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The confusion between fully autonomous self-driving cars and those that simply offer driver assistance technologies is leading to deaths on the road. Current "driver assistance" systems are Level 2 in the jargon, and the driver is meant to keep his or her hands firmly on the wheel.

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From a neurological standpoint, I would think “driver assistance” would actually increase reaction time in case of an actual accident or wreck.

99% of your time driving you are holding the wheel for “no reason” because you’re being “assisted” — what are the odds you grab the wheel and are at high alert at the exact time of an accident? I’m sure very low.

This is definitely the case. Google did some initial tests 4 or 5 years ago with internal google employees who were not part of the self driving car project. These were highway only/level 2 vehicles. They monitored the employees when they were driving and were surprised at what they did and how they didn't pay attention to driving. I believe this was the moment Google realized they couldn't do level 2 or 3 safely and decided to go directly to level 4.

Strongly agree with this. People will basically zombie out behind the wheel moreso than they already do!

Que the, "False sense of security" no doubt.

What about people just, you know, choosing to learn how to drive properly, regardless of new innovations? Oh wait that's a pipe-dream

Well, it is the fault in the offering. They are trying to deliver a tech that’s not there. It’s like saying “here is a self-cooking assisted machine. You let it cook, however you have to standby with your hand on the spatula in case the ‘assistance’ messes up.”

The whole thing of “driver assistance requiring the driver to be alert” is more of a legal phrasing and a way of saying “tech is not there” — why not call it “Enhanced Cruise Control”

Different phrasing, same tech. Different expectations

Aim assist for cars

Best of 2015
49 points · 1 month ago

The problem with autopilot is that it works really well, until it doesn't. There isn't any confusion amongst autopilot users about it's capabilities within safe design constraints, but it's human nature to let one's guard down when they feel comfortable.

Autopilot will work just fine along a certain stretch of road on someone's morning commute 50 times in a row, the user comes to the assumption that it's reliable, and then they aren't paying attention when their car slams into the back of a parked firetruck that the system doesn't register at all.

The other aspect of this is the vigilance decrement. Which basically means that humans suck balls at staying focused and alert at really boring tasks, and monitoring a partially autonomous vehicle is a really boring task. At freeway speeds, if autopilot fails to detect a stationary object, you've got a split second to react. You're not going to do that very well if you're zoned out.

Imagine if your friend is playing Mario Kart, and he says 'okay, I'm not very good at this, so if you see me screwing up, just grab the controller out of my hands and fix it before I go off the track.' Good luck with that.

1 point · 1 month ago

And when you grab the controller off your messing up friend they then give a little tug back on it. Just so you know they are pissed off you took it over when they ‘had this’

There really should not had been an inbetween. It should be fully autonomous or manual. Maybe a collision warning or auto parking would be nice but this halfway driving is a recipe for disaster

I don't think it's something that could happen all at once like that. To be fully autonomous and not crash, the car in question would need to network with other cars, and you can't do that if the other cars are piloted by humans. Driving assistance is fine, as long as you're conscious of its limitations and remember that it's assistance, not autopilot

not true, you can most definitely have full autonomy through the use of lidar and other sensors and still work with regular human operated vehicles.

But can you have true full autonomy? The technology works as long as things are predictable. How does the car handle streets where there's parking on both sides and not enough room to pass two cars at the same time? The ones where you have to pull into an alley so you can get by each other.

What about a snowy gravel road that has no markers of any sort. Normally, you drive in the center and then move right when you see oncoming traffic. Does the car know where the ditch is?

I love the idea of self-driving cars, but I think we should be focusing on long-distance driving. That's predictable. Plain old wire-guidance would be awesome. Pick up the interstate, grab a lane, take a nap.

What they need to fully realize is intercommunication between cars. For this to fully work though all the cars need to talk to each other and influence what they should do. I don't think people are ready to hand their car off to an autonomous car brain yet though.

Until then all of these features should be marketed as driver aids. It should be interesting to see how much it changes the insurance side of it as well. I don't think insurance companies are going to be having lower rates anytime soon.

So use real people as guinea pigs? What if it was your husband or wife that died

Instead of the "rush to the market" mentality to be first and make cash, they need more testing in more road conditions.

I'm not understanding how it happened, but you think you're disagreeing with me and saying the same thing I am. Fully autonomous won't work right now. Needs more testing, more development, and a slow ingratiation

Why do they need to network? Humans seem to do just find without communicating with other drivers.

You can't be serious.

There are tons of accidents all the time because of lack of communication.

Hell the whole reason traffic exists is due to lack of communication.

What if, and hear me out, we just give everyone walkie talkies?

Or just short range CB radio. While it would most likely be abused, it could be useful, especially at stop signs and other situations where you don't know what the other driver wants to do.

