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Old 25th July 2017, 22:12   #76
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

AI in general (Recurrent Neural Networks, specifically) are scary good when it comes to tasks we humans consider as Creative / Intuitive. Most of these AI's are trained, not programmed.
What Im trying to say is that, with enough training (and Enough horse power on silicon), AI should be able to handle Indian roads pretty easily, including ability to show aggression, when required. Besides, imagine a situation where all AI cars in constant communication (Mesh network of sorts), which will become an extended eyes and ears to individual cars. So if one goes over a pot-hole, that information is stored and relayed to every other car, so their AI's can actively avoid it. So all in all, these vehicles will be safer than the ones with human drivers. In fact, if I had a car with autonomous driving, I would engage it for boring city commutes, choosing to drive in more interesting stretches
Contrary to what most are saying, I think autonomous cars are perfect for our country.
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Old 26th July 2017, 00:07   #77
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

It is one thing to say "won't allow it in India" and put a blanket ban on any future tech and another to "not yet.."
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Old 26th July 2017, 00:27   #78
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

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Originally Posted by Mortis View Post
Before banning autonomous cars and other such nonsense the Government should instead work on reducing our population
Well they are doing their bit, with all the new policies, human induced droughts & famines, politically motivated riots and others..

On the serious side, the govt has more issues to worry about than autonomous cars at this time. The technology is here to stay and will eventually make it to India. Only doubt is when.
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Old 26th July 2017, 00:41   #79
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Agree with Mr. Gadkari.
And while we are on it, i believe we should also not allow any mobile phones as they will destroy the livelihood of several STD phone booth operators across the country. Oh wait, is that done already?
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Old 26th July 2017, 01:47   #80
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Given how polarized this debate has become, I would like to reproduce some very relevant text( in the context of this debate) from an essay on Max Weber' s views. ( the father of bureaucracy)

"Humankind’s instrumental capabilities, driven by exponential growth in science and technology, have outrun its capacity for substantive rational inquiry. The calculable technical knowledge which enables us to solve the problems of how to do something, displace our ability and even willingness to consider why or whether we should do it."

Weber drives home this point(while alluding to Nietzsche) in one of his works.

"That the world should know no men but these: it is in such an evolution that we are already caught up, and the great question is therefore, not how we can promote and hasten it, but what can we oppose to this machinery in order to keep a portion of mankind free from this parcelling-out of the soul, from this supreme mastery of the bureaucratic way of life."

Maybe we should all mull over what Weber says.These are not the words of a Luddite who opposed scientific progress.Rather he was one of the pioneers of rational thought and empirical methods in administration.
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Old 26th July 2017, 02:19   #81
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Driver-less cars are not going to come to India for a long long time even if Transport Minister wants it. He can go ahead and announce special schemes and subsidies for manufactures of such cars. No manufacturer would dare to introduce one in India. The algorithms that are developed/tested right now are all based on proper road marking, proper speed limit boards, proper signals and proper lane traffic. For us, it does not matter anyway. So relax everyone. Let us keep enjoying the "driving experience" while it lasts.
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Old 26th July 2017, 05:34   #82
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

It was a dumb statement by Mr Gadkari, though he did caveat it with for the foreseeable future.

What is certain that within the majority of our lifetimes, driverless cars will become ubiquitous, and people will wonder how dangerous human beings with poor judgment were ever allowed to drive.

Why? Moore's Law and Machine Learning. Cars with drivers will spend the next two decades (Teslas are already doing it) learning every street, the cause of every accident, and how they can be avoided. Yes, driverless cars may at first need good infrastructure - street signs, road markings and signals. But they will soon learn everything a human driver can do, and also be linked with each other through car to car communications systems. When I was growing up, we believed a machine can never beat a Chess Grandmaster. Today, programs for your iPhone can do that. The same will happen in cars.

And no country will benefit more from that than India - there is nowhere with a more uncouth driving culture. Banning Indians from driving will save lives, ease transportation and enable us to use our infrastructure better.
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Old 26th July 2017, 05:45   #83
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

My two cents. We have Metro Trains plying without drivers and nobody is crying about drivers losing their jobs. We also have BRTS wherein we have dedicated lanes for Buses. I am sure we are not very far away from having dedicated lanes for Buses where Buses ply without drivers. That might be a starting point to see how the technology works in Indian Context.
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Old 26th July 2017, 09:16   #84
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

The manner in which the statement was made was mildly reminiscent of mindless dogmatic behavior of authority which is probably the reason why it raised the hackles of so many folks out here.

