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Interesting UK Autopilot news

M3noob

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Aug 22, 2019
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Beyond the pale
TECHNOLOGY
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Driverless cars chart course for own lanes
James Titcomb
DRIVERLESS cars could be given dedicated lanes to make the public feel more comfortable with the arrival of the vehicles, research commissioned by the Government has found.
A large-scale survey of opinion towards new transport technologies suggested that putting self-driving cars in separate lanes as a “performative safety measure” would allow the vehicles to be “eased” into public life.
The Department for Transport is working on a series of potential changes to transport laws covering areas such as driverless cars, electric scooters and drones to make roads safer and solve congestion issues.
It believes 40pc of cars sold in the UK could be driverless by 2035, which could also create thousands of jobs.
Research involving some 3,000 adults carried out by the consultancy BritainThinks found separate lanes were identified as a common requirement among the public to make them feel comfortable with self-driving cars’ safety.
Respondents also said that the cars’ speed should be capped, and that they should have panic buttons or CCTV to ensure safety inside them.
The research found rural residents were more likely to be sceptical of the technology than urban dwellers, partly because of concerns about narrow country roads.
The Government has invested more than £200m in driverless car research.
Multiple trials have been taking place in cities, and earlier this year ministers took a step towards allowing driverless cars with proposals to define automated lane-keeping systems such as Tesla’s Autopilot, as self-driving, meaning the software would be in control of the vehicle. It has said it will announce further steps on the move this summer.
 

NigelT

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Sep 5, 2019
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After driving more recently and seeing traffic patterns return to normal, do we have any lanes to spare? I wonder how understanding drivers would be on a Friday afternoon if they just removed a lane of the M25 and made it exclusively for the use of fancy self-driving cars...
 

GRiLLA

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Jul 5, 2020
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Meh, it's not remotely practical to have dedicated lanes, so I would suggest this was just a leading question as part of the survey.

Q1. Are you worried about the safety of you and your kids from Autonomous Cars?
Q2. Do you think there should be dedicated lanes for Autonomous Cars?
Q3. Do you think Autonomous cars should have their speed capped?

I can't see how uninformed public opinions are of any value in forming policy around new technology, it's a natural human behavior to be nervous of change.
 

Dilly

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Feb 24, 2020
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Norfolk
Hereabouts we don’t even have pavements for car-less drivers!!

more seriously though, can you imagine the plethora of extra road signage that would accompany such a proposition?
it’s barely practical to contemplate on a motorway. Dual carriageways and towns, forget it!
 
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Spacerock

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Jul 27, 2021
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London
After driving more recently and seeing traffic patterns return to normal, do we have any lanes to spare? I wonder how understanding drivers would be on a Friday afternoon if they just removed a lane of the M25 and made it exclusively for the use of fancy self-driving cars...


There’s too many lanes on the m25 and the clueless majority of people that drive there have no idea which lane they should be in so taking one lane away could probably make it easier for them.
 
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Yev000

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May 3, 2019
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Knaphill
"It has said it will announce further steps on the move this summer." Said James on 30th of August

James, "this" summer is over.....
 
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M3noob

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Aug 22, 2019
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That was a nice invitation to subscribe to the Telegraph ... no further information on your recommended article.
For years, the driverless car has been a poster child for technology-led disruption – the very embodiment of the idea that "software is eating the world". But that dream now looks all but dead.

Another nail was quietly hammered into its coffin last week when the American car safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced an investigation into Tesla Motors’ Autopilot feature. Nothing attracts the attention of the state like rear-ending its hardware.

The agency noted 11 incidents in which a Tesla had smashed into the back of an emergency services vehicle, two of which were parked at the time. So the glitch had become rather hard to ignore.

This didn’t stop Tesla chief executive Elon Musk announcing plans for a robot humanoid on Friday, claiming, in carnival barker style, that his cars are already “semi-sentient”.


When the obituary is finally written for the autonomous car, we should ask not why it failed, but why people ever thought it would succeed.

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When the public was asked what problems a self-driving car might encounter, the concerns raised were sensible. No one is more aware of danger than a driver. But drunk on their sense of destiny, the engineers seemed oblivious.

As a Bloomberg report last week drily noted, “small disturbances like construction crews, bicyclists, left turns, and pedestrians remain headaches for computer drivers” adding that “right now, no driverless car from any company can gracefully handle rain, sleet, or snow.” Those “last few details” as the magazine (possibly sarcastically) calls them, remain insuperable.

The NHTSA’s concerns with Tesla give us a useful reality check into how little progress has actually been made. On the industry’s five point scale in which manual driving is Level 0, and full automation, or hands off self-driving, is Level 5, Tesla’s Autopilot only offers Level 2.

