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Old 27th March 2017, 16:49   #1
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Default USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

A self-driven Volvo XC90 belonging to Uber Technologies was involved in a crash in Arizona, USA. There was no serious injury, but Uber has suspended its entire fleet of self-driven cars in Arizona and is reported to be investigating the cause of the accident.

The Volvo had 2 of Uber's engineers in the front seats at the time of the crash. Though, it is yet to be ascertained whether the car was in self-driving mode, police reports confirmed that the crash happened due to the other vehicle failing to give way to the Volvo at a left turn.

USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed-56854_03_ubersuspendsselfdrivingcartecharizonacrash.jpg

The impact was such that the Volvo flipped on its side after hitting the other car and breaking the latter's windows. It is not yet known whether the crash was due to the malfunction of Uber's self-driven technology. Following this incident, the self-driven prototypes that were being tested in the states of California and Pennsylvania were called off as well.

Source: TheGuardian
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Old 27th March 2017, 18:18   #2
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

There was an interesting observation made by James May (of the Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame). He said that driving is a mental exercise that has literally made our brains rewire themselves to process information at a speed it was not designed to do. Our brains were made and designed through evolution, to handle types of movements such as walking. Driving forces it to think of so many variables simultaneously, which is remarkable to say the least.

I feel the driverless cars, if they ever come to fruition, will take a very long time. I come from an electronics and communication engineering background and it is difficult to assume that sometime in the near future we can have cars that can drive as well as humans do, unassisted. There are so many variables to account for, including weather (cameras can't see through rain or snow), little things like is a person going to step out in front of a parked car ahead of you, is the motorcycle moving on the left lane going to swerve to the right to avoid another parked vehicle.. These things, especially in the Indian scenario, with our unscientific roads and highways would certainly be enough to baffle the computational systems of driverless vehicles.

Sure, an all driverless highway would be the pipe-dream of everyone wanting to reduce accidents and fatalities, but we'll take an impossibly long time to get there because all cars cannot suddenly become driverless and autonomous. There will always be a transition period which will be dangerous as well, when you have a few cars that drive autonomously and a few with human drivers. There's bound to be confusion.
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Old 27th March 2017, 19:15   #3
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

If you believe that technology can change things for better, it's just a matter of time before machines become more capable of detecting these parameters that you outlined here. Of course a lot of computational power is required, but from what I understand, there's just good enough computational power already available that will suffice the needs, just that there is not enough data points to early detect as well as compute situations that our brain can process. Besides there, there is really no algorithm yet that can perfect what humans are capable of today. But each day, technology moves forward, very slowly, and it won't be too far when autonomous cars will be a reality. This is just my person opinion though. Think about it, today we have cars that can parallel & park perpendicular!

Another possibility is the way our transportation options can change. Self driven pods, self driven cars, mass transportation and so forth. Future of transportation will be very interesting!
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Old 27th March 2017, 19:26   #4
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Quote:
Originally Posted by rshnvjy View Post
There was an interesting observation made by James May (of the Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame). He said that driving is a mental exercise that has literally made our brains rewire themselves to process information at a speed it was not designed to do. Our brains were made and designed through evolution, to handle types of movements such as walking. Driving forces it to think of so many variables simultaneously, which is remarkable to say the least.

I feel the driverless cars, if they ever come to fruition, will take a very long time. I come from an electronics and communication engineering background and it is difficult to assume that sometime in the near future we can have cars that can drive as well as humans do, unassisted. There are so many variables to account for, including weather (cameras can't see through rain or snow), little things like is a person going to step out in front of a parked car ahead of you, is the motorcycle moving on the left lane going to swerve to the right to avoid another parked vehicle.. These things, especially in the Indian scenario, with our unscientific roads and highways would certainly be enough to baffle the computational systems of driverless vehicles.

Sure, an all driverless highway would be the pipe-dream of everyone wanting to reduce accidents and fatalities, but we'll take an impossibly long time to get there because all cars cannot suddenly become driverless and autonomous. There will always be a transition period which will be dangerous as well, when you have a few cars that drive autonomously and a few with human drivers. There's bound to be confusion.
You are right in your observations. But ultimately, the infrastructure around the cars will evolve and together they will move ahead. In India where its always the fault of vehicles versus People and bigger vehicles versus smaller vehicles, it will never succeed.

Last edited by srishiva : 27th March 2017 at 19:28.
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Old 27th March 2017, 20:13   #5
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudeepg View Post
Of course a lot of computational power is required, but from what I understand, there's just good enough computational power already available that will suffice the needs, just that there is not enough data points to early detect as well as compute situations that our brain can process. Besides there, there is really no algorithm yet that can perfect what humans are capable of today. But each day, technology moves forward, very slowly, and it won't be too far when autonomous cars will be a reality. This is just my person opinion though. Think about it, today we have cars that can parallel & park perpendicular!
Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
You are right in your observations. But ultimately, the infrastructure around the cars will evolve and together they will move ahead. In India where its always the fault of vehicles versus People and bigger vehicles versus smaller vehicles, it will never succeed.
Totally agree with both of you sirs.

