Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Featured Do you feel safer with self-driving cars on the road?

  1. Yes

    31 vote(s)
  2. No

    37 vote(s)
  3. No opinion

    7 vote(s)
  1. Sep 13, 2017 #1
    As a AI programmer, among other things, I know the limitations of the technology. So I vote No to this question. For one thing, safe driving demands being able to think ahead and anticipate situations which sensors do not pick up.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2017 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    Which unfortunately many human drivers do not pick up either ... The question needs to be answered not only taking the AI into account, but also the capabilities of the typical human driver. For example, an AI will never drink and drive or tire during a long journey.
  4. Sep 13, 2017 #3
    Responding to the question strictly as asked, I've voted no.
    Self-driving cars are still too small a fraction of cars on the road to improve my safety.

    I eagerly await their widespread adoption.
    It is only a matter of time.
  5. Sep 13, 2017 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The poll asks about feeling safer. That's not the same thing as being safer.
  6. Sep 13, 2017 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    That depends on how logical the person responding is.

    I answered yes because statistically you are generally safer with self-driving cars on the road (replacing drivers), but there are conditions where it is safer and other conditions where it is less safe to be around a self-driving car. And the differences and uncertainty are - for the less logical - causes of negative feelings.
  7. Sep 13, 2017 #6
    I agree and would answer "Not yet". AI can't help you when a drunk/texting driver blows through a stop light and t-bones you. I would feel safer if all cars were computer operated (unlikely to happen in my lifetime).
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  8. Sep 13, 2017 #7
    Well, the positive is that freeways have nowhere near as many signs, that often throw off self-driving cars, as do streets. And, if I'm right about the statistics, most people who die from car crashes have accidents that take place on freeways (high-speed collisions), where self-driving cars do best.
  9. Sep 13, 2017 #8
    Do I trust them now? Heck no. I won't be on board first or second generation, but third generation I'm all in baby! Can't wait to push that button and take a nap.
  10. Sep 13, 2017 #9
    Yeah, I want one of those things that look like a door, then you press the button and put your PIN into it and then arrive where you want in no time at all.
    I voted no becuz there are crazy feckers out there, wantin' ta rob ya identity and that
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  11. Sep 13, 2017 #10
    True. But whether we will actually be safer depends on many factors, not just the cars themselves. They are part of a system. Meanwhile I am curious how people react to the idea of self driving cars.

    In my case I've avoided several accidents over the last few years by thinking ahead and taking what I know about human behavior into account. I'm thinking specifically about avoiding running into pedestrians, including children or drunk people who are not watching out for themselves. I'm talking about some very complex situations in crowded areas, or situations where people can't be seen until they jump out in front of you.

    Of course, it's theoretically possible to set up a system in which the only driving situations allowed are those the self-driving cars could cope with. Maybe not going quite as controlled as the Disneyland Autopia, but maybe not far from that.

  12. Sep 13, 2017 #11
    Me too. Actually I want a Tardis.

  13. Sep 13, 2017 #12
    Yeah, a good model, but the best one is the elevator in hitch hikers guide to the galaxy.
    Don't forget your towel though.
  14. Sep 13, 2017 #13


    Staff: Mentor

    You can always get one of those kids beds that look like a sports car until the third gen comes along.


    It's self driving at least I don't see a steering wheel, brakes or seat belts.
  15. Sep 13, 2017 #14


    Staff: Mentor

    I would vote yes but like Greg would wait for the third generation as early pioneers often receive lots more arrows.
  16. Sep 14, 2017 #15
    I imagine the developers of self driving cars are well aware of issues like this. I feel like this would be a good application of machine learning.

    I voted yes because I think a lot of us overestimate our abilities. Driving often involves a lot of mundane tasks performed repeatedly with occasional sudden reactions to avoid an accident. This is something people are incredibly bad at but computers are better at. They can perform a task over and over again then switch to a different task without hesitation.

    This will certainty be difficult to program since there are so many ways things can go wrong on the road, but I imagine it won't be long before computers become statistically much better drivers than humans.
  17. Sep 14, 2017 #16


    User Avatar

    Lol, back in my day, they were real... and we called them "sleepers" .

    And if you didn't have one, when you really did go to sleep, you still dreamed about... having one .
  18. Sep 14, 2017 #17
    I voted No.
    - I feel as safe as I will ever feel, like most people I do not get into a car expecting to be in an accident ( same for a bus, plane, train, bicycle, walking, etc )
    - sensors will foul up under adverse conditions, or electrical mechanical failure, drivers will ( have to ) revert to manual override ( or will the car stop in the middle of the road ). Imagine an operator going manual with no experience behind the wheel - what's this button do? Or the car shutting down in the middle of nowhere - check the service manual ie your screwed.
    - snow, sleet, rain, mud, black ice, locust swarm - self driving will perform better than some drivers, and worse than others. Where on the curve of 'defensive' driving will it be.
    - I still have to fill up with gas, clean the windshield, ( windscreen in Britain ), check the oil, check the tires, check the headlights, tail lights, and running lights,and get a 50 point inspection - some of which I may or may not do already. Self driving won't make me have instantly a better vehicle maintenance intelligence so that a safe car is on the road.

    One safer area, I think, is mishaps with a pedestrian. I would say that most drivers behind the wheel look for cars to evade. A self driving unit would check for cars, and we hope, people, and other things. Ever see the video of people tossing a basketball between themselves? At the end, the question comes up: Did you see the guy in the monkey suit strolling across. Human viewers in a majority miss the monkey suit.
  19. Sep 14, 2017 #18

    jack action

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Do you feel safer with:
    • disc brakes instead of drums;
    • seat belts;
    • glass laminated windshields;
    • air bags;
    • energy-absorbing crumple zones;
    • ABS brakes.
    If you think you need driverless vehicles to feel safer than it is now, you probably will never feel safe.

    Personally, the only thing that made a notable difference in safety in my lifetime is the major improvement in tire construction. Today's tires stick to road a lot better than they used to and that is the only thing that really makes me feel safer.
  20. Sep 14, 2017 #19
    I'm sure there are types of crashes where we are much safer, but at the end of the day nothings going to save you from a pickup t-boning you driver side.
  21. Sep 14, 2017 #20


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The demand for safe, self driving vehicles will be triggered by the promise of reduced liability insurance rates. Safety will also be improved by the same promise. So if the question is forward-looking I would say yes, if present-looking, no. Since I cannot tell, no opinion.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted