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Automobiles Evolve to Live Up to Their Name

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the introducing-the-homer dept.

Technology 297

MauriceV sent in a story about the trend toward the completely self-driving car.

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297 comments

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added benefits: (-1)

AssProphet (757870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758267)

wow, this could put an end to DUI

Re:added benefits: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758289)

Not if they run on alcohol based fuel

HUH??????? (0)

gantrep (627089) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758336)

Because the driver would drink it, become poisoned by the denaturants and then the car would continue to drive itself?

Re:HUH??????? (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758423)

is a car that drives by burning alcohol driving under the influence?

Hey my President is a former DUI'er (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758486)

yep and a coke head to boot

well aren't you a fucking idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758520)

haha. momma gots you hooked to the intarweb i see.

are you a member of the gnaa?

Easy motherfucking E, baby (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758274)

Yo Dre man, I take this bitch out to the movies and shit
Man we're kissin' and grindin' and shit, so we hop in the back seat

You know man, this bitch rubbin' all over my dick
and frontin' like she's gonna give me the pussy
Man, and the bitch said 3 words, man: STOP, NO, and DON'T [oh
shit]
I said BIIIITTTTTTCCHH ...

You don't have to front on me dear, [don't front me..]
So why don't you just give that pussy hair? [hehehe ahah]
If you'd be good to me, [yeah yeah]
ohh I'll be good to you, [ahahha]
and we'll both ride home in my automobile... [f**kin' head in
this car]

All that I want is a little puss' [that's all he wants]
All that I want is just a little head [ahaha just a little bit]
If you'd be good to me, [good]
ohh I'll be good to you, [ah]
and we'll both ride home in my automobile...

You don't have to front on me bitch, [don't front on me muthaf**kin'
bitch]
Don't be afraid - it's only a dick [ahaha it's only a dick .. ]
Give up the pussy soon, [yeah soon]
All I want is a little woo, [little]
or get your groupie ass out my hotel room [ahhhhhhhuuu]
or get your groupie ass out my hotel room [get out get out...]

All I want is the pussy [ha!]
All I want is the pussy [pussy]
All I want is the pussy [godamn right!]
All I want is the pussy [pussy pussy pussy pussy..]
If you'd be good to me, [yeah, ho']
ohh I'll be good to you,
and we'll both ride home in my automobile [kick some more shit]

we'll both ride home in my automobile... [ah yeah]

Oy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758279)

That short of a blurb is almost enough to get me to register

It wasn't my fault, officer. It was my car. (5, Informative)

Oncogene (708031) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758280)

Here's a non-account link to the article. Robo-Cars Make Cruise Control So Last Century [nytimes.com]

Re:It wasn't my fault, officer. It was my car. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758546)

Mod up please.. I know it annoys some people to have these links on every NYT slashdot article, but having the link modded up saves people from lowering their threshhold to find it, and say what you will, it is handy...

Looosaaas (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758282)

Flopsy Pr0n!

Saturday slow down (-1, Offtopic)

Tweakmeister (638831) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758284)

This must seriously be the smallest news post 3v4r!

Re:Saturday slow down (1)

TheFairElf (669537) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758315)

It was posted by a completely self-posting bot

Re:Saturday slow down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758362)

Egon: Very good Louis. Short, but pointless.

Re:Saturday slow down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758381)

Not as short as this one. [slashdot.org]

NYT (4, Funny)

MC68040 (462186) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758286)

Someone forgot to put up the "warning: NYT (free reg. req. bla bla bla)" thingy. Now I wasted 4 secs on a registration dialog hehehe =).

Re:NYT (0, Redundant)

Oncogene (708031) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758317)

Heh, I just posted the non-registation link [nytimes.com] .

Shortest. Description. Ever. (1)

nycsubway (79012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758464)

The lack of NYT registration is probably related to the shortness of the description.

Re:NYT (1)

SashaM (520334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758533)

Now I wasted 4 secs on a registration dialog

And 20 more on posting :-)

Re:NYT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758537)

I like the idea of filling those things out... with someone ELSE'S info.

