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Nissan Develops Emergency Auto-Steering System 391

Posted by samzenpus
from the technology-take-the-wheel dept.
AmiMoJo writes "Japanese automaker Nissan Motor says it has developed a new technology to help drivers avoid collisions. A new computer system automatically steers the car to avoid colliding with objects in the road. The system relies on radar and laser scanners. It also uses a front-mounted camera to provide information on what's happening outside the car. The system first alerts the driver to turn in a certain direction. If the driver cannot immediately turn in that direction, the system takes over the steering to help avoid a collision."
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Nissan Develops Emergency Auto-Steering System

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  • recipie for disaster (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:37PM (#41688225)

    How well does said auto-steering system perform on ice, mud, or fording small streams?

    • by LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:41PM (#41688259)

      Electronic Stability Control already does it on those surfaces.

      • by Nexion (1064) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:49PM (#41688325)

        Aye, learned that the hard way the first time my RX8 met ice. Pro tip... turn off traction control prior to hitting ice. Your speed will not matter. It would send me into a spin at 20mph.

        • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (eilrigyag)> on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:51PM (#41688341) Homepage

          I've actually met several ambulance drivers around here who say the same thing -- these days they simply outright refuse to even consider cars where you can't turn such crap off. Those things are just a major disaster waiting to happen.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:49PM (#41688721)

            I've actually met several ambulance drivers around here who say the same thing -- these days they simply outright refuse to even consider cars where you can't turn such crap off. Those things are just a major disaster waiting to happen.

            Hm. Depends, really. If they "fail" and cause fewer deaths or injuries than they save, isn't it a net gain?

            Seatbelts have killed people. But they're still a net gain. Isn't that what matters? Or do we demand that safety mechanisms *never* cause problems? If so, their design would require that the benefits be considerably diluted.

            • by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:11PM (#41689197) Journal
              It has to be much safer. Maybe as safe as elevators. Because such stuff reduces the effect of your genetics in avoiding fatalities. ;)

              For example say an automated vehicle is 10% safer. If people drove themselves there would be 10% more fatalities, but over a few generations it could get fewer and fewer (if the selection pressure is enough - if it isn't then traffic safety isn't that important compared to other pressures right?).

              Similarly for the extreme sports stuff - it might be bad for some of the participants but good for the gene pool quality and spread ;).
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by ThatsMyNick (2004126)

            Ambulance drivers are usually far better drivers than the rest. They also understand their vehicle and its response far better than the average folk. So yeah, no wonder they prefer to take decisions themselves than trust the machine to do that for them.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Have a buddy who was a county cop and said the same, he wouldn't let any of his family anywhere near a vehicle with the electronic traction control as he said 9 times out of 10 it would kick in at exactly the wrong time and cause an accident instead of avoid one.

            I think the problem is they test this stuff on tracks where everything is rigidly controlled when IRL we all know its nothing like that, ice can be patchy, same with slick spots and gravel slung across the road, and these things have an "all or no

            • Old maids tales (Score:5, Insightful)

              by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @03:01AM (#41690187)

              Yes, the first generations of traction control systems were rather crude and didn't work well on ice. However, some manufacturers actually evolve their product and modern TC systems are doing a whole lot better than the ones that caused all the urban myths. That doesn't mean that every car you buy now has a capable TCS on it, but if you steer away from "We sold this model for the last 100 years, why change?" or "Our car is cheaper because we copy old Euro tech" style manufacturers, you will probably find capable electronics that actually help prevent accidents. However, there is no recipe against a driver that chooses to drive way too fast under circumstances that will most likely cause ice on the roads. Once you go 50 mph in a certain direction and hit ice, there is no amount of electronics or steering that will stop you sliding straight ahead in the direction you were going. It often takes a tree, house, rock, car or other large object to stop you, or you'll roll over once you gain grip again or hit a ditch. Physics can be a bitch sometimes and there will always be people that fail to realize that in time.

