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Nevada Approves Rules For Self-Driving Cars 307

Posted by Soulskill
from the plans-to-install-slot-machines-in-place-of-steering-wheels dept.
Griller_GT writes with news that Nevada has become the first U.S. state to approve regulations for allowing self-driving cars on its roads. "Autonomous test vehicles will display a red license plate, Nevada officials said. If and when the technology is approved for public use, the cars will carry a green license plate. ... Nevada said it worked with Google, automobile manufacturers, testing professionals, insurance companies, universities and law enforcement to develop the regulations. Other states also have similar bills that will be voted upon to determine if they, too, can follow suit."
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Nevada Approves Rules For Self-Driving Cars

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  • by Assmasher (456699) on Friday February 17, 2012 @09:51AM (#39073305) Journal

    I've seen lots of video of them under ideal scenarios.

    Let's get some crash video! :)

    Hydroplaning, black ice, big potholes, road debris, silver-hairs stomping on the brakes, et cetera.

    Should be entertaining, if disconcerting, to say the least.

    • by petteyg359 (1847514) on Friday February 17, 2012 @09:56AM (#39073365)

      Here's an ideal scenario: Get all the manual idiots off the road, so the smart cars don't have to deal with them :)

      • by rykin (836525) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:11AM (#39073589)
        One could argue that those who drive a manual transmission are the only ones who actually know how to drive. ;)
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The previous transmission lacked detail. Automatic and manual refer to the control of the vehicle, not the style of gearbox.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jellomizer (103300)
          No if you have ever ridden with someone with manual transmission you realize this isn't true. If you are going to get car sick it will be riding with someone who drives manual. Not so much that that are any better or worse. However when they change gears they tend to do it harder then on Automatic. So you feel jolts when they change. The driver doesn't notice this as much as he/she is expecting it, so it doesn't cause as much an issue.

          Having drove manual for a while, I have been complements on how smooth
          • by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:18AM (#39074517)
            Here in Europe almost everyone drives manual. Most handle it without making the passengers sick, but maybe the Europeans are more resistant to this. Those who can't controll it seem to consider the clutch as a binary switch. I know one person who also considers the break and the gas pedal to be binary. I haven't sat in the car with her behind the weel but I have seen her on the road, it's terrible.
            By the way: there is a big difference between different clutches. I have an old Opel Astra (1997). The clutch is extremely "long" (it starts to disconnect almost immediately after you touch the pedal, and you have to floor it to disconnect completely. This is a distance of more than 10 cm (4 inches) ) There are many newer cars with "short" clutches (as in "at one angle the clutch starts to disconnect and a cm (half an inch) lower it's disconnected completely"). These are better for racing as they allow fast swiching. They are not comfortable however, as you need to be able to controll the angle of your foot to a greater degree to let it connect smoothly. Most differences between clutch controll can be laid at the feet of the clutch design.
          • Smooth shifting doesn't mean you're a good driver. It means you're wearing out your clutch
        • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:51AM (#39074107)
          I'd like you to explain to me the relevance of being able to fiddle with a dangerous piece of machinery (try engaging reverse at 70) while driving, to competence in things like anticipation of traffic ahead, interpreting other driver behavior, observing road signs and the like. The manual transmission is simply an artefact of the invention of the car having preceded the invention of a good way to get the power to the road. There is simply no reason to believe that the ability to use it correlates to the ability to drive.

          And before you start - long history of manual motorbikes and cars ranging from Triumph T100 to BMW, also long experience of automatics ranging from Kia to Merc, and now a Prius. I have also driven extensively in the US and Europe, on both sides of the road. My conclusion? For a given skill level, the auto is always safer because your attention is never distracted at a crucial moment. When you brake, you brake; no remembering the "clutch" or to "change down".

          The ability of an architect isn't measured in terms of her/his ability to bake bricks.

          • by w_dragon (1802458) on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:05AM (#39074329)
            Next you'll be saying that having an automatic starter doesn't improve driving performance! Obviously everyone was a better driver when they had to manually crank their engine to get it to start.
            • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:33PM (#39075521)

              Next you'll be saying that having an automatic starter doesn't improve driving performance! Obviously everyone was a better driver when they had to manually crank their engine to get it to start.

              Well it might have eliminated some of the extremes, oldies who need to be spoon-fed but drive an SUV with power steering on the freeway, and people who are so drunk that they fall over when they get out of the car (I saw this on one of those police stop videos, the guy couldn't stand. He must have crawled from the bar to his car and tried to drive home).

