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Self-Driving Car: Is it a big deal?

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by apacheguy, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    Elon said Tesla will unveil a car next year capable of autonomous driving 90% of the time. Am I the only one that says, meh?

    Don't get me wrong. If I could drive my MS up to a restaurant and say, "Tesla, park yourself" and then walk away, that would be WAY cool! And then I could open the app and tell the car where to meet me as I'm leaving the venue. Kind of like the bimmer that James Bond controls from his phone. But I don't think this is what Elon means when he says 90% of the time.

    I kind of like to drive. That's what makes a Tesla so great, right? What gives everyone the "Tesla grin" is being the one in control and being able to put the pedal to the medal. I don't ever want to give that up. Yeah, maybe for really, really long stretches of highway driving it'd be nice to take a break. But that's what driver assist and cruise control is for, right? I don't ever see myself sitting behind the wheel and then setting an autopilot and going to sleep. That just ain't gonna happen.

    Am I missing the point of an autonomous car? Does anyone else agree or am I once again a lone wolf?
     
  2. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    At a minimum, you ought to appreciate it if you were drunk or over tired.
     
  3. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    No, if you're drunk you should not be doing the 10% of the driving that is too difficult for the autonomous car to do itself.
     
  4. dennis

    dennis P85D

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    I'm with you. I love driving, and have no interest in a self driving car. I don't even use cruise control because I want to be involved with driving the car and stay alert. I've had one accident in 40 years and that was when I allowed myself to be distracted by the navigation system. Won't make that mistake again.
     
  5. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    This is precisely the thing that I'm afraid of. I don't think we should encourage irresponsible behavior such as folks falling asleep behind the wheel or finding themselves in an inebriated state. As TexasEV points out, it would not be reliable 100% either.
     
  6. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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    It's fascinating from a technological perspective, but I'm more or less in dennis' camp. I don't really use cruise control, and I've never had a car with ACC, BSD, LDW or SA so I've not become attached to any of these technologies. There are, however, two bits of technology that I really like, especially with a car this big: parking sensors and the backup camera.

    Texas EV and apacheguy also point out the inevitable dark side of such technology. Hopefully, drivers will understand these perils, but a drunk driver is still a drunk driver and by definition his/her judgment is impaired.
     
  7. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    It would be an interesting defense if you were pulled over and inebriated but showed that the car was driving itself. I bet existing laws will still find you responsible.
     
  8. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    When I am stuck in a traffic jam crawling along at 5mph I would rather the car did the work and I could read email.
    I would be very happy with a car that could be put in autonomous mode when I want it to. When the roads are wide open, I am usually very happy to drive - but it doesn't happen as much as I would like.


    With truly autonomous cars many people would not need to own a car at all. The industry could sell fewer cars and people could enjoy even greater mobility than they do now.
    Not having to waste time parking your car can actually save a lot of time. A service could respond and bring you a car at an instants notice. All the capital tied up in cars could be put to better use.

    Even if I had my own car - I would love for it to take me into the city and then go park itself somewhere. It would save me the time and hassle of finding parking. That can sometimes take as long as fighting the bumper to bumper traffic.
    We could stop wasting prime real estate on parking structures, and we might actually find that things become walkable because we don't have to waste all that space.

    I think the auto industry is super scared of self driving cars because they will sell fewer cars.
     
  9. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    I would want self driving mostly for longer boring trips. Staying in my lane and at the right speed going through center California on highway 5 seems like a chore I would rather let a computer do. Twisty mountain roads, on the other hand, I want to control myself.
     
  10. James Anders

    James Anders Member

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    This will be a gold mine for lawyers.
     
  11. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    I don't think it will change a thing. Lawyers already write the laws to ensure they have plenty of gold to mine.
     
  12. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I like to drive too, but there are times when it's a chore (commuting, long trips on the highway) and I wish I could hand things off a bit. My wife's SUV has adaptive cruise and it's great for long trips as I can follow the vehicle in front of me and have the speed automatically drop when that car slows. If I could tell my Model S to cruise the highway until Exit ## and then take over, I'd be happy.

