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Can driverless cars become a reality?
in Technology

By abhsabhs 4 Pts
I  don't think that driverless cars can fully replace the current trend as it is very dangerous because a computer can malfunction any moment and any time. Tests have shown the results to be negative so far in the developed nations of the world. As far as the developing nations are concerne, it is very difficult to have that kind of infrastructrure conducive to driverless cars.
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  • @abhs, big progress is already being made and it's undeniable that driveless cars will ne the future. Technology and infrastructure is ready. It is safer to rely on a computer for driving than people
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible
    - Walt Disney
  • What are we to do about the ethics of a self-driving car?
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • I say self driving cars would be really helpful. Once they are safe. Once we get self driving cars we can be a LOT more efficient and eventually safer. DrCereal What do you mean about the ethic?
  • abhs said:
    I  don't think that driverless cars can fully replace the current trend as it is very dangerous because a computer can malfunction any moment and any time. Tests have shown the results to be negative so far in the developed nations of the world. As far as the developing nations are concerne, it is very difficult to have that kind of infrastructrure conducive to driverless cars.

  • abhs said:
    I  don't think that driverless cars can fully replace the current trend as it is very dangerous because a computer can malfunction any moment and any time. Tests have shown the results to be negative so far in the developed nations of the world. As far as the developing nations are concerne, it is very difficult to have that kind of infrastructrure conducive to driverless cars.

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 214 Pts
    There used to be a time (over a century ago) when cars were extremely slow (often slower than you would ride a bicycle) and would break every few dozen miles, requiring the driver to come out, get under the car and dig in the car's insides to figure out what is wrong. Many people believed that a personal car was an obsolete concept, because they are prone to breaking and will never become reliable enough to be driven at significant distances, remaining instead play toys of millionaires to show off at a corporate party. Yet here we are, driving cars that survive dozens years, hundreds thousands (sometimes millions) miles, with barely any essential repairs to be made.

    Same story with personal computers, that a few dozen years ago would freeze or shut off for no apparent reason all the time - nowadays you can leave a low-budget computer running for months without restarting the system before the first issue comes up.

    You are correct that a computer can malfunction at any moment - but so can a human, and in practice humans do malfunction much more often than modern computers. A very negligible fraction of car accidents is caused by cars hardware or software malfunctioning, and it is almost always a driver's doing. Modern computers are extremely reliable, and modern neural networks typically used for autopilot systems have a very low miscalculation rate. While the car autopilot systems are still very young and underdeveloped, the situation will improve over time dramatically, and I won't be surprised if in 10-15 years human-driven cars will only be produced for car enthusiasts, while the mainstream of the market will be dominated by self-driven cars.
    Polaris95
  • I think your argument is too selective. You mention computers being able to be left on for longer without rebooting, but you fail to note that computers are glitchier and more unstable than ever because of their increasing complexity. I bought a brand new laptop for Christmas and in a matter of weeks it was already malfunctioning in many ways. I have to buy a new phone every year because it starts to slow down and malfunction. I'm sure if I broke out my 15 year old Nokia it would still play Snake perfectly if I could get the battery to work! Older computers weren't as complex so there was less to go wrong. In the 80s you could use the manual to access the complete programming of the OS and change whatever you needed back to the original, line-by-line. Now that computers are more complex that is physically-impossible; even if the user is an expert programmer, he or she can never hope to keep up with all the data in the system. And the complexity breeds vulnerability to viruses; even the classes of viruses continue to expand (i.e., malware, spam, ID theft, etc.) as we progress. Sometimes I wonder if computers are going to reach a level of complexity where they just simply get too complicated to work with any level of reliability.

    Cars are similar; sure there was a time in their infancy where we hadn't mastered how to build them yet, but once we did we started making them more complex. My ex's car wouldn't start when it was below 10 degrees out. No matter how many mechanics we brought it to, including the dealer, nobody could ever fix it. And I hear about these oddities with computers and sensors all the time; this would never happen with a simpler engine. As cars, computers, or anything become more complex, there is more that can go wrong and our apprehension of these problems deteriorates.


    I personally don't believe self-driving cars are coming, not unless we create a brand-new infrastructure that vastly simplifies their operation (i.e., rails instead of roads). If you have a computer-system complex enough to drive a car, then it is necessarily not simple enough to be reliable. It is going to be glitchy, unstable, and not suitable for the responsibility of driving. The ethical concerns are fundamentally unresolvable and what happens when somebody hacks the system or you fall victim to malicious programming?

    I think it is interesting that the most important system in the U.S., that is, the nuclear launch system, is still dependent on 40 year-old programming. You literally need one of those huge floppy discs that are a foot long to access it. The government knows exactly what I'm telling you: simpler technology is more reliable and safe. You don't want modern, complex, glitchy programming in charge of the most important things!
  • @MayCaesar ;

    Sorry, that last comment was directed at you. I had to delete the "@" part because the computer kept glitching out on me while I typed lol!
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 214 Pts
    @ProtoAthenian

    This is strange, because this does not match my experience at all. I remember daily "blue screens of death" in Windows 98 in late 90-s - early 2000-s on multiple systems, often without an apparent reason (you leave the computer running with no tasks, and it crashes suddenly). Over 2000s, stability was slowly improving, and on my current system in 4 years I had, at most, a total of 10 crashes - and all of those crashes were due to unstable third-party applications and not due to the system itself. I did have a PSU unit die after approximately 1.5 years and easily replaced it for free using the 5 years long warranty - but my system contains many complex parts, and I do not put as much effort into the maintenance as I should. All the parts other than PSU have worked for 4 years with zero issues.

