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
#22
As my cursor hovered over the "no" vote button, Arrse was replaced by a Firefox "annual survey" page. That is the third "annual survey" this year, always on Arrse. Are we being watched?
 
#23
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
I made that very point last year in the driving out the drivers thread.
Three hundred years of tort and case law can not be overturned easily just because a large multinational organisation or two ( who go to great lengths to minimise their tax bill in their operating country’s), want to improve their vast profit margin slightly.
And the kit will be unreliable for quite a while, and probably kill quite a few people first. Lawyers will go after the big money ie the CEO,s.I’m glad I don’t have to stick my head in that noose.
It broadly comes into the category of tech of “ just because you can , doesn’t mean you should.”
 
#24
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.
Just an everyday issue to think about on this. Lets say you're a passenger in an AV taxi and you reach your destination but there is nowhere to pull to the side of the road and let you out. Usually cabbie would double park for the short period of time required, however that's usually illegal so robot brain is not allowed to do so, then what happens? Developing the thought, would councils be content to redesign the traffic laws to allow this double parking for set lengths of time? What if its Mrs Miggins being dropped off with a load of pies for her pie shop and she has several trips to make to transport them all from the boot to the shop? Further to that if there were a number of agreements made between parking/motoring laws and legislators with manufacturers, all of which were installed in the AVs brain, its going to be impossible to stop hackers reprogramming the brain and lets say it had been agreed you could double park for 30 secs, hackers could change that to 2 mins, 10 mins, whatever they wanted and so the list of pitfalls goes on and on.
Very innovative idea but large scale implementation is going to take a long long long time.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#25
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.
The crossover phase is tricky and one which vexes implementers greatly.

I't interesting that the accidents in which AVs have been involved, principally in the US, have mostly been caused by human error - the AVs have been rear-ended while trying to merge into moving traffic. Better human anticipation, or poor and impatient human driving? I err towards the latter.

I've worked in and around the CAV (Connected and Autonomous Vehicle) space for the thick end of 20 years. We'll get there. Probably not as quickly as some of the more strident predictions, but also not as slowly as some others would have it. Like smart phones, the delivery path will be gradual, with features being added season on season, rather than sudden.

Having been in some autonomous vehicles, I have to say that we're a long way from motorway use. At the moment, trundling around urban spaces in glorified golf carts is where we're at. But I was at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Copenhagen earlier this year, and the ability to co-exist in a space with humans was demonstrated - if anything, it's humans who need to up their game; if people can jaywalk knowing that a vehicle WILL stop then vehicular traffic will grind to a halt. But we will get there, and they will be great societal enablers - young people not needing to past tests to be mobile, the old and infirm brought back in society, even telling the car to take you home after you've had a few.

Google Mobility as a Service (MaaS). That, in conjunction with CAVs, is where transport systems are heading.

Freight is a whole different beast. The sector is very cost-driven, and a big cost is people. Pelotons of trucks have already been demonstrated - years ago in test conditions. They too will come, despite the resistance of, for example, the Teamsters in the US.
 
#26
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!!!
I can't wait for ths strikes over the suggestion.

oh, there isn't any time to fit in extra strikes.. nevermind
 
#27
I've worked in and around the CAV (Connected and Autonomous Vehicle) space for the thick end of 20 years. We'll get there. Probably not as quickly as some of the more strident predictions, but also not as slowly as some others would have it. Like smart phones, the delivery path will be gradual, with features being added season on season, rather than sudden.
I admire your optimism :) Am in the aviation industry, specifically Air Traffic Control and the implementation of new systems. I have often been asked why ATC is not completely computerised and we still have humans doing it. The simple answer is that computer programs always have bugs, when you're writing something with millions of lines of code its inevitable. Humans are always 'in control' for safety. Until we can write computer programs which are completely error free (and have thought of every contingency possible and included a solution) I very much doubt we will see autonomous vehicles like you suggest.
 
