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(Cleveland Plain Dealer)   Ford engineers to unveil technology that allows cars to "drive themselves" during high traffic high stress situations   (cleveland.com) divider line 45
    More: Spiffy, traffic congestions, driverless cars, traffic  
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1448 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Jun 2012 at 11:39 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-27 11:43:38 AM
No thanks.
 
2012-06-27 11:45:19 AM
I've got a car that drives itself. It's called "the city bus", and I pay $30 a month for a chauffer to anywhere I want to go.

I realize that public transportation isn't an option for everyone. There are plusses and minuses to living anywhere.
 
2012-06-27 11:47:24 AM
I'm looking forward to fully automated cars. I dream of the day that I may have the freedom to be the raging alcoholic I've always wanted without having to plan around those pesky transportation issues.
 
2012-06-27 11:47:32 AM
Call me when they can detect Asians behind the wheel.
Or women
Or idiots
or....hey, there's a cloud over my lawn!
 
2012-06-27 11:50:36 AM
i'd like to see how long one of these survives on the roads in Russia...
 
2012-06-27 11:59:23 AM

Just Arrived: No thanks.


You didn't read the article did you. Its just adaptive cruise control that can handle the speed of 0. You still have to steer and everything (though with lane assist you will get a warning if you drift to far off)
 
2012-06-27 11:59:53 AM

Odd Bird: Call me when they can detect Asians behind the wheel.
Or women
Or idiots
or....hey, there's a cloud over my lawn!


They are working on the idiots one. Right now, if you see a car with four interlocking rings on the front of it, you can be 99% sure that there is an idiot behind the wheel.
 
2012-06-27 11:59:59 AM
I'd rather it drive itself on long trips. I can handle around town let it take the five hour drive.
 
2012-06-27 12:00:02 PM
PLEASE, for the love of FSM bring these to Massachusetts as soon as possible. People around here are seriously insane. Turn signals don't come on unto the turn is halfway completed, right of way is a mere suggestion, and no one does above 25mph on on-ramps to the highway.

I long for the day when changing lanes isn't a risk to life and limb.
 
2012-06-27 12:01:05 PM

Klivian: PLEASE, for the love of FSM bring these to Massachusetts as soon as possible. People around here are seriously insane. Turn signals don't come on until the turn is halfway completed, right of way is a mere suggestion, and no one does above 25mph on on-ramps to the highway.

I long for the day when changing lanes isn't a risk to life and limb.


FTFM
 
2012-06-27 12:08:22 PM
It uses sonar? I ask because I'm genuinely ignernt-- wouldn't multiple cars, or even hundreds as might be found in a 6-wide traffic jam, tend to completely confuse a sonar system? If, say, a quarter of those cars are "pinging", that would create loads of ping originators, reflected responses, etc. Seems like using different ping frequencies would only help so much.
 
2012-06-27 12:09:15 PM
It's just basically adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning coupled together. The cruise control stops you from rear ending the guy in front of you, the lane departure keeps you between the lines. DENSO has it on some of their demo Tahoes as well and some Euro supplier who I forget has it was well. DENSO's system will even detect pedestrians, deer, and moose (not sure who picked moose as an animal for their 1.0 release), although it does suck at edge detection currently.

The big problem with Ford's system is the sonar. There are some concerns over whether it works when every single car in the gridlock is sending out sonar pings or radar scanning and crapping up the spectrum with noise. The real money maker will be the system that can do it all with IR cameras. Totally passive and IR cameras are damn cheap.

Lane detection systems need to be the next standard feature mandated by the government. One camera on each mirror to monitor the lane lines (and your blind spot as well, although if you'd just adjust your damn mirrors properly....) and one camera to watch your eyes. When the camera detects your eyes are focused on the center stack or your cup of coffee, the vehicle ignores your attempt to drift into the car next to you.

