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Concern Mounts Over Self-Driving Cars Taking Away Freedom 662

Posted by timothy
from the shattering-your-illusions-at-high-speed dept.
Lucas123 writes "Opinions in the blogosphere are building and run the gamut on self-driving automobile technology, but a survey supports the trend that most don't want their driving independence usurped by cameras, sensors and an onboard computer. The survey of British drivers last year commissioned by Bosch, a Germany-based supplier of automotive components, found that most would not buy a self-driving car. Only 29% of respondents said thay would consider buying a driverless car and only 21% said they would feel safe as a passenger in a self-driving car. David Alexander, an analyst at Navigant Research, pointed out that while driving yourself is often preferable, there's a lot of "grunt" driving that would be better handled by a computer. Navigant recently released a report stating that by 2035, 95 million autonomous cars will be sold every year."
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Concern Mounts Over Self-Driving Cars Taking Away Freedom

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  • I'm in.

    I would pay a lot of money to be able to drive distracted, asleep, or inebriated legally. Right now none of those are legal and one isn't even possible.

    • by godrik (1287354) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:56PM (#44647371)

      Count me in as well. I do not actually like driving. That's a lot of wasted time for me. I'd rather do so many more things during that driving time. I could read all my commute time. Or even play need for speed! :)

      • by tompaulco (629533)

        Count me in as well. I do not actually like driving. That's a lot of wasted time for me. I'd rather do so many more things during that driving time. I could read all my commute time. Or even play need for speed! :)

        I don't like driving during my commute, however I do like driving for fun. Unfortunately driving for fun is beyond my economic means these days. Gas is 6 or 7 times what it was when I was a teenager.

      • by icebike (68054) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:37PM (#44647983)

        Count me in as well. I do not actually like driving. That's a lot of wasted time for me. I'd rather do so many more things during that driving time. I could read all my commute time. Or even play need for speed! :)

        As long as it has a manual mode, I'd be fine with having autonomous mode available.
        As I progress more in my geezerhood I will probably yearn more for autonomous mode and less for manual.

        I like driving, but I like it least in the places I would also distrust an automated car, so I'm conflicted
        right there. (Traffic jams) Call me when autonomous cars can totally de-snarl bumper to bumper stop and
        go traffic, such that when the light changes every single car in the queue moves forward in unison.

        Till then, there are some roads that just beg to be driven, and they are not that uncommon.

        • by dunng808 (448849)

          Where I live we have a leash law. When you take your dog beyond your property it must be on a leash. But many people have small lots, or live in high-rises. People wanted dogs to have a bit of freedom, so the city built dog parks. Inside a large, fenced-in area a dog can run around free, just like they could always do when I was a boy. The dogs are happy, their owners are happy.

          I foresee the day, not too far off, when all cars on city streets must be computer controlled. Folks who want to enjoy driving will

          • by icebike (68054)

            When you can sit in the back seat and say "drive to destination" then for all practical purposes its autonomous.
            I'm pretty sure we wouldn't accept vehicles that decide where we should go and just stop at some random destination.

        • by Daetrin (576516) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @06:42PM (#44648739)
          Er, isn't bumper to bumper stop and go traffic one of the things autonomous cars would be best at? It's pretty easy to figure out what to do in that situation. Every car moving forward in unison at a stoplight won't happen until all the cars are automated, but the automated cars will certainly be able to accelerate just as quickly as a human when the car in front of them starts moving forward.

          The reasonably legitimate concerns i've heard involve dealing with unexpected situations. You can see there's stopped traffic up ahead but the person in front of you isn't slowing down, you're on residential streets and a you see a ball bounce out between two parked cars and expect a child to follow shortly, etc.
        • by Reapy (688651) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @08:28PM (#44649759)

          In my ideal world cars can talk to streets and other cars for congestion reports, routing, and local avoidance. Having a manual driver in that process would fuck everything up since there is one X factor in the swarm that isn't responding.

