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Nevada Authorizes Development of Driverless Car Rules 122

DrEldarion writes "Via Forbes: 'The State of Nevada just passed Assembly Bill No. 511 which, among other things, authorizes the Department of Transportation to develop rules and regulations governing the use of driverless cars, such as Google's concept car, on its roads.' Pretty soon, cars will be able to dump their own dead bodies into the Nevada desert."
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Nevada Authorizes Development of Driverless Car Rules

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  • by xMrFishx ( 1956084 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:47PM (#36548342)
    I think he means the bunch - spread - bunch - spread of traffic slowing and speeding up that you get with lane changers, idiot drivers, middle lane managers and so on. Breaking, when it's busy can have a mile long knock-on effect on cars behind you. Of course, when there's noone on the road, it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference. We as drivers, are fairly bad at being a swarm and acting as one. We're all very selfish. I'll take computer managed driving on motorways any day.
  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:55PM (#36548438) Homepage
    In the very long term, automated cars able to coordinate their driving will be more efficient. There will be fewer driving accidents and people will get where they are going faster. In the short term this sort of technology is more likely to be first actually used when it is limited to highway driving (which is comparatively simple) before it becomes useful for general driving. Unfortunately, it could take only a few bad accidents before people will start reacting strongly against automated systems even if the systems are safer than humans on average. This is sort of what we're seeing now already with nuclear power: the death toll from nuclear power is much smaller than coal, but nuclear power is treated as terrible because the accidents are rare and spectacular and involve a technology that is seen as novel, strange and unnatural.
  • You're a bit more keen on their chances than I am. People underestimate risks when they are in control.

    In 2009 there were 30,797 traffic-related fatalities [dot.gov] in the USA. If we could cut that in half with self-driving cars that'd be amazingly good. But the public wouldn't go for it because now the machine is in control, so the risk is overestimated.

    How many stories would we see about "killer cars that account for 10,000 traffic deaths per year"? How many people wouldn't buy them because of how "unsafe" they are?

  • by QuasiEvil ( 74356 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @08:35PM (#36549540)

    Actually I'd agree. The average densely packed freeway moves at a rate and a following distance where pretty much the only choice in the event of anything bad happening is to plug the brakes. That causes a cascade effect, and you wind up with a slow spot that takes hours to dissipate. We need more space between vehicles and drivers trained to do something other than panic stop, or lower speeds to give people time to react more rationally. Or computerized drivers.

    Goddammit, I sound like a fucking eco-hippie. I'm a single guy with six cars, four of which are purely for fun, and I'm arguing for lower speed limits. Actually, I guess I'm arguing for better drivers.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind being able to hand control over to a computer in dense traffic, but I want control back when I exit onto surface roads or get out of congested freeway areas. I drive as much for the fun of it as to actually go anywhere.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?