Indeed, definitely I am all for the future where autonomous vehicles will reduce human intervention and fatalities to a bare minimum. However, my point was that there are many tech pundits who make the prediction that we will have 100% self-driving cars as little as 10 years from now and I do not see that happening for 100% of road conditions in 100% of the countries. Sure, in places where there is good infrastructure and relevant point-cloud and other geometric maps available (and provided they're updated frequently), this can happen. However, for the whole world to move to a self-driving future will take a long time.

I just feel that it'll take longer than the more optimistic estimates floating around. We should be a bit conservative here. I love driving and manual transmissions like all of us do on Team-BHP, and maybe its just my insecurities speaking.
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Old 28th March 2017, 02:24   #6
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Uber is officially resuming all of its self-driving car tests after a big accident over the weekend

The suspension was temporary.

In this case, even though the autonomous vehicle was not at fault, it is possible that had there been a human behind the wheel and in control of the vehicle, the accident could have been avoided.

The mix of driverless and human driven cars is a potent one and the software/hardware has a long way to go before it can overcome that. Just imagine in this scenario, had the software detected that the other car is not going to yield and braked, only to get rear ended by a car that was following it too closely! Maybe it becomes smart enough to detect that scenario as well, so now it diverts its path but runs over a cyclist that its sensors failed to pick!! And so on until it reaches a point where it decides it is best to crash, only for humans to immediately judge it the culprit. Of course later on logs will reveal that it was possibly the best (or least worst!) outcome but that would always be subjective.

I feel as long as there are humans in the mix, autonomous vehicles have a long way to go before they become a viable option.

And speaking of Uber, I have doubts about the longevity of the company itself. Most of its rides are subsidized by venture capital funding
The True Cost of Your Uber Ride Is Much Higher Than You Think

And it has huge lawsuits knocking on its doors in Europe
A single ride in London could wind up costing Uber hundreds of millions of dollars

Not to mention the recent bad press, even though it was fleeting.
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Old 28th March 2017, 11:19   #7
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Being a petrolhead and an oldschooler I for one have always been skeptical and non supportive of the concept of autonomous driverless vehicles. The incident above reassured my faith that no amount of sensors and high powered microprocessing chips capable of making millions of calculation per second can achieve the set of skills a human mind is capable of.
In my humble opinion with so much electronics and technology capturing our homes and daily lives, somethings such as driving should be best left for the human minds to skill and master.
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Old 28th March 2017, 13:45   #8
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Exclamation re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Dear folks,

With regards to opinions, best interests and hopes here and around, I feel that the autonomous cars today are far from realization.

I don't see this dream coming true in entirety at all. Definitely in the years to come, autonomous cars will possibly see the light of the day with varied parameters of success, but to say that they would be 100% autonomous would mean that the technological advancements have bridged all the required gaps in the area of artificial intelligence - which hasn't made great progress in the last decade!

And if they are not 100%, then the risks that they carry would be too risky to ignore!

Thanks,
C_
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Old 28th March 2017, 14:25   #9
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

I am happy and unhappy at the same time with Self Driving cars. And I will try to give a logical reasoning for it...

Driving is a task. A task to take a vehicle from Point A to B.

A vehicle on 4 or more wheels does need a human to balance it like a vehicle with 2 wheels.
(Wait, even two wheelers don’t really need a human. See : )

So any car only needs a continuously calculated input combination of acceleration, steering and braking, to take it from point A to B.

In this process, we will be sharing the roads with other vehicles and pedestrians, a.k.a Traffic. Traffic needs communication between the decision maker of one vehicle and the other vehicle for obvious reasons. Hence we have Horns and Indicators. Because that’s how other drivers can see/hear your intentions. This further makes the task more complex.

Now, some humans have pride and prejudice, hence they think they are entitled and do as they please, hence we have traffic regulations and rules of the road, not to cause Mayhem. Makes driving further more complex.

A Human driver has his eyes and his ears to see and hear the environment. Some also use their mouths to shower others in swear words. But anyway… With the perceived information, our amazing human brains keeps making decisions continually and command our legs and arms to control the actuators that drives,stops and steers the vehicle.

A human drives a car? NO. A car drives itself, it just needs a human intelligence to make the decisions for it. Because, it lacks a Brain.

With the advancement of computational and communication technology, we now have a Teeny Tiny possibility of having an alternative to a human brain to do the decision making for the car. Yes, Camera and Radar or some other sensor is doing a poor job at sensing the environment. For Now. Just look at what computers could do 20 years back vs. what they can do now. Or Cameras for that matter.

Yes, there are millions of combinations of events (Really?) that can happen on the road that is not programmed into such systems, Also only for now. Simply put, Million possibilities of road situations? Can be programmed. Billion possibilities? Well, it can be programmed. And it can be programmed to learn new possibilities as well. (Refer Artificial Intelligence.)

