Autonomous cars? I think not

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Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby fat and old » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:01 am

From the Age

Uber suspends autonomous vehicles after self-driving car kills woman

San Francisco: A woman crossing a street was killed by an Uber self-driving sport utility vehicle in Arizona, police said on Monday, leading the ride services company to suspend its autonomous vehicle program across the US and Canada.

The accident in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe marked the first fatality from a self-driving vehicle, which are being tested around the globe, and could derail efforts to fast-track the introduction of the new technology.

The vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel at the time of the accident, which occurred overnight Sunday to Monday, Tempe police said.

..............The vehicle involved in the accident was a Volvo, a person familiar with the matter said. Local television footage of the scene showed a crumpled bike and a Volvo XC90 SUV with a smashed-in front.............


Seems they still don't see bikes? I thought autonomous cars were the answer to our problems??

https://www.theage.com.au/world/europe/ ... 4z560.html

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby march83 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:54 am

In the entire history of the world, 1 person has been killed by an autonomous car and it's a failure. There were probably hundreds killed by human drivers just in 1 day yesterday.
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:04 am

It's a little early since we don't yet know what actually happened. I've already read news with conflicting information.

It's sad, any such death is.

I think in longer term we will see death and injury rates plummet to 1% of current levels when self drive vehicles are ubiquitous.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:11 am

march83 wrote:In the entire history of the world, 1 person has been killed by an autonomous car and it's a failure. There were probably hundreds killed by human drivers just in 1 day yesterday.

In the State of Arizona (location of Uber testing) 952 people were killed as a result of motor vehicle incidents in 2016.

In the USA, over 100 people per day die as a result of motor vehicle incidents.

835 cyclists died in the USA as a result of motor vehicle incidents in 2016. 31 in Arizona.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby bychosis » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:15 am

When it comes down to it physics says that if you suddenly dart out in front of a couple of tonnes of steel, no matter how good the controls, sometimes it can’t stop.

I’ll reserve judgement on the autonomous car until further details provided. Could be an error in the ‘software’, could be an error from the cyclist.
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby MichaelB » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:30 am

and continuing on from others ...

It could just be a tragic learning data set. All good ideas/inventions/systems get developed by testing (drugs, medical advances, accelerated bridge construction, dams, water treatment etc, etc) and sometimes, there are errors.

It's sad and upsetting when people are impacted, but, then we could all be luddites.

As others have said, not enough detail to make a judgment leap.

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And before we really cane Autonomous cars (maybe they are not the full solution, but an aid ?), how many people get killed by guns in the USA ...... And that's WILLING acts of violence :?: :|

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby bychosis » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:55 am

MichaelB wrote:...how many people get killed by guns in the USA ...... And that's WILLING acts of violence :?: :|

Don't be ridiculous. It's not a willing act. It is mental health that causes it. Thoughts and prayers will fix the problem. :roll: :roll:

At least autonomous cars can be reprogrammed relatively easily.
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Jmuzz » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:05 am

It's too early for details.
But there are suggestions that it was in manual override human control at the time, which is basically just any modern high end driver assist car.

Even if it was under computer control, it did have a human with an emergency override button (brake pedal) so it's both human and computer failure.

Quite likely his is just a beatup and it was a normal manual control car at the time.
Details will emerge over the week.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby MichaelB » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:32 am

bychosis wrote:
MichaelB wrote:...how many people get killed by guns in the USA ...... And that's WILLING acts of violence :?: :|

Don't be ridiculous. It's not a willing act. It is mental health that causes it. Thoughts and prayers will fix the problem. :roll: :roll:

At least autonomous cars can be reprogrammed relatively easily.


Actually, isn't the solution more guns ? That's what many believe ... :shock: :roll:

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Tequestra » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:17 pm

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-20/u ... sh/9565586

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I wonder if the software driving the SUV was somehow confused by the bicycle the woman was pushing and perhaps presumed that she would not change her trajectory at the crosswalk quite as abruptly as someone on foot pushing the bike without the certainty of gyroscopics? I know it is impossible to tell without seeing some footage of the crash, of which there seems to be none if it was not in the ABC article linked above.