          Still that is a long way off, I imagine self drive will begin like ski lifts, drive into a zone, control is taken, moved along a highway, then as you exit a slow ramp with some warning bells as you resume control of the car.

          Either way seems to be an infrastructure nightmare but damn would be nice when it is in place. Hopefully i can see something like this when I'm just getting old enough to not drive myself.

    • by DutchUncle (826473) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:59PM (#44647409)
      ... and while incapable (my wife had a cast on her right ankle for multiple months), and while incapacitated (elder relatives are OK in sunlight but not in rain or darkness).

      As another poster noted: As long as I can take manual control when I want to. But for law enforcement: It needs a mode that is PROVABLY un-take-controllable so that we can show we KNEW we were sleepy, inebriated, incapable, etc. and "handed over the keys".
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I would pay a lot of money to be able to drive distracted, asleep, or inebriated legally.

      Wait, you actually want the computer to override you while you're driving? I don't think it should work that way.

      • Some cars already do work that way. They have automatic breaking when the car senses that you will hit something in front of you.

        It would make no sense for it to work the other way round. A human's reaction time is far too slow to intervene when (s)he thinks the car computer will do something bad.

        • by CCarrot (1562079)

          Some cars already do work that way. They have automatic breaking when the car senses that you will hit something in front of you.

          It would make no sense for it to work the other way round. A human's reaction time is far too slow to intervene when (s)he thinks the car computer will do something bad.

          Hmmm...I would think this would be an automatic reaction for most cars upon hitting an object...doing so ahead of time would be rather pointless, although it would keep the body shops happy :)

          The word you're looking for is 'braking' ;o)

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Some cars already do work that way. They have automatic breaking when the car senses that you will hit something in front of you.

          It would make no sense for it to work the other way round. A human's reaction time is far too slow to intervene when (s)he thinks the car computer will do something bad.

          Actually a human is faster.

          It's just that most humans are dumber.

          Auto-braking systems kick in when you're about to hit something, a human can pick up on something they could potentially hit and avoid it completely (erm... This is called defensive driving).

          People who feel they need systems to compensate for their lack of driving ability need to go hand in their license. All they do is coddle bad drivers into thinking they're better than they really are (and this is when they start taking even more s

    • by ImdatS (958642) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:06PM (#44647539) Homepage

      In fact, I wouldn't call it only 29%, but rather already 29%.

      The reason is that the discussion about driverless cars is so new/recent that I wouldn't even have expected that many people saying that they would consider buying a driverless car.

      My dream transport-solution is: (a) not owning a car at all; (b) call a car anytime I need one; (c) getting driven (automatically) to any place I want; (d) I pay for the time I use the car and can leave it anywhere in the country (obviously, in a village/town/city or so).

      If we had a system like that and everybody would use it, it could be the solution to most of our traffic problems, including congestion (cars can communicate information faster and react faster than humans), parking problems, and more. Most of the time, cars are just parked somewhere and standing idle anyway.

      So, yes, count me in...

      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:12PM (#44647645)

        My dream transport-solution is: (a) not owning a car at all; (b) call a car anytime I need one; (c) getting driven (automatically) to any place I want; (d) I pay for the time I use the car and can leave it anywhere in the country (obviously, in a village/town/city or so).

        So, a taxi then.

        • by ImdatS (958642)

          And on another note: taxis (with their drivers) don't communicate traffic-data to each other. Self-driving cars could do that and optimize the route. Then, of course, if I could also personalize the route with things like "please use scenic route", "use fast route", "use a county road", etc - it would be perfect...

          • by jandrese (485)
            I don't know, when I'm in taxis they seem to communicate quite a bit with each other, although the method of communication appears to rely entirely on shouted insults and rude hand gestures.
          • by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:50PM (#44648133)

            Then, of course, if I could also personalize the route with things like "please use scenic route", "use fast route", "use a county road", etc - it would be perfect...

            "Please accelerate out of the corners." "Please leave 40 feet of tracks when departing from the present intersection." "Please drop it into second and turn sideways in the next corner." [Vehicle reply] "I'm sorry; I can't do that for you, Dave. Unless you assist by pulling the e-brake at 3...2...1...now."