You're missing the point of my comment. The commenter before me was saying that you cant put autonomous vehicles on the road one by one because they need to be able to network, which you can't do with human drivers.

I am saying that the autonomous vehicles should be able to do just fine without networking - in other words, they should be able to drive while surrounded by human drivers.

Obvipusly networking is BETTER. But it's not a necessity. They should be able to drive without it.

To know where the cars are going and what they're going to do next. Humans don't do fine, there are billions of accidents every year, that's the whole point of switching to self-driven cars. However, AI is not currently developed enough to drive itself when a human is behind the wheel of the other car; the human will do something unpredictable and the AI won't be able to respond properly/fast enough. Driving is a complex thing, there's a reason it takes time, practice, and testing to do it legally and well.

You misunderstood. I am saying that when an autonomous vehicles gets released, it should be able to drive without networking at all. It's driving would be improved by networking, for sure, and it should network when possible, but it shouldn't NEED it.

Unless the switchover to autonomous vehicles happens all at once, then there will be a mix of human and autonomous drivers on the road. The autonomous vehicles MUST know how to deal with human drivers. In other words, the autonomous vehicles must be able to drive without networking.

the AI won't be able to respond properly/fast enough

This is completely false. It will definitely be able to respond faster, it can see in 360 degrees and a much farther distance then any human. Now always making the proper decision may not be there, but humans fail at that as well - 40k deaths a year. The advantage to SDCs is they will all be able to update to correct for new edge cases across an entire fleet at the same time.

2 points · 1 month ago

Do you think turn signals are just decorative?

But you're not telepathically communicating with other drivers, which is what networking would be.

Best of 2015
2 points · 1 month ago

It's happening all at once. Waymo, and just about every major car company are working on fully autonomous vehicles which will be fully autonomous within a carefully mapped and tested set of roads and environmental conditions. These will be offered initially not as vehicles you can own, but as robotaxis.

It may be a decades before autonomous vehicles are capable enough, and cheap enough to go everywhere and do everything well enough that they can be put in the hands of private owners.

Fully autonomous vehicles do exist, but they are far from being idiot proof, they require a great deal of careful maintenance and oversight.

They can make all the fully autonomous vehicles they want, but the roads won't instantly be flooded with them, os what I'm saying. For every rich person that no longer has to drive themselves, there will be twenty stubborn old coots in trucks from the 80s

Agree. Driving assistance is essentially pointless. If driving still requires my full attention, it defeats the purpose. If anything drivers will be less engaged since they are not actively making decisions.

Totally. People are distracted enough driving as it is. Now add in a car that can drive itself most of the time and expect people to focus in the event the car makes a mistake. Just drive the damn thing yourself. Better yet don't buy an ugly soulless crossover that is painfully boring to drive. Driving can be fun with the right car.

1 point · 1 month ago

Waymo has that principle precisely because they couldn't trust humans in such situations.

It was more of a natural progression - first we had cruise control, then we had lidar-assisted cruise control to maintain speed with surrounding traffic, then we had auto-braking with collision detection, then lane keep assist and facial monitoring to attention (not in Teslas I presume) - add it all up and you pretty much end up at level 2 just from incremental upgrades to the capabilities of normal every-day cars. Now it's gotten so good, it's become dangerous - so where does one draw the line?

I think it's irresponsible to write an article about 'self driving car deaths' and never say how many deaths have been associated with self-driving or autopilot-mode cars.

Is it just the two? The author mentions, almost parenthetically, that two deaths (out of how many? out of how long a time?) have been associated with Tesla's autopilot. Are there more?

This article doesn't really tell me anything. I assume some number of deaths are associated with cup holders and bluetooth radio, how does that compare with autopilot? Worse? Better?

Plus, this is the earliest commercial version of the technology. I sincerely think in 20 years people will be shocked that we used to let faillible humans, who were frequently drunk, drive. It probably should cause the odd accident given it's performing a dangerous function which frequently results in accidents. So we should consider the lives that will eventually be saved. Almost all accidents are caused by human error.

I saw an audi? ad for driver assistance with a bunch of clowns at the cinema. Its shocking as people will thing that the car allows them to drive badly and the car will save them. Its not going to end well

Look, I completely agree with the article that people are being reckless, but maybe we also shouldn't behaving commercials where people take their hands off the wheel and the car drives itself through traffic while interjected cuts of Star Wars are playing to make you feel as if your vehicle is an autonomous science fiction creation.

I’m sure it’s better than this with some idiot saying “Siri, take the wheel?” .... “ ::ding:: “I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.” ::tree::

I was busy driving yesterday when I hit a bunch of construction traffic. I usually type my destination into google maps, but being in 0-40-0 traffic it wasn’t a safe option.

