Author Topic: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)  (Read 3984 times)

LetterRip

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Apparently the first self driving taxi will start operating in Singapore later this year....  It is a pilot program, but still this is sooner than I expected.

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This is nuTonomy's secret sauce: They believe that their autonomous driving software is better than anyone else’s. So much better, in fact, that they're planning to launch a pilot of a fully autonomous taxi service in Singapore later this year.

When we say "fully autonomous," we're talking about Level 4 autonomy, or full self-driving automation. A Level 4 autonomous vehicle "is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip;" all you have to do is provide a destination and (possibly) open and shut the doors. Most cars with functional autonomy right now, in contrast, are at Level 3, with limited self-driving automation: the driver is expected to be available for occasional control. It's a big step from Level 3 to Level 4, but the benefits are enormous: in addition to leaving the driving completely to the car, it also means that the car is capable of driving itself with no human inside, which is what makes a robotic taxi service possible.


http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/self-driving/nutonomy-to-launch-worlds-first-fully-autonomous-taxi-service-in-singapore-this-year
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 01:27:48 PM by LetterRip »

D.W.

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 01:25:30 PM »
Is it better to demo a robot-taxi where the traffic laws are a bit more chaotic and people assume the drivers will be "crazy" and "reckless"; or in areas where traffic laws are adhered to reliably and pedestrians will assume any given vehicle will yield for them?  :) 

And which of those two is Singapore?

Fenring

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2016, 01:25:38 PM »
I wonder if it will have interactive verbal capabilities so that it can ask and answer questions. It would be awkward for some people who know where they're going but don't know the address to get in and realize they can't verbally guide the car ("turn right at the next light, go two blocks"), and also awkward for people who change their minds about where to go in transit. Also I hope it can deal with mistakes, such as telling it to go to Elm St. when where you really need to go is Elm Ave. If the destination you had in mind is 5 minutes away and it begins a route that is 50 miles in another direction, I hope you'd be able to a) cancel and reassign the destination, and b) maybe tell the computer before the trip the estimated travel time so it can tell you whether it's ETA is similar to yours. For people with a terrible sense of direction or who don't know the city well, if it starts going the wrong way it might be quite a while before you realize there's a problem.

D.W.

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2016, 01:28:06 PM »
Open the passenger door Hal.
I'm sorry Dave.  I can't do that.  Your credit card has been declined.

LetterRip

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2016, 01:29:05 PM »
I think you have to call it with an app, and input your destination with the app, so there won't be the issue of giving it the directions, or being surprised that it is an autonomous taxi.

NobleHunter

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2016, 01:31:04 PM »
I wish the OP had more details about how the tech worked. Google uses mainly maps and GPS to figure out what it should be doing. Is this similar tech? In which case, it will be very difficult to expand beyond Singapore or other high-value urban areas. Or will the car will be able to react to it's surroundings without resorting to position-based extrapolations (e.g. the map saying there's a red light at the next intersection); that would be a lot easier to expand to other areas.

D.W.

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2016, 01:36:49 PM »
If it's level 4 it MUST be camera / sensor based in addition to maps/gps.  There really isn't an option here.

LetterRip

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2016, 01:50:36 PM »
NobleHunter,

all of the cars use lidar/radar, cameras, in addition to GPS (for location) and accellerometer, plus a bunch of other stuff.

NobleHunter

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2016, 01:53:48 PM »
Yeah, but Google depends on GPS and maps to know what to look for. If there's new traffic lights that the map doesn't have yet, the Google car will blithely ignore the red light. What will this car do?

LetterRip

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Re: Fully Self Driving cars here sooner than expected (later this year!)
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2016, 02:06:59 PM »
Ah... good question.  They are doing it in a limited location that they have extensive testing in.  So presumably they will be able to keep up-to-date on any map changes easily.