In fact, I have such a person in mind :)

The SCO Group
355 South 520 West
Suite 100
Lindon, Utah 84042 USA
(801) 765-4999 phone
(801) 765-1313 fax

Contact SCO online
http://www.thescogroup.com/company/feedbac k/index. html

Darl C McBride
1799 Vintage Oak Ln
Salt Lake City, UT 84121-6539

Darl's home phone #: (801) 424-2006
Darl's office phone #: (801) 932-5820

Email Darl: darl@sco.com

Okay, so I don't know his salary and crap like that, and you can't put "professional liar" as your occupation, but you can enter that he makes millions, is a CEO, etc. and you probably want to have fun with his "interests" in that section, anyhow... (travel, marketing/business opportunities, cigars... whatever).

The only problem is now that I've mentioned that, the NYT might wonder why Darl has signed up for their story that many times. Oh well... maybe he has nothing better to do with his time these days? :)

I mean, it's not like SCO actually makes software or anything. The only people doing real work these days seem to be the lawyers... I mean, what was the last feature they added to their ancient, cruddy old UNIX? RPMs or something ironic like that, I think... No wonder they want to sue RedHat. Might make it easier to copy features from them. Provided they don't convince a judge that their non-literal reimplimentations thereof are unlawful or something...

Err, sorry. My train of thought seems to have become derailed. Have fun!

God help us... (0, Offtopic)

TR0GD0RtheBURNiNAT0R (734295) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758292)

This is just the first step towards having the machines dominate us all!

Re:God help us... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758322)

"This is just the first step towards having the machines dominate us all!"


But I, for one, welcome our new automobile overlords!

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758296)

That was a short article summary.

Could be good for safety (4, Insightful)

erick99 (743982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758299)

I like the idea of a car that can intervene to prevent an accident. The lane changing technology mentioned in the article sounds great. I wonder, though, if you are already doing an emergency maneuver that makes it look like you are unsafely changing lanes, would the car put you back into the lane? Possibly in harms way? Perhaps there is a way to override some of these systems. In terms of fully automatic driving, the world is such a complex place and a lot of decisions seem like they would exceed what software can (at leastly currently) provide. However, in terms of safety, I can see where this technology can save lives.

Happy Trails!

Erick

Re:Could be good for safety (2, Interesting)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758384)

For the more complex systems (pretty much everything besides ABS) there are usually buttons or switches to turn them off. For example, in most Toyota vans, there is an automatic traction control system that will slow the wheels down if they slide from the driver pressing the gas too much. This is great for people who just don't want the car to slide when they hit the gas too much, but it really gives a feeling of being disconnected from the car. It can be turned off, but it's on by default every time the car is started. Also, the anti-slide feature puts a lot of stress on the transmission, and decreases its life. Normally, women leave it on and men turn it off.

Re:Could be good for safety (4, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758551)

If it detects your age and automatically turns off the blinker if you're older than say 65, it's ok with me.

BSOD (1, Redundant)

StuWho (748218) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758557)

Imagine getting the blue screen of death at 85mph...

Re:Could be good for safety (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758576)

It detects your gender and if you're a woman, automatically shuts down until accompanied by a man.

Re:Could be good for safety (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758592)

I've heard of a technology where you can actually hook up a large series of passanger areas that are driven by a single engine along a singular pathway known as rails. Changing lanes is impossible, but it's not nessicary because of the scalability of the technology. You can add or remove passanger areas, or add and remove engines to create a mass transportation system over these rail roads. Conjection is far less of an issue because the volume per person needed on a rail road is far less then that of a traditional road.

Uh oh! (5, Funny)

BenSpinSpace (683543) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758300)

I can just see it now. People will start hacking into cars' computer systems... you'll start seeing random crashes, or cars doing 360s constantly. Or driving off cliffs. Not to mention that the market for off-road vehicles will either boom or bust if self-driving cars become a standard.

Though I imagine that most of America will hate the cars anyway. How will people possibly deal with their road rage?! (And don't tell me that people won't have road rage if cars are self-driving. Don't you ever get the urge to just ram old ladies off the road just because?)

Re:Uh oh! (3, Funny)

Alphanos (596595) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758340)

Don't you ever get the urge to just ram old ladies off the road just because?

No. However, this makes available several common jokes:):

-In Soviet Russia, old ladies ram you off the road!

-I am an old lady, you insensitive clod!

etc.