What would make these newfangled autonomous four-wheel gadgets more acceptable to good American citizens would be some kind of maximum allowed nett weight, encouraging lightweight, narrow wheelspan electric-powered vehicles of under 200kg or so. This would mean that being runover by an autonomous car not need be much more fatal than being bumped into by the average adult American on the sidewalk. Injuries would likely be less injurious than what just happened in Phoenix, Arizona with that big hunk of junk.

What worries me is that was something like that to occur, then it would not take too much mission-creep before it was made illegal in the interests of public safety for human-controlled electric vehicles to drive or ride on public roads ... :?

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby march83 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:31 pm

Tequestra wrote:it is impossible to tell without seeing some footage of the crash, of which there seems to be none


Uber will have footage and heuristics. They will be able to figure out exactly what happened here. Doubtful that they're going to release the data, but it exists and they will learn from it.

What would make these newfangled autonomous four-wheel gadgets more acceptable to good American citizens would be some kind of maximum allowed nett weight, encouraging lightweight, narrow wheelspan electric-powered vehicles of under 200kg or so. This would mean that being runover by an autonomous car not need be much more fatal than being bumped into by the average adult American on the sidewalk. Injuries would likely be less injurious than what just happened in Phoenix, Arizona with that big hunk of junk.

What worries me is that was something like that to occur, then it would not take too much mission-creep before it was made illegal in the interests of public safety for human-controlled electric vehicles to drive or ride on public roads ... :?



California decided they didn't want this fleet operating within their state, but Arizona invited them. There could be political backlash. It's understandable to be critical of Uber for testing private technology on public roads, socializing the risk while privatizing the profits so to speak, but without that opportunity there simply isn't enough opportunity to collect data and test - restricting Uber and other private companies would probably set the industry back significantly and delay the inevitable positives that will eventually be reached. Something about the impossibility of making omelettes without breaking eggs comes to mind, but terribly tragic for the family involved that it is their sacrifice, not Uber's...
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Tequestra » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:03 pm

march83 wrote:... restricting Uber and other private companies would probably set the industry back significantly and delay the inevitable positives that will eventually be reached.


Thank you for such a quick reply, March83. There seems to be politics in almost everything thesedays. It has been written before that the big wheels in Detroit making money from big yank tank sales like to keep on friendly terms with their politicians. No doubt this fuels the legacy of Henry Ford still, even though the whole concept of some 'horseless-carriage' was flawed from the beginning, if only with the benefit of hindsight and modern electrical engineering.

The size of the horseless-carriage was scaled to the size of a horse, not a human. The size of the motor was a large contributing factor to the massive size of our personal transport in the twentieth century. Now though, with new battery and brushless motor technology available online, it would not take someone with the right welder, 3-D printer and a lathe to build a complete, roadworthy small electric, waterproof four-wheeler in their garage for somewhere not far north of ten grand,

Uber et al. are restricting themselves by their narrowminded, outdated 1914 Henry Ford belief in heavy metal SUVs that unfortunately kill people with they encounter a bug in the software and flatten them. There is no need any longer for most people in the big cities to rely on such old-fashioned transportation now. Perhaps one reason is plain old safety, due to all the heavy metal vehicles on the roads. If you'll excuse the pun, there will need to be some point of 'critical mass' when enough of the population have adapted to lightweight electric personal transportation so that the trend becomes the norm'.

Maybe right now it would be looked upon as bad marketing to be filmed testing lightweight vehicles in public, because of the public's love affair with their big cars? I am sure that these fellows have worked out by now that the only reason that people need such heavy vehicles is to feel safe in the event of a collision with other heavy vehicles. I just hope that this world can make that next evolutionary step as soon as possible and let Mr Ford rest in peace, and start driving, (or riding in if AI controlled), small, lightweight, efficient, electric cars that do not squash people that they run into because they are not heavy enough.
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby MichaelB » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:11 pm

Tequestra wrote: .... Now though, with new battery and brushless motor technology available online, it would not take someone with the right welder, 3-D printer and a lathe to build a complete, roadworthy small electric, waterproof four-wheeler in their garage for somewhere not far north of ten grand,

....


Able to do, yes.