#28
I was reading an article on the issues around the Trolly Dillema for AV

Trolley problem - Wikipedia

I can't locate the source, but it asked the public to rate the 'victims' in order that they should be saved. IIRC it ranked something like this;

1. Pregnant woman
2. Celebrated surgeon
3. Disabled person
4. Small child
5. Teenager
6. Average Single woman
7. Homeless person
8. Average Single man
9. Domestic pet
10. Farm animal
11. Wild animal
12. Convicted criminal
 
#29
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.
I can see it working in some applications, but not for a long time in my distribution network
An autonomous vehicle cannot load or unload itself once it reaches the destination for a start and certainly can't wheel product in to the customers kitchen/stores

Nor can it yet deal with the multitude of weather related difficulties etc



There is a simple service outage on the 02 network this morning which has resulted in most of our technical systems going down the pan
On any given morning two or three vehicles have computer related issues. Most are minor but how minor would they be on an autonomous vehicle?

As with many things automotive these days legislation is created in the London bubble that bears little relevance to the rest of the country.

Yesterday my vehicles ran roughly 4000 miles between them, that's an average day. All of them exposed to all the normal environmental hazards, in winter add salt corrosion to those hazards.

Modern computer controlled vehicle electrics simply are not reliable enough for autonomous vehicles. When the tailights blow on an autonomous vehicle is it going to change the fuse/bulbs or pull over on to the hard shoulder and wait for human assistance?

Computers are a long long way off replacing the human behind the wheel
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#30
I admire your optimism :) Am in the aviation industry, specifically Air Traffic Control and the implementation of new systems. I have often been asked why ATC is not completely computerised and we still have humans doing it. The simple answer is that computer programs always have bugs, when you're writing something with millions of lines of code its inevitable. Humans are always 'in control' for safety. Until we can write computer programs which are completely error free (and have thought of every contingency possible and included a solution) I very much doubt we will see autonomous vehicles like you suggest.
I'm not saying that there aren't obstacles. I have seen 20+ years of development, though.

The key is to control the environment - and unlike ATC, if something goes wrong you don't have something with hundreds of people in and thousands of feet straight down. It's a different setting.

That may mean dedicated lanes for CAVs in some areas, for instance. It will need an education plan which far exceeds any effort we've seen so far. THAT is the real elephant in the room. For years, the question of liability stockout like a sore thumb. It's now been agreed that the lability rests with the vehicle manufacturers. But, in terms of getting people to interact with CAVs... well, go to the average dealership and they're still talking about alloy wheels and upholstery upgrades.

The issue has been ducked and I've written some stuff on this. 'Read the handbook' isn't going to be good enough - nor is 'Go look at the videos on YouTube'.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#31
I can see it working in some applications, but not for a long time in my distribution network
An autonomous vehicle cannot load or unload itself once it reaches the destination for a start and certainly can't wheel product in to the customers kitchen/stores

Nor can it yet deal with the multitude of weather related difficulties etc



There is a simple service outage on the 02 network this morning which has resulted in most of our technical systems going down the pan
On any given morning two or three vehicles have computer related issues. Most are minor but how minor would they be on an autonomous vehicle?

As with many things automotive these days legislation is created in the London bubble that bears little relevance to the rest of the country.

Yesterday my vehicles ran roughly 4000 miles between them, that's an average day. All of them exposed to all the normal environmental hazards, in winter add salt corrosion to those hazards.

Modern computer controlled vehicle electrics simply are not reliable enough for autonomous vehicles. When the tailights blow on an autonomous vehicle is it going to change the fuse/bulbs or pull over on to the hard shoulder and wait for human assistance?

Computers are a long long way off replacing the human behind the wheel
Jobs in the freight sector will change. I can see long-distance driving being replaced by single or teams of individual who work within a tight area (such as a single or small number of postcodes) and who turn up to meet an autonomous vehicle for loading/unloading.
 
#33
Jobs in the freight sector will change. I can see long-distance driving being replaced by single or teams of individual who work within a tight area (such as a single or small number of postcodes) and who turn up to meet an autonomous vehicle for loading/unloading.
Its concievable
However, the loader/unloader may well end up traveling with the vehicle, in which case there is no labour saving in the costings.

The big motive behind this for the haulage industry is labour cost. Labour accounts for around 30% of my cost. I'm not a haulier so simple haulage companies have a different cost breakdown to our operation

As a little bit of an eye opener on this one, I know of one operator in London who has invested in a single 26 tonne electric lorry for operation in London due to Mr Kahn's hairbrained bollox.

A conventional 26 tonne fridge costs in the region of £120-130,000 and can work day and night
This new fangeled electric one cost £330,000 and can only do 120 miles on a charge.
 
#35
The key is to control the environment - and unlike ATC, if something goes wrong you don't have something with hundreds of people in and thousands of feet straight down. It's a different setting.

