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Comment: Re:Unaccompanied minors (Score 2) 437

Liability: It'll be interesting to see how automated driving technology performs in the hands of the common folk. While under development, you've got technically skilled individuals with the best training available checking prototype vehicles out on a regular basis. What happens when they're out in the wild? There are quite a few people out there that can't be bothered to change their headlight bulbs or get an oil change on time, let alone maintain a complex computer system that requires a variety of sensors and other equipment be working for the technology to function correctly. How many people drive around with a check engine light? I'm sure the dealership will be able to simply summon the car back overnight and send out a loaner if it's not ready in time, but is it wise to have a malfunctioning vehicle driving itself in for service while it is malfunctioning? Will the dealer's mechanics have the appropriate skills to maintain such systems? Self-driving vehicles still have the same properties as other vehicles, including causing serious property damage and bodily injury if they hit you.

Capacity/Energy: Automated vehicles driving around on the road will take up space and use energy, with or without an occupant. Here's a scenario: Dad's at work for a few more hours, Mom needs to visit a client. Jane wants to go to a friend's house on the other side of town. Rather than drive across town twice, Mom decides to summon Dad's car so that Jane can use it while Mom is out taking care of business. Once Jane is at her friend's house, the car drives itself back to work to pick up Dad. Meanwhile, Mom's done and Dad isn't home yet, so she sends her car back out to pick up Jane. In this scenario, instead of Mom running around town in a single car, both cars are on the road for an extended duration. Multiply this times millions of large families that are drooling over such a possibility. Yes, there will be an increase in cars on the road, either from vehicles deadheading (see below), or families that will be encouraged to take trips separately to save time.

I'm not saying that driverless technology isn't going to work out. EV/hybrid and automated tech will likely become the standard in taxi and rental car service, where vehicles can be dispatched and returned to a garage for maintenance/fueling as needed, with fleets maintained by dedicated mechanics with access to appropriate resources and detailed maintenance histories. Given enough time, automation will probably replace some forms of rubber wheeled transit services as well. After all, an automated vehicle that is summoned by the touch of a button, that can go anywhere on a door-to-door basis is the main premise of personal rapid transit. How will the average person use this technology? Will they use it responsibly?

Comment: Unaccompanied minors (Score 4, Insightful) 437

There are three broad topics that I feel need to be addressed before allowing minors to ride around unaccompanied in automated vehicles:

Liability: Who is responsible for the safety of an unaccompanied minor in the event of an accident or vehicle malfunction, especially if the vehicle is a long distance from home? More importantly, who will be willing to accept that kind of liability and at what cost?

Capacity: Is there enough room on our roads and in our parking lots to accommodate children riding around in their own personal vehicles? Will the efficiencies of automated vehicle traffic be enough to overcome an overall increase in vehicle traffic? How much will associated expansion projects cost? Can we afford to pay for them?

Energy: Can we afford the increase in energy consumption associated with increasing vehicle traffic at a time when the capacity of available energy reserves is questionable and energy policy is all over the place?

Comment: Re:Umm safety? (Score 1) 305

by oPless (#46300339) Attached to: Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

Because dealerships want to charge customers as much as possible for any work on the vehicle.

£200 for an electronic radio key is just daylight robbery. Then they'll also try and charge you for topping up your oil, doing a "30 point safety check" etc.

Frankly why they don't have a usb port the user can download firmware from the internet, then upload the new firmware to the engine management unit I don't know.

Hell they can sign the binaries so that ricers can't modify it ... but then again, auto manufacturers aren't computer companies, and certainly won't buy in the crypto expertise to do it properly. sigh.

Comment: Re:"standards-based web platform" (Score 1) 170

by oPless (#44929539) Attached to: Google Dropping Netscape Plugin API Support In Chrome/Blink

Last I looked, NaCl is moving to llvm bytecode, allowing on the fly JITting to x86, Arm, etc.

The only thing that'll be really annoying is there will be no way to access hardware directly. I wrote a PC/SC plugin ages ago to do just this.

I guess the only way there now would be writing a signed Java applet...

But wait ... I can't do that on OSX, because ... Chrome is a 32bit app!

Comment: Re:Not autonomous? (Score 3, Insightful) 356

by oPless (#44871243) Attached to: FEMA Grounds Private Drones That Were Helping To Map Boulder Floods

Because otherwise, it's simply an RC aircraft. They've been around for 30+ years. "Drones" are new, "RC" is old. But the meanings are the same, depending on who you are talking to.

+1

Since there's a perfectly good word with an identical meaning, use "unmanned aircraft" for any without a human on board. Use "RC" to mean remotely controlled. And use "drone" to mean weaponized or self guided.

I'm of the opinion that "Drone" should refer to autonomous (flying) vehicle. The question of it having a weapons or surveillance payload is irrelevant.

People are always available for work in the past tense.

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