[LINK] Why you may not own, or drive your vehicle in 10 years time

David Lochrin dlochrin at key.net.au
Tue Jun 7 14:10:36 AEST 2016

It's interesting to see this topic surfacing again so soon, it obviously excites passions.

So let's think about the idea in more detail.  If cars are to be completely computer-controlled by law, then they must safely transport the man living in some rural area who wants to take his pregnant wife 50Km to hospital at 3am over unlit rural roads which may be wet, unmarked, or unmade.  Even leaving aside unpredictable complications arising from kangaroos and other animals, washouts, etc., how is the computer to navigate the journey?

It would seem navigation data must be either (a) locally read from information associated with the road such as road-markings, or (b) obtained externally from a GPS or other system, or (c) obtained by an on-board AI system which is at least the equal of the human driver who has travelled the same road many times before.

Case (a) requires _every_ single road & track in the country to be equipped with the appropriate infrastructure.  Case (b) requires a GPS or inertial-navigation system far ahead of anything we have now and there would still remain the problem of mapping inaccuracies & updates.  Case (c) requires an AI system far ahead of anything we have now together with some source of positional data per (a) or (b).

As Bernard pointed out in another thread, any such system introduces huge control-systems complexity.  It's one thing to run a "driverless" Volvo on a a well-marked expressway in broad daylight, but it's another thing altogether to get the pregnant wife to hospital at 3am.  We're dealing with autonomous systems which must be engineered to a safety-of-life standard, and there's always a tradeoff between complexity and reliability.  And then there's cost...

David L.

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