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Old 02-23-2011, 07:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
RobertSmalls
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Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
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Nah, the computer knows all about hills. It has GPS, and Google Maps. It knows the exact geometry of every hill on every possible route from here to your destination. It also knows whether there's a stop sign at the bottom of the next hill, and exactly how fast to crest the hill in order to regen to a stop (accounting for crosswinds, even).

It can also see other cars and how fast they're going. Google has been running autonomous cars on public roads for about a year now, using cameras to keep an eye on traffic, signals, etc.

What a computer can't (yet) do is stereotype. Folks leaving a fast food restaurant are likely to be driving while distracted. A beige Buick is likely to go below the posted speed limit. National Fuel trucks like to drive PSL+15, and get aggressive if you don't. And so on.

You can write down your ScanGauge trip averages every day on your way to work, and try to get an idea of what routes and techniques pay better than others. But a computer can do so from red light to red light, with enormously impressive precision and memory. Humans have the edge for now in pattern recognition, but we can't hold a candle to an expert computer system in terms of memory, processing power, and skill with optimization problems like fuel economy.

Without a doubt, the best fuel saving device that will be developed this decade is the AI autopilot.
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