    • by coyote_oww (749758) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:06PM (#44647545)
      Me too. People are not actually reading about the vehicles. They are reacting to what they think the vehicle will be like, rather than what they actually do.

      My mom is approaching the point when we're going to have to take away the keys. She's fine for most things, she's just a bit indecisive, hesitant, and, well, wobbly when driving. Taking away the keys means she needs to live with someone, be given rides everywhere etc. Completely unnecessary when the technology exists *RIGHT NOW* to enable her to remain independent. Not allowing/adopting this seem just cruel to me.

      Guys! YOU CAN TURN AUTO-DRIVE OFF!!!!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by s.petry (762400)
      Until your car reports to the police that you are sleeping, distracted, or inebriated while inside the vehicle. Your car then nicely pulls over and won't let you out until they police arrive. Even better (and more likely) as you head to that rally supporting the first amendment, your car simply refuses to go and takes you to the local strip mall.
    • by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:41PM (#44648031) Homepage

      I'm in.

      If driverless cars were available today I would buy one tomorrow.

      You could work, read, screw...seriously think about all the lost time you'd get back to do things that are far more interesting.

      I can't relate to people who wouldn't want a self-driving car.

    • I also want to be able to drag a slider on the console that lets me optimize between trip duration and fuel efficiency. You could enable drivers very easily to radically cut their fuel consumption.
    • by Rhacman (1528815)
      And neither should any of those things ever be legal. This is yet another risk of have self-driving cars; the false assumption that what you describe are safe uses of such a vehicle. There will ALWAYS be situations where the automation software can't cope with a particular scenario and you have to take the wheel in a split second. Commercial aircraft can already take-off, fly, and land themselves but this does not replace the need for sober alert pilots to take over in the case of an emergency. A approp
      • by tibit (1762298) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @08:05PM (#44649579)

        There will ALWAYS be situations where the automation software can't cope with a particular scenario and you have to take the wheel in a split second.

        That will never be a viable option. It simply doesn't work that way. It's well known from aviation and industrial control rooms that if the human is out of the loop, it takes much, much longer than a "split second" for the human to get back into the loop. Sometimes entire minutes are not enough, I kid you not.

        The automation software has capacity to "see ahead", so to speak, and can and should get the vehicle into a safe state when it looks like a handover is inevitable. The split second taking over of a wheel is your fantasy, it's basically impossible unless you're paying full attention the entire time - at that point you might as well drive the car anyway, why bother with automation. If you pay any less attention than you would if you actually drove the car, there'll be no split-second handovers. I'm serious. You simply have zero clue what you're talking about.

    • by kilodelta (843627)
      I'm right there with you. Imagine the benefits of autonomous vehicles - no more DUI, no more distracted driving, a reduction in car accidents, etc. Of course since the cars will obey posted limits, etc. there will be a downside - you don't need traffic police as much.

      Then of course there are the other benefits. Your car could drop you off at a location, go park itself in a cheap lot or structure, then come and get you when you call it. No more circling around looking for a parking spot. That would benefi
  • Amusing scenario... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:48PM (#44647275)

    Driving a manually operated car through a hoard of autonomous cars. Splitting two lanes, step on the gas. The autonomous cars detect your car impinging on their lane, so they move out of the way, and the sea of autonomous cars parts like a wave in front of you.

    They'll need a lot of algorithms to deal with the unexpected, and people who deliberately want to mess with them, heh.

    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:53PM (#44647341)

      Driving a manually operated car through a hoard of autonomous cars. Splitting two lanes, step on the gas. The autonomous cars detect your car impinging on their lane, so they move out of the way, and the sea of autonomous cars parts like a wave in front of you.

      They'll need a lot of algorithms to deal with the unexpected, and people who deliberately want to mess with them, heh.

      That kind of driving would be dangerous and illegal; whether you can do it without a crash or not. I'd assume that driverless cars would have cameras to gather evidence in case of an accident, because the passengers might not be paying attention, so you'd probably have a dozen videos being sent to the police, enough for a conviction.

