Thread: Distracted driving Board: Purgatory / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
We had recent news of the jailing of a distracted truck driver who killed 3 people, one year of jail for each. The sentencing aside, distracted driving is apparently taking over from drinking alcohol as the first cause of autos hurting people. I wonder if we have a problem with cars being far, far too comfortable.

Maybe autos should be uncomfortable, without things to make the drive so much more relaxing and enjoyable. More noise, less comfortable seats, no automatic transmissions, no visual display on the dashboard, no excessive info-tainment sound system.

How many of us have drifted into self reflection, been distracted by a phone call over the car's sound system or a podcast or a piece of music?

I don't know that automatic, robot or self driving cars will solve the issue, because collisions are usually something that is unexpected, which requires human intervention. I hope we don't have much discussion of how even more technology will cure the distracted driving problem.

Link to truck crash referred to above.

[ 12. September 2017, 17:58: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]
 
Posted by Og, King of Bashan (# 9562) on :
 
I try to model non-distracted driving for my daughter. She will occasionally drop a toy where she can't reach and demand that I pick it up, or have a sudden and pressing need to listen to a specific song from the Moana soundtrack. In these moments, I will attempt to calmly explain that daddy is driving, and that he won't be able to fix the issue until the car is stopped.

The first time I was ever in an accident, I was 14 and in the passenger seat. My brother was driving, and ran a red light while trying to change a tape in the tape deck. We were lucky that we were in one of those mid-80s Volvo station wagons that could survive a direct cruise missile strike, or we might have been really hurt. That was enough for me to learn to keep my eyes on the road.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Where I live, it is actually legal for persons over the age of 18 to text while driving. There are a lot of distracted driving-related accidents here.
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
I don't know about this. Yes, distracted driving is a problem, but the answer is not less comfortable cars.

One part of the answer should be better technology - so that, for example, my dashcam shouldn't stop working while I am driving (as it did today).

I would like to see phones disables within the area of the driver - so that a driver couldn't actually use a phone in their hand. I don't think hands free is good enough, but I would prefer that this is only possible if there is a passenger in the car.

There is a car advert that talks about the car like an office. It is this that I think is the problem. It shouldn't be an office. You shouldn't be able to do work while driving, the facilities are more for emergencies, for telling someone that you will be late. Not for conducting business.

Of course, the other thing that is distracting is the environment - the signs around, advertising etc. Not that the environment should be boring, but that attention should be focussed on the driving experience.
 
Posted by keibat (# 5287) on :
 
Rossweisse wrote:
quote:
Where I live, it is actually legal for persons over the age of 18 to text while driving. There are a lot of distracted driving-related accidents here.
But Rossweisse, you live in Valhalla, where good strong mead (ABV at least 40%) is the daylong tipple – and how many vehicles are there in Valhalla?
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
This is in the realm I visit when I'm tired of hanging out with all those noisy heroes. A body can't hear herself think.

Vis-a-vis the car-as-office thing - There was an item offered on Amazon for a time that was designed to clip to the steering wheel and allow the driver's seat to function as a desk. I couldn't find it when I looked just now, but the comments were hilarious.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
I have never been distracted when downhill skiing. I've been wondering if cars gave less feelings of safety, more like the level that bicycles or walking give, if this might create more alertness.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
Where I live, it is actually legal for persons over the age of 18 to text while driving. There are a lot of distracted driving-related accidents here.

Your legislators need clubbing.
 
Posted by Og, King of Bashan (# 9562) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I have never been distracted when downhill skiing. I've been wondering if cars gave less feelings of safety, more like the level that bicycles or walking give, if this might create more alertness.

Given the number of people I see wandering into traffic while walking and texting, or texting while riding their bicycles, or even screwing around on the ski slopes without looking out for the people below, I think this is a hard no.

My general rule for driving is to act predictably, and anticipate chaos ahead. It's served me pretty well.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I would like to see phones disables within the area of the driver - so that a driver couldn't actually use a phone in their hand.

In the US, texting while driving is a far more serious problem.

Moo
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Your legislators need clubbing.

Our legislators text while driving.

But yes, they do, for this and for much else. They're an active embarrassment to the state.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
Texting and using a mobile while driving are offences here, but the problem would be catching someone committing it.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Legislation is an interesting thing. As of this year here, the fine for touching, glancing, using or anything is $280 plus 4 points against the driving licence. Second offence in a 12 month period is a 7 day driving ban at the roadside, and they impound the car for 7 days also, even if it doesn't belong to the driver. They did this in response to a number of collisions where cell phones were involved. I understand that the total costs for a second offence are about 10 times the fine cost (towing, impound, extra insurance surcharges, penalty costs for licence). The penalties parallel drinking and driving except the drinking driving is a criminal offence.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I wonder if we have a problem with cars being far, far too comfortable.

Maybe autos should be uncomfortable, without things to make the drive so much more relaxing and enjoyable. More noise, less comfortable seats, no automatic transmissions, no visual display on the dashboard, no excessive info-tainment sound system.

uncomfortable means different distractions, not fewer distractions. More noise means one doesn't hear things one might need to. I'm with you on the displays. Way too distracting.
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
Our state recently made it illegal to drive while holding a cell phone -- in fact, even if you have a Bluetooth or dashboard holder for your phone, if a police officer determines that hands free use of the phone is leading to distracted driving, the driver can still get a ticket.
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
In outback Australia the police used to string you up on a roadside tree if they found you texting on the Stuart Highway. It is a very long straight two lane road with the occasional curve and it used to have no speed limit. Also you can't drive on it after dark because of the kamikaze camels. Don't buy camel jerky from service stations on the Stuart.

Less seriously, I'm surprised that distracted driving is a greater cause of road trauma than speed (driving quickly) or drink driving. I have not been able to find any stats that disprove the assertion though.

[ 13. September 2017, 01:29: Message edited by: simontoad ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I think we have to distinguish between distracted driving as in changing the channel on the radio, and distracted driving as in texting. They're really not comparable.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:

Less seriously, I'm surprised that distracted driving is a greater cause of road trauma than speed (driving quickly) or drink driving.

A surprising number of people think they are competent drivers even whilst texting.
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
When I learned to drive, my instructor told me that a good driver does not take risks. When your focus is not on driving, whether it is talking on the phone, having conversation with the guy in the backseat, or staring off at a stationary object on the sidewalk, you are taking a risk.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I think we have to distinguish between distracted driving as in changing the channel on the radio, and distracted driving as in texting. They're really not comparable.

It's a difference of degree, not kind, I think -- at least in my car it is. One of the few things I dislike about my car is that it's hard to change the channel on the radio without glancing over at it. Everything is a bit too sleek and feels too much the same under my fingers, and I have to look at it to figure out what I'm doing.

Years ago I knew a radiology technician who said she never did anything at all in the car but drive -- didn't drink coffee, didn't eat while driving, nothing. In the 80s I didn't know anyone else who thought about these things, but she had taken a lot of x-rays of people injured in car accidents. I thought of her recently after a friend spilled coffee on himself while driving, reacted to that, and ended up plowing his car into a building. He walked away with assorted aches and pains, but still -- I've stopped drinking coffee in the car.
 
