Google has automated cars

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Decker
Posts: 2071
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 4:22 pm UTC
Location: Western N.Y.

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Decker » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:19 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:
Decker wrote:Anyone who does is stupid.
(Edit: On retrospect, a few people did. I strongly disagree with them.)
Actually, I think that's a better long term goal, if possibly an unattainable one. Obviously it won't be feasable anytime soon, and I can be sure it won't be when these cars are first introduced. There are way too many situations where (even if they only happen less than 1% of the time) the driver will need to take control.

I think it might be more likely (in the mid-term, whenever these happen to start getting out there and popular enough that basically everyone has a car equipped with one) to mandate automated use in situations such as high-density urban areas (where the situations will be well known), or possibly just alternatives to the HOV lanes for automated cars only. Though, since these won't be commercially available for a few years at least, that's some timetable way out there.

Okay, yeah. Stupid might be too strong of a word. It might be nice to have it as a long term goal, but we should not be jumping right into it from the start. That's kind of what I meant in the first place. I just didn't say it well.
I was angry with my friend. I told my wrath. My wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe. I told it not. My wrath did grow.

User avatar
frezik
Posts: 1336
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:52 pm UTC
Location: Schrödinger's Box

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby frezik » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:33 pm UTC

Decker wrote:Nobody said it was a cure-all for anything bad that could possibly happen, and no one said they want to remove the driver from the equations completely. Anyone who does is stupid.
(Edit: On retrospect, a few people did. I strongly disagree with them.)


At a certain level of development, there will be no reason a human needs to be in control at all. Even if the system allows the driver to dial-in how much control they have, it's inevitable that people will get used to the convenience of letting the system take control more and more, eventually opting themselves out of the system entirely. Driving as a skill will be relegated to race tracks.
I do not agree with the beer you drink, but will defend to the death your right to drink it

Technical Ben
Posts: 2986
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:37 pm UTC

Can they put this on my bicycle?
It's all physics and stamp collecting.
It's not a particle or a wave. It's just an exchange.

User avatar
SlyReaper
inflatable
Posts: 8015
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:09 pm UTC
Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:39 pm UTC

Technical Ben wrote:Can they put this on my bicycle?

You could put a chimp on a bicycle, and it would demonstrate far greater riding ability and consideration for other road users than the majority of cyclists round my way.
Image
What would Baron Harkonnen do?

Technical Ben
Posts: 2986
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Technical Ben » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:28 am UTC

But they do have a tendency to road rage (chimps that is).

I tend to be ok. Only if I'm in a real big rush will I speed down the path/sidewalk. I'll jump off and walk it if people are near by though.
It's all physics and stamp collecting.
It's not a particle or a wave. It's just an exchange.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Diadem » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:40 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
Technical Ben wrote:Can they put this on my bicycle?

You could put a chimp on a bicycle, and it would demonstrate far greater riding ability and consideration for other road users than the majority of cyclists round my way.

For the Netherlands, I agree with the consideration part, but not the riding ability part. The kind of stuff bicyclists here to to win a few seconds - running red lights in the wrong lane during rushhour, zig-zagging over pedestrian sidewalks, overtaking cars on the right, and all this at neck breaking speed, well.... there's nothing wrong with driving abilities.

Consideration for other road users? yeah, that one is way down :)
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
SlyReaper
inflatable
Posts: 8015
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:09 pm UTC
Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:59 am UTC

I was about to go "huh?" at your assertion that overtaking on the right is a bad thing, but then I remembered you guys drive on the wrong side of the road.
Image
What would Baron Harkonnen do?

User avatar
meatyochre
Posts: 1524
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:09 am UTC
Location: flying with the Conchords

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby meatyochre » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:01 am UTC

I'd like to see how the system handles two conflicting obstacles, and makes a decision as to which is the lesser of 2 evils. Like say, it recognizes a pedestrian who bolts out into the road from the right, while a car is approaching from the left lane. Will it make a decision of which one it should hit, since hitting nothing is impossible?
Dark567 wrote:"Hey, I created a perpetual motion device"

"yeah, but your poster sucks. F-"

Image

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby The Reaper » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:30 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:I was about to go "huh?" at your assertion that overtaking on the right is a bad thing, but then I remembered you guys drive on the wrong side of the road.