    And then, when I wanted to DRIVE, I could.
     
  13. ModelX

    ModelX Member

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    I am like AnOutsider. I enjoying driving most of the time, but sometimes it is a chore that I would rather take a break from. Also sometimes I have to drive home after work and I know I am tired or distracted. I would love if my car were safer than I am!
     
  14. James Anders

    James Anders Member

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    Let me restate...

    There will be problems and accidents. Given how current recalls and safety issues seem to be in the automotive world it remains to be seen how this will play out. When it comes to safety the auto industry in general doesn't have the best public perception.

    The auto manufacturers will be subject to lawsuits where in the past driver error was often to blame. When the first kid gets hit by an autonomous car where the driver was reading the paper or sending an email - we will see what happens.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Self-driving cars will be huge when they reach the point of 100%. Then people who are unable to drive - elderly especially - will suddenly have immense freedom. Kids around here are saying, "Oh, I don't need to get my driver's license. By the time I need a car they'll be self-driving."

    Well of course, I believe 100% self-driving cars are a long way off, especially if you live in areas with significant winter weather.
     
  16. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    #16 ecarfan, Oct 2, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
    In 25 years I absolutely want a self-driving car because by that point I will likely not be as safe a driver as I am now. But until that time comes I don't want to pay extra for self-driving features. For now I'm fine with basic cruise control and the parking sensors I already have.

    The legal issues that self-driving cars bring with them have yet to be figured out, and I think it is going to take a decade to do so.

    Update: I regularly see Google's self-driving cars in my area (SF peninsula). The law says they are required to have a licensed driver at the wheel. But there is no established case law for figuring out who is at fault if the car is involved in an accident; the driver or the Google software/hardware. That makes car manufacturers hesitant about offering fully autonomous vehicles for sale to the public.
     
  17. flashflood

    flashflood Member

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    It's academic. Here's the future: a beautiful 8-year-old girl with blonde hair and blue eyes is going to be killed by a self-driving car, and it will be the kind of situation that a human could have easily avoided. It will go to trial. On one side, you'll have Google's twenty-something millionaire programmers explaining that, statistically, self-driving cars cause fewer deaths per mile driven. On the other side, you'll have Suzie's coffin and her sobbing working-class parents. Not only will the parents prevail, winning a record-setting 100-billion-dollar judgment, but Congress will pass, and the president will sign, emergency legislation banning self-driving vehicles for all time.

    Sorry folks, the Luddites are going to win. If you think the vaccines-cause-autism stuff was bad, just wait until there's a dashcam execution video from a Google car.
     
  18. GSP

    GSP Member

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    I think that self driving cars will drastically reduce fatalities and serious injuries, which take quite a serious toll on our population. This will make them impossible to resist even though most of us like to drive. Protecting our loved ones will be a higher priority.

    If you don't also think so, just wait and see how it turns out in the next 10-20 years.

    GSP
     
  19. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    #19 Saghost, Oct 3, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
    To my mind the most important aspect of having a self driving car - or especially a mesh of self driving cars that can talk to each other - is the potential for a car train.

    Right now, HOV lanes are only a slight improvement in dealing with the traffic flow problems of high density areas. If they were replaced with dedicated train lanes which only self driving cars that can handshake with each other are permitted to enter, you'd have a solution that can reliably carry four or five times the traffic volume with no stop and go surging (your car would know when a car five cars up had to slow down and could start slowing then.)

    It takes some computing power, and you'd want a reliable way of keeping idiots out of the lane, but it should be safer, faster, and more efficient than any alternative I can see.
    Walter
     
  20. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Hell, you can be DUI just sitting behind the wheel of a parked car.

    And for the OP, if self-driving cars aren't a big deal, why do people go gaga over ACC? Why do people insist on cruise control? Why do people opt for self-parking systems? Self-drive just extends that to make driving as easy as possible and people will be all over it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Even without car trains you have:
    (a) smoother, more accurate response to maneuvers and traffic signals
    (b) fewer accidents.
    Both of those have the potential dramatically to improve traffic flow.

    There's so much exciting, positive, high-impact technology being developed right now.
     

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