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Discussion: Evolution of Driving

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by Phoenix, May 23, 2008.

  1. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Discussion point: would you give up manual control of your car if, as a result, you could go faster, eradicate traffic, dramatically decrease accident rates and increase fuel efficiency?

    As we know the speed limits on limited access roadways are imposed due to driver limitations not vehicle limitations, driver error causes over 85% of accidents and stop start traffic decreases fuel efficiency and by its very nature causes jams

    By giving over control to the car, or in fact, the combined intelligence of all the cars around you, you could solve all of the issues above, but for some its a difficult decision giving up that control, in fact its the reason it takes generational time scales before radical changes are witnessed in our society, what are your thoughts?

    Discuss :)
     
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  2. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    That would save me learning to drive - big thumbs up :thumbleft
     
  3. NightWalker

    NightWalker Gigabyte Poster

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    It would be like a lift going horizontally...

    I would give up control, but the systems that take control from me would have to be very reliable... Humans do make mistakes, but we are pretty consistent and arguably very predictable. Why do you think the insurance is so high for young drivers? The real problem would likely be what if the computer that controls your car does the equivalent of a blue screen at 200mph, what happens to the occupants... accidents at 40mph can kill humans.
     
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  4. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    No I wouldn't, and the reason I wouldn't is because when I drive I feel completely at ease and enjoy the fact that I am in control of something.

    I also enjoy the fact that if I come up behind Mrs Miggins in her 1mph car that I have the control to pass past her.

    I am IAM driver (Institute of Advanced Motorists) and like IT driving is a constant learning and adaptive process, and actually the only other time I feel completely at ease is when I am messing about with the inards of a PC :) and if someone took that away from me aswell as the control of a car I'd be completely bored.

    I don't dive the fastest of cars BMW 318i but is very comfortable & the handling is great :)
     
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  5. Leehaa

    Leehaa Gigabyte Poster

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    Having manual control of a car gives you freedom...

    ...It is the one thing that you can control when you have a day ahead that is full of things beyond control - It is a focus (well actually mine's an astra lol)...

    ...It is the one thing that you can vent through at the end of a busy, frustrating and challenging day - it is a "chill pill"

    ...It is the one thing that can help convey who you are by means of size, looks and power, and, by the way it is driven...

    ...If you are a nervous person, it is a way that you can state to people how you really feel but at the same time you are still "protected"

    Er, could go on, but basically this is the one thing that I am totally SHALLOW and SELFISH about. It is sometimes the only chance I get to totally be "me" for more than 5 minutes during the day, and the more I can control it, the nicer it looks, and the faster it goes (within the speed limit of course :p) the better!!
     
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  6. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I couldn't agree more, rep left :thumbleft
     
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  7. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Great posts so far guys, interesting to see the total polar opposites from current people who drive every day and those of us who don't :)

    GBL, you wouldn't get any granny's doing 1mph in front of you, the cars themselves would handle traffic management, and the cars would decide the appropriate speed to travel based on conditions, increasing speeds with no theoretical maximum (in theory, as the systems controlling the cars computational abilities increased so could the maximum speed (as the thinking time of the system would be decreased to acceptable levels for the speed)

    Lee, not sure why reading a magazine or MCSE book on the way to work would not be far more fulfilling for you than actually having to pay attention to the same bit of tarmac every day ;)
    I get what your saying about the way you drive helping to project who you are, although I disagree that it's a point worth sticking at 70mph for ;)
     
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  8. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I see your point, but I would not enjoy being driven and wouldn't trust the system that controled the car because we all know human error i.e the programmer could have made a mistake.

    There would have to be a proven testing method.
     
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  9. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    This reminds me of the movie I Robot and particularly Will Smith's character in the film. While it is common in his world for cars to be run by computer, he insists on driving manually, largely because of his mistrust of robots.

    I suppose that's my attitude as well. I'm aware that I've been on long airplane flights where, for the majority of the trip, the aircraft was on automatic pilot, but there was a trained, human pilot immediately available at the controls if something went wrong, and there weren't a dozen or more other aircraft within just a few meters of mine.

    As Nightwalker said, if something like a "blue screen" happened to the traffic control computer, all vehicles along a stretch of highway could suddenly lose control and there'd be little room for error. Even with a high degree of reliability, one accident could result in the death of hundreds of people.

    All that said, I don't doubt that it will one day be a reality and I'm sure there are benefits, but I've been driving for almost 40 years and I'll still trust my judgement to anticipate and avoid potential accidents over that of a machine's.

