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Thoughts on Self-Driving Cars...From a Car Enthusiast's Perspective.

Discussion in 'Future Cars' started by igotzzoom, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    I am somewhat torn on the prospect of self-driving cars. With the ubiquity of mobile devices has come an exponential increase in driver distraction, which I witness on a daily basis in manifold forms. (i.e. not going when light turns green, drifting in lane, driving too slowly, etc.) so for those drivers, I'd welcome a more predictable, computer-controlled driving experience. There are also times when I'd enjoy a little respite from taking the helm and letting HAL do the driving for me (i.e. commuting, stop-and-go traffic) but I don't think, and I hope that auto-pilot will not be the default function, at least for quite a while to come.

    Personally, one thing that attracts me to Tesla vehicles in particular is that they're NOT appliance-like, but emotive, stylish, engaging, and dynamic. I certainly understand the logistical and pragmatic benefits of self-driving cars, and unlike some others in the auto enthusiast community, don't fear or loathe the ascent of EVs and the gradual decline of ICE engines. BUT....I hope the love of driving, and the adrenaline rush it can provide is not fully lost in the transition.
     
  2. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    It's a huge topic igotzzoom.

    IMO, the transition will be gradual. We're going to see an incremental above ACC first; basically, what Elon calls "autopilot". Once you're at speed on the Interstate, then you engage the autopilot and it keeps the correct distance from the car in front of you and maintains lane position with an alert issued when nearing the destination, whereupon, the driver disengages the autopilot.

    Next might be full door-to-door with optional manual drive.

    At some point however, we're going to see lanes which are self-driving only and then entire highways which will be self-driving only.

    Don't worry, before we get to all roads being designated as self-driving only, there will be much larger fish frying. (See: Technological Singularity) So you'll be able to enjoy driving as an enthusiast for some time to come.
     
  3. strider

    strider Active Member

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    I concur w/ Mycroft. I imagine something like they had in "I, Robot" where the car had both manual and automatic modes. There would be "auto" lanes on the freeway separated from the regular lanes (as it will take decades for everyone to buy auto-capable cars) and so you can use those lanes when commuting (hopefully at high rates of speed) and then engage manual control when you want to drive or are out in the boonies.
     
  4. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    We're already seeing transitional technologies in this direction. At first it was simply warning devices, but now it's becoming more interactive (braking and steering intervention). I recently drove a 2014 Subaru Forester with the Eye Sight system, and it worked quite well. The hardware and technology is basically in place for essentially hands-free freeway driving. But door-to-door autonomous driving is probably still about five years away. I think the bigger hurdles will be regulatory and legislative.

    I have an older friend who is blind from childhood, and he's extremely bright and technologically aware. I can't help but see the benefits of the technology for the disabled or elderly. But I still want to be able to take the wheel when I want or need to.
     
  5. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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  6. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    Interesting. But it will be several decades before this plays out in its fullness. I think this is still written from a very North American perspective. What the author doesn't take into account is all the emerging economies where the first thing people want to purchase when they have the means is a car. I'd say there's probably a good 20-30 years of that before they get to the saturation point where the burden of personal ownership of a car outweighs the status of it. That's why you're seeing a mad stampede to emerging markets by the automakers, as I think most of the forward-looking ones realize the developed markets in Europe and North America have already reached the saturation point, and will ultimately level off and decline.
     
  7. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    Self driving cars have some fantastic advantages for EVs.

    For city dwellers who have both the problems of difficult to find parking, and difficult to find a place to charge at home... the self driving EV solves both these problems. When you get home, your car drops you off and then goes to park someplace else that isn't your house, condo or apartment. When it does that, it also charges if it needs to.

    For long distance travel, if the supercharger isn't exactly where you want to stop for a short break, or have a meal - that's okay - it drops you off where you want to take your siesta and then goes and finds the supercharger - fills up and returns to pick you up when you are ready to continue your journey.

    Lastly when dealing with superchargers specifically: If there are more cars than supercharger stalls - the cars can auto-shuffle themselves and leave the stall when done, making space for a waiting car - which then moves into the space.
     
  8. djplong

    djplong Member

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    I have dreams of being able to get in the car after a long and stressful work day and NOT have to stress about the traffic on the way home. The idea of being able to relax *if I so choose* is quite a siren song. I mean, I love to drive - but the OPTION of letting the car do the work sometimes? *Very* appealing.
     
  9. jeff_adams

    jeff_adams Member

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    It would be cool to imagine a world without drunken drivers.
     
  10. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    There are gazillions of positives of self driving cars; from transportation of the blind, elderly, drunk, and infirm, to emergency transport, to easier commutes. However, there will be a huge downside. While productivity will increase tremendously with cost effective self driving vehicles, technological unemployment will skyrocket!

    Nearly every worker who relies on being a driver will find themselves unemployed. Trucks, buses, limos, taxis, etc. etc. The teamsters and others will not go gently into that good night. These guys may make the luddite weavers of the early 1800's look like rank amateurs.
     
  11. JRod0802

    JRod0802 Member

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    Well... they'll probably fight using the courts and by lobbying rather than by physically breaking into businesses and smashing equipment.
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    "Gramma got run over by a buffer overrun."
     
  13. djplong

    djplong Member

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    We already have that resistance. Technology advanced, long ago, to allow "driverless" subway trains but unions and public safety perceptions prevent that from happening, for the most part. The only exception I can think of are airport shuttles (like in Orlando).
     

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