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Khyber (864651)

            ""My conclusion? For a given skill level, the auto is always safer because your attention is never distracted at a crucial moment. When you brake, you brake; no remembering the "clutch" or to "change down"."

            I guess you've got some of the worst muscle memory and situational awareness ever. I've driven a manual so long that it's literally second-nature to me, everything happens without thinking, it's pure reflex. I don't even bother with the RPM gauge, I know most cars by feel and sound alone, there should be

            • by b0bby (201198) on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:30PM (#39075477) Homepage

              Also, you tell me how an automated vehicle is going to have the fuzzy logic to know whether a car nearby is actually about to swerve out of control or if the driver is just inattentive and drifting.

              If the automated vehicle has fast enough reaction times, it doesn't really matter; when the swerve starts it can react. Unlike a human driver, the automated car always has its "eyes" on all of its surroundings, and can react almost instantly. Once the drifting/swerving car breaches the safe distance, action is taken to avoid a collision. Will there be some situations where it will be physically impossible to avoid being hit? Conceivably, but most collisions aren't in that class.

          • by Sevalecan (1070490) on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:16AM (#39074503)

            Having driven manual cars and motorcycles plenty myself, I can say that I don't find the need to use the clutch or change gears really that distracting at all. Sure, it's something else to do, but something I can do without thinking about it. On top of that, if you just want to stop in a manual and you're more concerned about avoiding an accident? You can still just hit the brake. The car will stop and stall, no big deal. It's a lot better than getting in an accident, and it probably won't do any real damage to your car. Trust me, I've stalled mine plenty when I first learned to drive a stick.

            P.S. Good luck shifting a manual into reverse going at 70 MPH on the highway. Most cars, to my knowledge, don't have a synchro on the reverse gear.

          • For a given skill level, the auto is always safer because your attention is never distracted at a crucial moment.

            (I've never driven an automatic) I'd argue having a manual forces you to pay more attention to the road as you have to anticipate gear changes, especially when approaching junctions. With an automatic your more likely to believe you can do something else whilst driving like holding a mobile, as you only need one hand.

            • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

              For a given skill level, the auto is always safer because your attention is never distracted at a crucial moment.

              (I've never driven an automatic) I'd argue having a manual forces you to pay more attention to the road as you have to anticipate gear changes, especially when approaching junctions. With an automatic your more likely to believe you can do something else whilst driving like holding a mobile, as you only need one hand.

              I would concur with that. Not only do you need to pay more attention to road because of gear changes, but because of gear changes, it is next to impossible to talk on the phone, put on makeup, eat, and any number of distractions. At least that has been my experience.

              • by w_dragon (1802458)
                My Dad could talk on the phone, eat an ice cream cone, and drive a stick just fine. Steer with the knees, shift with the base of your hand. This was in a vehicle with no power steering, and a cell phone that was attached to something the size of a small briefcase.

                It always amazes me that some people know that multitasking is bad, yet still think that adding tasks to driving will somehow make people safer drivers.
          • While there is merrit to your argument I must point out that it's impossible to engage reverse in a manual car at 70 (mph or kmph). There are protections against that.
          • by Gordonjcp (186804)

            So, you drive dangerously, hitting the brakes without changing down a gear?

            If changing gear distracts you from driving you may lack the mental capacity to drive safely at all.

          • by Twinbee (767046)
            Er, what happens if you do engage reverse at 70?
        • actually, (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:00AM (#39074247)

          One could argue that those who drive motorcycles are the only ones who actually know how to drive. Funny how much a heightened sense of mortality teaches you about how to spot and avoid dangerous situations. Also teaches you a hell of a lot about braking and cornering that's hard to learn when you have all four wheels planted.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I know how to drive a stick, owned quite a few cars with manual transmissions, but I would argue that you're wrong. It's like saying that you don't know how to drive unless you know how to operate a manual choke and starter crank -- other primitive technologies that are thankfully gone.

    • In many ways these conditions can probably be safer with an automatic car then with a real driver.

