How Self Driving Cars will Change Everything (update: it's not just Google; "the next $240 billion market")

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    May 08, 2012 10:23 PM GMT
    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/07/tech/nevada-driveless-car/index.html

    "Google gets license to operate driverless cars in Nevada"

    On Monday, Nevada became the first to approve a license for "autonomous vehicles" -- in other words, cars that cruise, twist and turn without the need for a driver -- on its roads.

    The license goes to Google, the Silicon Valley technology giant known more for its search engine and e-mail service that nonetheless has been known to dive into other big ideas such as space elevators to Internet-enabled glasses.
    In a 2010 post on Google's official blog, engineer and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun said that the self-driving vehicle project aims "to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use."

    He noted that the "automated cars use video cameras, radio sensors and a laser range finder to 'see' other traffic, as well as detailed maps ... to navigate the road ahead." There is no driver needed, though one is typically in the front seat ready to take control if need be.

    Earlier this spring, Google said it had "safely completed over 200,000 miles of computer-led driving."

    Monday marked a new milestone for the project, when Nevada issued a special license after demonstrations on state freeways, state highways, in Carson City neighborhoods and on Las Vegas' landmark Las Vegas Strip, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles said in a news release.

    The new plate is red and features the infinity symbol and the letters AU, for autonomous vehicle. All such cars on the road are "test" vehicles for now, though the state signaled it intends to be "at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development."
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    May 09, 2012 12:50 AM GMT
    I want one of Google's cars to hit me so I can sue them for BILLIONS.
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    May 09, 2012 1:04 AM GMT
    Ariodante saidI want one of Google's cars to hit me so I can sue them for BILLIONS.


    That one made me LOL in my pants.
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    May 09, 2012 1:05 AM GMT
    Ariodante saidI want one of Google's cars to hit me so I can sue them for BILLIONS.


    brilliant plan
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    May 09, 2012 3:57 AM GMT
    I want Google's technology to succeed so no drunk hits me and turns me into a paraplegic. I guess we all have our priorities.
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    May 09, 2012 4:03 AM GMT
    I've been waiting for this day to come.
    Actually I've been waiting for a lot of things to come.
    Especially the hot guy I saw at the mall the other day.
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    May 09, 2012 4:04 AM GMT
    YEAH!! I wanna get into one! icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 09, 2012 4:06 AM GMT
    Soccerstud4 said
    Ariodante saidI want one of Google's cars to hit me so I can sue them for BILLIONS.


    brilliant plan

    Whats next, internet that browses it'self?
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    May 09, 2012 4:08 AM GMT
    JoyfullyRandom said
    Soccerstud4 said
    Ariodante saidI want one of Google's cars to hit me so I can sue them for BILLIONS.


    brilliant plan

    Whats next, internet that browses it'self?


    That's useless. Now, internet that browses itself for hot gay porn and self-jacks off, I could save years and years off my life!
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    May 09, 2012 4:12 AM GMT
    JoyfullyRandom said
    Soccerstud4 said
    Ariodante saidI want one of Google's cars to hit me so I can sue them for BILLIONS.


    brilliant plan

    Whats next, internet that browses it'self?
    They've already got that. It's called robot.txt.
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    May 09, 2012 6:30 AM GMT
    Driveless cars = more opportunity for hackers and terrorists to ruin lives. I actually like Ariodante's idea though.
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    May 09, 2012 6:47 AM GMT
    perfect idea. make people lazier AND make our society more vulnerable to technological warfare as well as any international crisis/disaster that might wipe out tech. For god's sake, even today an EMP attack would render almost all modes of transportation inert. Anything with electronic fuel injection would be useless!
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    May 09, 2012 6:56 AM GMT
    RoadsterRacer87 saidperfect idea. make people lazier AND make our society more vulnerable to technological warfare as well as any international crisis/disaster that might wipe out tech. For god's sake, even today an EMP attack would render almost all modes of transportation inert. Anything with electronic fuel injection would be useless!
    Technology in general is a result of laziness. If you use a phone to talk to people instead of going to their house, you are officially lazy.

