Author Topic: Self-Driving Cars  (Read 38585 times)

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Online SkeptiQueer

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #915 on: January 08, 2017, 05:34:16 PM »
We're already off topic, talking about electric cars in a thread about self-driving cars. What's one more step off the topic?

Apropos to that... the range on electric assist bicycles is about 40 miles... should be enough for most commuters.  You have to steer them manually though, and watch out for bad drivers.
A bit rough on wet or icy roads, or when the temperature drops below 40F. Not great for grocery runs either.

Motivated excuse-making?
What's the ambient temp for you right now?
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #916 on: January 08, 2017, 05:36:50 PM »
Has anyone considered placing a Stirling engine in a hybrid? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine) These are more efficient than IC engines, and run on multiple fuels. the usual reason given for not using them in cars and trucks is that they don't handle rapid changes in speed well, but this would not seem to be needed in electric hybrids, where the engine can run at constant speeds to charge the batteries. They are used in newer non-nuclear submarines.

Most hybrids are not series hybrids like you describe, where electric motors alone turn the wheels and the the engine is used only to charge the battery.  Most route engine power directly to the wheels through a transmission which allows them to combine the power of the engine and electric motor.  Their efficiency comes from the ability to use a smaller engine, since they can supplement the low-power engine with electric motor power when rapid acceleration is needed.  According to what I've read, series hybrids are not currently any more efficient than gasoline engines unless they are plugin hybrids which can run off of battery power, in which case all of their efficiency increase comes while they are running in all-electric mode.

True for cars. Not for freight trains. Freight trains in the U.S. are diesel-electric series hybrid. Of course, Europe has the infrastructure for pure electric trains, which is even better.

And if this were a thread about freight trains, I might have said that.

We're already off topic, talking about electric cars in a thread about self-driving cars. What's one more step off the topic?

The point is that, when I said "most hybrids are not series hybrids," it should have been obvious (and, I suspect, was obvious) to everyone, even you, that I was talking about hybrid cars, not hybrid trains.  To respond to me with pedantry about diesel-electric trains being series hybrids is fucking annoying, especially since I know how goddamned freight trains work and I would have talked about it if it was at all relevant to the discussion.
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Offline Enkidu Shamesh

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #917 on: January 09, 2017, 03:05:30 AM »
We're already off topic, talking about electric cars in a thread about self-driving cars. What's one more step off the topic?

Apropos to that... the range on electric assist bicycles is about 40 miles... should be enough for most commuters.  You have to steer them manually though, and watch out for bad drivers.
A bit rough on wet or icy roads, or when the temperature drops below 40F. Not great for grocery runs either.

Motivated excuse-making?

I went without a car for about five years and took my bike most places I needed to go. Rain and ice SUCKED. Often I would simply choose to walk as it was safer. For groceries I have a two wheeled cart that attaches to the rear axle - it can hold about 80 pounds. Before I bought that I managed with saddle bags.

I have the luxury of living close to work, and having a grocery store in my neighborhood. If everything weren't within half a mile of me it would have been hell (though I didn't have a motor on it either). I'd say the local whether is a good reason to opt out of bike riding, and the wind chill when you get going can be brutal. We get a fair amount of freezing rain in the winter here - no way would I have rode a bike for so long if I were five miles from work instead of half a mile.

During the winter when I got home from work and jumped in the shower my feet would burn from the temperature difference (I would loose feeling in all of my toes). I wouldn't shit on anyone that didn't want to deal with that. I didn't want to deal with it, and wouldn't have had I had more money.

Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #918 on: January 09, 2017, 05:18:16 AM »
I'm 100% with Daniel on this issue, I can't wait for the day when the roads are safe because the drunks and idiots and texters and pretend NASCAR drivers aren't in charge of a vehicular death machine.

The insurance issue is more complex than what's been brought up though, and it's an interesting topic.  I think the whole way we insure cars would have to change.  Insurance currently covers the owner of the car (and authorized users), not the car itself.  I think the driving software company would have to carry the insurance and it would have to be a damned big limit.

That's right, but there is even more to it then that.  Not only will the software company need insurance, but the hardware will as well.  Both need to be insured.  There will be sensors, computers that can lock up, hard drives that break, axles that break..

And on top of this, you will then be dealing with some cars which have no driver in the car at all.  So its not going to be an individual who has the insurance.
Again, this is no different to what happens now. Companies already have product liability insurance. The insurance industry will work out how premiums may change if needed as new tech is incorporated into vehicles. It's just a bit of maths.

Don't know about the US but in Australia it's the car that is insured (for damage suffered by occupants, third parties and third party property as well as to the vehicle of course, as well as for theft), and not the individual. Indeed 3rd party insurance is compulsory here in order to register a vehicle.