      There are some rather common ways dealing with these situations. But people when in a situation where their car isn't doing what they want they panic and stomp on the breaks which is usually better then nothing, however for cases where friction is reduced there is the general mind set. A car can change directions, accelerate/decelerate. However in reduced friction environment you can only do one. If you need
    • Well I don't know if that is the prime focus, considering their testing areas have been California so far, and AZ next. That being said I don't imagine ti would take that long for the cars to surpass humans in the art of dealing with emergencies. The knee jerk human instincts are almost always the worse thing you can do in the situation. When hydroplaning 9/10 people would slam on the breaks. A computer could actually asses the situation calculate out the balance of the car etc... I'm not saying they necess
    • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:49AM (#39074955)

      I've seen lots of video of them under ideal scenarios.

      Let's get some crash video! :)

      Hydroplaning, black ice, big potholes, road debris, silver-hairs stomping on the brakes, et cetera.

      Should be entertaining, if disconcerting, to say the least.

      I would guess that automatic cars would be even better than humans at any of these conditions:

      Hydroplaning, black ice: The car has an excellent sense of traction of each wheel and can take the appropriate action (like reducing power to the slipping wheel(s)) without overreacting (slamming on the brakes because the driver feels the car start to slide), and can take proactive measures when sensors detect hazardous conditions (i.e. drive slower when ice/snow/heavy rain are detected rather than thinking "Hey, it's an SUV, I can drive 75mph through the snow, just like on the commercials.). Depending on what kind of sensors they use, it might be able to see perfectly through heavy fog/rain and in the dark.

      Big potholes: I've never hit a pothole big enough to make me feel like I was going to lose control, but since the automatic car always has a firm grip on the wheel and is never distracted by changing radio stations or talking on the phone, I'd say it can do a better job.

      Silver-hairs stomping on the brakes? It's the young drivers in sports cars that seem to have that problem -- most older drivers seem to drive slow and brake way before they need to. But this is where the automatic car has the real advantage - not only will it keep a safe following distance, but its sensors will sense the stopping car ahead and calculate the closing rate and will know exactly when it needs to panic stop, and it can do it faster than a human (which for most people means around 250ms just to recognize the threat and then a couple hundred ms to get pressure on the brakes). And the car will sense it regardless of whether or not the brake lights are working on the car ahead of you, and will stop even if it's not a car. If the sensor pod is on top of the car, that extra foot or so of height will help it see over hill crests better than a driver.

      I hit a refrigerator on the road one dark night, an automatic car probably would have avoided it completely. I saw a pickup backing up on the road shoulder and was focused on him to see what he was up to and didn't see the refrigerator that had fallen off his truck until it was too late to stop. I started to slow when I saw the truck and hit the brakes as soon as I did see the refrigerator so was only going around 25mph when I hit it. The 'fridge was totaled, but the only damage to my car was a broken front turn signal.

      Granted, a heads up display linked to sensors might be able to feed all of the same information to a driver that an automatic car has (threat ahead - object in road! Losing traction in left-front and left-rear wheels! You will have a collision, brake now and turn wheel 10 degrees to the left!) But it's still relying on the driver to react correctly and react quickly.

  • by pegasustonans (589396) on Friday February 17, 2012 @09:56AM (#39073367)

    If the rest of the states follow suit in the next few years, we may actually be able to purchase driverless vehicles in our lifetime.

    I'm not holding my breath, though.

    All it will take is one "think of the children" campaign courtesy of the chronically ignorant to derail this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dotancohen (1015143)

      If the rest of the states follow suit in the next few years, we may actually be able to purchase driverless vehicles in our lifetime.

      For most trips, you can rent them. You don't even need to pay insurance.

      It is called a bus.

      • If the rest of the states follow suit in the next few years, we may actually be able to purchase driverless vehicles in our lifetime.

        For most trips, you can rent them. You don't even need to pay insurance.

        It is called a bus.

        I don't know where you live, but the buses I've seen have a driver.

      • Last time I checked, there was somebody sitting at the front driving, and it was therefore not _driverless_.

        • Last time I checked, there was somebody sitting at the front driving, and it was therefore not _driverless_.

          Driverless in the sense "I don't have to drive it, I can do something else". That is the benefit of the autonomous vehicle, no?

          • That and it would be capable of processing more input data faster than a human driver, thus making better decisions.
            • I'm not sure how faster data processing leads to more optimal decisions.
            • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:06AM (#39074349) Homepage Journal

              Faster decisions doesn't necessarily mean better decisions. However, I do think driverless vehicles will be far safer than vehicles piloted by humans. Humans are limited by emotion (fear, anger, impatience) while machines are not.

              Rather than having people complain that they're dangerous, I suspect the main complaint will be "but that 100 mile trip took ten minutes longer!"

