Automating the Car Herds!!

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Cycle America/N, Mar 14, 2003.

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  1. At 3:02 PM -0800 3/13/03, Jim Langley wrote:

    <discussion about Palo Alto, CA tragedy at
    http://www.realcities.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/p
    eninsula/5162483.htm snipped>

    While we're at it, how 'bout cars being forced to follow traffic laws with built-in electronic
    sensors triggered by stop signs/lights, speed-limit signs, etc. All the driver does is steer and
    even that's electronically controlled to prevent tailgating, etc. I think we'll see this in our
    lifetimes because what we have now is completely out of control.

    Jim!!
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    I don't know how many people here know that you used to be the much acclaimed tech editor for
    "Bicycling" magazine. And back then, when Jim Langley spoke, people listened. As I know they
    should now!!

    With all the other controls being factored into our lives by the government, why is something such
    as who you propose not the logical next step?

    This is too prophetic!! WoW!!

    M A R T I N K R I E G : "Awake Again" Author Bent Since '83, Car Free Since '89, Attacking with
    Love Coma, Paralysis, Clinical Death Survivor '79 & '86 TransAm Vet - Invites you to:
    http://www.BikeRoute.com/SCNBGFest N A T I O N A L B I C Y C L E G R E E N W A Y
     
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  2. Silas Warner

    Silas Warner Guest

    "Cycle America/Nat. Bicycle Greenway" wrote:
    >
    > At 3:02 PM -0800 3/13/03, Jim Langley wrote:
    >
    > <discussion about Palo Alto, CA tragedy at
    > http://www.realcities.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/p eninsula/5162483.htm
    > snipped>
    >
    > While we're at it, how 'bout cars being forced to follow traffic laws with built-in electronic
    > sensors triggered by stop signs/lights, speed-limit signs, etc. All the driver does is steer and
    > even that's electronically controlled to prevent tailgating, etc. I think we'll see this in our
    > lifetimes because what we have now is completely out of control.
    >
    > With all the other controls being factored into our lives by the government, why is something such
    > as who you propose not the logical next step?
    >
    Why? Lawyers.

    The systems for automated driving require LOTS of computer equipment in each car, communicating
    speed, position, steering and acceleration either from car to car or from roadside control stations
    (presumably automated) to cars. Now say a bit is missed, the way BART missed a bit in 1974 at
    Fremont and interpreted a 15 mph speed code as 35 mph. A car goes "out of control" and crashes. The
    permanent data recorder says the controller sent 15 mph. The car says it received 35 mph. Was it a
    transmitter failure? A bolt of lightning? A transient power surge? A malfunctioning transmitter? A
    malfunctioning receiver? The paramount legal question is where to put the blame.

    The lawyers know the answer, of course. Everyone with any money gets the blamk. The lawyer sues the
    state highway system AND the car manufacturer for every dollar they've got, the injured party gets
    two thirds and the lawyer gets the remaining third. The auto manufacturer bags the automatic driving
    system, the state leaves the transmitters to rust and the lawyers live happily ever after.

    Silas Warner
     
  3. Barry Gaudet

    Barry Gaudet Guest

    In rec.bicycles.misc Silas Warner <[email protected]> wrote:
    : "Cycle America/Nat. Bicycle Greenway" wrote:
    [...]
    :> With all the other controls being factored into our lives by the government, why is something
    :> such as who you propose not the logical next step?
    :>
    : Why? Lawyers.

    : The systems for automated driving require LOTS of computer equipment in each car,

    Define 'LOTS'. Besides there already is sufficient processor power in new cars.

    : communicating speed,

    Aready sufficient.

    : position, steering and acceleration either from car to car or from roadside control stations
    : (presumably automated) to cars.

    Technically it is quite feasible. The control stations would be the signage/signal lights themselve
    along with the gps systems already availlable for autos. I doubt it is a matter of if but when this
    automation is immplemented.

