Self-driving vehicles

Your Next Car Will Be Driverless

OK, but the one after that will likely be self-driving

|

DriverlessGoogle
pbs

Driverless cars are coming sooner than most people think, according to an article in today's Washington Post. The Post also reports that Federal regulators are eager to help along the transition. Well, maybe. From the Post:

Cars that talk to one another and drive themselves may arrive on U.S. highways sooner than you think as the Obama administration launches an effort to expedite their progress. …

The first hands-free cars are projected to be available within months, and General Motors says it plans to roll out models next year. Initially the vehicles will be used in limited highway situations, rather than plying city streets. …

"We don't want to be part of the problem of integrating this technology into the marketplace," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday. "We want to be part of the solution." …

Foxx anticipated that the technology would be fully rolled out within 10 years and that it might be three decades before fully autonomous vehicles rule the roads.

Do the reports from earlier this week that Google's self-driving cars have been involved in a number of unreported accidents put a speed bump on the way to the driverless future? The Post reported:

"Safety is our highest priority," said Google in a statement. "Since the start of our program six years ago, we've driven nearly a million miles autonomously, on both freeways and city streets, and the self-driving car hasn't caused a single accident."

In order to encourage people to give up the steering wheel, it would really behoove the company to be more forthcoming about the circumstances of the accidents.

All right, maybe your next car won't be driverless, but the one after that will likely be. Actually, when most cars are driverless, I fully expect most people to give up automobile ownership and simply choose to rent cars for individual trips using an Uber-like app whenever they want one.

As I explained in my article, "The Moral Case for Self-Driving Cars," the cost of transportation for people who choose to rent driverless cars is estimated to fall by 75 percent. In addition, realistic simulations show that in cities, people would have an average wait of 18 seconds for a car to show up and that less than one half of one percent of travelers waited more than five minutes for a ride.

The US DOT wants to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle or V2V technology that would enable cars to talk with one another. Randall O'Toole over at the Cato Institute has some reasonable privacy concerns with regard to implementing this technology.

In any case, I really hope that the advent of driverless cars will mean that my 1996 Jaguar XJ6 (my wife refers to it as a "used Ford") is the last car I ever own.

Advertisement

NEXT: John Stossel on Whether It's Time for Mass Civil Disobedience

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Driverless car technology is moving forward so fast that I don’t think the regulators will be able to keep pace. We may manage to get the benefits of this before the government fucks it up completely.

    1. Never fear, there are committees working on sucking the fun and benefit of every aspect of existence as we speak.

      1. From, not of. Coffee is delicious.

      2. HoD, chairwoman of the Fun Sucking Committee…ok that sounds a little different than what you meant.

        1. Do you think they’ll make cars with fun suckers built in?

          1. ProL, do you think it’s wise to expose your automobile sex fetish here? Also, has that penis burn from the tailpipe healed up yet?

            1. I figure the government will want to stop all of the oral and other kinds of sex that occurs in cars. Of course, being the government, the NSA will secretly obtain your DNA and breed a more pliable version of you. Unless you’re already pliable.

              1. “War on Road Head”

                1. Using all of the tools provided from the popular Wars on Poverty, Drugs, and Terror.

                  1. This is really going to change the dynamic of Bang Bus.

          2. Pro L,

            If I first read your sentence and had the “f” in fun and “s” in suckers switched, it’s only because I recently saw an article on nude beaches.

            1. There was that couple that recently got busted for coupling on the beach.

              1. Yes. Twenty-eight minutes of fun in the sun according to the witness who filmed the activity, followed by a dip in the ocean and a return to their towel for a second round (and then a policeman was called).

        2. I made my peace years ago that there’s nothing a woman can say that, with just a little ingenuity, cannot be turned into an obscene joke. You guys missed the boat on hassling me, I have brothers and have been hearing “hur hur hur!” for three decades.

          Haaaa.

          1. THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID HURR DURR

    2. Better ban it altogether then.

      1. We don’t understand it, therefore we must ban it.

        1. We have to ban it before we can understand it.

          /Nancy Pelosi

  2. Initially the vehicles will be used in limited highway situations, rather than plying city streets.

    I can’t wait to see the first self-driving car try to make its way down my winding, piece of shit dirt lane.

    1. The first application will be long haul drivers on limited access freeways (see Daimler/Nevada).

  3. Stupid BBC headline:

    Self Driving Car Accidents Revealed in California

    Opening sentence:

    Four out of the 48 self-driving cars on public roads in California have been involved in accidents in the last eight months, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

    But then we finally get to:

    Both firms denied their vehicles had been at fault.