              • by mlts (1038732) * on Friday February 17, 2012 @12:09PM (#39075211)

                I can't think of any disadvantages of driverless vehicles once the kinks are worked out. In fact, on the highway, with a grid system, cars can be packed far closer together because there isn't need to have the space needed for human reaction time. Coupled with a local/regional highway computer, vehicles can be shifted from lane to lane depending on their destination and mechanical ability.

                Heck, even roads could be designed differently because roads wouldn't have to deal with drivers behind the wheel who have 2-3 too many bowls, and 4-6 too many Bud Lights. Four way intersections on expressways could be made because the local computer could time when to send a northbound car so it doesn't hit an eastbound car that is currently in the intersection, or slow down a southbound car so it hits the intersection right after two cars going on a cross street pass.

                Of course, nothing is perfect, but there was a time when computers were thought of never being the king of the chessboard, and now are top dog. Self driving cars were laughed off previously, but as connectivity and technology matures, it might be the answer to US transportation issues, especially in sprawling regions where a bus/train/tram system would be impossible.

                This also would provide ease of renting/reserving cars. If someone didn't want to own one, they could have one reserved to be sitting in front of their place when they needed to go to work.

                • I'm a civil engineer specializing in transportation. I was at a training lecture a few fears ago in which the lecturer suggested that freeway capacities will double with fully automatic cars.

                  I also saw a simulation a few years ago that showed the mixing of cross-traffic as you describe. The major limiting factor for intersection capacity is the intersection controls. Replacing the controls with such a system would increase the vehicle capacity through the intersection phenomenally. The trouble, though,

            • by Khyber (864651)

              >implying a machine would ever understand humans enough to develop the appropriate fuzzy logic to anticipate the myriad ways a human can fuck things up.

          • by w_dragon (1802458)
            Yes, but a bus doesn't leave the minute I want to leave, doesn't take me from the parking lot of the building I'm in to my front door, and generally won't work well at all outside of large urban areas.
      • by neyla (2455118)

        1) Buses don't start at my home.

        2) Buses don't go where I want to go.

        3) Buses don't go -when- I want to go.

        4) I cannot store my stuff from one shop in the bus while visiting a different shop.

        5) The bus is full of strangers, some of which behave and/or smell bad

        6) I can't choose the color of my bus, nor the seats, nor anything else.

        7) The bus doesn't play the music I like.

        8) The bus takes -much- longer, doing my 10-mile commute with dropoff of children in daycare by bus would mean taking 3 different buses ea

    • All it will take is one "think of the children" campaign courtesy of the chronically ignorant to derail this.

      Think of all the children that are killed by drunk/reckless drivers

      • All it will take is one "think of the children" campaign courtesy of the chronically ignorant to derail this.

        Think of all the children that are killed by drunk/reckless drivers

        Good luck explaining that to paranoid crowds waving photoshopped placards of roadkill and screaming about robot vehicles on the rampage

  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Friday February 17, 2012 @09:56AM (#39073373) Homepage

    If coloured license plates could be used to ID drivers and their abilities, how about a system for allowing differing speeds based on:
    1) Car type
    2) Car condition
    3) Driver experience

    I think that most would agree that a 2012 model BMW driven by a professional racecar driver with 20 years' experience and no traffic infractions could be driven safely 20 KPH faster than a 1982 Peugeot with bald tires driven by a 18 year old who already has two infractions.

    I did not invent this, I heard it proposed years ago. But I think that now with automated vehicles being distinguished from human drivers, that the time is ripe and the technology is here to implement it.

    • by smi.james.th (1706780) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:07AM (#39073547)

      Different coloured plates may be useful, but I disagree that different rules should apply. I REALLY don't want racecar drivers with new BMWs tearing around the place. That's dangerous, frankly.

      I've done a bit of track driving, I don't consider my ability to be much above mediocre for an enthusiast, but I'm better than your average driver. I'm fastidious about sticking to the road rules, just because not everyone has the same level of skill as me.

      The roads are for transport, not personal amusement. I want to arrive safely at my destination, please. I'm not too bothered if you're bored because it's slow.

      • by u38cg (607297)
        I seem to recall (it may have been here, actually) a study where people's driving skills were independently assessed alongside how they drove. Driving skill was very strongly correlated to their tendency to follow the rules of the road.
        • I'll concede that I don't know about any such statistics. The average driver of a BMW where I live though, is what is sometimes classified as a "plonker", most of whom think they've got more skill than Lewis Hamilton, though they do much more overtaking than what he does. More than once I've narrowly avoided being taken out by such a specimen.

