Autonomous cars - the pros and cons of having them

  TopCat® 12:34 26 Jan 14
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Many car manufacturers are urgently working to produce these vehicles as soon as possible for the masses. I realise that new technology as it applies to these cars is a wondrous thing, but I can't help having some misgivings about seeing them actually on our roads. I also can't ever see myself buying one either.

What are your thoughts on this technology? To help I provide this link to aid in your deliberations. TC

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:21 26 Jan 14

Its long been known that the biggest danger factor for cars is the

"loose nut behind the wheel"

We already have planes (autopilot) and trains (Docklands LR) that fly / drive themselves. they are working on ships that will sail without a crew, cars are the next thing.

Love to see what the insurance claims will be like if there is an incident, will Nissan Robot xyz lose his license after 12 points?

  spuds 14:30 26 Jan 14

Its probably not surprising that there are many test facilities around the world, doing all sorts of motor vehicle development, that the public are not aware about. And that includes for military and warfare use.

I seem to recall not all that long ago, when Top Gear introduced a military 'self drive and navigate' vehicle, which one of the presenter's of that program undertook a challenge across a all-terrain venue to a finishing point. I think the Top Gear presenter only just won the race.

  Mr Mistoffelees 15:51 26 Jan 14

When they have been proven to work on the kinds of roads we have where I live, single track, muddy, pot-holed, limited passing spaces and with horses, dogs, sheep, tractors, bicycles, milk-tankers and anything else that just about fits, then I might think about buying one.

  wiz-king 17:40 26 Jan 14

How do you program the ashtray to empty itself outside the local school while waiting for the rug-rats to turn out?

I watched this the other day, kerbside door opened and an arm appeared at seat level emptied the ashtray into the gutter.- nice!

  Aitchbee 22:30 26 Jan 14

Slightly off topic - but I gather that automatic tractors and various agricultural vehicles [ guided only by satellites, SATNAV etc] are now in common usage by Farmer Giles and that they have only the odd scarecrow or metal-detector-buff to contend with in the fields-of-barley ...

  LastChip 00:42 27 Jan 14

"The Utopian dream of driverless cars on our present roads is just that - a dream!"

Uh? No!

Google already has driver-less cars driving around California so far accident free as far as I'm aware. They simply integrate with existing traffic.

The basics are already in place and have been for years; power steering, ABS brakes, warning sensors etc. It's just a matter of writing reliable software and integrating it mechanically into the existing systems. What used to fill a boot, is now smaller than a home PC. And because it's bespoke software, it's much easier to produce reliability, as you don't have users adding all sorts of peripherals to the vehicle system.

I suspect you'll see them a lot sooner than you think. I also predict that public transport in the form of buses, will inevitably at some point become driver-less. The operators would save hundreds of millions a year in wages when they pull that off and that's a big incentive.

It will happen and once it's recognised as being the coolest new gadget to own, will gain acceptance rapidly.

  spuds 12:34 27 Jan 14

Perhaps off topic, but I recall my local council being involved with a number of ideas that the government and other authorities at that time was experimenting with, in regards to traffic flow, congestion and a variety of other motoring ideas.

Gantry's leading into the city were decked with all sorts of devices, and it was only by public pressure, that part of the story was revealed. Apparently a selected number of councillor's and others were tasked with the experiments that were done over a two year period. The results of those experiments were shelved for future reference. And that was about twenty/thirty years ago, and I would now suspect that some of those experiments and past results have now come to light, vehicle recognition being one?.

It was also muted at the time, that future vehicle tax would be based on vehicles entering an area, so that any funds from that would be diverted to local council's for road improvements, safety or other essential services. Perhaps very similar to charges being raised in London at the present time. So perhaps my own local council had something to do with that, and an idea started all those years ago. Something that the public thought would never be possible in today's environment?.

  oresome 20:10 27 Jan 14

I can certainly see it happening on the major road network and it will be a way of increasing the existing capacity without putting more tarmac down.

Regulate the speed and distance between vehicles and ensure no sudden deviations and we'll all travel along train-like and be able to devote our full attention to the mobile phone or whatever.

Of course we may get like airline pilots who forget how to fly the thing if there's a malfunction.

  amonra 20:42 27 Jan 14

If we get to the stage of driverless cars, of the same basic size and shape, all going at a set regulated speed, then we could put them on a fixed set of guides and call them TRAINS !

  TopCat® 21:53 27 Jan 14

There would have to be some way(s) for the human driver to take instantaneous control in an emergency. I'm thinking of when some normally driven vehicle careers off rapidly into the path of the 'automatic' vehicle.

Having seen recently a photograph in the media of a woman reading the paper whilst the car is shown being driven on autopilot, then I struggle to reason how it could be done in time. Even a 'deadman' pressure switch underfoot, say, would not be quick enough for the human to take evasive action. Other scenarios where superfast human intervention is required readily spring to mind. TC.

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