      • by s.petry (762400)
        I live in California where it is perfectly legal for motorcycles to do this, and a motorcycle would have the exact same effect on traffic.
        • I believe that the Google algorithm is taking lane-splitting motorcycles into account. If you watch the video from their engineers they definitely are aware and working on it, I can't remember the solution though.

      • This is like vaccinations. If you are the sole anti-social person, no problem. But if you run into (pun intended) a like-minded person, they become your moderator.

    • Kids will be even worse. Once they find a way to make the AI panic they won't stop until the AI code is updated.

      The whole thing is hand waving anyhow. They aren't even close to being able to build one. Requires strong AI.

    • Then the police arrest you and use the camera and lidar data from 100 cars to make a 3d image of the driver just to prove it was you. :P

  • Freedom? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Freedom has become a nonsense word. It means whatever you want it to mean apparently. Might as well say shamalalalalala ding dong.

    another thing to thank the knownothings for.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      No kidding. People are acting as if you aren't just behaving like computer when you drive now - the route is limited to prescribed turns and lanes, there are signs instructing you on speed, when to stop, when to go, etc. All the human is doing is memorizing the rules of the road and following them until they reach their destination. Humans are not as good as computers at following directions and can't react as fast. We're better at pattern recognition and responding to unexpected scenarios, but those advant

    • I agree with this. While I would love a care that will just go where I tell it, I would like to have the option of driving it myself as well. I can't see manufacturers taking that option away, as long as they even pay lip service to giving the consumers what they want, unless the Government tells them otherwise. Too bad they seem to be so ready to jump when the Gov. tells them.

      But that's crazy talk, right? What are they going to do, tell us to buy insurance too?

    • by danaris (525051) <`moc.cam' `ta' `siranad'> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:30PM (#44647905) Homepage

      You've missed the point here. They do have a specific "freedom" in mind here:

      The freedom to break the rules of the road.

      The people talking about self-driving cars taking away their "freedom" are afraid they'll no longer be able to drive 75 mph in a 55 mph zone, or run that red light, or tailgate that person who's got the sheer audacity to drive a few miles an hour under the speed limit when they need to get home to watch the game so close they leave paint on their bumper...!

      In other words, they're afraid that if everyone's got self-driving cars, they won't be allowed to be assholes anymore.

      Dan Aris

  • In (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:49PM (#44647299) Homepage Journal

    I love driving. Everything about it, but even I want it. Better driving from everyone. Safer, better traffic, and you can play board games with the family while driving down the road.
    All around awesome.

    I wouldn't feel safe. I know I would be safer, but at first it would feel dangerous. That's from years of driving and being driven.

    • Agreed. I just hope my current car lasts until these start rolling out. As much as I hate Apple I would even buy an self driving iCar. And as long as it takes me where I want to go I don't see where the loss of freedom comes in.

    • by fermion (181285)
      I enjoy driving as well. I drive a stick with very little of the modern convinces found in modern cars, like a tv, coffee maker, refrigerator, or sofa.

      In reality, as soon as autonomous cars come around at a reasonable cost, most people will acquire them, put in a 50" flat screen tv, and let it drive wherever it needs to go. As soon as driver less cars no longer require a licensed driver, families will send their pre teens to the movies in the car.

      One thing we can expect is increased traffic, pollution

  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:50PM (#44647303)

    I don't want to give up my driving freedom. Having seen how the rest of you drive, though, I want all of you to give up your driving freedom because I swear, I'd drive better sleepy, drunk, and texting all at the same time than some of you.

    Giving up driving is a price I'm willing to pay if I don't have to risk my life on your competence behind the wheel.

    • by PIBM (588930)

      With enough good self-driving cars, you could automatically assemble car-trains to reduce consumption, and with a wide enough acceptance, they could be allowed to accelerate up to much greater speed than is usually allowed on regulars highways for non-automatic cars. Then, when you don't need them, once at work, you could allow them to be used as automated taxis and get some income out of it.

