Monthly Archives: October 2013

What about the law ?

The law issue is quite a big issue for the autonomous vehicles. Talking about laws, it’s a complex story. With more than 200 countries in the world, the laws are also different in different areas. The autonomous vehicles can be a headache in lawmakers.

  • Question 1: Should autonomous vehicle be legal ?
  • Question 2: What should be the role of the human in autonomous vehicle- should there be a person with driving license supervising the system ?
  • Question 3:   Who should be responsible if the autonomous vehicle cause an accident ?
  • Question 4: This is quite a notable question. As there are always cameras on the autonomous vehicles, will people agree the law which will cause so many cameras running on the road ?That means you will be under the camera anywhere with a autonomous vehicle.

Dozens of questions like this,

“Must the “drivers” remain vigilant, their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road? If not, what are they allowed to do inside, or outside, the vehicle?”

“To what standard, then, should these vehicles be held? Must they perform as well as a perfect human driver for any conceivable maneuver? Or must they perform merely as well as an average human in a statistical sense? In any case, how should that performance be measured?” (1)

There are already laws about the autonomous vehicle. In California, it’s allowed to test the autonomous vehicle under the supervision of human beings.

In America,the state of Nevada, California, and Florida all have passed legislation regulating autonomous or self-driving cars.

Also in Japan,” The Japanese government has granted an autonomous Nissan Leaf a license plate, making it the first road-legal self-driving car in the island nation.”(2)

 

So anyway, the law making for the autonomous vehicle will takes a longer time than we think. Some people said that the technology will be on the market in 2020, but the law will be far behind than 2020. Law is always behind the technology.

reference

(1)http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2012/12/laws_for_driverless_cars_who_is_responsible_for_crashes_and_traffic_violations.html

(2)http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/japan-grants-autonomous-electric-car-drivers-licence-48388

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What autonomous cars can do now ?

Some people may be doubting about the technical aspect of the autonomous vehicle and we need to wait decades to see the real autonomous vehicle on the road. Today I will show you something which may change your ideas.

The first truth is volvo SATRE road train project. It’s a vehicle following technology in fact.

It’s true that autonomous driving in high-way is easier to implement. But the autonomous vehicle technology is more than that.

The second truth is about the Google car.According to New York Times (1), “seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. One even drove itself down Lombard Street in San Francisco, one of the steepest and curviest streets in the nation. The only accident, engineers said, was when one Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.” Impressive, right ?!

Apart from google car, many other companies are doing research on the autonomous vehicles.Like Benz, BMW,Nissan,etc

This is a a video about new Mercedes-Benz S 500 Intelligent Drive Autonomous Car Self-Driving Frankfurt Motor Show.

Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars, has announced that “it will start selling a self-driving car by 2020.”(2)

Also a link to the autonomous car of Nissan

So I believe, the autonomous vehicle will be OK in the technology view. You will soon see them on the market soon.

reference:

(1) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/science/10google.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss&

(2)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2418526/Self-driving-Mercedes-Benz-sale-2020-unveiled.html

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Ethical aspects of autonomous vehicles

During a panel discussion about the ethical aspects of autonomous vehicles, “Autonomous Vehicles: The Road to the Driverless Car,”Altera said this at the headquarter in San Jose.
Because there are no real drivers operating the car, it is not clear to say who is supposed to be responsible for the car accidents, if unavoidable.
It is interesting to note that two decades ago, there were discussions about whether to build smart roads to guide vehicles, however governments were not willing to invest in such infrastructure construction. However, currently the issue is shifted to vehicles itself. It is still challenging to let systems guide themselves. Image sensors and radars are common ways to solve this problem, whereas, they are easily interfered with environment, for instance their speed to response and their sensitivity to low-light conditions.
As known, Google is engaged in this field as well, so there have been lots of discussions on this done by Google. Apart from the question on who to blame when car crashes, there are still problems which are given below:
1. Unemployment.
Considering there are still lots of people making livings by driving, the impact brought by autonomous vehicles can be huge.
2. Conformity to laws
Do autonomous vehicles conform to local laws and international laws? What changes need to be made to current laws?
3. Trolley problem
The choice about killing pedestrians or killing the car itself.
An interesting video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fs0E69krO_Q
Though still a lot discussions on ethics, the technical progress is still being highly valued due to potential benefits.
References:
http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20131015VL202.html
http://googlesautonomousvehicle.weebly.com/ethics.html

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by | October 27, 2013 · 9:33 am

Introduction to autonomous vehicles

On average, one person dies every minute somewhere in the world due to a car crash (Powers and Nicastri, 2000). And most of the car accidents are caused by the careless driving. People sometimes drive for a very long time and get tired. People sometimes focus on talking with their friends when they are driving,  I even know a friend died because he drove after he got drunk. Driving by human is not always safe. You must keep focusing on the road condition when you’re driving. But autonomous vehicle can make you free of driving.

Autonomous vehicles, (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car),  are “capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. As an autonomous vehicle, it is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input.”(1)Image

(This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 19:22, 26 October 2009 (UTC) by Kozuch (talk).)

Normally the autonomous vehicles use  cameras or radar  lane to gather the information of the environment and then the controller will tell the vehicle to drive at the right direction and speed. The GPS or INU sensor will give feedback to the control system.

This technology has a long history. In 1926, Achen Motor demonstrated  a radio controlled car  “Phantom Auto”at the streets of Milwaukee.(“‘Phantom Auto’ will tour city”The Milwaukee Sentinel. Google News Archive. 8 December 1926). In the recent year , this technology has been developed more. Some people even predict that this technology will be the future of vehicles.

So in this blog, we will mainly discuss whether this technology can be accepted by the whole society and its promising future.

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