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self driving cars in nyc  RSS feed

 
Rancher
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Points well taken Campbell and Bear! My only response is I guess the notion of being surrounded by more steel at least gives me the perception of feeling safer, notwithstanding the lack of seatbelts, air bags, safety sensors, etc...

In my opinion, though, they were more imaginative with designs back then (as an example I am thinking of the Mustangs that came out in the 60's compared to later versions). They are considered classics for a good reason.

 
Marshal
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Agree that compared to a good car of the 1960s, the current century's offerings are boring. Some people think that blandness in the car encourages people to drive more riskily. I don't know whether that is a correct notion.
But can you remember the bad cars from the 1960s?
 
Randy Maddocks
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:But can you remember the bad cars from the 1960s?



Definitely! Those cars just screamed bad @ss!!! Muscle cars built for speed that sounded like a tank going down the road!

Referring back to aforementioned '67 Impala, I remember us kids piling into the back of the car, no seatbelts, no car seats - heck, sometimes my little sister would be sitting on mom's lap in the front, while dad took us wherever (not that he was a bad driver). Today he would be pulled over and likely hauled off to jail (or at the very least, been ticketed to Timbuktu and back).
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Three kids in the back seat and one on Mum's lap would be enough to lose you your licence in this country. And Mum would get a £200 fine herself.
I can remember old Morris vans with catches on the windscreen so you could open the windscreen. And wipers operated by the vacuum from the carburettor, which wiped slower if you put your foot down. And I survived sitting between the driver and the driver's door in a van. That was before the 1960s, though.
 
Randy Maddocks
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When you think about it, it's a wonder us baby boomers survived childhood.

Sorry Jeanne, it appears I have side-tracked your original topic, but thanks for sharing it.
 
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Randy Maddocks wrote:Sorry Jeanne, it appears I have side-tracked your original topic, but thanks for sharing it.


It's fine. It turned into a second interesting conversation.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Randy Maddocks wrote:. . . I have side-tracked your original topic, . . .

Slip‑roaded, surely, not side‑tracked. Or access‑roaded

That happens all the time; both face to face and on these fora discussions gradually veer off their original course. I did once drive a car with automatic lane following, which was reluctant to veer off its original topic.
 
Randy Maddocks
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Thanks Jeanne!

Campbell Ritchie wrote:Slip‑roaded, surely, not side‑tracked. Or access‑roaded



Touché! Well put Campbell!

Campbell Ritchie wrote: I did once drive a car with automatic lane following, which was reluctant to veer off its original topic.



And another good one.  
 
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Just read this today, thought about bumping this thread :
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-driverless-fatality.html
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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salvin francis wrote:Just read this today, thought about bumping this thread :
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-driverless-fatality.html


Yeah. I think the real question is whether a human would have been able to stop in time. It appears to be someone jumping out into a dark road. I don't drive at this time so I don't have an opinion.

If a human driver would have had the same problem, we run into what is acceptable. If autonomous cars are twice as safe as people, is that ok? Do they have to be perfect? (I don't think they will ever be perfect)
 
Rancher
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It looks like a human who was not otherwise distracted would have spotted them.
Indeed, if the "driver" had been concentrating then she would have spotted her.

Wonder why the LIDAR didn't pick her up, as she was well across the road.

The video makes it look like she appears out of nowhere, but that's more to do with the camera trying to prevent the bright headlights washing out the image, causing the darkness at the edges to be really black.
 
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It makes me wonder if it would be a good idea to have some compulsory identifying mark for pedestrians and other drivers to be able to distinguish between human driven vehicles and computer driven vehicles. One might be less willing to assume you've been seen if you knew there wasn't a real person behind the wheel.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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That video shows the pedestrian clearly visible far enough away maybe not to stop, but to slow down to a speed where the collision wouldn't be fatal. It is fortunate that the film stops before she is hit. It also clearly shows her studiously ignoring the traffic, which is a common habit of pedestrians. I had a case like that well over thirty years ago, coming up to the Welford Rd/Victoria Park Rd lights from Victoria Park Rd towards a green light. I didn't realise the chap walking across the lights wasn't watching the traffic until I thought I was too close to stop. Fortunately, he heard it when I hit the horn, and leapt out of the way. A human driver would have assumed somebody walking has seen them. Maybe unless they have ridden a bicycle round here, where pedestrians step out in front of you about one a mile. So a human driver could just as easily assumed the pedestrian was watching the road and kept going.
But the video shows the car taking no action about Ms Herzberg.
 
Dave Tolls
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Which is odd, because the cars are known to react to just this sort of thing.

Hopefully we get to hear some more about what went wrong.
Well, apart from the driver not concentrating...wonder what'll happen about that?
 
salvin francis
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I think the real question is whether a human would have been able to stop in time.