By wrong side of the road, you mean the side of the road that the majority of the world drives on?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Count ... _right.svg

User avatar
bigglesworth
I feel like Biggles should have a title
Posts: 7461
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:29 pm UTC
Location: Airstrip One

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:05 pm UTC

Bonapartist!
Generation Y. I don't remember the First Gulf War, but do remember floppy disks.

User avatar
broken_escalator
They're called stairs
Posts: 3312
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:49 am UTC
Location: _| ̄|○

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:35 pm UTC

meatyochre wrote:I'd like to see how the system handles two conflicting obstacles, and makes a decision as to which is the lesser of 2 evils. Like say, it recognizes a pedestrian who bolts out into the road from the right, while a car is approaching from the left lane. Will it make a decision of which one it should hit, since hitting nothing is impossible?

It'll do a barrel-role and use the boost to get through.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Steax » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:43 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Humans being stupid isn't the problem. Robots are super stupid. The problem is that humans are inattentive. And robots are super attentive.


Conclusion: Grow human brains in vats with electrodes to train them with super-attentive sensors and zero other thought to attain maximum concentration. Install in all cars. Presto.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
Griffin
Posts: 1363
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2007 7:46 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Griffin » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:20 pm UTC

I'm mostly just wondering how they handle adverse weather conditions - rain, snow, high winds. For those of us in certain areas, particularly bad instances of these aren't particularly rare.

Right now it seems to be handling driving in sem-optimal conditions fairly well, but there's a lot of driving that needs to be done in less than optimal conditions, and having every car carrry the same environmental failure point... thats a recipe for disaster.
Bdthemag: "I don't always GM, but when I do I prefer to put my player's in situations that include pain and torture. Stay creative my friends."

Bayobeasts - the Pokemon: Orthoclase project.

User avatar
Hawknc
Oompa Loompa of SCIENCE!
Posts: 6986
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:14 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Hawknc » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:24 pm UTC

How do you drive in adverse weather conditions?
ImageImageImageImageImage

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Steax » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:29 pm UTC

I was kinda wondering the possibility of Google producing an operating system for this process. It would be one-of-a-kind and I wouldn't be surprised if they did. I always wanted full-scale computers in my car (short of putting a CPU in the back and gluing a screen to the front passenger). Just think of the possibilities... gRoadLove! Find matching personalities in cars around you!

Of course there's the more boring stuff like logging your car's performance etc, but we know that's not really important.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
broken_escalator
They're called stairs
Posts: 3312
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:49 am UTC
Location: _| ̄|○

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:30 pm UTC

Just gotta make sure their sensors are operable in adverse conditions. We make sure our eyes can see, I don't think it would be a huge problem.

User avatar
BlackSails
Posts: 5315
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:48 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby BlackSails » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:50 pm UTC

broken_escalator wrote: We make sure our eyes can see, I don't think it would be a huge problem.


Obviously you do not live in an area with many elderly drivers.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3943
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Dauric » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:05 pm UTC

broken_escalator wrote:Just gotta make sure their sensors are operable in adverse conditions. We make sure our eyes can see, I don't think it would be a huge problem.

It's not just that the sensors are operable in adverse conditions, but also that the software can get the right clues from the road and filter out any misinformation that the sensors might be picking up. Water is a bitch when it comes to getting accurate data from most low-powered sensor arrays.

Example: Snow. Now if you live on a southern coast of the U.S. and you see a dusting of snow on the ground everything shuts down since "My God! The Sky Is Falling!"

Out where I live six inches might be a reason schools run a delayed schedule and odds are most companies will start the work day on time, and the city might considering shutting down for the day only if it's blizzard conditions and visibility is less than 3 feet.