Posted by Gramps49 (# 16378) on :
 
Washington State has made Distracted Driving because of an electronic device a primary offense, meaning if an officer sees you talking on your phone, you will be pulled over. If you cause an accident because of distracted driving, you will be charged. The penalties are pretty steep $136 for first offense. $234 for second and subsequent offenses if within five years of first offense.

Using a Bluetooth is still allowed, but you cannot manually dial out while driving.

The law also considers eating while driving a secondary offense, meaning the officer would have to pull you over for some other reason other than eating, but if the officer notes you have been eating, you will be charged Fine is $56 for first offense and $136 for second offense if within five years of the first.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:

Maybe autos should be uncomfortable, without things to make the drive so much more relaxing and enjoyable. More noise, less comfortable seats, no automatic transmissions, no visual display on the dashboard, no excessive info-tainment sound system.

That was the approach which Alex Issigonis took and hence the extremely uncomfortable seats in the Mini, 1100 and 1800 ranges and the ergonomically wrong placement of the various controls. Radios were a frivolity. He went as far as to suggest that heaters were an unnecessary distraction. I'd have thought that shivering was more dangerous than being comfortably warm and not having to wipe your nose every couple of minutes.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
What I mull over is whether the penalty for texting/using mobile in hand while driving should be the same regardless of consequences, all other things being equal.

So I can see that it might be regarded as less serious to break the law and use your phone on a road with good visibility, few pedestrians etc. And more serious to do it on a fast unpredictable road.

But let's say two drivers use their phones while driving on the lower risk road. One is stopped by police; the other hits a cyclist causing serious but non-fatal injuries. Should both drivers get the same penalty?

Or two drivers use their phones driving on the high risk road. One is stopped by police, the other kills a pedestrian. Again, have they committed the same crime and should the penalties be the same?

I can't decide if same penalties is the "right answer" and/or better deterrent. Any thoughts?
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
As G & S put it, let the punishment fit the crime.

To go back to the OP, before we can start to think on the actual sentence we need to know the charge which brought the sentence, what was the maximum sentence for that charge, what extenuating/mitigating circumstances there were, what personal and general deterrence was called for, were there 3 sentences each of 12 months to be served cumulatively or 3 of 3years to be served concurrently; rather a lot more than we do. Then we can start to comment on whether this punishment fitted the crime.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
quote:
My general rule for driving is to act predictably, and anticipate chaos ahead. It's served me pretty well.
Mine is "Assume every other driver is a homicidal maniac out to get you, and all pedestrians and cyclists have a death wish." And I always use my indicators - even when there doesn't seem to be anyone else around - but never believe anyone else's until they start to move in the direction they're indicating. Being paranoid only works most of the time, though.
 
Posted by Tortuf (# 3784) on :
 
The average weight of a vehicle in the US is 4,079 pounds, which works out to 1,850 Kilos.

I try to assume I am driving a large missile that is capable of destroying lives. I don't always succeed as sometimes things distract me: shiny objects, squirrels, calls, etc.

Making something illegal assumes people think they will be caught.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
What I mull over is whether the penalty for texting/using mobile in hand while driving should be the same regardless of consequences, all other things being equal.

So I can see that it might be regarded as less serious to break the law and use your phone on a road with good visibility, few pedestrians etc. And more serious to do it on a fast unpredictable road.

But let's say two drivers use their phones while driving on the lower risk road. One is stopped by police; the other hits a cyclist causing serious but non-fatal injuries. Should both drivers get the same penalty?

Or two drivers use their phones driving on the high risk road. One is stopped by police, the other kills a pedestrian. Again, have they committed the same crime and should the penalties be the same?

I can't decide if same penalties is the "right answer" and/or better deterrent. Any thoughts?

I think we've got to do more about preventing this behaviour before it happens. I like the idea of short immediate bans handed out at the roadside like a fixed penalty ticket is. But the main thing is detection; the evidence is that people are not deterred by severity of penalty but by probability of detection. Guarantee a £10 fine every time a phone was used by a driver and most would stop immediately. You could introduce hanging for it but if no-one is every caught the deterrence would be limited.
 
Posted by Spike (# 36) on :
 
What's is needed is a change of attitude. Nowadays, drink driving is considered socially unacceptable. 30 years ago, everybody knew it was wrong but many did it anyway. Those who got caught were simply deemed unlucky. Mobile phone use seems to be where drink driving was 30 years ago.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Indeed. A starting point would be to nudge the idea of "motoring offence" out of the public consciousness. They are offences against the criminal law, and most people have an objection to considering themselves to be a criminal. Reinforce that these are criminal offences with potentially very serious consequences.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
My solution is to take out the driver's air bag and fit a large spike to the steering wheel.

That should concentrate the mind...

(Hell, keep the air bag, but I'd be worried about spearing one of the passengers behind)
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
How about fitting airbags that explode on impact?

Oh yeah, they did that already.
 
Posted by Higgs Bosun (# 16582) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
My solution is to take out the driver's air bag and fit a large spike to the steering wheel.

That should concentrate the mind...

(Hell, keep the air bag, but I'd be worried about spearing one of the passengers behind)

I dimly recall someone making that suggestion years ago. It might have been Shirly Williams as minister of transport. Also suggested were that seat belts should be banned, and vehicles made of cardboard.
 
Posted by Wet Kipper (# 1654) on :
 
it is similar to a comment by Jeremy Clarkson who was annoyed at those who use their brakes on the motorway (because they are going too fast/not anticipating) even for a brief moment, as it causes those behind to also apply the brakes, and 4 miles behind and 15 mminutes later the concertina effect means you have everyone stopped for no apparent reason

he suggested that a spike should come out of the steering wheel every time the brake pedal was touched, which should encourage people to drive more smoothly.
 
Posted by Og, King of Bashan (# 9562) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
My solution is to take out the driver's air bag and fit a large spike to the steering wheel.

That should concentrate the mind...

(Hell, keep the air bag, but I'd be worried about spearing one of the passengers behind)

I seem to remember stories about some classic car where in the event of a head-on collision, the steering wheel became a blunt spear headed straight for the driver's sternum.

Obviously everyone is being a bit silly here. But I know plenty of people who still ski without helmets and put their seat belts on a block into their drive on the claim that "it makes me act safer." If being less safe actually made us more careful, we wouldn't have needed these things in the first place.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Mine is "Assume every other driver is a homicidal maniac out to get you, and all pedestrians and cyclists have a death wish." And I always use my indicators - even when there doesn't seem to be anyone else around - but never believe anyone else's until they start to move in the direction they're indicating. Being paranoid only works most of the time, though.

That's my approach.

I used to drive a stick shift, which gave me a great excuse for not being available in the car. Now I just pretend I'm driving a stick, and ignore it. (edited - after using Preview <sigh> - to add: To ignore the phone if it rings, that is.)

