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Japan Transportation

Nissan Leaf Prototype Becomes First Autonomous Car On Japanese Highways 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-you-eyes-on-the-road-your-hands-off-the-wheel dept.
cartechboy writes "As car manufacturers battle over futuristic announcements of when autonomous cars will (allegedly) be sold, they are also starting to more seriously put self-driving technology to the test. Earlier this week several Japanese dignitaries drove — make that rode along — as an autonomous Nissan Leaf prototype completed its first public highway test near Tokyo. The Nissan Leaf electric car successfully negotiated a section of the Sagami Expressway southwest of Tokyo, with a local Governor and Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga onboard. The test drive reached speeds of 50 mph and took place entirely automatically, though it was carried out with the cooperation of local authorities, who no doubt cleared traffic to make the test a little easier. Nissan has already stated its intent to offer a fully autonomous car for sale by 2020."
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Nissan Leaf Prototype Becomes First Autonomous Car On Japanese Highways

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  • Re:But does it ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @09:02PM (#45603713) Homepage

    That's not a particularly difficult problem. An autonomous electric car could drop you off at the front door of your destination, then drive to a relatively distant parking lot where it can recharge using an automatic (robotic) charging station. Shortly before you're ready to leave, your would alert the car using your phone and it would pick you up at the front door.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @09:16PM (#45603791)

    What if it suddenly veers into a wall or oncoming truck due to an incorrect or faulty instruction

    What if it suddenly veers into a wall or oncoming truck due to the driver being drunk or sleepy or inattentive?

    Humans glitch, too. Far more often than computers.

  • by timholman (71886) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @10:07PM (#45604119)

    If they work, they'll work big time, but I really worry about lawsuits.

    I tend to think the lawsuit fears are overblown. In the U.S. alone, 35,000 people die each year due to human drivers, at a cost of about $200 billion annually, paid for by everyone's insurance. We seem to have no problem living with that.

    If autonomous cars can cut that fatality rate to 3,500 or even 350 deaths a year, the savings will be so enormous that it will be cost-effective for the auto companies to partner with insurance companies and create a general fund to reimburse those people who may be injured due to an automation failure, regardless of fault. The federal government already uses this concept with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. It provides no-fault reimbursement of vaccine-related injuries, because letting vaccine makers be sued out of business would result in more deaths and injures in the long run.

    And keep in mind that accident rates will only continue to drop as the automation improves with time. Moore's Law is inexorable.

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:52AM (#45605275)

    Car's CAN Bus is ring network with no authentication whatsoever and rudimentary priority system. If you can broadcast into it, then you can affect operation of the car in very drastic ways.

    Much in the same way as the PCI bus on your computer has "no authentication whatsoever and rudimentary priority system". The bus does not need to be secured. The entry points to the bus need to be secures much in the same way as the Ethernet card provides secure access to the PCI bus.

    Security researchers have taken control of in-auto networks by plugging hardware into the bus. You can do a lot to control a car if you can plug onto the diagnostic port and have a laptop sitting on the passenger seat. I think most people would notice that and be a bit suspicious. There has yet to be a wireless access into an unaltered in-auto system. If that starts to happen then worry.

    Insanity is allowing things like Entertainment/Navigation/OnStar system access to it,

    If the OnStar system is secured and only responds to a specific set of commands I see no "insanity". The whole CAN bus API would not be exposed through the OnStar API. I used to work a a company that facilitated disabling vehicles and locking their doors (It was an application designed for an exotic car rental company. They wanted to be able to disable the vehicle if the vehicle was miss-used). Through our API those were the only commands available. There was no way a hacker could do anything else. The connection to the vehicle was authenticated and encrypted. Every entertainment system has authentication if it uses Bluetooth as authentication is built into the Bluetooth pairing protocol.

    Authentication on the bus is not an issue; authentication at entry points is.

  • bad journalism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @05:14AM (#45605987) Homepage Journal

    who no doubt cleared traffic to make the test a little easier.

    Nothing in the article nor in the video backs up this assumption. So why was it in the summary? Having been to Japan, I doubt they would've done this, as the whole point of running the test on a public highway is to show it can cope with other traffic and real-life conditions, and making the test invalid in such a stupid and public way would mean quite a bit of lost face.

  • by Tom (822) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @05:18AM (#45606005) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, obviously nobody has ever thought about that possibility before, so engineers have certainly not worked on making the system fault-tolerant.

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai