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The big changes in the auto world will happen when autonomous driving technology, electric technology and ride sharing platforms all reach a sufficient level of maturity. When that happens (and I don't think it will take THAT long), autonomous is going to be a big thing. Not for personal ownership though....but for meeting mobility needs in big and heavily congested cities.

If I lived in one of those cities, I would certainly use the technology and maybe even forgo car ownership (as an increasing number of young people are willing/forced to do). But I would want access to a great car that I could drive myself on the weekends and any time I get out of the city.
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Originally posted by aphilla:
do you want one?

I heard the futurist for Ford a few weeks ago say that they expect to see them within 5 years. They did a lot of work finding out who would want them. Some of that was surprising, but a part of that then not when I heard some of the reasoning behind it.


This is a dangerous thing to rush to market, as Tesla is learning...
From an article in "Scientific American" last year:
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The auto industry and the press have oversold the automated car. Simple road encounters pose huge challenges for computers, and robotic chauffeurs remain decades away. Automated driving systems that rely on humans for backup are particularly problematic. Yet in the next decade we will see automatic-driving systems that are limited to specific conditions and applications. Automatic parking valets, low-speed campus shuttles, closely spaced platoons of heavy trucks and automatic freeway-control systems for use in dedicated lanes are all feasible and perhaps inevitable.

The author estimates that Level 5 autonomy (100% driverless control) is 30+ years away. We do like our hype.
I would love a self driving car and wish they were available now.

Number 1 reason = I like drinking wine and beer. It takes very little alcohol to be over legal limit.

Anyone in Pittsburgh catch a ride on an uber lately? I seriously think that what uber is doing in Pittsburgh is a huge step and things will snowball from there. Maybe I have been misled but I expect driverless cars in 5 years or less.
It's not about us. I've got a 17 year old that could care less about driving. They just want to get where they want to go.

When we were that age we got beater cars and hot rods to work on. All cars are very electronic and tough to work on these days. Now a days most parents get the kids inexpensive small cars and it's often leased. A decent new car was $12 to 15k when I was 17. 35 years later they are less in nominal dollars. Sad to say but we. Are relics of the past.
Last edited by bomba503
I think that they are coming, and they are coming soon. The convergence of self-driving technology with ride-sharing platforms will lead a decline in automobile ownership, I suspect. Why buy a car when a very inexpensive self-driving ride is only seconds away on your phone? And the price of a ride will decrease, if you aren't paying for a human driver, and if you can tailor the car to your needs (a small two-person car to take you to work; a large car to go to the store, etc).

Will the technology be perfect? No, I don't think so. But will it be better than the current mass of humans who are driving on the roads today? I think yes. I think we will see a sharp decline in automobile crashes and deaths. A sharp decline in drunk driving. People will still die in crashes, because a self-driving car won't be able to address every contingency any better than a person can, although response times will be greater with a self-driving car.

Imagine if the Interstate highway system became self-driving cars only, and you could zip along at 100 miles an hour or more for your long-distance driving.
I work in the photonics field and with many (most if not all) of the LIDAR companies and their customers. The switch to autonomous vehicles is inevitable, especially as the technology improves and gets smarter.

I think the first place we'll see some standard here will be freight/trucking. At a recent LIDAR conference this was a hot area for discussion and with things like driver fatigue, impairment, cost cutting, etc it makes total sense to automate long-distance trucking.

For consumers it will take more and more persuasion to get user adoption, but as BOMBA said, the younger generations will get more and more used to it as the technology slowly creeps into cars (ie tesla, auto parking on many vehicles) and it will be a natural progression to a fully automated vehicle.
if autonomous cars were to become the norm.

streets would literally be banned from manual driving.

much like railroads, you can't just take a vehicle and park it on the tracks and decide to go for a ride.

This should give rise to more specialize driving clubs where they'll buy tracks of lands for people who want to drive their car.

A stop gap, would be for a lane for autonomous cars on the highways in the rural areas, and fully automated cars in urban areas, basically you're not allowed to drive a car at all in an urban setting with a large population.
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Originally posted by The Old Man:
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Originally posted by scbeerman:
As technology improves and wireless networks evolve, this trend could be here sooner than anticipated. I have read in some articles where car ownership will be almost non-existent in ten years.

I'll take that bet and give you odds. At the end of 2026 the majority of cars will still be self-owned.


i'd love to join TOM here on that bet
I'm not ready to own a self driving car, and may never want to. I do look forward to Uber and others operating fleets within cities.
In order to get full advantage of self driving cars, we need to have car to car communication, and smart roads, including lights, cross walks, traffic monitoring, lane markers that are effective even in snow, etc. The infrastructure is going to take a lot longer than building cars that can navigate themselves.
Protocols have to be agreed on also, assigning priorities for passage. Everyone has probably seen how, currently, aggressive pedestrians can bully a self driving car into immobility.
When it does hit critical mass in twenty years or so, cars that are not equipped to operate in the automatic grid are going to be banned from many roads and sections of cities. There is already talk about creating exclusive lanes on highways.
I think I want one.

I just got a new car and it has adaptive cruise control (I know, thanks, all of you had this 5 years ago - i hadn't bought a car in 17 years). I still have to steer it but for most of my drive (at least where I can use cruise control) I don't touch the brakes or the accelerator. That strikes me as really cool.

A few weeks ago we did a driving vacation to Yellowstone. There are places where I think it would have been nice to purely spectate, but I really enjoyed the act of driving. So maybe I'm mixed.

(I wonder whether a self-driving car would have been able to react to the pheasant who hit our windshield at 80mph on I-90....)

I believe the futurist's slides are online. ( pdf is here, I think) IIRC the country with the fewest people interested in self-driving cars was the UK. The US was somewhere in the middle I think with somewhere around half the people surveyed saying they might be interested in one. India and China had really have levels of desire to have them (around 85% I think).
I wonder how they are going to program the cars for all of the types of driving conditions that exist.

Down here in South Florida, where everything is flat and the roads run north/south and east/west, self-driving cars would have an easy go. In other places, like towns with narrow roads, or windy mountain roads, or places with bad driving conditions (someone mentioned snow - how does the car drive in a snow shower?), it might be tricky.
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Originally posted by Rothko:
(someone mentioned snow - how does the car drive in a snow shower?), it might be tricky.


and this is the reason why you have people down south end up with a massive traffic accidents whenever adverse weather hits, you guys are too used to nice weather and straight roads most times =)

Short answer, you don't.
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Originally posted by Rothko:
I wonder how they are going to program the cars for all of the types of driving conditions that exist.

Down here in South Florida, where everything is flat and the roads run north/south and east/west, self-driving cars would have an easy go. In other places, like towns with narrow roads, or windy mountain roads, or places with bad driving conditions (someone mentioned snow - how does the car drive in a snow shower?), it might be tricky.


Some current cars can follow lane markers using a camera. Obviously that won't work in snow. Human drivers follow the tracks and tail lights of the cars in front of them. I suppose self-driving cars can be designed to use that mode, with the bonus of being able to communicate with other cars once the capability is built in.
Radar is discussed, but I think heavy rain or snow will scatter the beams too much for it to be dependable.
I figure a better way is to plant passive transponders along the edge of highways. For cities, there will be extremely detailed mapping.
All in all, human drivers do extremely poorly in snow if they are not used to it. Many who drive in snow regularly get reckless and overconfident. I think with ten more years of development and experience, self-driving cars will best all but the top drivers. How often have you driven in a snow storm with no car to follow, and no visible tracks in the snow? Pretty damn tough. Even worse if you are not familiar with the road.
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Originally posted by pape du neuf:
quote:
Originally posted by Rothko:
I wonder how they are going to program the cars for all of the types of driving conditions that exist.

Down here in South Florida, where everything is flat and the roads run north/south and east/west, self-driving cars would have an easy go. In other places, like towns with narrow roads, or windy mountain roads, or places with bad driving conditions (someone mentioned snow - how does the car drive in a snow shower?), it might be tricky.


Some current cars can follow lane markers using a camera. Obviously that won't work in snow. Human drivers follow the tracks and tail lights of the cars in front of them. I suppose self-driving cars can be designed to use that mode, with the bonus of being able to communicate with other cars once the capability is built in.
Radar is discussed, but I think heavy rain or snow will scatter the beams too much for it to be dependable.
I figure a better way is to plant passive transponders along the edge of highways. For cities, there will be extremely detailed mapping.
All in all, human drivers do extremely poorly in snow if they are not used to it. Many who drive in snow regularly get reckless and overconfident. I think with ten more years of development and experience, self-driving cars will best all but the top drivers. How often have you driven in a snow storm with no car to follow, and no visible tracks in the snow? Pretty damn tough. Even worse if you are not familiar with the road.


Radar wouldnt even be looked at.

RFID technology and WIFI technology is already mature enough to track distances of fast moving trains that require potentially miles of space to brake. The best thing of both technologies is you'd have to be sitting behind alot of interference before the signal is really blocked.

ideally, you would have a mix of built in road transponders and RFID, along with, perhaps heat sensors to avoid collison with people.

As with any snow storm, dont drive. it's not worht it. if you need to be anywhere, take public transport or fly a drone out with your credit card
Cars that drive themselves will be mainstream sooner than most of you are predicting, and I will definitely buy one. Many of you want to drive a nice car, but there is absolutely no reason why Ford, Mercedes, Ferrari, etc. wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't put all the self-driving technology into an otherwise fun to drive sports car. You can have both. Flip a switch to go from automated to fully autonomous driving, where allowed of course.

Private car ownership will not go away anytime soon. Yes, in big cities, driverless cabs will be gladly accepted. Even now owning a car in NYC is often more trouble than it is worth. But for most of the country, we still want our car to be available when we want it, with the most comfort we can afford, of the size and style we want, where we can keep our extra sunglasses, briefcase, spare gloves, etc., and know we have them in a pinch.

I think we will first see Interstates and other major throughways requiring driverless technology to access, and individuals still actively navigating the country roads and back city streets, with AI assistance. Very, soon, however, I think you will be able to simply get in your car, punch in an address, and simply be a passenger (while posting last night's tasting notes, of course). Some cities will eventually require driverless technology to use their streets.

As for driving in snow, direct video, GPS, radar, in-car physiologic sensors, and installed indicators on the road, will all be integrated to make automated driving safer than winter driving is currently.

One of the biggest controversies I see is how the Teamster unions will respond to driverless trucking. Also, we can, and usually do, drive 80 on the freway, and 65 on country roads. AI cars will stop that, so it will probably take you a little longer to get to distant destinations. But when the technology is further perfected, speed limits might actually be raised in certain areas where it is safe.
Car versus animal (including human pedestrian and cyclist) collisions will be difficult to eliminste, but the computers can recognize and respond more quickly than human drivers can, so I think this problem will improve with AI.

I'm pretty sure the car I buy 10 yesrs from now will be capable of driving me where I want to go with minimal input, and will be safer than what I have now.
My next vehicle (because I hang on to them for so long) will likely be self-driving. I think we are about five years out from legal self-driving cars with Uber, cab companies, etc., being at the forefront. The technology is already in use in a lot of cases (automated lights and wipers, proximity detection for braking and lane changes, GPS to determine location, speed limits, routes) The biggest problem with introduction will be from bad drivers around the self drive cars. I look forward to leaving for a destination and being able to sleep while the car transports me there.
quote:
Originally posted by GalvezGuy:
My next vehicle (because I hang on to them for so long) will likely be self-driving. I think we are about five years out from legal self-driving cars with Uber, cab companies, etc., being at the forefront. The technology is already in use in a lot of cases (automated lights and wipers, proximity detection for braking and lane changes, GPS to determine location, speed limits, routes) The biggest problem with introduction will be from bad drivers around the self drive cars. I look forward to leaving for a destination and being able to sleep while the car transports me there.


