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Inside the fake town in Michigan where self-driving cars are being tested

AnOutsider

S532 # XS27
Moderator
Apr 3, 2009
11,957
210
Looks like they thought about a LOT of scenarios:

r-mcity_feature_map.jpg


I'm sure this will expand over time as they discover new things in real-world testing. Is Tesla sending some AP cars there? :wink:
 

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AudubonB

One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!
Moderator
Mar 24, 2013
9,230
41,504
It's a great start, certainly.

And - am serious, now - I will give it higher marks when I see where the caribou cross..no, start to cross...no, some start to cross, others go halfway over; double back, run toward the vehicle...and also where that dark-as-an-Alaskan-night moose is lying down on the road just around that curve over there... I think you get the picture.
 
It's a great start, certainly.

And - am serious, now - I will give it higher marks when I see where the caribou cross..no, start to cross...no, some start to cross, others go halfway over; double back, run toward the vehicle...and also where that dark-as-an-Alaskan-night moose is lying down on the road just around that curve over there... I think you get the picture.
This. I've already lost one car to a collision with a deer, the most common cause of accidents here. Throw in potholes, rocks on the road (very common here), twisty mountain roads with sheer drop-offs and no guard rails (so the avalanches can flow over the edge), and I think that the self-driving car represents a considerable challenge.
 
This. I've already lost one car to a collision with a deer, the most common cause of accidents here. Throw in potholes, rocks on the road (very common here), twisty mountain roads with sheer drop-offs and no guard rails (so the avalanches can flow over the edge), and I think that the self-driving car represents a considerable challenge.

I don't see the motivation because:

1) Human drivers suck at dealing with this interaction anyways.

2) Self-driving cars is all about the big metropolitan areas. People that live in Colorado are probably less likely to desire it, and less likely to get it.
 
^ Lots of deer here too (and elk, bears, bobcats and mountain lions). Buck in velvet at the water dish (a Home Depot paint tray) on my lanai:

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As I said above, hitting them on the highway — usually when blinded by oncoming headlights and they dash across the road — is bad for cars (and worse for motorcycles). Seeing deer carcasses along the highway is routine during migration season in the fall and spring.

- - - Updated - - -

...2) Self-driving cars is all about the big metropolitan areas. People that live in Colorado are probably less likely to desire it, and less likely to get it.
Are they really? I get the sense from some that self-driving cars are expected to take over from fallible human drivers in the fairly near future. If it just happens in urban areas, then that makes more sense to me.
 

BoerumHill

not great not terrible
Apr 23, 2015
736
218
New York, NY
^ Lots of deer here too (and elk, bears, bobcats and mountain lions). Buck in velvet at the water dish (a Home Depot paint tray) on my lanai:

19350580864_817404bdf6_c.jpg


As I said above, hitting them on the highway — usually when blinded by oncoming headlights and they dash across the road — is bad for cars (and worse for motorcycles). Seeing deer carcasses along the highway is routine during migration season in the fall and spring.

Very common to see roadside carcasses in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan, especially in late winter when the snow starts to melt. There are about 40,000 car-deer collisions per year according to state records.

Managing the whitetail deer population in Michigan is a continual challenge. The herd has nearly doubled in size since I got my first tag 40 years ago. The DNR has had a stated goal of wanting the ideal population to be around 1.3M since 1989, but to my knowledge it's been 1.6-1.8M for many years. It's very difficult to sustain a larger herd because of food shortage.
 
Speaking of deer in NW Lower Michigan, I almost hit one that darted out in front of me around dusk near Frankfort, MI a couple of months ago and had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. I was accelerating at about 50 mph and had to stop on a dime. Barely missed hitting it but had a good lesson on how very quickly a Model S can stop.
 

Bgarret

Model 3 ownin' Michigan scofflaw
Supporting Member
May 10, 2013
1,175
3,891
Michigan
This. I've already lost one car to a collision with a deer, the most common cause of accidents here. Throw in potholes, rocks on the road (very common here), twisty mountain roads with sheer drop-offs and no guard rails (so the avalanches can flow over the edge), and I think that the self-driving car represents a considerable challenge.
Since the track is in Michigan, it will be lousy with potholes....all the roads here are.
 

BoerumHill

not great not terrible
Apr 23, 2015
736
218
New York, NY
I'm not familiar with the exact technology used for the sensors, but I would not be surprised if they use visible and infrared. With infrared the sensors would be far better at spotting a mammal at night than a human.

In theory, & generally true, but there are common exceptions. If I spot reflecting eyes in a field on the side of the road I know it's deer without seeing their bodies. There's a good chance they'll be crossing & I'll slow down. And anyone who has spent time driving up north knows if you see two go past up ahead, chances are there's a third straggler coming in a few seconds. Best to slow it way down until you're past.

On the other hand 3 kids coming back from a Little League game or a coupe walking the shoulder of the road shouldn't cause me to slow nearly as much. I'll keep my eye on them and if the road permits give them a wide berth (half of lane) for error. Electronic sensors, radar and LIDR will unquestionably detect things out natural senses cannot. But they're not there yet with as far as discernment & judgement are concerned.

Lot of people install those deer whistles inside the grill or on their front bumper. Not really possible with the current nose cone. Deer are a definite concern in the old northwest territory states. Where I ski (VT) its moose. Pretty to catch sight of one, but man, that would be akin to hitting a horse. I clipped a couple whitetail living in the mitten state, it's very common.
 
I'm not familiar with the exact technology used for the sensors, but I would not be surprised if they use visible and infrared. With infrared the sensors would be far better at spotting a mammal at night than a human.
Not all scenarios would seem to be covered. Similar to deer following each other in pack and knowing to slow after one deer crosses what about a ball of any size coming out into the road. Will a car slow knowing a kid may chase it?
 

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
9,084
18,764
Clark Co, WA
These are all problems that have plagued artificial intelligence developers for years. One thing humans are very good at is filtering. We filter out tremendous loads of data that are irrelevant to what we're currently doing. A computer has to manually filter all the things that happen below our consciousness. To program AIs the programmers have had to learn quite a bit about how our brains worked.

We have a lot of deer here in Washington too. The cities of the Northwest are big on green spaces. The most desirable neighborhoods have strips of wild territory left intact. The next town over from us has a huge park on the edge of downtown that is mostly still wild, just a number of hiking trails and a few bridges. It does make the towns a lot nicer places to live, but the green spaces are super highways for wildlife. Deer in our yard is fairly common.

On the road out of our neighborhood there is a place with few street lights and two green spaces that come together at the road. At night I always slow down going through there. I came very close to hitting a male deer with a huge antler rack one evening. It was still light, but the deer was the same color as the background. Fortunately he saw me and was waiting for me to pass, but he was right there on the shoulder.

We have moose and elk here too, but they are more up in the Cascades. I haven't ever seen one at low elevation. I did get some great pictures of some elk on a highway turnout in the Coast Range one day. They were right there in a meadow next to the road. With my telephoto I got a shot that looked like I was nose to nose with her (she was really a safe distance away).
 

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
9,084
18,764
Clark Co, WA
Northwestern University is in Illinois because when it was established, Illinois was the Northwest. BoerumHill did say "old Northwest Territory", which is largely called the Rust Belt today: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. I think the Vermont comment was a separate thought.
 

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