    Technology is engineered to be self-correcting. If an EMP were to strike, we'd be up an running again in a matter of days, maybe weeks. The long-term effect would be nill.
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    May 09, 2012 7:18 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    RoadsterRacer87 saidperfect idea. make people lazier AND make our society more vulnerable to technological warfare as well as any international crisis/disaster that might wipe out tech. For god's sake, even today an EMP attack would render almost all modes of transportation inert. Anything with electronic fuel injection would be useless!
    Technology in general is a result of laziness. If you use a phone to talk to people instead of going to their house, you are officially lazy.

    Technology is engineered to be self-correcting. If an EMP were to strike, we'd be up an running again in a matter of days, maybe weeks. The long-term effect would be nill.


    Facts and figures aside, i don't like the level of electronic whiz-bangery that goes into cars these days. Not only does it make them more complicated to work on but putting a blind spot system into a car (for example) doesn't make the owner a better driver, it merely compensates for the widespread incompetence inherent in drivers today (at least in my neck of the woods). In fact, that's why i have a Stebel Nautilus lurking under the hood of my car. With the top up on my Roadster i have a blind spot the size of Texas but that only makes me more cautious and aware of my surroundings while I'm driving.

    And before someone makes a case for driverless cars out of the inept drivers we deal with every day, why don't we actually DO something about educating our drivers better or RESTRICTING who can actually drive?? You wouldn't let a 92-year-old man with bad reflexes and hearing loss fly a commercial jet would you? So why would you let him drive a car on a busy freeway where he could endanger nearly as many people? And yet here in Louisiana for example, anyone 17 or older can get a driver's license without showing a driver's ed completion certificate. They just take an EXTREMELY simple and short multiple-choice test. There's no re-test. Hell i nearly took out a Mercedes Benz on my practical exam and they still issued my license (i've improved considerably since then btw). Until recently we routinely had DUI repeat-offenders who never had their licenses revoked, even after being arrested for drunk driving SEVEN TIMES!!
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    May 25, 2012 3:10 AM GMT
    Interesting thoughts here on how driverless cars can change how/where we live and how/where we work.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2012/05/24/who-wins-more-from-the-google-car-cities-or-suburbs/

    Instead of picturing autonomous vehicles as extensions of city subways, think of them as replacements that put a subway stop everywhere you want one to be, and at all times. This may not be fast enough to compete with the first models of autonomous vehicles, which will probably just be normal cars with computer brains and sensors strapped onto them (to put it in technical terms). But this will change the way cars are engineered, and in the long run will allow very different vehicles. For instance, if cars become much safer because of increased reaction time of computers, the safety benefits of big hulking SUVs will fall drastically. Smaller, more nimble cars won’t seem as inherently unsafe. Making cars extremely fast won’t make them much more dangerous. Where these sorts of changes will end up in 30 years time is anyone’s guess, but a system of autonomous vehicles that outperforms inter-city rail seems entirely plausible to me.

    So will cities, suburbs, or exurbs be the winners from autonomous vehicles? I am not sure, but I do think it is possible that it will mean that one wins by a lot, and causes a large shift in living and commuting patterns.
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    Aug 17, 2012 1:55 PM GMT
    It's not happening overnight - but these are a few predictions of why self driving cars change everything... to these I'd add that that once there is mass adoption then cities can stop worrying about congestion and road capacity since it will dramatically increase (you don't need as much distance between cars and reaction times are far faster to clear congestion).

    http://vancouverdata.blogspot.ca/2012/08/googles-self-driving-cars-are-going-to.html

    - The car insurance industry will cease to exist. These cars aren't going to crash. Even if there are hold-outs that drive themselves, insurance would be so expensive they couldn't afford it, as no one else would need it.