              This new technology isn't about traction control, it's about not hitting that pothole or lost cargo on the road. This will mean that your car will suddenly swerve hard, slamming the steering wheel out of your hands, breaking your thumb or fingers and making you spill your hot coffee on your lap. People will blame that on their car, but they fail to realize that you shouldn't be holding the wheel with just one hand, or with your thumbs hooked, or drinking hot coffee while driving. It's the same as with driving under icy conditions; these mechanisms are put on cars to help good drivers deal with situations the human brain can't cope with, not to substitute the driver. If you want that, go talk to Google.

            • by adolf (21054)

              9 out of 10?

              I use traction control all winter long unless I'm out playing with the car on purpose in a closed environment, and even then I turn it on from time to time just to see how hard it is to piss off*. It hasn't caused an accident yet, let alone for 9 out of 10 times it activates due to limited-grip conditions.

              What is this, "new math"? WTF are you smoking?

              *: It's hard to piss off, and the maneuvers that cause it to be pissed are equally bad with it disabled: There isn't much that can correct for

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by michelcolman (1208008)

            There are many different types of Electronic Stability Control. Unfortunately, most car builders just take the cheapest and most basic one available. If I compare the ESC in my wife's Prius with the one in my Merc, it's a world of difference. When you turn into a street with the Prius (with lots of gas because there's traffic coming), as soon as the front wheels start spinning a bit, the ESC kicks in and goes "oh, my, understeer, that's mighty dangerous!" and slams on the brakes. What the f*** do I care abo

        • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:00PM (#41688417) Journal

          ASC+T works great on my E36 BMW with some slight modification, though it wasn't at all bad in stock form.

          Pro tip... install appropriate tires prior to driving on ice. I've got a set of skinny Blizzaks that I use for winter driving, and the combination makes the E36 the most stable and predictable car I've ever driven on snow and ice. It just works.

          • by dubbreak (623656) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:14PM (#41688531)

            Pro tip... install appropriate tires prior to driving on ice.

            This.

            Proper tires make all the difference. I have a FWD Rav4. Stock "all season" tires would cause it to go into a traction control seizure on slippery inclines (it would just shudder until you turn the traction control off). With some proper winter tires (full studable winter, not "winter rated") it was great in the snow and ice. I tried to get it out of control on purpose and between ETC and ESC it would right itself every time (this was in northern Canada with plenty of snow and ice in -20C).

            Still have to watch for breaking though. If you are carrying too much speed and hit ice antilock isn't going to save you. Driving slow and engine braking will.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Still have to watch for breaking though. If you are carrying too much speed and hit ice antilock isn't going to save you. Driving slow and engine braking will.

              Engine braking can only be decreased by nudging the accelerator pedal, while normal braking can be varied. Fancier ABS than you get with a Toyota knows what to do in snow or on ice. And even with old ABS, you still get to steer, though you may not get to slow down appreciably.

              • by dubbreak (623656) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:32PM (#41688633)
                I didn't mean dropping it a gear in an emergency but rather driving in a lower gear at a slow speed so when you lift the accelerator you have the nice gradual braking. Decelerating in that way guarantees you have rolling friction rather than static friction of locking wheels. That's the aim of ABS, to have rolling friction rather than static locked wheels. Regardless of how fancy your ABS is, driving speed is what's going to make the biggest difference in braking distance.
                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  I didn't mean dropping it a gear in an emergency but rather driving in a lower gear at a slow speed so when you lift the accelerator you have the nice gradual braking. Decelerating in that way guarantees you have rolling friction rather than static friction of locking wheels.

                  What? Who told you that? That is simply not true at all. We use higher gears in snow and on ice to reduce torque at the wheels to reduce the chance of wheelspin. We do NOT repeat NOT use lower gears, that only increases the chance that you will break the wheels lose in either direction.

                  Regardless of how fancy your ABS is, driving speed is what's going to make the biggest difference in braking distance.