That may mean dedicated lanes for CAVs in some areas, for instance. It will need an education plan which far exceeds any effort we've seen so far. THAT is the real elephant in the room.
Hhhmmm vehicles operate in a 3D environment and aircraft operate in 4D but they both involve peoples lives so the safety parameters need to be similar.
Yes education/involvement is going to require some government somewhere grasping the nettle and deciding that they're going to put some effort into making it real. Manufacturers cannot push against resistance in the hope of a break through, this is just too big, it needs pulling from government. One place which might be keen is the UAE, they like to be 'innovative' and are not short of money. The roads are generally (sweeping generalisation here) new and few areas suffer the road layouts and narrowness of UK's medieval history.

I am enjoying your input, very thought provoking :)
 
#36
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.
Exactly. Throw a dark rainy night or an inch or two of slush/snow on the road surface and a bit of dense fog into the mix just for good measure, making the lane lines disappear and the edge of the carriageway indeterminable at best and it's game over time.

As a driver, I can get that half second glance of a child heading towards the road at speed at is then disappears behind a parked van, knowing that it's likely to run out in front of me from behind the parked van and start to brake/swerve in anticipation. The current level of tech can't do that.

Automatic parking in a tight spot - yes. Anything else - no, for the foreseeable future.

This might - stress might - work in US cities with their generally regular block layout but in the UK, forget it.
 
#37
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.
Do you imagine that these vehicles won't collect biometric and visual data of every single person that gets into them?

Vandalise the cab and it will simply lock you in and deliver you and the evidence to the nearest point of arrest.

Would I ride in a fully autonomous cab? Of course. I strongly suspect though, that by the time they are on the streets of the UK, all vehicles will be autonomous.

Diverging slightly but still within autonomous transportation... How long before our trains and trams are all driverless? The only stumbling block here is trade unions as the technology exists, is safe and has been deployed in a limited way already in the U.K. I'd trust proven technology over people every single time.

Think back to the Croydon tram crash... the driver fell asleep and the tram was travelling at way over the approved speed limit for the sector it was in. An autonomous tram is exceedingly unlikely to fall asleep and it's systems (with their built in redundancy) would have managed the tram speed according to the parameters set.

Technology and automation every time.
 
#38
I think it is inevitable.
There will be some early accidents but eventually will be proven statistically safer and will become commonplace.
And I will be long dead by then anyway .
 
#39
Diverging slightly but still within autonomous transportation... How long before our trains and trams are all driverless? The only stumbling block here is trade unions as the technology exists, is safe and has been deployed in a limited way already in the U.K.
Singapore and Dubai already fully driverless, Jakarta new system will be driverless. It's already here but as I said in an earlier post in UK there is a huge fuss about who pushes the button to close the doors FFS!
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#40
Hhhmmm vehicles operate in a 3D environment and aircraft operate in 4D but they both involve peoples lives so the safety parameters need to be similar.
Yes education/involvement is going to require some government somewhere grasping the nettle and deciding that they're going to put some effort into making it real. Manufacturers cannot push against resistance in the hope of a break through, this is just too big, it needs pulling from government. One place which might be keen is the UAE, they like to be 'innovative' and are not short of money. The roads are generally (sweeping generalisation here) new and few areas suffer the road layouts and narrowness of UK's medieval history.

I am enjoying your input, very thought provoking :)
Yes, but it's that 4th dimension - yell 'Stop!' - literally - in an aerospace environment and things will fall out of the sky. Do the same in a terrestrial setting and things will just, well... stop.

Government has to be involved, aye. In fact, public-private cooperation is going to be paramount.

There's already a tussle going on over whether 5G should form the backbone of CAV connectivity. Some of the supporters of 5G are being accused of protectionism - among the biggest proponents of a shift to 5G are 5G chipset manufacturers. They stand accused by some of trying to monetise safety, by comparison with the use of other, more open standards such as something called ITS-G5 (a development of 802.11p, for those with an interest). Government, at a pan-national level, needs to be educated and take a lead. This is happening, happily.

But building expressly designed conurbations isn't necessarily the answer, and the Emirates provides an example:

Masdar's zero-carbon dream could become world’s first green ghost town

Again, I think that the migration paths have to be progressive rather than sudden, and they have to take cognisance of the infrastructure and environments we already exist in. Otherwise, there's simply no point.
 

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