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Old 06-27-2014, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,896 posts, read 7,661,531 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
I wouldn't expect speeds to be increased on city streets, but you can do some nice things on major roads if you have automated and predictable cars which can communicate with each other. For instance, consider that it's possible to have cars driving at sub-second following distances at 60+mph right now, but it's both dangerous and unstable; one perturbation for someone getting on or off and it flips to stop and go. Automated cars could manage that and avoid and/or damp the perturbations, effectively greatly increasing highway capacity. Also consider at-grade intersections; with co-operating cars you could manage them without either stops or traffic lights (though it could get a little hair-raising for the passengers, and you'd need grade-separated pedestrian paths; this one's probably unlikely)

All this is in the pretty far future though.
I guess what I'm saying, is that automotive technology will have to improve significantly, to accommodate these tighter driving tolerances. I'm completely unfamiliar with driverless technology, but--continuing with the braking example--I assume that the computer driving the car calculates its safe distance from the car in front, based on the performance of the driverless car's components. But, the performance of automotive components, like brakes, is always slightly variable, and changes with wear, weather, operating temperature, etc.. So, while it may be possible to go from a 3 second following space, to a 2 second (or maybe even 1 second?) following space, we can't safely have moving trains of driverless automobiles with mere inches of space between bumpers, unless we're talking about slow speeds.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,937,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
I wouldn't expect speeds to be increased on city streets, but you can do some nice things on major roads if you have automated and predictable cars which can communicate with each other. For instance, consider that it's possible to have cars driving at sub-second following distances at 60+mph right now, but it's both dangerous and unstable; one perturbation for someone getting on or off and it flips to stop and go. Automated cars could manage that and avoid and/or damp the perturbations, effectively greatly increasing highway capacity. Also consider at-grade intersections; with co-operating cars you could manage them without either stops or traffic lights (though it could get a little hair-raising for the passengers, and you'd need grade-separated pedestrian paths; this one's probably unlikely).
There have been many studies to show that with nothing on the road but fully automated cars in constant communication with each other involving velocity and turn angle you can do away with stop signs and traffic signals entirely. Even left hand turns in heavy traffic can be compensated for quite easily, although presumably they'll frighten the hell out of a lot of passengers initially as their car skirts other cars by mere inches.

That said, I am not sure how you would work pedestrians into this. Possibly by having a "walk" sign which gets pushed and then causes all cars in entering intersection to slow to a halt until the pedestrian crosses. On lightly-trafficked side roads, you probably wouldn't even need this though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
People aren't irrational, but they are creatures of habit. Owning a car has become a societal expectation, a transition into manhood. Saying you don't own a car, or don't want one, is a rejection of one of the most fundamental tenets of our society.
It clearly seems less true now than in the past. There's been many stories about this. It's unclear how much is due to the poor economy, versus an actual shift in social norms, but the reason doesn't matter as much as the change in behavior itself, as even if millennial "poverty" is the reason, it doesn't look like the economy is improving any time soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I bought a car because I had to have one for work (not to commute, but to transport people and things) and they wouldn't provide one for me. Once I switched jobs, I stopped driving to work and walked or took transit instead. I still have the last car I had when I had the old job, and drive it occasionally, but my plan is to junk it the next time it needs significant repair (anything over the replacement value of the car, which is probably like $1000) and get a Zipcar membership. Sometimes I use it when going out at night if it's too far to walk, but sometimes I use Uber because I don't want to lose my parking space. I don't think I would be too worried if the Uber driver was a robot. But I still don't think that robotic cars will have a dramatic effect on making our cities more walkable or similar to traditional cities. That's done by people using cars less, and the idea behind the robotic car seems to be to make people want to use them more.
I don't like driving much personally. My wife absolutely hates it, but ironically (because she hates everyone else's driving more) she does 95% of the driving in the family. She commutes to work via car (even though she works only around 20 blocks from the house) while I take the bus or bike downtown. We happily went down to being a one-car family two years ago, since my old car was actually getting so little use I paid more in parking fines for not moving it on street-cleaning days than I put into it in gas.

But then my wife decided to move our daughter out of the daycare downtown and into one in a neighborhood near us, but not on the same bus line. I realized once the weather got too bad to bike I'd need to drive her up the hill. So we bought a new car, and kept my wife's old car just to shuttle our daughter to nursery school. She finished up around a month ago, and once again, the second car is largely useless except on those rare occasions where my wife is going to get a haircut or something and I need to take my daughter to ballet. It's on its last legs (has a leaking head gasket), and I'm sure we'll go down to one car again pretty soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Oh yeah, kids and robot cars. Do people think parents will let their 11 year old take a robot car wherever they want, unsupervised?
Of course not. I'm sure there will be some sort of "parental controls" installed, similar to computers and mobile devices today. So the parent picks the destination, but the kid gets in the car unaccompanied and goes to wherever (friend's house, soccer practice, etc).

