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AI Robotics Transportation

Autonomous Audi TT Conquers Pike's Peak 187

fergus07 writes "After a year long research program, this week Audi revealed that its Autonomous TTS car had completed the 12.42-mile Pike's Peak mountain course in 27 minutes. An expert driver in the same car would take around 17 minutes — now we have a benchmark, the race is on, and it's almost inevitable that a computer will one day outdrive the best of our species, and it may be sooner than you think."
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Autonomous Audi TT Conquers Pike's Peak

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, 2010 @09:16AM (#34304970)

    I imagine the big test comes a few years down the line, when all the major manufacturers let their cars run along Pike's Peak, with varying traffic patterns (i.e., try to hold 80KPH for three minutes, 30KPH for two, et.c.,) randomized for all the cars to see how well the systems handle unexpected events.

    In fact, I would probably insist on not buying an automagic car that hasn't been through a multi-car safety test along those lines.

  • Question though... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@carpane3.14t.net minus pi> on Monday November 22, 2010 @09:21AM (#34304996) Homepage

    While I do not doubt that these e-drivers will quickly come to out drive most of us, doesn't it come down to a question of how close to the physical capabilities of the car the driver can go or is going already? I expect them to be more reliable overall, more attentive (obviously) and more able to repeat their own performance. However, I am not necessarily so sure that there really is that much more capability for them to squeeze out of the cars than a trained pro driver on a test course is already able to squeeze out.

    Driving maneuvers are a constant trade off, the closer to the physical capabilities of the car you come, the faster you can traverse a course, however, it also means having less ability to make adjustments and corrections. It is a crude example but, If 99% of my available traction is being used to make this turn, at this speed,I only have 1% more to add if I need to make an adjustment to my course, or speed.

    Admittedly cars can then be redesigned to push those limits.....but thats another issue.


  • Re:I suspect... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moonbender ( 547943 ) <moonbender@gmail ... minus physicist> on Monday November 22, 2010 @09:56AM (#34305214)

    Not sure if you're right about trains. I guess that in a modern rail network, the driver could be made superfluous as long as things are running normal. Normal might even include most everyday delays, minor hardware malfunctions, speed limits (e.g. right now due to lots of leafy mush on the tracks). But you need the driver for extraordinary occurrences.

    If you were dealing with an isolated vehicle, having an automated system that simply failed safe might be ok, but I have a feeling that the interconnected nature of rail makes that a lot more problematic both in terms of safety and in terms of spreading the effects of a single incidents. The characteristics of those railway systems that do use automated drivers (we've got one at my university) seem to confirm this -- comparatively small scale, controlled access to the tracks, few possibilities of an incident spreading.

  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday November 22, 2010 @10:52AM (#34305808)

    Look at this as an example and cower in fear: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~aim/?p=video [utexas.edu] ( http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~aim/video/fcfs-insanity.mov [utexas.edu] )

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:19AM (#34306118)

    I'm not sure how long it will be for truly intelligent machines (could never happen / be impossible without wetware).

    But machines able to do our jobs are here now. And for a lot of jobs the annual cost is $15,000. Compare that to $32,000 (after benefits) for even minimum wage jobs and you have to think things get ugly soon.

    Already diapers.com has "hundreds of robotic warehouse workers" (business week) and some hospital has "hired" 19 robotic workers *instead* of humans. It seems great as a cost savings measure at first-- but then you have to ask, long term, how do people get even a single dollar to afford the less expensive hospital?

    Seriously, we could be looking at 50% unemployment in 20 years. It will be concentrated on the low end. How do we handle that as a society? If we don't, it is going to get violent.

    What currently produces more taxes? A robotic factory making a billion a year with 3 human owner/managers or a human factory with 500 workers and 3 owner/managers that makes the same amount?
    Substantially lower sales tax, use tax, home property taxes, school taxes, etc. from the first. States will be hurting unless they institute income taxes.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford