Self-driving vehicles

Who's Afraid of Self-Driving Cars? 75 Percent of Americans, Says Poll

Are you among the timorous or will you embrace the hands-free future?

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A recent projection by Business Insider predicts that as many 10 million self-driving vehicles will be on the highways by 2020. I personally think that that estimate is too low. However, a recent poll by the American Automobile Association finds that most Americans are leery of autonomous vehicles. The AAA polled 1,800 Americans about their attitudes toward self-driving cars and found that 75 percent are not yet ready to trust the driving to robots. On the other hand, most drivers did say that they would like their next cars to be equipped with semi-autonomous features such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and self-parking technology. Interestingly, more women (81 percent) than men (67 percent) were afraid of allowing an autonomous vehicle to drive itself with them in it. Baby boomers (82 percent) were more afraid of self-driving vehicles than younger generations (69 percent).

The results of this poll were released during the same week that Google reported that one of its self-driving vehicles was partially at fault in a run-in with a public transit bus. This was the first accident in six years in which one of the company's robot cars was at fault. The car's computer evidently believed that the bus would yield the right-of-way as it negotiated its way around some sandbags in the roadway. The Google car was going all of 2 mph and the bus at 15 mph; no one was hurt in the accident. The company says that it will treat the accident as a learning experience and train future cars to realize that bus drivers can be jerks. Actually what the company said was: "From now on, our cars will more deeply understand that buses (and other large vehicles) are less likely to yield to us."

I predict that the acceptance of self-driving vehicles by the public will be one of the fastest technology uptakes in history. At first, they will be used as long-haul highway freight trucks and Uberesque taxi services in cities and expand rapidly from there.  As for me, I can't wait to be chauffeured around by self-driving vehicles while watching a video and sipping Caol Ila.

Question: Are you among the timorous or will you enthusiastically embrace the hands-free future of driving?

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  1. Interestingly, more women (81 percent) than men (67 percent) were afraid of allowing an autonomous vehicle to drive itself with them in it.

    What percentage of men were afraid of allowing a woman to drive a vehicle with them in it?

    *ducks*

    1. 110 percent?

    2. Based on the small sample of my wife, her mother, the nitwit who rear-ended me at an impossibly high speed in bumper-to-bumper traffic last week and literally every other driver who has ever run into my car, I say you have a strong case.

      1. When I was married, all I asked for was that my wife start at least thinking about the brakes– just thinking about them– within 35 yards of the stopped car ahead of her.

        1. Well, my wife just refuses to drive after having so many accidents. So that’s one way to “solve” the problem.

    3. I think women are opposed to self-driving cars, because yelling at a computer to look out for this and to look out for that will be far less satisfying.

  2. “Question: Are you among the timorous or will you enthusiastically embrace the hands-free future of driving?”

    I remain convinced that driving skills will be prized in the post-apocolyptic future.

      1. I wonder if they controlled for the fact that these are the same horrible spawn who refuse to get real jobs and are constantly begging their more responsible friends for rides, often well into their 20s.

    1. The Boy is ready to get his on his 16th birthday (I can have your car, right?). I spent an hour with him driving yesterday in traffic for the first time. Mostly good, but a few scary moments on the narrow 2-lane roads. (Stay in your lane, lane, LANE, LANE!)

      He’ll also be taking the Street Survival course.

  3. Question: Are you among the timorous or will you enthusiastically embrace the hands-free future of driving?

    I look at it a different way. I’m scared shitless of my fellow human drivers and thus far, there’s evidence that the Google Self-driving car isn’t so hat at accident avoidance when one of its human counterparts does something stupid. I think more time is needed.

    I suspect that when self driving cars actually become a thing– we may end up with special lanes for them.

    1. I suspect that when self driving cars actually become a thing– we may end up with special lanes for them.

      This. The special lanes will probably have some sort of feature – maybe a track, for instance – to prevent human-driven cars from using them. Since it’ll be restricted to a track, or something like one, it makes sense that the self-driving car of the future will be owned by municipalities and regional transit groups, rather than private individuals. They will travel around on their track or whatever and make predetermined stops for the convenience of urban passengers. Since this will only really make sense in built-up areas, it would be a lot more efficient to scale up the self-driving cars so that they can carry dozens of passengers at once. Perhaps several such cars could be strung together in a sort of train-type configuration. I don’t know, i’m just throwing out ideas. Now that we’ve scaled up our self-driving cars, the best way to power them would probably be wiring them into the grid, via either an overhead power cable or some sort of electrified rail embedded in the trackspecial lane. For the convenience and safety of the passengers, and to deal with any unforeseen issues that might arise, a municipal employee might be commissioned to sit in the front of the first self-driving car in each trainlike grouping and keep an eye on things.

      1. I’m not sure I follow your train of thought but I think your motive might be loco.

        1. Solid 9/10. Bravo.

        2. What’s with the train puns? We’re talking about a transportation revolution here!

          1. Just letting off some steam.

            1. Way to derail the thread.

              1. No, it’ll keep chugging along.

                1. *narrows gaze at….EVERYONE*

      2. Since it’ll be restricted to a track, or something like one, it makes sense that the self-driving car of the future will be owned by municipalities and regional transit groups

        Always ask this question when a new disruptive technology comes along: Where’s the union graft?