                  Well, no. Not really. Modern ABS is smart enough to lock up occasionally on snow to maintain a pile of snow in front of the wheel, and to pulse a little harder on ice as well. So actually, what makes the biggest difference is

            • I am curious as to why engine breaking vs normal breaking would make a difference. As I understand it, slipping happens because of inertia, when you decelerate too quickly. I cannot think of a reason why it matters WHAT is robbing your car of speed, whether it is at your discs or in the engine or because you turned too quickly.

              If Im mistaken here, I would love to understand why.

              • by similar_name (1164087) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @10:28PM (#41688967)
                My understanding is that static friction is greater than kinetic friction. For instance when you push say a sofa across the floor a greater force is needed to move it from rest (static friction) than to keep it sliding (kinetic friction). If you're tires are rolling they essentially keep static friction because the surface of the tire is static relative to the ground at any given point. Once the tires lock, kinetic friction takes over and your friction coefficient goes down and the tires slide. I believe engine braking would keep the tires rolling somewhat to maintain some level of static friction. ABS does the same by 'pumping' the brakes quickly over and over in an effort to maintain as much static versus kinetic friction as possible.

                While I believe I grasp the idea, my terminology may be off so someone else may be able to provide a clearer answer.
                • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @10:56PM (#41689097)
                  This.

                  When your tires are rolling, the friction in the direction they are rolling is far from zero, but it is vastly less (in normal road conditions) than from side-to-side. The "contact patch" of your tire is (relatively speaking) in a static position on the roadway, and so is under static friction. That is what keeps you going in the direction you point it.

                  When a tire is locked up, however, it is in dynamic friction. Dynamic friction is not only much lower than static friction, but since the tire is locked up, it no longer "cares" what direction it goes in, because the friction is exactly the same no matter what that direction is. Sliding is sliding, and the contact area is constant.

                  So if you are in a situation of rear-wheel lockup, but your front wheels are still rolling but braking, the rear of your car is going to "want" to overtake the front, and there is nothing at all keeping the rear from swinging out sideways and doing so, if there is any deviation at all from a perfect straight line. Not A Good Thing.

                  You can do this experiment with a small model car. Lock up the front wheels but not the back, and give it a good shove forward on a relatively smooth surface. Chances are, it will keep going more-or-less forward. Then free the front wheels and lock the back, and give it the same kind of shove. It will spin all over the place.

                  That is why for many years (before ABS), manufacturers would put disk brakes on the front but old-style drum brakes on the back. Because IF you are going to get a lockup, you want it to be your front wheels, not the rear.
              • by Quietust (205670)
                My guess would be that in low-traction situations, even light pressure on the brakes can be enough to lock the wheels, while engine braking cannot possibly cause the wheels to lock.
                • by causality (777677)

                  My guess would be that in low-traction situations, even light pressure on the brakes can be enough to lock the wheels, while engine braking cannot possibly cause the wheels to lock.

                  When I needed a replacement car, I got a very good one at an even better price and have not regretted this decision ... but I certainly do miss a manual transmission for just this reason.

                  A secondary reason is that it's just more fun.

              • by russotto (537200)

                I am curious as to why engine breaking vs normal breaking would make a difference.

                Engine braking can't lock your brakes. If you try to use too much engine braking, your wheels will start to slip but not as severely as if you apply too much normal braking and lock them up. Engine braking also typically applies only to two wheels, which can be an advantage (sometimes, with RWD, so you can steer with the fronts while slowing with the rear) or disadvantage (most of the time).

                I don't see why a good ABS wouldn

          • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:15PM (#41688537)

            " I've got a set of skinny Blizzaks that I use for winter driving, and the combination makes the E36 the most stable and predictable car I've ever driven on snow and ice."

            I live in an area that often has very snowy winters, and trying to convince people to use narrow tires in the winter is like talking to a brick wall. They want to put monster tires on their trucks, for example, and try to claim that the big "contact patch" will solve all their problems.