    : Now say a bit is missed, the way BART missed a bit in 1974 at Fremont and interpreted a 15 mph
    : speed code as 35 mph. A car goes "out of control" and crashes.

    Of course no system will be perfect. but if it can be shown that statistically this error rate
    results in far fewer accidents - which it would - than manually operated autos then there really is
    no 'Frankenstein run amok' argument. Yes people will resent the los of control even if it would
    save their own life. Hmmmm... Maybe the 'War on Terrorism' will be used to justify it.

    And lawyers will sue just like they do now. Perhaps the insurance people are required to carry will
    be modified to cover the 'computer error' accidents. Insurance corp would probably go along as they
    woul be paying out claims on far fewer accidents.

    --
    'Any variable chosen as a monetary policy target immediately starts to behave differently.'

    - Goodhart's Law
     
  4. "Cycle America/Nat. Bicycle Greenway" wrote:

    >While we're at it, how 'bout cars being forced to follow traffic laws with built-in electronic
    >sensors triggered by stop signs/lights, speed-limit signs, etc. All the driver does is steer and
    >even that's electronically controlled to prevent tailgating, etc. I think we'll see this in our
    >lifetimes because what we have now is completely out of control.

    I wouldn't want the government to steer the car, no. There are some basic American principles to be
    upheld there.

    I would support an electronic smart highway though, which tells the car which road it's on, what
    exits are near, where the stripes on the road are, etc.

    Then you can have the onboard computer drive. In theory, there's no reason why you couldn't have
    something like KITT on Knight Rider that analyses the scene and drives the way a human does. I
    saw of a test of that on TV once; the system could only drive at 7 MPH and it kept driving
    around shadows.

    That was a few years ago, though, and on a highway, you can hold the onboard computer's hand a lot
    more. All it really has to do on a highway is keep distance from other cars, you can have everything
    else electronically drawn for it.

    ----
    Brian Mueller HD USN 24 JAN 03 / Remove hyphens for e-mail
     
  5. Silas Warner wrote:

    >The systems for automated driving require LOTS of computer equipment in each car, communicating
    >speed, position, steering and acceleration either from car to car or from roadside control stations
    >(presumably automated) to cars.

    Yeah but a Pentium III (or maybe a couple in an SMP configuration) can handle all that, especially
    if you're on a highway when all the data about the road is fed to it, as opposed to the program
    having to derive it the way a human does. It's a question of good software.

    >Now say a bit is missed, the way BART missed a bit in 1974 at Fremont and interpreted a 15 mph
    >speed code as 35 mph.

    Sounds like they need to make their data communication software more robust. That was also twenty
    years ago, which in the world of Silicon Valley is eons. In 1974 the 8088 hadn't even come out,
    which is the CPU for the orginal IBM PC of 1981. A Palm Pilot could probably run a BART simulation
    these days.

    >transmitter? A malfunctioning receiver? The paramount legal question is where to put the blame.

    This argument has been used in the Navy for YEARS to justify using 20 year old hardware that costs
    the taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars beyond what it should. That's finally changing with COTS
    systems (Commerical Off The Shelf), but it's a really silly argument in my opinion. Write good
    software, like FreeBSD, and this isn't nearly the issue that it's made out to be.

    ----
    Brian Mueller HD USN 24 JAN 03 / Remove hyphens for e-mail
     
  6. Jack May

    Jack May Guest

    "Cycle America/Nat. Bicycle Greenway" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:140320031008493229%[email protected]...
    > While we're at it, how 'bout cars being forced to follow traffic laws with built-in electronic
    > sensors triggered by stop signs/lights, speed-limit signs, etc. All the driver does is steer and
    > even that's electronically controlled to prevent tailgating, etc. I think we'll see this in our
    > lifetimes because what we have now is completely out of control.