        You may have found it.

      3. Yeah, the city of Atlanta is floating the idea of funding one of those self-driving car projects, but since it’s going to run on tracks on the street they’re calling it a “streetcar”. Portland is their model for how great this idea is, as long as you don’t call any attention to the fact that – last time I looked – Portland’s streetcars get only about 10% of their funding through fares, which is even worse than MARTA which is itself a financial black hole.

      4. We already have plenty of carpool lanes in California.

        In San Diego, they used to have lanes that went one way during certain times of the day and the other way when rush hour was headed in the other direction.

        Those lanes are reserved for people with more than one passenger, initially as an inducement to get people people to buy hybrids, and there are some pay lanes in various places.

        The justification for using special lanes for driverless cars isn’t to protect other people from them, though. The purpose would be to protect driverless cars from other people. The fact that there were no accidents in the driverless car lane–for year after year–when there are thousands on the freeway with non-driverless cars , would soon become apparent. People will be clamoring for driverless cars very quickly.

        If anything, they’ll want to confine cars with drivers to special lanes–because they’re so comparatively dangerous.

        1. Well perhaps the Luddite reactionaries who insist on remaining dangerously in control of their own voyages and destinations could be safely, er, concentrated away from the right-thinking municipal car passengers, maybe in something like a camp.

          1. As long as I get to take my girl, my dog, and my motorcycle.

    2. here’s evidence that the Google Self-driving car isn’t so hat at accident avoidance

      I have seen no such evidence. Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, but I have seen no evidence against the fact that the trend is for the self driving cars to be better at avoiding crashes than most people. Yeah, there are always problems, but the only ones I’ve seen reported on were examples of where Google (or others) found a situation where avoidance failed and tweaked it to make the car better. It isn’t like there is a systemic issue where Google cars are constantly failing in the same scenario. Instead, periodically an edge case is discovered and they fix the problem.

    3. Most of the accidents were being rear-ended in traffic. How are you, as a human driver, going to avoid something like that? I can’t wait for self-driving cars. I will get one ASAP. Long road trips will become a pleasure. I can drive at night while I sleep.

    4. “Google Self-driving car isn’t so hat at accident avoidance when one of its human counterparts does something stupid”

      So we ban hooman drivers and give power to the glorious robots. One step closer…

  4. Have they figured out who has liability for the car in case of accident, the owner or the car maker who actually controls the car?

    1. Are you a lawyer, by any chance?

      1. No, I don’t even play one on TV.

          1. Does anyone have a tv? Or do we just have really big monitors hooked up to Netflix and Amazon Prime?

    2. My guess is that these will be so rare that they will be covered by some sort of manufacturer insurance.

  5. Question: Are you among the timorous or will you enthusiastically embrace the hands-free future of driving?

    Oh, it’s not going to be “hands-free” exactly, the question is whose hands will your vehicle be in? You don’t think your friendly neighborhood law enforcement anti-terrorist killbot team is going to have any say in the matter?

  6. I predict that the acceptance of self-driving vehicles by the public will be one of the fastest technology uptakes in history

    Wait a second… I’m still waiting for the Segway revolution to take hold. One transportation revolution at a time, please.

    1. They’re waiting for high Tc carbon nanotubes with graphene processors. It’ll happen RSN.

    2. They’re called hoverboards now. And aside from the crippling explosions, they’re fantastic!

      1. Yeah I was wondering WTF was with the hype about so-called “hover”boards. It’s just a Segway without a handle. And yup more explode-y.

        1. I can’t believe how common they are since they’re like 500 bucks.

          1. I used to think that about smartphones. I think the answer is “we are fucking rich”.

        2. Yeah I was wondering WTF was with the hype about so-called “hover”boards. It’s just a Segway without a handle. And yup more explode-y.

          That’s what makes them so cool. It’s a segway that you can get into a backpack, actually works, and doesn’t cost eight grand.

  7. Question: Are you among the timorous or will you enthusiastically embrace the hands-free future of driving?

    Given some state, via some corporation, will essentially control autonomous vehicles from the start, color me timorous.

    1. I’ll go one further and predict that many jurisdictions will prohibit the things out of hand.

      1. Yes, yes they will. But somebody really big, like GM, will get into the business and lobby the federal government and congress will pass a law saying that states that get federal road funding will have to allow these.

        1. It will take someone “too big to fail” to afford the massive liability suits.

          1. It will take someone “too big to fail” to afford the massive liability suits.

            So… the government.

          2. You can sue all you want – good luck proving fault…

  8. I would buy a self-driving car tomorrow assuming it’s reasonably priced.

    That BI article is laughable. It projects that we will have 1million cars on the road in the next 3 months. I can already see the goalposts being moved but the real definition of a self-driving car is hands free, unattentive driving for a vast majority of your commute, i.e. 90+%. That ain’t happening in any significant amount this decade.

    1. real definition of a self-driving car is hands free, unattentive driving for a vast majority of your commute, i.e. 90+%. That ain’t happening in any significant amount this decade.