          In cases like that, adding more rules won't fix things I guess, because they don't even obey the existing ones. Taking them completely off the road would work.

          Discl

        • Button (F1 driver) was interviewed recently driving a new McLaren road car. He remarked that he did not want to try and operate the radio because he was unfamiliar with it, and he did not want to be distracted while driving.

          Any coincidence that Button is one of the most technically polished and controlled F1 drivers (and has been world champion)?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Different coloured plates may be useful, but I disagree that different rules should apply.

        I don't. I've had this idea for some time since I moved to Arizona and got to experience the joy/crap that is the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane. I suggest an Advanced Driver lane. You have to pass a test every year or every other year to get a plate for it but you can drive as fast as you want.

        • Bunk. The first problem is the cost. It's already ridiculously expensive to build a road, and now you want us to make it even bigger to accommodate your childish need to drive at "Ludicrous Speed."

          The second problem is design. Do you know how much effort goes into the design of roads? We start with "design designations," including design speed. All of the curves, both horizontal and vertical are designed with this design speed in mind. Raising the design speed will generally raise the cost.

          The third

    • So you have to change your license plate as your tires get worn down?
      Although I'd love to see a system that allows better drivers to drive faster (and force crappier drivers to drive slower), there's too many other variables already in the mix to try to add more. The one place I see it working best, and maybe a good place to start, is on limited access highways that are already designed for high speed and high volume.

      Personally, I'd much rather force better driver training before allowing people on the road

      • Cars get a yearly inspection as it is where I live. The tag could be part of the inspection. Perhaps the whole tag need not be replaced, just a wide stripe down one side of it.

    • by hipp5 (1635263) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:13AM (#39073629)

      And how often do we check the condition of the car? Do you need to go in monthly to validate the good condition of your tires? What about when the 16 year old son of the race car driver takes the car out? Does he get the +20kph license plate? Or does he have to unscrew it and put his on?

      I think the logistics of the whole thing make it a rediculous undertaking for marginal benefit (is there even a benefit?)

      • And how often do we check the condition of the car? Do you need to go in monthly to validate the good condition of your tires? What about when the 16 year old son of the race car driver takes the car out? Does he get the +20kph license plate? Or does he have to unscrew it and put his on?

        I think the logistics of the whole thing make it a rediculous undertaking for marginal benefit (is there even a benefit?)

        Cars get yearly inspections as it is already. Tires are generally good for a few years.

        How is the situation handled when it is a human piloting the car instead of the computer? Does he get out and change the plate? How about instead of changing the whole plate, the driver puts a coloured stripe next to the plate before starting on his way. There are other benefits to that as well.

    • by JazzHarper (745403) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:15AM (#39073647) Journal

      I think that most would agree that a 2012 model BMW driven by a professional racecar driver with 20 years' experience and no traffic infractions could be driven safely 20 KPH faster than a 1982 Peugeot with bald tires driven by a 18 year old who already has two infractions.

      Worst of all is the 2012 BMW driven by an 18-year-old.

      I'm not so sure that the red plate for autonomous vehicles is entirely a good idea. I'm think it might attract pranksters or worse.

    • by Antimatter3009 (886953) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:27AM (#39073801)
      The point of speed limits is usually not to keep you from going "too fast", it's to keep everyone going roughly the same speed. Driving gets more dangerous when cars are all going vastly different speeds. That's why highways also have minimum speed limits. Having someone going 25 on a 60+ mph highway is just as dangerous as having someone go 100.

      This is less of an issue where there's not much traffic (parts of the Autobahn, for instance), and you could maybe make it work by having different lanes going different speeds, but there is a point beyond just making you drive slower than you're capable of doing.
    • by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:56AM (#39074179)
      White car plate = Normal driver
      Yellow plate = Agressive driver
      Red plate = Killer driver >:)
      Black plate = Death itself driver
      Green plate = Yuppie driver, eletric car
      Rainbow plate = Driver on drugs
      Tartan pattern plate = burlesque speed capable driver (DO NOT try to overcoming this on road)
    • The issue with automated cars is for people to see that it is automated and really not to try to get a behavior change out of the car.
      Normally if someone thinks I am driving to slow they will tail gate me and make gestures of of frustration. Now I will see this and will provoke me to change my behavior.... If I am in a good mood Ill either speed up or just change lanes and let them drive by. If I am feeling like a jerk I will slow down and position by car with other cars in other lanes so they cannot pass
    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      You can already tell the 1982 Peugeot from the 2012 BMW already. One says "BMW" on the back and one says "Peugeot" on the back. Additionally, the number plate will have some sort of indication of the car's age.

