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Old 18th October 2016, 19:38   #16
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

Personally I don't favor the semi autonomous driving tech that is available in a few cars like the Tesla model S where you just sit in the drivers seat and watch the car drive autonomously but must be ready to jump in and take over. This reduces the drivers state of alertness and is difficult for the driver to instantly take over control unless he is fully aware of the current road situation up to the very last second.

I would say that all autonomous tech including level 5 should only be made to monitor the driver and take over when an accident is imminent, like a teacher watching over a student. The data should be analysed for a few years to take a call on whether level 5 autonomous tech is truly safe enough to be made autonomous, like when the student makes no more mistakes. In my opinion this is the safest way to bring autonomous driving tech into the real world.

I also think it would be very difficult and nearly impossible for the current generation to sit at peace and watch the car drive autonomously through traffic. We would tend to instinctively take back control. The next generation probably would be more comfortable, and most of them would not have the need to get a driving license.

By the way for those of you who are not aware of Roborace. Its autonomous Formula E. I'm really excited about this new format because seeing a car race down the track autonomously gives me goosebumps.

Last edited by Whiplash7 : 18th October 2016 at 19:44.
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Old 18th October 2016, 23:51   #17
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Some 80 years ago, people thought we'd be "driving" cars that can also fly. 40 years ago, people thought all commercial flights will be supersonic. 20 years ago, it was about hydrogen fuel cells. These future predictions about fully autonomous cars falls in pretty much the same category.
And yet, no one thought you'd be able to pocket your computer. Or your camera. Or there would be the internet. Or forums. Or TVs that'd be thinner than your finger. You catch my drift. There's science fiction, and there's progression of tech. This is the latter.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
It's not surprising that fully autonomous cars are mostly being pursued by high-tech companies (Tesla, Google, Apple). The problem is - they see cars as an utility - like a smartphone or a washing machine. They see cars as a solution to a need (transport), and nothing else. Even if they do end up making a fully autonomous vehicle, it will primarily be used by people who take public transport. At best, it will attract people who see a car as an utility.
It's being pursued by tech companies because this has to be handled in software, with huge data. The tech companies are pretty darn good at it. And, make no mistake, cars are a utility for most people, for most of the time. If there was a better, easier and more convenient way to get around, people would be using that. There are many people who own a car who have to drive who couldn't care less about driving. Infact, driving is a stressful, irritating part of their daily commute.

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Originally Posted by desdemona View Post
If you cannot or do not enjoy driving or are too multi-tasked to do so properly, well the best answer remains, as it has for over a hundred years: public mass transit, or cabs or BRT buses or ride-shares and shuttles, etc, as the city-case may be.
For now.

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Originally Posted by desdemona View Post
This autonomous-driving technology is awful even in theory, in the ideal: it will just create further incentives for publics and governments to not do the obvious win-win+ win-city-ecologically: public multi-modal transport of a high-enough order. It will make us all happy and reconciled to jams and dead-slowness, that's all, and further captivated by our smart devices and their apps/data plans etc while the automated car potters and plods. Besides killing off drivers', cabbies' and chauffeurs livelihoods.
Progression has always obsoleted jobs, and has created many more in its place. The things most people work on now didn't even exist 30 years back. As for public transport and its benefits, again, most people can't afford cars. Public transport is a totally different tangent to discuss and autonomous cars hold almost no consequence in that matter.

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Just another planned-obsolescence conspiracy by some only-ostensibly futurist tech+car firms, afai am concerned. With many governments in on it, irrationally from a public-interest POV, as well?
What? I did not understand what you just said but the case for self driving cars makes total sense. The number 1 reason for road accidents is human error. It's not even close. So, instead of clamouring for passive safety like crumple zones, anti roll bars, airbags etc, which come into play after the error has taken place, how about removing the error itself?

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Originally Posted by desdemona View Post
Happy then that it will likely NEVER arrive in India viably!
It probably will, it is easier for the software to work in heavy and slow moving traffic. But we'll have to see.