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #919 on: January 09, 2017, 08:13:54 AM »
A number of US states operate under a "no fault" auto insurance system where, up to some dollar level or excepting some actions, your insurance company pays all costs of an accident without adjudicating fault. For most accidents, this is the most cost-effective solution, although humans typically want retribution.

An example of why this helps: Before Michigan adopted this (I think they still have it), my vehicle was among two dozen others waiting at an intersection for an ambulance to pass.  One driver failed to pay attention, barreling past the stopped cars, hitting the ambulance, which spun out of control, hitting one stopped vehicle, mine.

Three years of lawsuits followed, with me caught in the middle, though the only innocent party (the ambulance driver was not following protocol). Under no-fault, my claims would have been handled immediately.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #920 on: January 09, 2017, 08:38:17 AM »
Has anyone considered placing a Stirling engine in a hybrid? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine) These are more efficient than IC engines, and run on multiple fuels. the usual reason given for not using them in cars and trucks is that they don't handle rapid changes in speed well, but this would not seem to be needed in electric hybrids, where the engine can run at constant speeds to charge the batteries. They are used in newer non-nuclear submarines.

Most hybrids are not series hybrids like you describe, where electric motors alone turn the wheels and the the engine is used only to charge the battery.  Most route engine power directly to the wheels through a transmission which allows them to combine the power of the engine and electric motor.  Their efficiency comes from the ability to use a smaller engine, since they can supplement the low-power engine with electric motor power when rapid acceleration is needed.  According to what I've read, series hybrids are not currently any more efficient than gasoline engines unless they are plugin hybrids which can run off of battery power, in which case all of their efficiency increase comes while they are running in all-electric mode.

True for cars. Not for freight trains. Freight trains in the U.S. are diesel-electric series hybrid. Of course, Europe has the infrastructure for pure electric trains, which is even better.

And if this were a thread about freight trains, I might have said that.

We're already off topic, talking about electric cars in a thread about self-driving cars. What's one more step off the topic?

The point is that, when I said "most hybrids are not series hybrids," it should have been obvious (and, I suspect, was obvious) to everyone, even you, that I was talking about hybrid cars, not hybrid trains.  To respond to me with pedantry about diesel-electric trains being series hybrids is fucking annoying, especially since I know how goddamned freight trains work and I would have talked about it if it was at all relevant to the discussion.

I apologize. Perhaps it's my Asperger's, but when someone says "most hybrids" my brain jumps to the notable exceptions. I'm often accused of being overly literal by people who are not familiar with my peculiarities. People who are familiar with me either accept my many faults (overliteralism among them) or avoid me.
Daniel
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Offline phooey

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #921 on: January 15, 2017, 07:01:06 AM »
I'm 100% with Daniel on this issue, I can't wait for the day when the roads are safe because the drunks and idiots and texters and pretend NASCAR drivers aren't in charge of a vehicular death machine.

The insurance issue is more complex than what's been brought up though, and it's an interesting topic.  I think the whole way we insure cars would have to change.  Insurance currently covers the owner of the car (and authorized users), not the car itself.  I think the driving software company would have to carry the insurance and it would have to be a damned big limit.

That's right, but there is even more to it then that.  Not only will the software company need insurance, but the hardware will as well.  Both need to be insured.  There will be sensors, computers that can lock up, hard drives that break, axles that break..

And on top of this, you will then be dealing with some cars which have no driver in the car at all.  So its not going to be an individual who has the insurance.
Again, this is no different to what happens now. Companies already have product liability insurance. The insurance industry will work out how premiums may change if needed as new tech is incorporated into vehicles. It's just a bit of maths.

Don't know about the US but in Australia it's the car that is insured (for damage suffered by occupants, third parties and third party property as well as to the vehicle of course, as well as for theft), and not the individual. Indeed 3rd party insurance is compulsory here in order to register a vehicle.

Are you telling me that in Australia they do no evaluation of the driver, their age, or their driving history when they give insurance rates?  Everyone who drives a 2006 Holden 2.5 engine pays exactly the same price from the same company?  They just decide how much the car is worth? 

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #922 on: January 15, 2017, 01:42:14 PM »
Don't know about the US but in Australia it's the car that is insured (for damage suffered by occupants, third parties and third party property as well as to the vehicle of course, as well as for theft), and not the individual. Indeed 3rd party insurance is compulsory here in order to register a vehicle.

I don't know Australian law, but I would be surprised if it works the way you describe for liability coverage.  Cars can't have liability, their owners and operators can.  It's the owner/operator who is therefore insured. In the US there are several different types of insurance available, all of them usually wrapped into a single policy:

Liability: Covers the operator's liability if s/he causes an accident.  Pays for property damage and personal injury. Regular operators must be listed on the policy and rating us based on their driving history, age, gender, etc.  Failure to list a regular operator could result in denial of coverage if that operator causes an accident. Infrequent operators will be covered if they do not live with the owner.