My take on it is mixed. Viewed from 50000 ft, there are two major reasons why Automation is being pushed in nearly all the fields throughout the globe.

1) To handle tasks which are very risky or very difficult to execute to expected quality for regular human beings - For example, handling assembly or fabrication tasks on a factory floor, or in the depths of mines etc.

2) To take over mundane tasks so that resources can be better utilized in tasks that can add more value.

Now, considering Driverless Cars. There can be many situations where the 1st case is applicable. Let's say, you are Stephen Hawking and you also have an acute case of Anthropophobia and hence cannot hire a Driver without making yourself sick. More, seriously, consider transportation in difficult terrains or weather etc.

The 2nd case however relates to effective use of resources. In a country like India, where labor is plentiful and cheap, would you focus your limited resource (aka. money) on making infrastructure ready for driverless cars? Or, would you focus on social schemes to reduce poverty by increasing employment? Disregard corruption and the possibility of the money disappearing into unseen pockets for now. We cannot help that.

So, unless you have a source of steady employment for the most of the population that would add more value than simply driving, why even talk about driverless cars as a mass proposition.

As minister for transportation, Mr. Gadkari would be concerned with the mass proposition. Where he is wrong, is in the blanket ban statement. There are always use cases where a properly designed and tested AI vehicle would be priceless.

I don't get why people in authority positions cannot take the happy medium path of Buddha. They usually go to extreme viewpoints.

I don't fancy a Matrix-like world where all we are expected to do is stay in our pods and provide brain power to run the world. But it doesn't mean we need to stay yoked to our bullock cart mentality as well.

There is some great work being done on AI based cars elsewhere. Check this youtube video :

With the size of our auto industry, and our resources, we should have been the ones leading the research on this. Sigh!!

On the good news front, folks @Infosys just developed a driverless car in Mysore to demonstrate the power of AI and Machine Learning. Kudos to them.
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Old 26th July 2017, 09:47   #85
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

This is politickle at it's best & Gadkari never disappoints us. This portrays how easily a discussion over technological advancement can be construed for political gain. The assumption that infrastructure is/will be ready to embrace autonomous driving but he & his govt is/will be blocking it to avoid job loss is classic politician's stroke.

Now coming to the point, Autonomous Driving technology is being developed with large sum of money being pumped into R&D by private companies which won't be doing it as charity. The immediate future of Automobiles is going electric. And post the electric-automobile generation, I believe will be of flying mobiles.

Now India for a foreseeable future will lag in automobile generation compared to developed nations. Which means, once developed countries move away (or use less) Autonomous cars, that technology is bound to make it to developing countries (read mass markets). And India will be by then the most populous country and this alone makes it impossible to ignore.

It's not a question of "Will it come to India?" but "When will it come to India?" And as most members have rightly perdicted, we'll be among the last countries to see it.
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Old 26th July 2017, 10:00   #86
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

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Originally Posted by ReluctantRebel View Post
Agree to your point that technology has progressed so much in the past ten years when it comes to mobile phones. However, its a wrong analogy. In case of any unexpected situations on the road, its a matter of life or death. That's not the case when mobiles phones don't work.
How will your logic stand when the technology has proven, statistically, that it is better at driving a car than an average bloke? The analogy wasnt car vs mobile phone, the analogy was the sheer pace of development in technology that something which could not even be imagined 10 years back is so common place now that we dont even notice or acknowledge because we take it for granted.


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Originally Posted by ReluctantRebel View Post
This is similar to cruise control and is no way fully autonomous. If its fully autonomous, then why are pilots still in demand and are still employed.
I never said it is fully autonomous, I meant the cars present a more optimal use case for automation than an airplane. An airplane has a couple of pilots for a few hundred passengers, a valuable cargo. You will agree that even semi autonomy has made flying safer.