    There is a lot of automobile safety technology coming on the market in the next few years. Articles
    on what is happening are at:

    http://www.itsa.org/ivi.html

    On that page is a link to the article Accident-Free Driving Just Around the Corner

    Some quotes

    "The company claims its development teams already have achieved significant progress through the
    introduction of features such as brake assist, electronic stability, acceleration skid control, and
    a lane departure warning system that alerts the driver to an unintentional lane change on the
    expressway."

    "City assistant" will see cars automatically pacing the car in front at a selected distance in busy
    traffic. It also identifies stop signs, traffic lights and moving objects or pedestrians, even if
    they're around a corner. "

    "With vehicle-to-vehicle communication, data is provided by driver-assistance systems on obstacles
    and road conditions such as accidents, icy roads or congestion. At the same time, the car passes
    this information on to all following and even oncoming vehicles."
     
  7. Jack May

    Jack May Guest

    "Barry Gaudet" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > Technically it is quite feasible. The control stations would be the signage/signal lights
    > themselve along with the gps systems already availlable for autos. I doubt it is a matter of if
    > but when this automation is immplemented.

    The hardware is well within the state of the art. The main problem seem to be making that big step
    to running the technology with all the complexity of real traffic. The systems have been proven to
    work on test roads in San Diego as far back as 1999. More complex tests will be run this year

    Some laws need to be passed to limit liability so the technology can start progressing towards wide
    spread implementation. Governments need to agree to standards that the automobile companies can
    build. Governments need to start adding the needed technology to roads.

    It can all be done. Someone needs to make it a high political priority.

    > And lawyers will sue just like they do now. Perhaps the insurance people are required to carry
    > will be modified to cover the 'computer error' accidents. Insurance corp would probably go along
    > as they woul be paying out claims on far fewer accidents.

    This is where liability limitations are needed in the law. If those limitations are not in place,
    the lawyers will have a field day going after the deep pockets of companies. This will cause a lot
    of excess deaths as lawyers delay implementing safety technology. Of course lawyers don't care as
    long as they get their money.
     
  8. Ken Freeman

    Ken Freeman Guest

    One if the biggest precursors in implementing something like City Assistant (and numerous other
    systems) is the need for coordinated parallel investment. Car companies and their suppliers need to
    equip cars, and the road authorities need to equip roads (assuming it's infrastructure-cooperative),
    and standards need to be created to assure interoperability. Before car companies will invest, they
    need to see that consumers want it, because they're businesses after all. So even though the
    technology exists, how can this all be managed?

    Ken Freeman

    "Jack May" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Cycle America/Nat. Bicycle Greenway" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:140320031008493229%[email protected]...
    > > While we're at it, how 'bout cars being forced to follow traffic laws with built-in electronic
    > > sensors triggered by stop signs/lights, speed-limit signs, etc. All the driver does is steer and
    > > even that's electronically controlled to prevent tailgating, etc. I think we'll see this in our
    > > lifetimes because what we have now is completely out of control.
    >
    > There is a lot of automobile safety technology coming on the market in the next few years.
    > Articles on what is happening are at:
    >
    > http://www.itsa.org/ivi.html
    >
    > On that page is a link to the article Accident-Free Driving Just Around the Corner
    >
    > Some quotes
    >
    > "The company claims its development teams already have achieved
    significant
    > progress through the introduction of features such as brake assist, electronic stability,
    > acceleration skid control, and a lane departure warning system that alerts the driver to an
    > unintentional lane change on
    the
    > expressway."
    >
    > "City assistant" will see cars automatically pacing the car in front at a selected distance in
    > busy traffic. It also identifies stop signs, traffic lights and moving objects or pedestrians,
    > even if they're around a corner.
    "
    >
    > "With vehicle-to-vehicle communication, data is provided by driver-assistance systems on obstacles
    > and road conditions such as accidents, icy roads or congestion. At the same time, the car passes
    > this information on to all following and even oncoming vehicles."
     
  9. Eric

    Eric Guest

    CMU has been running experiments for the Army for years (can't find reference, must be over). I
    remember seeing video of someone not driving a minivan on I-79, at highway speed, with no real
    problems. It was a nice suny day. I'm sure there were plenty of days this winter when the
    demonstration wouldn't have been the same... More exciting though!

    I think that the Army is researching this for caravan/transport, since enlistment is way down
    (compared to the bad old days of the draft) and they want to get the most bang for their buck. I
    could see this in a limited form trickling down to civilian use, especially if the infrastructure is
    in place all the time anyway (much like GPS).

    Frankly, I think it's a great idea. Automation of automobiles will take more of shine off the latest
    models, driving (sorry!) people to other, more intresting forms of transportation, and kill off the
    last of the marketing hype about freedom of the open roads. And don't think that people won't be
    asking for it in a few years. Most older folks don't think much of cars, anyway, and most of us
    Americans (boomers), are getting old.

    E

    Brian Mueller <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Cycle America/Nat. Bicycle Greenway" wrote:
    >
    > >While we're at it, how 'bout cars being forced to follow traffic laws with built-in electronic
    > >sensors triggered by stop signs/lights, speed-limit signs, etc. All the driver does is steer and
    > >even that's electronically controlled to prevent tailgating, etc. I think we'll see this in our
    > >lifetimes because what we have now is completely out of control.
    >
    > I wouldn't want the government to steer the car, no. There are some basic American principles to
    > be upheld there.
    >
    > I would support an electronic smart highway though, which tells the car which road it's on, what
    > exits are near, where the stripes on the road are, etc.
    >
    > Then you can have the onboard computer drive. In theory, there's no reason why you couldn't have
    > something like KITT on Knight Rider that analyses the scene and drives the way a human does. I saw
    > of a test of that on TV once; the system could only drive at 7 MPH and it kept driving around
    > shadows.
    >
    > That was a few years ago, though, and on a highway, you can hold the onboard computer's hand a lot
    > more. All it really has to do on a highway is keep distance from other cars, you can have
    > everything else electronically drawn for it.
    >
    >
    > ----
    > Brian Mueller HD USN 24 JAN 03 / Remove hyphens for e-mail
     
  10. Jack May

    Jack May Guest

    "Eric" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > CMU has been running experiments for the Army for years (can't find reference, must be over). I
    > remember seeing video of someone not driving a minivan on I-79, at highway speed, with no real
    > problems. It was a nice suny day. I'm sure there were plenty of days this winter when the
    > demonstration wouldn't have been the same... More exciting though!

    Most of the automated vehicle work is using magnets in the roads to guide the cars. This works in
    all weather and is much simpler than video lane following. Transportation agencies have to put the
    magnets in, but the cost is only a few $K per lane mile for a doubling to tripling of road capacity
    and a big increase in safety.

    > Frankly, I think it's a great idea. Automation of automobiles will take more of shine off the
    > latest models, driving (sorry!) people to other, more intresting forms of transportation, and kill
    > off the last of the marketing hype about freedom of the open roads.

    Most of the automation will be used in rush hour in cities. There will still be the freedom to drive
    at other time and in other places.

    >Most older folks don't think much of cars, anyway, and most of us Americans (boomers), are
    >getting old.

    Most old people fight to not give up their ability to drive. They want that freedom. The passion for
    driving probably declines with age, but I don't think it goes away.

    I mainly ride a BMW R1100RT motorcycle instead of driving my Porsche. If anything the thrill of the
    motorcycle is growing as I get older.

    Of course a Porsche in Bay Area traffic is stuck in traffic jams like every other car. On the other
    hand, a motorcycle becomes more of a rush with lane splitting in heavy traffic.
     
  11. Jack May

    Jack May Guest

    "Ken Freeman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    >Before car companies will invest, they need to see that consumers want it, because they're
    >businesses after all. So even though
    the
    > technology exists, how can this all be managed?

    The car companies are saying they are seeing a big demand for these type technologies.

    Typically Governments are safety oriented. They are certainly not excitement oriented. Governments
    see increased safety as major thing they want to push. There is significant movement in Congress to
    push accident free automobile technology.
     
