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  #81  
Old 15 January 2018, 05:02 PM
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erwins erwins is offline
 
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I agree with all of that. I was just pointing out that it might not be relying on voice command. But it seems clear that there are not true fail safes built in, or sensible emergency controls, particularly when you consider the new and untested nature of the system.
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  #82  
Old 15 January 2018, 06:40 PM
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An emergency brake seems like a good idea.

Though there are edge cases where the passenger thinks the autopilot is borked but the automation still has things under control? The passenger could cause an accident by trying to override the autopilot. I'd almost suggest making the control system sufficiently redundant that it can still pilot itself to a safe stop in the event of the main computer going down rather than giving a passenger manual overrides. Safety planning is a lot easier if you commit to full AI control rather than counting on a human to mitigate failures.
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  #83  
Old 16 January 2018, 02:50 PM
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Here's the problem. There are very few self driving vehicles on the road right now. Most people have never seen one in real life, and we certainly haven't had a hell of a lot of hours of hundreds of them interacting with each other on expressways or crowded busy local streets (e.g. midtown Manhattan). Why in God's name do you even entertain the idea of putting a car with no conventional controls on public streets until a large number of cars using these automated systems have actually had time to prove themselves in practice?

It's clear the engineers are not calling the shots. If the manned space program had been run this way, there would have been no Mercury or Gemini programs, nor the several tests of Apollo before the first landing. Just one big 400-foot-tall shiny silver rocket full of a dozen lunar colonists with no flight experience that would blow up on the pad because the marketing people and politicians didn't understand the dangers of rocket fuel.

Come to think of it, this isn't so far from the Challenger scenario.
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  #84  
Old 16 January 2018, 06:42 PM
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I'm not sure if not having a steering wheel in a car is much different than a modern aircraft. As far as I know, the 'stick' in the cockpit is not connected to the actual controls, i.e. the rudder, flaps etc., anymore. It is fly by wire. The controls tells the computer what to do and the computer applies power to the appropriate servo. The gas pedal in my truck is not connected to the throttle valve although the brake pedal and steering wheel are still mechanically connected although fully powered augmented.
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  #85  
Old 16 January 2018, 07:26 PM
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But there IS a stick in the cockpit, and many years of testing make it a reliable steering mechanism. And I wouldn't really be concerned if these cars had a similar set of fly-by-wire, but still manually operated, controls. I am concerned that there aren't any real manual controls at all.
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  #86  
Old 16 January 2018, 08:40 PM
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Stick or no stick, the differences between any car in the next few decades and so-called glass cockpits in planes are staggering. (Yet another reason using terms like "Autopilot" is a very bad idea.) For starters: Their flight paths are much much much more defined and quantified and have been for more than half a century. Their paths have far far fewer things to hit or be hit by (or even to otherwise change much with the large exception of weather). They are surrounded on the outside by instrumenent landing support infrastructure that has taken decades to develop, costs billions of dollars, and is set up for the very specific flight paths mentioned. They are piloted by people who have many many hours of training to learn to use each specific glass cockpit. They are surrounded on the outside by a huge team of flight controllers who are similarly trained on the whole infrastructure providing support at every critical stage. All of this requires, of course, very expensive and spohisticated equipment on the plane itself, communication between these teams, etc...

If you did all of that for a car, it almost certainly still wouldn't be as safe as our commercial airline systems but it could be much safer than an ordinary automobile. The systems that are now being developed are not that kind of elaborate, expensive automated highway, designed to be used in only very clearly defined paths, with highly skilled operators and sophisticated equipment at every stage outside and inside the vehicles. There's really no comparison.
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  #87  
Old 16 January 2018, 09:16 PM
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Also, aircraft are allowed to use radar transmitters powerful enough that they must have systems to automatically shut down the transmitter when the aircraft is on the ground.
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  #88  
Old 16 January 2018, 09:25 PM
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They were talking about these cars on NPR this morning (or maybe it was yesterday morning). A key point that the earlier story didn't mention is that these cars won't be available to just anyone anywhere. They'll only be available to fleet buyers, and only in a few select cities where the streets have been carefully mapped.
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  #89  
Old 17 January 2018, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
They were talking about these cars on NPR this morning (or maybe it was yesterday morning). A key point that the earlier story didn't mention is that these cars won't be available to just anyone anywhere. They'll only be available to fleet buyers, and only in a few select cities where the streets have been carefully mapped.
I assumed all this. It still doesn't excuse them from lengthy, thorough testing of the systems in busy real-world situations before removing the manual controls.
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