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Japan Robotics Transportation

Toyota To Let People Ride In Self-Driving Prius 282

fergus07 writes "Toyota is to show an autonomous Prius at Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the Toyota AVOS (Automatic Vehicle Operation System), the car will be available for members of the public to take 'back seat' rides at the show, demonstrating first hand how the Prius can avoid obstacles, be summoned from a parking garage and park itself."
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Toyota To Let People Ride In Self-Driving Prius

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  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:35PM (#38129098) Homepage Journal

    I was reading an ebook called "Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy" which is about the problem of technology eliminating jobs and the role of I.T. in the recession and jobless recovery and there is a section where the authors are talking about the rise of computing power and the advent of driverless vehicles and it struck me that we are probably in the last generation where truck driving is going to be a human job. With the problems in I.T. and the lack of jobs in my hometown (I can't move from here for reasons I won't go into) I was considering becoming one myself, but it is likely that it is another job that is going to exit stage left. I don't know what to feel about that, really. I am sure not many people on Slashdot care about that very much, but truckers are an American fixture and it seems like they pretty soon be another piece of roadkill on the technology highway.

  • About time! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:38PM (#38129158)
    With the state of technology now, self-driving cars are possible. I can't wait until self-driving cars become the mainstream. It would be awesome if a car could drive me to work, while I read the news, or do some work. For a long drive, I could even take a nap... And I bet there would be a lot fewer accidents, and less road congestion. I really think this is the future of public transportation. A huge network of self-driving cars could make public transportation a lot more efficient than it is now.
  • by HarrySquatter ( 1698416 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:40PM (#38129198)

    So according to your logic, ride in the passenger seat to avoid liability?

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:46PM (#38129282)

    Every car will become a taxi. Every taxi can make 40+ journeys per day.

    You only need 1/40th of the number of cars.

    Short Toyota, GM, Ford, Honda......

  • by bytestorm ( 1296659 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:48PM (#38129312)
    More likely than not they would defend themselves with logs like a black box flight recorder. Self-driving automobiles are uniquely capable of handling the problem of determining the other party is at fault. They are loaded down with sensors including gps, proximity, video, and laser rangefinding. With appropriate data capture and logging, it should be very easy to demonstrate fault in many cases (assuming you can disprove tampering). It is a much greater issue when the automatic driver is at fault, but this could be largely mitigated if insurance companies jump on board. An automatic driver is potentially much safer than a person who can be distracted, tired, or drunk and it seems to be in the insurance company's best interest to support such things. It just has to be demonstrated that these cars are safer than human drivers.
  • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:19PM (#38131836)

    Why should the system change? Drivers are required to carry insurance--why change it? Drivers of self-driving cars have to carry insurance for any liability, same as drivers driving themselves. The insurance companies will love this (because self-driving cars will have far fewer accidents). The auto companies won't have to deal with it at all. Leave the companies liable for widespread faults, not individual accidents (exactly as it is now--you can't sue Ford just because your brakes were bad, but it 2,000 cars have bad brakes then Ford gets sued). Again, the insurance companies will be more than happy to cover the liability--which will be lower than will be lower than with driver-operated vehicles. Everybody wins.

  • by suomynonAyletamitlU ( 1618513 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:26PM (#38131888)

    Perhaps the manufacturers could man up and offer insurance on all of their vehicles, provided they were running autonomously at the time?

    If their self-driving concept is sound, the number of times they're at fault will be small, and they can offer that insurance without going bankrupt. If their self-driving concept is not sound, they have a vested interest in getting those cars off the road until they find a fix, so that they don't lose every cent they have paying for every incident they caused. And when it comes to maintenance, well, it's an autonomous car. I'm sure it can phone home if you haven't kept it up to date.

    Unless there is some other part of auto insurance that I don't get, it makes sense to me...

  • Re:About time! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KozmoStevnNaut ( 630146 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @06:08AM (#38133738)

    Some of us actually want to drive. We like it, it is an enjoyable activity to us.

    What happens when the laws change to only allow automated driverless cars on the roads, where will I drive my decidely non-automatic car, where will I ride my motorcycle?

    On specially closed-off tracks only during specified time slots due to noise complaints from NIMBY neighbors, maximum speed of normal walking pace to ensure my safety? Fuck that.

    Give me freedom on wheels or give me death.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.