Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Rob Lister
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Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by Rob Lister »

Google is now publishing a summary of all accidents in which its self-driving have been involved.

http://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/fi ... t-0515.pdf

Easy to read; fairly easy to understand. They could have provided video. Perhaps they might in the future.

They were not at fault in any of the accidents.

But is that enough?

I'm going to ask a tough and potentially unfair question here: Could the AV have avoided any of the accidents?

Example: The AV is stopped at a stoplight. A meat-car is approaching from behind. The AV determines the car is not going to stop in time and will likely collide with the rear of the AV. Should the AV accelerate forward through (or partially through) the intersection in an attempt to prevent or at least reduce the impact?
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by Bruce »

I want to see a video of how the google car handles potholes, especially the potholes on the route I take to and from work. What does google car do when it's approaching a gaping pothole at 65 mph on the freeway when flanked on both sides by traffic?
Such potential!
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by Anaxagoras »

Well, so far anyway, I think it's only being tested in places like Nevada where it rarely ever snows and there aren't many potholes. The technology does rely on a very detailed map, which could in theory also include the locations of potholes. But driving in the snow is not something I think they've tried yet.

As far as accident avoidance, if you are stopped at a stoplight then there could be oncoming traffic, so if you accelerate into the intersection you could cause another accident. Eventually, it would be great to have that sort of functionality, but even just not causing accidents is a pretty good start and an improvement over many human drivers.

You gotta be sure the function at least doesn't make things worse. Baby steps. I'm pretty impressed with what they've done so far, but obviously more can and should be done. An AI that doesn't rely on a 3D map in its memory would be pretty cool. Because, there may be cases where the map is wrong because something has changed. There's a new obstacle in the road say, or a new road sign, lanes closed for work or something like that. This sort of AI would have to be much smarter though. But it exists in science fiction:

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Abdul Alhazred wrote:Even one fatal or seriously injurious accident, and there will be successful agitation to ban it.
fify.

There's no doubt 'agitation' to ban it now among taxi drivers. https://www.google.com/search?q=taxi+dr ... omous+cars

What's in it for the politicians? Tons of cash flowing to them from google or outrage from the upcoming taxi unions? Decisions, decisions.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Abdul Alhazred wrote:As long as it's just taxi drivers, nothing doing.

But what if it's mothers who are afraid their children might be killed?
Rather vague what if, don't ya think?
Because one was, or at least a pedestrian went to the hospital?
? What are you talking about?
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by asthmatic camel »

Probably a lot safer than the fucking awful taxi drivers we have round here.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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I would normally say there's a 100% chance of some kid eventually running in front of one and getting killed. But given what I know thus far of your success rate at making predictions, I'm not so sure now.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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I'm not worried about driving with google cars on an average clear day with average traffic. I'm worried about driving with google cars on a day with terrible weather, or terrible road conditions, or when there's heavy traffic and half are google cars and half are not, or in emergency situations. I have a pretty good idea how a human will react in all of these situation, but I have no idea what a google car will do.

Let's say Google car is driving on a narrow mountain road and is faced with the decision of crashing into a recently fallen boulder or driving off a cliff, for example.

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Abdul Alhazred wrote:As long as it's just taxi drivers, nothing doing.

But what if it's mothers who are afraid their children might be killed?
Because one was, or at least a pedestrian went to the hospital?

Lister hates children. :cry:
Because children never get killed by human drivers?
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by Witness »

Yep, things aren't too bright for robots. Image

[youtube]7A_QPGcjrh0[/youtube]

(For comical relief, as those self-driving car accident reports are a bit boring… for now.)
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Robotic Road Rage? Asshattery? Or just plain happenstance?
Two rival self-driving cars have close call

Absmeier was a passenger in a prototype Audi Q5 crossover vehicle equipped with lasers, radar, cameras and special computer software designed to enable the vehicle to drive itself, with a person at the wheel as a backup.

As the Delphi vehicle prepared to change lanes, a Google self-driving prototype - a Lexus RX400h crossover fitted with similar hardware and software - cut off the Audi, forcing it to abort the lane change, Absmeier said.
http://news.yahoo.com/two-rival-self-dr ... nance.html

That's pretty bad reporting. How many times has this happened to me? Probably twice on any dual-line drive. I'm trying to 'get over' and some asshat in the next lane speeds up to close the gap I was trying to get in. Does he not know I pay taxes for these roads? I bet he did that on purpose!

