Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation

Volvo Testing Autonomous Cars On Public Roads 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the swedes-are-known-for-their-ability-to-dodge-traffic dept.
cartechboy writes: "Multiple automakers have already committed to selling autonomous vehicles by 2020, but only a handful of them have actually started testing and developing them. Now Volvo is putting self-driving test cars on real public roads in Sweden among other, non-autonomous traffic. 'The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves, Volvo engineer Erik Coelingh said in a statement. 'This is an important step towards our aim that the final Drive Me cars will be able to drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode.' The goal for the Drive Me project is to deliver 100 autonomous cars to customers in Gothenburg by 2017."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Volvo Testing Autonomous Cars On Public Roads

Comments Filter:
  • How does this Volvo project compare to the famous Google cars?

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Volvo is just now putting autonomous cars on public streets, so google is getting all the glory for a good reason - they are years ahead. Google had logged 300,000 miles by 2012, and now have reached 700,000 miles. And in contrast to highway driving like in this blurb (lane following, merging), google is way beyond that; highway driving is almost a given and google has moved on to construction sites, pedestrians, cyclists... [extremetech.com]
      • Soon google will give you the car for free, downside is the outside is covered with e-ink, and the future will look like one huge f1 race, sponsor wise.

        • So long as the inside isn't plastered with ads I really couldn't give a toss, but I think we both know that isn't going to be the case.
        • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Friday May 02, 2014 @09:27PM (#46904983) Homepage

          https://groups.google.com/d/ms... [google.com]
          "This essay explain why luxury safer electric (or plug-in hybrid) cars should be free-to-the-user at the point of sale in the USA, and why this will reduce US taxes overall. Essentially, unsafe gasoline-powered automobiles in the USA pose a high cost on society (accidents, injuries, pollution, defense), and the costs of making better cars would pay for themselves and then some. This essay is an example of using post-scarcity ideology to understand the scarcity-oriented ideological assumptions in our society and how those outdated scarcity assumptions are costing our society in terms of creating and maintaining artificial scarcity."

      • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday May 02, 2014 @05:54PM (#46903443)

        And how many cars has Google ever sold? With $150k of extra equipment bolted on, they neither know nor care about the realities of car production. Volvo is intent on actually putting these things in the hands of real paying customers. To Google it's just another cool toy to play with. Hire some good AI people and have fun - who cares if it has nothing to do with their business.

        More importantly, there are too many unknowns about the Google cars (despite them having been around for years), and about the Volvo cars. How do the cars perform in the rain? Snow (I'm betting Volvo thinks about that more)? How often does the autonomous feature kick out and require the human driver to take over? How much time does the human have to respond? In testing, how often do the human drivers take over control because they anticipate that the car is entering a situation where the autonomous control will have problems? Etc., etc., etc. Without that information we have no way of knowing if it will soon be a viable technology, or it's just a cool demo. However, Volvo is planning to sell these things in 2017, so they're probably working hard on a realistic approach. What year has Google claimed they'll ship product? Sergey's "5 years"? Sure, and I predict we'll have fusion power in 10. Honest. I hired some cool physicists who say they'll have it done by then.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          The reason google is getting all the glory is because they are going big and aiming for the moon - automated driving. The reason Volvo will beat them to market and turn a buck before google is because Volvo, like the other automakers who are working on it (Daimler, Toyota) are taking an incremental approach, and adding automation a little at a time. They want to make a more moderate investment and make money on it sooner, and who would blame them for it?

          But google's long-shot may well pay off, too. I

          • I'm betting that consumer acceptance will also benefit greatly from the incremental approach: get used to bits of driving getting taken over bit by bit is a lot less daunting than getting into a fully automated car and just pressing go.

            In that sense, the automakers are doing the world of automated driving a bigger service than Google.

          • by Reziac (43301) *

            And I think you just nailed why Google gives a shit: because a self-driving car that never takes a day off and doesn't demand benefits is WAY cheaper than a gaggle of employees driving those same miles. Since the object is to accumulate data to sell (to other SDC manufacturers in due course), why spend all the profits on employees if a robot can do the job cheaper in the long run?