      Yeah, it’s not a self-driving car until I’m sitting in the back seat looking at a laptop while the car gets me to work.

      1. They could roll it out tomorrow and save tens of thousands of lives per year.

  9. I’m one of about thirty people I know of who specifically avoid technological intrusions in our vehicles — we being mostly sports car enthusiasts (anything from a late Fox-Body Mustang to the Mitsubishi 3000GT, and the Mk2 Toyota MR2 in my case). Just about the only adaptive feature in my car I’m willing to tolerate is power steering. I hated using cruise control when I had an Avenger, because I genuinely and pointedly felt out of control, and I never liked the idea of cameras, but then again, I have no trouble feeling the dimensions of my car.

    I’ve got my power steering, my fancy aftermarket double-din stereo and sound setup, and that’s it. Everything else is unnecessary and detrimental.

    You also need to be a thoroughly good driver not to fuck up and kill yourself in those sorts of cars, and driving one is enjoyable each time I do it, be it in the performance of a chore, or heading somewhere for leisure.

    The most boring-ass shit I’ve ever driven was my neighbor’s BMW (expensive sedan, and I don’t recall the model). I felt tedium after thirty seconds. Soulless car.

    1. I liked the power steering my old Prelude had. As soon as you got above 10 mph, it shut itself off.

    2. Count me as no. 31…although based on our last conversation I’m pretty sure you’d already guessed that…

      Also…power steering? You bourgeois pig. πŸ˜‰

      1. You think THAT’S bad? Get this: I have electric mirrors, too! *Monocle.*

    3. The most boring-ass shit I’ve ever driven was my neighbor’s BMW (expensive sedan, and I don’t recall the model). I felt tedium after thirty seconds. Soulless car.

      E60 M5 driver here; you drove the wrong BMW.

      1. Definitely not the same as yours. What year?

        1. 2008 6MT LCI, dropped new BE tech rod bearings in myself. A rare critter.

    4. The new-fangled whozamawhachits are fine, as long as you can fully turn them off, when you want.

      I don’t have a problem with automotive technology saving my ass from an early grave.

    5. I’m in the process of gutting my car’s interior and installing a cage. Good fun.

      1. Is your name an indicator of what you drive, by any chance? πŸ˜›

        1. You have exceptional powers of deductive reasoning.

          1. What year? πŸ˜€

            1. 2007 GT, manual. All sorts of fun stuff done to the suspension and brakes. Mildly tuned up engine.

              1. Awesome. Take it to tracks?

                1. Yup, I try to do 1 or 2 HPDEs a month. I’d like to get into wheel-to-wheel someday but real life makes that tough to schedule. Meet lots of really great people and after being subjected to safety briefing after safety briefing, with the nanny statists around every corner, it’s nice to do something voluntarily that has the very real potential to kill me if I fuck up.

    6. I love old muscle cars, but 75% of my car time is spent in traffic or running 2 miles to the store. My ideal world is a car that drives me every day, and my driving car that I don’t have to abuse each rush hour.

      Jay Leno made a similar statement about how the automobile saved the horse. Most horses spent their days trudging through mud and grime to do daily work. Once the auto came, most horses became leisure activities. I would much rather have a project car that I could take to the track and really screw around with. My self driving car will get me to work.

    7. This. I have a 74 land cruiser. No power steering. It makes troubleshooting a breeze. I can fix literally anything if I needed to.
      My father had a company car, I think it was a mercury branded ford fusion? One overcast day, he brought my brother to the skate park. About an hour later, the car wouldn’t turn on at all, or give any indication of why. My dad is quite skilled with cars, no master mechanic, but still knowledgeable. It turned out the ecu fried itself. Which meant nothing worked. They had to rewire the entire car, replace most of the sensors, and a new ecu.
      The reason given was “unkown”. So no known imput caused an entire failure.

  10. I would be excited about self-driving cars except for the fact that government will regulate them into uselessness.

    1. They will be allowed on one road between Sacramento and Death Valley, and limited to a speed of 25 MPH. That road will cost $349 billion.

    2. What’s this? He hasn’t paid that $35 code compliance ticket? Shut his car down.

      1. Shut it down? Heck no. Hijack the controls and drive it to the impound lot.

  11. I’m not sure that being skeptical about something that hasn’t been proven is strange. Automated operators have been around for a while and they still seem to work for shit so I’m going to let others bet their life on them before I bet mine. Maybe that’s irrational.

    1. Bet their life on cars, not operators. Sentences are stupid.

  12. Since most people are horrid drivers, I have no problem with self-driving cars as long as the market is asking for them, no one is being forced to use them, and you shitheads leave me alone to drive my own cars.

    Since pretty much none of those things are happening (I’m sure Comrade Bernie will endorse their mandated use shortly), I can say that I unequivocally hate self-driving cars.

