The Biggest Opportunity Everyone Is Missing In Self-Driving Cars

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@gravityrydr

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#1
Great article by Alex Roy on The Drive: The Biggest Opportunity Everyone Is Missing In Self-Driving Cars.
The article makes a good point, automakers should be looking at how the aviation industry is approaching cockpit automation. Instead of focusing on replacing the driver, they should be developing systems that improve safety by augmenting the driver by either not allowing dangerous inputs or alerting and guiding the driver away from dangerous actions. ABS and TACC are examples.
One thing that he touches on is, as automation increases the practiced skill level of the driver decreases. This is a known problem in airline pilots. This is a problem that can be addressed by education and training. Pilots will often hand fly sections of routes just to maintain proficiency as well as have mandated simulator training.
 

voip-ninja

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#2
Great article by Alex Roy on The Drive: The Biggest Opportunity Everyone Is Missing In Self-Driving Cars.
The article makes a good point, automakers should be looking at how the aviation industry is approaching cockpit automation. Instead of focusing on replacing the driver, they should be developing systems that improve safety by augmenting the driver by either not allowing dangerous inputs or alerting and guiding the driver away from dangerous actions. ABS and TACC are examples.
One thing that he touches on is, as automation increases the practiced skill level of the driver decreases. This is a known problem in airline pilots. This is a problem that can be addressed by education and training. Pilots will often hand fly sections of routes just to maintain proficiency as well as have mandated simulator training.
I don't agree that it's a great article because the entire premise is flawed.

Driver's don't want systems that reinforce and improve their driving skills and increase the safety margins.

Drivers (and I use that term loosely) just want to get from point A to point B with the least inconvenience. Only a very small percentage of people doing their daily drive actually enjoy driving or want to improve their driving skill. I'd say, perhaps less than 5%.

Why would people want to spend money on better auxiliary systems in their vehicles to improve safety margins when for similar extra money they can get a car that drives them around?

The holy grail is people being able to climb into the car and get driven to work while eating their breakfast and playing angry birds... or having the car pick the kids up from soccer practice because Mom and Dad are too busy.

Elon Musk gets this... Alex Roy does not.
 

garsh

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#3
Great article by Alex Roy on The Drive: The Biggest Opportunity Everyone Is Missing In Self-Driving Cars.
The article makes a good point, automakers should be looking at how the aviation industry is approaching cockpit automation. Instead of focusing on replacing the driver, they should be developing systems that improve safety by augmenting the driver by either not allowing dangerous inputs or alerting and guiding the driver away from dangerous actions.
I read that article this morning. What I find perplexing is that this is *exactly* the approach that every other automaker has been taking, except for Tesla. It's the slower, less-risky (for the automaker - risk as in legal risk) approach. That's why cars have "lane-keeping" instead of "autopilot". The lane-keeping available in a Lincoln will keep a car ping-ponging between the lane markers - it's meant to prevent "bad input" from the driver, while autopilot takes over all of the steering duty.

Full self-driving is still a worthy goal, and I'm very glad that Waymo and Tesla are working towards this. Of course, some other automakers are now talking about working on full self-driving too, but we'll see what comes of that.
 

@gravityrydr

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#4
Drivers (and I use that term loosely) just want to get from point A to point B with the least inconvenience. Only a very small percentage of people doing their daily drive actually enjoy driving or want to improve their driving skill. I'd say, perhaps less than 5%.
There are some if not many people who think of cars as tools to get from A-B. But I think you are overstating the percentage of people in that category. Otherwise performance brands such as BMW, ect. would be much smaller than they are.
 

garsh

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#5
Otherwise performance brands such as BMW, ect. would be much smaller than they are.
BMW is more of a status brand than a performance brand nowadays. Very, very few people track their BMWs. Most people just want to get from A to B. And most BMW owners just want to get from A to B... in style. :cool:
 

voip-ninja

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#6
BMW is more of a status brand than a performance brand nowadays. Very, very few people track their BMWs. Most people just want to get from A to B. And most BMW owners just want to get from A to B... in style. :cool:
You don't have to track your car in order to enjoy driving it. I haven't been to a track (last time was with a liter super-bike) in about 5+ years but I still enjoy spirited driving.

The reality, for sure, is that at least as many BMWs are purchased as status symbols as are purchased for being the "ultimate driving machine".

I've even witnessed some of these transactions happening in real time... like the time where a very status obsessed woman was purchasing her first BMW with seemingly her entire extended family in tow, and was arguing with them that she needed a 5 series because "5 is more than 3, so has to be better, has more status".
 

dogfood

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#7
I don't agree that it's a great article because the entire premise is flawed.

Driver's don't want systems that reinforce and improve their driving skills and increase the safety margins.
I think your response may be too narrow. Few of the safety measures introduced in the last 50 years were driven by direct customer desires. How many people continue to drive without seatbelts, even when mandated by law? Most aren't even using side-view mirrors correctly. Airbags? Crumple zones? Drivers really didn't ask to pay more to automakers in order for these and other life-saving features. Most came from advocacy groups and the insurance industry. Most drivers refuse to acknowledge the risks of driving; it'll never happen to me.

The article is interesting, but from an airline pilot perspective, rather simplistic and incomplete when it compares current airliner systems to potential automotive driver aids. The current mandatory equipment is required for operating in high-density airspace and when I say "high-density," I mean 10 miles around and 1,000' above or below (at cruising altitudes; it's about half that around airports). In order for cars to address some of the same dangers (bumping into things or driving at dangerous speeds for the conditions), there would need to be sensors nearly equivalent to those required for auto-driving. If the magic shield isn't tightly wrapped around the car, you can forget parking (at least here in Seattle).

Meanwhile, airline pilots have years of training and undergo evaluations continually. Drivers would not stand for the amount of training that would be required to reduce the auto accident rate to any meaningful degree. It's very telling that over 75% of polled drivers consider themselves above average. It makes me afraid of how bad the rest must be. We've wrapped the cars in a multitude of safety devices and yet we're still killing millions and maiming more. While I would love a HUD (or better yet some spiffy augmented reality glasses with all of that embedded), it's just more information that most drivers won't be able to handle. Heck, the radio is a distraction. The quicker we can get the human out of the loop (meaning auto driving systems work), the more people we can save.