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GM Says Driverless Cars Will Be Ready By 2018 646

Posted by kdawson
from the look-ma-no-hands dept.
Gregor Stipicic writes "Cars that drive themselves — even parking at their destination — could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp. executives say. 'This is not science fiction,' Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, said in a recent interview. GM plans to use an inexpensive computer chip and an antenna to link vehicles equipped with driverless technologies. The first use likely would be on highways; people would have the option to choose a driverless mode while they still would control the vehicle on local streets, Burns said. He said the company plans to test driverless car technology by 2015 and have cars on the road around 2018."
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GM Says Driverless Cars Will Be Ready By 2018

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:08PM (#21960086)
    No, the big question is whether General Motors will even exist in 2018.
  • Does this mean... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Radon360 (951529) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:12PM (#21960162)

    ...that someone will have to come up with maps that are accurate? I don't mean ones that have pinpoint accuracy on the locations of roads, but thoroughfares with special conditions. I'd hate to riding in a car in autopilot that decided it could turn the wrong way down a one way street because the map data didn't show it.

  • by GungaDan (195739) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:19PM (#21960304) Homepage
    Granted, it was only driverless because it was buyerless, but there is prior art here.

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:19PM (#21960324) Homepage Journal
    GM needs to come out with some crazy stuff like this soon because they're failing in their core products. They obviously can no longer compete when it comes to ordinary cars. So they need something extra-ordinary to sell or they won't exist for very long.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:20PM (#21960340)
    Mixing driven and automated cars will never happen because of liability.

    Who is at fault - the guy driving his car or the guy reading his newspaper without his hands on the wheel?

    HHhhmmm... actually the guy reading the newspaper can't be because he had no control over the car so it must be the company that created the car.

    What company is going to stay in that business?
  • Culpability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stanislav_J (947290) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:20PM (#21960342)
    So, when a driverless car runs a red light, who gets the ticket? The owner? The manufacturer? The software company? Hell, they have automated machines that issue red light tickets now, so will one pile of metal and software issue the ticket to the other? Will the machines develop their own monetary system, will driverless cars figure out hacks to avoid the tickets, and will the robot machines have their own jails and prisons? Capital punishment = execution by power surge or by fatal software virus? This smacks too much of a bad Twilight Zone episode.
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:21PM (#21960356) Homepage Journal
    I'm not an attorney (I'm also not an acronym kinda guy) - But it seems by assuming control of the car GM would also be assuming responsibility for the occupants of the vehicle and any other involved in a collision.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    It seems to me the only way this technology ever winds up on the road is if the owner of the car signs a waver at the car dealership to hold GM harmless and assume all responsibility for driverless mode accidents.
  • It's About Time! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pickapeppa (731249) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:26PM (#21960474)
    Between texting, eating, putting on makeup, smoking, futzing with the radio, surfing the Internet for the nearest Burger Doodle, and so many other things to do in the car, driving is SUCH a distraction.
  • by bn0p (656911) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:26PM (#21960476)
    Even if the technical issues were all resolved (which is not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination), what about the legal and insurance issues? Until the insurance companies jump on the bandwagon, this will go nowhere.

    It's not like ALL the cars on the road will be driverless. Who is responsible for a crash that occurs while you aren't driving and are reading or asleep (why else would you want a driverless car)?

    They might have better luck putting driverless "taxis" in crowded downtown areas where traffic moves slowly - that would reduce the damage and injuries associated with accidents at higher speeds.


    Never let reality temper imagination
  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:27PM (#21960484) Homepage
    I need a driverless car. I want to be able to sleep/study/play video games while on the road. I want the the perfect attention and instant response of a computer keeping me safe. And I don't want to pay someone to do it for me.

    Seriously, how can you even ask this question? Have you ever heard of the broken window fallacy?
  • Re:Right... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AP2k (991160) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:28PM (#21960498)
    GM had cars during the 80s that got better fuel economy than most hybrids of today (50-60 mpg, with carburetors no less). Few wanted them then and few want them today.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:33PM (#21960614)
    Aren't these the same people who are complaining they can't create the technology to meet the updated CAFE standards by 2012... but they will be able to get the technology to create a driverless car by 2018?


