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Forum: General Talk 06-27-2018, 08:55 PM  
Autonomous vehicles
Posted By abruzzi
Replies: 361
Views: 11,532
A few general comments. I am generally skeptical about autonomous vehicles and how far along they are:

- remember human vision is pretty limited in terms of frequency and detection. We’re on a photo forum, so I assume you’ve all had the experience of dragging a slider to reveal detail in an image that you couldn’t see before. So while extreme weather is a huge challenge that probably needs to be surmounted, radar, lidar, IR, UV, and whatever else may eventually allow AVs to “see” in conditions we can’t.

- as someone who works in software development, I have a lot more fear about bad code. Tesla recently got a low score in a review due to braking distance. Within a week or so, Tesla pushed out a software update in response that significantly improved braking distance. A lot of people on the tech universe applauded this as the new way car companies can work when they are really tech companies. My first though was can you really make a modification that significant, and do a full battery of safety and reliability test on something as important as the braking system in that amount of time? My second though was are they really shipping a car with beta quality software and fixing it after they deliver? None of that has anything to do with AV tech, but AVs are going to be far more dependent on software, and I would fear these tech companies taking their ship it, then fix it attitude and applying it to two tons of steel hurtling down the highway at 70 mph.

- I don’t think real, general purpose fully autonomous vehicles are nearly as close as the media seems to think. There are a lot of complex improvisations that take place on the roads where I live that AVs are going to need to learn. For example most of the streets in the town I live in are barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other, but there are also always cars parked on one side or the other of the street. So, you’re weaving your way between parked cars, and if there is a car coming the other direction, it is eye contact and hand signals that mediate who goes and who waits out of the way for the other guy to go. Additionally almost none of our roads have lines painted, you frequently have to drive on the curb, some of the roads are dirt, and lots and lot of other stuff. Humans improvise in those situations, computers need to be programmed.

- as an avid motorcyclist, and off-road explorer, I doubt I’ll ever want an AV unless I’m 85 and getting my license revoked, but I do see that for some people it will be a meaningful improvement in their life. Me, I love driving, to the point that I can’t stand being in a car when someone else is driving. I don’t think you can backseat drive an AV.
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