There is always a cooperation of drivers in merging situations. Generally, speeding up to cut the other guy out isn't nice. But yet we've all done it; maybe we didn't 'notice' he was trying to get in; maybe we 'thought' he was waiting until we got by; maybe we already let two other guys in and now feel it is 'our turn'. Maybe a half-dozen other reasons. Or maybe we're just being an asshat.

Is 'Do No Evil' Google an asshat? Or was Google car just having a bit of fun with a competitor; Machine-sibling rivalry perhaps? Did it chuckle in binary?

At any rate, given the reporting one must assume the Google car had right-of-way, and that is that. Without a video, we can't really call that a close call.

That said, I think Google should include close calls as an addendum to their accident report. Not only the cases wherein they were the hero, but any and all.

ETA: It turns out that Reuters, as usual, enhanced the story a bit.
"I was there for the discussion with Reuters about automated vehicles," she told Ars by e-mail. "The story was taken completely out of context when describing a type of complex driving scenario that can occur in the real world. Our expert provided an example of a lane change scenario that our car recently experienced which, coincidentally, was with one of the Google cars also on the road at that time. It wasn’t a 'near miss' as described in the Reuters story."

"Our car did exactly what it was supposed to," she wrote. "Our car saw the Google car move into the same lane as our car was planning to move into, but upon detecting that the lane was no longer open it decided to terminate the move and wait until it was clear again."
http://arstechnica.com/cars/2015/06/no- ... content%29

Perhaps we need self-driving reporters.
Last edited by Rob Lister on Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by gnome »

Anaxagoras wrote:
Abdul Alhazred wrote:As long as it's just taxi drivers, nothing doing.

But what if it's mothers who are afraid their children might be killed?
Because one was, or at least a pedestrian went to the hospital?

Lister hates children. :cry:
Because children never get killed by human drivers?
Because that kind if logic always stops us from enacting stupid bans.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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So here's the Reuters follow-up story:

http://venturebeat.com/2015/06/26/delph ... ogles-car/
Delphi claims its self-driving car didn’t come close to hitting Google’s car

(Reuters) – Delphi Automotive on Friday offered a new description of an encounter on a California road between one of its prototype self-driving cars and a self-driving vehicle operated by Google, saying “the vehicles didn’t even come close to each other.”

The description differed from Delphi’s original account on Thursday, when a company official told Reuters that a Google self-driving car on Tuesday “cut off” a Delphi self-driving car that was beginning to make a lane change. The incident occurred in Palo Alto, and no collision took place. The official was a passenger in the Delphi vehicle.

To avoid the Google car, the Delphi car “took appropriate action, as it is programmed to do,” the Delphi official said on Thursday. The vehicle’s sensors recognized the presence of the Google car, aborted its move, waited for the Google car to finish its maneuver, then completed its own lane change, he said.

On Friday morning, a Delphi spokeswoman said the Delphi car had seen the Google car move into the lane where it was planning to go. The Delphi car detected “that the lane was no longer open” so it “terminated” the lane change. The cars were about a lane width apart, according to the spokeswoman.

“During a recent visit with Reuters, our Delphi expert described an actual interaction that we encounter all the time in real-world driving situations. In this case, it was a typical lane change maneuver. No vehicle was cut off and the vehicles didn’t even come close to each other,” the Delphi spokeswoman said on Friday afternoon. “Both automated vehicles did exactly what they were supposed to do.”

Google, which had declined to comment on the story on Thursday, issued a brief statement on Friday that said the “two self-driving cars did what they were supposed to do in an ordinary everyday driving scenario.”

A Reuters spokesperson on Friday said the news agency “stands by accuracy of its original story.”
Seems to me like Reuters tried to make a story out of nothing at all here. Maybe the word "cut off" was originally used by Delphi, but it seems that "close call" was all embellishment by Reuters. And what exactly counts as "cut off"? Both cars wanted to change lanes into the same lane at approximately the same time, but apparently the Google car did it first. Is that a "cut off" move? Even if the vehicles never came close to each other?

I guess it proves that the engineers should be extra careful about what they say when talking to reporters so as not to give a wrong impression. OTOH, maybe the reporter knew it was bullshit but needed something to put into the headline otherwise who would even bother to read the story (or reprint it)? So he intentionally took a few liberties to make it more interesting? There would probably be some temptation to do that, wouldn't there.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Anax wrote: guess it proves that the engineers should be extra careful about what they say when talking to reporters so as not to give a wrong impression.
Maybe engineers should avoid the press altogether.

