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A car that drives itself

  1. May 11, 2008 #1


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  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2008 #2
    I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
  4. May 11, 2008 #3
    Sounds like your Hardware Abstraction Layer is messed up. I'd suggest you fix it before you reach your destination.
  5. May 12, 2008 #4
    50 years from now, that car in the picture will seem to us now just like a 10mb harddrive from the 80s.
  6. May 12, 2008 #5


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    That would make the commute much more efficient. You could talk on your cell phone, change your CD's, fix your make-up, drink your coffee, all while driving 20 feet behind the person in front of you on the interstate at 75 mph.

    Wait, people already do that.

    Well, it would make driving safer. What would MADD do?
  7. May 12, 2008 #6
    The only problem I have with systems like this, is that I don't think I would ever trust it 100%. In other words, even though it would take over driving for me, I would still have to keep my hands close to the steering wheel and continue to maintain full attention in anticipation of having to make a correction.... or an emergency maneuver.

    What i'm relating this to is the autopilot and autolanding systems in aircraft. Each pilot that i've spoken with has said that they do not 100% trust the autopilot feature and still maintain full attention when it is engaged. There is apparently even less less confidence with the autolanding feature.
  8. May 12, 2008 #7
    How about encoding the road layout in wide infrared paint strips on the road. You car reads the information from the encoded road and knows about the 30 degree curve and stop sign ahead. Add a radar system, and a full mesh car computer to car computer communication and your are done.
  9. May 12, 2008 #8
    Not a bad idea. I wouldn't be surprised if a type of transponder unit was installed at say, 1/2 mile or 1 mile increments along stretches of freeways or highways. The units would then be able communicate with the cars onboard system and could relay information about upcoming traffic jams, accidents, weather conditions or construction. Off the top of my head, the only downside I can see would be the required power for each and every unit along a given stretch... which 'could' eventually add up to a substantial amount. I'm not sure how much power would be needed for a unit like that though.

    A passive in-road setup with reactive strips, like you suggested, would be more reliable though.
  10. May 18, 2008 #9
  11. May 18, 2008 #10


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    Initially, I think that would happen. The problem is, I think over time, people would become more and more comfortable with it and complacent and not pay much attention. Considering there are already nitwits driving off the road while following their GPS/navigation device thingy without paying attention to whether the road it has programmed in is really present, I don't think it would take long before cars on autopilot were driving into lakes when someone programmed a right instead of a left into the directions and the driver wasn't paying any attention.
  12. May 18, 2008 #11


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    Vehicle to vehicle communications always comes to mind when I am fifteen cars back sitting at a red light.

    When the light turns green the first car starts off almost immediately, but as the time to step on the gas trickles back through the line of cars the reaction time slows down. By the time I finally step on the gas the light is red again.

    I've always thought how great it would be if all of the cars accelerated in sync. All of the dumb bunnies sitting there not paying attention would be moving instantly.
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