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
#41
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'.
Good luck with that.

When your AV can drive from one end of the country to the other in the winter, on winding country lanes full of potholes, through villages and towns, past schools where pedestrians/cyclists can emerge unexpectedly, then join a motorway and pass through roadworks with removed markings and temporary markings alongside them, with the removed markings catching the light when the sun is low in the sky, then recognise faulty traffic signals, react appropriately and follow a diversion route, avoiding any restrictions on the route, then I might consider getting in the wonder vehicle.

I've got £10 that says it might be my grandchildren or more likely their kids that do it though, not me.

Which is cheaper, a whole new and extremely well maintained road network for these fantastically advanced and unhackable vehicles to run on or just training humans to drive?
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#42
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.
You'll have to pay to use the vehicles. You'll probably also be using them on a subscription basis. They won't be unsupervised. Wreck one and you'll lose service provision and be presented with a bill.
 
#43
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
You're right, this is a very big question which needs to be sorted. But they have been working on this for a while now, so there is already some legislation and guidance in place, with a lot more coming soon. Everybody (insurance cos, car makers, gov't) is talking to everyone, for a change. Like it or not, this is happening so lawas are being made and passed, as we speak.
 
#44
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.
Gov't are so far behind in understanding the level of checks etc they are actually turning to the interested stakeholders in coming up with regulations.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#45
Good luck with that.

When your AV can drive from one end of the country to the other in the winter, on winding country lanes full of potholes, through villages and towns, past schools where pedestrians/cyclists can emerge unexpectedly, then join a motorway and pass through roadworks with removed markings and temporary markings alongside them, with the removed markings catching the light when the sun is low in the sky, then recognise faulty traffic signals, react appropriately and follow a diversion route, avoiding any restrictions on the route, then I might consider getting in the wonder vehicle.

I've got £10 that says it might be my grandchildren or more likely their kids that do it though, not me.

Which is cheaper, a whole new and extremely well maintained road network for these fantastically advanced and unhackable vehicles to run on or just training humans to drive?
And that's one of the migration issues. If we're barely staying ahead of maintenance in the traditional sense, where's the money for anything else, such as deploying technology? Money, on the public side, is going to be a major check on progress.

Interestingly, people talk about 'autonomous' vehicles. Actually, they're anything but. They will have to work in very close concert with their surrounding infrastructure.

An example: in addition to GNSS, they'll need numerous other things for accurate guidance. That means localised beacon technology at junctions and so on. For onboard vision systems, it'll mean much better-quality road markings, foliage being kept cropped back to keep signage visible, and so on.

That's one thing that the auto manufacturers aren't saying too loudly at the moment; they are screaming, behind the scenes, for better-quality infrastructure, to support 'autonomy'.

It's also why you'll likely see a migration path/policy which starts in urban areas and on strategic roads, with migration onto lesser roads and more remote locations over time.




Don't be mistaking me for an unapologetic fanboi of all this stuff. I'm not. But I have spent, as I say, 20 years working in and around it.
 
#46
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.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that AVs will be "let loose," for the lack of a better word, everywhere. These will all be confined initially to areas where they know they work and are safe-ish. Nothing is 100% safe.

Geo-fencing these vehicles is super easy through SW. They already do this for other applications, including electric scooters like Lime, where you can't drive those outside certain set areas.
 
#47
A significant number of the ARRSE community will be made redundant in short order if and when this comes to pass I fear.
 
#48
I don't think anyone is suggesting that AVs will be "let loose," for the lack of a better word, everywhere. These will all be confined initially to areas where they know they work and are safe-ish. Nothing is 100% safe.

Geo-fencing these vehicles is super easy through SW. They already do this for other applications, including electric scooters like Lime, where you can't drive those outside certain set areas.
So whats the point of having them if they only work in certain areas? I concur that they will start in urban areas but they have to 100% be able to go on any highway as C_C noted the infrastructure just isnt there and being honest the cost alone will rule it out to be upgraded to a sufficient level, but going full circle if its fully autonomous then it shouldnt have to rely on infrastructure, a bit like a human can.

I do note that the thread has drifted from catching a driverless taxi in, presumably, an urban area to navigating UKs antique back roads.