    Do you think they even consult their engineers before releasing press statements?

  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:34PM (#21960634) Journal
    Actually, a self-driving car WOULD get better gas mileage. Computers aren't reasonable, but they're logical.
    • It wouldn't race to the next red light, but infuriate you (like I do my passengers) by taking its virtual foot off the virtual gas pedal as soon as the light ahead turned red
    • It wouldn't waste gas idling at the green light with its finger up its ass
    • It wouldn't go east to get west (unless Microsoft made its nav system)
    • It wouldn't pick the route with the most stop signs
    You can already improve your mileage on the interstate (or autobahn) by using your cruise control.

    -mcgrew
  • by dunadan67 (689682) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:35PM (#21960662)
    I'm sure designers have taken this all into account, but I'd still be concerned with control systems for pedestrian avoidance, sensors determining whether the small object in front is a newspaper or a rock to be avoided, and predicting behaviors of bicyclists, etc. Sometimes its better to run over a squirrel than break suddenly and risk being rear-ended or swerve around it.
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:42PM (#21960758)
    GM needs to come out with some crazy stuff like this soon because they're failing in their core products. They obviously can no longer compete when it comes to ordinary cars. So they need something extra-ordinary to sell or they won't exist for very long.

    No, they need to just throw in the towel if they can't compete with their core product, because if they can't even do plain old cars decently, they're certainly not going to succeed at anything more grandiose.

    GM's cars suck, and have sucked for a very long time. I don't know what their problem is, but the fact that their cars are all butt-ugly is reason enough for them to fail. You'd think that a company that large could hire some decent automotive stylists to make some attractive cars, but it hasn't happened for GM for decades.

    I think GM's best move would be to break apart the company and sell off the pieces, and just call it quits. Then Ford should do the same. Chrysler is the only large American car company that has even half a clue when it comes to styling (but that's not saying much).
  • by KokorHekkus (986906) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:45PM (#21960800)
    I don't think it would work to well in crowded downtown areas either. Imagine a mix of driverless and regular cars. The driverless cars will have to follow a, let's call it, fully legal driving plan. That means not taking chances and allways err on the safe side but that makes them vulnerable to "bullying" from regular drivers that can force the driverless car to yield. They would risk to become more or less a second-class citizen in that traffic. That type of vulnerability would me much smaller outside city traffic.

    But I do agree fully with you that legal/insurance-problem might be the biggest dealbreaker.
  • by Pulzar (81031) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:58PM (#21960996)
    There will be mistakes and deaths, but they will be far fewer than we have today.

    I think you're right. The uncomfortable part, though, is that when you're driving the car, you feel that you have the control over avoiding problems and accidents (I say you *feel* because in reality, there are some accidents you can't avoid). On the other hand, if the software BSODs and drives you off the bridge, you had nothing to do with it at all. Every time you get into one of these cars, you're putting your life into the "hands" of a piece of software/hardware.

    Even on planes, which are very dependant on correctly functioning computers, there's a feel that the pilot could do something to save the day in case there's a massive failure on the plane.

  • by JBMcB (73720) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:14PM (#21961300)
    * Getting a computer to recognize the difference between a toddler crawling on the road, versus a doll on the road.

    This can be done, there are object classification algorithms that can make the determination, especially if the toddler is crawling.

            * Seeing well in the rain.

    This can be done using near-IR cameras, in fact they can see better than you probably could.

            * Telling the difference between a dishwasher carton (which might not have to be braked for, versus a fallen cubic meter of rock.

    No, you break for both. If ANYTHING substantial in size is in the road, you break, I know I wouldn't go blasting through a big cardboard box.

            * Telling the difference between a solid object and just a splash of water.

    This one is easy using two cameras to get a 3d picture, or if you want to get fancy you could use LIDAR.

    Keep in mind, this isn't the DARPA challenge. For the most part, roads are known quantities, and a good path following and obstacle avoidance package combined with an accurate GPS system would make this entirely feasable.
     
  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:16PM (#21961346)
    Further, what makes you think you can react to road dangers better than a radar-equipped mesh-networking auto-bot?