    Under Californian law, details of car accidents remain confidential.

    1. In other words, their cars have been rear-ended a few times by careless human drivers. Big surprise that media is either scared shitless of under-regulated technology or is simply looking to create fake controversy.

        1. No evidence for this statement but, given it’s the BBC I’m going with the first one. That would fit their MO more than fake controversy.

      1. There is no evidence that the cars didn’t just decide to kill everyone.

      2. There is no evidence that the cars didn’t just decide to kill everyone.

  4. Wake up, you’re dreaming. The regs alone will make it not worth the cost to go full autonomous.

    On the “everyone will rent” model – my first thought was that “with how poorly people treat the interior of cars they own, what mess is going to be made of vehicles they don’t own?” With current rental models, this risk is ameliorated in the contract, but that also ups the price of the service. With the overhead of making sure the non-owners aren’t trashing the cars (and chasing them down for the cost of that) the price point for renting is unlikely to come below the cost to own. Also, based upon many of the same factors, you’d think leasing would have overtaken vehicle ownership. There is a not-insignificant number of us who drive our cars into the ground because that span of not having to shell out beyond gas and standard maintenence is golden. Not to mention the restrictions on use you’ll see for most rental/lease contracts which safeguard the owner’s future value, but drive people to own their own anyway.

    I’m not saying there won’t be renters, but the ‘most’ is an absurd assertion.

    1. UCS:

      To your point one of my favorite car jokes is:

      What is the difference between a tank and a rental car? There are just some places that a tank can’t go. (I’m here all afternoon).

      But seriously, I expect “trashing” to be minimized by the fact that rental companies will keep track of who rents their cars and will deny future service to anyone who frequently harms their vehicles. As Uber has shown, reputation monitoring works both ways.

      1. But seriously, I expect “trashing” to be minimized by the fact that rental companies will keep track of who rents their cars and will deny future service to anyone who frequently harms their vehicles. As Uber has shown, reputation monitoring works both ways.

        And upon being removed from the rental population, they’re going to own instead. There is nothing about a self-driving car that generates an incentive to rent all the time, espeically not for most of the populace.

        1. UCS: Cutting your transportation costs by 75 percent doesn’t generate such an incentive?

          1. Since it doesn’t, and wouldn’t, instead generating a higher transport cost on the median, it’s not going to shift the current rates of ownership. Didn’t we refute those numbers last time, or was that another site?

            1. Oh, right, you didn’t link to the study for its claims to be examined and expected us to accept a rediculous assertion at face value.

              1. People won’t rent daily instead of own, but people who don’t need a daily driver, and don’t even need one every weekend, will indeed rent.

                I am soon to be faced with buying a new car; the 29 year old current one is getting too unreliable. It will cost $500 more a month even for a $20K car. If I could get by with just $100 or $200 a month in convenient weekend rentals, I’d be all over that.

                1. People who don’t go anywhere on a daily basis are not “most”.

                  1. That’s pretty much just elderly invalids, Scarecrow Repair and Ron.

                2. No, there are plenty of city folk who don’t drive all that often.

        2. When the choice is to rent cheaply once or twice a week for weekend trips, or own expensively, incentives work very well indeed. Faced with only beingable to rent cheap dirty cars, most people will clean up their act.

          Some people will prefer the beaters, and some people are such slobs that they will have no choice. Most people will wise up.

          1. What sort of person only needs a vehicle “once or twice a week”? I’m a low usage drive and still need it three to four times per day on the average.

            1. Me.

              I ride my bike to work, and pretty much else anywhere within 10 miles, except the once every 2 weeks trip to Wal-mart. On the weekends I take the car into the city or out in the country to get to a hiking trail.

            2. Me too. I drive twice a week at most.

            3. Lots and lots of city folk.

    2. I’m not saying there won’t be renters, but the ‘most’ is an absurd assertion.

      More technology can be a good thing. The Obama (or other) Administration saying they want to get involved just says it will end up as ‘more taxes and more free shit owned by nobody’ to me.

    3. There are companies that do trip based rentals now (ZipCar and SmartCar come to mind). I’ve used these services and have never had issues with the cars being poorly maintained, so they’ve obviously figured this out.

      The comparison of buy v lease isn’t applicable. We’re talking about people renting driverless cars on a trip basis, more like a taxi, so that the car can then be rented by other people once you’re done, thus spreading the cost of the car among more people. That’s completely different than traditional lease, where you and only you pay the lease and get to use it.

