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View Poll Results: Will self driving autos kill car insurance?
Of course 44 16.00%
Maybe but not for a long time 200 72.73%
I'm a luddite... 31 11.27%
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:18 AM
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JMO Fan JMO Fan is offline
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My new Honda Accord seems pretty close to self-driving - no-hands lane and speed cruise.
I thought this WAS a real job
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by r. mutt View Post
Finally, a prediction I can get behind, from the former head of Google's autonomous vehicle program.

The question I ask every person who comes on our show to discuss self-driving cars is: is this going to happen. Is this real?

Yes, it can happen. I think youíre going to see small-scale deployments in the next five years, and then itís going to phase in over the next 30 to 50 years.
Wow! I don't think I can take the "over" on that, as I have literally *every* other prediction I've come across. That actually sounds realistic.
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Old 05-31-2019, 11:56 AM
TZK TZK is offline
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Self driving autos will be hacked by Raytheon and drive you off a cliff because you don't adhere to their scientologist belief system.
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Old 05-31-2019, 11:59 AM
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Vorian Atreides Vorian Atreides is offline
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TZK's in the house
I find your lack of faith disturbing

Why should I worry about dying? Itís not going to happen in my lifetime!

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Old 08-08-2019, 03:49 PM
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Optimus Ride is operating six autonomous shuttles on private roads in Brooklyn
ew Yorkers pride themselves on having seen it all, but if there’s one thing they have yet to set their grime-coated eyeballs on, it’s hoards of self-driving cars roaming their streets. For better or worse, New York City has remained AV-free, thanks to ambivalent lawmakers, a subway crisis that has sucked up most of the oxygen, and some fairly restrictive regulations on the books. But that will start to change on August 7th when the city’s first autonomous shuttle service opens its doors to the public in Brooklyn.

The service, which is run by an MIT spinoff called Optimus Ride, consists of a half-dozen six-seater electric vehicles operating within a 300-acre walled-off industrial space called the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Much like other autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle services that have cropped up in recent years across the country, it is extremely slow and restricted only to a single route: 1.1 miles from the entrance of the Navy Yard to the New York City Ferry dock on the East River. The service will operate on a continuous loop between 7AM and 10:30PM on weekdays.

Each car has two safety drivers: one behind the wheel and one in the passenger seat monitoring the vehicle’s sensors from a laptop. Engineers at Optimus Ride’s offices in Boston will be monitoring the vehicles when they eventually go fully driverless, ready to issue commands if anything goes awry.

As such, it’s hardly worth getting excited over something so limited in size and scope. But as the old adage goes: if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

“At a macro level, autonomy here in New York City is a beacon for the rest of the world,” Ryan Chin, CEO of Optimus Ride, told me recently. “The prime minister of Japan can come here, go to the Navy Yard, and see our system. The mayor of London can come here, and do that. You can imagine the whole world coming here very easily.”

In that sense, Chin couldn’t have chosen a better place to stage his experiment than the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We were sitting in a conference room in the sprawling New Lab, one of several high-tech hubs to appear within the World War II-era munitions factory in recent years. The Navy Yard is in the midst of a high-tech reinvention that has seen the addition of hundreds of workers and tens of thousands of square feet of new office and light manufacturing space. Nearly 10,000 people work at the Navy Yard today, a number that administrators expect to double in the near future.

Another key feature of the Navy Yard is that it’s private property, which allows Optimus Ride to avoid the chaos and unpredictability of public streets. The company was also able to avoid having to seek permission from the state Department of Motor Vehicle to launch its service. The New York State Legislature passed a bill in 2017, requiring operators to obtain permission from the DMV to demo and test autonomous vehicles on public roads.

Optimus Ride, which also operates vehicles in Boston, California, and Northern Virginia, is billing the Navy Yard deployment as the “first commercial self-driving vehicle deployment in the state of New York.” But there have been a handful of demonstrations of autonomous technology. Audi completed a six-mile demo around the state’s capital in June 2017 after receiving approval from the DMV. Later that year, Cadillac performed a “hands-free” drive from its headquarters in New York City to New Jersey.

But New York has been a ghost town for serious AV testing. Part of the reason could be the state’s strict requirements, which include a state police escort at all times to be paid for by the testing company. In 2017, GM announced plans to test its self-driving vehicles in lower Manhattan, but those plans have since dried up with little explanation as to why. New York’s elected officials have largely ignored the self-driving phenomenon, instead focusing their attention on the dire state of the city’s subway system. Meanwhile, operators flocked to places with friendlier regulations (like Arizona) or ones that are more convenient to their headquarters (like California).

Optimus Ride’s vehicles aren’t authorized to leave the Navy Yard. That’s fine with Chin, who sees this initial deployment as crucial to his plans to refine the technology, as well as assuage a jittery public that’s largely skeptical of self-driving cars. For Optimus Ride, the fastest path to mass adoption of the technology is, ironically, slower-than-normal speeds.

“I think, over time, we can increase the complexity and move beyond just the geofenced area,” Chin said. “That’s certainly plausible, [but] it’s not something near term ... doing that is going to be really tough.”

Optimus Ride CEO Ryan Chin.
That said, Chin says he expects to pull the two safety drivers out of the vehicles by 2020 — safety permitting. That’s a bold statement considering even the most advanced autonomous vehicles in the world only operate without safety drivers under extremely limited, highly controlled circumstances. Most companies are resigned to keeping safety drivers behind the wheel for the near future, realizing any rush to pull them out may expose passengers or pedestrians to safety risk — and the companies themselves to expensive lawsuits.

If that makes David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, nervous, he doesn’t show it. Like Chin, Ehrenberg said he’s happy to take things nice and slow. “I think we will hopefully get to that decision point in the not-so-distant future,” Ehrenberg told me. “But right now, we’re not far along enough, frankly, to say, ‘Oh, we feel great’ or ‘We feel terrible’ about driverless cars.’”

The cars themselves are fully electric with three LIDAR sensors (two in the front and one in back) as well as eight cameras installed around the vehicle. The interior is spartan but comfortable. There are no creature comforts, nor any fancy add-ons like touchscreens. The whole vehicle has a utilitarian feel that’s similar to an ATV or a snowmobile, which makes sense because it’s manufactured by Polaris, a Minnesota-based company that makes ATVs and snowmobiles.

The ride from the entrance of the Navy Yard to the ferry dock was short and uneventful, which is typical of self-driving vehicles operating under the most tightly controlled conditions. While a safety driver named Mitch had his hands hovering just below the steering wheel, the vehicle puttered along at about 15 mph, yielding for pedestrians, keeping to its lane, and making one unprotected left turn — a common maneuver that nonetheless has proven to be complicated for most autonomous vehicles.

These types of modest deployments are likely to become more common, especially as the big companies that are spending billions of dollars to build and operate self-driving cars are forced to rein in expectations about their readiness. Optimus Ride calls to mind similar services that are available from startups like Voyage in retirement communities in California and Florida, or in Frisco, Texas: mostly low-speed autonomous vehicles in tightly controlled, geofenced areas with an operations team in constant communication with the cars.

These vehicles — small, usually electric, with capacity for no more than a dozen people — have proliferated in cities around the world. Experts see them as a good entry point for autonomous vehicle technology, while regulators like keeping the vehicles out of more populated areas.

But that kind of small-scale business can also be extremely difficult to get right. nearly went out of business before it got bought by Apple. And Navya, a major autonomous shuttle manufacturer based in France, recently announced that it would be pivoting away from the shuttle business in favor of licensing its software to third-party clients.

Optimus Ride isn’t concerned with making money — at least not yet. The company raised $18 million in its first round of fundraising, and it’s currently in the middle of its second round. It offers its rides for free, and while it has a contract with the Navy Yard for an undisclosed sum, Chin says he’s focused more on perfecting the technology so the company can be well-positioned to make money when the time is right.

“It’s a tough business. And the reason is that doing self-driving vehicles is super hard,” Chin said. “If you get to really robust autonomy, then what you do have is the ability to get to those types of more optimal vehicle-passenger sizes. And I think the challenge that a lot of companies are having is starting with the vehicle first, as opposed to figuring out how to do autonomous vehicles really well.”


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Old 08-08-2019, 03:58 PM
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The flying cars are getting better, and they'd have a much easier time of being made to self-fly than mixing self driving cars with human drivers. There's a chance those become popular first.
I live near the cows.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by campbell View Post

Judging from our test ride yesterday, driverless utopia feels more driver's ed in a stretched out Kia Soul.

In one dicey moment, an oncoming car straddling the yellow line came inches away from the vehicle, forcing our human minder to abruptly jerk the wheel, lurching the car to the right. The vehicle was already making this maneuver on its own, the human explained. Sitting shotgun, the company's director of system engineering and testing, John Sgueglia, described the interaction as a useful data point, adding, "Next time, I might give it a bit more space."

The company boasts that its proprietary software is Level 4 automation, interpreted by some automakers to mean the driver's seat occupant can literally fall asleep at the wheel, which does not seem wise.

Other aspects of the ride did little to inspire confidence. Both parking and three-point turns—required at the end of every trip—seem to be an intricate two-person operation, somehow involving more effort than the human-powered alternative. The turn signals are manual as well. The cars do not have air conditioning, though this is apparently on the "growth path." Despite calling itself an "accessible form of mobility," the vehicles are not yet wheelchair accessible.

According to Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina whose research focuses on autonomous vehicles, a wide gulf between self-driving service promised and service offered is commonplace in the autonomous vehicle industry.

"So often the headline is 'Driverless Cars Now in X,' but the reality tends to much more limited," he said. "If someone is in the vehicle supervising, it's not a driverless vehicle—it's an expensive bus, or a really expensive golf cart."
“Level 4”
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:10 PM
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Tesla driver apparently caught sleeping at the wheel going 60 mph

The driver of a Tesla on autopilot appeared to be asleep behind the wheel while whizzing along a Massachusetts highway, new video shows.

A fellow motorist captured the driver with his head slumped forward — and his passenger equally zonked out — along I-90 on Sunday.

“Some guy literally asleep at the wheel on the Mass Pike (great place for it),” tweeted fellow motorist Dakota Randall with the clip. “Teslas are sick, I guess?”

Randall guessed he and the Tesla were both going about 60 mph through Newton at the time. He said he tried to wake up the daredevil drivers by honking — but “it didn’t work at all,” he told NBC10 Boston.

“I kind of looked over and saw what I thought was somebody asleep at the wheel and I was like that can’t be right, so I did a double-take, looked over and sure enough this guy was just, head between his legs completely asleep,” Randall told the network.

While the autopilot system features advanced safety features, Tesla takes pains to stress that it is “not a self-driving system.”

Enlarge ImageVideo from the Massachusetts Turnpike appears to show a driver paying no attention to the road while his car, a Tesla SUV, is driving straight ahead.
Dakota Randall / Twitter
“Autopilot is intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any time,” the company states on its website.

Randall said he’ll always watch out for Teslas on the road.

“I’m always going to look to see if somebody’s asleep,” he said.

State police told NBC10 Boston they were aware of the incident from media reports but had not been contacted by anyone.

In June, another Tesla driver was similarly caught snoozing behind the wheel in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Old 09-09-2019, 09:43 PM
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head between his legs completely asleep
Trying to visualize, and failing miserably.
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