Peering a Little Further into Our Driverless Future

Two interesting pieces from Atlantic Cities about driverless cars:

7 responses to “Peering a Little Further into Our Driverless Future”

  1. Really? The car can’t “see” the lanes, and has to have them accurately programmed into it’s computer, for every single street it is ever to drive on? Heaven forbid a street is widened or narrowed, because the car will not know what to do!

    • Yeah. Worse when a bridge is being replaced with one 20 feet to the left — the car will drive right off a cliff into the river.

      This technology is a joke.

      • So when they finish replacing the bridge, the car company can come in and spend an hour remapping it.

        This really isn’t so hard, if you attempt to think about it as opposed to just being a defeatist whiner.

  2. I think driverless cars may indeed ameliorate the carnage on our city streets, but only if they are by law restricted to the posted speed limit of a given street. If people can do something besides drive they’ll be less likely to complain about the greater travel time, and during the transition they will be an effective check on human-driven vehicles on single-lane city streets.

    There’s a lot to like about them.

    • When I say “by law” I mean that a law would be passed mandating that the software strictly abide by the current speed limit of the street on which the vehicle is traveling at the time, as reported by state and municipal authorities to the software provider.

      “Current” is included to allow for temporary timed reductions for, especially, school zones. Work zones could have transponders which broadcast the temporary speed limit in the zone, which of course might not always be available on an up-to-the-minute basis to the software.

  3. Itt seems that the car won’t be able to read a “slow” and “construction zone”, or other signs. Will it be able to read speed limit signs, or rely on programming again?

    Makes you wonder how it will be able to interpret the intentions of a person standing beside the curb, who may be asserting his or her right of way to cross the street.

    • Actually, Doug, the Google car can see cones and identify flaggers holding SLOW and STOP signs. It can read standard speed limit signs as well.

      The article is clear that the car is designed to rely to the degree possible on the environment through which it is operating. Yes, it has a database of roads and speeds to which it can refer in the absence of real-time information, as for instance when it first turns on to a specific road. But when it sees a proper sign for the road on which it’s traveling it integrates that here-now information to its command stack.

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