    Fixed that for you.
  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:29PM (#21961556) Homepage
    Ultimately, with a perfect system, it would:

      * Make truckers obsolete
      * Allow dropoff/pickup of children without you being present
      * Allow pickup of groceries or other goods without you being present
      * Make it so you don't need parking near your destination (vehicle can leave, park elsewhere, and return later)
      * Greatly increase throughput (autoconvoying, reduction of drag, traffic-aware route scheduling, reduction of human error)
      * More green space for a given amount of throughput (same)
      * Greatly increase speeds (same)
      * Greatly decrease fuel or energy consumed at a given speed (same), helping the environment.
      * Decrease costs to consumers (as above) and thus opens up wider travel opportunities/deurbanization.
      * Facilitate better integration of the vehicle and the road (example: bridges that know how much capacity they can support and vehicles that know how much they weigh so that they can be built lighter (and thus cheaper) while still being safe by never routing too much weight to be crossing a given bridge at once)
      * No speeding tickets
      * No drunk drivers
      * No need to pay attention to the road -- but those who like to drive could still offroad, go to tracks, etc.
      * Greater response time of vehicle and built-in system-aware hardware eases transition to new technologies, such as inductrac maglev roads, powered roads to recharge electric vehicles, or whatnot.
      ** Above technologies further increase speed, decrease energy consumption, boost economy, and decrease cost to consumers
      * Greatly boost the economy (all of the above)
  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:32PM (#21961616) Homepage Journal
    You forgot....

    * Completely kill the fun and independence of the open road for human fun. - No more jumping on your motorcycle for an adventure on the open road. The "iron butt" will become a thing of the past. One more chink out of the independent spirit.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:38PM (#21961722) Homepage
    You forgot....

    No need to pay attention to the road -- but those who like to drive could still offroad, go to tracks, etc.

    I fully support your right to go have fun driving your vehicle if that's what floats your boat. You don't, however, have a fundamental right to use something constructed by lots of my taxpayer dollars (the public road system) as your personal playground and put me in unnecessary risk while on it. In such a future, if you wanted to drive for fun, you could easily go drive somewhere that's for people who want to drive for fun; however, our tax dollars weren't collected to build you a racetrack.
  • by Xelios (822510) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:42PM (#21961792)
    I'd assume the tech works under ideal driving conditions, but what about the unforseen stuff that comes up in day to day driving? Can the car detect an icy patch on the upcoming corner? Will it swerve violently to avoid an empty cardboard box blowing across the highway? Will it still work around radar jammers? Technically illegal, but I'm willing to bet there's still a fair number of them out there. How stable is the processing unit?

    Personally, I'll believe it when I see it, and even then I think I'll be holding on to my steering wheel for the forseeable future.
  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:59PM (#21962020) Homepage
    Funny...I've got that right, right NOW....my tax dollars along with many others have paid for these roads out there, to be used for independent usage.

    To get people and goods to a destination, not for "fun". They're not there to be a personal racetrack. If they were, we'd be widely building publicly financed racetracks for community use as well.

    I don't think my street cruiser is really set up for a dirt track somewhere...

    Then drive on a non-dirt track. Any other puzzlers you've got?

    And if I'm driving safely according to the driving conditions, I'm not putting you or anyone in jeopardy.

    Oh, but you are. Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of death in this country, especially for the young. Humans are simply unsafe behing the wheel, no matter how safe they think they're driving.

    [quote]If this type thing is mandated....just one more step in controlling and homogenizing society.[/quote]

    Mandated? You're the one trying to mandate that the roads my taxpayer dollars are funding get to be your personal racetrack. The federal and state government are not supposed to be funding personal entertainment. Here, let's look at the top dollar figures in the federal government. Tell me which of these, excepting your choice of "transportation" as your personal racetrack, is "fun":

    Social security
    Defense
    Medicare
    Medicaid
    Interest
    Health and Human Services
    Administration
    Education
    VA Benefits
    Housing
    International Relations
    Transportation
    Science and energy
    Environment
    Community development
    World hunger
    Agriculture
    Job training

    See lots of "fun" in there? See the budget for video game systems? For bowling alleys? Golf courses? Parasailing? No? That's right: tax dollars != entertainment dollars. Great -- you've been making use of something designed for another purpose (getting people and goods around) in a way that makes you happy. That's great for you. That doesn't change the fact that the taxation isn't designed for your entertainment. You're currently benefitting from a coincidence.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:31PM (#21962408) Homepage
    Rail, light rail, and busses simply are not general purpose solutions.

