic. honking is viewed positively there.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 8 months ago | (#46125509)

no one inside of a current car with the windows up hears honking, anyway. too many other things making enough noise to overwhelm anything outside.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#46125523)

I imagine that driverless cars will honk quite frequently, just to be on the safe side. They will be able to communicate silently to other car 2.0s but the old style drivers and the pedestrians will need warnings that there is a car that they might not be aware of.

Liability worries will probably make that the norm.

Who will dare sell a car that does not give the same warning that a conscientious driver might?
There will be people diving in front of driverless cars attempting to empty the deep pockets of the manufacturers.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 8 months ago | (#46125713)

There will be people diving in front of driverless cars attempting to empty the deep pockets of the manufacturers.

People already dive in front of regular cars, just try driving around any major city. People care more about answering that text message than they do about looking for traffic.

Re:I imagine it will stay (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 8 months ago | (#46125929)

There will be people diving in front of driverless cars attempting to empty the deep pockets of the manufacturers.

I don't think that's going to work too well -- the car will have a complete record of its sensor inputs at the time of the incident, from which it should be pretty obvious what actually happened.

(Not that that won't stop a few opportunists from trying, of course -- it will be interesting to see how a self-driving car handles deliberately dangerous behavior)

Re:I imagine it will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126125)

I imagine that driverless cars will honk quite frequently, just to be on the safe side. They will be able to communicate silently to other car 2.0s but the old style drivers and the pedestrians will need warnings that there is a car that they might not be aware of.

Exactly. Just like the legislation in the early 20th century requiring operators of horseless carriages to stop every 15 minutes and fire off a flare to alert people that there was a horseless carriage around.

Haven't heard a honk in a while (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125247)

It's been weeks, if not months since I've heard any car honking, I'm sure it's happened, but I can't remember it. I know it's been years since I've honked deliberately, though I'm kinda bad at using the horn on my car anyway, it's hard to use.

Re:Haven't heard a honk in a while (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 8 months ago | (#46125319)

It's been weeks, if not months since I've heard any car honking

Go to any parking lot; wait for someone to lock or unlock their car. Honk.

Driverless cars will still need to be locked, so they will presumably still honk on a regular basis.

Re:Haven't heard a honk in a while (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 8 months ago | (#46125487)

Not every car honks when the doors are locked. Many cars have this as a configurable setting now.

Re:Haven't heard a honk in a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126145)

Can't say that happens either, more of a chirp. Not sure if it's a different system or just lower voltage.

Re:Haven't heard a honk in a while (1)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | about 8 months ago | (#46125805)

My driving instructor used to lean across to blow the horn and wave when he saw one of his former students. I noticed that a high proportion of his former students seemed to be pedestrians.

We both used to confuse "left" and "right" too, which sometimes worked out fine.

There's an App For That (1)

rueger (210566) | about 8 months ago | (#46125257)

Seriously. Use the on board radar to spot idiotic behaviour and let 'er blast!

Honk Honk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125259)

Don't like honking? Come ride in Vietnam sometime. Honking just means "HI! I"M COMING!" or turning.

slow ne (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125261)

ws day?

Good riddance! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125263)

Actually where I live honking isn't as much of a noise problem as the ricers with fart cans and pickup trucks with dysfunctional mufflers.

There is no need to honk. Ever. (2, Insightful)

Shompol (1690084) | about 8 months ago | (#46125317)

Although I can imagine that driving in NYC is not a bad as India, the traffic gets pretty busy here. My driving algorithm is as follows:
1. Aways yeld to idiots and jackasses.
2. Maneuver to avoid accidents, honking does not help much.

Very seldom, if someone fell asleep at the traffick light, I give it a very short blip.

If all horns were uninstalled tomorrow we would not loose much. Now let's discuss sirens and light pollution.

Re:There is no need to honk. Ever. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125387)

As an idiot and jackass, please let me be the first to thank you for your constant yielding.

Re:There is no need to honk. Ever. (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 8 months ago | (#46125491)

There is no need to honk. Ever.

Very seldom, if someone fell asleep at the traffick light, I give it a very short blip.

Awesome. So you are an asshole. That thing is not there to wake people up, but to avoid accidents.

.

Re:There is no need to honk. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125701)

Horns don't avoid accidents. Accidents happen too fast for horns to do either jack or shit about them. So basically, horns are to show the asshat that cut you off how pissed you are, if you're that special kind of vindictive twat that doesn't understand how useless horns are for that.

But if someone is twiddling with their damned phone at a red light and then sits through nearly an entire green light, I'm sure as hell going to honk. And I'm not an "asshole NYC driver". I'm from "flyover country". I'll generally give you a 2-count before I "toot-toot" the first time. If I have to do it again, you're going to hear it. I've often wished that I had installed a train horn in my passenger vehicle, just to deafen the idiots that keep waiting around for a better shade of green. Get. The. Fuck. Moving.