    1. Cars? No, comrade. Cars are for the nomenklatura – Chairman Sanders will have us proles on bicycles!

      1. THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED. YOU HAVE CAR OWNERS WHO HAVE THREE! EVEN FOUR! WHEELS PER VEHICLE. SOME WALL STREET EXECUTIVES HAVE AS MUCH AS FOUR WHEELS PER PERSON! NOT PER FAMILY! ONE PERSON USING FOUR WHEELS! NOW THAT’S AN AMOUNT OF WHEELS THAT COULD BE BETTER USED TO PROVIDE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL. TO ADDRESS THE FACT THAT THE RICHEST 50% OF THE POPULATION OWNS 99% OF THE WEALTH.

        1. It’s scary how spot-on you probably are.

  13. Car accidents kill 30,000 people a year — no problem, don’t let the cars drive themselves!
    Hospitals kill 100,000 people a year — we need more government to run them.
    Gunshots kill 10,000 people a year — ban em all, or acceptable loss to keep the 2nd amendment.
    Terrorists kill a few hundred — time to trash the Constitution and put everyone on lockdown.

  14. Timorousness- yeah, that’s why.

  15. A recent projection by Business Insider predicts that as many 10 million self-driving vehicles will be on the highways by 2020. I personally think that that estimate is too low.

    That’s weird. I think that estimate is complete and utter bullshit.

    1. Yeah. This estimate is from the same people who thought there would be 5 million Leafs on the road by last year.

      1. Well, they don’t mean this 2020, they mean next 2020.

  16. Rolling into the sweet arms of freedom is exactly not where these things will roam so any thread of thrill lacing my techno-lukewarm heart is swiftly beaten mercifully into thought vapor by my internal thugs of pragmatics.

    1. Sleek sensor wagons riddled with lecherous surveillance conquests. A bastard thing of astounding fuck-uppery if i am asked.

  17. If Google hasn’t accounted for “unpredictable drivers” they might want to go back to the drawing board.

    1. *nods in agreement*

      “Fasten your seatbelt Rhywun. I’ve been in 19 accidents… but don’t worry, none of them were my fault!”

      *speeds down the road with a white-knuckled Rhywun*

  18. I see you corrected your spelling of a very fine scotch. I was at first impressed, for you choice, then horrified at your misspelling, then relieved at your self awareness. You could have moved the bar today Bailey but I will settle for Do No Harm.

    I will split the “guber car” with you and bring my own bottle of Lagavulin.

    1. I was at first impressed, for you choice, then horrified at your misspelling

      How do you feel about grammar?

      1. That was a test. You passed.

  19. Question: Are these self-driving cars designed by Asians?

    Asking for a friend.

    1. *phew*

      I thought I was the only one making rude, insensitive remarks.

    2. Is your friend Irish?

  20. The biggest issue is going to be when one of these kills somebody (and even if they’re 100 times safer it will happen). The cries about evil corporations and needing regulation will come and then it will cost 200k for a Honda Civic that passes the self driving bureaucracy.

    Given the liability concerns I’m surprised any big company wants to be the first to make these.

    1. I mostly just want the automotive industry to skull-fuck-lobby the ever-loving shit out of the government and deregulate the industry, starting with manufacture. CAFE’s making our cars retarded and expensive. You just wait until the regulators get their hands on this technology.

      1. They fucking love those regs though. Prevents independent automakers from existing.

        1. Unless you’re a hipster independent automaker charging six figures for what looks like a ’67 Mustang.

          http://www.equus-automotive.co…..llery.html

    2. Given the liability concerns I’m surprised any big company wants to be the first to make these.

      This is why the big companies have already started a risk pooling program to manage liability. Free markets. Whodathunkit?

  21. I enjoy driving. I have been to several racing schools and probably have around 200 hours on track. However, as much as I enjoy being behind the wheel, I’ll be thrilled when most cars are self driven. I live in the burbs of a major city and as the population has grown, the quality of drivers on the road has suffered. Hardly a day on the road goes by that I don’t find myself avoiding a poor or discourteous driver. The smartphone epidemic has made the road a much more dangerous place. The sooner we get the bad drivers off the road, the better I’ll like it. Seems a shame for those of us who really enjoy driving, but given the performance of many drivers, it is the best alternative.

    1. The smartphone epidemic has made the road a much more dangerous place.

      The smartphone epidemic has merely slowed everything down, and forced you to sit at lights for multiple cycles instead of just the one. When it was initially thought that everyone would be flying off the road and dying in fiery accidents because they were texting, I was against the texting laws. I felt that this was an efficient way of getting these drivers off the road.

      Unfortunately, everyone is now going 15 under and sitting at the light 45 seconds after it goes green and I’m leaning on my horn.

      Texting while driving should carry the death penalty.

      1. Texting or phoning while driving or walking should carry the death penalty.

        FTFY

    2. I live in the burbs of a major city and as the population has grown, the quality of drivers on the road has suffered.

      It may not be the quality of the drivers but the mix. If you live in an urban sprawl city like Atlanta you drive like a third-world taxi driver on a three-day meth bender, but so does everybody else so it’s all cool. You get out into the suburbs and only half drive like that and the other half drive like the Pope’s grandmother and you have no way of knowing which one’s which. It messes up traffic something fierce when some asshole in front of you stops at the traffic light just because it’s red or refuses to drive any faster than 80 mph just because he’s in the breakdown lane with a flat tire.