      * Not door-to-door service. Rules out the weak, the disabled, many of the elderly, many of the young (safety), and the vast throngs of able-bodied people who, whether you think the reason is justified or not, simply don't want to walk a dozen blocks to make all of their connections every day because they:
        * Have "better things to do" than spend an extra 5-10 minutes each way walking several blocks, or
        * "Don't want to" walk several blocks
        * Need to be transporting goods (dry cleaning, groceries, etc) long distances by hand. I'm in good shape, but even I'd hate to haul, say, a 40 pound bag of water softener salt plus a couple gallons of milk, a few quarts of juice, and all of the other stuff I might happen to pick up at a grocery store.
      * Greatly increased travel time. I can drive to the grocery store in three minutes, but it'd take about an hour get there via bus -- at peak service times. Even if they 10xed funding to make busses run 10 times as often, it'd still take three times as long to get there. And this excludes the aforementioned time to walk to the bus stop. Busses, light rail, and rail are simply a poor fit for going from specifically point A to specifically point B. They do great on long stretches, but simply can't cater to the individual needs of their many passengers.
      * Has economic penalties (greatly increased transit time is not free to an economy)
      * Has leisure time penalties (as above)
      * Lacks individualism (something Americans tend to prize)
      * Lacks the ability to leave things of yours in a vehicle.
      * Lacks the ability to maintain (or not maintain) the vehicle in the shape you find acceptable, or to modify it to your liking
      * Lacks room for transporting goods -- both everyday goods (groceries, dry cleaning, etc) and non-everyday goods (a refrigerator, a desk, etc). Especially important on "goods" that aren't allowed to be transported in public transport -- pets, dangerous chemicals, etc.
      * Requires a much greater degree of pre-planning for trips to get your route and timing down.
      * Has serious time penalties if you miss a connection.
      * Lateness (above) has serious economic and leisure-time penalties.
      * Forces people to be in close proximity with other people (laugh if you want, but the hypochondriacs, agoraphobes, racists, and vast throngs of people who merely want to be left alone won't be laughing)
      * Doesn't make use of our vast amount of existing infrastructure (only applies to rail and light rail, not busses)

    The overwhelming majority simply won't vote for any candidate who would eliminate personal transportation for public, and any transportation proposal needs to deal with the reality that there are many, many reasons, both good and bad, that it's not a general purpose solution.
  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by purpledinoz (573045) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:31PM (#21963096)
    That's something I would gladly give up if it meant not sitting in traffic for hours because all the moron drivers are ogling the accident on the other side of the freeway. Automated driving will decrease accidents, travel time, and save on gas. Imagine if you had to pay only $10/month on insurance, and you could drink yourself silly at the bar and have your car drive you home. Sure, going 100mph on the interstate in Arizona is fun, but traffic is not.
  • by Selfunfocused (1215732) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:56PM (#21963352) Homepage
    Our future self-driving traffic is going to be fascinating. I'm going to assume that the various car companies will each use different algorithms to pilot their cars. Ford cars might drive more aggressively the Toyota's. We may find large self-assembling fleets of particular makes (even models) driving down the highway.

    Honestly, I would expect to see self driving semi-trucks before anything else. Shipping companies have an incentive to cut out their drivers in favor of time maximizing, gas mileage aware, AI workhorses.

  • Re:Just in time! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by N3Bruce (154308) <n3lsy@c[ ]ast.net ['omc' in gap]> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:57PM (#21963372) Journal

    Actually, a driverless car might be just in time for a lot of the Baby Boomer generation as they get into their 60's and 70's, just as their mounting health problems take their toll on driving skills. Accident rates tend to be lowest for drivers in their 40's and 50's, when mature judgment backed by decades of experience more than compensate for slower reaction times and loss of motor skills they had in their youth. Accident rates start rising again as people get on into their 60's and the effects of decreased vision, the onset of heart disease, diabetes, and the host of other problems which affect the elderly start to take their toll. Some people are good drivers well into their 80's, but others may lose their ability to drive safely much earlier as a result of strokes, heart disease, sleep problems, and the general dulling of the senses and slowdown of mental functions.

