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Old 03-19-2018, 10:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Autonomous vehicles..

Autonomous vehicles..

It's the inexorable march of progress i'm afraid.
Inevitably in time we will all be in faceless soulless electric Google pods or the Amazon/Facebook equivalent. You call one up on your phone when needed, and it whisks you in bored apathy to Tesco's or some other unremarkable destination, whilst debiting your account to the tune of 99p a mile and giving Mr Zuckerberg or whatever he is called an extra few billion. .. .

It might not be in my lifetime, but if you are under 40 it might well be in yours. In a couple of generations we will wonder what all the fuss with privately owned cars was about.
Every species or invention be it a spiny anteater, cathode ray television or a Ford Focus has its day.
Once it's habitat/road food/petrol has disappeared it becomes extinct. Something better, more efficient, or cheaper comes along and it's sayonara to the old poorly built rubbish we had before...

Humans are such a dangerous random factor in driving that they will soon be priced off the road by crippling insurance as the autonomous vehicles share increases.
Governments will legislate to promote them, and insurance companies will hike up human driver prices to stratospheric levels for the diehards and classic car owners who refuse to go down without a fight. You haven't seen anything yet, so lube up that 3 bearing crankshaft and bend over.

Telematics (the black box in the car that watches your every move) will shortly be compulsory for Mr & Mrs Average (even if driven by pricing alone) banging another nail into the petrolhead coffin. Insurance with telematics 250, without 2500. 5 seconds of spirited driving or harsh braking (someone pulling out in front of you) will mean Insurance cancelled or 1000 extra premium thank you very much. It won't be our finest hour according to the Churchill Insurance dog, but it will be the beginning of the end of our independence and privacy. You won't be able to go anywhere in a car/pod without it being recorded in minute easily searchable web stalking detail. .

Classics cars will live on silently in dull museums on old British car plant brownfield sites, frequented mainly by men over 40, with collars turned up shuffling embarrassingly amongst the exhibits as if they were in a 1970's high street porn shop.
Some cars will be trailered to track days or shows by the obstinate and wealthy for the last twichings of the dying corpse of being a petrolhead.

Petrol will again revert to being something you can only buy at the chemists for 50 a litre in brown paper bags to hide your socially unacceptable addiction to 20w/50 oil fumes and mechanical crapness. Our 120 year old love affair with the car as we know it will be over even before the fat lady sings..
The oil industry will contract to pre internal combustion levels as petrol and plastics feel the might of Mumsnet, social networking and Google, there won't be a petrol station or cling film wrapped bio-engineered apple on a polystyrene tray in all the land..

Welcome to the second half of the 21st century, it's just around the corner, like your Google pod which will be with you in 2 minutes according to the App.

'Thank you for your holding, your journey is important to us (our bottom line). Unfortunately we are experiencing high customer demand for pods today. You are number 1,984 in the queue. Why not miss that hospital chemotherapy appointment and rebook your journey for a later time.

Please hold to be taken back to the middle ages and a 1974 Austin Allegro will be dispatched to convey you to your destination in no safety or comfort whatsoever. Please note journeys in an Austin Allegro are not guaranteed to be completed.

Your statutory rights and entitlements will be completely usurped and walked over by our policies.

Press # Hash to see what a mess the government is making of the transport system.

Press 1 to listen to a patronising message from our glorious leader and chief sponsor Elon Musk..

Press 2 to sink back into self loathing and depression about not doing anything to stop the tide of 'progress' and sweeping away of privacy twenty years ago.

Thank you for choosing to travel with FacePod today.. '
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Autonomous vehicles..

It's the inexorable march of progress i'm afraid.
Inevitably in time we will all be in faceless soulless electric Google pods or the Amazon/Facebook equivalent.

Thank you for choosing to travel with FacePod today.. '
I completely agree, but I think you are identifying one aspect of a more general problem - the general loss of individual liberty.

The march toward individual liberty started at a little English meadow, Runny Mead, in 1215 and continued here in July 1776. Neither effort was perfect, but they were a start.

So - individual liberty is only 800 years old, a mere moment in the history of mankind. We have actually been losing our individual liberty for a while now. I personally mark the height of individual liberty to some year around the mid thirties before WW2. It is the accelerating pace of technology which has made it seem like a recent phenomenon, and perhaps is accelerating that loss. Eventually technology will make most of mankind obsolete and valueless, so who is serving whom?

I don't see anything changing much until the lemming awake and start to fight back. Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." In the end we'll have neither.
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think this is where we are heading...

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Old 03-19-2018, 03:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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likely a setback:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.b10512bc04ec
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Not much. After all, “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident,” a company spokeswoman said.

Those "local authorities" after seeing the Uber risk/reward presentation will get back on the ball pretty quickly
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Minor setback only but unfortunate.

How many people have been killed in car accidents so far (Millions worldwide no doubt)
How many by self driving cars. (1)

I'm sure there will be a few more along the way but such will be the detailed analysis of these incidents that the algorithms in the software will be honed for decades to come.

Death in car accidents will inevitably plummet as humans are removed from the equation..
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'll agree with some parts but disagree on a few others.

It isn't from a sheer/raw technological PoV .. it's more along the details .. or consequences of such implementations.

- - - - - Liability

For a true autonomous driving vehicle .. that more than likely will require the car company to legally assume liability for everything and anything the car ever does .. That is a rather big bite for them to swallow.

If the car has to choose between killing Person A or Killing Person B .. either choice it makes gives a wrongful death law suit to the victims families .. but against not little me (who they can get little from), but the giant piggy bank of the bigger company they could potentially get $Billions.

Right now, the companies can and do still shield themselves behind the wall of the human 'driver' is still liable .. If Tesla runs over and kills people, Tesla is not directly attacked .. They can still legally point the liability finger at the driver .. If/when it is 100% driverless, and completely autonomous they don't have that shield anymore .. The driver no longer has any control, it is 100% the companies computer system in control making all the choices.

This puts not only a shield to protect those companies .. but it also sets financial limits to the punishments .. a financial 'punishment' to me as an individual just goes after my own net worth .. but a financial 'punishment' to a large company like google , goes after google's net worth .. which sense they have such vastly larger net worth .. a 10% punishment to me is not the same $ amount as a 10% punishment to Google .. also higher $ amounts begin to set a legal precedent .. each case they loose (for the entire history of the company) makes it that much easier for them to loose another .. each time they have to pay out $1Billion in punitive fine, the easier it is to win the next one.

If I spill hot coffee on just one person, sure they can sue me personally .. attacking my own net worth .. or when someone acting on half of McDonals spills hot coffee on just one person, that one person can sue McDonald and actually have a jury award them a $2.8 Million from McDonalds .. I don't have $2.8 million there is no possible way for them to get that much from me as a person .. but they do have a chance to get it from a multi-billion dollar giant like McDonalds .. and that wasn't with any deaths or such.

It isn't about if the autonomous car would statistically cause less over all accidents or deaths .. It's about who's net worth will get attacked in the law suits when things do happen .. Who pays those bills/fines .. right now the drive does .. in a autonomous driving car, the car company who made it does.

I expect making that leap .. and actually opening the company up to that kind of liability .. will be a very very hard sell to make in a board room.

- - - - - - Automotive history of slowness to change

The automotive industry does make improvements .. but it doesn't improve as fast as say computers .. or cell phones.

Even when the scientific and technological ability to make improvements just as fast as those other fields is there .. as an industry .. the automotive market has historically always dragged their feet , and done so very slowly.

This is partially because individual cars are more expensive than individual cell phones .. there isn't the same rate of turn over.

It is also because of the required infrastructure/supply chain needed for a modern car .. Toyota doesn't make their own steel from rocks , nor tires, nor paint, etc .. they have supply chain contracts with others .. who in turn have supply chain contracts with others .. etc.

It is also because of the mind set of the management of the automotive companies.

It is is also a deliberate effort to make the most $$$ .. It is in their best interest to make each incremental next model year improvement .. be as tiny as possible .. only just large enough to compete with their competing companies , who also are doing similar tiny incremental changes .. even if they have the means and such to skip past say version 8 and go right to all the improvements of a version 10 .. they very rarely do so .. they instead sell version 8 or 3-4 years .. than version 9 for 3-4 years .. etc .. or at least that seems to have been the historical trend.