Re:Uh oh! (1)

borius (711380) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758350)

I can just see it now. People will start hacking into cars' computer systems... you'll start seeing random crashes, or cars doing 360s constantly. Or driving off cliffs. Not to mention that the market for off-road vehicles will either boom or bust if self-driving cars become a standard.

Easy... install OpenBSD

How will people possibly deal with their road rage?!

Playing Carmageddon whilst driving of course

Re:Uh oh! (1)

God! Awful 2 (631283) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758391)

How will people possibly deal with their road rage?! (And don't tell me that people won't have road rage if cars are self-driving.

Yeah.. whenever they automate or standardize something, they always go overboard with the safety. People wouldn't get road rage if the speed limits were higher. But the self driving car will always go the limit, navigate off-ramps at 25 kph, always leave the recommended 2 second gap from the car in front, never run a yellow light, brake for pedestrians half a block in advance, etc. I'll have road rage in 5 minutes.

-a

Re:Uh oh! (4, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758471)

Ok, so YOU'RE the one who blows by at 85 on the highway, takes off-ramps on two wheels, tailgates me, nearly takes off my front end running a stale yellow-then-red light, and nearly runs me over when I'm walking?

Re:Uh oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758478)

Sounds like you're just the kind of asshole who needs this kind of technology mandated.

A car is not a freakin' toy and if you just calm down and follow the rules, you'll more likely get where you're going alive.

Re:Uh oh! (2, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758535)

I'll have road rage in 5 minutes.

Since the car would be driving instead of you, tough titty. Sit inside your cage and yell and stamp your feet all you want.

What does this mean? (3, Insightful)

ttldkns (737309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758302)

So now kids will effectively drive themselves to school?! There are lost of uses for this but the emergency reaction times will never be as good as a human.

the technology needs to be made fool proof before it can be set loose on the roads.

Re:What does this mean? (3, Insightful)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758325)

Machines have far better reaction times than any human. This technology has a lot of downsides, but that's not one of them.

Re:What does this mean? (4, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758370)

Human reaction time can be negative. A computer probably won't be making any decisions regarding the guy who's swerving in and out of lanes six cars up who might run someone off the road until the guy one car up has already started braking like crazy. Probably.

Re:What does this mean? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758329)

There are lost of uses for this but the emergency reaction times will never be as good as a human.

Excuse me, but electronics can react MUCH MUCH more faster than a human ever could.

Why do you think the space shuttle uses electronic guidance to land?

Re:What does this mean? (1)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758462)

Why do you think the space shuttle uses electronic guidance to land?

Yeah, great example.

Re:What does this mean? (5, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758344)

There are lost of uses for this but the emergency reaction times will never be as good as a human

Superman is that you? Loads of machines adjust faster then me about every computer known to man can react faster than I can. As for the technology needing to be foolproof before it can be set loose on the road what about all the accidents and deaths caused by 'foolproof' drivers not paying sufficient attention or doing dumb things like speeding and insane overtaking manouvers.

Re:What does this mean? (1)

benzapp (464105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758493)

As for the technology needing to be foolproof before it can be set loose on the road what about all the accidents and deaths caused by 'foolproof' drivers not paying sufficient attention or doing dumb things like speeding and insane overtaking manouvers.

I do agree with your sentiments, and I find it outrageous we entrust the equivalent of 1 stick of dynamite to some of the most inferior humans to walk the earth since the first cro-magnons walked the earth, I think the idea is a person can be imprisoned, executed, whatever... whereas a computer is not motivated by punishment.

Re:What does this mean? (1)

nns6561 (559085) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758345)

The reaction time will be better than humans. These cars should be able detect a problem well before a human can. Most humans have reaction times in the milliseconds, whereas a computer can react in microseconds.

Re:What does this mean? (2, Insightful)

NSash (711724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758460)

That's true, but only within its scope.

A human being can see the car running the red light at an intersection. The radar-based system wouldn't even know about the other car until right before it sideswiped you (if they even bothered to mount a lateral detector).

A human being knows whether its safer to swerve into the lefthand lane or off the road.

A human being can hear someone else honking his horn.

A human being can see a "Deaf Child" sign.

A human being can tell whether the road is wet.

There are many things electronic systems can do well, and some that they can do better than humans. The safety advantages of automated driving may outweigh the disadvantages, but that doesn't mean the disadvantages don't exist.