Problem with 2+ inches of snow and low visibility is that you're often following the tire tracks of the guy in front of you, and hopefully he didn't drive in to the ditch. If snow drifts (which it will if you have just about any wind) that drifting will fill in the curb to the point that it looks seamless with the rest of the road surface. If the computer is reading road lines from a video image (as one sensor system often used does) you could end up with car after car ending up in the same roadside ditch. They might avoid the 'obstacle' of the car ahead of it, but the tire tracks still show that the road curves the same direction as that obstacle. If the GPS margin of error is 3 meters, that's an entire lane the robo-car could drift across with no visual cues as to the position of the road. Even with a margin of error of 30cm for the more expensive GPS that's still enough to get a tire caught in the ditch and in most cases when that happens you're toast.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

Posthumane
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:44 pm UTC
Location: The great white north... compared to the US anyway.

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Posthumane » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:41 pm UTC

I think that the people insisting this is useless unless it can handle every situation that is bound to come up at some point in time are missing the point. Any "autodrive" system is an augmentation meant to take some of the workload off the operator, when conditions permit. In that sense, it is no different than cruise control in current cars, or autopilot in aircraft. Cruise control takes away the task of keeping a constant speed when you're in a situation where you are driving at a constant speed for longer stretches (i.e. highway). You are not supposed to use it in heavy traffic or during adverse weather conditions (snow). There are, of course, always people that abuse this technology and end up in the ditch because of it, but that hasn't stopped it from being widely adopted.

This is just a further development of the cruise-control style of automation. Now instead of being able to engage speed control on an open road, you can engage limited speed and direction control which is somewhat adaptable to road and traffic conditions. This does not mean that you should be able to use it in every driving situation. Heading to work on your regular, well defined route in familiar conditions? Flip it on and let it follow the car in front of you at a reasonable distance and stop at traffic lights while you enjoy your coffee and pay strategic attention to the road. Heading out to auntie Mary-Joe's farm on a series of twisting dual track and unsigned dirt roads in the rain? Drive manually.

As with every other system, you have to be aware of the limitations and work within them. Yes, cruise control caused some accidents when it was first introduced because of lack of education (and still does), but it is considered to be a safe and useful feature by most people. Other assistive technologies have been introduced such as braking assist, ABS, electronic stability control, etc. which take some control away from the driver. Are they perfect? No. But they do help in many situations and do more good than harm.

For the record, I drive a 17 year old car with power nothing, and no cruise control, ABS, etc. :P

User avatar
wst
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:06 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby wst » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:56 pm UTC

I enjoy driving, and will continue driving a manual car pretty much until health makes it unwise. It'll be nice knowing that I don't have to worry about the nuts holding the other wheels as much as I often have to now.
Anything I said pre-2014 that you want to quote me on, just run it past me to check I still agree with myself.

User avatar
broken_escalator
They're called stairs
Posts: 3312
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:49 am UTC
Location: _| ̄|○

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:11 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Problem with 2+ inches of snow and low visibility is that you're often following the tire tracks of the guy in front of you, and hopefully he didn't drive in to the ditch. If snow drifts (which it will if you have just about any wind) that drifting will fill in the curb to the point that it looks seamless with the rest of the road surface. If the computer is reading road lines from a video image (as one sensor system often used does) you could end up with car after car ending up in the same roadside ditch. They might avoid the 'obstacle' of the car ahead of it, but the tire tracks still show that the road curves the same direction as that obstacle. If the GPS margin of error is 3 meters, that's an entire lane the robo-car could drift across with no visual cues as to the position of the road. Even with a margin of error of 30cm for the more expensive GPS that's still enough to get a tire caught in the ditch and in most cases when that happens you're toast.

I'm not sure how the cars are programmed with snow in mind. However, it is also largely based on the area I would think. In my region we get snow and it usually doesn't last on the road unless its over a foot. Even during snowfall it usually melts due to traffic and salting. We have plows that due a very good job on major roads, and arguably decent on the lesser roads. Our lanes are almost always visible with some exceptions, like that blizzard that recently hit, or some roads that haven't been repainted in years.