        • Google's algorithms will be added to Tesla, which is already considered far safer than anything that Volvo has/had.
          And Volvo is not planning on selling these in 2017. They are planning on TRIALING these in 2017. There is a HUGE difference. Google will have theirs on Tesla, by the time that Volvo is just getting their first test vehicle out there.
    • by PRMan (959735)
      Volvo just caught up to what Mercedes has been doing for 5-7 years already.
    • Google has 100's of cars on the road for the last 5 years.
      Volvo and others are JUST GETTING STARTED.
      So, when Tesla gets Google's tech with minor changes to their cars, who do you think will be ahead?
  • by MouseR (3264) on Friday May 02, 2014 @04:36PM (#46902775) Homepage

    when GPS still send us to wrong destinations.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've never had a GPS send me to somewhere that I didn't ask it to send me. The error people commonly report is in fact human error in entering the destination, not machine error in taking you there.

      • I've never had a GPS send me to somewhere that I didn't ask it to send me. The error people commonly report is in fact human error in entering the destination, not machine error in taking you there.

        Congratulations on only entering destinations that have existed for at least a year! Those of us living in "newer" portions of cities enjoy the constant joy of having our street "not exist" on Google Maps/Mapquest/wherever people are going now besides those.

        • You forgot the restaurant that's now something else.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Congratulations on only entering destinations that have existed for at least a year! Those of us living in "newer" portions of cities enjoy the constant joy of having our street "not exist" on Google Maps/Mapquest/wherever people are going now besides those.

          That's really more the fault of Google than anyone else - Google's map updates are really slow since they started doing it themselves. When Google was paying Navteq or Tele-Atlas for the map data, it usually updates within 6 months (2 updates - they both

        • by hey! (33014)

          New streets don't just appear overnight. They're planned, built, and then populated, a process that takes months. It is logistically possible, especially for wirelessly delivered services, for those streets to appear in real time as they're opened. Somebody has to pay for it, that's all. And the local highway departments have to work with the data providers of course.

          If it's a year after a street opened and it's still not in Google maps, chances are there's something screwy with your local highway departm

          • The problem is that even if new roads are reported to map vendors such as TeleAtlas, they take an interminable amount of time to add them.

            I have a subscription to software using current TomTom maps. Before that, I had a dedicated TomTom device with a map subscription. Using their Map Insight feature, I reported a new subdivision to TeleAtlas -- which is *owned* by TomTom, remember. I provided them with complete details on the location of the new roads involved, or at least, as complete as is possible with
            • by Reziac (43301) *

              And then there's the issue of dedicated streets that don't actually exist. A fun example in Los Angeles runs right through the middle of the big Water & Power facility.

              And there's the ongoing example of "Tail of the Dragon" in Tennessee/North Carolina... a perfectly valid road, a U.S. Route no less, yet not suitable for a significant fraction of traffic sent via that 'shortcut' by their GPS.

              http://tailofthedragon.com/dra... [tailofthedragon.com]

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          You know, these cars still have a steering wheel and pedals. There is a manual mode available.

          • by Reziac (43301) *

            How quickly can one switch to manual mode? For anything that's truly an emergency, you may have bare seconds to respond, or perhaps only a fraction of a second. Not enough time to flick a switch and move your hands and feet to the controls, but enough to react if you're already "in position".

      • by Carnildo (712617)

        I don't know about GPS units, but I've had Google Maps send me on a complicated route through the alleys of a small town because someone forgot to enter a permitted turn at the intersection of two major highways. I've had it tell me to drive through a concrete barrier because someone recorded the intersection as a cross intersection rather than back-to-back "T" intersections. I've had it give me a route four hours longer than necessary, because it thought part of the short route was still closed for the w

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Google maps is far more accurate and up-to-date than Garmin and TomTom maps (the two that I've used), probably since more people use google and because google is more responsive in updating it. Yet clearly it's imperfect.

          That said, staying on the road vs. navigation are two different things for the self-driving car, just as they are for you. The fact that a GPS thought you could take a route that is actually blocked by a concrete barrier, does NOT mean a self-driving car would have plowed into the barr

          • by rasmusbr (2186518)

            Let's just use OpenStreetMap. What could possibly go wrong?

