Misconceptions About Driverless Cars

Posted on Sun, Mar 19, 2017

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Over the past two years, we’ve been updating you on the developments, challenges, and misconceptions around autonomous vehicles on a regular basis.  In today’s blog, we’re looking at the misconceptions that pervade the concept of driverless vehicles. 

In his article “Top Misconceptions of Autonomous Cars and Self-Driving Vehicles,” Author Alexander Hars with Inventivio GmbH mentions seven areas that are both interesting, definitive, and thought provoking.  Some of Hars’ ideas follow.  For additional information or to see the full article, click here

Misconceptions About Developing Driverless Vehicles

Driver assistance systems will evolve gradually into fully autonomous cars.

This is an extremely attractive misconception that you will find repeated over and over.  All of the driver assistance systems which are in use today operate only for short times and in extremely limited settings. This changes drastically once the car drives itself continuously for minutes or hours. We can only entrust the driving task to a driver assistance system when we are sure that this system can handle all situations which arise suddenly and require immediate reaction. 

The first models of fully autonomous cars will be targeted to the consumer and will be available for purchase.

The first fully autonomous vehicles are much more likely to appear within fleets of autonomous taxis or buses that operate in select urban regions. It may then take several more years until the first autonomous vehicles become available for purchase.

It will take decades until most of the vehicles on the road are capable of autonomous driving.

Increased safety is not the only key benefit of autonomous vehicles: Self-driving cars unleash the driver from the steering wheel and thereby increase available time – a precious and scarce resource.  Fully autonomous technology dramatically increases the return on investment and will therefore lead to rapid adoption. If an average driver spends about 1 hour per day behind the wheel this translates to 15 full days of additional time gained each year! 

Self-driving care are controlled by classical computer algorithms.

We should avoid conceptualizing self-driving vehicles as machines which are controlled by a detailed, exactly specified and in principle comprehensible software program. Instead we should conceptualize their behavior as being the result of a long and varied program of learning. The capability of such cars can be analyzed through simulation and testing but not just by examining its source code.

Public demonstrations of self-driving cars provide an indication of their capabilities. 

It is impossible to judge the maturity of a self-driving car by observing public demonstrations. Difficult situations don’t occur that frequently and therefore these demonstrations can only confirm that a prototype has reached quite a basic level of capability. The enormous difference in maturity between, for example, Google’s prototypes – the current leader in this technology with nearly two million kilometers of testing in autonomous mode and more than 10.000km of testing being added every week! – and the prototypes of all other developers of autonomous car technology can not be appreciated by observing public demonstrations.

Conclusions

Anybody concerned with the safety of self-driving cars needs to consider the dual sided nature of the problem. Not only do we need to avoid self-driving cars being released to the public too early. Because the alternative (human driving) is not safe at all, there is a real risk to releasing self-driving cars too late to the public which will also lead to many traffic deaths that could have been avoided. Almost none of the regulators and safety advocates acknowledge this admittedly very difficult aspect of the regulatory decision problem at all.

Dean and Draper

We hope that you have found this week’s blog interesting and informative.  Thank you for spending some time with us.  We invite you to call when you have any questions about your personal or business insurance.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2017 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: driverless car news

Driverless Car Update

Posted on Sun, Jan 17, 2016

Fotolia_86965823_XS.jpgJust last week, the Obama administration proposed spending nearly $4 billion during the next decade for the government to work with auto makers and others to craft policies and rules for vehicles that can move without a driver at the wheel. The proposal also will set up pilot programs for testing “connected vehicles” that avoid crashes by talking to each other.  And include accelerating the acceptance of driverless cars on U.S. roads and curb traffic fatalities and travel delays.

Who’s Leading the Driverless Car Race?

Google's self-driving cars logged far more miles in California than similar prototypes operated by Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen/Audi and Delphi, with a much lower rate of incidents requiring the automated systems to disengage and hand manual control to the driver, according to annual reports filed this month with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Google: prototypes drove more than 424,000 miles is 13 months with 272 incidents requiring disengagement of the automated systems. 

Mercedes-Benz: prototypes drove more than 1,700 miles in 13 months with 1,031 incidents requiring disengagement of the automated systems.

Nissan/Infiniti: prototypes logged 1,485 miles in 12 months with 106 incidents requiring dis engagement of the automated systems.

Volkswagen/Audi: prototypes logged nearly 15,000 miles in 13 months with 260 incidents requiring disengagement of the automated systems.

Delphi: a supplier of automated systems and components to carmakers, prototypes logged more than 16,600 miles in 13 months with 405 incidents requiring disengagement of the automated systems.

And Now for the Driving Experience

During our research for this blog, we stumbled on a new to us blog.  It’s from The Oatmeal.  This bog is focused on the Google Self Driving car and since Google is leading the pack of driverless cars, wanted to share excerpts from The Oatmeal’s experience.

1. Human beings are terrible drivers.

We drink. We doze. We text. In the US, 30,000 people die from automobile accidents every year. Traffic crashes are the primary cause of death worldwide for people aged 15-24. This is one of Google’s "moonshots" -- to remove human error from a job which, for the past hundred years, has been entirely human.

2. Google self-driving cars are timid.

The car we rode in did not strike me as dangerous. It struck me as cautious. It drove slowly and deliberately, and I got the impression that it’s more likely to annoy other drivers than to harm them. Google can adjust the level of aggression in the software, and the self-driving prototypes currently tooling around Mountain View are throttled to act like nervous student drivers. 

3. They're cute.

Google's new fleet was intentionally designed to look adorable. Our brains are hardwired to treat inanimate (or animate) objects with greater care, caution, and reverence when they resemble a living thing.

4. It’s not done and it’s not perfect.

Some of the scenarios autonomous vehicles have the most trouble with are the scenarios human beings have the most trouble with, such as traversing four-way stops or handling a yellow light (do you brake suddenly, or floor it and run the light?).

Despite the advantages over a human being in certain scenarios, however, these cars still aren't ready for the real world. They can't drive in the snow or heavy rain, and there's a variety of complex situations they do not process well, such as passing through a construction zone. Google is hoping with enough logged miles and data, eventually the cars will be able to handle all of this as well (or better) than a human could.

5. I want this technology to succeed, like … yesterday.

I'm biased. Earlier this year my mom had a stroke. It damaged the visual cortex of her brain, and her vision was impaired to the point that she'll probably never drive again. This reduced her from a fully-functional, independent human being with a career and a buzzing social life into someone who is homebound, disabled, and powerless. 

The facts are 45% of disabled people in the US still work. 95% of a car's lifetime is spent parked.  This technology could transform the lives of the elderly, or eradicate the need for parking lots or garages or gas stations. They ignore the great, big, beautiful picture staring them right in the face: that this technology could make our lives so much better.

6. It wasn’t an exhilarating ride, and that's a good thing.

Riding in a self-driving car is not the white-knuckled, cybernetic thrill ride one might expect. The car drives like a person, and after a few minutes you forget that you’re being driven autonomously.

I say look at the bigger picture. All the self-driving cars currently on the road learn from one another, and each car now collectively possesses 40 years of driving experience. And this technology is still in its infancy. 

Dean & Draper

With new technology comes challenges, resistance, and sometimes miraculous innovation.  We are intrigued with driverless cars and the stunning opportunities for a much safer driving experience so we plan to keep you updated.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: driverless cars, driverless car news