Researchers Aim For Car With Auto-Pilot, But Would You Trust It?

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News Posted: Sun, Apr 25 2010 4:33 PM
It's been a dream of Earth's residents since The Jetsons made us believe it was a possibility: true auto-pilot. It's alive and well in some cases, but not all. Existing commercial airplanes have an auto-pilot button that guides the planes controls based on the route it needs to take, but that's relatively easy. There's no highway to follow, no drunk drivers to watch out for, and no posted speed limits to obey. Doing the same thing in an automobile is definitely more difficult, as you can probably tell given that no auto-pilot car yet exists for the consumer market.

But just because there's no car like that yet doesn't mean that researchers aren't working towards that goal. A team at North Carolina State University are hoping to expand upon the technology that already parallel parks your car automatically and alerts you when you veer out of your lane, eventually hoping to create cars that can stay in a lane altogether without the help of a human driver. The team has designed software that tells an on-board computer to stay aware of what lane the vehicle is in, and it can even read road signs and keep a watch on other vehicles that roll up beside of it. As we mentioned, existing technology is only capable of finding lanes and sending the driver an alert if they veer over; beyond that, it can't really help.



The technology is even different than that used in the DARPA Challenge, which pits autonomous vehicles against one another in a bid to win a race. Those vehicles require massive amounts of sensors and other external hardware--stuff that would be impractical to install in a consumer car. NC State's technology relies on "computer vision programming, which allows a computer to understand what a video camera is looking at - whether it is a stop sign or a pedestrian." The solution also uses algorithms to "sort visual data and make decisions related to finding the lanes of a road, detecting how those lanes change as a car is moving, and controlling the car to stay in the correct lane." The real kicker is the system's ability to do this while avoiding other cars and without becoming befuddled by multiple lanes.

The end goal? To develop a fully autonomous driverless vehicle. We're talking about a car that can signal, slow down, pull off, etc. Another important aspect here is the car's ability to react if the human suddenly cannot. If a driver has a heart attack, becomes choked, etc., the car could take over and stop in order to avoid a catastrophic event. It's a huge, huge goal, and we're not sure we'll live to see it all fully come together in our lifetime. But who knows--maybe The Jetsons dream will come true in time, and we'll all be able to take a bit easier on the highway with Mr. Navigation at the helm.
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Inspector replied on Sun, Apr 25 2010 5:19 PM

Well i don't think i can trust this kind of technology till maybe 10 years after it has happened and had its time tested and advanced :D. But for sure it is a great idea everyone has wanted.

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3vi1 replied on Sun, Apr 25 2010 6:26 PM

What's the worst that could happen?

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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I want something closer to artificial intelligence than a computer doing simple algorithms before I step inside a automated car.

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3vi1:
What's the worst that could happen?

Um, THIS?

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3vi1 replied on Sun, Apr 25 2010 7:07 PM

LOL at your link, SD.

 

Welcome to the future!:

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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AKwyn replied on Sun, Apr 25 2010 8:06 PM

MrBrownSound:

I want something closer to artificial intelligence than a computer doing simple algorithms before I step inside a automated car.

Full artificial intelligence would probably result in a car like KITT.

Also, I imagined that the cars driving themselves would use camers to detect nearby cars, see when the road turns and use the GPS in order to guide itself to the destination.

 

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um  no. i think not

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window."

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I don't think anyone will trust a car on auto pilot any time soon. I think it is going to be a gradual thing and it is already happening. It is going to be one little thing at a time and soon enough right under our noses we will not be driving. Look at things that are already in cars on the road. A few years back cars started looking behind them and beeping at you when you were close to something. Now a few cars are taking that farther and doing things like parallel parking for you. We are far away from the irobot 300mph highways, but I think it is coming.

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la_guy_10 replied on Sun, Apr 25 2010 9:05 PM

The Lexus LS460L will parallel park from what I have seen it does a good job. This would be nice until there is a glitch then this idea of auto pilot would be catastrophe. I see where they are going with this idea with GPS to keep all cars at a safe distance and map out routs and stuff but again one hacked system or a glitch will have major implications!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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la_guy_10:
The Lexus LS460L will parallel park from what I have seen it does a good job. This would be nice until there is a glitch then this idea of auto pilot would be catastrophe.

Read all about the Lexus 460 recall right HERE.

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la_guy_10 replied on Sun, Apr 25 2010 11:16 PM

@ Super Dave I am referring to the car the Lexus LS460L sedan.

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Super Dave replied on Mon, Apr 26 2010 12:11 AM

la_guy_10:

@ Super Dave I am referring to the car the Lexus LS460L sedan.

Oh! That's one of the few Toyota products that has no recall! Sorry.

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I am sure the Auto pilot will be government controlled!

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realneil replied on Mon, Apr 26 2010 8:40 AM

You can bet that law enforcement will have it's tendril's into this technology. They have been clamoring for car-makers to put police-controlled kill switches into cars for years.

I wouldn't trust this technology in the city at all. Maybe on an uncrowded highway after it's been in use and is trusted by millions of people first,...........no, not even then!

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That's what I'm saying. Wouldn't it be nice for them when instead of chasing car thieves, they can just have the car drive them right to the prison.

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Inspector replied on Mon, Apr 26 2010 6:33 PM

Ya but remember computers can be hacked so you can one day have all these cars just not work or someone makes them all drive off a cliff...

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Apr 27 2010 8:32 PM

>> Ya but remember computers can be hacked so you can one day have all these cars just not work or someone makes them all drive off a cliff...

Oh, it's not like the cars will be running some easily hacked version of Windows....

Oh my god, it's just like cars will be running some easily hacked version of Windows.

I'll take the car running FreeBSD, please.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Auto pilot for cars just won't work. Unless they run on systems like railway lines...or they fly.

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I don't trust people as it is, i'd give autopilot a try....after the technology evolves a bit

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