I’m in the Detroit area for the annual TRB/AUVSI Automated Vehicle Symposium. Those in Ann Arbor attended the opening of the new test track at the University of Michigan, but I was at a small event with a lot of good folks in downtown Detroit, sponsored by SAFE, which is looking to wean the USA off oil. Much was discussed, but a particularly interesting idea was just how close we are getting to something I had put further in the future: robocars that are cheaper than ordinary cars.
A reader recently asked about the synergies between robocars and ultracapacitors / supercapacitors. It turns out they are not what you would expect, and it teaches some of the surprising lessons of robocars.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported on several past crashes involving automated vehicles. (Per SAE Standard J3016, I use the term “automated vehicle” instead of “autonomous vehicle” or “self-driving car” or “driverless car.”) A few thoughts.
An interesting article in last week’s Wall Street Journal spawned a series of unfortunate headlines (in a variety of publications) suggesting that Tesla had somehow “solved” the “problem” of “liability” by requiring that human drivers manually instruct the company’s autopilot to complete otherwise-automated lane changes.
(I have not asked Tesla what specifically it plans for its autopilot or what technical and legal analyses underlie its design decisions. The initial report may not and should not be the full story.)
Google has done over 2.7 million km of testing with their existing fleet, they announced. Now, they will be putting their small “buggy” vehicle onto real streets in Mountain View. The cars will stick to slower streets and are NEVs that only go 25mph.
The University of Michigan recently released some advance research about motion sickness rates for car passengers. Press coverage of the study tended to conclude that this will be a barrier to self-driving cars. But does this have to be the case?
In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Christoph Stiller from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Stiller speaks about the sensors required for various level of autonomous driving, as well as the ethics of autonomous cars, and his experience in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge.
Unfortunately, the reality that automated vehicles will eventually kill people has morphed into the illusion that a paramount challenge for or to these vehicles is deciding who precisely to kill in any given crash. Although dilemma situations are relevant to the field, they have been overhyped in comparison to other issues implicated by vehicle automation.
When I talk about robocars, I often get quite opposite reactions ... while some say they will never give up car ownership, others can't see why anyone would own a car if there were robotaxis available. Still other believe that human drivers will be banned from roads before long. I predict none of these extremes will be true, but that the market will offer all options to the public.
In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Edwin Olson, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, about the University’s 32-acre testing environment for autonomous cars and the future of driverless vehicles.