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Old 12-10-2018, 01:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Autonomous Cars - Are They Realistic?

We are getting waaaay out in front of our skis, in my opinion.
There is a LOT to discuss:

First point is that by far the best autonomous cars are ELECTRIC. So, if we see a lot of autonomous cars - most of the cars on the road will be electric.

Second point is that before we see Level 5 (FULL autonomous) cars, we will see MOST cars with Level 2, or Level 3 STANDARD.

Third point: autonomous cars need to be "learning" - and therefore they have to A) "talk" to each other, and B) they need to share ONE DATABASE.

Fourth point: we can barely get this to work on LIMITED ACCESS highways, that have bright painted lines. Making the jump to full autonomy on ALL KINDS of roads / highways, in ALL conditions - is a QUANTUM increase in complexity.

To illustrate this fourth point: take a gaming computer - these are right at the cutting edge of performance - and ALL it has to do is render a PRE-MADE 3D MODEL. An autonomous car has to take the inputs from 8-12+ different sensors - and it has to "build" a moving 3D model, AND it has to do all the vectors of their motion - a FOURTH DIMENSION - in the blink of an eye.

AND it has to PRIORITIZE ALL THE MOVING OBJECTS that it "sees".

AND it has to "decide" the best route, AND the second best route, AND MAYBE even the third best option - CONSTANTLY.

Fifth point - it probably needs to have a FULLY REDUNDANT set of backup hardware - AND / OR it needs a really robust "algorithm".

Sixth point: WHO IS LIABLE FOR WHAT THE CAR DOES?

Seventh point: in what world will our government have a consistent and effect set of regulations? The insurance companies have to be onboard, too.

****************

To sum up - we first will have to have a majority of cars on the road to be electric, and we will have to have a majority of cars / vehicles to have automatic safety function, that backup the driver - as STANDARD equipment.

Then, and only then - we will need a shared open source database of all / most cars, so that each vehicle gets as much advantage as possible - of driving in any / all conditions as close to perfect as possible.

The goal is - obviously - much better vehicle safety. Lets be realistic about how / when this can happen.

Predetermined routes is an important step. And the driver's role is wholly transformed - they go from being 100% responsible, to being a passenger.

And how do we enter the desired route? Have you gotten 100% accurate GPS routes, all the time?

In their moving cars, people WILL:

Eat

Sleep

Have sex

Watch a movie

Do work

Many other things we can't imagine, too.

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Old 12-10-2018, 05:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good points.

Processors can analyze data very quickly though. There is also already a wifi standard for autonomous vehicles coupled with the fact that 5g cell service will make data transfer much faster, among other advances.

3d gaming isn't really "premade models", that's the whole point of gaming, it's not a movie. It is completely variable each independent input doesn't necessarily happen in the same sequence or at the same times. Modern PC's can run some of the most advanced games at over 60 frames per second which clearly shows the amount of data capable of being processed in extremely short periods of time. I'm not phased at all about the capability of processors for autonomous vehicles.

With more accurate GPS and known good routes "learned" in real or near-real time, I don't see way-finding to be an issue.

I'm a bit more optimistic than you are about AV I suppose. Way too much money on the table to not happen in the next 5 to 10 years.
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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AV doesn't have anything to do with EVs. They already have ICE cars that auto-brake, parallel park, etc. I see no reason why AV and EV are related.

We'll probably never have shared databases (DBs). In the healthcare industry, there isn't universal databases. Every time you go to a new clinic (in the US), a different DB is utilized and your data gets replicated there. Heck, even within the same clinic, they might have multiple DBs depending on what treatments you need.

My point is, the DBs are incredibly valuable, and companies aren't going to collaborate to share their info, or get their info to work with some universal DB. Perhaps vehicles will communicate with each other, but it will be through an interface that keeps their DBs private and only offer up the relevant data to share.

I've said the smartest way to implement autonomous driving is to whitelist known routes that are simple for autonomous vehicles to drive on, such as interstates with few turns and exits. You could also blacklist routes known to be difficult for AVs. Areas where human input was required frequently suggests an unsafe place for AV to operate, and that could be blacklisted automatically. Places where human intervention is infrequent suggests safer areas to engage AV, and those could be whitelisted automatically.

There was a guy who ran into a guardrail in his Tesla using Autopilot, and it had been mentioned that the area had confounded Autopilot before. Had the user intervention been properly logged and flagged in some DB as a tricky spot, it could have blacklisted the route and refused to be in autopilot mode for that stretch.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In one of my classes we had a guest speaker talk about autonomous cars, he said at first there would probably be autonomous only sections of interstate during certain hours of the night. This would slowly expand until at some point in the distant future it would be pretty much all auto, all the time.

This was a quick summary of a few points he made.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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.

5G and AI (artificial intelligence) will make it possible.

All you have to do is leave fate (yours) at the door...

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Old 12-12-2018, 06:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Fully autonomous cars have another purpous which is to drive the car with no one in it. Or with a rotating group of occupants getting in and out like a custom bus service with the route determined by smart phones calling for a ride. Or to drive itself to the closest available charging station. Private car ownership will start to come to an end.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sendler View Post
..... Private car ownership will start to come to an end.
I would say diminish, I doubt it will ever end.

I am curious what that means for the auto industry. While total vehicles may be reduced, riders will demand/prefer the newer vehicles so taxi/transit companies may be pressed to purchase more often. That brings about a good question around the used market....
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I am curious what that means for the auto industry.
Complete disruption. Sales numbers will fall drastically when autonomous ride sharing makes serious cuts into private ownership since the idea is that cars will seldom be parked. Parking lots, insurance, gas stations, all of this will suffer. Uber, Lyft, Waymo, ect are only slightly ahead of their opportunity of profitability right now.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd like to see the auto industry consolidate a bit. There's no reason to have thousands of different models of passenger vehicles to choose from. Seems like 20 would be a better number, or perhaps 50, but not thousands.
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sendler View Post
Fully autonomous cars have another purpous which is to drive the car with no one in it. Or with a rotating group of occupants getting in and out like a custom bus service with the route determined by smart phones calling for a ride. Or to drive itself to the closest available charging station. Private car ownership will start to come to an end.
This will replace buses, maybe. Predetermined routes are relatively easy, remember. Truly FULL autonomy is way more difficult than predetermined routes.

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