Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Pre-compute vs. responsive system (Score 2) 142

Human driving is a mix of both methods. When you're on a street you're familiar with, habit takes over, and you barely notice what you're doing. On an unfamiliar street, you're much more active as a driver. At some level, humans require driving situations to be predefined, in that they need to match a familiar template. Road designs are all standardized.

In other words, the more information you have about the driving conditions, the simpler the problem. If you have a map, then you need to watch for anything that deviates from that map. If you don't have a map, then you have to process the scene to generate the map on the fly. (And by "map," I mean the entire design of the roadway, not just the traditional GPS-correlated road layout.)

Comment Physical store advantage? (Score 4, Informative) 203

Walmart believes "Customers want the accessibility and immediacy of a physical store." That is why their online business is doomed to fail. Yes, sometimes you just want it right now, but then you'll drive to Walmart or whatever local store will have it and buy it. But often you want the real online experience with unlimited selections and no hassle with trips. Why would I buy something online and then drive to pick it up?

Yes, Walmart has a huge and efficient distribution system, but can they really leverage that for online sales? When stocking stores, they ship large quantities to each store. For online sales, it's small quantities of a much larger variety. You have to support the customer who is the only one in the area buying that item just as well as you do the customer who buys the most popular item. I doubt their distribution system can adapt to that model.

Walmart can try, but in order to beat Amazon at this point, they don't just have to match them, they have to be better. I don't think they even understand what better looks like, let alone have any way of getting there.

Comment Re:Once again no editing (Score 2) 37

Well, being Slashdot, people will use the initialism in their comments, and others will ask what it means, so having it spelled out isn't a problem. It's much better than the summaries that use an initialism without explaining it. There have been many that did that, often with much more obscure references.

Of course, the real answer is that in most cases the summaries are cut-and-paste copies from the article.

Comment Re:Geared for passing tests... Thats todays societ (Score 1) 420

Yes, I was thinking the same thing. If you focus on the testing, the result is something (or someone) that is good at taking tests. This is particularly bad when there are aspects of what you're doing that aren't (or can't be) tested.

In the case of emissions, part of the issue is that the tests aren't realistic. It sounds like the government should require a validation test where they monitor the emissions while the car is actually being driven. The manufacturer would pay for the testing, and the government would spot-test a few cars of each model every year, in addition to the regular emissions testing.

Or leave the system as it is, but then pay bounties funded by fines for anyone that proves the emissions of a given car model don't live up to the standard in real-world situations.

Comment ReplayTV all over again (Score 1) 85

I remember when TiVo first came out. ReplayTV came out at almost the same time. ReplayTV was more expensive, but had lifetime listings included. Ultimately that proved to be a bad marketing decision, and would have probably led to the company's demise if the lawsuits hadn't effectively killed it first.

ReplayTV had already upset the networks with it's 30-second skip button, but the feature that led to major lawsuits was the automatic commercial skip.

It's a shame they didn't both survive and compete on features. I wonder what TiVo would have come up with by now with more competitive pressure?

Comment Re:No Osborne Effect! (Score 1) 398

Nonsense. Did you actually listen to the interview? It's in the context of hypermilers--setting the record for the longest possible drive on one charge--not real or rated range under normal conditions.


The current record is 550 miles. That's 885km. And that as on a 85D, not the new 90D, which would put the expected result from the same test at 937km. Getting to 1000 in two years means going from 90 to 96 KWH in the battery, all else being equal. Considering that he's already stated that he expects a 5% improvement in the batteries every year, we would expect the 95D to be released next year, and the 100D the next, so that's right on schedule.

Comment No Osborne Effect! (Score 1) 398

The range increase he has predicted is 5-10% per year. The 1000km number is for hypermilers who figure out the optimal speed and ideal conditions, then drive all day at 22mph or whatever for the bragging rights.

The real maximum range right now is around 300 miles, and in 3 years, it could easily be 350 miles. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a bump when the Gigafactory comes online, as they may be able to build more tightly-packed custom batteries to increase density or otherwise incorporate new technology.

Anyone following Tesla knows full well that they are making engineering improvements every week, so every car is somewhat obsolete by the time you get it. But the cars are also so far ahead of anything else out there that there's no comparison.

Comment Re:Autonomy is already in 2015 Vehicles (Score 1) 398

Autopilot doesn't use the network. It uses radar and a camera to track the paint on the road. If the paint is faded, the sun reflects off it wrong, it gets confused with old paint, or whatnot, then it tells you to take control. I would expect to only need to take the wheel for 1% of the driving, but you would need to be ready to do so for 100% of the driving to be safe.

I'm sure there will be people who set out on a lonely highway and go to sleep, only to wake up when the car comes to an emergency stop on the side of the road because it decided it needed a human driver.

Comment Re:illegal autonomous cars? (Score 1) 398

He was clear in the interview that he thought it would take another 1-3 years before it would be legal, depending on the jurisdiction.

I read a review of the beta Autopilot feature expected to be released next month, and it's also illegal. It lets you take your hands off the steering wheel, which is illegal in some states. (I know you can be cited for it in Massachusetts; a state trooper said he used that to ticket drivers on cell phones if they gestured when he was looking.)

Comment Just one app (Score 3, Interesting) 151

What I want is a phone with just one pre-installed app: Setup. This setup app would recommend apps for various things like: App store, email, web, texting, contacts, camera, music, ebooks, etc. It would have recommendations for each, of course, but you could decide what makes sense for you.

They could still recommend all the same junk that they pre-install today, but without annoying their customers as much, while still getting some revenue from the app pushers.

This would also mean they wouldn't get complaints about using up so much of the built-in storage for the OS.

God is real, unless declared integer.