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driveless cars

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And this is all also assuming the cars are "innocent", aka that they are "just cars" doing car-things.

But it's one thing to have software flaws hitting "cute little computers", it's another thing for a hacker to take down an entire freeway full of driverless cars to prove a point "against the man". A 50 car pileup will put 1,000 people out of work for a day in the backup!

Then there's backdoors that the Powers are putting everywhere - "oh look, you're behind in your payment. Now your car won't start. Have fun trying to earn a paycheck to pay us now!"

Of the two, one (being rear-ended) is clearly not the fault of the driverless car.
-Deozaan (October 14, 2014, 05:36 PM)
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That is true legally.  The truth of rear-ended being not your fault is a little bit murkier.

I think the driverless cars have more to "fear" from other drivers/humans than we have to fear of them.
-Deozaan (October 14, 2014, 05:36 PM)
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As long as we're driving in optimal conditions where there is no construction nor snow nor heavy rain?  Nor anything unexpected that a driver would be able to deal with?

Even google admits that we're not there (in that second part of my post), so why would we think that we are?

Google has been testing driverless cars for years. On real streets. In real traffic.  As far as I know, there have been no accidents/collisions.

(Though the law requires a human in the vehicle, behind the wheel in case anything goes wrong.)
-Deozaan (October 14, 2014, 01:15 PM)
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There have been incidents.  And though they state that they were not the fault of the car.. what else would you expect them to say when there is doubt?

I'm not ready to put my life in their hands.  Either as the passenger, or another driver on the streets.

So Google has good reason to be proud; it is bringing us closer to the day when we'll be able to sit back, relax and do the crossword during our commute. But the company also admits it has a long way to go.

"To provide the best experience we can, we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter," writes Chris Urmson, the driverless car team's Engineering Lead, in a blog post. "For now, our team members will remain in the driver’s seats and will take back control if needed."

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So if people are driving in these conditions- and those statistics are in the 'safer than you' calculation... things become a lot less clear.
-wraith808 (October 14, 2014, 02:14 PM)
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but you already put your life in the hands of technology (eg, your vehicle's electronics) and other drivers' hands

Stoic Joker:
but you already put your life in the hands of technology (eg, your vehicle's electronics) and other drivers' hands-kalos (October 15, 2014, 11:00 AM)
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That's incredibly not the same thing because the "vehicles electronics" are not in involved in the decision making process. They are passively assistive yes (ABS/ESC/etc.), but they are not in control. The current vehicles can't just up and decide that the best course of action is to kill you to save something else that is statistically more relevant.

Current vehicles simply do what you tell them, so the only "gamble" is on hard linked systems transferring driver input to the vehicle properly. Yes there are some Fly-by-Wire systems that have no direct mechanical link, but they are far from the norm...and IMO not to be entirely trusted (like the Toyota Prius' little runaway acceleration issue).

We have people now trying to sue GM because they think the ignition switch is killing people when the vehicle loses power. Frankly I thinks it's total crap because the ignition switch losing power didn't kill anyone...what the driver did next is what got them killed. Sure the control inputs (e.g. steering & breaks) take considerably more effort without the power assist ... But if ones life really does depend on it - Hay call me crazy, but... - I'm thinking a bit more effort just might be warranted...Ya know?

There are many things that can cause a vehicle to lose power, but with hard linked can still maneuver the thing to the side of the road using the available inertia. But in a driverless car...with no available controls you either go sailing right smack dab into what is in front of you with zero restraints. Or toe vehicle mechanically auto stops dead in front of whatever is flying up behind you.

Fairly sure mechanical controls should be legally mandated, and should remain that way even into an era of automatic driving. There's still a rack and pinion mechanism in case power steering fails or the engine quits.

Brakes are usually hydraulic, boosting is done using manifold vacuum and the electronics for ABS control a sequence of pumps and valves to increase or decrease the pressure as needed for traction control.

If anything goes wrong, manual override is your most reliable ticket out of it.

Also, the electronics of current cars can cause accidents if they fail.

For instance if your car's ABS controller shorts out in icy conditions and slams the brakes full-on causing you to skid into a telephone pole. It isn't impossible in many designs, just highly improbable due to careful fail-safe considerations in the design.

I know plenty of people as well who think a car has to be running for the controls to actually do anything. Part of this is urban myth, the other part is that they physically aren't strong enough to generate the required inputs without power assist when the car isn't moving. My grandma might succeed in steering a car that is coasting to a stop after an engine failure, but she'd be lucky to get the brakes to work much at all without manifold vacuum squeezing the booster for her.


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