Re:What does this mean? (4, Insightful)

RobinH (124750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758529)

There are lost of uses for this but the emergency reaction times will never be as good as a human.

Hmmm, I'll tell you what... do you have a car with cruise control? Next time you're on the highway, set it, and watch how closely it's sticking to the set speed, even when you go around bends in the road, up and down hills, etc. Now try staying that close to one speed without the cruise control...

The cruise control operates by measuring the actual speed, comparing it to the desired speed, and controlling the throttle. It can react to small changes in speed MUCH faster than you can.

If you gave it some kind of sensor to anticipate slope changes before they happen (laser range finders perhaps?), then it would be almost perfect.

Re:What does this mean? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758573)

I think his statement implies under unexpected circumstances may arise.

What happens to cruise control when you start hydroplaning?

Control (2, Insightful)

KingRob (698441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758307)

It's going to take a lot to convince people that driving by wire safe, let alone drive by computer!
Sure, aeroplanes have been doing it for years - changing public opinion is going to be difficult.

Besides, most men prefer the control they have while driving

Re:Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758416)

Yep. The DARPA Grand Challenge results won't give people a lot of confidence that cars can drive themselves any time soon.

Granted, most cars won't be driving across the desert, but they will have other traffic and pedestrians to avoid.

Re:Control (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758503)

Airplanes have had autopilot for years in open airspace, but there aren't that many planes out there (none in the commercial world that I know of) that can land/take off, or taxi, under computer control. It's easier to have the computer doing things when you have hundreds of miles to play with, and a good radar/navigation system. It's quite another thing to have the computer dealing with a lot of traffic - some of it computer controlled, and some of it not.

One good application for computer control would be on HOV (carpool) lanes. There you only have one lane, and the slowest car ahead of you dictates the speed for all the cars following. Having a computer be able to maximize speeds would be of great benefit in utilizing the HOV lane to the fullest extent - assuming that the HOV lane is well constructed, and actually goes anywhere...

Re:Control (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758523)

Sure, aeroplanes have been doing it for years - changing public opinion is going to be difficult.

With [airdisaster.com] good [airdisaster.com] reason [airdisaster.com]

so why weren't one of these in the darpa challenge (1, Offtopic)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758316)

?

I have nothing more to add

Re:so why weren't one of these in the darpa challe (2, Informative)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758566)

Because if you read the article you would see that the cars are not fully automatic, they just have some automatic safety features, the DARPA challenge is/was for fully automatic cars...

wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758318)

That was about the crappiest blurb ever.

Thanks Michael

I hate human drivers. (2, Troll)

iansmith (444117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758321)

I would love to have all cars computer controlled and eliminate human drivers completely. People drive dangerous, slow down traffic by being greedy with constant lane changes, don't understand simple driving rules, waste time and energy, falls asleep, get drunk, eat and talk on teh cellphone, continue driving when they are tool old and uncoordinated, start driving too young when they are inexperienced and reckless...

Of course we are so far away from totally computer driven vehicles that I doubt I'll see it in my lifetime. But I can dream.

I like to drive.. I love long cross country trips.. but would give it up if I never had to deal with city traffic or risk my life because somone else (or myself) is being stupid.

Re:I hate human drivers. (1)

boudie (704942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758556)

Maybe a robot that chewed your food for you would be a great thing too? And God help us if they start building these robot cars in China, because we all know how they drive...

adfasdf (2, Funny)

g-to-the-o-to-the-g (705721) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758326)

I don't care who is driving, I just want the other 500 million cars on the road to NOT try to drive home when I have to.

hahahaha (5, Funny)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758328)

IN SOVIET RUSSIA...

no...nevermind. too easy.

Technology makes people stoopid (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758331)

The clever they make the cars the stupider and worserer drivers people become.

Damn, can't speel chek on Slashdot. I so stoopid.

autonomous vehicles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758332)

i'm sure the darpa grand challenge entrants could do with some pointers.

Fucking registration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758334)

Just to read about how close we are to getting morons out from behind the wheel.

shit!

Is it legal to let the car drive if you're drunk? (5, Interesting)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758343)

Are you still considered to be in the care and control of the vehicle, or are you demoted to just another passenger? Will the worst consequence of driving drunk be to end up in the wrong place?