  5. Why does it seem like every prius I get behind is self driving?

    1. The owners are too self-important to pay attention to little things, like the road.

      1. I’ve actually developed an honest to God theory, and its not that they’re self important. It has more to do with the fact that they’re not car people. They’re not acclimated to the culture of driving or the operation of a car. Driving is something they feel is forced upon them due to various societal realities, and they’d prefer not to deal with it.

        So they decide if they MUST drive, they’ll drive a prius to do as little environmental damage as possible.

        Imagine if society demanded that everyone played lacrosse. You’d have a lot of people who couldn’t give two fucks about playing lacrosse, but were forced to do it. You’d end up with all these people running around the lacrosse field putting minimal effort into it, and these people would be mixed in with people who actually liked to play lacrosse, sms put the time and effort into playing it well.

        1. they’re not car people. They’re not acclimated to the culture of driving or the operation of a car.

          I agree with this. I believe that these same people all used to buy Corollas; I was amazed how my early career burning hatred for Corolla drivers was decreased after the Prius was rolled out and took all of its market share amongst the “I can’t drive for shit” set.

          1. I spend a lot of time in my car explaining to my daughter, scientifically, why many of the new specially allocated bus and bike lanes are more dangerous and create more hazards and inefficiency.

            1. Bike lanes can be a problem. Lots of cars (especially ones with flashing lights driven by dudes in silly uniforms) just view them as double parking lanes. People who park at the curb view them as a nice buffer to protect their door from traffic, or some extra space to idle about loading their cars. Meanwhile, when a cyclist is forced to take the lane because of an oncoming obstacle everybody freaks out and tries to run them off the road.

        2. What about people who like to play Lax because you get to knock the shit out of other people?

          I’d love me prius drivers.

          1. I’d love me some prius drivers.

        3. I’ve actually developed an honest to God theory, and its not that they’re self important. It has more to do with the fact that they’re not car people.

          This is true of most Toyota owners. It’s especially true of Corolla driving fuckheads.

          1. This.

            Toyotas, in general, are the most utilitarian vehicles available. Boring and dependable.

            The Supra was the last desirable car.

          2. FJ Cruiser owners might be an exception.

            Because we lurv us some customization and upgrades. Yes we do.

        4. I think one thing that goes into play with the Prius drivers is the fact that they have 2 engines. All that extra weight makes performance pretty much non existent. Some of the older gens of the Prius took 12+ seconds to go 0-60.

          I can forgive the prius driver crimes.. its the Minivan Drivers that are the absolute worst drivers on the planet.

    2. Because there is a non-trivial correlation between terrible drivers and Priuses. Like, seriously non-trivial.

      1. That fast lane looks nice, be a shame if I took it over going 65.

        1. 65?! 65?!!! Where the fuck do you live? 65 would be fantastic. 65 would be a huge improvement! Try 47!

        2. “My Prius can’t accelerate worth a shit, but I think I’ll cut in front of this other guy anyway.”

      2. Which is worse: prius drivers, minivan drivers, or non-commercial pickup truck drivers?

        1. Stay away from the forest green minivan at all costs.

          1. Yeah, that’s Paul’s car.

            1. I’ve taken a lot of insults from you over the years, but none have hurt like this one. I shall now haunt your online presence, including your activities on Grindr.

              1. It should be easy for us to hook up on Grindr, it’s proximity based. My profile name is “magnumdong88”.

                1. False advertising.

                  “Don’t hook up with magnumdong88, I didn’t get what was shown in the picture!”

        2. The other day I saw a car with a “Mother-to-Be On Board!” sticker on the window. Is that becoming a thing now?

        3. People with “wag more, bark less” stickers.

          URGE TO KILL RISING

          1. WHO RESCUED WHO?

        4. Non-commercial? It’s the commercial guys that suck. If it’s not a boss on the phone, it’s some dude on the clock slow rolling it to his next appointment, getting paid for not actually working.

          1. I can deal with cars that go slow. It’s the people who have no use for a pickup truck but still buy them for lifestyle signaling reasons that are swerving back in forth in traffic without any regard of right of way; that’s the bad drivers that are dangerous.

        5. PT Cruiser drivers. They are all too fat to turn their heads, so they just assume no one is coming.

  6. In any case, I really hope that the advent of driverless cars will mean that my 1996 Jaguar XJ6 (my wife refers to it as a “used Ford”) is the last car I ever own.

    Owning/being responsible for less property. Capitalism win! Libertarianism win! Moral win!

  7. The tech is showing up in cars now. Cars equipped with traction and stability control take over breaking and the throttle and ignore driver inputs. Adaptive cruise control does this in response to other cars. Some ’16-’17 models take partial control of the steering. Radar sensors and video are doing the job of mirrors and turning your head to check blind spots. I’d expect “drivers” who become accustomed to these features, or worse learn to “drive” with them, are going to be dangerous if they get behind the wheel of an older car.