      1. It messes up traffic something fierce when some asshole in front of you stops at the traffic light just because it’s red or refuses to drive any faster than 80 mph just because he’s in the breakdown lane with a flat tire.

        Where is this dreamland you speak of? Here, people are stopping at the traffic lights when they’re green and everyone refuses to do anything more than 68% of the speed limit. And don’t get me started on the speeds people are going in the right lane.

    3. The smartphone epidemic has made the road a much more dangerous place.

      Actual, unbiased statistics would strongly disagree with you.

      1. They may actually have, if the overall accident rate has been dropping, but increased use of mobile devices when driving has been keeping the rate steady.

        I’d need to see unbiased stats where the cause of the accident isn’t in question. I’d wager that many accident causes noted by police are pulled straight out of their ass.

  22. I would love to not have to be looking at the road for five hours at a time when I go home to visit the family. Whether I can actually trust a autopilot car system to deliver me that is another story.

    1. Just realized: I’m stuck staring out the window no matter who or what is actually driving because of motion-sickness. Oh well. *sighs for lost dreams of happy reading on trips longer than ten minutes*

      1. * happILy

  23. My fears about self-driving cars aren’t about the technology itself. I’m much more afraid that the technology lends itself violating my freedom to drive my own vehicle.

    The threat to our freedom to drive is much like the threat to passengers in driverless cars–it comes from other people. The data repeatedly show that driverless cars are safer–so long as everyone is following the rules. But driverless cars still have a hard time accounting for other drivers that don’t follow the rules–people rear ending others at stop lights, drunks, etc. The obvious solution to that problem is to force everyone to use driverless car technology. If bad drivers are the problem, replace them with driverless car technology, duh!

    No, I’m not afraid I’m going to be hit by a driverless car, and I’m not afraid that I’ll be injured in a driverless car as a passenger because of something the driverless car does itself. What I’m afraid of is that people will use driverless cars to justify taking away my freedom to drive my own motorcycle . . .

    I am not here for your benefit, and I don’t need your help. I’ll choose my own level of safety, thank you.

    Stay away from my lady, my dog, and my bike, and we’ll get along just fine. Infringing on my freedom to enjoy these things may also come with risks to . . . society.

    1. My fears about self-driving cars aren’t about the technology itself. I’m much more afraid that the technology lends itself violating my freedom to drive my own vehicle.

      See Citizen X’s snark above.

    2. Exactly. My solution to this argument is just make your own choices. I’ll stick to my early-90s sports car, and you cruise around in your Tesla Shitbox Self-Drive Deluxe. But slavers always interfere with that dynamic — the dynamic of true diversity.

      1. In this case, letting people make their own choices will necessarily lead to more deaths.

        Deaths of children.

        I’m not happy about that, but I see it like giving child molesters the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to confront the witnesses against them, the right to a jury, etc.

        Because of those rights, people sometimes get away with rape and murder. From a qualitative perspective, however, I prefer the society where people sometimes get away with rape and murder–but we live in a more free and just society than we would without the Fifth Amendment, etc. In other words, yes, we tolerate a certain amount of rape and murder as the price of a free society.

        In the face of this driverless car technology, we’re going to need people to be as committed to the freedom to drive their own vehicles as they are to the Fifth Amendment. This won’t be like a Second Amendment argument, where you can argue that having more guns around can actually reduce crime. There will be more deaths because of drivers–thousands of deaths every year that wouldn’t happen if everyone were forced to use driverless cars.

        Driverless cars are safer than drivers, and the more drivers you get rid of, the safer they will be.

    3. Sounds like you have something to hide.

      1. Yeah, I’m hiding my bike in this case.

        I can hear all the arguments already.

        You shouldn’t be free to ride a motorcycle in a world with single payer, Ken! Your rights end where mine begin!

        Using HillaryCare to justify infringing on my freedom is a great reason to vote against Hillary and the Democrats, but even if they win over my objections? No, just because you decide to force me into HillaryCare does not give you the right to make other choices for me about my quality of life. Ask any girl that’s been on an unexpectedly expensive date–paying for somebody doesn’t mean you own them.

        I used to laugh about Ayn Rand saying that smoking was a moral imperative. She may have been right!

        I’m not here for your benefit, and I don’t want your help–certainly not with all the strings that come attached. I’ll choose my own level of safety.

        Utilitarians have always had a problem grokking qualitative considerations–and they continue to fail at it miserably. More safety is not always better. Program Skynet to keep us all safe and happy, and Skynet would strap us all down in padded cells and keep us all on a dopamine drip.

        If the benefits of Skynet don’t allow me to make these qualitative choices for myself, then Fuck Skynet.

    4. The data is purposely manipulated to show that driverless cars are safer. In actuality, a person with the same accident rate as driverless cars would be uninsurable. To blame that many accidents coincidentally on other people strains credulity well past the point of breaking. Either fault is not being correctly assigned or Google is under a gypsy curse.

      1. The studies I’ve seen don’t suggest that at all.

        They seem to suggest that all the accidents driverless cars have logged in Las Vegas and elsewhere were the fault of the drivers around them.

