T Nation

Driverless Cars: The Wave of the (Near) Future

What do you guys think of driverless cars? I think it’s great and I hope it happens sooner rather than later.

I’ve never understood why pretty much every new car is designed to go well over 100mph when it’s completely illegal to drive over 65 or 70mph in most states, not to mention the extreme safety risk posed to yourself and other drivers and/or pedestrians when driving at high rates of speed. The gov’t spends all this time and money trying to protect us from terrorists but the bottom line is that more people will be killed in high-speed car crashes this year than will probably EVER be killed in a terrorist attack.

And think about the money driverless cars will save. No more streetlights, less cops needed to patrol the highways, less emergency room costs, lower car insurance costs, people will be able to get shit done while they drive (thereby making the average commuting worker much, much more productive), cars won’t need to be repaired as often, etc., etc.

Most importantly, untold lives will be saved. Shit, drunk driving deaths will be virtually eliminated, as will pretty much all traffic-related deaths in general.

Sure, there will be people who resist purely because they like to drive, but a lot of people will embrace the change. For instance, I own a vacation house that my parents are always welcome to stay at. Except that they don’t go there more than a couple times a year because it’s about a five hour drive from their house if they hit significant traffic. So rather than deal with that long drive, they just don’t go that much. But if they didn’t have to actually drive they could just pass out in the car and wake up five hours later feeling nice and refreshed and at their final destination. I was driving in shitty traffic down in the Bay Area around Christmas time and it occurred to me that if I didn’t have to actually drive the car the traffic wouldn’t be bad at all. There are millions and millions of people who deal with that shit everyday who would LOVE the chance to avoid it entirely.

So what are your guys’ thoughts on the wave of the future? I linked a very, very interesting 6-part article about what Google is doing along these lines below.

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
I’ve never understood why pretty much every new car is designed to go well over 100mph when it’s completely illegal to drive over 65 or 70mph in most states[/quote]
So you can go fast as hell through Germany.

Agree about everything else. If this really spreads cars should be able to communicate with each other and it should be very safe. Less accidents should mean less congestion too.

It would be great to be able to sleep or get shit done while travelling.

Fuck that shit. I like to drive. That sounds as shitty as taking the bus.

Also, you would be totally fucked in the event of a robot attack.

It sounds too far fetched. I would think human alertness and decision making would always be important while driving. There is only so much you can program a computer to do. There would be too many bugs in the system for this to be safe imo.

Fuck that shit X300000000

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
It sounds too far fetched. I would think human alertness and decision making would always be important while driving. There is only so much you can program a computer to do. There would be too many bugs in the system for this to be safe imo.[/quote]

This is going to happen. The only question is how soon it will happen. I was having a discussion about this a while ago, personally I can’t wait. I think it will be fantastic

Driverless cars?

How about the infrastructure?

You’d have to change the way cities and towns are built and laid out. The budget of large metropolitan cities can attract lucrative investment from private companies but the rest of the world? Nope.

Oh yeah, how would they fair in earthquake zones, flood zones? Hurricane Sandy kicked NYCs ass with change to spare, how would such a system cope?

Then the hackers. Too easy.

It will happen but technology needs to be at a point where its feasible and we’re not there yet.

[quote]The Ox Man wrote:

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
It sounds too far fetched. I would think human alertness and decision making would always be important while driving. There is only so much you can program a computer to do. There would be too many bugs in the system for this to be safe imo.[/quote]

This is going to happen. The only question is how soon it will happen. I was having a discussion about this a while ago, personally I can’t wait. I think it will be fantastic[/quote]

I’m not a technophobe and get excited about this as well. It really just seems too good to be true. If cars were on rails like a train, then it would seem more like a possibility.

maybe if i had a soul crushing commute in traffic everyday it would be cool, and obviously to get drunk; but no fucking way am i going to give up going where, when, and how fast i want to drive.

The real issue is stricter laws and regulations for people getting their licenses, that’s where the deaths and accidents come from; not the speeding. Old people should have to retake the tests after a certain age, and be forced to do so annually. The test itself needs to be much more difficult as well; you could train a retarded monkey to pass the current test.

One good Hacker could kill millions

[quote]four60 wrote:
One good Hacker could kill millions[/quote]

ban computers then ?

[quote]Aggv wrote:

[quote]four60 wrote:
One good Hacker could kill millions[/quote]

ban computers then ? [/quote]

Cars a becoming Computers w/wheels

[quote]Aggv wrote:
maybe if i had a soul crushing commute in traffic everyday it would be cool, and obviously to get drunk; but no fucking way am i going to give up going where, when, and how fast i want to drive.