While it is true that Reuters didn't overtly lie, they certainly lied by omission. Even in my original take on the article before I knew the truth of the matter it was pretty clear that something was missing from the story ... it just didn't jive.

But ...

They wanted sensationalism, and now they have it. This latest installment of Reuters Embellishment is the talk of the tech web.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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June report is out.
http://static.googleusercontent.com/med ... t-0615.pdf

Links at that link might be at interest. Particularly ...


Ted Talk on what the driving through the eyes of a google car.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Rob Lister wrote:
Abdul Alhazred wrote:As long as it's just taxi drivers, nothing doing.

But what if it's mothers who are afraid their children might be killed?
Rather vague what if, don't ya think?
Because one was, or at least a pedestrian went to the hospital?
? What are you talking about?
Lister hates children. :cry:
I don't hate mine so much.
You make 'em watch the Homesman?
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Image

1 Woman in electric wheelchair chasing
2 a duck.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by ed »

gnome wrote:
Anaxagoras wrote:
Abdul Alhazred wrote:As long as it's just taxi drivers, nothing doing.

But what if it's mothers who are afraid their children might be killed?
Because one was, or at least a pedestrian went to the hospital?

Lister hates children. :cry:
Because children never get killed by human drivers?
Because that kind if logic always stops us from enacting stupid bans.
Car hits a kid. Who gets sued? Suppose the car makes a decision that causes it to hit a kid. Vehicular manslaughter. Who gets gone after?
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Drivers must carry liability insurance. Seems plausible to make sure that the owners of self-driving cars do the same. If they're made good enough, as an insurance company I'd write policies for that.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Perhaps eventually at considerably lower rates than for human drivers.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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I don't know if you're trying to jump sharks, but you're jumping sharks.

In reality ...

At the Ted Talk linked above, they talk about the two directions being sought by Google and [everybody else]. Everybody else is going the Computer Assisted Human route. Only Google is going the autonomous route. The TedTalk guy says that the two technologies will not (can not) converge and that the CAH route will dead end. He even showed the math ... for what it's worth. Logically, it made sense.

In the CAH route, liability would be somewhat shared, I suppose. In the autonomous mode, I don't know.

They are now on city streets, lots of people, pets, construction, cops, women in electric wheelchairs chasing ducks, and it does well. The complexity is astounding. But they pull it off.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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I bet someone once made the same argument about cars.

The government will ban them the first time someone's child is killed by one of those loud, obnoxious things. Besides, they scare the horses.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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People sue for crazy shit all the time. Sometimes they even unjustly win something. Why state the obvious, Abdul?

And sure, at some point there's going cases where some software or hardware glitch causes some autonomous car to fuck up and kill someone. And some small subset of those cases will be cases where any below average human driver probably would not have made that fuck-up.

And sure, they will get [rightfully] sued for that too. And sure, they'll settle for an ungodly amount of money.

And the roads still must roll.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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↑ A variant of the Potemkin village! :P
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Planet money podcast on the Google car.
There's a transcript if listening isn't your thing.

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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That brings to mind some of the potential problems that will be encountered.
There will likely be some Luddist attacks from professional drivers: truck drivers, taxi drivers, limo drivers, bus drivers, etc.
Automatic driving would eliminate all of those jobs, naturally.
And therefore I think resistance from those quarters in inevitable.

How do you prevent self-driving vehicles from being vandalized?

I have this vision of what would be the most efficient eventual place to get to: Nobody owns a car anymore. Not because it's illegal to own one, just why would you? You don't need to own your own. A few people might still own one just as some people still own horses, but it's not a necessity anymore. It's much cheaper and less hassle to not own one. Instead whenever you need to go somewhere you just hail a public car or Johnny Cab with your smartphone or smart watch or neural implant, whatever. The only problem with this model I can see is, what if people vandalize the public cars? The losers here are the professional drivers. 98% of people win, but the 2% of losers can ruin it for the 98%. In France, taxi drivers rioted against Uber. I assume they would use violent means against the automatic cars too.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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It will be decades before they're allowed to truly be autonomous. And even then not everywhere.

Hell, you can't even pump your own gas in some states even today.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Exactly.