I have a slightly different perspective here...
As a human, we are capable of doing things that a machine can't do. A driver would behave differently if he was alone vs if his family were in the car with him. When a collision is inevitable, we would at least do our best to avoid as much as possible including hitting the breaks, turning the steering to another direction, in some cases even accelerate to lead ourselves out of harm's way. If a pedestrian was far enough, the driver would at least honk.

A kind human would stop his car and even get out to inspect if he "thought" he hit something. We are alert to every kind of sounds our car makes and any sound that's peculiar like some kind of "tick" or a "bang" would get our mind's "curiosity engine" up and running. Our collision logic is based on sight, sounds, feeling (bump), and a sixth sense. There is also a "known danger" logic that we internally possess : ie. driving cautiously when there is a forest on the both sides of the road, driving slower than the road limit in times of rain/snow, etc...

We can predict the future by observing that a pothole is present far in the distance and that we need to slow down and either avoid it or if it is small enough, ensure that its encountered at all. Visually, a pothole would look like some "blob" in the road to an image processing algorithm.

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:we run into what is acceptable. If autonomous cars are twice as safe as people, is that ok? Do they have to be perfect?


If all the cars of a given company follow the same algorithm, then there is a possibility that a flaw present in one of them is present in all. This would not be the case with humans who learn from their own mistakes.

What I am scared of is the fact that the pedestrian is merely a bunch of "pixels" or "dots" to an algorithm.

While it is lovely that many apps can detect a "face" and even tag us with a 99.999999% accuracy, I would be very scared if that same app was assigned to a robot to cut my hair

 
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The vehicles of the 1960's were easier to repair. That's because they were made of much cruder materials and a little brute force with a hammer and some lead or Bondo could do most of the body work and the engine was relatively simple.

However, these simple engines needed constant tuning, and they leaked.

Modern cars are made of sophisticated parts that it would challenge an aerospace machine shop to reproduce and a limbo expert to replace. They're much more complicated and they carry a ton of systems that were neither available or affordable on '60s cars like backup cameras, and a lot of things like power windows and mirrors used to be exceptional where they're now the rule. To say nothing of the intricate computer buses running between things.

I'd think that automated cars would likely do better in NYC than in, say, Orlando. The traffic might be (slightly) denser, but you can see some really creative insanity on Florida roads. One major intersection in particular I know of had 2 left-turn lanes and 3 straight ones, and somedays I swore that the sole purpose of the left-turn lanes was to allow people to pull out from them in front of the people in the straight lanes so as to avoid the long wait in line for the straight line (Orlando traffic lights were also a good place to grow old - except for the one where a neighbor T-boned a Ferrari with her Ford Fiesta. That one was practically red before the green faded.)

Actually things have improved since I lived down there - they finally put in a decent beltway and the infamous turn intersection was recently replaced with a flyover. But people do crazy things down here.
 
Saloon Keeper
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A few weeks ago, in the news, Tesla made news for one of their self driving test vehicles not working out as expected and causing injury.
However as my brother pointed out, everyday there are hundreds (if not more) traffic collisions/accidents in North America alone.
Some these incidents are more serious then others, but they still happen.

While I don't have any numbers to prove this, I'm pretty sure that when the first "horseless carriages" from the early 1900s caused injuries for a number of years before the introduction of licenses and other safely improvements.
 
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There's an interesting write-up in the Smithsonian Magazine about the introduction of cars in the early 1900's.

When you visit any city in America today, it’s a sea of cars, with pedestrians dodging between the speeding autos. It’s almost hard to imagine now, but in the late 1890s, the situation was completely reversed. Pedestrians dominated the roads, and cars were the rare, tentative interlopers. Horse-drawn carriages and streetcars existed, but they were comparatively slow.

So pedestrians ruled. “The streets were absolutely black with people,” as one observer described the view in the nation’s capital. People strolled to and fro down the center of the avenue, pausing to buy snacks from vendors. They’d chat with friends or even “manicure your nails,” as one chamber of commerce wryly noted. And when they stepped off a sidewalk, they did it anywhere they pleased.
...

Things changed dramatically in 1908 when Henry Ford released the first Model T. Suddenly a car was affordable, and a fast one, too: The Model T could zoom up to 45 miles an hour. Middle-class families scooped them up, mostly in cities, and as they began to race through the streets, they ran headlong into pedestrians—with lethal results. By 1925, auto accidents accounted for two-thirds of the entire death toll in cities with populations over 25,000.


-- Clive Thompson
 
Tim Holloway
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There's a film shot about 10 days before the 1920 San Francisco Earthquake that will give a good idea. It follows a streetcar. People are crossing the street at every angle, meandering about, while streetcars come and go, criss-crossing the path of the subject of the film. Cars come out of nowhere.

I think I've seen one or 2 of NYC, either as films and/or stills and the streets are equally anarchistic. And a lot more crowded.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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