All these technologies are still evolving. The sensors will improve. The processors will improve, and communication will improve. And when this alternate brain is developed, I am pretty sure, it will be without qualities like anger, anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, road rage, drowsiness, fatigue… you get the picture. Yes, may be it will lack some road empathy. But if you are obeying the rules, you won’t be expecting it.

We now have robotics doing better surgeries than Humans and I am pretty sure that many people objected the idea by saying, “This job is better left to an experienced doctor's hands”. May be this is a wrong analogy.

Having said all that, I am against people like Elon Musk who are really aggressive in bringing this out into public and giving it to anybody out there who can pay for it. Because let’s face it, Humans make bad judgement, Even if you tell them that this technology has limitations and you must be attentive at all times, they will choose to sleep or watch Harry potter. So this should be introduced in a controlled manner before it is really mature.

Last edited by GTO : 29th March 2017 at 11:57. Reason: Typos
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Old 29th March 2017, 08:32   #10
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

I agree with James May's opinion. Driving involves too many variables, and if adapted, the transition period of both driverless and driver vehicles plying on the road would be risky. One solution is that every car would be mandatorily turned driverless, but that won't happen, atleast on a petrolhead's clock. :P

On another note, the incident is an example of Volvo's safety measures. The car has turned, but their is no structural damage, and even the windshield has not cracked (the Uber logo is still present). (Y)
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Old 30th March 2017, 15:41   #11
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Default re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anand View Post
....police reports confirmed that the crash happened due to the other vehicle failing to give way to the Volvo at a left turn.
Unsurprising, but also re-assuring to hear (if self-driving cars are in-fact the future!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rshnvjy View Post
There was an interesting observation made by James May (of the Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame). He said that driving is a mental exercise that has literally made our brains rewire themselves to process information at a speed it was not designed to do. Our brains were made and designed through evolution, to handle types of movements such as walking. Driving forces it to think of so many variables simultaneously, which is remarkable to say the least.
Interesting concept!

Now this is one thing computers are way better at -- processing tons of information super-fast. However, like you said, sensors and logic still have room for improvement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitoj View Post
In this case, even though the autonomous vehicle was not at fault, it is possible that had there been a human behind the wheel and in control of the vehicle, the accident could have been avoided.
Maybe they'll code in a "hey this person is crazy, go into defensive driving mode!" the same way as humans do if they spot any vehicle near them driving erratically or doing something they shouldn't be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline_GT View Post
Being a petrolhead and an oldschooler I for one have always been skeptical and non supportive of the concept of autonomous driverless vehicles. The incident above reassured my faith that no amount of sensors and high powered microprocessing chips capable of making millions of calculation per second can achieve the set of skills a human mind is capable of.
If you're comparing the current self-driving cars with the top 0.1% of drivers - then maybe.

If you're comparing all the self driving cars on the road with all the human drivers on the road, then I'd say self driving cars are already WAY safer:
"The autonomous car doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, doesn't text while driving, doesn't get road rage," Lutz said in an interview with "Street Signs."

"Young, autonomous cars don't want to race other autonomous cars, and they don't go to sleep."


source

Last edited by Rehaan : 30th March 2017 at 15:44.
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Old 30th March 2017, 15:53   #12
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Default Re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Tesla is w-a-y ahead in Self-Driving tech yet everytime you start Auto-Pilot, it warns you to be aware of your surroundings.

What this means is that, self drive is a great tech (potential to make all chauffeurs unemployed) BUT it needs supervision at all times.

Say you're tired after a long day at work. Now instead of driving, you can enter your destination and sit back and enjoy while your car drives itself. What you can't and shouldn't do is to take a nap. Get the drift?

No tech can beat human instincts but they both can work together to make a better and safer environment.

Last edited by The Brutailer : 30th March 2017 at 15:57.
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Old 30th March 2017, 16:19   #13
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Default Re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Should the title of the thread not be changed to autonomous car? Self-drive can be confused with renting a car and driving yourself, like our Zoom self-drive car rentals.
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Old 30th March 2017, 16:35   #14
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Default Re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post

If you're comparing the current self-driving cars with the top 0.1% of drivers - then maybe.

If you're comparing all the self driving cars on the road with all the human drivers on the road, then I'd say self driving cars are already WAY safer:
Yes, correct!
But, what about the situation in India?
Can the car survive autonomously in a crowded Gully/Bazaar road, with every one coming from all directions?

The stupidest of the Human brains can cope here, whereas the smartest of the computers will fail miserably.

I would very much like the BMTC & autowalas to be replaced by a computer. But, would they survive? Chances are slim in the indian context.
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Old 30th March 2017, 16:45   #15
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Default Re: USA: Uber suspends self-driving car fleet after crash. UPDATE: Resumed

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Originally Posted by abhishek46 View Post
But, what about the situation in India?
Can the car survive autonomously in a crowded Gully/Bazaar road, with every one coming from all directions?
Definitely not yet, but perhaps later in the future.

I had actually typed "(on the roads they were designed for)" at the end of my point, but removed it before submitting!
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