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Old 11-14-2015, 03:11 PM   #101
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I'm going to hold off on buying stock in self driving cars because it's only a matter of time until someone hacks into one and causes a major pile-up.
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:15 PM   #102
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"app on their phone and make a reservation to be picked up and dropped off" ... sounds like Uber to me.

"I see little practical consistent value for one" I'd love to have my car drive itself back to my own garage or a free parking location after dropping me off at the airport. I hate paying to park!
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:25 PM   #103
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Other than that, I see little practical consistent value for one.
I can think of two major selling points:
1) The car can park itself in a place distant to the drop off point of the passenger. This allows remote, high density parking structures in places with high-cost real estate (residential or business).
2) Many more people can/will go without owning a car. It's a PITA to rent a car now, not something that is practical for a few trips per week. Taxis/Über are expensive because of the labor cost for a driver. Reasonably priced driverless cars change the picture a lot.
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:42 PM   #104
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Yep, 1 & 2. I have a quibble on 2 if you are on a campus that has rent by the hour cars (ie zipcar). DD got through college that way.
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:50 PM   #105
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Yep, 1 & 2. I have a quibble on 2 if you are on a campus that has rent by the hour cars (ie zipcar). DD got through college that way.
True. Zipcar et al work where the customer population is quite dense, making it practical to have stations. But when the car can come to the customer, it broadens the feasible footprint, improves the utilization rate of the vehicles, and improves likely availability of a car when you need it ( I.e less need to have surplus cars at lots of sites just to be sure customers aren't disappointed, wondering when they might get a vehicle, etc)
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:53 PM   #106
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Self driving car would work well for bar patrons who need to get home without attracting the law for a "blow test".
True. That said, assuming one only wanted a self-driving car to take them home after they've tied a few on, it would take a thousand cab rides over the space of a few years in order to look remotely cost-effective.

Of course, it would also only take one or two DUIs to do the same.
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:41 PM   #107
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Reasonably priced driverless cars change the picture a lot.
Well, first of all it has to be "reasonably priced"..however much that is? A cheap used Honda may be more cost effective over the long run (and less complex).

Secondly, owning a driverless car will still require registration, taxes, insurance, upkeep, etc.
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:58 PM   #108
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Secondly, owning a driverless car will still require registration, taxes, insurance, upkeep, etc.
A multi-user driverless car is going to have much lower per mile costs than a POV that sits idle in a driveway 95% of the time. And a major cost for rental operators and cabs is insurance, it sounds like driverless cars may reduce those costs, too.
I enjoy driving and wouldn't fall into a likely user group for these cars. But if they become practical they will fundamentally change the way we use cars.
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:12 PM   #109
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A multi-user driverless car is going to have much lower per mile costs than a POV that sits idle in a driveway 95% of the time. And a major cost for rental operators and cabs is insurance, it sounds like driverless cars may reduce those costs, too.
I enjoy driving and wouldn't fall into a likely user group for these cars. But if they become practical they will fundamentally change the way we use cars.

Who said anything about multi-users? I was thinking a direct replacement for your personal vehicle. I, too, enjoy driving and like the independence and utility a great driving car gives me.

I'll be one of the last ones around to accept my need for a driverless car and by then, I will probably be unable, physically, to continue to drive.

There is a place for these vehicles as you say, but I feel it will be limited in scope and actual numbers in use.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:38 AM   #110
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I do not enjoy driving, and would not mind having a self-driving motorhome. I am visiting Maui and contemplating driving to Hana, but have been told that the driver will not get to enjoy the scenery. A driverless car would be really nice on occasions like this so I can sit back and enjoy the ride. But I am not holding my breath. The technology is just not there yet, despite so much hype from developers.

Here is a related issue. If the computer in the driverless car or any component of the guidance system fails causing an accident, who is liable? The car owner or the car manufacturer? Right now, if you lend your car to somebody else who then causes an accident, you are still liable in a civil lawsuit while the driver may face criminal charges.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:02 AM   #111
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A multi-user driverless car is going to have much lower per mile costs than a POV that sits idle in a driveway 95% of the time. And a major cost for rental operators and cabs is insurance, it sounds like driverless cars may reduce those costs, too.
I enjoy driving and wouldn't fall into a likely user group for these cars. But if they become practical they will fundamentally change the way we use cars.
I think a public transportation vehicle that pick's people up at home will be the winning approach for this car. I can't see how it would not be cost effective vs our current model and unlike buses and even taxis more customer friendly. Maybe it only eliminates the second car but that's a lot of cars.

I also think it will encourage bicycling. If these cars are patient and taught to share the road, parents will allow their kids to ride their bikes to school and adults will not be as concerned as well. It may end the need for a ton of expensive road infrastructure to add 'sharing the road' safety features. But this is a dream that is likely beyond my life time.