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Rob Lister wrote:It will be decades before they're allowed to truly be autonomous. And even then not everywhere.

Hell, you can't even pump your own gas in some states even today.
If the technology can prove its safety though -- by which I mean prove that it's at least an order of magnitude safer than manual driving -- it's at least conceivable that there would be a public demand to allow it, or even to make it mandatory. Some forward-thinking city could be the pioneer of this model, and depending on how successful it is, people would come to demand it.

There's a difference with full-service gas stations: nobody dies because of full-service gas stations. The difference isn't big enough to motivate a mass movement for self-serve. The advocacy campaign practically writes itself: every family, every child that dies in a car accident is a potential poster child for adopting the technology. Vandals except for very determined ones could be deterred with cameras and alarms. After a period of adjustment they would probably throw in the towel and accept the inevitable.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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Anaxagoras wrote:That brings to mind some of the potential problems that will be encountered.
There will likely be some Luddist attacks from professional drivers: truck drivers, taxi drivers, limo drivers, bus drivers, etc.
Automatic driving would eliminate all of those jobs, naturally.
And therefore I think resistance from those quarters in inevitable.

How do you prevent self-driving vehicles from being vandalized?

I have this vision of what would be the most efficient eventual place to get to: Nobody owns a car anymore. Not because it's illegal to own one, just why would you? You don't need to own your own. A few people might still own one just as some people still own horses, but it's not a necessity anymore. It's much cheaper and less hassle to not own one. Instead whenever you need to go somewhere you just hail a public car or Johnny Cab with your smartphone or smart watch or neural implant, whatever. The only problem with this model I can see is, what if people vandalize the public cars? The losers here are the professional drivers. 98% of people win, but the 2% of losers can ruin it for the 98%. In France, taxi drivers rioted against Uber. I assume they would use violent means against the automatic cars too.
They can be equipped with smart guns or lasers so they can defend themselves. Eesy Peesy.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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If superior safety can be proven, I could see them making it mandatory some day. Same reason that airbags have been mandatory on all new vehicles since 1998. It adds to the overall cost but saves lives. If cars could be made without airbags, they could probably be a few thousand dollars cheaper.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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People will never give up the control.

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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July report is out.

One accident. Bad enough that folks went to the hospital. Distracted driver once again rear-ends the AV. 17mph.


http://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/fi ... t-0715.pdf
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

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I bike faster than 17 MPH.

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Shit. That's going to end up in your sig." – Pyrrho
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by Rob Lister »

http://wayner.org/node/124
This demonstrates that city traffic jams are mostly a matter of the lack of parking.
Click the box labelled "Send Cars" to start the simulation. Each city block has 5 spaces. Watch what happens as they fill up.

Self driving cars would be cheap enough that it would make buying one's own car non- cost effective. No need to ever park. There is a matter of scheduling pickup but folks have been flagging down cabs for a century now.
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Anaxagoras
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by Anaxagoras »

Rob Lister wrote:http://wayner.org/node/124
This demonstrates that city traffic jams are mostly a matter of the lack of parking.
Click the box labelled "Send Cars" to start the simulation. Each city block has 5 spaces. Watch what happens as they fill up.

Self driving cars would be cheap enough that it would make buying one's own car non- cost effective. No need to ever park. There is a matter of scheduling pickup but folks have been flagging down cabs for a century now.
Yeah, what I was trying to say earlier. In theory at least I think transportation could be orders of magnitude more efficient if you get rid of the private cars. You wouldn't need parking spaces, or at least not as many. When the car drops you off it doesn't park, instead it goes to pick up someone else. And if all cars were automatic, traffic congestion could be a thing of the past. It's very utopian.

You remember learning to march in boot camp? Normal people who haven't learned how to march wait for the person ahead of them in line to start moving but with marching everyone is supposed to start at the same time. Automation could make the traffic flow at intersections much more efficient like that. Cars could all start moving at the same time instead of half a second after the car ahead of them moves. It all adds up to you getting from point A to point B in much less time than it used to.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by DrMatt »

Socialist
Grayman wrote:If masturbation led to homosexuality you'd think by now I'd at least have better fashion sense.
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Rob Lister
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by Rob Lister »

DrMatt wrote:Socialist
Actually, Commutist. :)
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car Accident Reports

Post by hammegk »

Witness wrote:↑ A variant of the Potemkin village! :P
So is the entire USA.