Collision: Covers damages to your vehicle in accidents caused by covered operators.

Comprehensive: Covers non-collision damage to or loss of covered vehicles (tree limb, fire, theft, etc.).

Medical Payments: Covers medical expenses for injuries sustained by covered operator and his passengers on a no-fault basis.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: Covers your injuries, property damage, etc., caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. It essentially insures you against the the uncovered liabilities of others.

Phooey: I still don't understand why you think this is going to require a major change in the way insurance is done.  Companies are already insuring vehicles which can drive substantially on their own, which can stop or take evasive action on their own in emergencies, and which can park on their own.  Why would a fully autonomous vehicle be covered any differently?
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #923 on: January 15, 2017, 02:12:27 PM »
Phooey is just incensed by the idea that by the time he's old enough to drive, all cars will be autonomous and he won't be able to have the experience of driving. Of course, there will always be racetracks, where you can drive a car, but that's not the same as being in control of a two-thousand kilogram death trap on public streets with pedestrians and incompetent and distracted drivers.
Daniel
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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #924 on: January 15, 2017, 04:55:23 PM »
I'm 100% with Daniel on this issue, I can't wait for the day when the roads are safe because the drunks and idiots and texters and pretend NASCAR drivers aren't in charge of a vehicular death machine.

The insurance issue is more complex than what's been brought up though, and it's an interesting topic.  I think the whole way we insure cars would have to change.  Insurance currently covers the owner of the car (and authorized users), not the car itself.  I think the driving software company would have to carry the insurance and it would have to be a damned big limit.

That's right, but there is even more to it then that.  Not only will the software company need insurance, but the hardware will as well.  Both need to be insured.  There will be sensors, computers that can lock up, hard drives that break, axles that break..

And on top of this, you will then be dealing with some cars which have no driver in the car at all.  So its not going to be an individual who has the insurance.
Again, this is no different to what happens now. Companies already have product liability insurance. The insurance industry will work out how premiums may change if needed as new tech is incorporated into vehicles. It's just a bit of maths.

Don't know about the US but in Australia it's the car that is insured (for damage suffered by occupants, third parties and third party property as well as to the vehicle of course, as well as for theft), and not the individual. Indeed 3rd party insurance is compulsory here in order to register a vehicle.

Are you telling me that in Australia they do no evaluation of the driver, their age, or their driving history when they give insurance rates?  Everyone who drives a 2006 Holden 2.5 engine pays exactly the same price from the same company?  They just decide how much the car is worth?
Non sequitur. Having insurance tied to a specific vehicle does not imply the insurance premiums must all be the same.

Part of the process of insuring a vehicle is answering questions about the likely driver(s) as well as other things such as where the car is normally parked.

But when I get my car insured, that insurance does not cover me when I, e.g., drive someone else's car.

So the insurance only applies to incidents involving that specific vehicle (accidents, damage, theft depending on the nature of insurance coverage purchased), and not the specific driver. The nature of any insurance claim made may be affected depending on who the driver was, e.g. the excess applicable may be higher if a non-nominated driver was driving. Excess is an initial $value up to which insurance won't cover, e.g. the first $500, to help prevent lots of small frivolous claims. If you were not the driver, the excess applicable might be say $2,000. These are all variables you can adjust when purchasing your insurance for your car.

As an example of the compulsory third party insurance that applies here in Australia - here's a brief definition:

Quote
This insurance provides compensation for people injured or killed when your vehicle is involved in an accident.
http://www.greenslips.com.au/ctp-insurance.html

Note that it does not matter who the driver is - the insurance is specifically tied to that vehicle. Even if the vehicle is stolen and the thief crashes your car, then the CTP coverage on that vehicle still applies to cover damage to third parties.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 04:59:24 PM by Alex Simmons »

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #925 on: January 15, 2017, 06:16:14 PM »
Just checked my policy.  As I thought:

My liability coverage covers me whenever I drive a non-commercial vehicle regardless of owner, and covers my liability but perhaps not the driver's if they borrow my vehicle.

Collision covers only my vehicle, and does so no matter who's driving (unless I have failed to list a regular driver or member of my household).  It also covers a non-commercial rental vehicle.

Comprehensive covers loss to my vehicle only.

Medical payments cover my own and my passengers' injuries whether I'm driving any non-commercial vehicle.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #926 on: January 15, 2017, 06:30:33 PM »
I know that my policy covers me when I'm driving a car other than my own, because my insurance agent has told me that when I rent a car I can decline the rental-car company's insurance. He's also told me that my car is covered when I allow someone else to drive it. (With the proviso mentioned above, that I must declare if someone else will be driving it regularly.)