            But I have seen the difference with my own eyes. Listen to parent, folks. If you drive on snow & ice, get narrow tires. It might just save your butt.

          • +1 on Blizzaks

            I loved my Blizzaks when I lived in the snow country. I ran normal tires for years with good results (after all, where I lived you only had 5-10 days with snow on the ground to worry about in a normal year) until the year I did a project in Wyoming and decided it was a good idea to get snow tires. These tires are unbelievable, even on straight ice. They looked really weird, but their performance made me a believer.

        • by Russ1642 (1087959)
          RTFM. The manual will tell you to turn off traction control on snow and ice. I live in Edmonton, and I can't get my car down the street in the winter unless I turn off traction control. As soon as one tire slips a tiny bit it'll cut power so you can't get your speed up. If you're in deep snow it's a sure way to get stuck because you have to be able to spin your tires a little bit as you drive.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DogDude (805747)
        Electronic stability control is dangerous and a bad idea.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Electronic stability control is hard to do right but is now mandatory. It's still a great idea, but you have to be careful who you get it from, and yet everyone buying a new car is getting it.

        • and it is also mandatory.

        • by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:07AM (#41689537)

          No, electronic stability control is a great idea that makes cars much safer ...for most drivers.

          For highly skilled drivers, it probably gets in the way more than it helps. But the vast majority of drivers aren't pros. And there's no denying that accidents have gone down markedly since ESC was introduced. And lest you claim that's a coincidence, studies have also shown strong correlation between vehicles that lack ESC and vehicles that end up in fatal accidents.

          Seriously, you shouldn't make claims like that before looking at the evidence. If someone sees your post and decides to avoid getting ESC in their next car, their risk of death goes up by quite a bit. It's akin to telling people vaccines cause autism. Stop it.

    • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:44PM (#41688293)
      The real problem is false positives: the car detects falsely a problem, avoids a non-collision, and even brakes by mistake. Worse will be when a false positive will induce an accident that wouldn't have happened otherwise.
      • by Mspangler (770054) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:29PM (#41688617)

        "Worse will be when a false positive will induce an accident"

        That was my first thought too. Car sees a monster tumbleweed coming and swerves me into the other lane (boom) or the ditch trying to dodge it, not realizing that Ramming Speed is fully authorized with tumbleweeds.

        Even worse would be the car dodging a big dog and hitting a small kid instead.

        • by TheLink (130905)
          Or swerving off a cliff instead of hitting the side of it (perhaps intentionally - to slow down brakes fail etc).
        • by jamesh (87723) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:28AM (#41689633)

          "Worse will be when a false positive will induce an accident"

          That was my first thought too. Car sees a monster tumbleweed coming and swerves me into the other lane (boom) or the ditch trying to dodge it, not realizing that Ramming Speed is fully authorized with tumbleweeds.

          Even worse would be the car dodging a big dog and hitting a small kid instead.

          This is why I love slashdot. Full of people brilliant enough to imagine the possibilities of how something could go wrong, but too dim to imagine that the designers have already considered it :)

      • by green1 (322787)

        The anti-lock brakes on my work truck do this all the time, 1 tire hits a small patch of gravel/ice/manhole cover and suddenly I feel a drastic loss of braking power on all 4 wheels. It has nearly caused many collisions.
        For some reason the anti-lock brakes on my personal vehicle, despite being very annoying, have never caused me the same problems, despite being on a vehicle nearly 15 years older (so theoretically not as advanced a design)
        If I could find a vehicle without them I would definitely have it, for

        • by v1 (525388)

          easy fix. open the fuse box under the hood. look for the one labeled "ABS". Pull. done.

      • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @10:24PM (#41688945)
        I've run into this on my car. I've got radar based crash avoidance (it's just brakes, no steering assist); it sometimes detects an imminent collision for a fraction of a second just before crossing railroad tracks. Luckily, it's so quick that I get the audible alert, but the brakes don't kick in. It's disconcerting though. If it took steering control, that would be terrifying.
    • by Jstlook (1193309)
      Seriously! If I wanted my vehicle to drive for me, I'd take the bloody bus!