Eventually at some point we'll have industry standard paint markings on cars (that only the cameras can see). That way a camera will be able to look at a vehicle and see what portion of the vehicle it is looking up and detect how it is moving based on how that marking moves. Then all this will be even easier

/the big problem with lane departure right now is construction zones, where the old lines are kinda-sorta painting over and some new temp lines have been painted. The cameras are sensitive enough to pick up both sets and then the system has a fit. There are algorithms to get around this, but it is a really annoying edge case
 
2012-06-27 12:12:34 PM
It's time for this week's Article Breakdown.

"Drivers spend more than 30 percent of their time in heavy traffic," Ford engineer Joseph Urhahne said in a statement.

Hah, sucks to be you. I sure as hell don't. Remind me why living in a huge gigaplex city is so great again? Perhaps it's time to find a better way to get to work?

The still-experimental system uses sonar sensors and cameras to track the speed of cars in front of the driver and to keep an eye on lane stripes on the road. The speed sensors will tell the car how fast to go to match the speed of the driver in front of him while the cameras will warn drivers if they start drifting out of their lanes. You'll still have to do the steering, but your car will warn you if you're not doing a good job of it.

So, in essence, all it does is mimic adaptive cruise control at low speeds? That's what I want in traffic- a car that forces me to slow down, and let all the assholes who run up in the exit lane jam themselves in front of my car at the last second. This would TOTALLY reduce the amount of road rage I experience in traffic, since 100% of it is caused by people like that.

Lane-departure warning systems warn drivers if they're weaving in and out of lanes or drifting over lines. Automakers have marketed it as a safety system that will warn drivers if they're distracted or sleepy.

How will it go about warning the driver, exactly? A beep? A voice saying "Stay in your lane, asshole?" Will the steering wheel vibrate? If I'm exhausted, I really doubt any of these things would alert me to the fact that I'm driving poorly. Do they not have those "rumble strips" on the sides of the highway where you live? Those things alert me REALLY quick if I'm straying out of my lane. Between highway lanes you say? Those little bumps/flaps on lane markers do a pretty good job too.

One study found that if a quarter of cars on the road had such follow-the-leader systems, congestion could be cut by more than a third in major cities.

Or, it'll make traffic WORSE by making cars do things that normal drivers wouldn't do, spurring more defensive behaviors from other drivers, vicious cycle. If I were behind a car that was pretty clearly slowing WAY ahead of time, maintaining a huge gap behind the car in front, etc- I get out from behind them, as they're impeding my progress towards my destination.

Even with its sensors and cameras, the traffic assistance system is still a few steps away from a self-driving car. On city streets, for example, drivers would still have to stop for red lights, pedestrians and stray animals that ran into the street.

You mean, people will still have to DRIVE their cars? Sweet jesus people, if you want a point-to-point ride in a car where you don't have to pay attention to it, TAKE A CAB. There'd be less traffic if everyone paid attention to their drive, got off the phone, quit eating, quit putting on makeup, quit reading the paper, and farking drove their car for 20 minutes. How about we stop trying to automate processes that have already been "automated" by public transport, car service, or a goddamn rickshaw. Instead of "auto drive", how about we require all cars to have a clutch operated manual transmission, and if you can't operate it properly (or are unwilling to, as it will "inconvenience" you during your drive) YOU AREN'T ALLOWED TO DRIVE YOURSELF. I see this is as a "kill 50 or so birds" with one stone solution: no more "unintended acceleration", no more 91 year old bluehairs plowing through farmer's markets, and reduced fuel consumption and emissions for all.

/rant off
//solution= learn to drive better.
 
2012-06-27 12:21:20 PM

treesloth: It uses sonar? I ask because I'm genuinely ignernt-- wouldn't multiple cars, or even hundreds as might be found in a 6-wide traffic jam, tend to completely confuse a sonar system? If, say, a quarter of those cars are "pinging", that would create loads of ping originators, reflected responses, etc. Seems like using different ping frequencies would only help so much.