I hope you're right about the 5-years until production, but I suspect you're being very optimistic. My car has all the technology features you mention, but all of that is predictable stable technology, and far less complex than what's needed to move a vehicle safely in mixed traffic. As you've already suggested, other drivers are the main issue. The variables are pretty close to limitless.

My neighbour is an electrical engineer who's currently contracted to Hyundai for a couple of years. In our brief conversation, he told me about some of the issues they've been having with driverless advances; it's almost impossible to predict how another driver-- and it doesn't have to be a bad driver-- will react as a situation unfolds. (Just as quick examples, will the other driver brake? Steer to avoid? Will another vehicle become involved? Will any variable change during the event? Will there be a small hazard on the road, like a small pothole perhaps, that will change the performance of any of the vehicles involved? Will a tire blow out? Will uneven brake wear cause unanticipated directional changes for any of the vehicles? Etc. How can all of this be predicted accurately?) He also said that the size and speed of the computers required is becoming greater as continually more complex algorithms are being written, and additionally the cost keeps going up. Alternatively, providing communicative roadways that can interface with the cars will be even more expensive, and will take even longer to produce, so perhaps best not to count on those given current infrastructure provision and maintenance costs in most countries. There are other issues to consider as well.

I don't think there's any doubt that self-driving cars are part of the future, but the future in this case is still quite a ways off. I hope I live long enough to benefit from this, but I don't think it's very likely.
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Originally posted by g-man:
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Originally posted by Redhawk:

Yes, in big cities, driverless cabs will be gladly accepted.


nope

i'd want to get rid of all passenger related cars in NYC and only allow for commercial traffic.

everyone else should be using mass transport.

i still think you're being way beyond optimistic of the technology redhawk


Wow another one of the few times I disagree with g-man. Get ready for driverless timesharing where you order up your car on your cell phone by hitting a button. It will pick you up at your house in five minutes and run you to work with a couple of others on the way. It's going to happen, and soon. Within ten years.
quote:
Originally posted by WineTrooper:
quote:
Originally posted by g-man:
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:

Yes, in big cities, driverless cabs will be gladly accepted.


nope

i'd want to get rid of all passenger related cars in NYC and only allow for commercial traffic.

everyone else should be using mass transport.

i still think you're being way beyond optimistic of the technology redhawk


Wow another one of the few times I disagree with g-man. Get ready for driverless timesharing where you order up your car on your cell phone by hitting a button. It will pick you up at your house in five minutes and run you to work with a couple of others on the way. It's going to happen, and soon. Within ten years.


your time frame is too long for me to make a bet and steal another bottle from you =)

but, driverless cars will never make it in NY unless there are some drastic leaps in technology from today.

btw, google may be head and shoulders above most people and even so:
current implementations of the lidar technology cannot spot potholes, or discern when an officer requests a vehicle to stop (a very common occurrence throughout nyc)

honestly, within a big metropolis like NYC.
I see only a few possibilities, all cars became autonomous, in which case, i'd argue the inevitability that this should be driverless mass transit systems instead of individual cars.
or individual cars get completely eliminated.

Now, on highways and huge stretches of rather empty roads/not as densely populated as NYC. Bring on the autopilot.

Hello everybody. Much time has passed and unmanned vehicles are still under development. We cannot fully trust the machines we have at the moment. Making an affordable self-driving car is a challenge for manufacturers. The majority of consumers are still not ready, even with free finances, to pay several thousand dollars for the opportunity to get automated control. Therefore, consumers prefer to choose cars with a conventional internal combustion engine. Moreover, now they are becoming more environmentally friendly and economical. You can take a look at the 2020 Ford Escape review and see how low this car's fuel consumption is.

Last edited by Hancock

Yeah, it doesn't look like a lot of progress has been made.  I think I need to revise my statement from 2016 that self-driving cars are coming soon.

That being said, I still believe that self-driving cars will eventually become the dominant form of automobile travel.  They don't have to be perfect; they just have to be better than humans.

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