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Self Driving Cars?
Old 03-05-2017, 10:17 AM   #1
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Self Driving Cars?

It seems numerous tech and car companies are trying to develop self driving cars. But I keep wondering who really wants a self driving car? I know I don't. I don't drive as much as I used to, but for me driving is an enjoyable experience. Hopping in a car and letting it drive would just be downright boring, not to mention I would probably get motion sickness. That's why I'm never a passenger in a car.

Self driving cars are "supposed" to be safer, but I've been a programmer long enough to know you can't foresee every possible outcome in the future. Not to mention things break. Even if a car can avoid kids, pets, icy roads, etc., what will it do if there's a flat tire, or the brakes fail, or the throttle sticks? No thank you.

It seems every generation of cars isolates and distracts the driver from the road. New cars seem to be more about navigation, bluetooth, and entertainment systems than driving.

Not to mention, self driving cars won't remove any cars from the roads.

I would rather see improved mass transit options, on-call vehicle services, etc.

What about you, are you eager to have a self driving car?
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:21 AM   #2
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Driving is fun, I don't want a robot to do it for me. The only use I can imagine for myself is if I become too frail or with bad eyesight to drive, provided I'm not also then too feeble to get in and out of the vehicle.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:28 AM   #3
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Driving is fun, until your vision changes and you are not allowed to drive at night. As it happens I hate to drive and cannot wait. There will be all sorts of system failures and all the rest of it. However driving around the metro area yesterday I was very nearly rear-ended by an 18 wheeler and cut off who knows how many times. Drive around a metro area on a Friday night and you will be very interested in self driving cars.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:43 AM   #4
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I can't wait until we get to autonomous cars. One day many of us will no longer be safe driving and would have our licenses taken away in today's world. Self driving cars may keep us independent longer!

Sure there will still be accidents, but human error is still the biggest cause for accidents, fatal or otherwise. From what I've read, 90% of today's accidents could be avoided with self-driving cars. People who expect 0% accidents are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good - the status quo isn't better. We'd still be riding horses if your thinking prevailed. Even if self driving only reduces accidents by 50%, would you still prefer the status quo?

The tough period may be the transition between today and a completely autonomous future, when both manual and self driving cars have to co-exist.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:57 AM   #5
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As I get older it's more and more obvious that there will come a time when I can no longer drive myself. My parents have been dependent on others to drive them places for years and they deeply miss the independence. I already notice some declining vision and worry how much longer I have.

But there's the other side too. In 25 years of living in the city, I have been in 6 motor vehicle accidents which were a result of other drivers not paying attention. Hit from behind while I waited at a stop sign. Driver driving the wrong way on a one way street. Multiple car accident on freeway when inattentive driver pushed other cars into me. Twice drivers on cellphone or texting. Even if there are occasional glitches, I'm eager to let self driving cars get these dangerous people out of the driver's seat.
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:19 AM   #6
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Sure there will still be accidents, but human error is still the biggest cause for accidents, fatal or otherwise. From what I've read, 90% of today's accidents could be avoided with self-driving cars. People who expect 0% accidents are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good - the status quo isn't better.
Agreed, but accidents caused by machines are perceived differently than accidents caused by people. Computers and robots are almost always more reliable than humans, but the mistakes that machines make tend to be different from the mistakes that people make. And there's the expectation that people will make mistakes, but that machines should not. When a self-driving car causes an accident that a human could have prevented, it will be perceived as a much bigger negative than the reverse.
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:21 AM   #7
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I too am looking forward to self driving cars. And to a system where cars are used 'per use' in a very inexpensive and improved environmental approach.

I am hoping it evolves to something between a bus and taxi approach. This will reduce traffic, road maintenance, pollution, etc. Most people do not think about the amount of land dedicated to parking since everyone wants to park close to their destination. But if the car parked itself, I expect we could recover 50% of the land used for parking. Just a wild guess. More businesses, parks and open space.

