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Transportation Google

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel 583

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-soviet-google,-car-drives-you dept.
cartechboy writes: "We've already discussed and maybe even come to terms with the fact that autonomous cars are coming. In fact, many automakers including Mercedes-Benz and Tesla have committed to self-driving cars by 2017. Apparently that's not ambitious enough. Google has just unveiled an in-house-designed, self-driving car prototype with no steering wheel or pedals. In fact, it doesn't have any traditional controls, not even a stereo. The as-yet-nameless car is a testbed for Google's vision of the computerized future of transportation. Currently the prototype does little more than programmed parking lot rides at a maximum of 25 mph, but Google plans to build about 100 prototypes, with the first examples receiving manual controls (human-operated). Google then plans to roll out the pilot program in California in the next several years. So the technology is now there, but is there really a market for a car that drives you without your input other than the destination?"

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Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

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  • by Chas (5144) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:06AM (#47105461) Homepage Journal

    Sorry. While I love technology, my not-so-humble opinion is that we're nowhere near the level of reliability needed for a car that's completely free of manual control.

    Simply put, having seen the arc of technology advance over the last 30+ years, I still don't trust an automated driver system with my safety. PERIOD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:31AM (#47105555)

    Sorry. While I love technology, my not-so-humble opinion is that we're nowhere near the level of reliability needed for a car that's completely free of manual control.

    Simply put, having seen the arc of technology advance over the last 30+ years, I still don't trust an automated driver system with my safety. PERIOD.

    Sorry. While I love humans, my not-so-humble opinion is that we're nowhere near the level of reliability needed for a car that's manual control.

    Simply put, having seen the arc of traffic fatalities advance over the last 30+ years, I still don't trust a human driver system with my safety. PERIOD.

    Cars are not safe: people will die. I'd rather have shitty AI that we can iterate on and improve every time it kills someone than having to start with fresh teenagers each time. An AI can learn from millions of cars, and not miss the learning opportunity of fatal crashes. Also, people have really bad sensors for driving compared to what an AI can use. Maybe its not better than good drivers yet, but I'd prefer a shitty AI that we can iterate on to people who barley manage to pass a driving test on the third try driving in the dark while distracted, and we let people do that... Compared to a person, such an AI could be a lot better at refusing to drive in unsafe conditions (it won't give into rage or peer pressure and do something stupid). That might be annoying, but having a car that can pick you up by itself might counter that out.

  • Re:No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:49AM (#47105645)

    No thanks. If I have the choice I don't want to share the road with cars who depend on the reaction speed of humans when shit happens. It has been proven over and over again that humans are not good in those situations.

  • by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:51AM (#47105655) Homepage
    And this is an excellent argument against the "it will always need manual controls in case of failure" argument. Modern vehicles have fly-by-wire accelerator, brakes, gears, etc.

    The driver isn't in direct physical control of the vehicle and hasn't been for some time. Progress towards fully autonomous vehicles is a matter of degree, not of kind.
  • by Chas (5144) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:56AM (#47105683) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, but there's a big difference between flying around in a plane in a pre-planned course that's been cleared of other traffic and driving around on the ground on an expressway or city street.

  • Yes please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sasayaki (1096761) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:57AM (#47105691)

    10/10, would buy.

    Automated cars are already better than people. The trains in Canada have been automated for decades and they're fine. The Google fleet drove across the US several times, something most human drivers would probably screw up at some point.

    The only thing I dislike is the fact that I love my car and I can't think of a way to convert it economically. Otherwise I would, without hesitation. Including removing the steering wheel and pedals.

    I don't want to drive it. I want auto-driving cars and I want them now.

  • by Ckwop (707653) <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:58AM (#47105707) Homepage

    Sorry. While I love technology, my not-so-humble opinion is that we're nowhere near the level of reliability needed for a car that's completely free of manual control.

    The Google car has done something like 700,000 miles and crashed twice. Both times this occurred, it was under control of the human occupant.