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:10PM (#44647595)

      I'll freely admit that I've made major mistakes behind the wheel, and I'm just lucky not to have encountered another car. I've missed red lights and stop signs. I've been fixated on a dangerous swerving driver only to ignore my blind spot. I've been so busy looking left that I missed a pedestrian crossing from the left. Shit happens. I'm human. I have no doubt that computers will someday drive more safely.

  • Safety (Score:5, Informative)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:50PM (#44647311)

    Except that self-driving cars are already greatly safer than those driven by humans. If such a car doesn't cooperate with government surveillance, it doesn't degrade your freedom -- and as an useful tool, actually improves it. You can do whatever you want when travelling...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:51PM (#44647317)

    Despite this technology not existing yet, it scares the shit outta me!

    Can you imagine my self-driving car crashing? Next I would be loaded into a self-driving ambulance and taken to an automated hospital where a self-operating robot might cut off the wrong leg. I'll be right back, my Roomba is stuck in the corner again.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:52PM (#44647337)

    There are people who have medical or other reasons which make it so they can't drive. For them a self-driving car gives a huge amount of freedom: freedom to get yourself from point A to point B without relying on favors or public transit or taxis.

    • by dosius (230542)

      It would me certainly.

      I have a tendency not to notice things in my field of vision, so I'd be a danger on the road.

  • by babymac (312364) <ph33d@nOspam.charter.net> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:53PM (#44647347) Homepage
    Just wait until insurance companies start requiring automated driving. That is likely to be decades away, but I think they will be a big factor in the push toward driverless vehicles. The irony of this is that ultimately the need for auto insurance will decline dramatically once accident rates plummet. At that point I think we're likely to see auto insurance become the domain of the auto manufacturers rather than the auto owners.
    • by Alomex (148003) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:02PM (#44647461) Homepage

      Actually the biggest driver (no pun intended) will be people themselves. Think about it, do you buy cars where you have to brace yourself or do you choose the model with the automatically deploying air bags? do you buy the car with all manual brakes or the one with ABS? do you buy the car with manual headlights or the one with AUTO setting? Do you buy the car with manual radio tuning buttons or the one with SEEK forward and backward functions?

      Ditto for newer features. If you ever driven a car with radar activated collision warning (and if no response breaking) you would never go back to one without one.

      People will surrender their "freedom" (which in this case is a bullshit choice of term) for the safety of a car that drives himself, just like you, along with the rest of us, sacrificed the "freedom" of your ice box for a fridge that turns itself on and off. Come to think of it, that is the complete opposite of "sacrificing freedom" we actually stopped the slavery of having to feed an ice box by having a machine take over.

      Same goes for an automatically driven car. Al you are surrendering is your mechanical input to the machine. You are no longer a cog in the driving system. Yay for (real) freedom!

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      As long as insurance is required by the government, there is no reason for the rates to drop, even if they never have to pay out a dime. They can charge whatever they want and legally you just have to pay it or go to jail if you get caught driving without.
      • by MooseTick (895855) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:12PM (#44647651) Homepage

        "As long as insurance is required by the government, there is no reason for the rates to drop, even if they never have to pay out a dime."

        Your own sentence proves your wrong. Ig GEIKO, Allstate, or someone else charges you $2000 a year and never needs to pay out, someone else will start a new insurance company that only charges $200, knowing they won't ever have to pay out.

    • I think the changes to our society would be even greater. There wouldn't be any need for most people to own a car. Once it scales up it would be much more cost effective to just summon one with your pocket / wrist computer that would take you where you want to go for a fee.

  • by dj245 (732906) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:55PM (#44647357) Homepage
    If I had a truly self-driving car, I would rent it out 23/7. My own personal taxi company. After all, I only need my car for about an hour a day on average. Maybe RelayRides will expand to accommodate this business model- I block out times when I need my car, and when someone books it for a ride, it drives off, takes them where they want to go, then comes back and parks in my spot. Or maybe I decide that since I only need a car for an hour a day, I personally don't need a car at all, and can rent one from the pool of public cars if I need to go somewhere.