[ 13. September 2017, 15:55: Message edited by: Rossweisse ]
 
Posted by BroJames (# 9636) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
What I mull over is whether the penalty for texting/using mobile in hand while driving should be the same regardless of consequences, all other things being equal.

So I can see that it might be regarded as less serious to break the law and use your phone on a road with good visibility, few pedestrians etc. And more serious to do it on a fast unpredictable road.

But let's say two drivers use their phones while driving on the lower risk road. One is stopped by police; the other hits a cyclist causing serious but non-fatal injuries. Should both drivers get the same penalty?

Or two drivers use their phones driving on the high risk road. One is stopped by police, the other kills a pedestrian. Again, have they committed the same crime and should the penalties be the same?

I can't decide if same penalties is the "right answer" and/or better deterrent. Any thoughts?

That's effectively what is done with drink driving which pretty automatically results in a serious fine and a twelve month ban.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
...
But let's say two drivers use their phones while driving on the lower risk road. One is stopped by police; the other hits a cyclist causing serious but non-fatal injuries. Should both drivers get the same penalty?

Or two drivers use their phones driving on the high risk road. One is stopped by police, the other kills a pedestrian. Again, have they committed the same crime and should the penalties be the same?...

IANAL, but I believe what would happen is that Drivers 1 would be charged with driving without due care and attention. So would Drivers 2; however, the Crown would add on negligence causing injury or negligence causing death, or whatever the equivalent. If convicted, it's up to the judge to determine the sentence for each crime, and whether the sentences are concurrent or consecutive. The judge can also impose a heavier sentence on the drivers that used their phone on a high-risk road, as that is an additional level of negligence.

So, in practice, the answer to your questions is no, they'll probably all get different sentences.

The would / should answer depends on how we determine responsibility for 2nd order effects. In these examples, I'd say crashing into something is a foreseeable consequence of using a phone while driving.
 
Posted by argona (# 14037) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I have never been distracted when downhill skiing. I've been wondering if cars gave less feelings of safety, more like the level that bicycles or walking give, if this might create more alertness.

I read a suggestion once that if car floors were transparent, seeing the road whizz by underneath would give a driver more reality about their situation. Makes sense to me.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by argona:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I have never been distracted when downhill skiing. I've been wondering if cars gave less feelings of safety, more like the level that bicycles or walking give, if this might create more alertness.

I read a suggestion once that if car floors were transparent, seeing the road whizz by underneath would give a driver more reality about their situation. Makes sense to me.
Some drivers would be mesmerized and stare at it instead of the road.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
Fred and Barney didn't!
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by argona:
I read a suggestion once that if car floors were transparent, seeing the road whizz by underneath would give a driver more reality about their situation. Makes sense to me.

Doesn't to me. It is something that would be quickly got used to and ignored.
But more importantly, if the driver were looking at the floor, they are not looking at the road in front. And that is just a bit more dangerous.

quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Fred and Barney didn't!

If our motors were limited to the speed at which we can run...
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
My solution is to take out the driver's air bag and fit a large spike to the steering wheel.

That should concentrate the mind...

(Hell, keep the air bag, but I'd be worried about spearing one of the passengers behind)

I remember seeing a program about the growth of car safety, how this slowly developed (because in the 1950s, the idea of surviving a car crash was fanciful).

One of the cars they showed had precisely this - a large spike in the centre of the steering wheel. To more modern eyes, it was quite shocking to see. And it probably would concentrate the mind somewhat. It worked with Damocles.

Personally, I would argue for much heavier penalties for driving while deliberately doing something else that is distracting. Lifetime bans for not paying attention to the road (repeatedly maybe - hope people learn from a first offence). As someone said above, drink driving is considered socially unacceptable these days among many. The authorities are trying to make speeding as bad, but I feel that driving while distracted would be a better focus (not just because I got caught speeding).

If I was In Charge (God help us all), I would seek to take the worst 10% of drivers off the road. This is not about lack of experience, it is about those who are deliberately careless in their driving.
 
Posted by Spike (# 36) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Indeed. A starting point would be to nudge the idea of "motoring offence" out of the public consciousness. They are offences against the criminal law, and most people have an objection to considering themselves to be a criminal. Reinforce that these are criminal offences with potentially very serious consequences.

Yep. A few years ago, someone I know got pulled over for drink driving. After being handcuffed at the roadside and then having his fingerprints taken at the police station, he complained that he was being treated like a criminal. The custody sergeant replied "well, you are sir"
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
If I was In Charge (God help us all), I would seek to take the worst 10% of drivers off the road. This is not about lack of experience, it is about those who are deliberately careless in their driving.

I do lots of long journeys, but irregularly (and long is 200 miles+. All the Australians are laughing at me now.), and I've noticed my ability to keep going has diminished. Obviously, I have work-arounds for that - stop often for short periods of time, plenty of tea and snacks, interesting things on the radio or mp3 - and I haven't rammed a bridge support yet.

But I'm genuinely looking forward to the day I can just type in the destination into the navcomp and have the damn thing drive me there. I'm not (I don't think) by any means in the bottom 10%, but I'm aware that my ability at the end of a journey is quantifiably eroded compared to what it was at the start.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
There have been a few occasions where something has been preying on my mind and when I've noticed after a while that I'm not paying as much attention as I should to my driving generally.

In these circumstances, I'm not really sure any of the above would have helped.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Soror Magna:
quote:
So, in practice, the answer to your questions is no, they'll probably all get different sentences.
There is a specific offence for 'causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving' in the UK. IANAL but I have heard that you can (theoretically at least) be charged with this even if your contribution to the accident in question was obeying the speed limit and 'forcing' some idiot to overtake you...
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
There have been a few occasions where something has been preying on my mind and when I've noticed after a while that I'm not paying as much attention as I should to my driving generally.

In these circumstances, I'm not really sure any of the above would have helped.

No, and if you imagine the number of lorry drivers who've had an argument with their partner, or have money worries, or the kids/parents are ill, and they still have to drive a rig to Felixstowe to make the 8pm ferry...
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
True of train drivers too (who can very easily go to sleep, too, especially at around 6 am if they've been driving a night freight). But they at least have various safety devices to support them and they don't need to steer the thing!

Airline pilots, of course, do not fly alone.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
True of train drivers too (who can very easily go to sleep, too, especially at around 6 am if they've been driving a night freight). But they at least have various safety devices to

Though from my own experience of driver assist features, there's a certain level of tiredness where turning them on have a counter productive effect on how much attention I'm likely to pay.

Roll on self driving cars.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Self-driving cars, eh.

... have you *heard* of the New Machine Jihad?! Well, obviously Doc Tor has, he invented it.

There is no way of reducing the number of road traffic accidents to zero. None. Even self-driving cars are only as good as the software they are programmed with. And guess who creates software?
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I do lots of long journeys, but irregularly (and long is 200 miles+. All the Australians are laughing at me now.), and I've noticed my ability to keep going has diminished. Obviously, I have work-arounds for that - stop often for short periods of time, plenty of tea and snacks, interesting things on the radio or mp3 - and I haven't rammed a bridge support yet.