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Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post
One signalling and tracking device fitted in every car being sold (maybe, through some mandatory legislation - like we had with catalytic converters in India), can make it possible. An ECU type module which will transmit signals with realtime info on vehicle inputs and possible changes (like braking inputs, clutch press, gear change, steering input or throttle press) which will be received and processed by all cars in the vicinity and allow the cars to manipulate driving accordingly. Maybe even bikes can have such devices fitted too.
However, this will not be fool-proof. Any miscreant can disable the device and go on to create mayhem on roads. What about pedestrians? or sudden events like a falling tree?
Something like this will be the biggest advantage of self driving cars. It will all be implemented in a different way, in software, abstracted from users. All cars will be able to talk to each other. Right now if you need to take a turn, it is upto you to signal and upto the other drivers to "catch" that signal. The autonomous cars will know exactly where the other cars need to go, a lot earlier than the actual turn. This is just one small example, but total awareness and data can make magic happen.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Well said!
Lack of driving etiquette & road manners just won't cut it for autonomous cars. Imagine what the software will go through when it sees a truck coming toward it on the wrong side of the highway!!

Imagine that. All the problems listed here are because of human drivers. Remove them bit by it, and see how the problems go away.


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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
One thing we've missed out on is the cost. If & when self-driving cars do come, how much more will they cost over a regular car? 30 - 40%? How many will be willing to pay that kind of premium?
Why would they cost more? I think they'd actually cost less. Or, atleast the total cost of ownership could be dramatically reduced. Just one example: most cars spend close to 90% of their time parked. So, instead of being parked, the self driving cars can be working as taxis earning their keep while you don't need the car. Another example: say your mom needs the car while yours is parked at the place you work. The self driving car can just drop you off and go back home, or wherever your mum is and be of use to her, and will be back to pick you up. Maybe this reduces the number of cars needed in each home.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post
One key difference with humans and "logic gates" driven cars - we can anticipate dangerous/potentially dangerous situations beforehand and this helps in increasing the time available to respond, while programmed machines would need a "stimulus", an input information in order to calculate and prepare an adequate response.
Well, as tech progresses, all cars will be aware of where the other wants to be on the road. Imagine if when you;re driving, you're aware of how fast, where, and in which direction *each car present on the road* is going, how much better your anticipation will be. Plus software doesn't react emotionally. Anger, frustration, being late to a meeting, a fight etc. bear no difference to the software's behaviour.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post
Programmed self driven cars will do well (maybe even better) than humans in the event of an accident when it has just started (~0 second into a collision, when there is a need to limit the impact, prevent car from toppling, minimizing the drag, stabilizing the out of control car and so on) than preventing the accident altogether.
No. The first goal is to prevent the error altogether. They'll be accepted only when practically they're far safer, like 10000 times safer at preventing accidents than us humans.



OT: This is my first post here at team-bhp. Damn it feels good to be here.

Last edited by FlyingSpur : 20th October 2016 at 06:19. Reason: Quote tags fixed
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Old 19th October 2016, 00:29   #18
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

I personally feel Semi-autonomous tech is a better solution than complete autonomy. Complete autonomy gives the user *refrains from saying driver* a false sense of security and makes them complacent, and oblivious to whatever is going on. On the other hand, semi-autonomous tech needs the driver to be alert. Although yes, that is far from what will happen in reality with all the numbskulls around thinking they are invincible! (Heck, they think so even now with just ABS and airbags)

What I feel is, semi-autonomous is a perfect trade-off for the enthusiast. If autonomy is going to take over, let it be just up to this level. This way, an enthusiast can choose whether to drive himself or not, and also have the peace of mind with all the systems being guardian angels.

Usually, one can get bored on motorways, cruising at constant speeds, and its also tiring. Semi-auto mode will let you relax a bit in this section, so when you get to that twisty, driver's paradise, you can enjoy to the fullest.
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Old 19th October 2016, 06:15   #19
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

When the human race was making transition from horse driven carriages to engine driven carriages at the start of the previous century, I would imagine a similar kind of exchange of sentiments would have occurred like we are seeing today here and elsewhere albeit in bars and on streets rather than on internet forums.