It's very low powered in the traffic jam scenario. In adaptive cruise, at least with the cruise we buy, the sonar starts out with a low powered ping and if it doesn't find anything it increases the range. So on the highway when 4 second following distance means a longer range it will generate a more powerful ping. When you're in gridlock it uses a lower range. So in theory your sonar only has the range to mess up the six guys near you in gridlock. However even that is pretty bad. With our first gen wireless wheel monitoring systems, you could pick up the wheels of the guy beside you in gridlock or the parking lot. That caused a lot of problems and no one is all that eager to do a run off of 2 million cars and then find out someone missed something during interference testing and we have a problem.

The general feeling in the industry is that drivers don't need to shout at each other to know what we're doing. We do it with lights, lines, and laws. Any kind of vehicle to vehicle communication requires massive processing power and that increases the cost of the vehicle. Active monitoring systems like sonar and radar also require more expensive modules and microprocessors. Whereas a standard fisheye camera with its IR filter removed (to give you a cheap IR camera) runs about three bucks (less if you buy bulk) and you don't have to dick around with frequency hopping or anything.

If you want a good idea of where the industry is going, go find a newish high end Volvo and check out all the cameras on the center mirror. Volvo's big problem is that they do each system independently, so they have six fricking cameras on the center mirror (okay, well only four normally) to do everything. The direction of the industry is one camera on the center mirror, one in the front grill, one above the plate in the rear, and one under each side mirror. We can stick in some IR illuminators at the fog light position and across the bumper and be in business.
 
2012-06-27 12:25:24 PM
No Simpson's reference?
 
2012-06-27 12:25:35 PM

Odd Bird: Call me when they can detect Asians behind the wheel.
Or women
Or idiots
or....hey, there's a cloud over my lawn!


Not sure what it is, but we must get all the reject drivers here in NA because you go over there and the driving is a fantastic, non colliding ballet, they drive with purpose... it's actually awesome. Look at youtube footage of Indian or HK traffic.
 
2012-06-27 12:26:03 PM

machoprogrammer: No Simpson's reference?


Sorry, that should be "No Simpsons reference?"
 
2012-06-27 12:27:32 PM

grinding_journalist: So, in essence, all it does is mimic adaptive cruise control at low speeds? That's what I want in traffic- a car that forces me to slow down, and let all the assholes who run up in the exit lane jam themselves in front of my car at the last second. This would TOTALLY reduce the amount of road rage I experience in traffic, since 100% of it is caused by people like that.


I'm that jerk in-front of you, driving a Manual transmission, but leaving plenty of room in front of me because I'd rather roll as a slow constant speed that stop/go/stop/go on my clutch. -grin-
 
2012-06-27 12:29:09 PM

MindStalker: Just Arrived: No thanks.

You didn't read the article did you. Its just adaptive cruise control that can handle the speed of 0. You still have to steer and everything (though with lane assist you will get a warning if you drift to far off)


Actually I did. I'll stick with what I know. At least for now.
I use cruise for long trips like most people. I hate ABS brakes and traction control. I really don't like automatic trans either but my wife doesn't want to learn stick.

I just have a hard time trusting it. That's all.
 
2012-06-27 12:30:57 PM

grinding_journalist: How will it go about warning the driver, exactly? A beep? A voice saying "Stay in your lane, asshole?" Will the steering wheel vibrate? If I'm exhausted, I really doubt any of these things would alert me to the fact that I'm driving poorly. Do they not have those "rumble strips" on the sides of the highway where you live? Those things alert me REALLY quick if I'm straying out of my lane. Between highway lanes you say? Those little bumps/flaps on lane markers do a pretty good job too.


Well in my car it works as follows:

1. Angry beeping, as the car maintains the lane for you. If no response:
2. A/C unit blows cold air on your face. Servomotor tugs on your seatbelt. Car maintain lane. If no response:
3. Car's stereo set for max volume, bass set to max. 5 seconds of this. Car maintain lane. If no response:
4. Car uses side cameras to check the shoulder or the right most lane if no shoulder. Pulls over, puts on the 4 ways, uses Onstar to alert emergency services.