- - - - - - Consumer turn over

I drive an 18 year old car .. that isn't the norm .. but it demonstrates how slow parts of the automotive market are to 'turn over' .. Even if something as drastic as tomorrow every car company on the planet completely stopped making any non-autonoumous car at all .. it would still take another 10-15 years after that to make a turn over of even just the majority of cars on the road .. and more like 20-30 years for 'nearly all of them' (like ~2 standard deviations worth) .. And right now, there are ZERO on the market .. it is most likely, like any new feature it will roll out in small incremental steps little by little .. which only means that reaching the every car on the road is autonomous stage is realistically more than at least 50 years away .. and could be more than 100 years away.

- - - - - People might not accept it at all ever

The U.S. has clearly demonstrated how much and how long they are fighting against converting over to the metric system .. as simple of a sell as that should be .. process toward complete adoption in the US has been extremely slow , even after many decades of effort .. serious / major adoption (as far as I can tell) has only happened in small/tny pockets of the population like hard core science and engineering fields.

We could all be living in factory built trailers .. better insulated .. cheaper .. safer .. etc .. etc .. but the general public has just not embraced that .. there are tiny pockets only .. the vast majority reject it .. no matter what the functional benefits might be.

- - - - - - - Competing trend toward tele-presence.

I don't need an autonomous driving car to take me to a job .. if I telecommute.

I don't need an autonomous driving car to take me to the grocery store .. if they deliver what I order .. maybe even with face time like app , I could even see the produce myself from the comfort of my own home.

TV .. YouTube .. Phone calls .. Face Time .. Pea-Pod .. On-Line Shopping .. etc .. etc.

We are also simultaneously improving out technology to actually need to travel ourselves , less and less .. for anything.

These developments remove / reduce the value of such personal transportation devices that any vehicle .. including autonomous ones have .. They move more and more away from 'function' (need to travel for x,y,z) .. and more and more toward fun/recreation (don't need to travel at all), enjoy/want to do that travel .. just like our pet dogs/cats/etc , they used to be almost entirely functional parts of our society, now they are almost entirely fun/recreational .. yet we have more of them then we did when they were 'functional' .. our houses on average are much much bigger than they were, not for 'function' , but just for fun/recreation .. etc .. etc.
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Old 03-20-2018, 02:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So interestingly the US style sue everyone for everything system we Brits hate might forestall the arrival of truly autonomous vehicles.. Some good points there.. Maybe we are not doomed quite yet.. I did mention two generations.

Perhaps prising human driven cars from the grasp of citizens will be like prising guns from them. i.e. virtually impossible in some places like the US and only practicable from their cold dead hands. ..

In the UK we are a fairly weak lot with few common goals and only tut loudly at stuff we don't like. We generally roll over and take whatever the government wants to shafts us with..
Perhaps we won't with personal transport and the time for rebellion is upon us..
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Old 03-20-2018, 10:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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So interestingly the US style sue everyone for everything system we Brits hate might forestall the arrival of truly autonomous vehicles.. Some good points there.. Maybe we are not doomed quite yet.. I did mention two generations.
Yes indeed, American law. Ian has found the one powerful delaying factor.


My TV buzzes every night with lawyer ads showing wrecks caused by large trucks. The message is clear. With something like a 40% payoff for the law firm, they are keenly interested in finding the deep pockets of corporations. Nader and his attack on rear engine cars caused a flurry of law suits which essentially killed rear engine cars from American manufacturers. If Uber has any American interests, then they may well be dead as we speak.

In addition, other corporations which have joint interests in the self driving projects, will also be hit. Looks pretty good for us Luddites
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Guns are another good example .. possible in some places .. virtually impossible in others.

'dry' or alcohol-free is another good example .. possible in come places .. virtually impossible in others.

- - - -

If being a driver, does not make that kind of transition .. to one of those kinds of things .. then I would expect the only other thing to prevent it from eventually happening would be if the tele-presense grows/develops faster.

- - - -

Baring it becoming one of those kind of things .. and if tele-presense stuff stalls or slows down drastically .. then I would expect autonomous driving will eventually happen one little step by one little step , slowly over the next ~100 or so years .. But, it is far from certain it will overcome such competing technologies.
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