For $10k. Very much doubt it.

Safe and suitable for use in public. Not a chance in hell.


Not yet anyway.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Jmuzz » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:15 pm

I agree they have made things hard for themselves by using "regular" SUV's with bad pedestrian impact ratings.
A sedan will at least hake the legs out then they hit the windscreen at a reduced speed and that has some give. Looking at the SUV picture it has just delivered the full force blow to the torso with its high bonnet.

A "futuristic" bubble car with angled front and even designed with some soft plastic/foam pedestrian crumple would greatly reduce their risk of being involved in a pedestrian/cyclist fatality. Which has always been bound to happen eventually, even when car does everything right it is possible for kid to run out between parked cars 2m in front of car etc.

The original Waymo car looks to be that design.For whatever reason they have moved away to regular car styling.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Tequestra » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:30 pm

MichaelB wrote:For $10k. Very much doubt it.

Parts only. Labour is DIY, of course.
Safe and suitable for use in public. Not a chance in hell.

Not yet anyway.

I can only think primarily because of the hazard of impact with heavy vehicles. I did not include an airbag system in the rough calculation above. Just lights, indicators, horn, radio. If the width can be kept under 750mm, it wouldn't need registration in Western Australia anyway ... not yet anyway. :wink:

Thanks Jmuzz too for your reply. I wish it was a less tragic event to have such a nice discussion on a morning like this. Have a Happy Tuesday.
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:53 pm

More info:
https://www.sfgate.com/business/article ... 11286f4b07

Pushing a bicycle laden with plastic shopping bags, a woman abruptly walked from a center median into a lane of traffic and was struck by a self-driving Uber operating in autonomous mode.

“The driver said it was like a flash, the person walked out in front of them,” said Sylvia Moir, police chief in Tempe, Ariz., the location for the first pedestrian fatality involving a self-driving car. “His first alert to the collision was the sound of the collision.”
...
From viewing the videos, “it’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway,” Moir said. The police have not released the videos.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby MichaelB » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:49 pm

Tequestra wrote:
MichaelB wrote:For $10k. Very much doubt it.

Parts only. Labour is DIY, of course.
Safe and suitable for use in public. Not a chance in hell.

Not yet anyway.

I can only think primarily because of the hazard of impact with heavy vehicles. I did not include an airbag system in the rough calculation above. Just lights, indicators, horn, radio. If the width can be kept under 750mm, it wouldn't need registration in Western Australia anyway ... not yet anyway. :wink:

...


Parts may be, but then you still need the equipment to make it, materials and knowledge. No-one with that sort of backyard equipment and skills exists ... or do they.

So, no safety equipment ? ADR's are a key requirement as far as I know re registration, so still think it's a snowballs chance in hell. If it has more than two wheels (or is it three ?) it needs emissions testing, and that ain't cheap.

Maybe theoretically possible, but not realistic.

Anyway, back to the topic.

Autonomous or not, some things cannot be prevented.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Strawburger » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:58 pm

A few things to remember:

There will always be a first. There was a first pedestrian death back in 1896 with the human operated cars.

Deaths from vehicles these days are "accepted as normal". That is, unless a person knows or is related to the person who died in a vehicle collision, the death is accepted as something that can happen to anyone (anyone seen the TAC video of what is acceptable? https://youtu.be/X-Y7K2aHqDA). It took years of lobbying from the motoring organisations to change the laws to be in their favour and perceptions of their vehicles become acceptable

The vehicles that are testing autonomy are large and heavy. Once these vehicles are developed, these will be more nimble and agile and will be able to respond to quick movements from objects (people) around the machines

Yes it is a tragedy, but let's not write it off the technology straight away
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Thoglette » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:03 pm

Strawburger wrote:It took years of lobbying from the motoring organisations to change the laws to be in their favour


This matches my research. The fights that are going on for strict liability and to decriminalise "Jaywalking" and "dinking" are merely trying to push the pendulum back. To counteract the weight of the motoring lobby that's skewed our whole legal and economic system.
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Strawburger » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:04 pm

Jmuzz wrote:I agree they have made things hard for themselves by using "regular" SUV's with bad pedestrian impact ratings.
A sedan will at least hake the legs out then they hit the windscreen at a reduced speed and that has some give. Looking at the SUV picture it has just delivered the full force blow to the torso with its high bonnet.