Step 3 used to be be my coworker yelling "Pay attention dumbass" but we had to change that for a demo. Eventually Step 3 will be a series of tones designed to have the max impact to wake a comatose person (don't ask me, someone else is figuring that one out).

You're totally right though, why would we ever want to design a system that gets the car onto the shoulder when the driver has a stroke or passes out for some reason? Also rumble strips don't come into play when you try to drift across lanes and sideswipe the guy beside you. ABS is standard because a lot of drivers had trouble remembering to pump the breaks. Now we're doing lane departure controls and rear end collision avoidance since a large portion of society has trouble keeping their focus when they reach for their Starbucks cup (and of course the unfortunate case of driver incapacitation).
 
2012-06-27 12:32:17 PM

treesloth: It uses sonar? I ask because I'm genuinely ignernt-- wouldn't multiple cars, or even hundreds as might be found in a 6-wide traffic jam, tend to completely confuse a sonar system? If, say, a quarter of those cars are "pinging", that would create loads of ping originators, reflected responses, etc. Seems like using different ping frequencies would only help so much.


It's possible to crytopgraphically encode a unique rotating vehicle ID into the "chirp" that the sonar unit sends out and then receives the echo of (just another application of channel sharing that has been developed over the years for various applications [cell phones, etc.]) to greatly minimize the interference, though those techniques will still become overwhelmed with enough traffic.

I have no idea if they are using those techniques right now in cars however, since they all add to the cost of the sonar unit.
 
2012-06-27 12:46:31 PM

ha-ha-guy: Now we're doing lane departure controls and rear end collision avoidance since a large portion of society has trouble keeping their focus when they reach for their Starbucks cup (and of course the unfortunate case of driver incapacitation).


The driver incapacitation I'll give ya- but how often does that actually happen? As in, guy on the road causes accident because he suddenly couldn't operate his car anymore. Honestly curious.

As far as staying focused goes while reaching for the Starbucks cup? While in the car, focus on driving. That's what you're there to do.
 
2012-06-27 12:51:43 PM

grinding_journalist: ha-ha-guy: Now we're doing lane departure controls and rear end collision avoidance since a large portion of society has trouble keeping their focus when they reach for their Starbucks cup (and of course the unfortunate case of driver incapacitation).

The driver incapacitation I'll give ya- but how often does that actually happen? As in, guy on the road causes accident because he suddenly couldn't operate his car anymore. Honestly curious.

As far as staying focused goes while reaching for the Starbucks cup? While in the car, focus on driving. That's what you're there to do.


Took me a bit to get that into my head when I was first driving but you are right on here. I will never claim to be the "best driver on the road" but people need to realize they are driving a weapon. Treat it as such.
 
2012-06-27 01:09:04 PM

grinding_journalist: While in the car, focus on driving. That's what you're there to do.


The actual full on drops dead behind the vehicle and kills everyone is pretty rare. Drowsiness/fatigue though is #20 overall cause of accidents and the system will compensate for that. Also interestingly enough, if you're driving with a cold you have extremely poor reaction times (up to a 50% drop, so we consider that near incapacitation). With the elderly drivers, some combination of poor vision and lack of focus is the leading cause of accidents. Some kind of medical condition (resulting in death or just passing out) is in the top 10 for the elderly. There aren't a lot of elderly drivers though and it tends to involve low speed incidents, so they're honestly not a huge concern. Although they did spawn that fark meme about farmers markets.

The system wil also reduce the damage drunks can do. Not eliminate though. Our system only ignores low force commands from the driver (so if you fall asleep and slump against the wheel or the like you are ignored). Drunks tend to just jerk the wheel if it fails to respond and our system accepts forceful commands. The theory is normally if you;'re jerking the wheel, you're doing it because the semi in front of you just blew out its tire, so the human trumps the computer.