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Ha, the mood. This is where everything goes for a toss. Mood is evil most of the times. At times, it might want to save some time by driving on the wrong side of the road. Or, at times, it might attempt to do a dangerous maneuver.
Well you can also fly an airplane into a building if you wanted to but that does not mean everyone wants to do that.
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Old 26th July 2017, 11:37   #87
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Employability seems like a very silly reason. But, I'd take anything else for the unpreparedness which is very obvious.

I think all I want to see is ONE autonomous vehicle (with just Right hand drive configuration and no other changes) brought in from any western country and make it go through a series of very well detailed and constructive tests at VRDE mimicking Indian road conditions and then gauge results.

I just want to know if tech is that flexible to take every judgement call.

We have no idea whether those cars can in fact last or not.
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Old 26th July 2017, 13:02   #88
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

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I think all I want to see is ONE autonomous vehicle (with just Right hand drive configuration and no other changes) brought in from any western country and make it go through a series of very well detailed and constructive tests at VRDE mimicking Indian road conditions and then gauge results.

I just want to know if tech is that flexible to take every judgement call.

We have no idea whether those cars can in fact last or not.
Now that is a good place to start. Technology has to be tested in real time before adoption.

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How will your logic stand when the technology has proven, statistically, that it is better at driving a car than an average bloke?
Agreed. Statistics has also proven that road accidents cause maximum number of deaths in our country. And the mistakes are primarily caused by
humans and so, humans should not be allowed to drive, thus, making our roads better. Also, we need to question the conditions under which the data used by the statistical methods are captured. Are these trials undertaken in India? and do these algorithms use data generated from drivers on our roads? What about the driving rules that are programmed into the algorithm.

Quote:
The analogy wasnt car vs mobile phone, the analogy was the sheer pace of development in technology that something which could not even be imagined 10 years back is so common place now that we dont even notice or acknowledge because we take it for granted.
Completely agree to this point that technology is changing and will change how we live our lives in the future. Anyone saying otherwise is living in denial.

Quote:
Well you can also fly an airplane into a building if you wanted to but that does not mean everyone wants to do that.
But everyone wants to reach quicker by jumping signals, driving on the wrong side/lane etc.. These are the ones that cause regular problems and need to be addressed

We are on the same side of the argument: technology is here to replace humans on roads and make them a safer place. But where we don't agree is the co-existence of humans and AI.
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Old 26th July 2017, 13:40   #89
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

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Originally Posted by Swaraj!! View Post
There is some great work being done on AI based cars elsewhere. Check this youtube video :
With the size of our auto industry, and our resources, we should have been the ones leading the research on this. Sigh!!

On the good news front, folks @Infosys just developed a driverless car in Mysore to demonstrate the power of AI and Machine Learning. Kudos to them.
The Tesla autopilot demo below is even more impressive than the Bosch demo IMO:

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Old 26th July 2017, 14:03   #90
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Default Re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Banning a technology just because it will take away jobs is plain foolishness. If this was indeed practised, we wouldn’t be here sitting in front of the computer but rather working on the farms.

Whether we like it or not, automation is going to take out most of the jobs. This has already happened in industries such as manufacturing, printing & publishing, to a large extent in telecom as well.

What most of us fail to notice is that, we, humans have always been able to find a way out and create a livelihood.

I agree that autonomous vehicles will result in job cuts, job cuts not only for the professional drivers (taxi, bus and lorries) but for other professions such as insurers (decrease in accidents/risk leads to lower premiums and indirectly leading to job cuts), in automotive manufacturing (due to decline in vehicle ownership), dealerships, workshops and the likes.

We have already made a mistake of not allowing the big retailers into the country. I agree that some of the smaller retailers will run out of business, but based on my understanding, most of the big retailers source the goods directly from the producers (eg. Farmers, in case of vegetables). This sourcing strategy will eliminate the middle man (who have been taking a huge cut, leaving very little to the farmers), thereby improving the earning potential of the actual producers.

Some might disagree with me on the big retailers but this is just my view.

The ministry should look at the broader picture and look at the sheer number of lives that could be potentially saved every year. The economic impact of accidents in our country is Rs 3.8 lakh crore per year (link)

I hope that the government reconsiders this decision and focuses on improving the infrastructure.
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