          • Great, it looks where it's going. Now, what happens when what you and I know as a road isn't recognized as one by the car? (Or vice versa, for that matter.)

            Roads aren't standardized even from state to state or town to town, let alone country to country. Even in the USA, there are still many, many miles of roads that are completely unpaved, have no signage or markings at all, and are completely indistinguishable from somebody's driveway. Some of them even have foliage growing on them, or are so similar in
    • The GPS issue doesn't bother me, its the bad drivers. Unless ALL CARS are self driving the problem is that there are going to be lots of bad drivers doing stupid things for stupid reasons. A self-driving car probably won't be as good at anticipating stupid drivers as a really good human driver. There are stupid pedestrians, and stupid bikers as well. If there were no stupid, people self-driving cars might work. Have you ever seen a stupid driver try to merge onto a freeway with their turn signal on and

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Self driving cars always pay attention, have a faster reaction time, and have fewer blind spots.

        I have a perfectly clean record, and consider myself a good, attentive driver, but I'd trust a self-driving car any day.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday May 02, 2014 @05:13PM (#46903143)

        A self-driving car probably won't be as good at anticipating stupid drivers as a really good human driver.

        Why should SDCs have to be better than a "really good human driver" rather than an "average human driver"? As long as SDCs are better than an average human, they are a net win. Also, bad drivers will likely be the first adopters, both because many bad drivers don't enjoy driving and because they pay higher insurance premiums.

        • by kyrsjo (2420192)

          And even a really good human driver has bad days, get fatigued, distracted etc. - that's problems avoided with a computer.

          Actually, even if this ends up being mostly highway-only, that covers the most important part. Highway driving is pretty boring anyway, and plagued by the problem that nothing happens for hours, until you suddenly hit the back of a queue or someone around you does something stupid, and you have to react fast. Doing that automatically would combine the convenience and privacy of a car wit

      • by geekmux (1040042)

        The GPS issue doesn't bother me, its the bad drivers. Unless ALL CARS are self driving the problem is that there are going to be lots of bad drivers doing stupid things for stupid reasons. A self-driving car probably won't be as good at anticipating stupid drivers as a really good human driver. There are stupid pedestrians, and stupid bikers as well. If there were no stupid, people self-driving cars might work. Have you ever seen a stupid driver try to merge onto a freeway with their turn signal on and their foot on the brake? Or see three cars bumper-to-bumper trying to merge onto a busy freeway as a pack? Can self-driving cars see this about to create chaos for the other cars?

        Have you ever seen a biker ignore a stoplight because they think the laws don't apply to them? Will the smart car be watching the biker and anticipating stupid behavior?

        What choices will a smart car make when an accident is inevitable, lets say it has a choice between a head-on and hitting the ditch at 65?

        With the number of stupid people driving stupid things that you've identified here that affect our ability to achieve autonomous eutopia, one can only hope that Darwin receives many more award winners to ensure our overall safety. Like any other time behind the wheel, either exercise common sense, or become a statistic. Your choice. Chances are they'll be programmed to handle some level of human error...they just won't be cranked up to handle Vehicular JackAss-assins on the road until at least a few gene

      • by JanneM (7445)

        Have you ever seen a stupid driver try to merge onto a freeway with their turn signal on and their foot on the brake? Or see three cars bumper-to-bumper trying to merge onto a busy freeway as a pack?

        The beautiful thing is, self-driving cars will see this, due to their extensive sensor coverage. And they will have recordings available of the whole incident for later examination. It will be completely clear who was following all the regulations and exercizing judgement (the self-driving car) and who was drivi

        • by emj (15659)

          Once self-driving cars hit the road in any numbers, it will become really, really expensive to try to be a jerk in traffic. No speeding. No lane cutting. No tailgating. No weaving. No nothing - just follow the traffic flow and the law to the letter and spirit or you will get reported. And of course your insurance rate will like go up, simply by being a human driver.

          It's not clear that they will be allowed to record all that, at least not in Sweden, which this story is about. Privacy problems and all that.