        I will say this: On my motorcycle, I can avoid mistakes by other drivers. I can avoid being rear-ended by drunks, even. I have an escape plan when I pull up to a stop light, and I constantly watch the cars coming up behind me to see if they’re looking right through me, coming too fast, what have you.

        If they are, I can pull up in between the cars ahead of me. I can move into the right turn lane. I don’t care what the insurance company, the law, or the courts say–avoiding being hit is my responsibility. Anybody who doesn’t accept that responsibility should stay the hell off of a motorcycle.

        Does that mean a self-driving motorcycle would be more dangerous than I am driving myself?

        Probably. My record is impeccable. I average about 15,000 miles a year, and I’ve never been in an accident.

        Those accidents are harder/impossible to avoid in a car, however. Driverless cars are safer, and the fewer drivers there are (who break the rules), the safer driverless cars’ record will be.

        1. “Average about 15,000 miles a year”

          A lot of that in Los Angeles and Las Vegas–the latter of which is probably the most dangerous place to drive in the country. They give locals free drinks in those casinos!

          Free alcohol.

          1. The average miles driven is also an important statistic to watch. Google cars have a good number of accidents, but they are also being driven constantly. In a month, a test car for google will log more hours driving city streets than future owners will log in a year. You can expect a higher number of accidents per vehicle in those cases.

            1. My accident rate is zero.

              Zero that were my fault.

              Zero that were someone else’s fault.

              If Google has had any accidents at all in Las Vegas, then Google can’t touch my safety rate.

              Mine record is perfect.

            2. I’m talking about the accident rate per mile. It’s atrocious. So either the Google cars are actually at fault at least some of the time, or they have worse luck than any human being in the history of the planet.

            3. I’m talking about the accident rate per mile. It’s atrocious. So either the Google cars are actually at fault at least some of the time, or they have worse luck than any human being in the history of the planet.

              1. How about their squirrelz rate?

        2. They seem to suggest that all the accidents driverless cars have logged in Las Vegas and elsewhere were the fault of the drivers around them.

          Oh, the question begging…

  24. Can’t wait. This is going to be the next big step forward. Not just cars, but robotics in general.

    We waste a shit-ton of time getting from point A to point B. Time better spent doing other things. Hopefully the next step is to move it into the third dimension and increase the speed by a factor of 5 (or 9).

    1. You’re advocating for suborbital trips?

      You’re aero, tell me how drag power scales with velocity.

      1. Assuming you mean force.

        As the square.

        And directly with density.

        1. Power goes as the square? No, I meant power.

          1. Not following. What’s your point?

            Drag is a force.

            D=Cd1/2pV^2A

            It acts opposite to Thrust (also a force) in constant velocity level flight.

            Not sure what you are asking me?

            1. They never taught you T*V=P?

              The answer is that (assuming we round up to 10 times as fast as ground transport) you need 1000 times the power since drag power goes as the cube of velocity. You get a break on energy since your t(ime) is distance/velocity so you only need 100 times the energy. Going slow is efficient.

              1. I haven’t looked a power equation in 28 years. Hadda look it up to see what your were getting at.

                Yes. Slow is efficient.

                And slow.

                1. And my efficiency increases with altitude.

  25. people… who specifically avoid technological intrusions in our vehicles

    No shit.In my fleet, I have a 43 year old Porsche 914 Karmann Ghia Mk IV. My insurance company can’t download throttle position, speed, cornering Gs, or any of that other “are YOU a good driver?” crap as I drive. None of my other cars has any “driver assist” gimcrackery, either.

    1. Respect, Brooks. But wasn’t the 914 that weird mid-engine car that was originally supposed to be VW branded but ended up as a Porsche?

      1. They look like rx-7’s, right?

  26. I’m gonna guess that 75% of Americans don’t WANT driverless cars, not that they’re afraid of them. You can’t cut people off and act like an asshole in general when the car is driving.

    1. This is the same kind of slanted bullshit reporting that has led us to CFL bulbs, international climate change agreements and the EPA having more power than a fucking genie. “Hmm, the survey shows most people don’t want a driverless car at this point. They must be scared!”

  27. Raise your hand if you spent an inordinate amount of time driving around friends who “didn’t believe in owning a car, maan”.

    1. *keeps hand down*

      How low is your self esteem if you have friends like that?

      1. Maybe they provide grass, gas or ass?

        Nobody Rides for Free.

      2. How low is your self esteem if you have friends like that?

        *gazes at shoelaces*

  28. Okay, people are going to call me a pants-shitter but here’s what I’m afraid of. Not robot cars…but just about everything else:

    1) Cars with Big Brother technology (Is my car radio listening to me? Will it punish me for my racist joke or for singing along with filthy rap lyrics? Will it detect when I’m speeding and drive me to the station house? Will a hacker disable my brakes for the lulz?)

    2) Millennials. I know they’re texting while driving. While they’re checking they’re iPhone for snapchat nudes, are they going rear-end me when I’m at a red-light and snap my spine like a toothpick? God, fuck them.

    3) Drunk drivers. Bars are full of parking lots. People are drunk-driving all the time. It should be the death-penalty on the 1st conviction for anyone who’s caught with over 0.125 BAC. God fuck all people. I hate everyone, except ESB and ENB. They’re ok, maybe.