Horse riders would have tittered at all the horse-less carriages on the street. Probably the more passionate ones would take up branding their horses with "I'll give you my whip when you pry (or take) it from my cold, dead hands" or similar. There would have been many statistics pointed out at how horses do not crash unto each other, many passionate accounts of how horse riding is their thing and much remorse over how the next generation would be rendered horse less, damn the technology. Some top horse breeders naturally would have branded the new technology as "almost an obscene concept". Many would have pointed at the flaws in the technology: But look, it cannot gallop. But look, I cannot manly mount it. But look, I can always attach another horse to my carriage to make it go faster! But look, it is just a fad just like the radio or the silent movies they keep showing us. But look, "planned-obsolescence", as some would put it, took over anyways.

Another word from history comes to mind: Luddite.

Or as a certain nobel bard would have pointed out: The Times They Are a-Changin'!
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Old 19th October 2016, 08:46   #20
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

If all the vehicles on road are autonomous and the infrastructure is provided that it compliments the technology, there is no risk.

Its the mix of autonomous and drivers on the road that makes it difficult. Maybe in future, some roads within city and highways would be used completely for autonomous driving.
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Old 19th October 2016, 09:04   #21
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I don't understand why people think its so next to impossible to build autonomous cars in the near future. Unless I am personally developing the software inside it, there is no way to rule out the possibilities. What if there was a breakthrough AI/Imaging algo/hardware that can radically change these cars within the next couple of years. Ruling something out so easily, with little to no understanding of the inner workings is never advisable.

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Its autonomous Formula E. I'm really excited about this new format because seeing a car race down the track autonomously gives me goosebumps.
Wow! Gets rid of all those regulations for sure. No speed limits required, companies can push their tech to the limit with each race/season. Fantastic stuff.

Last edited by GTO : 19th October 2016 at 09:59. Reason: Merging back to back posts
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Old 19th October 2016, 11:49   #22
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

Well, the problem is - For the self-driving cars to be successfully plying, there need to be ONLY self driven cars on road, no manual driven ones. For that to happen, means you are taking away the right of people to choose as per their will/desire whether they want to drive themselves or not. What about people who want to drive themselves? in mix driving scenario (self driven as well as manual driven cars plying together), the algo for self driven cars' program becomes exponentially complex, as there will always be uncertainty over how the manual driven car ahead or besides a self driven one will behave.
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Old 19th October 2016, 13:00   #23
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

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Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post
Well, the problem is - For the self-driving cars to be successfully plying, there need to be ONLY self driven cars on road, no manual driven ones.
Different lanes maybe. Starting with one lane for self driven ones and testing waters, then increasing the number of lanes for self-driven cars based on popularity. Who knows, cars driven by human maybe reduced to just a lane. Though, I believe we will not live to see this.

Maybe, some 100 years down the line people will look at this thread here at teamBHP while travelling in their self driven cars and laugh.

Last edited by saion666 : 19th October 2016 at 13:02.
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Old 19th October 2016, 13:25   #24
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

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Different lanes maybe. Starting with one lane for self driven ones and testing waters, then increasing the number of lanes for self-driven cars based on popularity. Who knows, cars driven by human maybe reduced to just a lane. Though, I believe we will not live to see this.

Maybe, some 100 years down the line people will look at this thread here at teamBHP while travelling in their self driven cars and laugh.


It is somewhat stupid to think of such future, 4 pessengers - 2 sitting in front seats and 2 on rear seats, in a car with no steering and other controls/pedals. Even scarier to think about travelling alone, would feel like sitting in a baby stroller.

And then there will be skynet too!! pretty scary future
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Old 19th October 2016, 14:11   #25
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

We should definitely thank Elon Musk in creating this buzz around autonomous driving, he kinda fast tracked it to the market.

Team bhp thread on Comma one (Comma One: Self-driving DIY-installable kit for $999) Please go through this thread, there are a lot of videos on the software architecture, other details on autonomous driving.
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Old 19th October 2016, 14:11   #26
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

To quote James May - Cars that drive themselves were invented ages ago. They're called taxis.