On its website, the manufacturer points out that “Autopilot does not turn a Tesla into a self-driving car, nor does it make a car autonomous,” which is something of an understatement. Autopilot merely offers driver assistance when parking or changing lanes, and adaptive cruise control. But even that modest level of assistance clearly has issues, and judging distance is one of them.


Uber and Lyft have both sold off their autonomous car divisions. Others have shut down completely, notably the truck startup Starsky. Even Apple, with its apparently bottomless pockets, mothballed its own autonomous car project Titan two years ago. Established auto manufacturers like BMW (which predicted full autonomous driving for this year but merely ships a Tesla-like Level 2 assistance) stopped mentioning dates at all.

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The driverless car chimera has its roots in a strange fantasy, one that gripped US military theorists three decades ago. Generals have long dreamed of removing human soldiers from the battlefield and replacing them with machines. But in the 1990s, the top brass became obsessed with something much more ambitious. Drawing from new ideas of complexity and biology, the theorists envisaged swarms of machines capable of self-organisation and intelligence. Think Dr Dolittle meets Dr Strangelove.

Autonomous vehicles were one of three strategic projects to emerge from the rubble of the defence agency DARPA’s decade-long, billion dollar, Strategic Computing Initiative (SCI). In 2004, DARPA launched the Grand Challenge, an open competition to drive cars in the Mojave Desert, in clear, dry conditions and largely in straight lines.

Google took a keen interest, and adapted the work for its self-driving car in 2014, boasting of the hours of largely incident-free mileage. That started an industry-wide panic, and autonomous driving has since gripped governments, researchers and the rest of the car industry, and consumed many billions in private and public money.

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The most insuperable problem eventually became apparent to the boffins, by now the only people in the world not to realise it might exist. This is what the author and transport commentator Christian Wolmar calls the "Holborn Problem". When pedestrians spill onto the pavement, as they once did outside Holborn station at 5pm every Friday evening, no autonomous vehicle can move.

Since the computer can’t be programmed to drive into a human without bankrupting the manufacturer in a subsequent lawsuit, it halts. Traffic behind the vehicle halts too, and very soon the city is gridlocked.

Placeholder image for youtube video: KLM2YHI0KPY
Lobbyists came up with an ingenious demand: fence off all pedestrians where the vehicles operate, and dedicate lanes to the clunky robot cars. These were “modest infrastructure changes”, insisted Google’s then AI guru Andrew Ng. But in reality, these required the fabric of the city to be radically changed to compensate for the shonky state of the technology. Destroy the city, to save the self-driving car? No thanks, said planners, and such lobbying efforts were rejected.

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Here in the UK, the Government has approved Level 2 – so expect a shunt – but our own publicly funded research efforts are much more modest and useful. We can expect to see autonomous vehicles in agriculture, for example, and in the fields of Wiltshire and Dorset where trials are taking place, you already can. These are low risk environments, largely free of nasty surprises.

Interviewed for Sky News seven years ago when Google unveiled its first prototype autonomous vehicle – this looked like an infant’s toy – I mused that this may be an elaborate joke by Silicon Valley to bankrupt the established auto industry, wasting its resources in pursuit of an unachievable dream. But now the joke’s on Silicon Valley.

Andrew Orlowski tweets @andreworlowski
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
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Scotland
Autopilot merely offers driver assistance when parking or changing lanes ...
This doesn't give great confidence in the background knowledge of the writer ... given that neither of those things are standard features of Autopilot! It could be an even stronger indictment if it said "Autopilot merely offers driver assistance to keep the car within it's lane and to vary it's speed in accordance with traffic flow." The inappropriate title and expense of the Full Self Driving feature would have been worth a mention ... plus some balance by recognising the recent achievements in the development of the newest FSD beta programme.
 

GeorgeSymonds

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Mar 16, 2018
1,382
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UK
A dedicated lane will never work, some people can’t drive in lane 1 of a motorway or use the correct lane at a roundabout so the chances of them not using a self driving lane if it looks pretty is pretty low.

The investigation in the US is welcome in my book, as far as I can tell it’s looking at the transition not the end state, ie what’s reasonable in a car that can drive almost all the time but isn’t legally responsible for the driving and can throw a wobbly at any point in time. If you only have to step in to avert a disaster day once a week, once every thousand miles, pick your threshold, can you really say anyone, let alone everyone, using the technology will be poised ready for action when needed every time it goes wrong? Once level 3 is certified and the hand back over 10s is approved then things will settle down again.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,475
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Surrey, UK
I wouldn't dismiss a dedicated line in certain circumstances.