So I go “hey Siri, navigate to home”

She says “I’m sorry, you have no home address.”

I was pissed.

What a shitty way to find out you’re wife’s leaving you and keeping the house.

lol. Too funny.

This is my favorite game to play with letting people ask Siri something then asking the exact same question of Google, which automatically finds your home and work along with your favorite businesses as you travel.

Perhaps companies like telsa shouldnt market them as self driving and call it autopilot

These drivers should be ashamed of themselves! What part of "autopilot" don't they understand??

Now let's look at how many deaths are caused by regular cars.

And adjust for percentage..

Human brains don't work that way, a single case is enough to avoid maths and put the amigdala in alert mode.

My mom refuses to go on an ocean cruise ship because of all the deaths and crashes that have happened.

Good example. Fortunately there are brains able to be rational and supress amigdala stupidity.

Bro, there's still people who don't trust automatic TRANSMISSION.

I don't know about not trusting it, but I'm certainly safer in a manual because I can engine brake along with wheel brakes to stop a hell of a lot faster. I don't know of any automatics that engine brake.

Actually, they both have the same amount of braking power. The force applied by ABS will be the maximum the tires can handle without breaking friction in either circumstance. The only additional factor for manuals is that there's a chance of locking up your drive wheels by downshifting without matching, then you're not going to stop very well at all.

Hadn't thought about it like that, but it makes sense. It's nice to have a backup at least. My brakes lost all pressure a while back and the only reason I didn't slam into the car at the light in front of me was because of engine braking and a little use of the e brake. Engine braking also takes some of the stress off of the brake pads so those will have to be replaced less often. Haven't had to replace my transmission yet and there's over 200k miles on it.

who are these people?

Comment deleted1 month ago(1 child)

Damn things are too safe. They'll survive but will probably kill someone else

2 points · 1 month ago

So far all the deaths have been from people who were familiar with the system, but choose to use it incorrectly. They were all heavy users.

That's like saying people who died while texting and driving on regular cars were confused.

Exactly, confused about the proper way to use their tech.

1 point · 1 month ago

What did you not understand? They're not confused. They activly choose to take the risk and operate it incorrectly.

If you get new technology at work you normally get a training course. This should be the same with these assisted cars.

There is book called “Our Robots, Ourselves” by David Mendel that covers this exact topic. He explains that robots function the best when they work with humans and that full autonomy is a myth. The whole time I was reading it reminded me of the problems going on with Tesla. Really good read

The companies pushed this stuff as being nearly fully autonomous in the ads etc. It is only if you read the fine print, you discover that it is level 2.

This is definitely the case. Google did some initial tests 4 or 5 years ago with internal google employees who were not part of the self driving car project. These were highway only/level 2 vehicles. They monitored the employees when they were driving and were surprised at what they did and how they didn't pay attention to driving. I believe this was the moment Google realized they couldn't do level 2 or 3 safely and decided to go directly to level 4.

Well, gosh. In the early days of cruise control, a European couple hired a camper van in the US. Seeing 'cruise control' they took this to mean autonomy, turned it on and retired to the back to have sex. Crash.

The natural entry path for manufacturers is for what used to be called Level 4 but now seems to be called Level 2 - that is, an eye over the driver's shoulder. Most manufacturers expect this to be an expensive option aimed at those with poor eyesight or reflexes - that is, the growing elderly population - and those with huge mileage to cover: taxis, sales people, blue light services. As it is perfected, so it will become more general, more accepted and more ambitious.

Firms that have gone for full autonomy today are finding that saying about "arrows sticking in the pioneer's wagon". First mover advantage works when there is a great prize to be won, but self nav is going to be little more than a novelty at the start and a commodity before it is fully mature.

They will probably keep the wheel but disable it like the close door button on elevators

More like handing an unplugged game controller to a toddler while you play the game.

not true. the most advanced autonomous driving system is super cruise which does not require your hands on the wheel.

Right, hence the confusion amd the point of this post: these people are using not super cruise as if it were super cruise and then they die.

Reading is hardbfor you eh

so confusing. you're a dick but you're use of eh makes you canadian. Did you just need something to apologize for?

Is this Skynets first strike!!!!
I get the feeling that as we trust technology more and more we will miss something.

Well it least it's thinning out the idiots. All positive really.

It's funny, people have a problem not having a wheel if cars become able to drive themselves but have no problem with the car driving itself even when it's not able to.

13 points · 1 month ago

Doubtful those two thoughts are held by the same person.

7 points · 1 month ago

Or, and this is hard to imagine, MAYBE there are different people in the world who believe different things.

There's room enough both for people who mistrust fully automatics and want a wheel and people who don't give a shit.

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