Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Taxis - Yea, Nay or Maybe? - An ARRSEr Poll

Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Taxis - Yea, Nay or Maybe? - An ARRSEr Poll

  • Hell yes! Where do I sign?

    Votes: 17 30.9%
  • Umm…maybe let others be the guinea pigs first, will take a rain check.

    Votes: 14 25.5%
  • Hell no! This is the start of Skynet. Now, where is my Model T taxi?

    Votes: 24 43.6%

  • Total voters
    55
#1
Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are coming, at least initially as ride hailing services. Waymo, part of Google/ Alphabet, has just launched the first commercially available AV driverless ride hailing/ taxi service in Arizona.

I rode in Waymo’s new self-driving taxi service

Yes, initially they will have drivers in the cars for scenarios when something goes wrong (kinda like in DLR) but they will be driven completely by the computers, otherwise.

I wanted to know what ARRSErs take on this is? Even though they will be launched on a limited basis in selected locations, they will come to Europe as well. It’s a matter of when, not if. Will be a lot trickier in the old world (London springs to my mind!), for sure, except maybe in some cities and regions where the road signs and infrastructure is decent.

If an AV taxi service comes to your neighborhood, will you be part of the early adopter crowd, or more of a wait and see one? Or are will you be showing your middle finger to these AV services?

Me? Sign me up now! These would great for drunken pub crawls. Eventually, one day, cut down on drink driving for those out in the sticks/ places with no public transport.

Disclaimer: I am not being paid by anyone/ firm, this is just for my personal curiosity with regards to the adoption trends/ opinions of people on this board. I have a background in STEM/ Business and have dealt with AV systems professionally and in school.

---
Other background info: Uber had an incident earlier this year when an AV Uber had an incident and unfortunately the pedestrian got killed in the accident. This was found to be due the fact that Uber overwrote Volvo’s own pedestrian braking systems with Uber’s own SW which was taking some shortcuts, bypassing the usual test routes leading to this incident. Since then, Uber apparently has made a number of changes and the test program is back on track.

Why Uber’s self-driving car killed a pedestrian



So far, the AV testing has shown it to be much much safer than human drivers in most “normal” scenarios. Throw in snow, sleet and other tricky conditions, they are not quite there yet. For all the AI computing power and technology, the human brain, when it’s sober and functioning properly, is still the ultimate machine.
 
Last edited:
#2
Not for me thanks.
I have enough trouble with organic drivers. I certainly wouldn't trust a digital one.

I run a medium sized fleet of a couple of dozen commercial vehicles. Some of them shiny and new, some of them not so.
The one common theme to them all is that they are not electronically reliable and haven't been since the day they rolled out of the factory gate.
That includes Mercedes, DAF and Renault.
All great on paper but non of them quite as great as the manufacturer would have you believe.

No way on earth I would trust an electronically controlled autonomous vehicle. You can't even trust the ******* things to manage their own exhaust emissions never mind drive themselves around town.

Grown men driving vehicles are a proper pain in the arse but a computer driving one is a incredibly stupid idea.
Computers do make mistakes, so do the people who program them.
 
#3
The sooner we are all replaced by computers behind the wheel the sooner the roads will be safer. AI taxis also have the advantage for the ladies of not having a sex pest in the front seat and it would presumably be difficult for the operators to fix the program so, when you're obviously from out of town, it takes you the long way round and charges you and extra tenner.
 
#4
Not for me thanks.
I have enough trouble with organic drivers. I certainly wouldn't trust a digital one.

I run a medium sized fleet of a couple of dozen commercial vehicles. Some of them shiny and new, some of them not so.
The one common theme to them all is that they are not electronically reliable and haven't been since the day they rolled out of the factory gate.
That includes Mercedes, DAF and Renault.
All great on paper but non of them quite as great as the manufacturer would have you believe.

No way on earth I would trust an electronically controlled autonomous vehicle. You can't even trust the ******* things to manage their own exhaust emissions never mind drive themselves around town.

Grown men driving vehicles are a proper pain in the arse but a computer driving one is a incredibly stupid idea.
Computers do make mistakes, so do the people who program them.
Ironically, trucking, especially medium/long distance types are expected to be at the forefront of autonomous/ autonomous fleets. A lot of work (Volvo, Tesla etc.) is going on in this front, with commercial trials coming up soon.
 