The real issue is stricter laws and regulations for people getting their licenses, that’s where the deaths and accidents come from; not the speeding. Old people should have to retake the tests after a certain age, and be forced to do so annually. The test itself needs to be much more difficult as well; you could train a retarded monkey to pass the current test. [/quote]

I agree on the need for more rigorous testing (on the age group most likely to cause deaths, not the olds)… a re-test every decade would be enough to prevent bad habits creeping in.

The speed limit is supposed to be the safe limit to avoid accidents/fatalities with another motorist who may not have been blessed with the lightning reflexes of a driver who thinks they can safely brake at any speed.

It’s one of the biggest misconceptions around that a speed limit sign is purely for personal info. The key to safe driving is to always consider the other driver to be a twat.

Cab drivers and chauffeurs would be defunct. Getaway drivers would have to find a dishonest car, or blackmail a desperate but hard-working autocar with sick skids to support.

[quote]roybot wrote:

[quote]Aggv wrote:
maybe if i had a soul crushing commute in traffic everyday it would be cool, and obviously to get drunk; but no fucking way am i going to give up going where, when, and how fast i want to drive.

The real issue is stricter laws and regulations for people getting their licenses, that’s where the deaths and accidents come from; not the speeding. Old people should have to retake the tests after a certain age, and be forced to do so annually. The test itself needs to be much more difficult as well; you could train a retarded monkey to pass the current test. [/quote]

I agree on the need for more rigorous testing (on the age group most likely to cause deaths, not the olds)… a re-test every decade would be enough to prevent bad habits creeping in.

The speed limit is supposed to be the safe limit to avoid accidents/fatalities with another motorist who may not have been blessed with the lightning reflexes of a driver who thinks they can safely brake at any speed.

It’s one of the biggest misconceptions around that a speed limit sign is purely for personal info. The key to safe driving is to always consider the other driver to be a twat.[/quote]

old people and teens are the age group most likely to be accidents, and most of them should be off the road.

[quote]Aggv wrote:

[quote]roybot wrote:

[quote]Aggv wrote:
maybe if i had a soul crushing commute in traffic everyday it would be cool, and obviously to get drunk; but no fucking way am i going to give up going where, when, and how fast i want to drive.

The real issue is stricter laws and regulations for people getting their licenses, that’s where the deaths and accidents come from; not the speeding. Old people should have to retake the tests after a certain age, and be forced to do so annually. The test itself needs to be much more difficult as well; you could train a retarded monkey to pass the current test. [/quote]

I agree on the need for more rigorous testing (on the age group most likely to cause deaths, not the olds)… a re-test every decade would be enough to prevent bad habits creeping in.

The speed limit is supposed to be the safe limit to avoid accidents/fatalities with another motorist who may not have been blessed with the lightning reflexes of a driver who thinks they can safely brake at any speed.

It’s one of the biggest misconceptions around that a speed limit sign is purely for personal info. The key to safe driving is to always consider the other driver to be a twat.[/quote]

old people and teens are the age group most likely to be accidents, and most of them should be off the road. [/quote]

People driving beyond their ability should be taken off the road. Regular testing is one way to do it.

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
It sounds too far fetched. I would think human alertness and decision making would always be important while driving. There is only so much you can program a computer to do. There would be too many bugs in the system for this to be safe imo.[/quote]

Did you read the article?

Google has already demonstrated the feasibility of this. They have driven hundreds of miles in their prototype without a single accident.

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
It sounds too far fetched. I would think human alertness and decision making would always be important while driving. There is only so much you can program a computer to do. There would be too many bugs in the system for this to be safe imo.[/quote]

Too far-fetched? They’re already doing it. All the cars would effectively be linked together like one big centipede. Shit, there’s already legislation in place in several states that allow people to drive driverless cars on the roads right now.

The fact is that as far as car companies go, cars without human drivers is the Holy Grail. Think about it. Probably 95% of all car accidents are due to driver error. How many billions of dollars have car companies spent over the decades addressing stupid shit that drivers have sued over? All of those costs that car companies are currently forced to take on would become a thing of the past.

As far as far-fetched goes, how far-fetched is it really? We already have all of our homes effectively linked together by the Internet. How far-fetched would something like the Internet have seemed sixty or seventy years ago?

[quote]four60 wrote:
One good Hacker could kill millions[/quote]

They’ve been saying that kind of shit in regards to our electrical grids, nuclear power plants, satellites, trains, the stock market (billions of dollars lost instead of millions of lives, of course) and so forth and it’s never happened. Sure, there’s always going to be people playing on this country’s amazingly large capacity to be afraid, but the reality is that something like what you’re describing will most likely never, ever occur.