Automating the Car Herds!!



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C

Cycle America/N

Guest
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
 
S

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
 
B

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
 
B

Brian Mueller

Guest
"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
 
B

Brian Mueller

Guest
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
 
J

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."
 
J

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.
 
K

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."
 
E

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
 
J

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.
 
J

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.
 
R

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)
 
J

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.
 
D

Dennis P. Harri

Guest
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.
 
J

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.
 
B

Brian Huntley

Guest
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.
 
J

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...."
 
M

Michael Kincaid

Guest
"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.
 
J

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.
 
R

Robert Haston

Guest
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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