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Comment Re:Route customization (Score 1) 59

Alternatively, it could also be used as a self contained system that would learn the best strategy for your normal commute, but then it would have no benefit on roads you haven't driven before.

I think you could cover 99% of my driving with less than 100 routes. Especially if I get into the habit of telling the car where I'm planning on going.

Comment "Meaningful human control" (Score 2) 212

That's something of a question, isn't it? What does "meaningful human control" translate to? Does it mean that a human has to okay each weapon discharge? Does it mean that we aren't supposed to release a swarm of von neumann kill-bots with 'destroy everything' as a goal? What if we release them in an area with orders to kill any humans with weapons that don't have a valid IFF signal?

In addition, I've seen with UN weapon ban treaties that they're sometimes used as a 'we don't have them, so you shouldn't either' tool. Who's closest to these sorts of weapons? The USA. Who's NOT going to agree with any treaty limiting the effective use of these weapons? The USA. Rendering the ban useless.

Comment Re:The problem is user error. (Score 1) 571

My GPS has the option for me to tell it that the 'route ahead is blocked', IE 100 yards, 500, etc....

The problem is that this is NOT a simple operation to do, it requires half a dozen selections to utilize. Not one I'd recommend on the fly, as opposed to pulling over and working on it.

And, of course, if you turn off onto the detour or something, it starts recalculating, and recalculating... Never giving you the time to tell it X road is unavailable at that spot.

Then again, in-dash GPS can be stupid as well. The car dad rented when we were visiting his parents would lock the GPS controls while the car was moving. Even though I was in the passenger seat working on it...

Comment Re:The problem is user error. (Score 1) 571

The problem isn't that the GPS is wrong, the problem is that the user is in error. In the Iceland case, the driver made a typo and wound up going to a similarly-named road 250 miles away. Had he entered the correct street name, he would likely have made it to his destination without a problem. I'm guessing the Belgium-Croatia case is similar.

One problem I've seen is that phone and small screen GPS sucks at providing you with the overall picture. Now, yes, I'm old school and grew up consulting actual maps, and regularly obtaining updated paper road maps. I would generally get one of those atlases that had a highway map for the whole USA, as well as a more detailed one for each state. I would then get updated maps on occasion for the specific state I was going to/traveling through.

Anyways, what I'm seeing here is a classic problem they're constantly trying to drill into the heads of students doing math or science work - the estimate. "Does my answer make any sense?". IE stuff like calculating the maximum separation between Earth & Mars and getting 30km. That makes no sense.

I see two options for sanity checking GPS - the easiest should be to look at the total length of the trip - if you're staying in town and it's telling you that the destination is 250 miles away, there's an issue. The other is looking at a map of the route the GPS is proposing. But that's difficult with a small screen.

Comment Re:Excess (Score 1) 288

If the pipeline provided benefits, they were overshadowed by other factors.

Just remember that all I said was that the pipeline was 'often' used as shelter or movement. You talk about the MRC overstating things - Some environmentalists predicted that the pipeline would drive the caribou to extinction(back when the pipeline was built). Hyperbole much?(not referring to you).

A thing about solar panels is that they cover far more area - the pipeline is basically about as wide as a two-lane highway. It's long, but very narrow. A solar plant would have panels all over providing shade. This might allow more like in the areas.

Comment Re:Work on writing comprehension, will ya? (Score 1) 600

You could have, you know, asked for citations?

Speed Variance and Its Influence on Accidents. - Citation that variations in speed kill more than speed itself, that highway speeds tend to have more to do with design of the highway and not posted limit, and that as you move the speed limit signs away from the design speed, variance in driving speed and accident rates go up.

Montana: No Speed Limit Safety Paradox Montana highways at safest without speed limits

Is Every Speed Limit Too Low? - again notes that changing the speed limits doesn't actually change the median speed people drive on the road.

Comment Re:Excess (Score 1) 288

I thought that about carabou but info on it seems to be mixed on an ideological basis.

Except I was talking specifically about the effects of the pipeline. As your links state - there's many more factors than just that.

The pipeline didn't really affect them much at all. Certainly not negatively, on average.

You can't cite herd declines more than 40 years after the installation as the fault of the pipeline. Statistically speaking, pipelines are the least spill inclined of the common transport methods.

Comment Re:Excess (Score 1) 288

Also, creating a huge shaded area should create an interesting micro-climate underneath the power plant.

This. From my admittedly limited ecological studies, there's not a lot of life out in the 'high desert'. Instead, the life there tends to cling(relatively) to sheltered bits.

Increasing the amount of shelter could drastically increase the amount of life in the desert by providing more shelter. Much like how rather then disrupting and killing off wildlife, the trans-alaskan pipeline is often used as a travel lane and shelter by the caribou, moose, and such.

Comment Re:Good ... (Score 1) 220

Sidebar: Any chance that was an actual experiment to document what would happen? I'm not saying it would be right to jeopardize people like that, but you have to know how the system will react.

Nope, the professional driver was just being a moron. The cars have extensive logging though, so they knew precisely what happened.

Comment Re:Good ... (Score 1) 220

So far your "simple" scenario has yet to be validate by anybody, and so far all these tests require a driver in the seat ready to take controls.

From all the documentation about google cars I've seen, while a professional driver ready to take control is required, the self-driving car will continue to drive until the driver takes positive action to over-ride it.

That's actually how one of the accidents happened - the google car was braking to a stop, the pro disabled it and hit the gas into the back end of the car ahead of him. The car attempts to keep itself safe. Getting 'stuck' is a bigger problem than getting into an accident.

Comment Re:Good ... (Score 1) 220

This bizarre model in which the car drives, except when it doesn't, and with no clear demarcation between is damned near impossible to make sense of.

If the car decides it's got no idea what to do, and it just says "you're in charge", and before you even know what's happening you're in an accident .. and the logs say "human was driving, his fault", you're screwed. Or, worse, someone builds in code which lies and just says "human was driving" 5 minute before any crash is triggered (so they can avoid liability).

Hell, they're already doing just the opposite. Remember the Hyundai superbowl commercial? Within a certain speed range the car will emergency brake itself to prevent a collision - and that's with a human driver at the wheel.

Given the VW scandal, I think that car companies are going to be under more intense scrutiny for a while. The only time I've heard about self-driving cars that will toss control to a driver were extreme-alpha builds, manned by professional drivers. Modern self-driving cars have the opposite problem - they're designed to stop safely if there's a problem, and not proceed if they don't understand what's going on.

Tossing control to a driver while traveling at 50+ mph moments before an accident isn't something any professional is going to allow. "Cattle car" is a good analogy. Worst case, it stops safely on the side of the road and buzzes for assistance. That's an acceptable failure mode.

Comment Re:like an electric toothbrush? (Score 1) 60

How about ZERO inefficiency by just plugging your damn car in?

There's still loss from the cable, and the transformer that's in the charging unit - whether in the car or in the exterior charger. You can get rid of that transformer when you're using induction.

As for the danger, at the voltages and amps we're looking at, it actually IS dangerous if it wasn't for that said cables are very much NOT simple, containing sensors to limit voltage potential to what's needed to detect a connection. Something like 1V until it's done a handshake, then it can ramp up to 400V or more.

Comment Re:like an electric toothbrush? (Score 1) 60

But with an automated bus/taxi fleet (or even a manned one), the vehicle that's running low on juice can be swapped out for a freshly charged one

Swapping means you need an extra bus, and they're expensive. You can do maintenance checks daily, not 'per charge'.

Rather than forklifting batteries, have a dedicated robot doing it that undoes the bolts and replaces the battery.

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