      Furthermore, the 2012 BMW is likely to be the one upside down in a hedge, or on the hard shoulder with its hazard lights on after yet another electrical failure, readily distinguishable from the Peugeot which you can find by following the slight oily haze for half a mile or so assuming it's past the

  • Colorblindness? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Friday February 17, 2012 @09:57AM (#39073381)

    I thought we learned a long time ago not to use only color, especially red and green, to distinguish between signage.

    • Being that the purpose of the signage is mostly used by government officials in legal matters, such details can be handled by paperwork as necessary. I don't seriously think there's such a thing as red/white colorblind, so differentiating between autonomous and traditional cars should be trivial even for the colorblind.

    • by trongey (21550)

      I thought we learned a long time ago not to use only color, especially red and green, to distinguish between signage.

      Where it the hell did you get that idea? Do you even live on the same planet that I do?

  • I think... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Agent Z5q (144666)

    ... they should put "Student Driver" on the side of the cars. That would ensure that other drivers would be sufficiently wary.

  • Has automated driving reached a point where if there was an accident the fault would be on the driver and not the carmaker? Until then no one is going to sell these cars. It is a great idea, though, and combined with some other great idea of cheap fuel, I hope it replaces flying ( and getting raped by DHS) altogether.
    • No, but it's reached the point where automated cars are better than the average human driver. A low bar to pass.

    • by w_dragon (1802458)
      If they're to the point where they're writing legislation I assume they've at least started thinking about the laws that need to be modified to deal with the insurance issues.
  • I heard this story on NPR on the way into work and it makes sense. You would need to license and register robotic cars differently so why not start now independant of whether or not Google's car works?

  • #1. (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:14AM (#39073633) Journal
    A driverless vehicle may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless in Reno and with the intent of observing said human's demise.
  • by fleebait (1432569) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:20AM (#39073721)

    Next thing, after I go to bed, the car wants to go out on it's own, and just "hang out"

    Morning: "Where did you go?"
    Car: "Out"
    Me: "What did you do?"

    Car: "Nothing."

  • by GiantRobotMonster (1159813) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:27AM (#39073807)

    Green licence plates? Pah!
    Everybody already knows that a sweeping line of red LEDs in the grill is how you recognise a self driving car.
    Sheesh!

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      And when it changes to a single LED scanning back and forth you know it's gone rogue.
  • Just don't piss it off, or you'll end up as road kill.
  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:43AM (#39074001)

    Self driving cars are a waste of energy.

    They should at least be driving goods or people around. But just driving themselves around is such a waste.

  • by akpoff (683177) on Friday February 17, 2012 @10:44AM (#39074027) Homepage

    They're going to mandate driver-less cars have unique, identifiable license plates? Sounds like a "Steal Me!" badge.

    Remember the problem Florida had about 10 years ago where rental cars with clearly-identifiable stickers (Enterprise "E")? The cards were driven mostly by out-of-country tourists. They were being jacked because the bad guys knew they couldn't defend themselves.

    Driver-less cars are chock-a-block with experimental technology, all wrapped-up inside of a $15k - $40k vehicle...with no one to defend them.

    What could go wrong?

    At least until they get lasers.

    • There would still be someone in the car. I imagine it will be quite a while before cars are allowed to drive themselves around unoccupied.
    • by mark-t (151149)

      In my experience, it's fairly common these days for new vehicles to come with some technology in the ignition system that makes it virtually impossible to hot wire.... and even if they succeeded, without having the right wireless chip nearby to talk to that is installed in the head of the keys that would normally be in the ignition, the steering column will not unlock, and the car will not shift out of park. With the key absent, the engine would automatically shut off after a certain period without the ke

    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:44AM (#39074883) Homepage Journal

      I'm sorry, I don't understand. A regular car is usually worth tens of thousands of dollars too, and it's usable even by someone who doesn't own it with a minor modification to keyhole.

      Yes, there's a lot of electronics in a self driving car, but the majority of those electronics are going to be useless outside of the context of... that car or a car like it.

