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"Self-Driving" Cars on Motorways


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Some thoughts:

As SD car introduction looks inevitable, but will be gradual, apart from the obvious limits put on SD mode use, for the sake of other traffic “mixing in” I believe SD mode should display a high-level exterior light, front and rear, to inform the nearby traffic. It need not be bright but should be lensed to be visible from wide angles across all lanes. Brightness adjusting automatically to ambient of course.

And as “instant readyness to re-take control” is, of course, nonsense, the non-drivers should be reminded of their responsibilities frequently by a 10(?) minute maximum SD-engaged duration before re-engagement is needed to continue use.  And re-engagement should not be trivially easy - e.g. need two buttons to be pressed in sequence, and be possible only after a 2 (?) second break.

Also, in addition to any necessary occasions, random driver-take-over alerts should be given, with re-engagement needed.

Plenty more I could say, but that's a start.

PS: Tried to reduce size of the above that I wrote elsewhere, but couldn't after pasting in here. Apols - mods, can you help?

 

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We already have such an indicator on the front and back of these vehicles today.

Thanks and agree, guys.  Pete, that video of the Tesla illustrates why I want clear external indication when "no human in control".  We could have been in the car following the Tesla........(I'd have

Thankfully no ICE in an 84 Esprit.  Love life. DRIVE your Lotus!

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Driver monitoring, proper driver monitoring with cameras is necessary, as with supercruise. Any system that can be tricked, like in the Tesla is completely useless. Eye and face tracking allows for the actual future of collaborative driving where the car knows where you are looking and can 'fill the gaps'.

Full self driving is not going to happen any time soon. The tech is nowhere near ready and the industry is slowly waking up to that. Even Tesla has started back peddling on the need for inboard cameras.

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Thanks and agree, guys.  Pete, that video of the Tesla illustrates why I want clear external indication when "no human in control".  We could have been in the car following the Tesla........(I'd have been a long way back until I could pass it.)  And the extra time to get your feet on the pedals is why there should be frequent random alerts and need to reengage.

Of course those who will want to pretend they have a chauffeur, and sit texting or watching a video - and there will be many amongst those keen on SD, particularly after novelty has warn off - will hate being reminded to pay attention, and oppose such "dinosaur views and interference".

 I have written to Honest John asking "him" to give space for public views. I will also to the Dept of Transport. Seems they are "consulting" only with the motor industry.  Can we look for an unbiased view from them, I wonder!   

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Everybody knows it never rains in California, so Tesla will be fine there. 😄

To be fair, be had a similar experience some years aga, in a (then) new VW Polo. A car in front of us made rather wide right turn and the anticollision in the Polo decided to apply the auto-brakes. Even though there was plenty of space. It was a manual, so it probably couldn't have brought us to a full stop, but it did cut the power and apply a good amount of braking.

This was a built-in feature that automatically turns on every time you start the car and takes some digging in the menus to turn off again. I'll admit it was a few years ago and in a base model, so current system are (hopefully) better. But stuff like that turns me off newer cars completely. The video shows current high-end cars can and will suffer the same glitches...

I'll stick to my old fashioned drivers car, for as long as I'm allowed! (and probably a bit beyond, I wont go down without a fight).

Filip

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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I actually think the automation features are a good idea. On average people are bad at driving. Even people who are good at driving aren't attentive enough 100% of the time and the car can fill in the gaps, however, I think these are automation features not self driving and the media/Tesla who say that it is are some of the most dangerous people to road users.

And do be clear - most manufacturers are not pushing as self driving anymore Tesla are the biggest hold out because they have sold 'full self driving' as a feature and they need to hold out as long as possible so they can work out how then can dig themselves out of the big hole they are in.

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I disagree to some of the comments.

I think the average person is an OK average driver. The real issue is they forget they are in control of a big blob of steel and plastic mostly weighing in excess of 1.5 tons in weight, travelling at a significant velocity (the force in 1.5 tons moving at just 30 mph is huge), at a time when they are often distracted  ( by kids, stress, phones, directions, ICE, stupid touch sensitive screens, too many roadsigns, dickheads in Audi's, work matters, health issues or all of these things) means that they often make poor split second decisions that put themselves and others at risk.

My worry with driverless cars is that moving said distracted, switched off, passengers into alert and aware drivers intermittently (and in a relatively short space of time) is, quite frankly, one of the scariest and most reckless things that I have heard suggested for quite some time.  WTF guys? Really? People will not be "aware" of their surroundings, alert, etc and they will more likely quickly get confused, suffer information overload and do something totally fcukwit stupid and unexpected.