#5
The sooner we are all replaced by computers behind the wheel the sooner the roads will be safer. AI taxis also have the advantage for the ladies of not having a sex pest in the front seat and it would presumably be difficult for the operators to fix the program so, when you're obviously from out of town, it takes you the long way round and charges you and extra tenner.
Yep. The passenger is supposed to have a lot more control of how things work, see where they are going. A lot of things are being still fleshed out, so these are still initial days, a lot of edge cases need to be accounted for.
Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 13.13.48.png



You can always pull over/ call someone if you're not comfortable.
Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 13.13.36.png
 
#6
Ironically, trucking, especially medium/long distance types are expected to be at the forefront of autonomous/ autonomous fleets. A lot of work (Volvo, Tesla etc.) is going on in this front, with commercial trials coming up soon.

Commercial trials with autonomous trucks has been going on here for a while.
I'm not in favour, the technology isn't there yet and won't be for some time

For instance, I am sitting in my office and in the background there is a telematics system running monitoring driver behaviour and tracking telematics. Due to an issue with the mobile network and internet it uses this morning so far three vehicle have lost signal.
No great shakes as the other tracking system has them, but what happens when your autonomous vehicle suffers a connection glitch and no longer knows where it is?
 
#7
A lot of things are being still fleshed out, so these are still initial days, a lot of edge cases need to be accounted for.
True, but there will still be those insecure humans who will insist we have the equivalent of a man with a red flag around long after the technology is working better than your average human driver [and that is frankly not going to be difficult given the low standard of the average human driver].
 
#8
what happens when your autonomous vehicle suffers a connection glitch and no longer knows where it is?
Much the same as when your driver gets lost, except the vehicle won't suddenly stop looking where it's going as it tries to read a map on it's lap, nor will it lose its temper about the poor road signs as cover for its own stupidity and start driving over aggressive and fast. I could go on, but it's not worth it. It's going to happen and those who don't keep up will, like the canal barge and packhorse owner, simply become irrelevant.
 
#9
No great shakes as the other tracking system has them, but what happens when your autonomous vehicle suffers a connection glitch and no longer knows where it is?
You don't need internet connectivity for AVs. They're independent of them. The current Tesla auto-pilot feature doesn't need it either. These use cases are already accounted for as everyone knows reception fades in and out.
 
#10
Ironically, trucking, especially medium/long distance types are expected to be at the forefront of autonomous/ autonomous fleets. A lot of work (Volvo, Tesla etc.) is going on in this front, with commercial trials coming up soon.
Having seen the large distances travelled on pretty uncongested interstates and the lookout skills of a few septic truck drivers , I can see the possible attraction of the tech in the US of A.
Slightly less so in downtown Glasgow on a pissing wet Monday with a six drop multidrop and a Victorian infrastructure to deal with.
 
#11
AVs are great in situations where everything is logical and predictable. If everything on the road was an AV its likely to be 100% safe. However we have humans in the mix who are very unpredictable, do really stupid things, don't obey the laws of the road etc. etc. Until humans are removed from self driving AVs are never going to be able to cope.
 
#12
Commercial trials with autonomous trucks has been going on here for a while.
I'm not in favour, the technology isn't there yet and won't be for some time

For instance, I am sitting in my office and in the background there is a telematics system running monitoring driver behaviour and tracking telematics. Due to an issue with the mobile network and internet it uses this morning so far three vehicle have lost signal.
No great shakes as the other tracking system has them, but what happens when your autonomous vehicle suffers a connection glitch and no longer knows where it is?
There seems to be a thriving market in GPS blockers at the mo. Whilst these are handy to stop the missus finding out where your girlfriend lives, they produce a bubble of signal blackout around your vehicle which can encompass other nearby vehicles. I foresee artics swerving across the motorways and taxis getting lost and going the long way round... ah... wait...
 
#13
The interiors will be wrecked in no time, people being as they are. Who wants to sit in a trash filled, graffiti covered wreck with slashed seats and questionable fluids spread everywhere? Go look at a public toilet sometime. Unsupervised public vehicles will be exactly the same. No thanks.

Fix the people before you sort the technology.
 
#14
AVs are great in situations where everything is logical and predictable. If everything on the road was an AV its likely to be 100% safe. However we have humans in the mix who are very unpredictable, do really stupid things, don't obey the laws of the road etc. etc. Until humans are removed from self driving AVs are never going to be able to cope.
perhaps we should run these vehicles in special lanes which are seperate from the human traffic, maybe for ease of use on some kind of guided track for the wheels.
Pasengers and freight could be loaded on at special loading/unloading stations near major urban centres. Perhaps some could run beneath the towns and cities they service.
Special busses could be put together to carry many, many people at one time, and others could be purely for goods, especially bulk items.

seriously though the first automatic stuff should be the trains, trams and underground systems.
 