Slightly more off thread, whats the 4x4 options?
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#49
A significant number of the ARRSE community will be made redundant in short order if and when this comes to pass I fear.
As will a very significant proportion of migrants who work as taxi drivers. Given that this is a significant source of employment in some communities, that could be an issue.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#50
So whats the point of having them if they only work in certain areas? I concur that they will start in urban areas but they have to 100% be able to go on any highway as C_C noted the infrastructure just isnt there and being honest the cost alone will rule it out to be upgraded to a sufficient level, but going full circle if its fully autonomous then it shouldnt have to rely on infrastructure, a bit like a human can.

I do note that the thread has drifted from catching a driverless taxi in, presumably, an urban area to navigating UKs antique back roads.

Slightly more off thread, whats the 4x4 options?
Because people can use them in those areas. If I can hop into a taxi on a rainy day, or because I'm pissed, I will. In reality, it doesn't matter if there's a driver or not for the £3.50 to get me home from town, so long as either option is safe. And it will be.

In terms of back roads, refer to my last about working in concert with infrastructure. Put simply, the farther out from 'civilisation' you go, the more difficult autonomy will be and the greater the levels of in-vehicle technology you'll need.

On that score, 4x4 is a WHOLE different ball game. In reality, the only truly autonomous vehicles we've seen to date are such as the Mars landers and the US's Terramax logistics vehicle.

TerraMax - Wikipedia

And there you're back to money as a check. If you want vehicles that will navigate off-road in remote areas (that is, without some form of interaction and guidance from surrounding infrastructure) the costs are going to be orders of magnitude greater.*




*Before anyone mentions them, I'm discounting quarrying, road-building and agricultural vehicles, here. These still work within tight geo-boundaries and also use Differential GPS and other systems which from a mass-market cost point of view aren't yet 'there' for CAVs.
 
#51
So whats the point of having them if they only work in certain areas? I concur that they will start in urban areas but they have to 100% be able to go on any highway as C_C noted the infrastructure just isnt there and being honest the cost alone will rule it out to be upgraded to a sufficient level, but going full circle if its fully autonomous then it shouldnt have to rely on infrastructure, a bit like a human can.

I do note that the thread has drifted from catching a driverless taxi in, presumably, an urban area to navigating UKs antique back roads.

Slightly more off thread, whats the 4x4 options?
It's called having a gradual roll out.

For 4x4, Waymo (Google) is buying 20,000 Jaguar I-Paces for their fleet. Yes, a lot of Jag electric SUVs on the road in the U.S..must be nice for JLR! Good for you Brits!

Jaguar delivers its first all-electric I-Pace in the US, Waymo gets them for testing

 
#52
And that's one of the migration issues. If we're barely staying ahead of maintenance in the traditional sense, where's the money for anything else, such as deploying technology? Money, on the public side, is going to be a major check on progress.

Interestingly, people talk about 'autonomous' vehicles. Actually, they're anything but. They will have to work in very close concert with their surrounding infrastructure.

An example: in addition to GNSS, they'll need numerous other things for accurate guidance. That means localised beacon technology at junctions and so on. For onboard vision systems, it'll mean much better-quality road markings, foliage being kept cropped back to keep signage visible, and so on.

That's one thing that the auto manufacturers aren't saying too loudly at the moment; they are screaming, behind the scenes, for better-quality infrastructure, to support 'autonomy'.

It's also why you'll likely see a migration path/policy which starts in urban areas and on strategic roads, with migration onto lesser roads and more remote locations over time.




Don't be mistaking me for an unapologetic fanboi of all this stuff. I'm not. But I have spent, as I say, 20 years working in and around it.
I seriously don't think it's one of the migration issues, it's THE issue that needs sorting out before anything else can happen. To have such a well maintained network would be so expensive as to be a complete non-starter. I've been in the highways industry all my working life. To claim that such a network is actually achievable nationwide would be to display a lack of knowledge and practical experience that beggars belief.

Better road markings, foliage kept cut back to keep signage visible - that alone would cost billions, never mind the rest. Signage - as someone who has been closely involved with traffic signing for the last 30-odd years, have you any idea of the highly questionable state of the countries signing stock? You'd tremble in your boots if you knew the average level of knowledge and competence possessed by those charged with looking after it as well.

You might not be aware of this but the minister is pushing to reduce sign clutter, as it's believed there are too many signs out there now. There are also few legal requirements to actually install most traffic signs that you see on a day to day basis. So, in the extreme, what signs might these vehicles be actually looking at? We're a very, very, very long way from it just being a few signs and road markings that need titivating up a bit.

Can these vehicles recognise water across/in the road, gauge how deep it is and thus be able to work out if they could safely traverse it?

As sand rat rightly says, what the point in having them if they'll only work in certain areas.
 