Re:There is no need to honk. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125617)

I can imagine that driving in NYC is not a bad as India

I can imagine the raping in NYC is also not as bad as India. Plus they'll pretend to care about the victims there.

Re:There is no need to honk. Ever. (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#46125681)

Sure there is... how else would you propose we signal, when the car just in front of us is driving at 10 miles per hour on a 30 mph road, when a pedestrian is taking too long to finish their crossing, a car in front of us is slowing down or taking too long to complete their right turn, or the car in front of us is stopped and signalling left in the middle of the road, spending forever at the stop sign, failing to take a right turn on red, stopping at a yellow light, failing to accelerate immediately after the light turned green, etc, etc.

Re:There is no need to honk. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126209)

Yeah, you're the kind of asshole that pisses me off. Stop your fucking honking. It's not making anyone go faster. All it's doing is irritating the hell out of everyone on the street. One day, when I hear some jerk leaning on their horn, I'm going to go up to their car and yell in their face at the top of my lungs to see how they like it. I hope that jerk is you.

Cars are not going driverless... (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 8 months ago | (#46125343)

Just stop this already. Before I get my driverless car, I want my oft-predicted jetpack, flying car, and robot maid.

Self-driving cars aren't a cool idea, they are just stupid.

Re:Cars are not going driverless... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#46125411)

Well, we've got the Roomba. And driverless cars do potentially present a lot of advantages. They also seem to be fairly practical, and would probably become moreso if the industry settles on standards for car to car communication. The biggest issues are those of the infrastructure, both legal and physical, being tuned towards the human drivers we've grown accustomed to.

Re:Cars are not going driverless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125429)

I think your comment tells us just what is stupid. Hint, it's you.

Re:Cars are not going driverless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125651)

Check back in ten years, we'll see who was stupid. OK, 20? 50?

it will return to it's original purpose (3, Interesting)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 8 months ago | (#46125351)

the purpose of the car horn was not to express anger at other drivers but to warn of an emergency. there will still be people dangerously stepping into the street and the cars will honk to warn them that they may get hit. that's not to say it will warn them only when they will be hit but rather when the probability of being hit drastically increases. pedestrians are highly unpredictable and the cars have been programmed to act accordingly. also, if someone in a manually driven car might be in the process of causing an collision (e.g. turning into an occupied lane) the car will honk.

the real question is if people will give other people the finger in traffic.

Re: it will return to it's original purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125439)

Of course l. I can see issues

Re:it will return to it's original purpose (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#46125515)

With two hands free, the number of middle finger may come close to doubling.

Re:it will return to it's original purpose (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 8 months ago | (#46126139)

"may come close" I like it! Gave me a chuckle.

Re:it will return to it's original purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125741)

Unborn children are now born giving you all the finger... your moral discretion is abhoring.

Re:it will return to it's original purpose (1)

shapano (23106) | about 8 months ago | (#46125867)

A crime in Peru, eh? It doesn't surprise me at all. When I was in Lima in 2008 the honking was totally out of control. I couldn't figure out why they were all doing it.

At least the finger is silent. And silence is golden.

No horns? (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | about 8 months ago | (#46125363)

Ok, let's assume in this wondrous future, you are being driven (can't exactly call it driving if you're not in control) on some country roads and you encounter a very large bull standing in the middle of the road. Your car recognizes that there is an obstruction, stops and waits patiently for the road to clear. The bull waits patiently for the car to go away. Unless they've come up with automated cattle in the future you've got a problem. Since the car has no horn, you (the passenger) have to figure out a way to get the bull to clear the road. You try waving your arms. The bull ignores you. You yell at it, fueled by you annoyance. It calmly looks at the source of the noise and goes nowhere. The car finally figures out the obstruction is permanent, executes a perfect u-turn and runs out of gas because it didn't include having to backtrack when it calculated your course.

Anybody who thinks this is unlikely has never driven on back roads. Will they get rid of horns? I hope not.

Re:No horns? (4, Informative)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 8 months ago | (#46125475)

In my experience cows are rarely impressed by car horns.

And moose ignore them completely. You sit there till the moose decides to wander off to do whatever it is that moose do when they're not blocking traffic.

I'm not gonna ask. A moose's business is its own.

Re:No horns? (1)

valdezjuan (83925) | about 8 months ago | (#46125663)

I'm not gonna ask. A moose's business is its own.

Amen to that!

Re:No horns? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 8 months ago | (#46125905)

I don't know about moose or cows, but the deer I've encountered seem to respond more to an engine rev than to a horn. I guess it sounds more like a predator?

Re:No horns? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126187)

PSA: Don't honk at cows. If your horn sounds anything like the feed truck, you're gonna have a bad time when you suddenly get surrounded by 50+ hungry cows that think it's time to get fed. And honking again just makes them come running faster.