      If they're so hot on not letting me actually drive a vehicle I own, why should I pay for it?
  • by Nexion (1064)

    I bet it will be just AWESOME on ice!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder who the first fucker will be to hack together a radar/laser jamming system that sends these cars onto random uncontrollable trajectories and sets it up by the 405 at 7:30 in the evening?

  • I hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cute and Cuddly (2646619) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:42PM (#41688265)
    I hope that there will be plenty of logs, just in case that when your car avoids a dog and kills a kid you can go to cort and blame Nissan for it
    • "I hope that there will be plenty of logs, just in case that when your car avoids a dog and kills a kid you can go to cort and blame Nissan for it"

      You nailed it. Because that's the typical history of this kind of technology:

      1. It is introduced.

      2. Somebody sues on the grounds that it caused an accident, rather than avoiding one.

      3. It is taken off the market.

      4. It is gradually improved, and finds its way back into the market. Fairly typical time frame: 10 years.

  • Bugs (Score:5, Funny)

    by multiben (1916126) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:42PM (#41688269)
    Programmer accidentally casts unsigned to signed: steering wheel turns full lock right instead of a bit to the left?
  • I , for one, welcome our new automatic steering overlorrrrdd....... Wait, no I don't!

    Traffic accidents happen fast. Normally due to 2 distracted (or impared) drivers crossing path.

    If you are a defensive driver, you always have an "out". I, like a responsible adult, keep my distance, travel at a safe speed, respect the road conditions, etc. I have only had one near-miss and it was due to someone running a red-light.
  • I am wary of these (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (eilrigyag)> on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:45PM (#41688303) Homepage

    I cannot help but actually be quite wary of how these kinds of things are starting to crop up in modern cars. How well do these work e.g. in an abnormal situation, like e.g. there's flood water on the road, or lots and lots of snow like we here in Finland tend to get, or what if the system detects something on the road that it really wants to steer away from, but doesn't detect what's coming up on you from the side and steers you in even worse direction against your wishes? Hell, a proper snow storm is a common occurrence here in Finland and even humans have trouble keeping track of everything that's happening; I really, really doubt a computer can do a better job at it.

    These things might be good for people with serious attention deficits or other kinds of similar issues, but an experienced, careful driver could quite possibly make better decisions than these and thus these systems would actually be detrimental in such cases. Hell, they could just as well turn a not-so-serious crash into a major disaster if they screwed up and took control of the car over the driver.

    • Have you ever considered that these systems might be connected to other systems?

      If you're in a low area of Florida, near a coast, river, ocean, etc (determined by GPS), during a wet/hurricane season (determined by date/time, humidity and temp sensors), crossing standing water (determined by moisture, humidity sensors, on-board cameras, input from differential and traction control sensors, engine speed, load, and RPM, emergency warning systems via radio), and going less than 25 MPH (speed sensors, GPS, camer

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      You could make the same argument against driverless cars, but they seem to be pretty safe. Nissan are using that same technology, complete with radar and cameras to make sure it only engages if it can be sure that the road is clear.

      We are now reaching the point where computers can drive better than we can.

    • by Solandri (704621)
      Here's my abnormal driving situation story. I had just taken the off-ramp from the freeway when the radio started acting funny. Being a gadget geek, I set about trying to figure out what was the problem. A few seconds later I suddenly remembered, "Hey, I'm supposed to be driving!" I looked up to see myself about to plow into a car at the bottom of the ramp stopped at a red light.

      I slammed on the brakes, but due to the ramp going downhill it wasn't going to stop me quickly enough. To the right was a
  • False positives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AaronW (33736) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:50PM (#41688337) Homepage

    I can just see it, a metallic balloon drifts through a lane of traffic and the Nissan goes into panic mode and starts a big chain reaction because the radar, camera and laser scanner detect it as a threat. A real driver would just try and pop the balloon.