Mind you, that would be bad enough -- to punch in the wrong coordinates, and wake up in the truly seedy part of town to find dwarves stealing your wheels -- but it's certainly an order of magnitude less severe than killing someone unlucky enough to be sharing the road with you.

Mal-2

Re:Is it legal to let the car drive if you're drun (4, Funny)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758422)

If you read the story, you have to take a breathalyzer test before you get in, fingerprint yourself, take a urine sample, submit DNA, and answer a Terrorism survey.

If you fail, it drives you to the Ashcroft. //made that up.

What's Wrong and Right with This Article (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758347)

"Automobiles Evolve to Live Up to Their Name"


Haven't they already lived up to their names by being able to power themselves. I believe that why they are called "automobiles."


And BTW, good to see short summaries, forcing people to RTFA.

Re:What's Wrong and Right with This Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758419)

And BTW, good to see short summaries, forcing people to RTFA.

I am posting, and I didn't RTFA. I'm waiting for someone to install linux on one of these.

Short article (3, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758348)

What the hell is this?

This is supposed to be slashdot! There's supposed to be some sort of description of the project on the front page.

More importantly, there's supposed to be some sort of biased opinion along with the story. Stuff like:

DarkHelmet writes That asshole Darl McBride is saying that linux is a bastardization of unix. You can see what he's saying here [insert link]. When will he stop? Is he hellbent on taking over the world? I think so. You should too"...

Come on! Us slashdotters want to be TOLD what to think, not make opinions for ourselves... Bastard...

</sarcasm>

Boring (0, Offtopic)

geordieboy (515166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758354)

Screw that, wake me up when they bring out the flying car.

The sensors aren't good enough yet (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758365)

Automatic driving is still sensor-limited. The current generation of millimeter radars can see other cars, but not smaller obstacles like children. No way can they see a pothole. Vision systems are good enough for road following, but reliable obstacle avoidance still seems out of reach.

We [overbot.com] , of course, are working on fully automatic driving. We have both a visual road-follower and a millimeter radar. That's not enough.

Even line-scanner laser rangefinders are too limited. We need a true 3D device. Such things have been built, but the market is so tiny (and they're so big and clunky) that they're all one-offs. It's clear that the problem can be fixed, but the market isn't there yet to do it.

Re:The sensors aren't good enough yet (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758492)

reliable obstacle avoidance still seems out of reach

And not just obstacle avoidance, but sometimes choosing which obstacle to avoid.

Can we make the computer smart enough to avoid the child, even though it will hit something else, like the skateboard or dog he is chasing?

If the computer mandates a minimum 1 meter bubble with other cars, do we allow it to violate that in order to avoid the kid and dog?

It's clear that the problem can be fixed, but the market isn't there yet to do it.

I'm not so sure that is is clear that it can be fixed for other than limited access freeways. Maybe not even then.

Safety (1)

russx2 (572301) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758371)

Regarding the positive aspects of safety though... a lot of accidents that the average "careful drivers" are involved in are due to other people. Unless every single vehicle on the road is auto-controlled, you're most likely not much safer in a driver-less vehicle than one you control yourself.

Re:Safety (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758489)

Yeah, robot cars would work best only being robotic in HOV-like offshoot lanes, and returning to manual control once they leave the autopilot lane. Control transfers would best be done on an offramp where the car can stop...

Road support for robot cars? (4, Insightful)

Mnemia (218659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758373)

Somehow I think fully autonomous cars won't happen very soon unless we upgrade the road system to provide navigation support for these cars. I don't see cars being able to find their way from one place to another given the myriad of road configurations out there unless there are actual beacons and stuff embedded into the road to help them find their way. It wouldn't too hard (ok, it would be, but not impossible) to write software that could pilot a car down an interstate highway with no human intervention. But I somehow think city driving might be a lot bigger challenge, considering that even human drivers usually have to stay very alert in these situations.

Re:Road support for robot cars? (1)

surgeonsmate (633065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758467)

If we have guidance devices and beacons embedded into the road surface, then this will probably cut both ways - the road system will be able to tell what car is driving where, and there are all sorts of privacy implications to that. Yeah, I know that they can track vehicles now using cameras and registration plates, but if you smear mud on them or uses someone else's, the vehicle still works fine. Disable the bit of the auto-driving system that broadcasts your ID and I'll bet the system wouldn't let you move at all.