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Old 11-15-2015, 07:50 AM   #112
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Here is a related issue. If the computer in the driverless car or any component of the guidance system fails causing an accident, who is liable? The car owner or the car manufacturer? Right now, if you lend your car to somebody else who then causes an accident, you are still liable in a civil lawsuit while the driver may face criminal charges.
This issue was discussed during the 60 Minutes story and the manufacturers realize to get this type of system accepted by the public they will have to accept liability if there is any type of system failure that causes an accident. They are quick to point out how accident free the system has been so far in testing.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:08 AM   #113
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I think a public transportation vehicle that pick's people up at home will be the winning approach for this car. I can't see how it would not be cost effective vs our current model and unlike buses and even taxis more customer friendly. Maybe it only eliminates the second car but that's a lot of cars.
And, despite the present fears of mass transit planners (who loathe the idea of self driving cars as extending the reign of the "wasteful" automobile over their preferred option of trains), driverless cars might be the critical link in improving the practicality/public acceptance of mass transit by eliminating the "last mile" problem. Often getting from home to the train station and from the train station to the final destination doubles the cost and hassles of the trip. With a swarm of these cars to handle that, the train/subway becomes a more attractive option in some cases. And, as a bonus, a car that is constantly in use doesn't require a parking space.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:29 AM   #114
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I think a public transportation vehicle that pick's people up at home will be the winning approach for this car. I can't see how it would not be cost effective vs our current model and unlike buses and even taxis more customer friendly. Maybe it only eliminates the second car but that's a lot of cars.

I also think it will encourage bicycling. If these cars are patient and taught to share the road, parents will allow their kids to ride their bikes to school and adults will not be as concerned as well. It may end the need for a ton of expensive road infrastructure to add 'sharing the road' safety features. But this is a dream that is likely beyond my life time.

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+1. If nothing else I'd think there will be many one car families that used to have/want two or more cars. Owning one, and having another on call sounds ideal to me now!
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:37 AM   #115
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Not sure that self-driving cars will any more accident-prone than all the human drivers applying make-up, fixing their hair, surfing the web, exhibiting rude/road rage behavior, etc.

Not to mention drunks and stoners...
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:53 AM   #116
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Not sure that self-driving cars will any more accident-prone than all the human drivers applying make-up, fixing their hair, surfing the web, exhibiting rude/road rage behavior, etc.

Not to mention drunks and stoners...
I think self driving vehicles will significantly reduce the chance of an accident but it will still be a hard sell initially to get people to turn over control to a computer.
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:45 AM   #117
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The more thought I give to this subject, and it's still not a lot, I believe not only are the inevitable, but will be in demand. Reason, Baby Boomers.

I watched my parents grow old, as I suspect many on here have. I remember my father got worse and died of medical complications before he killed himself on the road. I remember my brother and I deciding to disconnect the battery in my mothers car to prevent her from driving. Long story, but she got lost driving to church.

Much has been written about the elderly and the concern of giving up their independence and to the extent their car represents that. Being able to shop, go out to eat, or to the doctors without assistance is of major concern to seniors that don't want to impose on friends and neighbors. As the baby boomer generation reaches the point that their kids are wanting to take their keys away, I see the self driving auto as one of the solutions.
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:58 AM   #118
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This issue was discussed during the 60 Minutes story and the manufacturers realize to get this type of system accepted by the public they will have to accept liability if there is any type of system failure that causes an accident. They are quick to point out how accident free the system has been so far in testing.
I do not know if Google has completely removed the steering wheel or any means of human input. A presentation by Google I saw some time ago said that the rider was alert to override or provide assistance as needed. How often that human intervention that has been invoked, they did not say.

I have seen some of the demo driving that were uploaded to youtube. What has been done is impressive, yet the test conditions were limited and did not cover all road conditions.

But true hardware failures are something different. Large commercial airliners are safe because they employ triplex autopilots (using 3 times the hardware). Doing this on a personal car will raise its cost prohibitively. While an airplane cannot stop in midair a failed car can be stopped and the rider temporarily stranded, so a car system does not have to have the same redundancy level. Still, all failures must be addressed and their effects analyzed. When I worked in commercial aviation 35 years ago, we had to do FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis), and FTA (Fault Tree Analysis).

I still cringed when I recalled Toyota's "unintended acceleration" crashes.
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Old 11-15-2015, 11:02 AM   #119
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+1. If nothing else I'd think there will be many one car families that used to have/want two or more cars. Owning one, and having another on call sounds ideal to me now!
We are a two car family but very rarely need to drive both cars simultaneously. If we could just shuttle the one car empty to wherever it is needed next, I am sure we could manage with just one car. For example I go to work at 6 am, then send the car back to take DW to work at 7:30 am, etc. Just like we would get by with just one car if we hired a full time chauffeur.
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Old 11-15-2015, 01:06 PM   #120
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Outside of testing and in the real world, how alert will people really be when the car is driving itself?? Too many of them aren't alert now, so I assume it will only get worse.

Sooner or later a person who hasn't "driven" a vehicle in months/years will suddenly be forced to take control in a possible emergency situation. How well will that turn out when their skills have diminished from lack of use?
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