But more importantly, you're obviously not going to want automated driving before they can assure you such problems are alleviated. It really seems like you're more worried about other people messing up and then a robot has to make a judgment call to deal with the problem. When a herd of deer run through the road it'll probably be programed to react how a human is expected to react. Not all humans react or even notice the deer so its not like we're some paragon of driving skill. Hell, the other week a bicyclists was hit by an SUV and the bike was dragged by the car all the way to the SUV owner's home. If it was automated it would have most likely seen the bicyclist, seeing how she was reported to be wearing reflective gear, lights and was in her lane.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3943
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Dauric » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

Posthumane wrote:I think that the people insisting this is useless unless it can handle every situation that is bound to come up at some point in time are missing the point. Any "autodrive" system is an augmentation meant to take some of the workload off the operator, when conditions permit. In that sense, it is no different than cruise control in current cars, or autopilot in aircraft. Cruise control takes away the task of keeping a constant speed when you're in a situation where you are driving at a constant speed for longer stretches (i.e. highway). You are not supposed to use it in heavy traffic or during adverse weather conditions (snow). There are, of course, always people that abuse this technology and end up in the ditch because of it, but that hasn't stopped it from being widely adopted.

This is just a further development of the cruise-control style of automation. Now instead of being able to engage speed control on an open road, you can engage limited speed and direction control which is somewhat adaptable to road and traffic conditions. This does not mean that you should be able to use it in every driving situation. Heading to work on your regular, well defined route in familiar conditions? Flip it on and let it follow the car in front of you at a reasonable distance and stop at traffic lights while you enjoy your coffee and pay strategic attention to the road. Heading out to auntie Mary-Joe's farm on a series of twisting dual track and unsigned dirt roads in the rain? Drive manually.

As with every other system, you have to be aware of the limitations and work within them. Yes, cruise control caused some accidents when it was first introduced because of lack of education (and still does), but it is considered to be a safe and useful feature by most people. Other assistive technologies have been introduced such as braking assist, ABS, electronic stability control, etc. which take some control away from the driver. Are they perfect? No. But they do help in many situations and do more good than harm.

For the record, I drive a 17 year old car with power nothing, and no cruise control, ABS, etc. :P


The big difference between Cruise Control and Robo-Car is that with Cruise Control you're actively involved in the vehicle's control, so control of the vehicle, including speed is something actively taking up the driver's attention. With RoboCar the driver is not longer in an active state of controlling the vehicle, and when humans aren't actively involved with something our brains tend to wander to other thoughts or just go to sleep with the boredom. A RoboCar will have to be able to alert the driver to conditions that may impede the RoboCar's functioning or otherwise require the driver to be paying attention (like adverse weather, or a traffic report about a road hazard/collision/police chase/etc.). In Colorado weather conditions can vary within a few miles or a few minutes, and I've been in a snowstorm in June. It'll have to uplink to more than just a road database and accident reports, but also local weather conditions as well.

I'll agree that the best way for the system to be implemented is as a driver augmentation, however it also means that -again- they need to be doing more testing in a broader variety of places and circumstances than just Sunny California, and the system will still have to be able to make snap judgments for incidents (hazards, weather*, etc.) where there is little to no warning time for the driver to take direct control.

*Yes, weather can change from sunny and nice to horrible downpour in seconds. In Colorado it generally has to do with how the air moves through the mountains, but I know that weather can be equally capricious in Florida and generally the Southeast of the U.S.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
broken_escalator
They're called stairs
Posts: 3312
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:49 am UTC
Location: _| ̄|○

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:37 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure the article said the car warns the driver for things (like crosswalks or turns), it isn't too much of a stretch to bet they could extend those warnings to anything they wanted to. Solving handling during weather would be a better solution than simply warning a human about it, but I bet they are waiting on testing that until they are sure it wont crash and burn. Also, the human driver was determined to be in control of the car, since all he has to do is touch a button and either use one of the pedals or turn the steering wheel. I don't think people should just start jumping to nobody paying attention while driving before we're told we can do that. I know the scientists are aiming for that future, but that isn't what we have.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3943
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Dauric » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

broken_escalator wrote: I don't think people should just start jumping to nobody paying attention while driving before we're told we can do that. I know the scientists are aiming for that future, but that isn't what we have.


True, and that's why people saying "We should be driver free, it's the panacea for all traffic incidents..." earlier in this thread irks me. The technology isn't there yet, and there's plenty of circumstances that a 35 mile drive in California just won't test. It's entirely possible that the system will be just a cruise control and that "Human Free" won't be possible until some other improvements in computers or robotics come along.