Re:Road support for robot cars? (2)

Mnemia (218659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758544)

Possibly you are right, and I'm not going to disagree necessarily. I will say however that there are several arguments you could make in the other direction.

First, as others in this discussion have pointed out, this system could end up as a way to legally remove responsibility for one's vehicle in some ways from the owner. For instance, if you are not in control of how fast your car goes and the sensor network is, then you can't be held liable for speeding. And if everyone's car was on this system then the system could safely steer cars much faster because traffic would flow at a constant rate and there would be no element of human error.

Second, what is there to say that they couldn't disable the vehicles of those who refuse to be tracked even without the sensor network? The government could force all the car manufacturers to embed a remote kill device that would shut down the guidance system or even the engine of any car they want right now. While I agree with you that a system involving a network of guidance sensors is open to abuse, I'm not so sure that such abuse is something intrinsic to that technology. It's more of a social policy issue than a technology one, because it involves the people asking the government not to invasively control out lives. They could do that already with or without such a system, and they for the most part do not because people have not been willing to accept such intrusions.

Third, such "privacy invasions" might actually benefit individual drivers if they are not abused by the authorities. For instance, driving safety could be increased, drunk driving could be virtually eliminated, and the authorities could keep unlicensed and uninsured (if those things would even be necessary any more) drivers off the roads completely. Right now in many places car insurance is very expensive because so many drivers illegally do not carry it and thus the cost of accidents caused by those drivers gets passed to those of us who do obey the law. This system could prevent that altogether and the cost of accident insurance could be evenly spread across everyone using the road.

Again, I'm not saying I disagree with you, but that there is another side to the story. Technology can and will always be abused by authorities if laws are not put in place to prevent that. That's why these systems need to have guarantees of things like privacy, but it's not a reason why the technology itself is "bad".

Screensavers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758375)

The screensavers did a bit on self driving car challange posed by Darpa. From my understanding most used GPS and they still couldn't complete the course. The only real option I think we have today are smart highways...not cars. It's considerably more practicle considering most of our highways are repainted, dug up and repaved every so many years anyway....and for the consumer it would be less costly...what's going to cost you more...a system that knows about it's surroundings by using visual systems and scanners or a system that is told its surroundings by the road it drives on. If anyone isn't familure with what I'm talking about it's those simple magnets they embed into the road to show a car where the lanes are. I'ld much rather trust that than some system that could get blinded by a perfectly placed June Bug into the front grill.

Re:Screensavers? (3, Insightful)

pontifier (601767) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758485)

I'm sorry, but I was there at the DARPA QID. I saw the problems they were having, and I think that next years challenge will be amazing. This field is going to advance rapidly.

I don't want to wait untill every road in the country is retrofitted with magnetic spikes to have my car drive me around. By the time that happens that tech will be obsolete anyway. Also, that kind of "smart road" is actually realy dumb... imagine the mayhem if a malicious prankster dug up the magnets and moved them.

Low adoption: AutoAuto == sunday driver (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758376)

I suspect that many will not like self-driving cars because they will not drive agressively enough. For example, many dislike the automatic speed-matching systems that maintain a "safe" distance to the next car because they leave too much distance to the next car. Tailgaters honk at the automated cars because they wont close the gap and the others cut into the large gap created by these systems. What the system (and safety experts and the car maker's insurance companies) consider "safe" is too tame for most drivers.

While many drivers are comfortable in taking risks, the corporate creators of these systems will be risk averse. That excessive risk averseness will hinder public acceptance.

Re:Low adoption: AutoAuto == sunday driver (3, Insightful)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758565)

A highway full of automated cars could run with very short car-to-car distances and good safety. Highway capacity could easily triple. And millions of people could commute to work doing something useful/pleasurable rather than cultivating fury and frustration. This could be a very substantial improvement in happiness and civility.

but (0)

DrLZRDMN (728996) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758385)

crashes will still be blamed on bad drivers...

With Longhorn at the wheel? (0)

SailfishMac (732653) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758388)

since I can't see the article, I have to assume the worse...

Can they drive themselves through Iraq? (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758412)

This would be really convenient. A bonus would be if they still worked after being lit on fire!

In a perfect world they could park themselves underground in an automatic parking garage. [slashdot.org] Although this would require a hole in the ground large enough to fit a Humvee into, which might not be possible with today's technology. Maybe we can set one up once we have a working space elevator.

lawyers (5, Funny)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758421)

From the article - Like, what will lawyers do if self-driving cars get in accidents?