    EDIT: As I re-read my post, I can see my arguement being used by people who originally opposed commercial aircraft or other innovations in travel. I guess I'm probably a dinosaur, but I can't see myself feeling comfortable being in the driver's seat but not being in control of the vehicle.
     
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  10. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Of course there would mate, and I'm not suggesting this change would ever happen overnight, but lets not forget that just over 90 years ago the majority of people didn't want to get in a car for exactly the same reasons :)

    Technology changes very rapidly, but it is hindered the human comfort levels, which change VERY slowly :)
     
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  11. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Great post mate, in fact I Robot (as well as Minority Report and some recent developments in the scientific community were my inspirations for the post)

    The idea of the central traffic computer was not one I had though, I think we are coming to the end of the line for centralised intelligence systems as they pose to many potential risks and logistical issues, the power now lies in intelligent swarms (google is by far the best example of distributed computing at the moment)

    My vision was that each car would communicate only with other cars in its vicinity, as well as road signs, as cars travel stretches of road they are aware of exactly what the other cars around them are doing, as well as any upcoming situations and issues, lane merges would begin miles back, facilitating the free flow of traffic without the entire highway grinding to a halt whilst one driver who didn't care to change lanes earlier decides to try at the last minute, cars would slightly slow and accelerate to create gaps for other traffic, everything would flow like a well oiled machine

    and internal failure would only effect a single car, generally resulting in a fail safe mode that slows it down and moves it to the shoulder or slow lane, all other cars would be aware of the failure due to safety measures built into the system and make appropriate adjustments

    Obviously road sign failures would be more of an issue (well would effect more cars) but road signs seldom come along on their own either

    It's just something that's been on my mind recently, I was coming back from the airport the other day and got stuck in pointless London traffic, people changing lanes every 5 seconds and getting no where (just slowing the rest of us down) and started to think of ways to fix it :)
     
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  12. BosonMichael
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    I would. It would give me plenty of time to do other things, such as watch a movie, read a book, or get some work done. Even better for a long road trip... I can spend time interacting with the family rather than focusing on driving... prevents me from nodding off at the wheel.
     
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  13. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    This is market research, isn't it Ryan? You're inventing the thing. :biggrin
     
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  14. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Well I'm a bit of a Futurist, but I have no where near the know how to do anything with the ideas I have unfortunately :)
    I do enjoy getting everyones opinions though :)
     
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  15. greenbrucelee
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    If there was an option for both manual and computerised then I would go for it, so I could drive when I wanted and let the car drive if I was tired that would be good.
     
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  16. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Not sure about the UK, but I suspect it would be a hard sell in the US if it were mandatory. Telling a bunch of Americans that they are forbidden to drive manually would really p*ss them off. If it were optional, at least in the beginning *and* the benefits (more miles per gallon, get where you're going faster, no stress headaches from traffic) were highlighted, I suspect you'd get more takers. Of course, the benefits would be reduced if only some people on the road were using the system while others were on manual. Catch 22.
     
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  17. Leehaa

    Leehaa Gigabyte Poster

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    Lol. 70mph? Ner, I always stick to just under :tune :p

    For the same reasoning GBL said, if there was an option for both manual and management, that'd be great - you'd definitely be onto something there!

    Can see the future conversations here...

    "...I see Sir, well we need a few more details from you Sir, before we proceed with your insurance quote...do you drive a manual, automatic or managed vehicle?..."
     
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  18. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    I think it's fairly inevitable to be honest. We still have a very high death toll from RTA's (far too high I think) even though cars are safer than they have ever been. Would I give up my right to manually control a vehicle if I knew that there was zero chance of ever getting a visit from the police to tell me a loved one had died in an accident ... damn right I would.

    My uncle died about a year ago when his motorbike's front wheel hit some kind of debris on the road and he came off the bike and hit a lamp post. He wasn't travelling very fast, but he died almost instantly. Now my cousins and aunt are without a father ... Would I give up something I enjoy doing (having independant control of my car) to bring him back ... if it was possible yes.

    I can envisage that as cars become even more computerised in the future that many of the controls will start to become 'fly by wire' like nearly all aircraft controls are these days. Virtually no controls in a modern aircraft (airliner or fighter) are actually physically connected to the control surface they eventually operate. The inputs are processed by a computer, then computer controlled actuators move the surfaces ... I think this will start to happen more and more with cars until people don't even realise that a computer is effectively driving for them anyway. From that point it will be a short jump to full automatic and controlled vehicles.
     
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