I'm not saying I disagree with your point of focus on your driving, but distracted driving that results in a side swipe or rear end collision is the number one cause of accidents. Tailgating in heavy traffic is the #14 cause. So we're building a system to eliminate that. People also have a demonstrated habit of getting behind the wheel while fatigued and performing poorly. Education and the police have failed to prevent it, so now we're engineering it out. We'd be more than happy not to add additional costs to vehicle production, but life is what it is.

The other reason we're focusing on low traffic is that studies have shown people get bored when travelling at low speeds. Actually 70 mph is better than 65 mph for highways since the terrain moves faster and you're less likely to lose focus/get bored. A number of studies have found if you stick a good driver in heavy traffic for an hour or so he'll get bored and his response rates will drop. Microprocessors don't get bored, no longer how long you make them idle on I-275 while the cops clean up an accident.
 
2012-06-27 01:22:01 PM
If a car wrecks on autopilot, who's responsible for the damage - the driver or the car company?
 
2012-06-27 01:23:06 PM
Let me know when they catch up to Google's self-driving car...

i272.photobucket.com

Video from the TeeVee magicbox with the movingpicturesy thingy
 
2012-06-27 01:28:01 PM

imontheinternet: If a car wrecks on autopilot, who's responsible for the damage - the driver or the car company?


Driver. The lawyers are very careful in making sure these systems are only ever marketed as "driver aides". I'm sure there will be some lawsuits over it though and we'll see what happens. The likely thing though is that we'll get the government to publish a standard the system has to meet. Then as long as we meet the system, we're immune from lawsuits in theory (Basically: "We met the standard, told you what the system did, and any accident is a result of your misuse of the system").

I think to successful sue you'd have to problem the system overrode a forceful command from the driver, which would be tricky to prove. IANAL though.

/that's also why we make suppliers build the systems
//so when the class action rolls in, we can just go dump it in the supplier's lap and blame their faulty system
 
2012-06-27 01:32:48 PM
I want adaptive cruise control.
 
2012-06-27 01:35:21 PM

StopLurkListen: Let me know when they catch up to Google's self-driving car...

[i272.photobucket.com image 640x480]

Video from the TeeVee magicbox with the movingpicturesy thingy


Do you have any idea how much it would cost to deploy one of those? Let me know when Google catches up with Ford, GM, and Toyota.
 
2012-06-27 02:01:32 PM

Gonz: for a chauffer to anywhere I want to go.


Although Portland, OR claims to have a good transit system, more than 90% of my weekly trips could not be done on it. About all it's good for is remote parking for downtown events. Even then it's triple the time or more and I have to drive to a station or bus route to start.
 
2012-06-27 02:21:08 PM

natazha: Gonz: for a chauffer to anywhere I want to go.

Although Portland, OR claims to have a good transit system, more than 90% of my weekly trips could not be done on it. About all it's good for is remote parking for downtown events. Even then it's triple the time or more and I have to drive to a station or bus route to start.


I have a 20 minute drive to work. Or, I could walk three miles to a bus stop, take a 35 minute bus ride, and then walk two miles from the bus stop to my office. No thank you.
 
2012-06-27 02:24:37 PM
ha-ha-guy:

I just wanted to say thanks for your responses. As a fellow nerd, I always enjoy reading about the engineering side of stuff like this.
 
2012-06-27 02:33:20 PM
I thought Toyota already introduced the "self-driving" feature a couple of years ago? Did not go well if my memory serves...
 
2012-06-27 02:34:53 PM

machoprogrammer: machoprogrammer: No Simpson's reference?

Sorry, that should be "No Simpsons reference?"


No, Simpsons reference!
 
2012-06-27 02:38:44 PM

Gonz: I've got a car that drives itself. It's called "the city bus", and I pay $30 a month for a chauffer to anywhere I want to go.

I realize that public transportation isn't an option for everyone. There are plusses and minuses to living anywhere.


Anywhere, eh?

So you'll pull right up my driveway in that thing? Neat. Glad to hear that public transportation has jumped the pre-defined route system.
 
