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

David Lochrin dlochrin at key.net.au
Wed Jun 8 09:49:55 AEST 2016

Issues around driverless vehicles arise at two levels.  There are more-or-less interesting, low-level questions about possible technology, but a much more interesting issue is what we would hope to gain and at what cost - the System Requirements Specification.  I can see a role for driverless road vehicles in certain situations, such as providing public transport around a CBD for example.

On 2016-06-07 14:40 Jim Birch wrote:

> If cars are to be completely computer-controlled by law <snip>
> This is a possible endpoint at the moment.  It's not a real issue.  That would only happen if cars meet all the requirements you listed and a lot more.

However it's the premise of the topic!

>> How is the computer to navigate the journey?
> Cached maps, GPS, cameras, sensors, etc.

GPS is out because of the risk it can be disabled, destroyed, or simply turned off.  If all vehicles, or even just private cars, rely on a GPS system, an unfriendly agency could bring road transport all over the country to a stop.  I'm reminded of an incident at the Port of London a while back where (from memory) radio or radar transmissions from some ship pretty much disabled operations.  Apparently some of the resulting problems occurred because systems using the GPS timing signals, such as mobile networks handing over a call, were affected.

See also http://www.harbourmaster.org/news-maritime-archive.php

Added: 21 Jan 2016
Report Disruptions Immediately

On 19 January 2016 the United States Coast Guard issued an alert (Safety Alert 01-16) reminding users that this past summer (2015), multiple outbound vessels from a non-US port suddenly lost GPS signal reception.

The net effect was various alarms and a loss of GPS input to the ship’s surface search radar, gyro units and Electronic Chart Display & Information System (ECDIS), resulting in no GPS data for position fixing, radar over ground speed inputs, gyro speed input and loss of collision avoidance capabilities on the radar display.

Fortunately, the vessels were able to safely continue their voyage using radar in heads up display, magnetic compass and terrestrial navigation. Approximately six nautical miles later, the vessels’ GPS units resumed operation. Although the vessels had back-up systems to allow a safe transit, the consequences could have been severe.

These types of events highlight the potential detrimental impact to navigation caused by GPS interference or jamming and the importance in understanding how a vessel’s or a facility’s equipment could be impacted by a loss of GPS signal.

More on the subject with advice to mariners as to what they should do in reporting disruption is to be found in the nearby pdf.
Attached File: USCG GNSS alert 1.pdf

> As I have said before, robotic systems get better every year.  They learn.  A robotic driver system does not have to be smarter than a human, all it needs to do is *drive a car*  - better, safer and more reliably that the average driver.

Accepted safety-of-life criteria for automated-driving systems will require far better reliability than that of "the average driver" otherwise there would be no point in having them, or at least I'd certainly hope so!

David L.

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