A while ago I was working on a project using commercial (with bespoke control) traffic simulation in a very in depth way. As a result I got involved in a very candid presentation by another equally well regarded traffic simulation company who just happened to bring up their work on simulating traffic behaviour when autonomous vehicles were added to the mix.

The big take away was that autonomous vehicles had the ability to give massive benefits to road use performance but, it only took one human driven vehicle to completely negate these benefits and far more beside. Others in the presentation were also very clued on the industry thinking of potential future traffic layouts when autonomy became more widespread and dedicated lanes were part of that discussion, so certainly something that at that time was part of a the thinking of a potential future thing.

What was also part of the discussion was the interaction between connected autonomous vehicles (CAV) and that whilst not specifically discussed, a non connected autonomous vehicle in the dedicated lane would be not really be achievable due to the ability for CAV to allow higher traffic densities than a human could handle. Basically, without CAV, it would be nigh on impossible for a non CAV to join the platoon in the dedicated lane. And of course, Tesla's in their current guise could not either as they are not a CAV. So a dedicated lane would work and perform well by virtue that it could not attract human drivers, or Tesla FSD for that matter.
 
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Teddy69

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Jul 22, 2021
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Scotland
Dedicated lanes have been done all over the UK, i.e. bus lanes.

USA have had them for years, some only allow multiple occupancy etc, people seem to manage to follow the rules (or get fined off the road)

As T321 has said, if you could double the density in a CAV only lane, this is actually a pretty cheap way of increasing throughput compared to adding lanes.
 

Dilly

Active Member
Feb 24, 2020
2,244
1,826
Norfolk
I wouldn't dismiss a dedicated line in certain circumstances.

A while ago I was working on a project using commercial (with bespoke control) traffic simulation in a very in depth way. As a result I got involved in a very candid presentation by another equally well regarded traffic simulation company who just happened to bring up their work on simulating traffic behaviour when autonomous vehicles were added to the mix.

The big take away was that autonomous vehicles had the ability to give massive benefits to road use performance but, it only took one human driven vehicle to completely negate these benefits and far more beside. Others in the presentation were also very clued on the industry thinking of potential future traffic layouts when autonomy became more widespread and dedicated lanes were part of that discussion, so certainly something that at that time was part of a the thinking of a potential future thing.

What was also part of the discussion was the interaction between connected autonomous vehicles (CAV) and that whilst not specifically discussed, a non connected autonomous vehicle in the dedicated lane would be not really be achievable due to the ability for CAV to allow higher traffic densities than a human could handle. Basically, without CAV, it would be nigh on impossible for a non CAV to join the platoon in the dedicated lane. And of course, Tesla's in their current guise could not either as they are not a CAV. So a dedicated lane would work and perform well by virtue that it could not attract human drivers, or Tesla FSD for that matter.
Some years ago I was invited to a discussion given by the RHA. One of the topics was indeed the concept of connected autonomous vehicles. Whilst the general view was favourable one comment that received some applause and laughter was “isn’t CAV just a very expensive train”. I suppose that in a sense that is true but many in the audience saw the merit of the idea. Lord knows, the shortage of lorry drivers could be made a thing of the past.
 

Artiste

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Jun 17, 2019
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Lancashire
The argument about autonomous driving has been raging for years, and if you have an opinion as to whether it’s possible or not you will find plenty of “experts” to back you up. The most vocal person to be consistently wrong in his predictions is, of course, the Musk. I have no faith in the new beta FSD software currently being trialled because I prefer to go on past performance rather than vacuous promises. Musk’s past performance is one of over promising, under delivering and broken timelines. Can a leopard change its spots?

Personally I’m convinced that we won’t see fully autonomous cars on our roads this decade, and probably not for considerably longer.
 

Hurricane

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Jan 30, 2020
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89
UK
Personally I’m convinced that we won’t see fully autonomous cars on our roads this decade, and probably not for considerably longer.
Couldn’t agree more, and that’s a bit of a bummer for those overly optimistic (gullible?) people who are hoping to send their cars out to earn money as robo taxis anytime soon.
 
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Type2

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Jul 6, 2019
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Liverpool
Two years into owning my M3P I was reflecting on how little my driving experience has changed from previous decades. My EV still has four wheels that sit on conventional tyres. It has an accelerator pedal, a brake pedal and a steering wheel. I drive it pretty much exactly as I drive any other car.

Sure, there are subtle changes such as the fact that with regenerative braking I use the brake pedal much less. But this is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The autonomous features of my car are implemented better by other manufacturers. The headlights and windscreen wipers are a hugely regressive step.

When am going to see this Tesla revolution? One thing I can guarantee is that Teslas, along with all other cars, will need a steering wheel for many years to come.
 

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