But I'm genuinely looking forward to the day I can just type in the destination into the navcomp and have the damn thing drive me there. I'm not (I don't think) by any means in the bottom 10%, but I'm aware that my ability at the end of a journey is quantifiably eroded compared to what it was at the start.

This is exactly the wrong attitude I believe. The journey mustn't be an inconvenience and something to have over as speedily as painlessly as possible. It is part of a day, it is an important activity, and must be considered not as something to be endured. You want Star Trek's beam me up. Impatience, annoyance and resentment are things when driving which create risk. Driving is as important as anything else in a day's activities.

And no 200 miles is not far nor long.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
There is no way of reducing the number of road traffic accidents to zero. None. Even self-driving cars are only as good as the software they are programmed with. And guess who creates software?

Making the roads as safe as they are now is perfectly achievable, and I already drive. I also work in IT, so am fairly familiar with software.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
200 miles is a long drive in the UK, no_prophet. Over here straight roads are rare (even motorways aren't completely straight, although the curves are usually fairly gentle). 200 miles here will take you through dozens of towns, villages and cities. Once you're off the motorway you have to contend with winding country roads, complicated junctions and (in many town centres) one-way systems that only a local can negotiate with confidence. Many rural roads are single-track (only enough room for one vehicle, if you meet someone one of you has to reverse into a passing place) and the ones that aren't are so narrow you just have to pray you don't encounter a lorry. And they're busy. Probably far busier than any Canadian roads, outside the major cities. All of these factors combine to make driving on British roads much more demanding and tiring than driving in the wide-open spaces of North America.

We sometimes go on holiday to Ardnamurchan Point in the West Coast of Scotland. I've never checked how far it is from York in miles, probably somewhere between 300 and 400. But it takes us the whole day to get there.
 
Posted by balaam (# 4543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Roll on self driving cars.

Like this Volvo?
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
What I mull over is whether the penalty for texting/using mobile in hand while driving should be the same regardless of consequences, all other things being equal.

So I can see that it might be regarded as less serious to break the law and use your phone on a road with good visibility, few pedestrians etc. And more serious to do it on a fast unpredictable road.

I don't think so.

The thing is, it can be even more dangerous on a slow road-- where you're driving on "auto pilot" and don't feel as vigilant-- where an unexpected bicyclist or pedestrian can catch you unawares.

And then there's the way habits grab hold. If you text on quiet roads you're going to build a habit that's going to take hold and be more likely to text on a busy road or with unfavorable weather conditions. And then enforcing such a subjective law will be difficult as well.

Better to be clearer about not touching a cell phone or electronic device while driving, full stop.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
200 miles is a long drive in the UK, no_prophet. Over here straight roads are rare (even motorways aren't completely straight, although the curves are usually fairly gentle). 200 miles here will take you through dozens of towns, villages and cities.

It's a matter of experience I think, and what you get used to. That's little different than most highways from Manitoba to British Columbia after you're off the TransCanada highway. We travel half of this one this one weekly both directions in the summer (about 240 miles). It's 2 lanes of traffic each way, grid roads (gravel farm roads) intersect every 2 miles, and at each of the intersections and towns we're slowed down to between 40 and 60 km/hr (i.e., 40 mph or less). You cannot trust anyone stopped on a grid when you're coming down the highway. No shoulders on the road for about half of it (i.e., there's the travel lane and then a ditch). We have to watch out for deer and at this time of year, combines (KOM-bines, farm machinery). Winter is more of a challenge.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Roll on self driving cars.

Like this Volvo?
Or the Tesla that ran itself into a lorry at speed whilst its driver watched vids on his mobile. But these are erroneous bits of data. The self-driving car is in its infancy. Soon, they will be much better than humans and much safer.
The safest and most efficient scenario is driverless cars which are centrally controlled. There will be crashes and there is the potential for large pileups. But the overall accident and death rate will be lower.
Economic forces will be the biggest obstacle to implementing such a system.

[ 14. September 2017, 15:33: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by Schroedinger's cat (# 64) on :
 
And I think it is important to realise that deaths and seriously injury on the road have plummeted over the last 50 years.

I have known a few people involved in accidents that 10 or 20 years earlier would have been fatal. So we are substantially safer today than we were. It probably means that we are a lot more complacent when driving.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
And I think it is important to realise that deaths and seriously injury on the road have plummeted over the last 50 years.

I have known a few people involved in accidents that 10 or 20 years earlier would have been fatal. So we are substantially safer today than we were. It probably means that we are a lot more complacent when driving.

We are safer because of technology and the emphasis on safety in vehicle design. The same driver in a modern car will have a lower probability of an accident. I'm not certain that makes us more complacent or not. Our baseline is different to our parents and especially our grandparents.

[ 14. September 2017, 17:51: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I do lots of long journeys, but irregularly (and long is 200 miles+. All the Australians are laughing at me now.), and I've noticed my ability to keep going has diminished. Obviously, I have work-arounds for that - stop often for short periods of time, plenty of tea and snacks, interesting things on the radio or mp3 - and I haven't rammed a bridge support yet.

But I'm genuinely looking forward to the day I can just type in the destination into the navcomp and have the damn thing drive me there. I'm not (I don't think) by any means in the bottom 10%, but I'm aware that my ability at the end of a journey is quantifiably eroded compared to what it was at the start.

This is exactly the wrong attitude I believe. The journey mustn't be an inconvenience and something to have over as speedily as painlessly as possible. It is part of a day, it is an important activity, and must be considered not as something to be endured. You want Star Trek's beam me up. Impatience, annoyance and resentment are things when driving which create risk. Driving is as important as anything else in a day's activities.

And no 200 miles is not far nor long.

Judgmental much?

Doc Tor has obviously thoughtfully addressed the problem and come up with methods of dealing with it. But feelings are feelings, so huzzah for you being able to turn them on and off like a spigot. Everyone doesn't have a stoic depth of character.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
This is exactly the wrong attitude I believe. The journey mustn't be an inconvenience and something to have over as speedily as painlessly as possible. It is part of a day, it is an important activity, and must be considered not as something to be endured.

You're absolutely right - I do want a teleporter. Driving is boring. It's not something I do because I want to drive - it's something I do because I want to get to my destination efficiently and conveniently.

Like doing the dishes - I don't enjoy washing up. I do it, because I like eating food, and want to have clean plates, pans and so on ready for the next use. But washing up is certainly a thing to be endured. Because I don't like doing it, I own a dishwasher, which takes a lot (but not all) of the effort away.

quote:
Driving is as important as anything else in a day's activities.
What's that got to do with the price of fish? Getting the dishes clean is important too, but that doesn't make it any less sucky, or mean that I wouldn't gladly hire someone to do it for me if I had stupid amounts of money.

If you offer me something that has the convenience of driving my own car, but gets me there faster, I'm sold.