That's perhaps the case for a while longer in India at least.
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Old 19th October 2016, 15:29   #27
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

Autonomous driving will occur as part of a spatial system of roads et al and city layout, and a set of IT-mediated regulations/stipulations.

It is utterly naive techno-fetishism to ignore the system-wide spatial effects of autonomous cars. For eg., the sheer number of cars on the road may well increase to the point where all the purported benefits from the cars' mutual and with-infrastructure (for improved coordination) communication will be easily nullified.

Urban sprawl will be further exacerbated as folks will be more ok with living further and further away from their places of works and leisures/sociability. Commute times could easily drop off even further, through a net increase in congestion. 'System' or 'network effects'.

The self-promoting, motivated 'mistake' of the techno-fantasists is to abstract the technology from that pre-given and/or emended-by-the-internet-of-things spatial, institutional (urban planning and 'development' bodies etc) and urban system.

IMO it is non-solution to a non-problem: public mass and multi-modal transit always was and will remain the most efficient, safe, civic, clean approach, not to mention enabling of greater urbanist quality of life for all parties. Win-win-win.

You CANNOT digital-techno-fix the problems and 'negative externalities' (spatial, infrastructural, ecological, economic) of/by the automobile, and an automobile-centric system.

That requires (a) reducing the number of automobiles in the first place by (b) enabling and sometimes forcing all, even-wealthy, citizens to walk, use BRT buses, or metros+ev rickshaws for the 'last mile', etc, etc.

Besides, the utter death of, in this case geographical, privacy and anonymity, in a big-data-based digital spatial/automotive system is imo completely unacceptable?

Last edited by desdemona : 19th October 2016 at 15:33. Reason: addition
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Old 19th October 2016, 17:42   #28
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

I have a proposal or maybe even a new business plan! We could start a call center but instead of people sitting before computers it would have people sitting in front of car simulators and when someone wants to activate autonomous driving in their car they simply press a button and their cars gets connected to the next available driver waiting in one of the simulators. He then takes over the car and drives it to the destination. The call center gets paid based on km and time. Its like a chauffeur who does not occupy a seat in your car.
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Old 19th October 2016, 18:05   #29
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

I am very skeptical about the whole autonomous car concept. It's tough enough trusting another human being at the wheel, to put your life in the hands of a machine seems to be suicidal! It's not like autopilot mode in an aircraft which travels for thousands of miles of virtual solitude.

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Imagine what the software will go through when it sees a truck coming toward it on the wrong side of the highway!!
The other day I saw a car driving on the opposite side of the road IN REVERSE (I am not making this up). My brain could barely comprehend the situation let alone deal with it
Turns out the guy had smartly taken the wrong side to avoid taking a U-turn but realized halfway through that there was a cop stationed at the intersection where he was planning to merge into the correct side. So he reversed back to the next place where he could merge without getting a ticket.

Confused? Now imagine the state of the poor autonomous car!
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Old 19th October 2016, 18:30   #30
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Default Re: Reality Check: Fully autonomous cars are a l-o-n-g time away

Do I like muscle cars? Yes. Do I like the sheer thrill a supercars gives you? Hell Yea.

But Would I prefer somebody to take away my every morning nightmare of going to Gurugram? Yes

I personally would like to believe that Autonomous tech will work and would gain traction atleast in developed countries. I say this because for 98% of the people who use cars, its a mode of transport rather than a joyful activity. And its natural that people would prefer it, thats the basic concept of evolution and innovation. If you can automate something then do it.

Also, there are going to be accidents involving autonomous cars but what we need to look is the data. Is an autonomous car crashing every km or once every 200k kms? Like any tech, you need time and money to develop it and I'm glad to see people investing in clean technology and automation.

For India, I guess we will need to find some other way. I cant see any algo being able to cope up with our driving conditions.

Last edited by vagu : 19th October 2016 at 18:32.
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