  12. Ray Heindl

    Ray Heindl Guest

    "Jack May" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    > "Eric" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> CMU has been running experiments for the Army for years (can't find reference, must be over). I
    >> remember seeing video of someone not driving a minivan on I-79, at highway speed, with no real
    >> problems. It was a nice suny day. I'm sure there were plenty of days this winter when the
    >> demonstration wouldn't have been the same... More exciting though!
    >
    > Most of the automated vehicle work is using magnets in the roads to guide the cars. This works in
    > all weather and is much simpler than video lane following. Transportation agencies have to put the
    > magnets in, but the cost is only a few $K per lane mile for a doubling to tripling of road
    > capacity and a big increase in safety.

    I've seen video of a demo of such a system, in Southern California somewhere. There was a line of
    cars, each about 2 feet from the one ahead, at around 60 mph. All the "drivers" had their hands out
    the windows to show that they weren't driving. I think the goal is to maximize road capacity by
    allowing cars to drive safely at high speed with minimal spacing. Once they figure out how to keep
    "manual" cars out of the automatic lanes it looks like it might be practical.

    --
    Ray Heindl (remove the X to reply)
     
  13. Jack May

    Jack May Guest

    "Ray Heindl" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > I've seen video of a demo of such a system, in Southern California somewhere. There was a line of
    > cars, each about 2 feet from the one ahead, at around 60 mph. All the "drivers" had their hands
    > out the windows to show that they weren't driving. I think the goal is to maximize road capacity
    > by allowing cars to drive safely at high speed with minimal spacing. Once they figure out how to
    > keep "manual" cars out of the automatic lanes it looks like it might be practical.

    Yes it was in San Diego where they have a section of a freeway set up for testing these cars. I rode
    in one at UC Berkeley Path. It felt really stable and safe with no one driving. It drove itself up
    to a spot and parked itself to less than a centimeter away from the curb

    The goal is to make existing freeways and other roads carry about three times as many cars per hour
    with a very low cost upgrade to the roads. The cars get lowest drag at a half car length apart just
    like race cars that do when drafting. The electronics in the car should be fairly cheap.

    If you take a picture above a road, you will see only 10% of the space taken by cars at optimum
    capacity. With automation we can fill up a lot more of that space as well as go faster. That is how
    technology increases the freeway capacity.

    There will be more test later this year which will probably be shown on TV a lot. It is essentially
    a electronically coupled train that is formed ad hoc with cars able to join or leave at any time.

    Transit advocates will of course conveniently miss all of the TV coverage again since they believe
    trains can only run on steel track with no routing flexibility and good transportation technology is
    never less than a hundred years old.
     
  14. On Sat, 15 Mar 2003 22:35:18 GMT in rec.bicycles.misc, "Jack May" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > There will be more test later this year which will probably be shown on TV a lot. It is
    > essentially a electronically coupled train that is formed ad hoc with cars able to join or leave
    > at any time.
    >
    > Transit advocates will of course conveniently miss all of the TV coverage again since they believe
    > trains can only run on steel track with no routing flexibility and good transportation technology
    > is never less than a hundred years old.
    >
    fine --- when they can do this with cars that all pollute less than an electric train, then i'll go
    for it. until then, they're all cages, and the people in them are cagers.
     
  15. Jack May

    Jack May Guest

    "Dennis P. Harris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > >
    > fine --- when they can do this with cars that all pollute less than an electric train, then i'll
    > go for it. until then, they're all cages, and the people in them are cagers.

    Are you one of those idiots that thinks that electricity is pollution free?

    US Government data clearly says that trains for transit use more energy per passenger mile than
    cars. A lot of that electric energy comes from really nasty sources like coal.

    The pollution levels from cars have dropped rapidly where they are now a small part of the total
    pollution. If we had effective road side sensor to catch the 10% of the vehicles that produce
    something like 90% of the car pollution, the pollution from cars would be almost insignificant.