    That is also one of my questions about how the Google self-driving cars behave in similar situations. Do they panic when a tumbleweed blows across the road?

    • by profplump (309017)

      First, it's dangerous to drive into any obstacle. You do you know that box/balloon/etc. doesn't have a bowling ball in it?

      Second, why do you assume the system would be any worse at choosing among the options -- left/right/straight -- than a human would? There aren't a lot of details on this system, but there's no reason to believe it doesn't *also* check beside the car before telling you which way to turn.

      • First, it's dangerous to drive into any obstacle. You do you know that box/balloon/etc. doesn't have a bowling ball in it?

        Given he was describing it as "drifting", not rolling, across lanes I think it would be pretty obvious which you were dealing with.

        Second, why do you assume the system would be any worse at choosing among the options -- left/right/straight -- than a human would?

        Because it's very hard to have enough sensors and computing power to make that choice.

        Ditch or nice smooth road off to the right

    • "a metallic balloon drifts through a lane of traffic and the Nissan goes into panic mode and starts a big chain reaction"

      Red ones are the worst about this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14IRDDnEPR4

  • by kiwimate (458274) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:57PM (#41688395) Journal

    If Slashdot had been around 120 or 130 years ago, the first story about a new invention with four wheels and a motor would've been rife with comments about pedestrians not being able to get out of the way, horses being frightened, and predictions of other problems so severe the automobile would never see the light of day as an invention for the common man.

    • Those were all real problems with the first automobiles. It was about 30 years from Karl Benz to the Model T. We are still firmly in the "Stanley Steamer" era of automated cars. Pedestrians and horses were well-advised to avoid such monstrosities.
  • I mean really, I have complete faith in those automotive engineers to have envisioned every single possible condition the system will have to deal with. And also to have designed the electronics so that even if a component or wire fails, hell, even if a bunch of them fail, the system will automatically do the right thing. Don't you?
  • Robots! (Score:4, Funny)

    by preaction (1526109) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:12PM (#41688517)

    You are experiencing a car accident! Do you require assistance?

  • I was recently in a car accident. An elderly man drove into us from the front passenger corner. We had nowhere to go as there was a tall meridian on the driver's side. Basically a case of: scrub off as much speed as possible by emergency braking and brace for impact.

    When we were struck the steering wheel was forced to one side. Much like the auto system in the video. The difference was I didn't know that was going to happen (like the testers) so I didn't let go. The spinning wheel resulted in a broken rad
  • No. Just No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epp_b (944299) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @09:38PM (#41688663)

    There are just too many unpredictable situations that a computer just can't calculate.

    Just like ABS, traction control, stability control ... they're all just ways of allowing drivers to become stupid, lazy and less involved. If it were up to me, automatic transmissions would be illegal (except for special cases like disabled drivers, etc.), I really think it caused drivers to pay too little attention.

    We need to stop trying to mitigate stupid drivers and just get rid of stupid drivers, either by improving the training regimens or getting them off the road and providing them with viable transportation alternatives.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by pclminion (145572)
      The less involved the drivers are the safer the system is. The system is safest when the driver cannot control the car at all.
    • Just like ABS, traction control, stability control ... they're all just ways of allowing drivers to become stupid, lazy and less involved.

      Not just less involved but less in control. They either need to go the whole way and have properly driverless cars where the computer is responsible for everything or have the driver responsible for everything which means that a computer cannot override the drivers control. Having both driver and computer each partially in control would be like having an aircraft piloted by committee.

    • Just like ABS, traction control, stability control ... they're all just ways of allowing drivers to become stupid, lazy and less involved.

      And they are also great ways of avoiding accidents. I prefer being "lazy and less involved" (I fail to see how "stupid" comes into the equation) to being dead or crippled, thankyouverymuch.

