[VOX] Self-driving cars: The 21st-century trolley problem

BillyGee

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After reading all of this thread and seeing the sentiments, I just come back to this meme I made a while ago. Still rings true.

Even if a human can do slightly better at crunch time, a robot will be so consistent that it will avoid a lot of those crunch times outright, making it hard to measure in the first place.

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SwampNut

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One thing is that it's super-easy to let the robot drive slower. It has far more patience than a human can.

-Crissa
I let AP drive everywhere, and live with its 5-over limit on most streets and local highways. My wife will not. So she won't let it drive unless it will do 10-15 over, which is only large interstates and similar. You can say she's retarded, but, "everyone" drives that way here. Am I actually being less safe by going too slow? I guarantee that leaving my house going into town, in a 40 zone, nobody but me is doing only 45 (the AP limit). Most are 50+ and the cops start ticketing at 55.

Reality versus theory/law is a bitch.
 

Ogre

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Am I actually being less safe by going too slow?
Absolutely not.

I lean hard on Autopilot a lot as well. Particularly love using it in slow/ stop and go traffic. Of course I live in Eugene where slow drivers are common enough.
 

SwampNut

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A lot of studies have proven that excessively slow drivers do create a hazard. What is excessively slow? People positively go nuts sometimes that I'm only doing 5 over, and pass in really stupid ways. While they are totally wrong, I am also responsible for creating a situation. I'm being legal, I'm being ethical, I have the right of way, and yet, those are really dumb things to put on a tombstone. I don't really agree that I'm "absolutely" not creating a problem.

I would NEVER do this on my motorcycle, too much risk. I will drive the prevailing speed because I can't afford for drivers to be pissed at me.
 

Ogre

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A lot of studies have proven that excessively slow drivers do create a hazard. What is excessively slow? People positively go nuts sometimes that I'm only doing 5 over, and pass in really stupid ways. While they are totally wrong, I am also responsible for creating a situation. I'm being legal, I'm being ethical, I have the right of way, and yet, those are really dumb things to put on a tombstone. I don't really agree that I'm "absolutely" not creating a problem.

I would NEVER do this on my motorcycle, too much risk. I will drive the prevailing speed because I can't afford for drivers to be pissed at me.
At what speed do you cease being responsible for the actions of a guy making a dangerous pass on the road? 75? 80?

I don’t buy this line of thought. It is my responsibility to give other drivers as many opportunities to pass me safely as possible. Not to drive at unsafe speeds to avoid pissing them off.
 

SwampNut

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At what speed do you cease being responsible for the actions of a guy making a dangerous pass on the road? 75? 80?
It's not about "a guy" but about the average speed. NHTSA uses "85th percentile" in all their studies and guidelines. Google that if it doesn't make sense to you. I'm in the 10% slowest drivers around here, when on AP. And with my Jeep, that has adaptive with no speed limits, I do only 8 over. I just don't drive fast on four wheels. When 100% of cars are passing me, some aggressively, there's a problem that I can't just dismiss.

I don’t buy this line of thought. It is my responsibility to give other drivers as many opportunities to pass me safely as possible. Not to drive at unsafe speeds to avoid pissing them off.
"I was right and responsible" is a dumb thing to have on your tombstone. I'm not saying you are WRONG, but I'm saying the end result of our actions of being "too slow" are real problems.

Back to self driving AI, they have to take this into account. They can't just say screw it, the law is the law.
 

Crissa

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Driving with traffic is safer - but the raised speed becomes more dangerous itself the further from the speed limit you are.

Roads are often built for a different speed than they're rated, especially back East. Highway standards on non-highway roads lead to faster traffic speeds, which means hazards (like driveways, intersections, sharp turns, pedestrians) that are appropriate for the speed limit won't be appropriate for the resulting traffic speed.

In other words, pay attention to the dang signs.

-Crissa
 

Ogre

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It's not about "a guy" but about the average speed. NHTSA uses "85th percentile" in all their studies and guidelines. Google that if it doesn't make sense to you. I'm in the 10% slowest drivers around here, when on AP. And with my Jeep, that has adaptive with no speed limits, I do only 8 over. I just don't drive fast on four wheels. When 100% of cars are passing me, some aggressively, there's a problem that I can't just dismiss.



"I was right and responsible" is a dumb thing to have on your tombstone. I'm not saying you are WRONG, but I'm saying the end result of our actions of being "too slow" are real problems.

Back to self driving AI, they have to take this into account. They can't just say screw it, the law is the law.
Freeway speeds have been creeping up for decades because of this kind of logic.

I hear you and I do the same thing, particularly on a certain highly deadly highway near here. But in particular, in town where you interfacing so closely with pedestrians and cyclists, I think it’s far less justifiable.

Personally, I think our local highway needs to add those permanent traffic cones to the center of the road along some of the blind intersections. We get fatality accidents all the time up the hill from our house.
 

SwampNut

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Freeway speeds have been creeping up for decades because of this kind of logic.
As they should, but they remain far too low still. The 55 limit debacle is still hot in my memory, but I guess I'm old.
 

Ogre

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As they should, but they remain far too low still. The 55 limit debacle is still hot in my memory, but I guess I'm old.
The problem is the big gap between posted speeds and actual driven speeds. There is no longer a connection between posted speed and safe speed, it’s just a dated and much ignored sign which cops can use to screw you over.

‘That gap is the gray area where self driving cars have to live.
 

Crissa

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Speed limits should vary more than they do, definitely.

I've been seeing these new setups that have speed advisories based upon radar set around the corner, which is awesome. They're always set lower than traffic is flowing, but it's dang nice to see a warning there's a traffic buck-up where you can't see it.
https://www.tripcheck.com/RealTime/See-The-Signs

-Crissa
 

SwampNut

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The problem is the big gap between posted speeds and actual driven speeds. There is no longer a connection between posted speed and safe speed, it’s just a dated and much ignored sign which cops can use to screw you over.
Exactly my quandary. I don't want to be targeted for enforcement, something I have learned to fear from owning red sports cars and fast motorcycles. I also don't want to be a roadblock. And I *really* wish everyone would agree to what speed each lane should run, and respect that (I do). On the little road from my house into the city, we probably should go faster than the 5 over I do now, but not 20 over either like some. Maybe if they marked it 50 we could all be more alike?
 

Crissa

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They could also paint the road for the speed they want instead of painting with lanes wider than the freeway.

-Crissa
 

Ogre

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They could also paint the road for the speed they want instead of painting with lanes wider than the freeway.

-Crissa
City lanes are pretty bad about this. If it’s unsafe for cars to go 55 MPH down a road, they should make skinnier lanes so people feel uncomfortable driving 55MPH. They can use the space they free up for protected bike lanes and make it even safer.
 
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