If you offer me the opportunity to have the computer drive while I sit back and watch, that's a harder sell (I get motion sickness, so I can't use the time I spend sitting in a car for anything even if someone else is driving, so the only advantage of me having a human or computer chauffeur is if it's much faster or safer). And driving is pretty safe as it is, so the extra safety introduced by a computer, or by a more competent, well-rested driver, isn't worth all that much to me.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
And driving is pretty safe as it is, so the extra safety introduced by a computer, or by a more competent, well-rested driver, isn't worth all that much to me.

The 1.25 million people who die yearly from vehicle collisions aren't worth your minor inconvenience of a little boredom? Nice. Perhaps you mean just in the US, where you live. That is only ~30k, so not so bad then.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The 1.25 million people who die yearly from vehicle collisions aren't worth your minor inconvenience of a little boredom? Nice. Perhaps you mean just in the US, where you live. That is only ~30k, so not so bad then.

Where on earth did you get boredom from? I'm not bothered about being bored.

Let me clarify a bit for you:

1. I get motion sickness. As a consequence, I can't use time sitting in a car for other purposes. For example, I can't work in a car.

The consequence of this is that I don't gain by having someone else (person or computer) do my driving. People who are able to work in cars, on the other hand, would derive a significant benefit from having a human or computer chauffeur.

People who will gain an extra hour or two of useful time each day by having a computer driver are going to be willing to pay money for that. I don't have a gain, so I'm not prepared to pay for it.

2. A significant fraction of those 30K deaths per year are caused by people driving drunk or at excessive speed. I can control my exposure to that risk by choosing not to do that.

I suppose a computer-driven car would offer me a small benefit if it would drive me home from the bar, as I'd save a little bit on taxis. But it's rare that I go out drinking somewhere that's further than walking distance from my house.

2b. I drive about 7,000 miles a year, and I tend not to drive at either times of peak traffic, or at times of peak traffic-pedestrian interference. I also tend not to drive in places where there tend to be opportunities for surprise pedestrian-traffic interaction.

Add all these up to produce my personal baseline accident risk, which is quite low. If you just take the current US death rate (10 per billion miles), you'd predict that I'd kill 0.00007 people per year, and I'm prepared to knock off a factor of several for the other risk factors. Say something less than 0.00001 people per year.

So what I would gain by spending $x,000 on a computer driver is presumably a significant reduction in that number - maybe the computer is 10 times better, and would only kill 0.000001 people per year. Maybe it's 100 times better.

But the upper limit on the gain I expect is 0.00001 people per year. In crude financial terms, various bodies value human life at between $5 and $10 million each. If I take the upper number, it says I should be prepared to pay $100 for the computer.

I have a suspicion that it'll cost a little more than that.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
If I take the upper number, it says I should be prepared to pay $100 for the computer.

I have a suspicion that it'll cost a little more than that.

You won't get a choice. It'll be illegal to drive a human-operated vehicle on the highway.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Where on earth did you get boredom from? I'm not bothered about being bored.

Then why is this:

quote:

1. I get motion sickness. As a consequence, I can't use time sitting in a car for other purposes. For example, I can't work in a car.

if you will not be bored just sitting there?


quote:

2. A significant fraction of those 30K deaths per year are caused by people driving drunk or at excessive speed. I can control my exposure to that risk by choosing not to do that.

Your exposure...you. Driverless cars would eliminate other people dying, but this is not important to you?

I love driving, driverless cars would be Hell for me.* However I will accept them for the better of all. And I don't even like most people.


*Well, not in stopped traffic, but in most situations.

[ 15. September 2017, 00:38: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
I think it's true that we have a reduced ability to drive long distances as we age. I think its our capacity to concentrate that becomes impaired. Police here also target drowsiness and will prosecute you for single-vehicle accidents if you survive. Not sure what offence they use.

When I was young, I could drive Melbourne - Sydney with a stop for lunch and a servo coffee when refueling at Gundagai. These days, it is definitely change driver every two hours. It's about a 10 hour drive, unless you go temporarily insane and decide to drive over the Snowies. That's not as much fun as it used to be though, since they sealed the road.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
I would like to have an computerized driver. Since my first cancer diagnosis, I can no longer make the four-hour drive from one side of the state (where I live) to the other side (where I once lived) by myself easily or safely. If I couldn't read, I'd listen to music - really listen to it. That's hard to do when your primary attention is properly on the road.

I bought a new car last year precisely to get the safety features not on offer when my old car was built nine years before, chiefly a backup camera and lights to show me when a car is in my blind spot. (Okay, and satellite radio.)

I figure it will keep me safer, yes, but it will help those around me as well.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Then why is this:

quote:

1. I get motion sickness. As a consequence, I can't use time sitting in a car for other purposes. For example, I can't work in a car.

if you will not be bored just sitting there?

Ah. It's not about boredom at all. It's that if I could use the time in which my body was traveling to work to do something useful (work, for example) then I could recover an hour of time a day to do something else useful / fun in.

It's not that I'm bored by sitting in a car and don't want to be bored - it's that travel time is wasted time, and if I could recover an hour a day, that would have value.

But in my case, I can't use that time for anything, so it has no value for me.

quote:

Your exposure...you. Driverless cars would eliminate other people dying, but this is not important to you?

I'm discussing my personal incentives to get a driverless car, not whether I think they should exist at all. And in the case of whether my personal car has me driving or a computer driving, the odds of me dying and the odds of someone else dying because of me are rather strongly correlated (and both are included in the figures I quoted.)

And for me personally, going driverless doesn't make sense. I don't get any personal gain from not driving, and the reduction in deaths caused by removing my driving is not big enough to be worth the increased cost of the car. I'd save a lot more lives by taking the premium I'd pay for a computer driver and spending it on a health clinic for the local poor, or on our local homeless shelter.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
You won't get a choice. It'll be illegal to drive a human-operated vehicle on the highway.

And at that point, I'll just have to suck it up. But there will be a transition period - there will be several years where driverless cars are legal, and commercially available, but are not mandated. Any practical introduction of computer-driven cars has to have a time period of something on the scale of the lifetime of a typical private car during which human-driven and driverless cars share the road, in order to be politically possible.

Unless my lifestyle changes significantly, I'll be in one of the human-driven cars.

Once you make human-driven cars illegal, you should be able to increase travel speeds quite significantly, which I would benefit from.

My kids will learn to drive. It's quite possible that for my grandkids, learning to drive will be like learning to ride a horse. That doesn't upset me.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
And at that point, I'll just have to suck it up. But there will be a transition period - there will be several years where driverless cars are legal, and commercially available, but are not mandated.

It'll probably become insurance driven long before that - and history shows that if there is the will, the percentage of older cars on the roads can be reduced quite significantly in short periods of time.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
I see this slightly differently.

I look forward to driverless cars. They will not:

1. Overtake me with a fag-paper clearance;
2. Overtake and then turn left across my path;
3. Shout "Fucking Wanker" because I'm on a bike;
4. Shout ignorant bullshit about road tax;
5. Overtake then slam their brakes on because of oncoming traffic, blocking my path.