Again: They've driven a 35 mile course on public roads with their car. That's nice an all, but it's not close to "Human Free Driving" yet.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
wst
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:06 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby wst » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:09 pm UTC

broken_escalator wrote:I'm not sure how the cars are programmed with snow in mind.
This raises another good point. Computerised gearboxes, so far, have not made friends with snow. In last winter's minor (well, major, for the UK, minor for the rest of the world at this latitude) snowfall here in the UK a lot of people with VAG DSG gearboxes found that they were getting stuck on minor inclines with less than 1 inch of compacted snow - conditions that my tiny little hatchback that's completely manual, gearbox-wise, could cope with all day long. ABS brakes also throw a hissy fit in the snow, the computer will oscillate them on and off so fast that the car sounds like a machine gun and toboggans in a straight line with zero steering authority.

I think that winter and loose surfaces will be the greatest challenge for the people working on these projects.
Anything I said pre-2014 that you want to quote me on, just run it past me to check I still agree with myself.

User avatar
Josephine
Posts: 2142
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:53 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Josephine » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:43 am UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Bonapartist!

You rang?
Belial wrote:Listen, what I'm saying is that he committed a felony with a zoo animal.

User avatar
Griffin
Posts: 1363
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2007 7:46 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Griffin » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:50 pm UTC

Yeah, its really snow and ice conditions I was worried about when I said "inclement weather". They both have proven to cause a whole bunch of problems for other automated systems designed in more temperate climates, and I'm talking pretty basic stuff, not even automated driving level stuff. Its not just friction either, though understanding how you actually need to drive differently on snow will be important. Snow and ice can block sensors, or worse, confuse them.

None of that changes the facts that I badly want a car that can drive me around, as I'm sure even the version they have now is a much better driver than I am. :P
Bdthemag: "I don't always GM, but when I do I prefer to put my player's in situations that include pain and torture. Stay creative my friends."

Bayobeasts - the Pokemon: Orthoclase project.

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby The Reaper » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:57 pm UTC

I like that as soon as Google breaks the news that its been working on robotic cars, a few other companies have come out of the woodwork with the same news.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3943
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Dauric » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:16 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:I like that as soon as Google breaks the news that its been working on robotic cars, a few other companies have come out of the woodwork with the same news.


Automated driving systems have been in R&D for at least the last 20 years. Google makes news because they're Google and its not unreasonable that all the other research teams will pipe up bout their own progress in the same field. The only reason this gathered as much attention as it did is Brand Name Recognition.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

The Reaper
Posts: 4008
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: San Antonio, Tx
Contact:

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby The Reaper » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:22 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:
The Reaper wrote:I like that as soon as Google breaks the news that its been working on robotic cars, a few other companies have come out of the woodwork with the same news.


Automated driving systems have been in R&D for at least the last 20 years. Google makes news because they're Google and its not unreasonable that all the other research teams will pipe up bout their own progress in the same field. The only reason this gathered as much attention as it did is Brand Name Recognition.

I realize that, but every little bit of positive attention helps.

Also: link to an automated car that I didnt already know about :3 http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-sel ... rmany.html

Soralin
Posts: 1347
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 12:06 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Soralin » Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:26 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Automated driving systems have been in R&D for at least the last 20 years. Google makes news because they're Google and its not unreasonable that all the other research teams will pipe up bout their own progress in the same field. The only reason this gathered as much attention as it did is Brand Name Recognition.

Well it's not just that, but that they have it actually working, and successfully driving from location to location on public roads, in traffic, able to navigate street lights, stop signs, and all the other cars on the road, driving at the same speed as other cars, without needing any human intervention. Even if it is under ideal conditions, that's still huge, beyond anything that's actually been done before. Getting it to work in less than ideal conditions doesn't seem so hard compared to what's already been accomplished. And it's not just something that someone says they can do, perpetually 5-10 years off in the future, but something that's already been built and is successfully working right now.

