Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, April 4, 2016

Smart Cars and American Roads

In short: Our roads are too poorly maintained for smart cars to use them.
Shoddy infrastructure has become a roadblock to the development of self-driving cars, vexing engineers and adding time and cost. Poor markings and uneven signage on the 3 million miles of paved roads in the United States are forcing automakers to develop more sophisticated sensors and maps to compensate, industry executives say.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently called the mundane issue of faded lane markings "crazy," complaining they confused his semi-autonomous cars.
Even Volvo's North American CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, lost his cool as the automaker's semi-autonomous prototype sporadically refused to drive itself during a press event at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

"It can't find the lane markings!" Kerssemakers griped to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was at the wheel. "You need to paint the bloody roads here!"
Of course, you can bet money that the gabillionaires who want to push smart cars are whining to their pets in Congress.

Still, if you want to monkey-wrench the damn things, you could take some flat-black paint and go over assorted markings here and there. Human drivers might not even notice it, but the robots would go snakeshit.


Deadstick said...

What are these cars supposed to do when it snows?

Comrade Misfit said...

No kidding. I've lived in places where the roads were not bare pavement for months on end.

And how are they going to handle a two-lane (or 1.5 lane) dirt/gravel road?

Stewart Dean said...

According to this:
77% of accidents occur with 15 miles of home....which are inevitably the poorest maintained, poorest signed and marked, poorest cambered with the worst sight lines. I have no doubt the Google-mobile will do wonderfully on an Interstate of parkway, but That's Not Where The Accidents Are.
Nor will all the blart-and-bonkus gimmickry of the new cars (keeping in lanes, awakening you falling asleep, etc,) help you much there. I rented one of these wonders. I parked it, turned it off, got out, keyfob locked the doors and left for 20 minutes. When I came back the engine was running, the headlights were on and the doors were locked.

Augustine's Law # I forget states: "Anything that isn't in a design won't break", And the smarter the car gets, the weirder it will be when it breaks. I have a very nice 2003 diesel VW Jetta, 225,000 miles. No rust (hot dip galvanized sheet metal) and It Just Works...and get 49MPG.

When I am too decrepit to drive I will welcome self-driving cars.

BadTux said...

I will believe that self-driving cars can cope with real life roads only after Google (and Microsoft and etc.) manage to create an AI spam filter that can reliably filter my inbox. Half the email I receive is so obviously spam that I don't even need to open it to know it's spam. "Perfect Sports Bra"? Fifty emails that claim they are from "FAX MACHINE" to "BAD TUX"? WTF? And then the bloody spam filters keep throwing emails from my monitoring infrastructure (which decidedly are *not* spam) into the spam bucket. I drag the not-spam out of the spam bucket and drag the spam into the spam bucket to "train" the filter as to what I consider spam and not-spam, and it's still about as reliable as, well, a politician's promises.

So here's the challenge, Google and Microsoft. Give me a spam filter that can do pattern recognition as well as my Mark II Eyeball. And I'll believe that you can drive on the highway as well as my Mark II Eyeball. Until then... you're full of crap.

- Badtux the Spammed Penguin
* Note -- this isn't demeaning the possibility of technology being helpful, such as automatic braking to keep from rear-ending people, blind spot radar to keep you from side-swiping people, lane keeping help, etc., just that the technology is nowhere near being as capable as the Mark II eyeball and they're bullshitting us -- and maybe themselves -- if they think it is.