I hope they don't go faster, however, because that may well negate the positive benefits I outline in making the roads more suitable for non-motorised users.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
But there will be a transition period - there will be several years where driverless cars are legal, and commercially available, but are not mandated. Any practical introduction of computer-driven cars has to have a time period of something on the scale of the lifetime of a typical private car during which human-driven and driverless cars share the road, in order to be politically possible.
<snip>
Once you make human-driven cars illegal, you should be able to increase travel speeds quite significantly, which I would benefit from.

Around here many people drive very old vehicles because they can't afford anything else. Since they live in very remote spots, they need vehicles. It will be a long time before second-hand self-driving vehicles will be available at low prices. (The people I'm talking about can't afford new cars.)

Moreover, I suspect that self-driving vehicles have not been tested on winding mountain roads.

Personally, I would welcome self-driving cars. I'm in my eighties and I can still drive locally and long-distance. However, this happy state will probably not last forever. I know elderly people who gave up their homes and moved into retirement communities because they could no longer drive.

Moo

Moo
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I hope they don't go faster, however, because that may well negate the positive benefits I outline in making the roads more suitable for non-motorised users.

The increased speed, AIUI, derives from the fact that two computer-controlled cars can negotiate wirelessly with each other at junctions instead of one having to come to a stop and wait for the other.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
And that is why many bicyclists in this country imagine we will eventually have to get little chips so that cars can see our bicycle.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
Driverless car sensors include sonic, radar and laser scanners. Pedestrians won't need RFID chips and neither will bikes - the system is designed so that the car doesn't collide with anything, animate or inanimate.

(Of course, you could essentially block traffic and cause gridlock by inflating black bin liners and releasing them near a busy junctions. They mostly can't tell what it is they might be running into.)
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Re driverless cars. So let's consider the Selfish Driverless Car (SDC) and the Altruistic Droverless Car (ADC).

Both cars are travelling along and at an intersection, there car with 4 people. SDC hits them, killing all 4 because it prioritizes preserving itself and its driverless driver. ADC avoids killing them and drives off the road hitting a tree, killing its driverless driver.

We could have other scenario where SDC kills a cyclist to avoid a head-on collision with another car, but ADC hits the head-on vehicle to preserver the life of the cyclist because cars have all this protective equipment

I'd be really interested how this is all going to work. And the VW diesel scandal tells us we cannot trust car makers re programming.

Re the cyclist, the chip thing is only going to enhance the programming's choice to kill them or not to kill them. It is much better to have proper cycling infrastructure such that cyclists do not have to ride in the car lanes. Much like we don't make pedestrians walk in the car lanes. Though I'd like to personally hack all driverless car programming and make them into the Altruistic model.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
If we're all travelling by computer-controlled car, we can make our towns and cities look different. We won't need storefronts to attract the passing driver, because nobody will be looking, so we can hide major car routes round the back or even underground.

But perhaps the biggest gain is that we can move the car parks. If I have a computer car, there's no reason at all why it can't drop me off at the entrance to the shopping centre, and then drive 5 minutes away to the big carpark to park itself.

When I'm finished with my shopping, I can summon it to pick me and my bags up.

And once you do that, moving away from personal cars to computer-driven taxis starts to look more attractive, although I suspect it's hard to make a computer-taxi system degrade well in times of peak demand.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
It'll probably become insurance driven long before that - and history shows that if there is the will, the percentage of older cars on the roads can be reduced quite significantly in short periods of time.

There are multiple problems here. One is that the adoption of driverless cars will contained by economics. The poor will be the last to be able to afford them and the most disadvantaged by forced adoption. IMO, your perception of older cars being off the road faster is a combination of several factors. The cars of your late youth/young adulthood likely don't subliminally factor as old to you. Styles have progressively become iterative more than radical, so guessing age is more difficult.
Cars last considerably longer now that the more distinct pre-80's cars, which are the ones that have been removed from the road.
My daily driver is a Toyota MRS. People not familiar with is think it much newer than its 17 years.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
We should also bear in mind is that electric vehicles have a body life of 50 years+. Consumables (like batteries) will have to be replaced more frequently (10 years or so?).

If you buy an electric, driverless car, it could see your kids inherit it from you when you die.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Re driverless cars. So let's consider the Selfish Driverless Car (SDC) and the Altruistic Droverless Car (ADC).

Both cars are travelling along and at an intersection, there car with 4 people. SDC hits them, killing all 4 because it prioritizes preserving itself and its driverless driver. ADC avoids killing them and drives off the road hitting a tree, killing its driverless driver.

We could have other scenario where SDC kills a cyclist to avoid a head-on collision with another car, but ADC hits the head-on vehicle to preserver the life of the cyclist because cars have all this protective equipment

I'd be really interested how this is all going to work. And the VW diesel scandal tells us we cannot trust car makers re programming.

Re the cyclist, the chip thing is only going to enhance the programming's choice to kill them or not to kill them. It is much better to have proper cycling infrastructure such that cyclists do not have to ride in the car lanes. Much like we don't make pedestrians walk in the car lanes. Though I'd like to personally hack all driverless car programming and make them into the Altruistic model.

Out in the country pedestrians walk on the carriageway because there's no-where else. In the UK, at any rate. Either way you're just not going to get these miles of segregated cycleway. Car lanes do not exist; cars use multi-purpose lanes shared with (variously, depending on the road) horses, cyclists, pedestrians and other motor vehicles.

I would suggest that if a driverless car has to make a decision between crashing into another car (or a tree) or a cyclist it has already encountered a serious programming error. It should not be able to get itself into that situation in the first place. Especially once the other cars are also driverless.

[ 15. September 2017, 17:23: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]
 
Posted by sharkshooter (# 1589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
We should also bear in mind is that electric vehicles have a body life of 50 years+. ...

I guess they don't have to salt the roads in the winter in your area.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:

I would suggest that if a driverless car has to make a decision between crashing into another car (or a tree) or a cyclist it has already encountered a serious programming error. It should not be able to get itself into that situation in the first place. Especially once the other cars are also driverless.

Driverless car proceeding along road at normal legal rate of progress. Driven car or bicycle coming in opposite direction, on the other side of the road.

So far, so normal.

Oncoming driver suddenly swerves into driverless car's path (driver was avoiding the frog in the road, dropped a lit cigarette in his lap and is a bit distracted, is turning into his road / home / field, and forgot to look for oncoming traffic, or some variation of "is an idiot".

Driverless car can't brake in time, but might swerve into the ditch. Not its fault. What does it do? This generates np's scenario quite simply.

[ 15. September 2017, 19:49: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
We should also bear in mind is that electric vehicles have a body life of 50 years+. ...

I guess they don't have to salt the roads in the winter in your area.
I guess aluminium behaves differently in yours.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Driverless car proceeding along road at normal legal rate of progress. Driven car or bicycle coming in opposite direction, on the other side of the road.

So far, so normal.

Oncoming driver suddenly swerves into driverless car's path (driver was avoiding the frog in the road, dropped a lit cigarette in his lap and is a bit distracted, is turning into his road / home / field, and forgot to look for oncoming traffic, or some variation of "is an idiot".