A "futuristic" bubble car with angled front and even designed with some soft plastic/foam pedestrian crumple would greatly reduce their risk of being involved in a pedestrian/cyclist fatality. Which has always been bound to happen eventually, even when car does everything right it is possible for kid to run out between parked cars 2m in front of car etc.

The original Waymo car looks to be that design.For whatever reason they have moved away to regular car styling.


The waymo car won't be able to hold up in a collision with a regular car. That is why you are seeing these big cars/trucks used in trials. It's not for safety with crashing the driverless car, rather the passengers surviving the impact of a wayward human operated car
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Strawburger » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:07 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Tequestra wrote:
MichaelB wrote:For $10k. Very much doubt it.

Parts only. Labour is DIY, of course.
Safe and suitable for use in public. Not a chance in hell.

Not yet anyway.

I can only think primarily because of the hazard of impact with heavy vehicles. I did not include an airbag system in the rough calculation above. Just lights, indicators, horn, radio. If the width can be kept under 750mm, it wouldn't need registration in Western Australia anyway ... not yet anyway. :wink:

...


Parts may be, but then you still need the equipment to make it, materials and knowledge. No-one with that sort of backyard equipment and skills exists ... or do they.

So, no safety equipment ? ADR's are a key requirement as far as I know re registration, so still think it's a snowballs chance in hell. If it has more than two wheels (or is it three ?) it needs emissions testing, and that ain't cheap.

Maybe theoretically possible, but not realistic.

Anyway, back to the topic.

Autonomous or not, some things cannot be prevented.


One driverless car costs upward of $1m at current market rates. Trust me, I priced one for a trial only yesterday. The car alone is only $50k. The tech and the calibration is where the money disappears.

Prices will come down, just like the personal computer did from the 70's to today.
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Jmuzz » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:16 pm

Strawburger wrote:The waymo car won't be able to hold up in a collision with a regular car.


Yeah but a bigger version would.
They could even take a standard SUV or large van chassis and refit the front end for maximum pedestrian survivability.

They will probably be thinking of that now in hindsight since the PR damage is going to hurt progress for years.

Unfortunately every day of delayed progress is lives lost and broken.
103 deaths a day in USA, far higher serious injury rate.
Machines may fail and still be in Beta, but it's hard to do a worse job than human drivers are doing.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby sogood » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:22 pm

As for all the bashing from the news story, as Alex pointed out, people have jumped the gun. The facts in that SFgate report is most timely.

Autonomous cars, definitely a big future in my books, just like auto-pilots and numerous other 'auto' advances. When tuned, the multiple sensors implemented have a far better sensitivity and reaction time than a human being. The story will be in the AI that's built into those systems, determining how much they reduce risks.
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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby g-boaf » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:07 pm

Already even non fully autonomous vehicles with modern assistance systems do see pedestrians on footpaths. But they won't do anything about these pedestrians unless they start to move out. The idea behind it would be that alarms/warnings going off needlessly would be annoying (because you may see those people anyway). Like those annoying chimes when you have the door open.

Autonomous vehicles are the way of the future, they will eventually become commonplace and reliable. I think this was simply an unavoidable incident. The only avoidance seemingly would have been having no cars on the road at all.

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Re: Autonomous cars? I think not

Postby Scintilla » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:05 pm

march83 wrote:In the entire history of the world, 1 person has been killed by an autonomous car and it's a failure. There were probably hundreds killed by human drivers just in 1 day yesterday.


THAT ^^^ is not the point.

These vehicles are not even generally available for sale nor in public use as a general 'thing', yet they are currently failing to identify and avoid key things. Like people :roll:

They have technology that is fine for coping with a closed-circuit racetrack, or maybe restricted access freeways (even here I kinda doubt their safety with stray and unexpected hazards), but they simply are not, and are not likely to be in the foreseeable future, able to deal with public access roads, with people walking, changing conditions, roadworks, detours, bicycle riders, kids and dogs or other animals about. Scrap 'em!

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