    Because steel rail trains are so inflexible, they don't meet the needs of people very well the
    result is like we have in Santa Clara county where we have a 100,000 pound light rail trains
    carrying one person and more often carrying no passengers. That makes those light rail system highly
    inefficient.

    Car "trains" ,unlike rail trains, won't burn energy unless there are people using it for travel. As
    we transition to hydrogen or some other zero pollution energy, your antique trains will still be
    using electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.

    By the way, cagers is a derogatory term used by motorcycle riders since all other vehicles including
    trains are cages. You do not seem to understand the insult.
     
  16. Ray Heindl wrote:
    >
    > I've seen video of a demo of such a system, in Southern California somewhere. There was a line of
    > cars, each about 2 feet from the one ahead, at around 60 mph. All the "drivers" had their hands
    > out the windows to show that they weren't driving. I think the goal is to maximize road capacity
    > by allowing cars to drive safely at high speed with minimal spacing.

    Hey, I've thought of a great name for that - "Commuter Train."

    Whoops, it's taken.
     
  17. Jack May

    Jack May Guest

    "Brian Huntley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    >
    > Hey, I've thought of a great name for that - "Commuter Train."
    >
    > Whoops, it's taken.

    How about the "E Train" or "e-Train"for this electronic train. Goes good in conversations and music
    or movie titles such as "I am taking the E Train...."
     
  18. "Jack May" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > As we transition to hydrogen or some other zero pollution energy, your antique trains will still
    > be using electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.

    And electrolyzing hyrogen doesn't take electricity? You can't drill for it, you know.
     
  19. Jack May

    Jack May Guest

    "Michael Kincaid" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Jack May" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    > > As we transition to hydrogen or some other zero pollution energy, your antique trains will still
    > > be using electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.
    >
    > And electrolyzing hyrogen doesn't take electricity? You can't drill for it, you know.

    Actually you can drill for it and the largest deposit in the world in in central Canada and the US.
    Buy drilling rights in the Dakotas!

    But you have a partial point.

    The main reason for going to hydrogen is to allow unstable sources like wind, wave, solar to store
    their energy to even out their contribution. The goal is to eliminate or greatly reduce fossil fuel
    generation of electricity to reduce green house gases.

    Some sources like pebble bed reactor for nuclear fission can produce hydrogen without going through
    the less efficient process of generating electricity. High heat in the reactor will break the H2O
    bonds directly.

    Replacing the electric trains and the infrastructure would be extremely expensive, especially for
    the almost bankrupt transit services. Cars would be updating to hydrogen as part of the normal
    replacement cycle.

    I have not seen any figure on the cost of adding hydrogen pumps to gas stations, but replacement of
    a lot of service station equipment has been done over the last couple of decades to meet
    environmental requirements. I suspect addition of hydrogen tanks and pumps will not bankrupt the
    automobile infrastructure.

    It may increase costs, but not going to hydrogen can be expected to lead to even higher costs.
     
  20. Did you ever notice every "alternative" to replace oil, eliminate congestion, etc., always not only
    preserves the car indefinitely, but makes them and/or their system more expensive?

    But then again why should we expect anything else from the media who gets half their money from car
    advertising.

    If they didn't, articles such as the following would be common: "Working to Drive, Why do we spend
    more time supporting our cars than we spend driving them?" or "Exercising to work - how the bike is
    effectively instant and free transportation" or "The Soccer Mom - It isn't Soccer or Motherhood, but
    dumb transportation subsidies that created her" "Why do we spend more "defending" foreign oil than
    we do buying it? etc. etc. etc.

    Its GM's world, we're just living in it.

    "Jack May" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Brian Huntley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > >
    > > Hey, I've thought of a great name for that - "Commuter Train."
    > >
    > > Whoops, it's taken.
    >
    > How about the "E Train" or "e-Train"for this electronic train. Goes good
    in
    > conversations and music or movie titles such as "I am taking the E Train...."
     
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