Everyone’s A Bad Driver (Except Me And My Autonomous Car)

In the good old days we worried that other humans were amoral instead of worrying that robots are amoral...

In the good old days we worried that other humans were amoral instead of worrying that robots are amoral…

When news broke this week that autonomous cars operated by Google and Delphi have been involved in 12 crashes since they began testing, the reaction was predictably breathless. Ever since the technology was announced, commentators have been obsessed with the technical and ethical shortcomings of the robot chauffeurs that Silicon Valley insists are the solution to the some 33,000 road deaths that take place in the US each year.

As driverless technology continues to advance, these fears won’t simply go away; on a psychological level, humans seem wired to fear anything that diminishes our sense of control, even if that sense of control is an illusion. This psychological barrier, irrational though it may be, demonstrates a crucial reality of the transition from cars to autonocars: developing technology that improves on the dismal safety record of human drivers is far easier than re-organizing social and individual values that have evolved over the hundred-year history of the automobile.

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7,000 meters under the sea, Nissan develops the all-seeing car, to emerge commercially in 3 years

Making Nissan drivers all-seeing since 2007

Making Nissan drivers all-seeing since 2007

Crawling along the bottom of the ocean, an underwater robot uses technology that is one of the core technologies for Nissan’s drive towards self-driving cars. The deeply submerged robot’s vision is provided by an upgraded version of Nissan’s Around View Monitor (AVM). First commercialized way back in 2007, AVM provides a 360-degree view of the outside of the car, as if the driver hovers in a helicopter over the car. Saving the lives of countless pets in parking lots, Nissan added moving object detection technology to AVM in 2011. In the submerged robot, AVM has received three-dimensional picture processing capability, an important step to sense distances at the blink of an eye, and without the need of slower radars, or much slower ultrasound sensors, all of which rely on an echo. If it wouldn’t be so hackneyed, the 3D version opens a new dimension in autonomous driving. [Continue Reading]

Abe beats Obama in game of chicken – Japan’s METI behind driverless car development

Look, Abe-san, no hands!

Look, Abe-san, no hands!

Remember when President Obama was sitting in a Chevy Volt, and the Secret Service would not allow him to drive? Even after he pointed out that as the President of the United States of America, he owned the damn company? No dice. Obama’s Japanese colleague, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, showed much more confidence into the products of the Nipponese industry. Abe today drove around in an autonomous car today. One? What am I saying, three!
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