      Actually, I suspect it'll be more difficult to steal one of these things in practice. This is a car that drives itself. It needs access to GPS and up to date databases on traffic patterns to work properly. That means it'll be calling home on a regular basis, possibly even all the time, and giving away its location. Steal it, and you're guaranteed to be caught, convicted, and serving time.

      • by akpoff (683177)

        I think it'll be pretty easy. The vehicle will have to stop if it detects a collision[1]. So the question is: after bumping the car from any side, how fast can determined thieves get to the GPS (or the communications device), disable it, hook up a tow truck and get away?

        I'm betting faster than typical metro police can get to the last reported coordinates.

        [1] Google's autonomous car rear-ended a car last year [msn.com] and stayed around for the accident. Apparently the accident was a result of "human error" but stil

        • ow fast can determined thieves get to the GPS (or the communications device), disable it, hook up a tow truck and get away?

          That's a little like saying "It'd be easy to steal these secret documents from this locked room. All you have to do is set fire to the building and then suck the ash under the door."

          People who steal things, with few exceptions, do so because the things they steal have value after they've been stolen. Turning a motor vehicle into a brick kinda causes it to lose 99% of its value. At t

  • green = $$ for ambulance chasing lawyers and in a crash if a auto car they will come at you full force.

  • I couldn't find what they actually passed, but here's a link to what was proposed back in Dec. 2011. You'd think the Nevada DMV publicity droids would have posted links to what was actually passed ... sigh. Anyways, here it is:

    http://www.dmvnv.com/public_meetings/R084-11.pdf [dmvnv.com]
  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:10AM (#39074397)

    I imagine a day when a significant-enough portion of the population has Computer Driven Cars.

    Imagine a city center with a computer-driver only zone. Traffic flows so much easier- cars can travel closer to each other- at faster speeds. No need for inefficient traffic lights (all cars get 0mpg idling at a traffic light)- instead of traffic lights- cars may change velocities to avoid collisions- with an algorythm saying who goes when- all traffic would slow as approaching the light- and accellerate when it is there turn through- all fitting tightly through gaps with each other.

    Given enough time to adapt- the whole country could be computer-driver only.

    Traffic would be safer-, faster, more cars could fit on the same stretch of road- saving money in taxes, cars would be more fuel efficient (even if we're still using petrol- a car driven by a human would use more and be less efficient).

    It is possible that we could partially see this vision within our lifetime. I certainly expect to see before I die city centers where human drivers are not allowed and traffic lights are done away with. I don't think I will see in my lifetime a time when all roads are for computer drivers only though- but that time will come.

    • by rwise2112 (648849)
      Yeah, I saw a documentary about that. However, there was a terrible side effect, in that all resturants became Taco Bells!
  • I'm curious how many evil under-the-radar provisions there are buried within this legislation that is ostensibly for automatic-driving cars. It seems we can't let anything go without scrutiny these days, lest they completely put one over on us and further erode our rights and liberties.

  • I wonder if Google's new privacy rules (or lack thereof) apply to using a Google vehicle?

  • by Clomer (644284) on Friday February 17, 2012 @11:29AM (#39074663)
    The linked story is distinctly lacking in details. Yes, it mentions the red or green license plate requirements, but I consider that to be a minor requirement that says nothing about the actual operation. This [go.com] story has more interesting information and it doesn't even mention the license plate requirement.

    Among the highlights:
    • In the test vehicles (presumably the ones with red plates), there must be 2 people in the vehicle at all times, with one able to immediately take over control.
    • Companies must register their testing intentions with the state, such as testing in fog or snow/ice. They must also share results with the state.
    • There must be a "black box" type data recorder that records and stores all sensor data for 30 seconds prior to a collision.
    • Once a vehicle is certified to operate without a driver, a person can operate it without being physically present in the vehicle.
    • The operator is liable regardless of whether they are present or not.
    • There are exceptions for operating an autonomous vehicle while talking on a cell phone (illegal in Nevada without a hands-free device) or texting (also illegal to do while driving), but not for being drunk.

    Seems like reasonable rules to me.

  • If anyone ever thought that any race, creed, color or religion has ever been discriminated against, then they are about to see a hatred that may remind them of all previous. Autopiloted autos are societies first hard look at sentient machines. I know, they are not AI's David or I, robot's Sonny. However, they will be self propelled and, initially, not too bright. They will be scammed in a major way, mostly fraudulent accident claims. Moreover, every livery driver will see them as more of a threat than i

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