And this really has gotten developed very fast, you say 20 years, but really I'd say it's the last 5 years or so that massive improvements have been made in this, and it's rapidly getting better. For anyone here that's interested, I definitely recommend checking out the Nova episode covering this, "The great robot race", largely on the second grand challenge, that was in 2005, it's available in full on youtube and hulu, and probably some other places around:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoiJeIb0wBA
http://www.hulu.com/watch/23347/nova-th ... pisode,1,0

It's really interesting to watch, and does a good job of showing the capabilities and limitations of the state of the art just 5 years ago. There's also been one in an urban setting in 2007, following all the traffic laws and such, that went quite well. It's also quite relevant to this, because as I had in the op, many of the people who were involved in the grand challenge(including the one writing the blog in the op), are now working at google on this. :)

johnny_7713
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby johnny_7713 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:03 am UTC

Soralin wrote:
Dauric wrote:Automated driving systems have been in R&D for at least the last 20 years. Google makes news because they're Google and its not unreasonable that all the other research teams will pipe up bout their own progress in the same field. The only reason this gathered as much attention as it did is Brand Name Recognition.

Well it's not just that, but that they have it actually working, and successfully driving from location to location on public roads, in traffic, able to navigate street lights, stop signs, and all the other cars on the road, driving at the same speed as other cars, without needing any human intervention. Even if it is under ideal conditions, that's still huge, beyond anything that's actually been done before. Getting it to work in less than ideal conditions doesn't seem so hard compared to what's already been accomplished. And it's not just something that someone says they can do, perpetually 5-10 years off in the future, but something that's already been built and is successfully working right now.


I'd argue that the University of Parma team: http://viac.vislab.it/ have shown a more impressive performance, driving from Parma to China (and still on the way to Shanghai), without specially mapping out the route beforehand, but that doesn't seem to have generated anywhere near the attention Google has.

Soralin
Posts: 1347
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 12:06 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Soralin » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:14 pm UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:I'd argue that the University of Parma team: http://viac.vislab.it/ have shown a more impressive performance, driving from Parma to China (and still on the way to Shanghai), without specially mapping out the route beforehand, but that doesn't seem to have generated anywhere near the attention Google has.

Actually it looks like they are specially mapping out the route (immediately) beforehand:
Travelling from Italy to China with no driver? It’s impossible: is there a trick?

There’s no trick: there are rules, instead. Since there are no maps of some of the areas in which the vehicles have to move, it would be impossible to ask the vehicles to determine the route. Therefore the convoy is led by a vehicle in which operators take control every time a decision on the road has to be taken. This is the leader vehicle; it is manned all the time, although it runs autonomously most of the time. It is used to test innovative systems and conduct experiments. The leader also broadcasts its GPS position via radio. The second vehicle, i.e. the follower, receives the leader’s GPS position; this vehicle follows the leader’s route defined by very rough GPS waypoints (remember hat DGPS is not available in many areas) and refines its trajectory via local sensing. If a map would be available, there would be no need for a leader. The second vehicle is readily exploitable as a fully autonomous vehicle.

Still impressive, although it looks like the lead vehicle still uses humans, and the follow vehicle actually follows the lead visually, so it would likely do worse without that lead vehicle being there. It would be a bit more impressive if they're able to run the same route again without a lead vehicle, just using the information that they collected this time around. It'd be nice if there was some more information on them too, especially video of them doing something more impressive than driving on a straight road, like going through city streets without a lead vehicle in visual range. :)

User avatar
Crius
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:27 pm UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Crius » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:50 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I was about to go "huh?" at your assertion that overtaking on the right is a bad thing, but then I remembered you guys drive on the wrong side of the road.

By wrong side of the road, you mean the side of the road that the majority of the world drives on?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Count ... _right.svg


Man, I thought driving on the right was just something that the U.S. did to be quirkily different from the rest of the world, like the metric system or socialized medicine. Apparently we're a bunch of conformists.

User avatar
danielnairn
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:40 pm UTC
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby danielnairn » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:10 am UTC

I disagree with people who say that the autonomous system will be safer if a human has ultimate control, rather than the computer. Not yet, tho. The technology is obviously not ready to go completely autonomous.

The problem is not that humans are stupid or bad at driving, the problem is that humans are lazy by nature, and we will take it for granted that the computer is doing the job, get lazy and stop watching the road. It might do more harm than good to have a robotic system before it is statistically safer than humans. But I have faith in Google and computers: I think there will come a point when they have the system down so well, that crashes will be decreased significantly. But before that happens, there's the danger of inattentive people.