    We might not have flying cars, but the driverless car is now a legal problem, not a problem of unreasonable expense or technological ability. We have the technology to build them now, and mass-produced, probably for less than $60,000 a piece. We also have systems for issuing commands remotely over the internet ("car, come here") and systems for renting of personal vehicles (Relayrides, GetAround, Lyft). It is only a matter of time before someone ties them all together and forces the law to change, or the law changes and the floodgates open.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:56PM (#44647367) Homepage

    It's mass transit without the masses. Imagine your own personal bus, taxi or train. Mass transit is good for many people because it enables travel without so much stress... or at least without the same type of stress and certainly less danger. But among the problems of mass transit is the crowding and congestion which often accompanies more dense populated areas.

    I think having HOV lanes replaced with "Automated" lanes, self driving cars are likely to take you anywhere you need to go, respond to traffic problems by dynamically re-routing and generally even out the flow of traffic all over. Even if a driver decides not to participate in the use of self-driving cars, when there are enough self-driving cars, it will likely benefit the non-participants as well.

    One caveat is the fact that non-participants will see it as a license to be an even bigger asshole than they were to "other drivers." They would be bigger because they would drive rudely around machines which would, ostensibly, not be offended... (the passengers might though... imagine cutting off a self-driving car and how it might respond)

    There are probably a lot of scary scenarios which I haven't considered, but I recall batman movies and the self-driving batmobile and how that could be really useful. A car that will let you get out at your destination then drive away to park somewhere? Awesome... especially if you can notify your car that you are waiting to be picked up and have it arrive in a few moments. There's a lot of awesome there... and some scary.

  • by silviuc (676999) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:58PM (#44647389) Homepage
    Humans are simply not built for monotonous, repetitive activities. Driving is one of those. If you look at the main cause of accidents there is rarely faults in the machinery it's humans that are either sleepy, drunk or just plain dumb. I really do want to see smart roads and smart cars.

    Ugh we really need to learn to let machines do the jobs that we simply can't do well in a consistent manner.
  • by organgtool (966989) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:58PM (#44647395)
    This reminds me of when the internet was new and my relatives were amazed when I told them I did most of my Christmas shopping online. They couldn't believe that I trusted web sites on the internet with my credit card number and they said they had absolutely no interest in doing that. The very next year, most of those same relatives were raving about how convenient it was to shop at home and not fight car and foot traffic to buy gifts. The point is, people fear new things that they don't understand, but once they see the benefits and convenience of new technologies, it usually isn't long before they consider life without that technology as primitive.
  • If you asked that question in the early 1950s, I'm sure it would have similiar results and apprehensions.

  • If you can drive, for whatever reason, it seems to me that a self-driving car would be a godsend. Folks with visual impairment, seizure illnesses, physical challenges, etc. are suddenly able to go wherever they want.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:02PM (#44647451) Journal
    I'm willing to get a driverless car........once it's been tested. A lot. Not before.
    • I'm willing to get a driverless car........once it's been tested. A lot. Not before.

      were only our human drivers so well-tested.

  • As long as the self driving car only slavishly follows the ridiculously low speed limits in most of the northeast it will be more hazard to other drivers than benefit, and it will also be slower.
    • by Bucky24 (1943328)
      While you have a point, I'd note that for people stuck in rush hour traffic, the average speed is usually lower then the posted speed limit anyway.
    • As long as the self driving car only slavishly follows the ridiculously low speed limits in most of the northeast it will be more hazard to other drivers than benefit, and it will also be slower.

      Lots of slower drivers now who do less than the posted limit. My work commute is about 50 miles of rural interstate in Colorado. Posted speed limit is 75 mph. Lots of cars in the slow lane doing less than that and the worst thing is when one of them isn't quite willing to go as slow as the others and gets in the fast lane and S-L-O-W-L-Y passes the other.