Presumably, with an autonomous car, the car itself would be listed as a "driver" of the car, or as the sole driver if it cannot be driven by a person. The owner would pay the premium, the car would be the driver, and the insurance cost would be based on actuarial tables of the rate of accidents of that autonomous system, which will make the cost lower, due to the increased safety of the autonomous system. If it turns out that a glitch in the programming causes an accident, the insurance company will sue the automaker, who will have an incentive to fix the glitch.

Everybody wins, except the gearheads who would rather be driving their car than sitting in the back seat reading a book or taking a nap.
Daniel
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Offline phooey

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #927 on: January 16, 2017, 06:58:30 AM »
Don't know about the US but in Australia it's the car that is insured (for damage suffered by occupants, third parties and third party property as well as to the vehicle of course, as well as for theft), and not the individual. Indeed 3rd party insurance is compulsory here in order to register a vehicle.

I don't know Australian law, but I would be surprised if it works the way you describe for liability coverage.  Cars can't have liability, their owners and operators can.  It's the owner/operator who is therefore insured. In the US there are several different types of insurance available, all of them usually wrapped into a single policy:

Liability: Covers the operator's liability if s/he causes an accident.  Pays for property damage and personal injury. Regular operators must be listed on the policy and rating us based on their driving history, age, gender, etc.  Failure to list a regular operator could result in denial of coverage if that operator causes an accident. Infrequent operators will be covered if they do not live with the owner.

Collision: Covers damages to your vehicle in accidents caused by covered operators.

Comprehensive: Covers non-collision damage to or loss of covered vehicles (tree limb, fire, theft, etc.).

Medical Payments: Covers medical expenses for injuries sustained by covered operator and his passengers on a no-fault basis.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: Covers your injuries, property damage, etc., caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. It essentially insures you against the the uncovered liabilities of others.

Phooey: I still don't understand why you think this is going to require a major change in the way insurance is done.  Companies are already insuring vehicles which can drive substantially on their own, which can stop or take evasive action on their own in emergencies, and which can park on their own.  Why would a fully autonomous vehicle be covered any differently?

Well, first, yes, Alex is clearly wrong about what he is saying about Australia insurance.  Its not about the car, its about the person who drives that car.

And this is exactly why the situation will be totally different if we have autonomous cars without drivers.  How do you think they are going to be able to calculate the risk of a system failing?  That's going to be pretty tough.  Imagine the first time a bus full of kids drives off an icy road and kills everyone on board.  But what if it was unavoidable?  Or more complicated still, what if it was another systems fault, but the bus still didn't react as well as it could have?

It no longer is just an issue of an insurance claim, it is going to be lawsuits, piled on top of lawsuits, by both the insurance comapnies, and by the individuals who were injured and feel the insurance companies coverage is not adequate.  Its not much use trying to sue an individual for millions, who will never be able to pay it anyway, but its another story when its all large companies involved in the fault.   

Online daniel1948

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #928 on: January 16, 2017, 08:13:41 AM »
...  Its not about the car, its about the person who drives that car.

And this is exactly why the situation will be totally different if we have autonomous cars without drivers.  How do you think they are going to be able to calculate the risk of a system failing?  That's going to be pretty tough. ...

Well, in this case, the "person" driving the car is the autonomous system, and calculating the risk of a failure will be MUCH easier than calculating the risk of a particular human driver making a mistake. There are a couple of hundred million drivers in the U.S., and every one of them is unique, and all are likely to be distracted by different things.

With autonomous cars there will be at most a few hundred programs, each of which will be extremely predictable, and none of which will ever be distracted by a pretty girl walking along the sidewalk or a favorite song on the radio, and none of which will ever eat or drink or text or talk on the phone or apply makeup while driving.

Risk will be much lower, and will be much easier to calculate. And all the data will be available from testing before the first autonomous car is sold to a buyer, and will continue to accumulate from there. And every time there is an accident, the programs will be refined and improved. And as autonomous cars become more common and fewer people are driving cars, accidents will become fewer and fewer.

You've got it all backwards. Insurance will become simpler and cheaper.
Daniel
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Offline Fast Eddie B

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Re: Self-Driving Cars
« Reply #929 on: January 16, 2017, 08:27:05 AM »
You've got it all backwards. Insurance will become simpler and cheaper.

Agreed.

phooey seems to be grasping at straws, leading to this hijack.

While insurance policies will need time to adjust to the new paradigm, fewer accidents will equal fewer payouts will equal lower rates overall.

But let me suggest that "Insuring self-driving cars" deserves its own thread.
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