2012-06-27 02:46:05 PM

PetraeusWJ: machoprogrammer: machoprogrammer: No Simpson's reference?

Sorry, that should be "No Simpsons reference?"

No, Simpsons reference!


No! Simpsons reference...
 
2012-06-27 02:50:07 PM

ha-ha-guy:
Step 3 used to be be my coworker yelling "Pay attention dumbass" but we had to change that for a demo. Eventually Step 3 will be a series of tones designed to have the max impact to wake a comatose person (don't ask me, someone else is figuring that one out).

You're totally right though, why would we ever want to design a system that gets the car onto the shoulder when the driver has a stroke or passes out for some reason?


I have this mental image of someone importing this car to say England, passing out behind the wheel and the car trying to park them in oncoming traffic.
 
2012-06-27 03:10:20 PM

StopLurkListen: Let me know when they catch up to Google's self-driving car...

[i272.photobucket.com image 640x480]

Video from the TeeVee magicbox with the movingpicturesy thingy


Let me know when Google opens an automotive factory..... This isn't a simple "we can make the software and sell it to hardware makers" situation. Car companies will come up with their own proprietary systems for self driving cars, why let Google in on the action?
 
2012-06-27 03:32:13 PM
My car has this already. I like it for the reasons ha-ha-guy mentioned. Boredom in a traffic jam leads me to become more easily distracted. The system maintains a safe distance and gentle breaking/acceleration while I try to stay sane.

What grinding_journalist said was also true. Sometimes Lexus RX350 soccer mom behind me gets livid that I'm not tailgating the person in front of me and aggressively cuts me off. Then, my car gently creates a cushion of space behind her and I wonder how crappy their life is that they have to cut me off in a traffic jam to save themselves approximately one second of travel time.
 
2012-06-27 04:37:15 PM

ha-ha-guy: If you want a good idea of where the industry is going, go find a newish high end Volvo and check out all the cameras on the center mirror. Volvo's big problem is that they do each system independently, so they have six fricking cameras on the center mirror (okay, well only four normally) to do everything. The direction of the industry is one camera on the center mirror, one in the front grill, one above the plate in the rear, and one under each side mirror. We can stick in some IR illuminators at the fog light position and across the bumper and be in business.


I think I like that better, not that they asked me. For a sonar-based system, I'd just be waiting for the first reports of some douche with a high-frequency speaker and a tone generator causing massive slowdowns just to screw with everyone.
 
2012-06-27 06:25:42 PM

treesloth: ha-ha-guy: If you want a good idea of where the industry is going, go find a newish high end Volvo and check out all the cameras on the center mirror. Volvo's big problem is that they do each system independently, so they have six fricking cameras on the center mirror (okay, well only four normally) to do everything. The direction of the industry is one camera on the center mirror, one in the front grill, one above the plate in the rear, and one under each side mirror. We can stick in some IR illuminators at the fog light position and across the bumper and be in business.

I think I like that better, not that they asked me. For a sonar-based system, I'd just be waiting for the first reports of some douche with a high-frequency speaker and a tone generator causing massive slowdowns just to screw with everyone.


I would totally do that. Lulz.
 
2012-06-27 09:09:25 PM
Lazy Farkers who are intimidated by cars u have to drive...this is your thread.
 
2012-06-27 09:24:48 PM
i39.tinypic.com
Navi-Tron Auto-Drive System
 
2012-06-27 11:30:08 PM

TotallyHeadless: I want adaptive cruise control.


After driving cross country a couple times with it, it's now on my mandatory list. Like my PVR, I'd suffer greatly without it.
 
2012-06-29 08:18:09 PM

MayoSlather: I'm looking forward to fully automated cars. I dream of the day that I may have the freedom to be the raging alcoholic I've always wanted without having to plan around those pesky transportation issues.


Oh yeah. You think the 2 am line of drunks at the Taco Bell drive-thru is long now? Just wait.
 
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