As a frequent bike commuter, I anticipate it will improve my personal safety while biking. And, if it is safer it will encourage even more people to use Active Transportation. Encouraging a healthier population.
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:25 AM   #8
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Agreed, but accidents caused by machines are perceived differently than accidents caused by people. Computers and robots are almost always more reliable than humans, but the mistakes that machines make tend to be different from the mistakes that people make. And there's the expectation that people will make mistakes, but that machines should not. When a self-driving car causes an accident that a human could have prevented, it will be perceived as a much bigger negative than the reverse.
So we're better off with 100 accidents than 10, or whatever the actual reduction turns out to be? It's OK for 10 people to be killed by a drunk, distracted or incompetent driver, but not 1 by a self driving car? If perfect is the standard, why are you driving today at all?

Though perceptions always factor in, hopefully we're smarter than that when all is said and done. I have friends who are totally against self driving cars for the reasons you note, but the non-data in their heads bears no resemblance to reality. Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up...
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:40 AM   #9
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I neither like nor dislike driving enough to care much either way. But a family member recently started a full-time job as a "driver" testing self-driving vehicles. Her job is to sit in the driver's seat for 30-40 hours per week and be ready to take the wheel in case something goes wrong. Now that is a hell I never want to experience. Spending 30-40 hours a week in a car, not driving, but being ready to drive constantly? No thank you. Sounds nerve-wracking.
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:43 AM   #10
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c.

What about you, are you eager to have a self driving car?
No.

I'll have this to get me around economically (no computers in it):

IMG_20170113_163557.jpg
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:50 AM   #11
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I don't think they can get here quick enough. With all of crazies out on the road talking and texting all the time, it gets more dangerous every day. I'd much rather have a 100% dedicated robot driving next to me than some inexperienced teen who thinks he can text and drive simultaneously. Plus, I don't think I'd mind kicking back for a nap while my car gets me to my destination. Driving in my neck of the woods Is not my idea of fun (way too much traffic).
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:51 AM   #12
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I would like the option to have the car drive for me when I want it to. I could leave later for work if I could safely eat on the way. On a long road trip by yourself and need to pee, no need to get off the highway. You can take a nap and arrive at your destination refreshed instead of exhausted. There are lots of advantages to autonomous vehicles.
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:52 AM   #13
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While I still enjoy driving, I can see a point in the future where it would be safer for everyone if I was no longer driving. In that case, I would LOVE to have an autonomous car to preserve my independence. It's one thing I observed with my mother after she had to give up her car: the loss of the independence that driving provided weighed heavily on her.
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:55 AM   #14
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On a long road trip by yourself and need to pee, no need to get off the highway.
Um... really?!
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:24 PM   #15
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I would like the option to have the car drive for me when I want it to. I could leave later for work if I could safely eat on the way. On a long road trip by yourself and need to pee, no need to get off the highway. You can take a nap and arrive at your destination refreshed instead of exhausted. There are lots of advantages to autonomous vehicles.
I'd bet self-driving cars will have the same "manual" controls as they have today for decades. Understandably, too few people would make the jump directly to totally autonomous vehicles with no steering wheel or pedals to ever make the transition. It will be a very long time before totally autonomous vehicles (like Google-Waymo) are common.

I am not saying it will be prevalent but you can bet we'll go through a period where occasionally people take control from their self-driving car and cause an accident that the car would have otherwise avoided. Human error will always be human error.

It will be interesting to see how non-autonomous cars are dealt with during the long transition (10-50 years?). And even 50 years from now, I am sure there will be some "classic cars" out on the road. But we have years of learning and false perceptions to work through.
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:01 PM   #16
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Well, I'm honestly surprised how many folks are open to the idea of self-driving cars. Especially since most of us are probably "old school" from an earlier generation.