At least that's how it works in Texas. ;)

Re:No horns? (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 8 months ago | (#46125661)

You should read Incompetence by Rob Grant...

Re:No horns? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#46125747)

Ok, let's assume in this wondrous future, you are being driven (can't exactly call it driving if you're not in control) on some country roads and you encounter a very large bull standing in the middle of the road.

This is why you should always, always bring firearms, flares, and some device to scare away bulls with you, when driving on country roads: especially in driverless cars --- never be without them.

When you encounter the bull, you load your gun with a blank.... fire off the warning. This will surely draw the attention of the bull, better than a horn blow.

If no response; grab a pellet/BB gun or other firearm -- after a few hits, the bull is sure to leave.

Re:No horns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126163)

Is there no end to overly hyperbolic "scenarios" you robo-car haters can come up with? What about if the bull is a red bull and it has wings? What are we supposed to do now? And what if that red bull is covered in armor? And what if he has a giant unicorn horn in the shape of a penis attached to his forehead? And what if he charges at you while you're bent over checking the oil in your car with your pants down? If you think all of this is unlikely, you're not hatin hard enough.

Why are horns still only top volume? (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 8 months ago | (#46125417)

I really wish I had the ability to make a more subdued honk sometimes, for alerting a pedestrian, or whatever. It seems like an obvious enhancement, and yet AFAIK such a thing has never been standard or even available, except maybe as an aftermarket item.

Re:Why are horns still only top volume? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125533)

Because young people are still only top volume.

Got pasted by one the other day. I was leaning on the horn, but he didn't hear it, because his music was cranked. Backed right into me assuming I wasn't there, never even looked.

Re:Why are horns still only top volume? (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | about 8 months ago | (#46125859)

Because young people are still only top volume.

Got pasted by one the other day. I was leaning on the horn, but he didn't hear it, because his music was cranked. Backed right into me assuming I wasn't there, never even looked.

Next time try while you're in a car.

Re:Why are horns still only top volume? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126171)

You got hit AGAIN grandpa? I'm suing the nursing home. They keep letting you escape.

Re:Why are horns still only top volume? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125773)

Perhaps, just MAYBE... the ANSWER, would be to play DIFFERENT audible tones that have DIFFERENT meanings. 3-6 seperate tones that communicate common thinking. I thought of this when i was 5 years old, i am now. 31...

you are required to sound your horn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125627)

in the event of danger. This is the law. In the US people follow the law. People here ned the law, not as much as those germans tho. Man, talk about robots. In peru, they really don't need a special law to take all your stuff. Laws really aren't needed there. People just assume that if you are doing something bad to them, you are from the government. I hope we get chip implants soon. Breathing on my own is a chore.

Having been in Lima, Peru recently... (1)

jdeisenberg (37914) | about 8 months ago | (#46125753)

...I'd say treating honking as a serious crime isn't working terribly well. At times, the horn became a nearly continuous background noise.

Dumbest headline question ever (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46125775)

When Cars Go Driverless, What Happens To the Honking?

It Will Stop.

Next?

They can have ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#46125827)

... my La Cucaracha horn when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!

Won't someone think of the trees? (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | about 8 months ago | (#46125851)

For every driverless car honk a tree falls silently in a forest...

Hurry up and wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46125889)

Can a civil eningeer, or social/civic engineer please chime in here?

Let's please, I beg of you all, think about why we are driving so fast to go nowhere... ?

I'm filing a patent application (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 8 months ago | (#46125897)

For a robotic, self-extending middle-finger. Gonna make a ton of money on this.

Regional problem (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#46125943)

I live in Minneapolis and it is extremely rare to hear cars honking, rare enough that when a car does honk, everyone turns their head to see what all the commotion is about.

The bus drivers like to lay into the horn once in a while, but buses always have right of way so that's acceptable.

Re:Regional problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126051)

Whereas I stayed at a hotel in downtown Boston once and thought there was a riot or something going on outside. Eventually I found out that's just their alternative to the signal light (and the brake light, and the wave, and the headlight flash, and the finger, and...)

5mod do3n (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126029)

"so severe in india" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46126057)

But in reality the reason why they (and other third world countries) use their horn like crazy is because there are no traffic rules or enforcement. Meaning there are no stop lights, lanes and such. Everyone does their own thing and communicate with each other by honking, otherwise it would be impossible to get anywhere. So in the countries that refuse to add traffic laws and enforcement, honking will not stop, and self-driving cars won't exist because it'll be too expensive for the mere ants in the cog to afford.

Will honking go away? Not any time in this century and probably not in the next. OP forgot that the US economy is tanking faster than paris hilton in an orgy. 17trillion and rising to 20+ in just 2 years is more debt than this generation or the next and the one after can afford to pay of. That's the reality and only the wealthy "upper class" can/will be able to afford self-driving cars unless they manage to bring down the cost of vehicles by a substantial amount.

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