Your car will eventually become an internet device (like everything else). Then, ad-push technology will sense your next collision, and with lightning speed emblazon the logo of Dewey, Cheatham & Howe across the airbag rushing toward your face.

Re:lawyers (2, Funny)

PollGuy (707987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758575)

I had a slightly different reaction to that same line (Like, what will lawyers do if self-driving cars get in accidents?)

It was: oh, I wouldn't worry about the laywers, I'm sure they'd find some way to litigate over it.

Yeah but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758425)

I wonder if it knows where the Piggly Wiggly is!

bumper bowling (1)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758427)

I do enjoy being in control of my vehicle, but I would just as much appreciate the safety of computer control.

It would be cool if I could control the speed and steering but the computer would not allow me to drive off the road... so I could still have a blast highballing through the hills of ohio on a sunday afternoon, but also be auto-driven back from the bars on friday (or thursday.. or wednesday... or...... tuesday....) night.

Amazing (1)

wornst (317182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758429)

It's neat to see how these cars are mimicking organisms in terms of accident and damage avoidance. The Mercedes in particular - " if an on-board microprocessor judges a collision to be inevitable, the car puts itself into a defensive crouch." This is just one more technology solution that when added together with others (the article does mention robotics) will cause to be created something extraordinary, something amazing. Right now is a fascinating time to be alive.

Still waiting (4, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758433)

This has been a vision for at least 40 years. They had "prototypes" or "models" or what-have-you -- mock-ups, yeah, that's the ticket -- at the NY World's Fair in 1964. IMO there's another 40 years to wait for this. Artificial intelligence has advanced in fits and starts over the decades, but has a long way to go. Safety concerns are real and no insurance company is going to write policies unless and until thay are at least as safe as what's on the roads today. Infrastructure is another hurdle. In the U.S. there's a huge highway spending bill -- $250 Billion U.S. over 5 years -- pending that represents a hige investment in getting current roads up to snuff. How much would it cost to equip the highways for self-driving cars? A trillion $ U.S.? And that's not going to happen until there's a standard to follow. Even adter the technology has been perfected it will take another decade for pilot programs of competing standards to decide a "winner".

To get really tin-foil-hattish about it, I imagine once self-driving automobile technology is perfected it will be really, really safe. Really safe. To the point where there will be so few accidents that it will result in insurance companies having to lower premiums drastically. To the point where they won't be able to rake in the dough like they do now on auto insurance. My hat is telling me these companies will work behind the scenes to prevent this technology from maturing any time "soon". Once it gets to the point of being usable and practical they will attempt to buy legistlation that outlaws it. In the U.S. anyway. Like I said, I don't expect any of this for another 40 years or so, and by then the techniques of hyper-lobbying (read: legal bribery) will have advanced to the point where today's legislation purchasers (MS, Adobe, RIAA, MPAA, etc.) will look like pikers by comparison.

What pisses me off (sometimes) is all this stuff we were promised as kids. Well, where is it? I don't see any of it.

Cars too safety conscious? (4, Funny)

wornst (317182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758440)

Obligatory Joke: "That means microprocessors can take control of the most basic driving functions, like steering and braking. "I detect with my "seat scale" that you are overweight and are steering the car to a McDonalds drive-thru. This I cannot allow. Think of your heart."

When will we have self-thrusting love dolls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758450)

It's only a matter of time before this technology will be utilized by the porn industry to sense and anticipate their client's wishes. Imagine a love doll that automatically adjusts her pace based on the sound and frequency of your breathing, your body temperatures, your organ's stiffness, and even your pupil dilation. Don't believe me? Think of all the high-tech that dribbled along until the porn industry embraced it and made it a billion dollar industry. VHS, DVDs, cable television, the Internet... What's next?

comic book guy says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758455)

shortest
article
EVER

Closing the sunroof? (2, Interesting)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758456)

The article mentions:

Mercedes S-Class sedans will even start shutting the sunroof and lifting reclined seats if a collision is deemed likely.

Isn't closing the sun-roof a dangerous think to do. If the impact jams the passenger and driver doors, then the sunroof might be the only way of escape.