Driverless car can't brake in time, but might swerve into the ditch. Not its fault. What does it do? This generates np's scenario quite simply.

There will be a few years where, yes, this scenario is possible. Then large parts of the road network will simply be closed to human-driven vehicles, and those are not have speed restrictions placed on them. Then there will only be old airfields and race tracks where a human-driven vehicle is permitted.

It doesn't solve the problem entirely. But all the same, mostly.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
Also, presumably a driverless car that swerves still knows where it's going.

If I swerve in that circumstance, then it's pot luck where I'll end up, but a driverless car has a better chance of ending up in the narrow patch of grass next to the tree.
 
Posted by rolyn (# 16840) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
We should also bear in mind is that electric vehicles have a body life of 50 years+. ...

I guess they don't have to salt the roads in the winter in your area.
I guess aluminium behaves differently in yours.
Conventional vehicles are no longer built to last much more than 20 years, with most being traded in long before that.

Not that the technology isn't there to make them last longer, it is probably done to help the economy by keeping car manufacturer going. Either that or it has been decided that one way to stop spendthrifts running knackered motors into the ground is to ensure the bodywork crumbles.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
We should also bear in mind is that electric vehicles have a body life of 50 years+. ...

I guess they don't have to salt the roads in the winter in your area.
I guess aluminium behaves differently in yours.
Conventional vehicles are no longer built to last much more than 20 years, with most being traded in long before that.

Not that the technology isn't there to make them last longer, it is probably done to help the economy by keeping car manufacturer going. Either that or it has been decided that one way to stop spendthrifts running knackered motors into the ground is to ensure the bodywork crumbles.

Internal combustion engines have a limited shelf life, because of all the tiny explosions it has to contain. Electric motors - especially modern brushless ones - can pretty much keep going forever, with the replacement of a few bearings.

There's been very little point in using anything but pressed steel - cheap, and with treatment, corrosion resistant - because weight and longevity haven't been much of an issue. It is now.

Yes, the car industry has previously relied on planned obsolescence to churn the market, but that's becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Once cars are electric and driverless (you do realise that Uber are using people as a stop-gap until then, right?), that model will collapse.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
There are multiple problems here. One is that the adoption of driverless cars will contained by economics. The poor will be the last to be able to afford them and the most disadvantaged by forced adoption.

I'm not discounting - or necessarily being particularly sanguine - about the downsides of such an outcome. Personally I think all the problems you raise (and a number of others) are very valid ones. Nevertheless, on a purely economic basis I can see such a situation coming about.

quote:

IMO, your perception of older cars being off the road faster is a combination of several factors.

I'm not basing it on perception necessarily. In the UK there have been two occasions over the last 20 years that pushed the adoption of newer cars, which led to the average age of cars falling noticeably. The first was the end of the sale of leaded petrol in 2000. The second was in 2008/2009, when the industry was on it's knees and the government offered financial incentives to scrap older cars. Neither are necessarily models for mass adoption of automated cars, but both show the effect of even moderate political will.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
There are multiple problems here. One is that the adoption of driverless cars will contained by economics. The poor will be the last to be able to afford them and the most disadvantaged by forced adoption.

I'm not discounting - or necessarily being particularly sanguine - about the downsides of such an outcome. Personally I think all the problems you raise (and a number of others) are very valid ones. Nevertheless, on a purely economic basis I can see such a situation coming about.
and let me add that I don't think transportation policy - at least in the way in which it's set - is particularly aimed at making things easier for poorer people who need transport.

So I can completely see governments allow divergent insurance on the basis that it's 'the market in operation'.

I'm not necessarily saying this is the way things should be.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Also, presumably a driverless car that swerves still knows where it's going.

If I swerve in that circumstance, then it's pot luck where I'll end up, but a driverless car has a better chance of ending up in the narrow patch of grass next to the tree.

Yeah, I don't think so. I will take your word for your lack of attentiveness and skill, but why would a driverless car know anything about the surface it was not driving on? How could it see and understand the terrain differential? driverless cars currently see vertical obstacles and know where the lanes are. They are at least two, very large, steps away from the type of artificial intelligence needed for the scenario presented.
Of course, many humans appear to be as well, so...
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Internal combustion engines have a limited shelf life, because of all the tiny explosions it has to contain. Electric motors - especially modern brushless ones - can pretty much keep going forever, with the replacement of a few bearings.

Some electric motors are designed to be serviceable, some are not. Whilst Elon Musk might claim a million miles, more conservative estimates are less than half that. Still more miles than most ICE and with less service, but not forever. Batteries have a limited life and are very expensive. Since they have not yet reached the maturity stage of petrol engines, this is likely to be the case for a long time.
There there is the rest of the vehicle. Most people don't purchase new(er) vehicles because the engine or gearbox is dead, but because other parts begin failing. A/C, suspension parts, interior degradation, etc. Cost/frequency of maintenance. ¹
And the electronics. Electronics² age. Not just the software, but the hardware as well. And, as the computers in a car are not something most consumers can easily create themselves - £ching$ching€ching
Oh, and aluminium isn't corrosion proof and is susceptible to salt water. Less so than steel, yes. But it has other stress factors that steel does not. Susceptibility to corrosion and stress depends on the alloy and conditions of use. The more resistant, the more expensive. But automakers will only use the best, I'm sure. And they will work to minimise cost, of course.


quote:

Yes, the car industry has previously relied on planned obsolescence to churn the market, but that's becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Once cars are electric and driverless (you do realise that Uber are using people as a stop-gap until then, right?), that model will collapse.

As I mentioned above, obsolescence isn't merely the drivetain. If the automobile industry cannot move units, the unit cost will increase.
The only scenario in which the lower income folk are not completely fucked in this scenario is government-run transportation far beyond buses and trains.

¹And the market for used electric vehicles? You wish to buy a car when the most expensive components are about to need replacing?
²And I wager the auto industry will go the way of farm and heavy equipment: Vehicles will require authorised service centres to replace parts. Even out-of-warranty, non-electronic parts. Which means more sand.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
Most people change cars because their previous one is a pile of crap and doesn't work any more. That does very much involve the engine and the gear box, and that's two things an EV doesn't have. It has a motor which produces maximum torque at zero revs.

Battery tech will be sorted. Second hand batteries will go into houses/storage farms.

As for the rest of it? It's fixable.

Car manufacturers are desperate to keep us on the model of private ownership, or private leasing. That's fine as long as cars do not drive themselves. As soon as they do, all bets are off. There's no point in me owning a car if I can use my phone to call one to my house when I want it, that'll take me where I need to go, and then bugger off again without me having to worry about rental costs or depreciation or insurance or tax or parking charges. My return journey will be similarly facilitated. There might be a subscription model, where I pay a monthly fee to a car pool, but otherwise I'll be paying for the time I'm in the car, and nothing more.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Most people change cars because their previous one is a pile of crap and doesn't work any more. That does very much involve the engine and the gear box, and that's two things an EV doesn't have. It has a motor which produces maximum torque at zero revs.