I drove in rush hour traffic for many years, and even today the vast majority of accidents are caused by human error. Usually because people are in too much of a rush, don't pay attention, or are just plain rude. I can't count the number of times people flash their lights at me, fly around me, flipping me off, practically taking off the front of my car as they come back over. Then I get stuck behind them at the next light. Stupid. Was it really worth all that? What, will you get to work 2 minutes earlier?

Or the people that do everything EXCEPT drive their cars, texting on their phones, putting on makeup, eating lunch, etc.

Still, driving to me isn't just about getting from point A to point B. If that's all you want, mass transit is a much better option. Someone else does the driving, you can sit back and relax or text on your phone, there will be several fewer cars on the road, and there's less pollution. If I lived in the city I probably wouldn't even own a car.

Self driving cars still don't make a lot of sense to me if we're all going to have one. You'll still have tons of parking lots, traffic congestion, etc. Yeah, they may theoretically be safer some day, but there are plenty of safer alternatives to driving now.

One scenario I CAN see self driving cars being an advantage is if they have some kind of on-call car sharing service. In other words, I need to go get groceries or something from the home center. I order a car, and it drives out to my house for my use. I would still want to drive the car myself when I'm behind the wheel, but if it could come to my house when I need it and then be free for others to use when I'm not that makes sense. Far fewer cars on the road, minimal need for parking lots, less pollution, etc. But again, a similar service could be setup now if a company drove a car out and dropped it off. They they could pick it up when I'm done with it.

I've seen car sharing services in cities, but am not aware of anything like that for rural users.

Even all social and technical issues are worked out to acceptable levels, I don't know if I could overcome the motion sickness I get riding as a passenger in a vehicle.

These days I work from home, and order most things online to be delivered directly to my house. I could even have my groceries delivered if I wanted to pay the service fee. I typically drive less than 2500 miles a year now.

The future is coming whether I like it or not...
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:06 PM   #17
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I'd bet self-driving cars will have the same "manual" controls as they have today for decades. Understandably, too few people would make the jump directly to totally autonomous vehicles with no steering wheel or pedals to ever make the transition.
Alternatively, a system like the current self-driving car test driver, where you sit in the driver seat ready to take control at a moment's notice is guaranteed to fail. Very few non-drivers will remain attentive enough to be aware of a problem situation, much less be prepared to take the correct action if such a situation arises.
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:10 PM   #18
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Still, driving to me isn't just about getting from point A to point B. If that's all you want, mass transit is a much better option.
Maybe if you are in a city with a dense grid of mass transit options. Out here, I'd have to travel a few miles to a mass transit bus stop. Take an overcrowded bus that rarely runs on schedule and even if on schedule sometimes skips stops if it is full, followed by a couple mile trip to the ultimate destination past the nearest bus stop. Adds a lot of time and uncertainty to any trip. Not likely to be an attractive option for most trips.
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Old 03-05-2017, 02:28 PM   #19
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Self-driving cars will be like computers, cell phones, or just about any new technology. The older generation who is used to the old way of doing things will find the adjustment somewhat difficult, but the kids will have never known anything different, so it will be natural for them.
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Old 03-05-2017, 02:38 PM   #20
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Alternatively, a system like the current self-driving car test driver, where you sit in the driver seat ready to take control at a moment's notice is guaranteed to fail. Very few non-drivers will remain attentive enough to be aware of a problem situation, much less be prepared to take the correct action if such a situation arises.
And as cars take over more and more of the driving, the human drivers (especially the younger ones who will have known nothing but self-driving cars) will become less and less skilled. And situations that require manual intervention are generally the trickiest. So the skills will be lacking just when they're needed the most.

Another thought is traffic that contains a mix or manually-driven and self-driven cars is much more difficult to manage than traffic that contains only self-driving cars. The self-driving cars will be more predictable and in cases where the "other (self-driving) guy" does something wrong due to a software glitch or whatnot, it can be alerted by the self-driving car that is about to become a victim.
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