Dangers of crashing? (1)

Three Headed Man (765841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758461)

The only question would be, how often would these cars crash if they had Windows running on them?

Frist stop..f. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758472)

that su4ports

non reg link (2, Informative)

2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758496)

brought to you by google
linky linky [nytimes.com]

Darpa Challenge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758513)

Seeing as how that thing was a total flop, I don't see this coming anytime soon.

Obligatory Microsoft quote (0)

Nybble's Byte (321886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758519)

"Where do you want to go today?"

Not there. I'm tired of my car crashing!

FAILZORS..f. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758542)

What else? (4, Funny)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758571)

Does it have "Asshole mode" so that if the car is actually a Dodge Ram Truck, it will tailgate your ass with aircraft-landing-light-intensity headlights for several dozen freeway exits?

Does it have "soccer mom mode" so it will go 40 MPH over speed bumps for the 200 feet from the grocery store to the bank? Will it then be sure to park itself in two spaces so Mrs. Suburbia can spend 20 minutes getting her family of eight out of the car again so they can all go into the bank?

Does it have "lawn-mower-with-headlights dad mode" so SUVs will cruise at 75MPH on four-lane city streets and accelerate 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds from every stoplight?

Does it have "Ms. Too-cool-for-you mode" so it will birddog people around corners and then swerve into the next lane at 65MPH so she can get to the next stoplight 2.3 seconds earlier?

If not, why, people might start driving with their heads out of their asses. Imagine that!

What are you talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8758574)

Did anyone even read the article? They aren't talking about fully automated driving or putting magnetic spikes on the road. It's simply about some minor safety features that control the car for at most a few seconds. Besides, no normal person wants to be driven; they want to drive. Look at the continued substantial demand for manual transmissions. People drive not merely for transportation but because its enjoyable.

My Views (-1, Offtopic)

clifgriffin (676199) | more than 10 years ago | (#8758594)

'Brilliant', 'Quite Good', 'What?', these are just some of the comments made recently in the press regarding automobiles. Advancments in automobiles can be linked to many areas. Though automobiles is a favourite topic of discussion amongst monarchs, presidents and dictators, its influence on western cinema has not been given proper recognition. Often it is seen as both a help and a hinderence to the over 50, who are likely to form a major stronghold in the inevitable battle for hearts and minds. Here begins my indepth analysis of the glourious subject of automobiles.

Social Factors

Society is a simple word with a very complex definition. When blues legend 'Bare Foot D' remarked 'awooooh eeee only my dawg understands me' [1] he must have been referning to automobiles. Difference among people, race, culture and society is essential on the survival of our world, however automobiles smells of success.

Did I mention how lovely automobiles is? Society is powered by peer pressure, one of the most powerful forces in the world. As long as peer pressure uses its power for good, automobiles will have its place in society.

Economic Factors

Derived from 'oikonomikos,' which means skilled in household management, the word economics is synonymous with automobiles. We will begin by looking at the Fish-Out-Of-Water model, as is standard in this case. Annual
Military
Budget

Indisputably there is a link. How can this be explained? It goes with out saying that the annual military budget plays in increasingly important role in the market economy. Strong fluctuations in investor confidence have been seen over the past two financial years.

Political Factors

Politics was once a game featuring competitors from elite classes. Politicians find it difficult to choose between what has become known in politics as - 'The two ways' - automobilesism and post-automobilesism.

One quote comes instantly to mind when examining this topic. I mean of course the words of the uncompromising Bartholomew B. Adger 'I don't believe in ghosts, but I do believe in democracy.' [2] I argue that his insight into automobiles provided the inspiration for these great words. If our political system can be seen as a cake, then automobiles makes a good case for being the icing.

Why did automobiles cross the road? - To get to the other side! Just my little joke, but lets hope that automobiles doesn't inspire similar hilarity in the next elections.
Conclusion

To conclude automobiles may not be the best thing since sliced bread, but it's still important. It enriches, applauds greatness and is always fashionably late.

I will leave the last word to the famous Ozzy Jackson: 'Oooh yeah automobiles shoo badaby dooo.' [3]

[1] Bare Foot D - Classic - 1967 Stinton Records

[2] Adger - Politics Per Day - 2000 Jinder Publishing

[3] Weekly automobiles - Issue 54 - Rhino Media
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