    1. I’d expect “drivers” who become accustomed to these features, or worse learn to “drive” with them, are going to be dangerous if they get behind the wheel of an older car.

      We have a rental car at the moment with push-button ignition and a backup camera.

      The push-button feels a little awkward and makes powering the car without starting the engine inconvenient, but the backup camera is out-and-out dangerous.

      1. Backup cameras are now mandatory on all new vehicles. I wonder if anything will possibly go wrong.

      2. but the backup camera is out-and-out dangerous.

        Depends on the car. The one on my ’13 Taurus is wide-angle and can literally show me things to the side that I can’t see, because of vans parked next to me.

        That, and because of the shitty rear visibility that car has, thanks mostly to the massive headrests (which I’m sure DOT has something to do with) I need to have that camera to back up.

        1. Eric Peters brings up a good point.. that by making the cars safer in a crash, and reducing rear visibility to do so (wider pillars and what not) that they are more accident prone.

    2. I believe there are studies that show over time that anti lock brakes haven’t had any significant impact on accident rates. I could be wrong.

      1. I miss cars without anti lock brakes. Especially in the snow. I much prefer to tap the brakes than to have the fucking pedal vibrate under my foot. I understand that they are for stupids to stand on the pedal in the snow, but I’m not stupid.

  8. Fuck
    that.

  9. Have those cars sorted out when to kill the passengers yet? (Child/deer collision avoidance, that sort of thing).

    I’d like to know exact circumstances under which I get murdered in advance. Thanks!

    1. In the 23rd paragraph of the EULA, it will be clearly laid out for absolutely nobody to read.

      They use a pseudorandom number generator based on the mersenne twister to identify when you’ll be arbitrarily sent to an ObamaCare Death Panel for processing and reclaimation. Weighting will in no way be biased toward your voting habits and political support.

      The modelling is completely proprietary and is meant to be double blind. Attempting to ascertain the outcomes will automatically generate a kill signal.

      Enjoy your drive.

  10. The v2v communication technology will be a huge benefit as long as the risks of hacking are minimized and the really don’t pose any serious privacy risks.

    The v2i technology should only be tolerated of it is 1 directional and i2v rather than v2i with no feedback loop because of the risks of misuse by both the state and hackers. However I suspect regulators will be most interested in mandating v2i communications so they can track everyone’s movements

  11. How about self-driving big rigs? Certainly they couldn’t do worse than the one that nearly killed me on my commute this morning. And I thought having a commute of less than 1 mile to work would mitigate the chances of that happening!

    1. ah, they Navitron Autodrive system

    2. I think Daimler just put one on the road. Looks neat.

      1. Yes. Just approved for use in Nevada.

      2. Jobs! What about the jobs!?

      1. +1 Who Made Who?

  12. General Motors says it plans to roll out models next year.

    Paging Ken Feinbhrg!
    *I hate that sanctimonious fucking windbag.

  13. “We don’t want to be part of the problem of integrating this technology into the marketplace,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday. “We want to be part of the solution.” …

    Presumably Sec. Foxx has submitted his resume to work on the Ye Olde Google assembly line.

    1. That, or he was already writing out his death haiku before his seppuku ritual.

  14. “self driving big rigs”?

    I call those “trains”. It’s what they are actually good for.
    Other than first/last mile, freight should ride the rails.

    1. Why do you want to deprive us of truck stop prostitution, pictures of aborted fetuses, and the sheer joy of driving 10 MPH below the speed limit on I-80?

  15. PersonA
    Personally I see No need for a self driving car. I like to drive.

    1. It’d be nice to have the option on long road trips, but mostly I wouldn’t use it.

  16. General Motors says it plans to roll out models next year.

    They won’t have ignition switches, right?

  17. My next car will be a Miata with a manual transmission if Mazda doesn’t fuck it up and it still feels like a real car, not a video game.

    After that… maybe an older pre-electric-everything Porshe 911, or if I actually have some real cash, a Cobra replica maybe…

  18. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
    http://www.work-cash.com

  19. If Obozo launches an “effort to expedite” driverless cars, we’ll all wind up riding camels.

  20. I started with my online business I earn $58 every 15 minutes. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out.
    For information check this site. ????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  21. Let’s see, electronics don’t do well with heat or vibration, and the NSA is hacking everything, so, am I the only one thinking this is a bad idea? On the other hand, I could get rid of my license.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.