Autonomous vehicles are safer so how long before human control is frowned upon?

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
2015 UK road casualties:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa..._data/file/533293/rrcgb-main-results-2015.pdf
There were 1,732 reported road deaths in 2015.
The number of people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents waas 22,137 in 2015.
There was a total of 186,209 [road] casualties of all severities in 2015.

That's a hell of a lot of people dying and being injured in Britain's roads and technology in cars will reduce this. For example, the new car we have on order is not considered autonomous (it's not a Tesla) but has
  • Lane Departure Warning System with Lane Keep Assist. This warns drivers that they are potentially drifting out of lane. A camera mounted in the windscreen recognises lane markings. If the vehicle starts to drift over the lane markings, without a turn signal being applied, it activates a visual and audible alert for the driver. The car (when it can identify lane markings) also makes steering adjustments to keep the car within the lane. If the driver takes their hands of the steering wheel, the system disengages.
  • Blind Spot Detection. The system informs the driver of vehicles in the blind spot and passing cars. It keeps the driver informed of cars potentially passing, but may be in a hard-to-see blind spot that can’t be easily viewed using the rear view mirror or wing mirrors. It informs drivers with a graphic in the wing mirror and may make an audible warning when indicating.
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking. This system helps you avoid accidents. On detecting the risk of a collision with a pedestrian or another vehicle it initially gives a visual and aural warning to the driver, before automatically applying the brakes according to the degree of danger.
  • Smart Cruise Control. The system makes driving easier and safer. It uses the front-mounted radar sensor to monitor vehicles ahead and automatically maintains a pre-set speed and safe distance to the vehicle in front by regulating the throttle and applying the brakes when needed up until the traffic comes to a stop.
These features won't be news to a lot of people, but I think they are important and will significantly assist in reducing accidents.

I think this is super impressive. Euro NCAP autonomous braking test:

(play from 2 minutes 40 seconds)

I watch car crash videos on YouTube and the vast majority of accidents are due to driver error (as opposed to mechanical issues like brake failures and blowouts). So I think humans shouldn't be in charge of cars when the technology exists to get us from A to B more safely.
Manually driving cars should be something limited to private tracks. I know there are people who enjoy driving. Personally I find it boring.

Controversial position, but does anyone agree?
So when autonomous systems are driving our cars in a few years time, will manually driving a car then become socially frowned upon? If so, when?
 
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Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
Cars may have the tech but they depend on good road markings/condition/signage. Try using lane departure when the road markings have faded/dirty.
I agree that this is likely true of the currently deployed lane assist systems, but for level 3 and higher (Autonomous car - Wikipedia) then the systems will be able to do better than rely on lane markings.
 

Chevyonfuel

Distinguished Member
The technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, but has some limitations. As mentioned already, road markings are a fundamental one and the the presence of markings, let alone the condition of them, is key to that system being able to be used.

A while ago, when the Tesla autonomous functionality appeared, there was some insurance issues which are likely to become more prevalent as the tech matures (despite improvements). The crux of it was that if the vehicle was to be involved in an RTC and subsequently a claim was made, there could be an argument as to whether the human driver was at fault, or the tech within the car. If it's the latter, would the insurance company go after the car manufacturer under the headline of "avoidance system failure".

For this reason, Tesla are quite clear when they state the driver should be at the wheel and prepared to take control if necessary i.e. from a claim perspective, the manufacturer is off the hook and could probably argue that the driver didn't do enough to avoid an accident once they've established that the safety systems did kick in and try to avoid a bigger RTC, and critically, the driver was in control of the vehicle at the time of the accident, in so much as they had their hands on the wheel just in time to clout something, d'oh!

In my personal experience of the technology noted above (adaptive cruise control and emergency braking assistance), the former is excellent and has great benefits on high speed roads (dual carriageways and motorways). The latter was more problematic - occasional emergency cut ins when not required, and some delays / no cut in at all, when more likely to be required. It just proved to be a little inconsistent over the 2 years+ (VW Golf in this instance).
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
When they prise the keys out of my cold dead hand.
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
When they prise the keys out of my cold dead hand.
Or price the insurance out of your reach? I can imagine the insurance for people who choose to manually drive cars being higher. Just a thought.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Or price the insurance out of your reach? I can imagine the insurance for people who choose to manually drive cars being higher. Just a thought.

I already pay stupid money on insurance and this year looks to be worse.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I love driving, but sometimes I don't want to bother. I'd be delighted to allow the car to take me from Norfolk to Huddersfield later this week. Long, boring drive on high speed roads with nothing but traffic to punctuate the journey. The car can also drive me home from the pub as soon as possible ;)
There are plenty of other times when I don't want to follow a sat nav route or I want to enjoy the hand/eye co-ordination exercise so I'll keep the wheel for a while.

Once fully autonomous vehicles become dependable enough to not require adult supervision then the controls will be removed and I don't think we'll be owning or insuring them in the current sense, I think we'll be hiring them when we need them like taxis.
I'm sure there will still be people who want or need their own vehicle but for regular transportation many people will simply not bother.

While they still require meat in the seat I can see assisted cars getting cheaper to insure than fully manual ones but I don't think drivers will be removed from the equation fully for a while.
 

Chevyonfuel

Distinguished Member
If I could have a Total Recall style Johnny Cab, that might swing me toward an autonomous car...

take-that-taxi.jpg
 

un1eash

Distinguished Member
I think we're a fair way off from the day I can get in my car and it'll drive me through town to work. Auto pilot seems to work well on open roads and motorways but not so well at urban stop start, being able to navigate all types of junctions 100% of the time is quite a few years away. It won't be just the cars that need updating but the roads.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
Nissan's autonomous system in action.
 