    Often the elderly gradually retreat from driving, but it remains a vital lifeline to their independence. They shy away from driving at night or in bad weather, or in situations where traffic is heavy and complex, but they treasure their ability to get to the store, the pharmacy, or the local bridge game without having to depend on others. For many it is the difference between being able to remain independent or having to move into "assisted living" or back in with their kids. Having to give up the car keys ranks right up there with losing a spouse or having a major setback in their health for many.

    Even a partially driverless system would be a boon to those elderly who, while they might not have the ability or stamina to handle a 6 hour drive from say Philly to Pittsburgh to visit the grandkids, could handle the drive from their home in say Levittown to the PA Turnpike (only a few miles), put it on autopilot and relax for 6 hours, then go back on manual when they near their destination, perhaps aided by a GPS navigation system. Heck, I would even like to have the ability to put it on autopilot for a while even for my 75 mile commute each day!

    As an aside, I've seen in my own family that the elderly have widely varying attitudes towards tech. My 78 year old Dad has always embraced tech, he's said that the ability to utilize modern technology gave him an edge in business and in life, he could fix just about anything, and often still can. He owned and knew how to use an IBM XT and had a cellphone way back in the '80s, was on the internet with Compuserve in the 1992, 4 years before I went online. He grew up a farm boy, served in Korea in Ordinance, where he learned about computers and electronics, then went on to a successful career in the diesel engine business. On the other hand, I have an 82 year old aunt that refused to get a microwave oven until one of her kids brought her one a couple of years ago, does not own a computer, and still had a rotary dial phone until the phone company made her replace it recently. She isn't destitute or uneducated, she is a retired teacher living on a pension, and owns her home outright.

  • by gujo-odori (473191) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @09:44PM (#21963844)
    TFA mentions things such as how to deal with road obstacles and other problems of real-world driving, with one of the solutions being to alert the driver. Great. The car will drive itself, but someone still has to sit behind the wheel and be alert enough to deal with situations. Heck, you probably couldn't even take your hands off the wheel or feet away from the pedals, because by the time you react and get them back where they need to be, it will be too late.

    Self-driving car technology will be ready for prime time only when it's sufficiently advanced that I can get in the back seat, tell the car where to go, and take a nap while it gets me there. And yes, that takes into account needing to be so relaxed and confident in the entire process that I actually *can* fall asleep in the back of a car that's driving itself.

    If that happens in my lifetime, I expect it to be about the time when I'm too old to safely drive myself, which will be a good ways past 2018.
  • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:20PM (#21964576)

    Rules out the weak, the disabled, many of the elderly, many of the young (safety)
    This line cracked me up -- since those four groups are the primary users of public transportation.

    Those are the groups that are the least likely to a) be capable of driving, and b) be able to afford the cost of owning, maintaining, insuring, and fueling a vehicle.

    Healthy adults are the people who take transit the least, for the simple reason that they're the ones that can afford cars and have both the mental acumen and physical health necessary to operate them.

    It's nice that you're sooooo concerned about the eldery, disabled, children, and the weak -- but your reasoning is completely ass-backwards.

    Forces people to be in close proximity with other people (laugh if you want, but the hypochondriacs, agoraphobes, racists, and vast throngs of people who merely want to be left alone won't be laughing)
    That's what an iPod and a book are for. Even the most obnoxious of the homeless insane wont try to talk to someone protected by such an overpowering barrier of leave-me-the-fuck-alone.

    I can drive to the grocery store in three minutes, but it'd take about an hour get there via bus
    The grocery is that close, but you can't walk? You have to take the bus to go a mile and a half?! Normal residential speed limits top out at 30mph, and assuming that you can start and stop instantaneously, that means your grocery store is at most 1.5 miles away. A reasonably healthy person can walk that in about 15 minutes. Children and the elderly might take 30, but that's not bad at all (and they'll be healthier for it).