      • by Znork (31774)

        A self-driving car doesn't have to anticipate stupid drivers, it can keep appropriate distance and planning needed regardless of the inferred skill of the drivers. For example, why is anyone not exiting the freeway even in the lane that you know will get 30% bad mergers 500 meters ahead?

        And frankly, yes, it's not hard to spot the stupid drivers and you could probably have algorithms for that. But the obvious stupid drivers aren't the danger, it's the good ones missing something as you won't be expecting the

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Some of what you've described isn't yet possible because of pre-existing expectations.

          For example, normal drivers _expect_ to drive too close together to be safe. They _expect_ to drive too fast near pedestrians to react if the pedestrian unexpectedly steps out into the road. Autonomous vehicles can't refuse these expectations because drivers describe them as "too timid" and declare them faulty.

          So AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) systems for example - the systems you'll see in most executive and more expe

          • by Znork (31774)

            You're right, of course, the assistive technology will be handicapped by driver expectations. Personally I expect the full blown automation to be less subject to that as it reverses the pattern of interference. The reluctance to interfere with a driver unless you're certain he's missing something goes both ways, and 'passengers' in a fully automated vehicle won't be more prone to back seat driving than anyone usually is in a taxi or a bus or other vehicle they're not themselves in control of.

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        And how to have 'fun' with self-driving cars:

        Crowd 'em.

        Right into the ditch.

        It should be fairly easy to do, since the SDC won't have the ability to be 'rude' and push ahead or sneak into a narrow gap to get away from the crowder.

        Having had to hit the ditch a few times to avoid a head-on, I appreciate the necessity of drivers being able to make judgment calls.

        And I wonder how much this is a solution in search of a problem. A while back someone here piped up with the "accidents per mile driven" stats, and the

    • Taxi drivers send me to the wrong destination too... Should I trust them?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    wtf does "highly autonomous mode" mean ?
    Does that mean I still have to be there and pay attention ? Then it is useless. Anything but 100% autonomous is useless. If I can't sleep in the back of the car while the car drives, then what is the point ?

    • by greenwow (3635575)
      It's a Republican-created term to make these dangerous things sound even more sinister. They hate technology so they hate these cars. Of course, they also hate these cars because it makes driving safer. Their kind loves dangerous things like fast cars and guns. They want to force those things down the throats of the rest of the population. Fortunately, most people in the US are sensible and not members of that awful group, but it doesn't stop them from ruling over us since they're the ones with the mo
    • by scorp1us (235526) on Friday May 02, 2014 @05:07PM (#46903091) Journal

      It's the mode created by lawyers to maintain that you are responsible for the vehicle's operation. because if the software fails, it's Volvo's fault. Imagine you drive through a oil slick, the vehicle takes a corner too fast before becoming aware of the reduced traction. In automatic mode, it's the car's fault, in "highly autonomous mode" it's still yours.

  • How well does lane following work when the road is under construction and the lane shifts over. The lines demarking the lane don't necessarily shift. What about road hazards such as a sinkhole has destroyed half of the lane?
    Just like software, these seemed designed for perfect conditions, and perfect conditions only exist in controlled environments, and sometimes not even then.
    • by greenwow (3635575)
      Or here in Seattle where the city is too cheap to actually put lines on most streets. Instead, they glue rough lumps of clay to the road to make it more dangerous to ride a motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle. The people that rule this city hate those of us that ride smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles so they try to kill us. Not only are they designed to make it impossible to get traction on a two-wheel vehicle, they are also designed to become projectiles when they come loose from the road surface. I've
  • by slapout (93640) on Friday May 02, 2014 @05:10PM (#46903117)

    Why do I feel like I'm watching the start of a bad SyFy movie?

    • Why do you say it's bad? I think it's going to be a good flick (as long as you stay off the roads).

  • Aren't they worried that they might become sentient and turn on their masters?
    Kill all humans!

  • Just curious, is there really much demand for self-driving cars?

    Yes, I know who wants to build them, but who (as other than a tech toy) really wants to buy them and, er, not drive them?

"Our vision is to speed up time, eventually eliminating it." -- Alex Schure

Working...