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Comment: Re: Human fallback (Score 1) 477

Yup, I screwed up - see my reply to the above post. I have cruise control on my Fusion. I was thinking about a system that did both speed and steering. On your second point, I see more of a decline than a collapse of civilization, unless something totally unpredictable happens like an asteroid strike. I think we'll gradually return to the previous social structure, prior to the post-Depression emergence of the middle class, where very few people are rich and privileged and the rest are poor and can only afford the most basic things in life.

Comment: Re:Human fallback (Score 1) 477

Should have had that second coffee this morning. What I meant by "super-cruise control" would be that it would handle acceleration AND steering, as long as the car was travelling at a fairly consistent speed with little traffic around it. The minute things got congested or the road conditions changed it would revert control to the driver, like when today's cruise control disengages on braking. "Super-cruise control" would allow you to drop your hands to your side where they could rest on long stretches of highway driving, reducing fatigue in your shoulders and neck, but still require you to be in the driver's seat and alert/sober. Then from that starting point, the automakers would add the increments: increase the speed range that the car would be able to deal with (+/- 30mph); increasing the number of cars within "x" feet in either direction that it could track and adjust to, etc. Eventually, the system would become 100% self-driving. Bottom line, autonomous cars will remain in beta for quite a while before the average citizen will ever own one, and only after auto makers and insurance companies can come to an agreement on funding liability claims. The insurance companies are not going to walk away from that revenue source, no matter how safe cars become.

Comment: Re:Human fallback (Score 3, Interesting) 477

Given it took about two decades for anti-lock braking systems to become widely available on cars (and that is a relatively simple technology compared to autonomous driving systems), most of us will be dead and buried before there is a significant percentage of self-driving cars on the road. First, we'll see "super-cruise control", where the driver can engage a partial system on a highway but the system will revert back to the driver if certain tolerances can't be met (e.g., weather, traffic levels). You'll still need a licensed driver behind the wheel. This will be an expense option on high-end cars for 5-10 years, then will trickle down to more mid-priced vehicles. In the meantime, the auto makers, in an attempt to cope with the shift in liability from driver to manufacturer, will introduce incremental changes to the system to increase those tolerances, but will still insist that the driver take over "just in case" a deer suddenly jumps out on to the highway. All the while the manufacturers will be collecting data on how the system copes with real-world driving to try to determine at what point a truly autonomous car is possible, and their risk in getting sued for a faulty system is acceptable. Given how risk-adverse most corporations are, especially auto makers, I don't see an autonomous car in my future (and I'm 52). Personally, I think you'll get more insight on the future of autonomous cars from the insurance companies than the auto makers.

Comment: Re:And what good would it do? (Score 1) 447

by WhatHump (#49366237) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

Agreed. So the solution appears to be to screen pilots for current or past occurrences of mental illness that could lead to incidents like this. Which will then lead to a percentage of pilots being removed from duty. Which will lead to fewer flights (unless you have a hidden pool of available pilots despite their being an ongoing shortage of qualified pilots). Which will lead to reduced revenue for airlines and diminished enrollment in pilot unions/associations. Yup, I can see the airlines and unions fighting that tooth and nail.

Comment: Re:Boston, in the winter? (Score 2) 112

by WhatHump (#49200985) Attached to: Self-Driving Cars Will Be In 30 US Cities By the End of Next Year

How about Sudbury, Ontario, Canada? This past winter a "pothole" (more like a sinkhole) ate a resident's Ford F150. We set a record here in Ontario for coldest February in recorded history. Roads are buckling everywhere here in Toronto, and there have been so many watermain breaks some people have been without running water since January.

Comment: Re:Jerri (Score 1) 533

You want to stop ISIS? Fix the Middle-East's economy. Give people stable, productive jobs.

Good plan. Any suggestions on how to navigate around the massive corruption in most of these countries that funnels money to the elite and powerful? Or how to enforce rule of law that would convince new business investment in the region, without having to pay bribes so that your company isn't suddenly put out of business when it starts to compete against the "wrong" people? There are too many kings, sheiks and dictators (and their supporters and sycophants - that includes the West, by the way) in that part of the world for meaningful change to happen. Egypt had as close to a real election as they've ever had, putting the Muslim Brotherhood in power, and the military decided that little experiment was a failure and arrested the elected president. A job is not on the top of your priority list when the police can make you disappear into a prison where you are denied justice and tortured.

Comment: Re:Consumers are cheap (Score 1) 415

by WhatHump (#48558061) Attached to: Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

Yes. You're making a down payment of $199 on the phone and paying off the balance in $10 monthly installments for 24 months. Makes perfect sense to me. Same approach many people take to buying a car. I don't agree with it - I have a Nexus 4 and am on a prepaid plan - but if that's what people want to do, I see nothing legally or morally wrong with it.

Comment: Re:Solution (Score 1) 301

by WhatHump (#48367275) Attached to: Police Body Cam Privacy Exploitation

2. Those in a recording can sign a release to allow for earlier public release...

Seriously? Are you going to log on daily to the web site hosting the recordings and scan every minute of footage for your image (or images of family members/loved ones)? Just because you weren't arrested doesn't mean there isn't an image out there of you that you would prefer not to be in the public domain. The ability to record everything/everyone/everywhere necessitates a new set of laws and controls to protect our privacy.

Heard that the next Space Shuttle is supposed to carry several Guernsey cows? It's gonna be the herd shot 'round the world.