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View Poll Results: Do you think that autonomous cars can really help get down the rate of road accidents?
Yes. Autonomous cars can indeed bring down the rate of accidents (Please explain Why) . 116 67.05%
No. Autonomous cars cannot help bring down the rate of road-accidents (Please Explain Why). 37 21.39%
Can't say (Please explain why). 20 11.56%
Voters: 173. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 23rd November 2017, 06:04   #46
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Would you take an Uber if you knew the odds of the driver being a psychopath who would kill you were .01 percent?

Sitting in an autonomous car where you have no control to stop the car even if you want to (as happened with the test autonomous car) is not easy to handle.

And we haven't even got to the hacking and other dangerous bits yet.

The odds in this case could go more than 0.1 percent as of now.

While it is a probability that accidents may come down, there may also be situations where everything goes wrong (technology after all) and there are MASSIVE accidents happening at several places at the same time on account of a technical glitch.

Long way to go in my opinion.

Last edited by AMG Power : 23rd November 2017 at 06:09.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 06:51   #47
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Yes, as long as all autonomous cars have the latest version of QuickHeal car anti-hijacking software and Malwarebytes (for cars) installed.

Driverless cars ‘could be hacked to cause pile-ups’
Sure they could be hacked but then there are a few million devices connecting to the internet everyday. As of today I believe there are 20 billion devices connecting to the internet. Hacking them is possible but not that easy. There are power plants, hospital devices which are connected to the internet and hacking them is certainly not that easy. There will be plenty of safeguards in place and there are a lot of companies that are doing amazing work on IoT security. So while the threat is real, I don't think its something to worry about. Its going to be the age of IoT and its all going to be ok. No skynet here.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 09:03   #48
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Absolutely yes. The causes of accidents are intentional (driving on wrong side) or unintentional human (blind sided by big truck) error or environment factors (like sudden pothole).

Autonomous vehicles will completely solve human error part. Things like driving on wrong side, breaking red light will simply be impossible. Causes like being blind sided or even things like pothole will not be a problem because the vehicles are not just autonomous but also in continuous communication with all vehicles nearby and also with satellites.
Coming to the hacking factors, it is possible but highly improbable. Hacking is not easy as shown in movies and on TV. Its a risk like say hijacking on plane. But that does not stop anyone from flying.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 09:11   #49
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Autonomous vehicles will not need headlights, they follow instructions from the smart road. So blinding by high beam is avoided. These cars just need to travel from A to B and once the smart road knows this, the car is controlled by the road. No need for traffic signals, speed breakers, possibly even fuelling, since than can be done on the fly. Today's commercial aircraft utilise much of the technologies that we are talking about; the autopilot for instance technically allows the pilots to relax while the aircraft flies to its destination.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 12:27   #50
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted a confident "no" and here's why ...

Unless all vehicles plying on our roads are autonomous, this will only go southwards.

Autonomous cars are designed to diligently follow rules and regulations and will adhere to how they are programmed to move. Of course, it is most likely that they are learning continuously by way use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and will adopt themselves to the real world.

Now, imagine that there are humans driving vehicles and assuming that they constitute 10% of the total vehicles. Here is what is likely to happen,

1. Humans will continue driving like they are used to - trusting their instincts rather than rules and violating rules by sheer force of habit. Unless, of course, there is a stringent governance mechanism that can identify and penalise offenders.

2. Autonomous cars will "learn" from the habits that humans exhibit and also end up jumping signals, breaking lanes, honking etc. leading to bigger problems than before.

Therefore, the solution is to find ways to improve compliance and ensure adherence, along with using smart automobiles wherever feasible.

Thanks for reading through my conspiracy theory

Last edited by pannags : 23rd November 2017 at 12:29.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 15:12   #51
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

In a nation where people especially two wheelers frequently traverse in no entry, where there are cross roads galore, where the roads are so frequently dug up and diverted that no navigation software can keep-up especially those intricate details autonomous cars are not practical at all.

One important thing people are overlooking. In a nation where the majority of the people still travel on two wheels and we know the kind of zig zag circus we get to see on our roads, cutting lanes, hitting ORVMs and having zero regard for traffic rules and signals. Now even the next incarnation of Albert Einstein will not be able to come up with a software clever enough to deal with this. India is a market which is still dominated by two wheels and how long will it take for the market to go from this stage where cattle frequent our roads to fully autonomous four wheeled travel? Practical implementation of Autonomous motoring is a pipe dream for India and at least in our life time we will not see it happen, just my opinion.

Last edited by needforspeed88 : 23rd November 2017 at 15:13.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 16:12   #52
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I am going with "Cannot Say" option.

Reason being, all of us(Whether we choose Yes, No or cant say) are assuming certain levels of "autonomy" in the driver less car while we are imagining a driver less car on the road.

Per my understanding, there can be multiple levels of "autonomy". Today, we are at level 1 Autonomy cars where only certain features are being assumed to be functional and implemented in the car. This level 1 can probably, easily be "cheated" by drivered cars. So, this is still prone to accidents

Level 2 autonomy cars may arrive in coming years which are upgraded to adopt themselves for all the current cheats by drivered cars.

When we assume this level of autonomous cars, probably, accidents may not be so high on roads.

Level 3 (Only my imagination that these cars may come in future)
If the autonomous cars can "NOT ONLY" control it self BUT also CONTROL the other vicinity vehicles(Drivered or Autonomy cars) parameters such as speed, directions etc then, in ideal scenario, there can never be any accidents

For example: If my car(Autonomy car) senses that there is another vehicle coming on my way (Wrong side) and driver is not taking control to avoid, it sends some signal to the opposite car and takes some action like moving to side, slow down, or some other action, then, there can never be any accidents. (Semi autonomy is assumed here in the drivered vehicle to take the commands from Autonomy car and act)

The third scenario is my dream today where all drivered cars will have some system as above and autonomous cars will control them.

But, again, I am assuming the level 2 autonomy takes care of cars adopting themselves to scenarios of human and cattle obstructions

Last edited by gkveda : 23rd November 2017 at 16:19.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 23:21   #53
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted Yes. Autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate as it will cause Zero accident itself, given that:
  • All the cars on the road are autonomous.
  • Cars are capable to communicate with the each other in real-time to decide mutually their next set of actions. Distributed system!
  • Cars are well maintained and diagnosed so that there are no system failures.
Why it will be better than humans?
  • Car algorithm will never allow it to break a law.
  • Car will not have any emotion hence no spirited or depressed driving.

Last edited by PetaWatt : 23rd November 2017 at 23:25. Reason: Forgot to include what I voted for
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Old 24th November 2017, 06:50   #54
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Yes, but with a lot of caveats.

Autonomous cars can't exist as silos. They require standardised/smart infrastructure around them, to work and reduce accidents.
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Old 24th November 2017, 08:10   #55
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Autonomous cars need a fair few things to work/reduce accidents:
  1. Flawless roads (read no potholes and well drawn marker lines)
  2. Bug free software
  3. Idiot free population
  4. An ECU equivalent to human brain
  5. Cameras equal to human eye

While some countries may have #1, it will only take some miscreants to wipe the marker lines to create utter chaos. Or in India where they randomly appear and disappear will confuse the best of software.

#2,#3 Have been widely accepted as a remote possibility in year 3300 A.D. But then again by then humans may well be living in cages under control of computers, so can ignore.

#3, #4 are still far from reality, the immediate reaction needed when spotting animals on road or any similar situation may be beyond human brain.

In summary autonomous cars will function well given a certain set of constrained conditions, but may not respond well to chaos situations.
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Old 24th November 2017, 14:29   #56
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Voted Cant Say. From growing up watching Star Trek on a B/W TV and seeing toouch screen phones today. There has been amzzing advancement in technology. So yes it is a possibility. But then every car needs to be autonomus. Remember the seen from Irobot where Will Smith tries to drive the car himself. We can get into s situation like that.

But one thing is true life will be boring.
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Old 24th November 2017, 17:32   #57
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Absolutely Yes,

We have been relying on programmable machines and their programs for a long time now. It is the time in evolution of mankind when we are knocking doors of next big thing after internet. This 'Next Big Thing' is nothing but combination of
  • Crunching lot of data at terrifying speeds.
  • Letting machines learn that data as humans would, popularly known as ML.
  • Building a machine understanding of it to take appropriate action, popularly known as AI.