    I drive to work every morning and the number of times I see people not paying attention is extraordinary. Women doing their makeup, people texting, trying to argue with their children etc.

    Honestly, in my view, removing the steering wheel is a safety feature.

  • by dave420 (699308) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @03:07AM (#47105735)
    And if you think your judgement and perception is better than this computer system, you are full of hubris and a menace to other road users. It works both ways.
  • Re:Yes please. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @03:18AM (#47105799)

    The trains in Canada have been automated for decades and they're fine.

    On tracks where they are the only ones with minutes between trains and controllers watching every move. This is completely different than vehicles on streets.

    The Google fleet drove across the US several times,

    Only on roads that have been high resolution scans within hours of the Google vehicle passing and with a driver taking over from time to time when the vehicle gets into trouble.

    I don't want to drive it. I want auto-driving cars and I want them now.

    Sorry but the technology isn't reliable enough yet.

  • Re:No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Derekloffin (741455) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @03:34AM (#47105851)
    While I sympathize with your position, you are setting an unrealistic bar to beat, which is common place problem in this comparison. Human beings are no where near 100% infallible (in fact, you likely F up every day your drive, you just get away with it because we have a lot of sloppy driving allowances). The purpose here is not to be 100% infallible, as nothing is 100% infallible. The purpose here is to beat human fallibility ratings.
  • Re:No thanks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @05:02AM (#47106183)

    or, you know, you could act like a fucking adult and preempt the problem if you plan to be inebriated, instead of expecting the rest of us to give up self-directed control over our mobility for your own personal convenience.

  • by dave420 (699308) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @06:56AM (#47106621)

    This kid can break military-grade encryption? If that's the case we've got far bigger problems on our hands.

    So you'd run over a rock in a plastic bag because you thought it was a plastic bag, whereas the radar on the driverless cars would have seen through the plastic bag and seen the rock. The pipe on the back of the truck? Well, the car would keep a safe distance, enough for it to avoid any falling object in front of it. That's what humans should be doing anyway. The cars' LIDAR scans for objects approaching the road, and can do so far better than any human can, so your kid-running-into-the-road situation would work out worse with a human behind the wheel. The LIDAR can see farther, with more accuracy, and in 360-degrees. You can't.

    The rest of your post is ill-though-out guesswork ascribing idiocy and incompetence to the development team. They are experts in this field - you are not. You spend a lot of your time on Slashdot, being racist and sexist. I wonder who's more trustworthy when it comes to logical appraisal? You've demonstrated you are a slave to gut instincts and untrusting of data which might change your world-view, so no-one in their right minds should be listening to you.

  • by Quinn_Inuit (760445) <Quinn_Inuit AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @06:58AM (#47106629)
    If you take the set of people who might be willing to buy a self-driving car (a set underrepresented on /.), few of them are going to want to do it if they're on the hook for whatever the car does. If that's the case, you might as well drive yourself. Google doesn't want that, either, and just put out a statement to that effect. My guess is that they're going to try to get the relevant laws changed, but, in the meantime, what better way to protect your users from liability than to make it impossible for them to have had any control of the vehicle?
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @08:34AM (#47107133) Homepage
    Perhaps people would just learn to be on time more often. I'm sure there are cases where something unexpected comes up, but many people I know are late all the time, and when something comes up, they are even later.

    Personally I don't care if somebody is late, I don't want taxi's performing dangerous and/or illegal maneuvers. Also, when you hold up a bus or train, you could be making more than one person late.

    All that being said, having autonomous cars would probably make things go a lot smoother, and we wouldn't have to worry about being late so much because of traffic jams.
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @09:20AM (#47107563)

    well we better have welfare 2.0 aka basic income to cover the people automated out of jobs also need single player healthcare as well.

  • If the lively hood of someone depends solely on the kindness of strangers, then the system is broken.

    Frankly,. I would like to see min. wage doubled and tipping ended.

    And I am a generous tipper to wait staff.

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