    1. I hate everyone, except ESB and ENB. They’re ok, maybe.

      I’m pretty sure ENB is looking at Twitter while she’s driving.

    2. Well you would be fun to take camping…

    3. But, this technology has the potential to eliminate drunk driving. The problem is the po-po, MADD, and other random statist control freaks will want to make people liable for “operating” an autonomous vehicle while intoxicated.

      1. Not only drunk driving but also accidents from fatigue and just plain old not paying attention. That would be great.

        The problem – and it’s a big problem, as it should be for liberty-minded people – is as you mentioned. That will be a ton of data various agents of the state will desperately want, and probably get, under the guise of ‘public safety’.

        Our phones aren’t safe from these people, why would anyone think your car would be, especially since they are on ‘government’ roads?

        1. “Our phones aren’t safe from these people, why would anyone think your car would be, especially since they are on ‘government’ roads?”

          Yep, and if you haven’t done anything wrong, well….
          I keep hearing that the gov’t already has that from your phone. Maybe, but mine’s turned on all of about 1% of the time, and often quite a distance from where I am.
          Besides which I have no desire to add to surveillance under any circumstances.

    4. You’re a pants-shitter and an authoritarian shitheel.

  29. People are drunk-driving all the time.

    Practice, practice, practice.

    1. I knew a guy who kept an eye-patch hanging over the rear-view mirror. When he was so drunk as to be seeing double, on went the patch.

      1. Yankee ingenuity.

  30. “Question: Are you among the timorous or will you enthusiastically embrace the hands-free future of driving?”

    More important question: Are you among the those who enthusiastically embrace the government recording your every destination?

  31. I doubt the age self-driving cars is effectively anything closer than twenty years off. The country is more than urban streets and interstates.

  32. It would be interesting to go back to the 1920s and ask whether people trust aircraft as a form of transportation.

    1. Hell, people were afraid of bicycles because they believed if you went too fast, you would not be able to breath cause the air would rush by.

      1. Which has what, exactly, to do with this discussion? It’s an ad hominem, but is it even a relevant ad hominem?

        1. You’re right, it was completely unrelated to Fd’A’s comment about people being afraid of new transportation methods.

          1. My bad, that was supposed to be a reply to Fd’A.

    2. The polling isn’t the interesting part, the time travel is!

  33. I could see where a self-driving option on a car can be handy, especially on long trips or at night when you might doze off.

    Other than that, I like driving and will continue to do so.

    Also – even if it is eventually perfected, is it really a good idea to have even more data available for law enforcement and the government to get their tyranny loving hands on?

  34. 80% autonomous vehicles or whatever when terrorist FCG-EMP goes off will make it all that much funner.

  35. It’s laughable to think that there will even be 1000 ‘self driving’ cars on the actual road by 2020 considering that’s 4 years away at this point.

    Computers simply aren’t there yet, and those who seem to believe they’re ‘close’ don’t seem to really grasp the fact that they’re essentially trying to build H.A.L. into your car. Also, unsurprisingly, once the algorithm is perfected to make your car drive you to the local CVS it will also enable killing machines to autonomously murder people without human input. The basic concept behind both systems is target acquisition, recognition, prioritization, and then applying physics to either avoid/strike an object.

    One day they might be a thing, but ultimately this is just a slight-of-hand by the government to get everyone to buy their own public transit while working on the baseline for the next generation of combat drones. Maybe I’m wearing a tin hat, but if you buy the ‘safety’ angle you’re smoking some good shit.

    Also, lets be clear, I’m not afraid of the cars. I just have an idea of what else that technology could be used for.

    1. “It’s laughable to think that there will even be 1000 ‘self driving’ cars on the actual road by 2020 considering that’s 4 years away at this point.”

      http://www.newsherald.com/opin…..robot-cars

      1. So you think that in four years they can teach a glorified proximity sensor the difference between a Doberman and a child?

        Good luck with that.

  36. wasn’t the 914 that weird mid-engine car that was originally supposed to be VW branded but ended up as a Porsche?

    Branded VW in Europe, Porsche in America.

  37. What I do not need is a car which will, on its own initiative, stab the brakes and/or attempt to wrest the wheel from my hands when I am two or three car lengths in front of a semi.

    Thanks, anyway, though.

  38. We have what are essentially driverless airplanes and have had them for quite some time. It’s definitely possible. I wonder, however, how successful driverless airplanes would be if the skyways were as crowded as the roadways, and filled with equally stupid and untrained drivers.

  39. “The Age of Cryptocurrency” by Vigna & Casey, has a great segment discussing self-driving cars as blockchain powered Digital Autonomous Corporations (DACs), to produce extremely efficient and low margin Uber/Lyft type taxis and subscription ride sharing, or even a DAC that grows and replicates itself, if coded to do so. Big money is being thrown at this end by Google, Uber, Microsoft, GM, Ford, etc.. I cannot wait to see how the LEO community reacts to such a HUGE reduction in revenues due to driverless cars. Also, it will be interesting to see the LOEs react to losing their foot in the 4th amendment door of searching vehicles after manufacturing probable cause following traffic infractions. I’m sure they will accept reason and the fact that people are now safer and wealthier without their assistance and they will gladly roll back their budgets and manning to align with the new economic reality.