So question is why autonomous vehicles will be safer than normal human drivers?
  • Humans have lot of limitations in performing similar tasks over and over again with same level of accuracy. It's just a human nature that tasks can become mundane and un-interesting in sometime. This is where machines excel.
  • Machine learning is big part of autonomous car programs. Machine can and do crunch lot more data lot faster than humans. The data gathering equipment seen on self driving cars can even accurately predict other moving vehicles speeds as well as their own and compute the time to collision or safety distance many times in a given second.
  • With evolution of certain types of AI algorithm like neural networks, the machine's self learning capacity to imitate humans combined with computation capacity will be far better than human drivers.
  • The argument made around not having road signs is a serious limitation is also not a well informed one. If you google DARPA Challenge and look at autonomous vehicles built during these challenges. You will be surprised that many of them were designed for roads with NO signage.
  • The algorithms are going to learn themselves after some point. Humans and self driving cars will co-exists and self driving cars will predict when humans are making mistake in moving vehicles around. Like they recently did in Netherlands when Tesla buzzed accident warning for a crash happening 50-70 meter ahead of it.
  • Although these technologies will have a steep learning curve when it comes to traffic conditions in countries like India. They will eventually win, like they have always.
  • Lastly, consider this, one good safe driver can not teach other new driver to be equally safe overnight; but machines can!

Petrol-head fraternity may or may not like this change, but like lot of things which have been leapfrogged by technology in recent past, driving and especially safe driving is going to see that leapfrogging in next decade. And it's for common good!
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Old 24th November 2017, 18:47   #58
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I'm absolutely 100% positive that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate.

Let's forget all the technical aspects for a moment here. The manufacturers of these cars will not get the necessary regulatory approvals unless they can prove without any doubt that their cars are statistically safer than human driven machines. AFAIK, Google is already on the right path to achieve this.

Now, whether it'll be feasible to deploy one on Indian roads is another matter altogether. I believe models which are trained with data from a country like Germany or even US for that matter will not work in our country at all - not that it'll result in crash or anything, just that the vehicle will not even move an inch. It'll end up perpetually waiting for someone to yield, which knowing our fellow countrymen will never happen.

An enterprising Indian techie can always build a model trained with data from Uber/Ola cabs in Bengaluru which I must say will be very effective even on our roads

Jokes aside, the concerns regarding a hacked self driving car is misplaced at this point. The engineers building such systems will be following the best security practices for sure. Besides, how often do you hear about an onboard computer on a commercial aircraft being hacked? I believe, these systems will be built to the same, if not better standards.

All I'm asking my fellow BHPians, who voted no, is to keep an open mind and see what happens. Exciting times ahead

Last edited by ashwinsadeep : 24th November 2017 at 18:57.
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Old 25th November 2017, 16:21   #59
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

I voted yes because machines will definitely be more accurate than human beings. There will be no accidents due to weather conditions, drink driving or other human errors.

But what makes me sad is that autonomous cars will not be cars anymore. They will be like those rides we take at amusement parks. More like travelling pods. I think if there is no human intervention option in these cars, they will not likely to have any steering wheel to free up more knee room. What is a car if you're not gonna drive it. Even though I do believe this thing is a long long time away and not gonna happen in this century, if and when they will really happen, that will be the end of an era, a legacy, the death of the best friend of a man.
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Old 26th November 2017, 11:46   #60
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Default Re: Do you think that autonomous cars will decrease the accident rate?

Interesting thread Varun. Just my 2 cents.

Well though Autonomous driving is a big leap forward globally, with the big 3 now also actively involved in that direction. A simple glimpse of it was the Auto Park feature in the new 5 or the new 7 (from India market perspective)

Truth be told, autonomous technology is not going to make to India anytime soon. As rightly said, from an infrastructure standpoint perspective, we are light years behind the world.

Yes, having said this, from India perspective, if we need to make the roads safer, no amount of technology will make us safer, unless the 'Nut' behind the 'Wheel' is Tight. The moment we start driving sensibly some percentage of accidents will definitely come down.

Few things that the government needs to do is
  • Tighten up the Driving Licensing Acquisition Process inlines with the developed countries
  • Open up Radar based GPS, that will enable a lot of radar-based safety features to be introduced in Indian markets.
  • Road Infrastructure Development Contractors need to be fined heavily for substandard work or any lapses.

Yes autonomous cars will bring down accidents, but even if few of the above things are implemented, lot of lives on road can be saved
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