I mean, I'm a parent, and I'd certainly do this for my kids when they are older. Why not let them get shuttled to an activity by a robot car rather than wasting the time driving yourself?
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:19 AM
 
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I'd rather just let them walk, or ride a bike, but that requires a walkable neighborhood.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:24 AM
 
2,825 posts, read 3,352,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I'd rather just let them walk, or ride a bike, but that requires a walkable neighborhood.
A "walkable" neighborhood doesn't alter weather conditions, alter laws of physics, nor make origin closer to destination.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,937,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I'd rather just let them walk, or ride a bike, but that requires a walkable neighborhood.
Duh.

I don't think our values are that different. I mean, I live in a walkable area, and as I said, I bike or use mass transit for work all the time. My daughter is almost five, and I think she's still to young to wander around without me (unless she was with an older child) but by the time she's eight I don't see why I'd have an issue with her walking a few blocks around the neighborhood.

But she's not just going to have friends immediately around here - she's going to a magnet school next year with kids all across the city. And activities are all over the city as well (my neighborhood, as I said, isn't particularly kid friendly, thus we don't have things like ballet lessons here). And the transit system in Pittsburgh, like most cities which aren't NYC, is pretty pisspoor at traveling between "spokes" - you can get to Downtown or the university district (Oakland) easily from almost everywhere, but you can't get from neighborhood to neighborhood without a transfer. Not being able to catch a ride sometimes would just be horribly inconvenient. And trying to force her into the sort of lifestyle a kid had 50 years ago (which was totally neighborhood-centered outside of school) will make her feel deprived compared to her peers.

One other thing to note on this subject - if automated cars are safer, low-trafficked streets in urban (and suburban) areas will be considerably safer places for kids to play in. Thus some of the weird modern paranoia that parents have about letting older children play outside out of their sight might be lessened a bit.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
3,341 posts, read 5,928,348 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
2. What happens if a pedestrian jaywalks in front of a driverless car? I assume the car will be programmed to try to stop. Pedestrians might abuse that though. Now that they know the car is programmed to stop, they can kind of act like they have right of way.
This is a good thing. People before machines, always.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,738 posts, read 9,852,840 times
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IMHO - the automobile will go into steep decline in the coming decades.
Too expensive, too wasteful, and subsidizing it is too much a burden.
...
Barring a technological breakthrough (i.e. vacuum tube mag-lev trains), good ole steel wheel on steel rail will become the dominant form of land transportation.
...
You can't beat the laws of Physics.
Rail has a 20:1 advantage over tire on pavement.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:34 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I'd rather just let them walk, or ride a bike, but that requires a walkable neighborhood.
My neighborhood is fairly walkable, but there are always places kids have to go that aren't. If they're going to a sporting event in a different city, walkable is not on the radar screen. OTOH, I don't think I'd let a 10 or even 12 year old use an expensive piece of equipment like a self-driven car.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:44 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Duh.

I don't think our values are that different. I mean, I live in a walkable area, and as I said, I bike or use mass transit for work all the time. My daughter is almost five, and I think she's still to young to wander around without me (unless she was with an older child) but by the time she's eight I don't see why I'd have an issue with her walking a few blocks around the neighborhood.

But she's not just going to have friends immediately around here - she's going to a magnet school next year with kids all across the city. And activities are all over the city as well (my neighborhood, as I said, isn't particularly kid friendly, thus we don't have things like ballet lessons here). And the transit system in Pittsburgh, like most cities which aren't NYC, is pretty pisspoor at traveling between "spokes" - you can get to Downtown or the university district (Oakland) easily from almost everywhere, but you can't get from neighborhood to neighborhood without a transfer. Not being able to catch a ride sometimes would just be horribly inconvenient. And trying to force her into the sort of lifestyle a kid had 50 years ago (which was totally neighborhood-centered outside of school) will make her feel deprived compared to her peers.

One other thing to note on this subject - if automated cars are safer, low-trafficked streets in urban (and suburban) areas will be considerably safer places for kids to play in. Thus some of the weird modern paranoia that parents have about letting older children play outside out of their sight might be lessened a bit.
Get back to us when your daughter is 8. Parents of young kids tend to think that kids just a few years older are so mature.

Most parents who are paranoid, as you put it, about older kids playing outside of their sight has to do with concerns about kidnapping, not auto accidents. And concerns about kidnapping are not modern.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...red-by-fairies
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:53 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,998,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Most parents who are paranoid, as you put it, about older kids playing outside of their sight has to do with concerns about kidnapping, not auto accidents. And concerns about kidnapping are not modern.
However, auto accidents are a much more probable event.
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