Part of this is why I don;t get some people on here who whine on about Lotus having shit ICE and no proper touchscreens and latest tech and gidgets - when I drive my Lotus the ICE is off and I am 100% focused on enjoying and driving my car.  If I'm not in the Lotus I'd be very happy in a driverless automated car as long as I was cocooned in a safety cell, with wifi access to netflix on a 42" screen with champagne and gin in the cooler between the fully adjustable, lie flat seats with an escort (no, not a Ford one) under the sheets and NO access to steering wheels, pedals, controls etc (other than to turn down the aircon and close the blinds!)

Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

The first guy to ride a bull for fun, was a true hero. The second man to follow him was truly nuts!   

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21 hours ago, mdavies said:

Pete, that video of the Tesla illustrates why I want clear external indication when "no human in control". 

I quite like this notion. Until all vehicles on roadways are SD and the infrastructure is built for it (ca 2070?), SD vehicles should have an "idiot light" or some such on top to show when the driver is literally or figuratively asleep at the wheel and the vehicle is "on its own" so I could know to give it a very wide berth. I am not interested in challenging a SD car's algorithms. 😬

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5 hours ago, C8RKH said:

when I drive my Lotus the ICE is off and I am 100% focused on enjoying and driving my ca

Thankfully no ICE in an 84 Esprit. 

Love life. DRIVE your Lotus!

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@C8RKH that's exactly what I mean by people being bad at driving. I have more than 10 years of in depth research time and effort into autonomous driving and safety systems around it. People are bad at maintaining focus on repetitive tasks for long periods. They are worse at staying focused when there is a system that they trust doing that job for them. Not to mention distraction and fatigue.

Trust in a system is easy to gain. A trip or two with no incident will be enough for people to not pay attention anymore and trust the system to a large degree. The only way to keep people engaged is give them a job to do and use a vision based gaze, face and head tracking system to manage the system behaviour and handovers.

Even if you could say (which you definitely can't) that an autonomous car is statistically less likely to have an accident than a human controlled vehicle, I would argue that you can massively improve that statistic by re-injecting humans into the system in a collaborative driving system and also that when a computer does screw something up it tends to be spectacularly bad in scale.

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At the moment, the driver needs to be continuously ready to take action/ control, but if systems continue to progress in their ability to act the way that's needed then at some point their capability will far exceed that of any human at which point the automated vehicles we have seen in movies could become reality.

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I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to ‘drive’ a car where I’m not in complete control of the throttle, brakes and steering.

I worked for a software company and software is always buggy, it’s just that in most applications it’s merely annoying rather than fatal. Add in faulty sensors and it’s a recipe for disaster.

edited to add -

If a driverless car kills a third party who is responsible, the car manufacturer or the person behind the wheel?

 

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10 hours ago, TdM said:

@C8RKH that's exactly what I mean by people being bad at driving. I have more than 10 years of in depth research time and effort into autonomous driving and safety systems around it. People are bad at maintaining focus on repetitive tasks for long periods. They are worse at staying focused when there is a system that they trust doing that job for them. Not to mention distraction and fatigue.

I slightly disagree (as you'd expect lol) but I think we are close when we remove my pedantic view!  People are not generally bad drivers. The problem (which I do agree with you on) is that they are sub-optimal drivers as they do not give driving enough of a priority as they are, at the same time, juggling everything else that is going on in their lives hence the distractions, tiredness etc.  It as a result of tiredness/distractions that most of the "silly/stupid" mistakes are made that result in accidents etc. through losses of concentration etc. I think we agree on that. BUT, my point was, the suggestion was to allow SD under conditions where the driver is expecting to "intervene" at periods to show they are still paying attention. My point is, that is like waking someone up at 0500 in the morning and handing them a complex problem to fix immediately - they will not be "tuned in" to their environment, their surroundings, what is happening around them etc. So they will go into meltdown as their brains try to focus on a huge deluge of critical information that could affect their safety and then so the self protection "natural" human instincts will kick in and flood their body with adrenalin etc.  It's just NOT a viable, justifiable, acceptable, responsible, approach to take. It's bonkers and SD cars will be crashing all over the place.

Again, just my view but the idea originally floated in this thread is just not competent when you seriously look at it.

Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

The first guy to ride a bull for fun, was a true hero. The second man to follow him was truly nuts!   

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Your point is absolutely agreed with. That's why I suggest gaze tracking. A good modern system knows exactly what you are looking at how engaged you are and can even tell your cognitive load at any time, effectively mitigating the issue.

 

Airlines use this for training. The military use this in aircraft and coaches and lorries use it on the roads at the moment. Camden teams even use it after the last tram crash. It's the only way I know of to make sure people are ready and able to take back control quickly.

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Im sure at some point fully autonomous vehicles will happen and will be a good thing for a lot of people, but i cant help picture the effects of some old person (probabley me if im still here) in an old unconnected vehicle and the caos that could be caused 🤣😂

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Make towns and cities Federal entities. Move 98% of the population into them. Provide autonoumus public transport within the town/city and allow no movement of citizens from their base town/city. That way the masses will be kept safe and I can drive my Lotus on empty roads. The problem as they say. Is solved.  :)

 

Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!    

The first guy to ride a bull for fun, was a true hero. The second man to follow him was truly nuts!   

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13 hours ago, C8RKH said:

the suggestion was to allow SD under conditions where the driver is expecting to "intervene" at periods to show they are still paying attention. My point is, that is like waking someone up at 0500 in the morning and handing them a complex problem to fix immediately - they will not be "tuned in" to their environment, their surroundings, what is happening around them etc. So they will go into meltdown

There is some misunderstanding - I should have been clearer.

My premise is "the government motorway lane following thing is in danger of happening" - what to do about it? Probably impossible to stop, hence the need to mitigate its effects for responsible human drivers. Absolutely not that I support it, or that my suggestions would "make it ok". 

I actually suggested a max duration in operation of 10(?) mins;  I meant "or less".  My additional random alerts would happen as well as that max duration - so pretty frequently.  But most importantly, those alerts would NOT be in critical situations - the 0500 issue.  If a critical issue had developed, the normal "genuine alert" would have happened already, quite separately from my attention-getting ones. (That would be a 0500 issue, an unacceptable operational circumstance indeed  - I called it a nonsense.)

So my suggested frequent alerts would arise in the normal "no problem" state.  If the suggested non-trivial reset (forcing care and attention) was not carried out, the reversion to manual control would - of course - not happen instantaneously, but be preceeded by whatever sequence of blaring alarms hopefully sufficient to rattle teeth was operated. Necessary to have anyway.  

The government proposal is far from general "self-driving," so the expert comments  made above about that not being feasible are welcome and I support them. (And endorse them as far as my more general involvement in AI systems makes relevant.)  But I fear the superficially reasonable (to the masses) of the lane-keeping proposal (plus distance-controlled cruise) will allow it to happen. I am trying to raise awareness of the need to mitigate its effects.  I stand by my thoughts of external indication to other drivers and frequent jabs in the ribs of those trying not to drive, as things better to have than not.  Please pitch in with whatever alternatives or improvements you have.

PS: I read today that many more "smart motorway" sections are being planned.  It's all going to happen - we can only try to mitigate things.

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/comment/autonomous-cars-not-safe-enough-roads/?li_source=LI&li_medium=liftigniter-rhr

The link gives the basis of the article by the Telegraph's motoring man, Andrew English. Worth a look even if only the first few paragraphs are visible without a subscription.

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Thank goodness for some sense from Thatcham. Link below under some extracts.

"LONDON (Reuters) - British government plans that could allow self-driving cars on motorways as soon as 2021 would put lives at risk because the available automated technology falls well short of human driving capabilities, UK insurance group Thatcham Research said on Friday.    ……………….

“We don’t believe that this technology adequately addresses what consumers will do and how they’ll use it,” said Thatcham’s research director Matthew Avery. …………….

But Thatcham Research, which is funded by insurers but operates independently, said current technology may not be able to see debris on the road, avoid pedestrians or recognise when a motorway lane is closed. ………….

Avery said. “The technology just isn’t there yet, regardless of what the manufacturers say.” ..…

U.S. researchers have raised similar concerns.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-autos-selfdriving-safety-idUKKBN27738O

 

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PS to the above. Pleased to see that news the top item on one of the Business News summaries that I follow. (Sorry, can't adjust text size).  "Hugely wrong"!  From some others who actually understand!  Made my day.

Plans for cars to drive themselves on UK motorways as soon as 2021 are unlikely to go ahead after insurers warned government proposals were risking lives and "hugely wrong".

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