#15
Driverless taxis are coming soon, for sure. You can fit a lot more cars on the roads if they are driven by computers so every government has jumped at the chance to save money on building more roads.


What will happen to all those taxi drivers though? I can´t remember the last time I got in a taxi driven by anyone other than an arab or asian immigrant ¨Where you go?¨. Taxi driving appears to be one of the main employment opportunities for immigrants so if they are not going to be needed in that sector, does that mean that we don´t need them anymore and they can go?. We have been taking ~500,000 new immigrants a year recently, obviously, not all of them drive taxis but still.

Then we have the issue of lorry drivers, they will all be out of work too. Can you see a lorry driver retraining as a call centre operator or IT bod? All wheeled vehicles are going to be driven by computers very soon, including the army´s logistics stuff so what are the governments plans to cope with the unemployment that this will create? I bet there are no plans.
 
#16
Another step up on the ladder to making society more vulnerable to cyber attack.
 
#17
Probably the biggest blocker is likely to be the insurance/ambulance-chasing "industry". Who is liable if a collision does occur?

Currently, it's the driver by default. You have to demonstrate very unusual circumstances for it not to be the human that's at fault. If two drivers are involved, then there's a negotiation, once the roadworthiness of the vehicles is established etc. With multiple vehicle accidents, then it's "knock for knock".

So who is liable if there's an accident involving one or more AVs? It can't be the driver 'cos there isn't one. The passenger is effectively a bystander and should be prevented by design from having any form of active control over the AV. Otherwise, the vehicle isn't an AV any more and the passenger becomes liable because they didn't exercise control over it.

The lawyers can't sue the machine itself, but they can sue the manufacturer for negligence. I can hear the arguments now: if there was an accident, then someone must not have foreseen it could happen in which case they're incompetent; or they did foresee it and failed to guard (or warn) against it adequately. Either way, the manufacturer is screwed.

Tesla are backing away furiously from the claims they've made about their auto-pilot in the past. Since the recent rash of unfortunate incidents, they are saying now that the driver should always remain in control. In which case their software isn't an auto-pilot and some of their marketing has been misleading to say the least.

None of the major manufacturers are going to expose themselves to the level of risk that Tesla have without a legal framework that gets them off the hook. The alternative is a government-backed certification or licensing scheme that tests the vehicle and declares that is roadworthy in autonomous mode, against some agreed level of checks. Some form of type approval would be issued, followed by annual checks in an extended MoT; full or partial re-certification would be required if the AV were upgraded or modified.

Neither of these will happen overnight. Hence I cannot see true AVs or UAVs becoming widespread in the UK, at least for a very long time.

Introduction into the UK will most likely be via segregated lanes such as the guided bus routes at Cambridge or Bristol. Replacement of human drivers on the general road network won't happen for a very, very long time.


TL ; DR: fix the lawyers before you sort the technology
 
#18
seriously though the first automatic stuff should be the trains, trams and underground systems.
In Dubai, Singapore and several other countries the metro/underground systems are driverless, all automatic. In UK there is a huge fuss about who presses the button to close the doors on trains FFS, can you imagine the squeals at even a hint of the train companies thinking about full automation!!!
 
#19
As it stands today the AI simply does not work in the 'real world', Im up in Cumbria which has more than its fair share of single track roads with/without passing places, you tell me what happens when two autonomous cars meet nose to nose? In the human world one of them reverses up AI isnt bright enough to do that. One day it might happen but probably a generation away, remember AI has to work every where not just in urban areas.

Enter Hardknott/Honnister/Wrynose pass into Google maps, wouldnt trust an AI vehicle to take me over them.
 
#20
The alternative is a government-backed certification or licensing scheme that tests the vehicle and declares that is roadworthy in autonomous mode, against some agreed level of checks. Some form of type approval would be issued, followed by annual checks in an extended MoT; full or partial re-certification would be required if the AV were upgraded or modified.
Hhhhmmmm like aircraft certification. The provider has to provide a full safety case etc etc to the government regulator. Hordes of new civil servants to administer it. The bigger problem as I see it is that aircraft have to have spares from the manufacturer, not some dodgy back alley 3rd party (Chinese) producer and once these vehicles get out on the streets, get older have breakdowns there is a massive temptation to fit uncertified 3rd party spares as they'll be a lot lot cheaper.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top