D

Deleted member 293381

Guest
I wonder if a car's autonomous system can be hacked and controlled by an outside source. For example, a hacker in a car behind is able to control the steering or throttle of the car ahead.
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
I wonder if a car's autonomous system can be hacked and controlled by an outside source. For example, a hacker in a car behind is able to control the steering or throttle of the car ahead.
That's something I've thought about and you can be damn sure it's something *all* the autonomous driving system developers will have thought about.
With cars being WiFi hotspots, having the ability to automatically call emergency services, having Apple Car Play and Android Auto onboard, keyless entry and probably other links from the car to the 'outside world', its something you can be sure the manufacturers are going to have to lock down really tightly.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Keyless entry has been "hacked" and numerous cars stolen.
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
Keyless entry has been "hacked" and numerous cars stolen.
Source?
Stealing a car is different to hacking its autonomous system, but if it's true, it shows a lack of awareness of the manufacturers. Going forward, I think they are aware that they will need to have perfect security on all aspects of their hardware and software.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Source?
Stealing a car is different to hacking its autonomous system, but if it's true, it shows a lack of awareness of the manufacturers. Going forward, I think they are aware that they will need to have perfect security on all aspects of their hardware and software.

I do believe it was Mr Whistles on here that had his M5 stolen. Not sure whether his car had keyless entry though.

Plenty of stories in the press about owners asleep in bed whilst their cars are opened, started and driven off by manipulating the keyless entry signal.
 

mij

Well-known Member
Use a bus, a train or a proper driver like a black cab and a cycle or legs for local journeys, problem solved and a lot of inadequate drivers off the road and a lot of debt gone for a lot of people that cannot really afford it :D
 

jassco

Distinguished Member
I think we'll be hiring them when we need them like taxis.
I just can't see this being the case for lots and lots people. If someone uses a car daily (as many do), then why would I want one turning up that's potentially dirty from the last user? (Counter argument is I could get a clean car every day). Even more, the childseat that's been firmly in place in the back of my car for a couple of years (and several more to come) is bulky, heavy, awkwardly shaped, and therefore a nightmare to take in and out. I wouldn't want the lottery of having a child's car seat turning up covered in crumbs / wee / worse.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Source?
Stealing a car is different to hacking its autonomous system, but if it's true, it shows a lack of awareness of the manufacturers. Going forward, I think they are aware that they will need to have perfect security on all aspects of their hardware and software.
Source?, this very forum where a member had his BMW nicked. Backed up by:

Dr.Phil has recently reported 3? Nissan Leaf's in Ireland being stolen by using a signal booster to fool the car into thinking a key in the house was at the car. That seems like a major flaw if you only need the key to get in and initially start it.
 

TheBurns

Active Member
I think the security concerns are overblown, whilst there have been a few instances of hacking, car connectivity is in its infancy and generally limited to specific data, unlike a PC a vehicle is a closed architecture that’s controlled and specified by one company, it’s also a safety critical system and as such has much higher legal and engineered requirements.


Automation is inevitable, personally I can’t wait, I do wonder if the transport industry, which could save £B, will start to drive (!) the technology ahead of the car industry.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I just can't see this being the case for lots and lots people. If someone uses a car daily (as many do), then why would I want one turning up that's potentially dirty from the last user? (Counter argument is I could get a clean car every day). Even more, the childseat that's been firmly in place in the back of my car for a couple of years (and several more to come) is bulky, heavy, awkwardly shaped, and therefore a nightmare to take in and out. I wouldn't want the lottery of having a child's car seat turning up covered in crumbs / wee / worse.


There will obviously be cases where a personally owned car works - those who travel all day with equipment from meeting to meeting or client to client. Those who live in remote areas or need 24/7 access at short notice.

The dirty car scenario is easy to deal with in the same way AirBnB and Uber work.
You rate the service and the service rates you - if the user after you reports the car covered in crumbs and sick it counts against you. Rack up enough negative feedback and you are last in the queue or banned altogether.

Pay as you go self driving cars could easily be monitored remotely and returned for cleaning regularly or on demand. Sure there would be the odd occasion when this doesn't work but I don't think it derails the idea.
AIUI Uber are looking to remove the driver from their service asap.

Car seats are pretty simple to accommodate if you design a general purpose vehicle based around the occupants not the driver controls and giving them 360 degree visibility. Black cabs are already adapted to carry wheelchairs - something that's hard to do in most conventional cars. Our local cab company carry boosters in all cars. Having a booster in self driving car isn't much of a stretch.
Once the vehicle is driving itself it doesn't have to look like a modern car at all any more so fully adjustable seats for most occupants are possible.

I use my car twice a day every day for 45 minutes each time. For the rest of the time it's parked up on my drive doing nothing but depreciating. If I could let my car go out and earn it's living as a taxi knowing it will be outside my house at 8am for the commute and the office at 6pm it would be quite attractive. If I could book my journeys the night before and share the cost of the ride with my neighbours, even better.


Henry Ford said:
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

I suspect the transport infrastructure in the future is going to look very different to a family hatchback with Johnny in the front seat :)
 

un1eash

Distinguished Member
Have you guys not seen The Fate of The Furious aka Fast and Furious 8.
 

True Romance

Distinguished Member
Use a bus, a train or a proper driver like a black cab and a cycle or legs for local journeys, problem solved and a lot of inadequate drivers off the road and a lot of debt gone for a lot of people that cannot really afford it :D
All the motor trade employees will be delighted to read that ;)
 

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