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My thoughts on autonomy from UK perspective

Discussion in 'Autonomous Vehicles' started by tom_patrick, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. tom_patrick

    tom_patrick Member

    Nov 24, 2016

    Just thought I'd see what you guys think about my thoughts.

    I'm a big fan of electric cars and whilst keeping up to date with them, the autonomous side has obviously been improving.
    I've seen a couple videos online and it's looking quite capable. However, where I live in the UK, I just keep thinking of a couple situations where I just can't think of any solution:

    1. In the UK, you often have a fairly narrow, two lane road, with one lane (or side) often the left, with many vehicles parked. In those situations, for instance at night, one needs to visualise what's oncoming on the then one-lane availability, checking if any lights of any vehicles/bikes are visible further away, and then proceed when it is clear. Being at night, there isn't any human gestures, so it's a case of waiting until it's clear.
    Issue: In this circumstance, the car would need a long distance visual, in order to make sure no oncoming obstacles are coming. But being at night, it would need to decipher which lights are which (e.g. ignoring static road lights, or non-moving parked passengers with their lights on). We have a lot of these in many areas, and I keep wondering how this would be solved.

    2. Again, in the UK, we have mini roundabouts. They look like this:
    Issue: Strangely, in the UK driving guidelines, there is no official 'right of way' for any vehicle when there are 4 cars at each of the 4 exits. In cases like this, UK drivers typically either gesture, or one of them just decides to drive on as they loose patience with the other 3 vehicles giving way. I can only imagine the algorithm would end up waiting until one passenger drove away -- but what if all 4 of the cars were autonomous? Wouldn't each car then need to communicate with one goes first?

    3. Things like horses, bikes, people walking along the road. I can only imagine in these situations, especially horses - the algorithm could classify it as a horse and proceed accordingly, but of course a lot of UK roads are very narrow and I can imagine the situation where there is a huge backlog of traffic caused by a autonomous car not overtaking the horse as it cannot be sure it is safe to proceed. I realise it could eventually take a turning, going the longer way to the destination, but often in the UK the roads don't have any turn offs for quite a while.

    Anyway, thanks for reading, these things have been on my mind and I'm interested to hear how they could be solved.
  2. SwTslaGrl

    SwTslaGrl Member

    Oct 23, 2016
    Hi, I think these are good points. I also think one of the goals of autonomous cars is to get accidents down as much as possible. This process could make decision makers rethink what's safe and what's not safe. For example if horses on the road is a risk perhaps close off some roads for cars and make new ones for horses eliminates the risks..

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