    Anyone who's actually used public transportation at all (as opposed to the people who go around making up bullshit about how unsuited it is for everyone except healthy adults) knows that for short trips, it's usually easier to walk.

    Let's review:

    • Youths generally can't afford cars, so they depend on public transit.
    • The elderly frequently can't afford cars and are often incapable of driving, so they depend on public transit.
    • The disabled are one of the lowest income groups in any society, especially American society with its disdain for social services. Do you really think that they can afford cars? Not to mention the fact that many disabilities directly prevent people from driving.
    • Anyone who drives ANYWHERE that can be reached in three minutes is just plain lazy. Exceptions can be made for when you're sick or for those times when you need prophylactics, like, immediately. But otherwise, it's just pathetic.
  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @12:46AM (#21965124) Homepage
    Excuse me but I pay a fortune to use the roads and should have the right to spend my normal 30-40 hours a week on the roads I paid for without inexpirienced idiots putting me in danger.

    You know, you're right. You're right! You pay for it, you should be able to do whatever the heck you want with it. Speaking of that, I should go to an Air Force base and take a free ride on a jet fighter. Hey, I'm paying for it, right? Who cares what the "intent" of the program is. It's all about what "I want" to do with the program, right? Who cares whether the "intent" of the transportation budget is to move people and goods. If you want to use it for your own personal needs, screw the purpose of the transportation budget (moving people and goods), right?

    The people who cause most accidents arnt truck drivers, taxis or couriers.

    But they *do* cause accidents. Drunk drivers only cause ~40% of accidents [car-accidents.com]. ~42,000 people die per year in auto accidents. Put 9-11, our troops lost in Iraq, and all of those sorts of things in perspective: 42,000 *per year*. Car accidents are the *leading cause of death* for people between ages 6 and 27. 394,000 large trucks were involved in crashes in 1999. 5,203 people died and 127,000 were injured. The economic damage of the accidents was a staggering $150 billion, just in 1999. Let's put that into perspective: Hurricane Katrina did only $81 billion.

    This is not something trivial. You not only want the American public to pay for your entertainment, pay *huge amounts of money* for your entertainment, but you want to keep us in a system that injures half a million people a year, kills several tens of thousands per year, and does almost twice the economic damage as Hurricane Katrina each year. For your entertainment. Pardon me if I'm a wee bit hostile to the notion.
  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AJWM (19027) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:14AM (#21965552) Homepage
    I know I've certainly been sitting around on a lazy summer evening and decided to go for a nice drive in the country with my wife, even going so far as to drive in a random direction to see what there is to uncover, several times even making a whole weekend out of the randomness of it. There's lots of great things out there to discover which a computer-controlled car will never find.

    What, you don't think you'll be able to tell the computer where you want to go? Or give it commands like "turn left up ahead" or "stop here"? Personally I'd love to be able to really look at the scenery on those country drives rather than dividing my attention between it and the road, and then at the end of the day just tell the car "home, James" and sit back and snooze.

    Hell, they could even put in a steering wheel and pedals so that you think you're in control, but the computer just takes those inputs as suggestions.
  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:12AM (#21966048)

    Your ignorance astounds me!
    No your not paying to ride in a jet fighter you are paying for the air force to buy it and use for their own purposes.
    I am paying to use the road for my own personal use.
    Do you see the difference? Probably not.
    I'm sure he understands the difference. It's you that didn't understand the point.

    You do not pay to use the road for your own personal use! That is not the purpose or intent of the public transportation system. Just like taxes are collected to pay for fighter jets for only the airforce to use, taxes are collected to build a road system to facilitate mobility necessary to maintain a good economy.

    No government builds roads so drivers can have a good time. They are built so you can get to your job and get paid, so goods can make it from point A of manufacture to point B of sale, etc. Everything required to keep a modern economy alive.

    Just because you could use the roads for your own personal use and entertainment for as long as you have been driving doesn't mean that's what your tax dollars paid for.
  • Re:Right... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:53AM (#21966412)
    You do notice that you are describing a railroad?

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