    - If the cars don't crash, then the auto collision repair / auto body industry goes away. The car industry also shrinks as people don't have to replace cars as often.

    - Long-haul truck driving will cease to exist. Think how much money trucking companies will save if they don't have to pay drivers or collision and liability insurance. That's about 3 million jobs in the States. Shipping of goods will be much cheaper.

    - On that note, no more bus drivers, taxi drivers, limo drivers.

    - Meter maids. Gone. Why spend $20 on parking when you can just send the car back home? There goes $40 million in parking revenue to the City of Vancouver by the way.

    - Many in cities will get rid of their cars altogether and simply use RoboTaxis. They will be much cheaper than current taxis due to no need for insurance (taxi insurance costs upwards of $20,000/year), no drivers, and no need for taxi medallions (which can cost half a million in Vancouver). You hit a button on your iPhone, and your car is there in a few minutes.

    - Think how devastating that would be to the car industry. People use their cars less than 10% of the time. Imagine if everyone in your city used a RoboTaxi instead, at say 60% utilization. That's 84% fewer cars required.

    - No more deaths or injuries from drinking and driving. MADD disappears. The judicial system, prisons, and hospital industry shrink due to the lack of car accidents.

    - Car sharing companies like Zip, Modo, Car2Go are all gone. Or, one of them morphs into a robo-taxi company.

    - Safety features in cars disappear (as they are no longer needed), and cars will become relatively cheaper.
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    Aug 17, 2012 2:09 PM GMT
    Ha, ha . This thread is like reading about flying cars in Popular Mechanics since 1970..... The prototype has been built and will be in
    your garage in a few months.

    I saw a google self driving car a few days ago. There was a person in it so I don't really get it since it's still one car / one passenger. It's the social networking aspect that inhibits cool pooling not the lack of drivers.

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    Aug 17, 2012 2:14 PM GMT
    Alpha13 saidHa, ha . This thread is like reading about flying cars in Popular Mechanics since 1970..... The prototype has been built and will be in
    your garage in a few months.

    I saw a google self driving car a few days ago. There was a person in it so I don't really get it since it's still one car / one passenger. It's the social networking aspect that inhibits cool pooling not the lack of drivers.



    Nah realistically I can't see them coming out for at least 6-7 years for commercial production but with Nevada and California having licensed it, the likelihood is considerably higher and I would suggest inevitability given the problems it solves/market.

    As the link also shows, it's not just Google -
    "BMW is go" http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/autoexpressnews/283429/driverless_cars_are_go_at_bmw.html
    "Volvo is go" http://www.psfk.com/2012/05/volvo-driverless-cars-on-public-roads.html
    "Mercedes is go" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-j0jXEGbGs
    "even backwater GM is go" http://www.slashgear.com/the-driverless-cars-that-want-to-run-google-off-the-road-08226819/

    And as the article suggests - http://news.yahoo.com/needs-license-self-driving-cars-coming-way-201546892--sector.html, technologies are rapidly improving already when it comes to automating safety like adaptive cruise control or even self parking cars! (saw a demo of this - and it's incredible that it's already in use)
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    Aug 30, 2012 8:15 PM GMT
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/robot-cars-on-public-roads-california-says-yes/

    California legislators have sent a bill to the governor’s desk that could push forward the development of autonomous cars in the Golden State. The new bill requires the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt new regulations, including safety standards and “performance requirements” for new autonomous vehicles. Once those new rules are put in place, the bill “would permit autonomous vehicles to be operated or tested on the public roads in this state.”

    The bill, known as SB 1298, unanimously passed the state senate on Wednesday, following a 72-4 approval from the state legislature earlier in the week. The text of the legislation says that autonomous vehicles “offer significant potential safety, mobility, and commercial benefits for individuals and businesses in the state and elsewhere.”