      We need to stop trying to mitigate stupid drivers and just get rid of stupid drivers

      Well, if history is any indication, getting rid of stupid drivers Just Does Not Work(TM) *, while all

  • You'll never get it in your carhole.

  • Possible scenario (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DodgeRules (854165) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @10:19PM (#41688925)

    The driver of the car in front of you jams on his brakes. The road is wet and your car can't stop in time. There is a truck to the left so your brand new intelligent car decides to swerve to the right because there is only a small object there and won't cause as much damage. Too bad for the student walking home from school.

    This idea, while the concept has good intentions, just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen with a huge lawsuit for an ending.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      The driver of the car in front of you jams on his brakes. The road is wet and your car can't stop in time. There is a truck to the left so your brand new intelligent car decides to swerve to the right because there is only a small object there and won't cause as much damage. Too bad for the student walking home from school.

      This idea, while the concept has good intentions, just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen with a huge lawsuit for an ending.

      Probable scenario. The driver of the car in front of you jams on his brakes. The road is wet and your car can't stop in time. There is a truck to the left so your brand new intelligent car decides to slam on the brakes and hope for the best, because there's a small object to the right that might be a student walking home from school.

      Seriously, it's not rocket science. Your car isn't going to just "aim for the softest target". And in any case, if the car in front of you can stop in time then your computer

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=WhNM2K8cmU8 [youtube.com]

    In the year 5555
    Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
    Your legs got nothing to do
    Some machine is doing that for you

    lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/z/zager_and_evans/#share [lyricsmode.com]

  • There's actually not a lot of full blown idiots out there. But the ones who are out there leave a trail of death and destruction. To the tune of about 30,000 dead a year, plus some multiple significantly injured.

    As someone who has well over 10,000 hours behind the wheel, and a good driving record, I don't think the roads are going to be made safer with this system on my vehicle. I already keep my eyes forward, maintain sufficient following distance and slow down in bad weather. However, for a teenager, a

  • Car automation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NetGyver (201322) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:19PM (#41689235) Journal

    I wonder how the system would handle animals on the road. I don't know exactly how many animals I've hit since I've been driving, but I'd bet it's been dozens. 3 deer, all on the highway, some raccoon, some squirrels, some opossum. I was in a situation where I literally had to choose between swerving and wrecking in to the cars beside me on the freeway or hitting the deer. Needless to say, if its an animal, it's game. But, OTOH, computers are faster than humans, and sometimes things happen so fast that you don't get time to think.

    In the split second between imminent danger and reaction, the speed of your vehicle, it's trajectory, and where your likely to have impact...these are all things a computer can calculate nearly instantly. I am not saying Yay for driver-less cars, i'm merely saying that If your going to crash, and with so many variables associated with crashes, at least if it's computer controlled, your risk is calculated, instead of solely relying on random reactionary impulses.

    There is always that scary feeling like you lost control. Humans like to give control up for mundane and repetitive tasks, However, this is literally putting your life in the hands of a machine.

    I'm more in favor of safety warnings that get noticed by the computer and escalated to the driver. For example, if your switching lanes and a car is in your blind spot, and you put your signal on, the computer warns you there is a car there in the blind spot. That's awesome. Or if standards were in place cars would talk to each other in such a way that Jimmy's BMW could bug the shit of of him for being a dick and cutting me off and getting too close while doing it...that's awesome too.
    Or if i'm getting on the freeway and my Jeep knows that the guy coming down the road is going too fast and chances are high that if I try to merge on, he'll hit me in the rear. Or, (and this one is great) if your trying to get out on a busy road, the system could let you know when it is truly safe to pull out on to the main road, based on the speeds of the oncoming cars.

    There are all kinds of things a computer system can do to make us safer drivers, without outright taking full control of the situation.

  • and when the car automatically "Avoids" some obstacle, real or not... and plows into a 4yr old on a tricycle... Who's liable? This seems like a horrific idea that I can't believe Nissans lawyers would allow on the road.

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.

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