    Similarly, with cars, in late 90-s I would regularly see stranded people fixing their cars in the middle of the road. When my father 3 different cars throughout 90-s, he would have to crawl under the car every few days or open its front to fix something - and my grandfather's car would more often break than not, and he ended up simply scrapping it and using a bicycle instead. Nowadays, you often see people with 300k+ miles on their Toyotas or Hondas that did nothing aside from the routine company-recommended maintenance, and even the least reliable brands from 90-s, such as GMC, have become stable to the point where with proper maintenance it is not rare to see nothing break before the car is resold. I am right now shopping for used cars from early 2010-s, and most of the offered cars have a perfect maintenance reports, indicating no issues in all 6-8 years they were on the road.

    It is indeed true that a more complex system is more likely to break - however, a more complex and technologically advanced system is less likely to break in a major way. Yes, indeed, various complicated computer software features can be buggy, and all these fancy car adaptive cruise control features may have issues... But it is very rare for something to break in a way that makes your operating system unusable, or your car undriveable. The core systems are very reliable, and while various added features together have a potential for malfunction, their malfunction rarely threatens the system as a whole. While in 90-s, for example, it was not rare for a CPU cooling mechanism to malfunction and cause a small explosion inside finishing off the system - or for the car transmission system to fall apart on a highway and lock the car controls off.

    Not to say that serious personal computer and car computer malfunctions do not happen - they do, of course - but they are much less frequent, and usually their occurrence can be traced back to either a stock defect, or the improper use/maintenance. The modern systems are extremely unlikely to have serious inherent design issues endangering the entire system.

    It is similar in many fields. The entire financial system of the US is pretty much controlled by computers with extremely complex backends. A malfunction that would endanger the entire system is not something we have ever had to deal with, and while security breaches occur regularly within given companies, even those breaches rarely have serious consequences. The recent Equifax security breach did not bankrupt anyone, and the company quickly took steps to protect private information with a few more security layers.

    ---

    Finally, I think your point relating to the correlation between the simplicity of a system and its reliability has a merit - but mostly this merit applies to the ease of using this system efficiently. If you have a very simple software piece, or an old car with a very simple mechanism, then you can often debug issues by yourself and even perform repairs without having a vast volume of special knowledge. You also understand much better how that software or car hardware works and can utilize it to its full potential. With complex automated systems this is not the case, and if there is a bug in one of the core systems of Windows 10, it is absolutely impossible even for an experienced programmer not affiliated with Microsoft to debug it - not only because of how complex the system is, but also because of the amount of security preventing non-certified users from accessing its backend. Similarly, if your car's lane departure warning system malfunctions, then you have to bring your car to the appropriate dealership, as you yourself will not be able to figure out what causes the problem.

    But just as these systems increase in complexity, the maintenance specialists' knowledge and experience also increases. Yes, you will have to rely on the dedicated specialists more than on yourself, compared to the previous decades - but those specialists will do a much better job than you could hope to do on your own. Ultimately, it is all about what you prefer: being personally in control, or letting others do the work and enjoying the extremely advanced product. I prefer the latter, although I do see the appeal of the former.

    ---

    Also, it is worth noting that quite a few systems use the old hardware/software simply because changing it is very inconvenient. NASA still uses a lot of computers designed in 70-s, and, as you mentioned, Pentagon sometimes uses floppy discs - however, their systems were initially designed with stability in mind; they were working against the old hardware, not with it, so to speak. A floppy disc in itself is very simple and reliable, but the floppy drives are known to have many inherent issues - from my knowledge, NASA and Pentagon have resolved their issues in their internal professional grade systems, reaching almost the perfect reliability. There is a point at which upgrading the hardware and software simply does not improve the reliability noticeably. 

    But, for example, the Library of Congress recently experienced a major upgrade of its core systems. I forgot the details, unfortunately, but I remember that in particular they updated their storage technology. They deal with very valuable and sensitive documents, not as sensitive as nuclear warheads, but sensitive enough to put the reliability of the storage systems above everything else. From simple analog systems, they moved on to complex digital systems. I will not be surprised if the nuclear launch system is also upgraded eventually.
  • Polaris95Polaris95 47 Pts
    Someday yes, but probably in about 20/30 years. We already have lots of driver aids, but they aren't much compared to a fully self-driving car. Computer systems are still very unreliable, and can be hacked. Another problem is knowing where the driver really wants to go. If you don't pinpoint a destination, it would be impossible for the AI to figure out where to drive. But self-driving cars definitely seem like the future.
  • joecavalryjoecavalry 358 Pts
    Yes, autonomous cars or partially autonomous cars already exist such as Tesla vehicles. In a couple of years, most likely around 2025, self-driving cars would become mainstream and mass produced by existing car companies and new car companies that could focus specifically or mainly on self driving vehicles.
    Polaris95
    DebateIslander and a DebateIsland.com lover. 
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