    The lack of regulations certainly hasn’t stopped Google from testing its autonomous cars in California—the company said in 2010 that it had even allowed such a vehicle to drive down the famous Lombard Street hill, which the New York Times described as “one of the steepest and curviest streets in the nation.”

    Earlier this year, Nevada became the first US state to pass new rules dictating safety requirements for autonomous vehicles. The Silver State issued its first special license plate for autonomous cars to Google back in May.
  • FitGwynedd

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    Aug 30, 2012 8:43 PM GMT
    As a Transit Bus Operator and truck driver, I have a lot of kilometres of driving under my belt. And as for driverless cars, I have this to say. It is an all around terrible idea. A computer will never be able to be programmed to react to the inherent unprecidable nature of other drivers, changing road conditions, and the variations of how vehicles react on different road surfaces and different payloads. With the exception of highway driving in a special lane for computer controlled cars, a computer will never be able to safely operate a vehicle on busy city streets.
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    Sep 04, 2012 3:43 PM GMT
    FitGwynedd saidAs a Transit Bus Operator and truck driver, I have a lot of kilometres of driving under my belt. And as for driverless cars, I have this to say. It is an all around terrible idea. A computer will never be able to be programmed to react to the inherent unprecidable nature of other drivers, changing road conditions, and the variations of how vehicles react on different road surfaces and different payloads. With the exception of highway driving in a special lane for computer controlled cars, a computer will never be able to safely operate a vehicle on busy city streets.


    I think it can - given that it can moderate the speed based on what it determines is the level of traction it can get. A computer would be able to react far better (and see around itself better) than most drivers given that you can put the sensors anywhere - and that's why there's been the testing. A computer also doesn't get drowsy, drunk, etc. I would suggest that done right, a computer can navigate busy city streets far better than most of the drivers I see.
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    Sep 04, 2012 6:14 PM GMT

    http://www.driverlesscarhq.com/cybersecurity-experts-automakers-currently-failing-to-protect-against-hacks/

    http://juneauempire.com/state/2012-08-24/poor-advice-gps-unit-leads-man-harbor#.UEZEuo2PUc8
  • ThatSwimmerGu...

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    Sep 04, 2012 6:54 PM GMT
    I wrote a 12 page essay over autonomous driving. It sounds pretty safe. I want an autonomous vehicle. A few sales are still around but otherwise it's better than driving on your own.
  • ThatSwimmerGu...

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    Sep 04, 2012 6:59 PM GMT
    FitGwynedd saidAs a Transit Bus Operator and truck driver, I have a lot of kilometres of driving under my belt. And as for driverless cars, I have this to say. It is an all around terrible idea. A computer will never be able to be programmed to react to the inherent unprecidable nature of other drivers, changing road conditions, and the variations of how vehicles react on different road surfaces and different payloads. With the exception of highway driving in a special lane for computer controlled cars, a computer will never be able to safely operate a vehicle on busy city streets.


    Actually autonomous vehicles are perfect for busy roads as they have a reaction speed many times faster than us humans do, it can actually double the amount of cars on the road. When typing my 12 page essay over this topic I found that, according to Google and other various sources, everything mentioned above is programmed into the computer. The only issue is snow, as the autonomous vehicles also use lines on the road. Oh and all autonomous cars can have their autonomous feature overridden by simply touching the steering wheel, brakes, or gas.
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    Sep 04, 2012 7:18 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    http://www.driverlesscarhq.com/cybersecurity-experts-automakers-currently-failing-to-protect-against-hacks/

    http://juneauempire.com/state/2012-08-24/poor-advice-gps-unit-leads-man-harbor#.UEZEuo2PUc8


    There are risks - and there are benefits. The good thing is that the technology will continue to rapidly improve to the point that it could be more costly not to own an autonomous vehicle.

    Consider the technical requirements required to develop new rockets with SpaceX, or even the idea of flight. There are going to be risks and as a result there are failsafes. (and incidentally someone would really have to be an idiot to entirely discount GPS systems because of one or two examples of bad directions).