A completely autonomous car is definitely the right goal. I am actually a professional designated driver (ya, there is such a thing) and I see way too many stupid people who would rather drive there car home than pay the extra money for a cab or for my services. An autonomous car could completely solve the problem of drunks on the road.

I dunno if I was really very clear..but it makes sense to me!! Anyway, I love Google, and was just waiting for them to announce that they were working in robotics. I didn't exactly expect cars, but it makes sense! Obviously, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Street View were just part of their plan to see how easily they can map the roads.
-Daniel Nairn
www.falconflying.com

Aetius
Posts: 1099
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:23 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Aetius » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:27 am UTC

I'm not so much concerned about the ability of an automatic car to react to things (I imagine even with today's sensors and algorithms it'd be much better than a human), but rather it's ability to predict things. Is that child going to follow the ball into the street? Is the driver in front of me going to make an erratic move because he appears likely intoxicated? Is that nearby car going to blow a red light in order to make way for an ambulance? Is the car in front of me likely to slam on his brakes because he hasn't yet noticed the pedestrian in the crosswalk? And so on. These are all things the human brain can process with reasonable success that I would think computer AI would require massive leaps forward to duplicate.

User avatar
SlyReaper
inflatable
Posts: 8015
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:09 pm UTC
Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:42 am UTC

Yeah I know what you mean. Sometimes you can just tell something is going to happen, and then afterwards have no idea how you knew. Like subtleties in the speeds and positions of the cars around you, seeing a driver's head through the window looking the wrong way, a cyclist and a car approaching each other but not looking at each other, a car tailing you slightly too close and weaving about if he's about to overtake, stuff like that.

But most of these, I'm certain a computer can take into account. The computer will basically be concerned with probabilities and mechanics - how fast is that car moving? Will we intercept each other if I maintain my speed? If that car brakes, what's its braking distance compared to mine?

And remember a computer will have a reaction time measured in microseconds compared to a human reaction time measured in seconds (a human can usually react within a second if he knows he's being tested, but a relaxed driver will have a considerably longer reaction time). So it already has a massive advantage over human drivers even if its predictive capabilities lag behind.
Image
What would Baron Harkonnen do?

User avatar
Xeio
Friends, Faidites, Countrymen
Posts: 5099
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:12 am UTC
Location: C:\Users\Xeio\
Contact:

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Xeio » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:46 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Yeah I know what you mean. Sometimes you can just tell something is going to happen, and then afterwards have no idea how you knew.
Confirmation bias. :P

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3943
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Dauric » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:51 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Yeah I know what you mean. Sometimes you can just tell something is going to happen, and then afterwards have no idea how you knew. Like subtleties in the speeds and positions of the cars around you, seeing a driver's head through the window looking the wrong way, a cyclist and a car approaching each other but not looking at each other, a car tailing you slightly too close and weaving about if he's about to overtake, stuff like that.

But most of these, I'm certain a computer can take into account. The computer will basically be concerned with probabilities and mechanics - how fast is that car moving? Will we intercept each other if I maintain my speed? If that car brakes, what's its braking distance compared to mine?


The problem is did the engineer programming the car's decision making process take all that in to account? Computers are stupid, they'll do exactly what you tell them and -only- what you tell them. The computer may have the sensor apparatus to pick up on the subtle cues, but having the input is useless unless the system knows what to do with that input.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Google has automated cars

Postby Vaniver » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:29 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:The problem is did the engineer programming the car's decision making process take all that in to account? Computers are stupid, they'll do exactly what you tell them and -only- what you tell them. The computer may have the sensor apparatus to pick up on the subtle cues, but having the input is useless unless the system knows what to do with that input.
My impression is that the human brain is essentially doing the calculations subconsciously- and there's significant room for error, because everyone's seen near misses. The computer would be doing the calculations consciously- and so we should expect it to be able to detect collision courses better than people.

Where humans might have an edge is realizing that people are about to do something unexpected. The driver approaching the stop sign is on a cell phone- there's an increased chance they won't stop. That's not information you can get from the trajectory until when it might be too late.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dauric, Exabot [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot] and 24 guests