The Truth About Cars » Autonomous Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 12 Apr 2014 23:33:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Autonomous Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Automotive supplier prognosticator predicts demise of the steering wheel by 2025 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/automotive-supplier-prognosticator-predicts-demise-of-the-steering-wheel-by-2025/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/automotive-supplier-prognosticator-predicts-demise-of-the-steering-wheel-by-2025/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=625897 The end of the steering wheel

Be afraid. Be very afraid. If the aspirations of one automotive supplier come to pass, your child’s first car will not have a steering wheel come 2025, rendering her or him nothing more than a mere passenger inside a tiny commuter pod.

In this frightening article from The Detroit News, Han Hendricks (no relation to Christina Hendricks), vice president of advanced product development for the Milwaukee, Wis.-based supplier Johnson Controls in their automotive electronics and interiors wing suggests that as auto manufacturers race to develop, and then improve upon, autonomous cars, the driver will figure less and less into the overall scheme of things (something that has been evolving as of late, with parking and lane-keeping technologies as two examples), leading to the deletion of the steering wheel around 2025. To quote:

After 2025, the steering wheel will play a less dominant role in the interior. With fully autonomous vehicles, you don’t have to be forward looking as a driver, you don’t need to have an instrument panel. Then you can really just think of a car as a box that you enter.

All just as well, since by then everything your child will think, do or say will be in the pill they took that day anyway.

To hammer the point home, Hendricks goes on to mention that Johnson Controls is planning to speak with automakers in China, Europe and North America in November about this brave new world, as well as the usual industry experts and visionaries who deal in such things as the transition from driver autonomy to robot car autonomy, all in order to refine their dream of the automated superhighway of tomorrow.

If you’re a driver, however, don’t expect Hendricks to ask you whether or not this is desirable:

It’ll help our vision become more robust. It’s not as if we’re going to go out and ask consumers, because people just don’t think about it.

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Google’s Autonomous Cars Face Legal, Practical Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/googles-autonomous-cars-face-legal-practical-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/googles-autonomous-cars-face-legal-practical-challenges/#comments Mon, 23 Jan 2012 22:03:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=427851

Google’s nutty pseudo-utopian autonomous car project faced a reality check at a legal symposium sponsored by the Law Review and High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University. Among the challenges raised were the prospect of insuring such a car, and whether the car would be able to stop for law enforcement or construction workers.

While Google claims that their autonomous cars have driven more than 200,000 miles  of accident-free driving, issues like whether police can pull over autonomous cars, as well as technological limitations with artificial intelligence, still remain as stumbling blocks. Google is throwing a lot of time and energy into having laws changed so that autonomous vehicles are road legal, but based on the concerns raised by experts, it looks like self-driving vehicles still have a long way to go before becoming viable.

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The War On Drivers: “Car-To-X” Communication System Testing Begins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/the-war-on-drivers-car-to-x-communication-system-testing-begins/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/the-war-on-drivers-car-to-x-communication-system-testing-begins/#comments Sat, 22 Oct 2011 19:30:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=415617

Though the idea that there is a “war on cars” appeals to certain segments of society, there’s little evidence for any such effort. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that there’s a “war on drivers” on, and it’s being led by the automotive industry. On the one hand, cars are being ever-more laden with distracting gizmos and toys, while simultaneously, companies are testing systems that minimize the need for drivers at all. Though Google’s autonomous cars get a lot of media play in this country, another system is moving Europe towards a similar endgame. Known as “Car-To-X,” the system allows cars to swap information like speed and direction, not just with each other but with traffic lights and traffic data collectors. The idea is to avoid traffic and crashes, by warning drivers of oncoming traffic in a left-hand turn scenario, for example. Because who wants to use their eyes to make sure they’re safe when technology can do it for you?

According to Autobild, the first public German test of the system will begin next spring, with 120 vehicles taking part. GM is currently testing a similar system. If all goes according to plan, systems like this and Google’s autonomous technology will fulfill GM’s prediction that autonomous vehicles will be a reality by 2020, and the war on driving will be won. Or lost, depending on your perspective.

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Ask The Best And Brightest: Where Are You In The Driverless Car Debate? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/the-driverless-car-debate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/the-driverless-car-debate/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2011 20:02:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=406458

When news hit late last week that one of Google’s driverless cars had been involved in a minor fender-bender, the anti-autonomous driver argument made itself. “This is precisely why we’re worried about self-driving cars,” howled Jalopnik.”Google’s self-driving car seems like the ultimate distracted driving machine.” But on the very same day, Google claimed that

One of our goals is to prevent fender-benders like this one, which occurred while a person was manually driving the car [emphasis added]

Before you know it, the other side of the debate, as epitomized by Popular Science flipped the argument, insisting that

this incident is yet another example — as if we need one — of the human capacity for error. Hopefully when cars do take over, they’ll be able to prevent these types of incidents on their own.

So yeah, there’s a pretty wide range of opinions on the issue. And with Nevada’s legalization of driverless cars, it’s only a matter of time before something happens that busts the debate wide open again. So, how do you feel about our new robot overlords? I, for one, could live with the technology for freeway/expressway use… but not without drawing some kind of clear lines around legal liability. Off-freeway? No thanks. Too few benefits from packing traffic tighter and too many other variables in traffic. What say you?

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Do Androids Dream Of Powerslide Parallel-Parking? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/do-androids-dream-of-powerslide-parallel-parking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/do-androids-dream-of-powerslide-parallel-parking/#comments Tue, 18 May 2010 18:47:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=356875

You stay hoony, Stanford University [via Twitter Auto123/Leviathan101]

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