#54
To develop the technology as time passes. Nothing was ever widely rolled out at once. Planes, phones, regular cars etc. etc. Just think about it.
Maybe but to listen to the manufacturers and politicians who have fallen for the salesman's patter, it's only a single figure number of years away. T'ain't so, t'ain't so by a wide margin.

The city I live in is looking to install a Clean Air Zone and want £40 million from HMG to do so. That's just for some cameras, signs, road markings and the back office system to run the thing. Personally I don't know where they've got that figure from but it gives an indication of the scale of likely costs for implementing new technology.
 
#55
#56
To develop the technology as time passes. Nothing was ever widely rolled out at once. Planes, phones, regular cars etc. etc. Just think about it.
Problem with that is, like Queen sang - I want it all and I want it now
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#57
I seriously don't think it's one of the migration issues, it's THE issue that needs sorting out before anything else can happen. To have such a well maintained network would be so expensive as to be a complete non-starter. I've been in the highways industry all my working life. To claim that such a network is actually achievable nationwide would be to display a lack of knowledge and practical experience that beggars belief.

Better road markings, foliage kept cut back to keep signage visible - that alone would cost billions, never mind the rest. Signage - as someone who has been closely involved with traffic signing for the last 30-odd years, have you any idea of the highly questionable state of the countries signing stock? You'd tremble in your boots if you knew the average level of knowledge and competence possessed by those charged with looking after it as well.

You might not be aware of this but the minister is pushing to reduce sign clutter, as it's believed there are too many signs out there now. There are also few legal requirements to actually install most traffic signs that you see on a day to day basis. So, in the extreme, what signs might these vehicles be actually looking at? We're a very, very, very long way from it just being a few signs and road markings that need titivating up a bit.

Can these vehicles recognise water across/in the road, gauge how deep it is and thus be able to work out if they could safely traverse it?

As sand rat rightly says, what the point in having them if they'll only work in certain areas.
Yep. Been in and out of Highways England (as it is now) quite a bit in recent years. Also realise the dire state of local authority finances.

Signage was but one example. There are others, such as how do you communicate variable speed limits to a CAV? At the moment, we use VMS. How does that work if there's no driver? There's a whole digital backbone which is needed. It's at the standards stage... it's not ready yet.

As for clutter... again, aye. But reducing it will have to be done very much in line with keeping what IS needed. In many cases, as you know, it's street furniture.

One thing that would help is removing the politically motivated barriers between speed enforcement and traffic management. Digital cameras can provide vehicle presence, count and classification. We don't need two lots of systems to do two jobs any more.

Now that's a whole different can of worms...
 
#58
Good news for JLR, but manufactured in Austria, Gratz(?) methinks.
Yep. By Magna in Graz. I worked in Graz for about 6 months, lovely little city. Highly recommend it. Even though it's small-ish and Austrian, has a lot of international and young college town feel to it as they have a couple of very nice universities and a few international companies with R&D sites etc. there. Chrysler, Magna, AVL , Infineon and a few others there with lots of international employees, students etc.

Brilliant summers and amazing winters, nice slopes just a miles/ hours away.
 
#59
I've opted for no. I've worked for some time in the field of software supported/controlled systems in the automotive world. I've seen some of the development of "drive by wire" systems and although they generally work ok and the hardware is generally robust and vehicles work well in this regard, I feel that the push towards integrated autonomy in road vehicles is still poorly thought through. I think autonomy and networking of vehicles has much going for it in regard to such things as ocean going shipping and aviation and indeed it's used widely but in generally very specific circumstances/conditions. In the automotive world I am much more nervous. Traffic conditions, road conditions, many more humans doing dumb stuff in urban environments mixed with software controls that, lets face it, daft humans have created nevermind the autonomous vehicles supposed ability to learn (humans make the software and humans can get stuff very wrong and the more complex the systems become, the harder it is to deconflict everything) All that, coupled with the ever present suspicion that some ne'er do well might hack into for malicious purposes just does not sit right in my mind.

Or perhaps I'm just a control freak.
 
#60
Maybe but to listen to the manufacturers and politicians who have fallen for the salesman's patter, it's only a single figure number of years away. T'ain't so, t'ain't so by a wide margin.
Yep. But what do politicians know? A bit of shiny bobble and off they go. Like someone else mentioned, it won't be very quick, like in the next couple of years, but it's not as far away as others think either. The technology is moving and maturing fast. We have a lot more resources and tech now, which weren't available previously.
 

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