    1. Nah, they’ll still be able to do all of that only instead of you knowing about it they’ll access the vehicles internal systems via WiFi/SatCom/Bluetooth and do a remote scan. Since you aren’t the ‘owner’ in the situation you’re talking about, they really don’t have a particular reason to ask you for your permission.

  40. They should test them in NY and LA first. See how it goes.

    1. If you read the linked Stossel article above, they can’t test them in NY because there’s a law in NY that says you can’t take both hands off the wheel. A law surely passed by Woody Allen.

    2. Don’t think NYC will ever allow them, they will threaten the unionized cabbies and transit workers.

  41. Asians + technology versus Asians + driving.

  42. I’m sorry ? 10 million self-driving vehicles on the road in just under 4 years?

    That makes zero sense at all. Has any major manufacturer of vehicles stated their intent to start designing said vehicle essentially right now, and is that manufacturer capable of prototyping, testing, and ultimately building them in the huge numbers (and with the staggering levels of financial investment) required to get that number of vehicles on the road before the end of Donald Trump’s first term in office? πŸ˜‰

    1. Yeah, that was a really stupid statement. 2.5 million self-driving cars a year, starting RIGHT NOW. Derp.

    2. It won’t happen in my lifetime. I expect to live to 2050.

      Somebody can come back in 2031 and point out how wrong this post is, I suppose. Bookmark it.

  43. I doubt that self-driving cars will ever really take off outside of big cities where they will ferry hipsters to bars, dodgeball games, and orgies. Too many Americans simply enjoy driving-unless, there is a mandate that will only allow self-driving cars, but I don’t think any politician is dumb enough to take our cars away.

    1. We have the right to firearms enshrined in the Constitution and they’re doing a pretty damn good job of eroding that. Most people think driving is a privilege anyways, wouldn’t be hard to take it away.

      1. This. “Travel doesn’t mean cars, ColoraDOOM!” They say.

      2. The 2nd amendment still stands, for now…Most people recognize that the right to one’s own transportation is fundamental. In fact, it is very hard in most states, particularly the more democrat-leaning like Mass. and Maryland, to take away the license of repeat drunk drivers because driving is considered essential for employment. Perhaps the drunks will be the first to be limited to self-driving cars.

  44. Question: Are you among the timorous or will you enthusiastically embrace the hands-free future of driving?

    Like any bleeding-edge technology, I will wait for the early adopters to suffer the majority of the risks and expense. The fact is, the software will be buggy and/or incomplete. It will take several technology generations to work (most of) the kinks and flaws out.

    My biggest fear, however, is the Government. Cars can already be hacked and devices like On-Star can remotely slow a vehicle or even prevent it from starting. How long do you think it will take for the Government compose regulations requiring that the government have remote access to track your movements, stop/prevent from starting your vehicle, remotely open your trunk, and even seize control of the vehicle?

    Cars have already been excluded from a variety of Rights protections under the guise of “driving is a privilege” and “public safety”.

  45. Sort of OT. I was at a trade show and convention and was talking with a rep who works with the transponder systems in cars. In canada, they apparently passed a law that all new motorcycles, atv’s and snowmobiles will be equipped with a transponder. Because nothing is safer than being 100 miles from town on a snowmobile and losing the ability to start your machine.

  46. As a trial lawyer, I can assure you this will mean the death knell for the auto industry which will be quickly sued out of existence. And it will deserve it.

  47. I’m in favor of self driving cars. You won’t need a designated driver to stay sober.

    1. Prediction: once every car on the road is able to drive itself fully autonomously, it will still be illegal to be sitting in the driver’s seat (or whatever it’ll come to be called) while intoxicated.

      For one, because it would take an overhaul of existing law to make it otherwise. For another, because the argument will be made that there still needs to be someone to operate the vehicle in case of emergency (and it will be legislated that there must be provision for this, even though sound design dictates that the car explicitly ought have no such provision, because for it to work reliably in only certain cases is worse than to not have implemented it at all). And lastly, because the people who push for such laws don’t actually care what they accomplish; they are just the latest iteration of your classic Victorian busy-body, who want to decide what’s moral, and can’t stand to see anyone doing otherwise. And of course there is always the fact that the state derives income from the drunk-driving laws.

  48. Yes. . . just what we need – more cars that can be hacked by college kids with smartphones. . .

    When 1 self-driver has as many accident-free miles as I do. . . not collectively, but 1 vehicle – I will consider lightening up.

  49. “This was the first accident in six years in which one of the company’s robot cars was at fault.” Um…not really. It’s the first accident in six years *in which Google admitted that* one of the company’s robot cars was at fault.

  50. Jesus fucking Christ, upside down on the cross.

    I’ve never seen such a pathetic bunch of Luddites in all my life. Safety? Hacking? Spying? Police state? It’ll never work? The same can and has been said about every new technology EVAH! And that position has always been wrong.

    But this time…

    …it’s different.

    For a commentariat associated with a magazine called Reason…

  51. Timorous. Are we taking a vote?

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