Zero revs is off. Ain't no torque when it's off.

quote:
Battery tech will be sorted. Second hand batteries will go into houses/storage farms.
And leak into the groundwater.

quote:
As for the rest of it? It's fixable.
Argumentum ad hope.

quote:
Car manufacturers are desperate to keep us on the model of private ownership, or private leasing. That's fine as long as cars do not drive themselves. As soon as they do, all bets are off. There's no point in me owning a car if I can use my phone to call one to my house when I want it, that'll take me where I need to go, and then bugger off again without me having to worry about rental costs or depreciation or insurance or tax or parking charges. My return journey will be similarly facilitated. There might be a subscription model, where I pay a monthly fee to a car pool, but otherwise I'll be paying for the time I'm in the car, and nothing more.
And that price will skyrocket because as car makers sell fewer units they will have to raise costs to stay in business (as lilBuddha said), and the car rental places will pass that cost on to you.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
At times like this, I'm reminded that the head of IBM said that the world market for computers would be five machines.

You're wrong. Not demonstrably wrong, but wrong all the same. Just how wrong is the only variable, but I'm putting my money on somewhere between 'very' and 'extremely'.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Most people change cars because their previous one is a pile of crap and doesn't work any more. That does very much involve the engine and the gear box, and that's two things an EV doesn't have.

I didn't say drivetain failure was never a cause for replacement, just that it isn't the main one. BTW, my MR2? I can replace the motor and gearbox for well less than he cost of an EV battery. Essentially having a new car to last another couple of decades.
I do think your reasoning is much as mt said: Argumentum ad hope.

Oh, and the ageing power system is not currently set up for all electric vehicles. The cost of getting it up to speed isn't small. And how are those new plants going to be fired?

IMO, hybrid vehicles are the next, rational step, not electric.
But we are wandering off-topic, aren't we?
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Also, presumably a driverless car that swerves still knows where it's going.

If I swerve in that circumstance, then it's pot luck where I'll end up, but a driverless car has a better chance of ending up in the narrow patch of grass next to the tree.

Yeah, I don't think so. I will take your word for your lack of attentiveness and skill, but why would a driverless car know anything about the surface it was not driving on? How could it see and understand the terrain differential? driverless cars currently see vertical obstacles and know where the lanes are. They are at least two, very large, steps away from the type of artificial intelligence needed for the scenario presented.
Of course, many humans appear to be as well, so...

Well yes, but we are proposing a future in which the technology has advanced to such a degree that an all-driverless world seems possible.

Unless we propose there is something magical about rod and cone cells, there is no absolute reason why a computer couldn't reproduce their functionality if there was the will to do so, and unlike a human being, a computer's eyes don't have to have a limited field of vision, nor a reaction distance of 88 feet at 60mph.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Oh, and the ageing power system is not currently set up for all electric vehicles. The cost of getting it up to speed isn't small. And how are those new plants going to be fired?

By the power of nuclear fusion. You know, that big burny thing in the sky that sleets terawatts onto the planet daily and heats the ground unevenly making the wind blow.

Yes, hope. But hope will get us there. What you're offering won't.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Well yes, but we are proposing a future in which the technology has advanced to such a degree that an all-driverless world seems possible.

An all driverless world is possible now.* If money were no object, that is. AI does not need to be more advanced. For it to be safe it does. But the costs and logistics are crazy. Individual self-driving cars are not the answer. Ones that can be regulated by a central control are. But we are talking major expenditure for such systems.
quote:

Unless we propose there is something magical about rod and cone cells, there is no absolute reason why a computer couldn't reproduce their functionality if there was the will to do so, and unlike a human being, a computer's eyes don't have to have a limited field of vision, nor a reaction distance of 88 feet at 60mph.

It isn't the eyes, but the processing of information that they transmit. You, a human of at least reasonable intelligence, is capable of assessing much more than the most sophisticated computer. Speed of reaction is only part of the equation.

This is a fairly simple situation, much less complex than the swerve into a terrain change or cyclist, and yet the autopilot failed.

*Or at least very soon.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
I can replace the motor and gearbox for well less than he cost of an EV battery.

Also, the cost of an EV battery has fallen 80% in six years. It was (at the start of 2017) ~$227/kWh. I've seen figures as low as $150/kWh for the Leaf.

Do you think that price will go up or down?
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
By the power of nuclear fusion. You know, that big burny thing in the sky that sleets terawatts onto the planet daily and heats the ground unevenly making the wind blow.

OK. So how much available power do you think the UK has in solar radiation? How much power is required to service the existing homes and businesses and how much to fuel vehicles? How many fields and mountains are you willing to cover so you can motor around your city? Solar is not the answer. At best it is part of the solution.
quote:

Yes, hope. But hope will get us there. What you're offering won't.

Hope is a valuable component of one's outlook, but it does not trump practicality. A sunny outlook of what one wishes doesn't counter how things work. Recognising the natural outcome of current trends is a necessary step in changing them. Hoping things might work out, isn't.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
An all driverless world is possible now.* If money were no object, that is. AI does not need to be more advanced. For it to be safe it does. But the costs and logistics are crazy. Individual self-driving cars are not the answer. Ones that can be regulated by a central control are. But we are talking major expenditure for such systems.

I don't necessarily disagree, but NP was talking about the ethical implications if it was possible. He was saying that a driverless car should be programmed to favour the lives of other road users over its own occupants, and a few other posters were saying that a driverless car should be programmed to avoid putting itself in a position where it had to make such a choice in the first place.

But this can only be a real-world ethical problem if technology advances to the point that driverless cars are really driverless - their occupants are just passengers and there's no qualified driver poised to seize control at a moment's notice. It's an ethical problem only if the AI constraints you mention have been overcome. If they haven't (either because they're insuperable or for reasons of cost), then the car's programmers would not be the only agents making a moral choice in that circumstance.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
This came up today: Ontario introducing $50,000 fines for careless drivers causing death, $1,000 for drivers who don't yield properly to pedestrians at crosswalks, intersections and school zones.

The current fine for distracted driving is $490 to $1000 for a first offence, with the change, the first offence would also gets a three-day licence suspension. Penalties would rise with each subsequent conviction for distracted driving. For a 3rd offence, the maximum fine would be $3,000, with a 30-day licence suspension.

Sounds like a plan.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Please stop using the "infotainment" screen in your car. Particularly stop using navigation, texting with it or watching thr back seat passengers. Because some functions take 40 seconds and you are a Bad Driver when you do.
In-vehicle technology creates dangerous distractions for drivers.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
I've been driving shared cars recently and the rear-view camera drives me BONKERS. It may have even contributed to a fender-rubber I had a couple of weeks ago. [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Well, a lorry (truck) ran into the back of us last Friday. Fortunately, the driver had just delivered his 20 ton load of stones and gravel. He clearly wasn't looking where he was going but fortunately wasn't going very fast.

He was pretty shaken up and very apologetic. Fortunately, no-one was hurt. His boss was fine and they're sorting out the damage on the insurance. It could have been a lot worse.
 


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