[LINK] Will humans be banned from driving?

Frank O'Connor francisoconnor3 at bigpond.com
Wed Jun 1 15:10:38 AEST 2016


> On 1 Jun 2016, at 2:34 PM, Bernard Robertson-Dunn <brd at iimetro.com.au> wrote:
> On 1/06/2016 2:12 PM, Frank O'Connor wrote:
>> Mmmm, 
>> As will the attendant hardware - and no I don’t just mean the cars.
>> Roads will need to be maintained with highly visible white marking and/or embedded sensors.
> How about off-road driving? Dirt tracks, driveways, ad hoc parking,
> grass verge parking, tradesmen's utes, caravan/horsebox/boat/trailer towing?

Yes, I agree. Initially.

Vehicles for said purposes will probably need to be redesigned. Navigational abilities would probably need to rely more on in-car sensors, previously ascertained maps and GPS rather than road based sensors and centralised control systems. Software would/could switch between driving modes dependent on the technical sophistication of the driving environment. New vehicle types may need to be designed for those purposes … though todays simple modular cabin/chassis and tray designs would probably be adaptable for purpose.

As for towing trailers and the like … well, we have to attach power/signal cords for brake and signal lights on same today, so what’s the problem with feeding more data/sensor information down the cord. The car would then adjust its performance parameters based on the data it received from the towed vehicle.

As for the enthusiasts … the 'metal heads’. Well, no need for restrictions on private roads or off-road facilities created for purpose, but when using public rods and facilities they operate to the same rules as the rest of us - as they do today. Indeed, there’s more room for latitude with how the vehicle is driven (by human or automatically) in off-road situations … I’d suggest a ‘drive at own risk’ regime (with all the insurance and other ‘reasonable man’ implications that has) could be easily implemented.

> The problem with automation is that you need to cover every eventuality,
> error condition and exception. Humans tend to be much better, on
> average, than machines when it comes to exceptions and unexpected
> conditions. Unless of course they drive so infrequently that their skill
> levels and reaction times deteriorate.

So you’d consider a demented 90 year old driving with no controls, someone ill with a high fever, headache or delusions bought on by same, someone going through a schizoid episode, a hyper aggressive Double Y hormone man, a drunk or stoned individual, a frustrated down and out going through a messy divorce, or even someone who’s late for work ... as qualified to drive a car? You’d say that having effectively no real controls about who gets behind what wheel at any given time is preferable to automating our driving experience?

Bottom line, there are risks with both ‘systems’ … but the automated one is more likely to be fine tuned and perfected much more easily. The one that relies on humans, with all their inherent imperfections, will continue to carry all the attendant risks. I’ve seen nothing in my life that indicates that the human race will improve … but technology does demonstrably improve.

And I’m NOT saying that the automated driving regime would or should be bought in willy nilly over the course of a day or a week or a month. It will happen gradually. Today you can buy a car with a rear view camera. Tomorrow this will also include a radar/sensor for collision detection that will auto stop the car from reversing. Next month you may have the same sensor mounted on the front of your car. And the government may upgrade city and main roads. And GPS may improve in its next iteration. And Google will map to roads to to centimetric levels of accuracy, including altimeter and other data. And new signalling sensors will be added to complement the current lights and other traffic control hardware - that are capable of dialling up and down speeds that cars are capable of. 

Again, just my 2 cents worth ...

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