      Cheers,
      Dave

  • by MooseTick (895855) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:04PM (#44647505) Homepage

    This reminds me of when digital cameras started becoming mainstream. A lot of people poo pooed them and said they would never replace real cameras. They had to be able to feel and hold pictures. Well, we see how Poloroid and Kodak fared. A similar attitude was had when automatic transmissions first appeared. People wanted the freedom to shift when they wanted and not when some mechanism decided it should be done.

      I expect driverless cars to follow a similar path. Once available, they will slowly be adopted and then a tidal wave. There will always be the Jenny McCarthys of the world who have some freak incident and blame technology on their woes, but 99% of those who can afford a driverless car will use them 99% of the time.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:06PM (#44647535) Homepage

    Driving is a privilege, that you have to earn, and comes with a thousand point list of rules and regulations.

    You can only drive when they want, where they want, and how they want. So were is there any freedom to loose?

  • by CmdrPorno (115048) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:08PM (#44647565)

    You wouldn't believe how many people I know were dead set against satellite navigation systems, how they would be forced on us, etc. Every one of those people now owns one, by their own choice.

    I think people have a similar visceral reaction to autonomous vehicles, but once they experience not having to deal with the stress of everyday driving, will change their opinion.

  • freedom? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xicor (2738029) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:10PM (#44647591)
    the freedom to be stupid and cause accidents/deaths? or the freedom to speed at ridiculous speeds(i like this one)? or even the freedom to keep score while running over grandmothers?
  • by guanxi (216397) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @05:14PM (#44647663)

    It's interesting to watch tech trends change. End-user control used to be a priority; the Internet was built around it. With the rise of widespread connectivity, centrally controlled services have become much simpler and more popular. You don't update the OS on your phone, someone does it for you.

    You lose the benefits of end-user control, which include more privacy, freedom (as in speech), openness and innovation. Who will track where you self-driving car takes you? On your iPhone, you only can use apps that Apple approves. Facebook was built on open technologies that emphasized end-user control; it allowed them to create something that the creators of the Internet technologies didn't envision and didn't have to approve; what will be built on Facebook?

    I'm not against centralized services completely, and many of these issues could be mitigated if the service providers were motivated to do it, but I am concerned that it's a serious trade-off that's being made without discussion.

  • We are a long way from jumping in the car, saying "work," and then reading or taking a nap on the way. We accept about 30 thousand deaths a year in the USA as normal. If the real bugs could be worked out, this number would go down.
  • by Mike Frett (2811077) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @07:09PM (#44649025)

    Man you guys are living in ignorance city. I had the displeasure of working at a car lot for far too long. You guys just THINK Cars are safe, we had recalls all the time about things catching on fire or brakes failing and nobody knows about this except the owners who receive the letter in the mail to come get something important replaced. The manufacturer isn't going to tell you they knew about the issues and released a potentially dangerous product with potentially deadly flaws.

    You actually think self driving Cars are going to be our savior? Then ignorance city fits you very well.

    To the other guys who think Manual Transmissions are going away, no. Manual Transmissions are released with some of the cheaper model cars and sports cars as optional and are sold in limited quantity, have been for many years now since automatic engulfed us. But if you want it, you have to specifically ask for it. And by all means, you don't have to read a word I say, just wait for the bad things to happen when the time comes. Car crashes from computer error will become normal, just like stuck gas petals. Life will go on and nothing will change, just like it does now.

    Isn't it something? How things so terrible, become the normal and acceptable. And nothing will ever change until people stop rationalizing things. Buckle up kiddies. That's actually or was, an inside joke once because of the number of early seatbelt failures.

    • With proper oversight I am not worried... if everybody must have them as well. My robo car is not going to spot some idiot on their cell driving in the next lane and avoid them as well as I do. Take away all the people who can't drive responsibly or lost the capacity (elderly) and that would make me feel much safer. At least a defect would result in investigations and lawsuits to create a permanent solution; idiot drivers have no fault insurance and a slim chance of changing their ways (tickets don't hel

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