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Alphabet's Waymo and Intel Are Launching Public Campaigns To Build Trust In Self-Driving Cars (theverge.com) 191

Alphabet's Waymo and Intel announced plans today to sponsor ads about self-driving cars. "Alphabet's Waymo is launching a public education campaign today called "Let's Talk Self-Driving" aimed at addressing the skepticism many people have about autonomous technology," reports The Verge. Meanwhile, "Intel said it would be airing its commercial starring LeBron James in the run-up to the NBA season opener on October 17th. From the report: The ad campaign will launch first in Arizona, before spreading to other states. Waymo is preparing to launch its first commercial ride-hailing service powered by its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans, according to a recent report in The Information. This public education campaign would appear to be a prelude to inviting ordinary people to take a ride in a driverless vehicle. Both companies recognize that in order to make lots of money, there will need to be a robust effort to persuade people that autonomous vehicles are as safe, if not safer, than human-operated ones. Recent polls suggest that most people wouldn't take a ride in a driverless car, even if they like the idea surrounding the technology.
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Alphabet's Waymo and Intel Are Launching Public Campaigns To Build Trust In Self-Driving Cars

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  • by mjensen ( 118105 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @08:00PM (#55340199) Journal

    Having famous people promote the cars is a sign
    to me that the cars are not reliable.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Since when did merit have anything to do with public perception?

      Self driving cars are going to kill people. It's inevitable. When that happens people won't carefully consider the statistical evidence and conclude that they are still safer, they will want to know who is getting sued. Armchair engineers in Slashdot will want to know what idiot didn't consider that corner case or accidentally typed a comma instead of a decimal place.

      Naturally, they are going to prepare for this and get all the PR in place to p

      • They'll blame the "driver" just like when the auto pilot fails and the real pilot has to take over and the plane crashes it's always "pilot error".
    • Having famous people promote the cars is a sign to me that the cars are not reliable.

      The problam is that *you* is not *the general population*.

      Us /.ers, given our tendencies, will tend to be over-obsessed with facts, logic, etc. compared to average joe six pack.

      On the other hand, random everyday people tend to fall in for quite a lot of social cognitive bias. And if they see a celebrity endorsing something, they'll unconsciously give it more positive attention (there must be something good to it if ${celebrity} endorse it, ${celebrity} must have seen something positive in it).

  • by Jzanu ( 668651 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @08:02PM (#55340219)
    Companies can't play god with public safety. Build trust by lobbying for increased automation regulation. Enact laws requiring strict safety functionality in all functions, and advertise heavily once you exceed it.
    • by Jzanu ( 668651 )
      *in all operations
    • How about offering a $100m dollar prize payout to each of the first 100 fatalities caused by thier faulty cars. Ohhh, the computer has fancy sensors and can't make math mistakes so it's impossible! Do that and I'd trust them a little.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Before you can regulate you need standards and those standards should actually cover the specifications of automated vehicles and their real world capabilities and how they are promoted. First up detection capabilities should be fully publicised and 3D image maps of what they can detect and how far they can detect it, what the detection cycles are and the standards it has been tested under and the validity and completeness of those test ie what the vehicle can see and how it sees it and what independent tes

      • $400 to install an 500GB hdd at dealer when the stock 250GB one is to small for the map data and you must take att with there $15 a gig Canadian data pack

  • Trust Google. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chas ( 5144 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @08:09PM (#55340257) Homepage Journal

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    No...

  • Form TFS:

    aimed at addressing the skepticism many people have about autonomous technology

    Even my skepticism resulting from the fact that Google is involved?

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @08:15PM (#55340293)
    Autonomous car makers get the the house to relax nearly all regulations on autonomous cars [wired.com]. Now they want us to just trust them? I don't even trust the senate isn't as well paid off and this will become law.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday October 09, 2017 @08:21PM (#55340335)

    Traffic flow is the problem. Self-driving cars will adhere slavishly to every letter of the law, even when it creates traffic havoc. Imagine a self-driving car doing exactly the speed limit in the passing lane as it inches by a self-driving transport truck doing five kph under the speed limit.

    I believe Dennis Leary wrote a song that mentioned a situation much like it.

    • That's an interesting point. Plus, the actual laws about speed limits aren't always cut-and-dried.

      I live in a "basic rule" state, where it's technically legal to exceed the speed limit if, taking into account road and weather conditions, it is safe to do so.*

      If you're driving in a traffic stream that is going a certain speed, the legal thing to do is to match the speed of traffic even if that is above the posted limit. You can (and it does happen, although it's rare) get a ticket for driving too slowly if y

      • Yeppers, I remember traffic school many many years ago and a guy was there because he was not exceeding the speed limit and slowing down traffic. He asked the instructor and basically the instructor said it was no win. There is one law that says you should keep up with the flow of traffic and another that says don't exceed the speed limit.

        • In my state, the two laws aren't in contradiction, as the "real" law is: drive at a safe speed considering the conditions. When the weather is bad, you can get a speeding ticket without exceeding the posted limit, too.

          Around here, when someone gets a ticket for driving too slowly, it seems that it's always because they're driving in a way that is causing a lot of disruption because of cars passing them. The ticket is not actually written for "driving too slow", it's for obstructing traffic or driving in rec

      • real school zones not for profit ones that drop 45 down to 20 a on a main road where the school has a traffic light and big parking lot with an side walks that are far off the road.

      • they don't enforce the 55 on the IL tollways!

    • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @08:43PM (#55340419)
      That might be the problem where you live, but not where I live: Minnesota. Will self-driving cars still be reliable when the street is covered in snow, so it can't see the lines? Or when it snows so much that the snow sticks to traffic signs making them unreadable? How about stopping at a traffic light when the street is covered in black ice?

      You want my trust in self driving cars? Then have several of them drive around here in the winter.
      • That's also an interesting point.

        One thing is certain: that these systems will not be as adaptable to the environment as people. (Of course, in the conditions you describe, even people are usually officially discouraged from driving).

        So self-driving cars cannot used in all circumstances. I'm guessing that the car itself will often know when it's hit those circumstances. White-outs and the like are easy error conditions to detect.

        The real issue will be that your car will just stop working if conditions were

        • But what the hell, let's compare self driving cars that only operate in perfect daytime sunny conditions, mostly on pre-planned routes with light traffic only making right hand turns with freezing rain pileups and rush hour traffic drama. Then declare self driving cars more safe. I haven't seen a single apples to apples comparison of safety where the autonomous cars drive only in the same conditions as humans when measuring safety.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Seems like a self driving car would have no problem with snow.

        Any reasonably designed system would come to a stop, or just refuse to start the journey if its vision was badly impaired. With street signs and traffic lights at least part of them will be visible, and the car will have a map and GPS to help identify junctions.

        So in the worst case the car just refuses to move, and you can choose to take over manually.

        • Seems like a self driving car would have no problem with snow...So in the worst case the car just refuses to move, and you can choose to take over manually.

          ... Except the Waymo cars being discussed here don't have a manual takeover option.

          So then you're stranded, because the light dusting of snow (you could have easily dealt with) just crippled your only transportation.

          That seems like a massive problem to me.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            I don't see how a light dusting of snow would cripple a car equipped with lidar and GPS. What ability does a human have which it lacks, that would be critical in this situation?

            Consider that existing self-driving systems like Tesla's can cope with reflections off the road and a lack of road markings (not too uncommon in Europe), and it only has cameras.

            • OK, then, a heavy dusting. Maybe a foot or two. The point, which you obviously missed for reasons I won't speculate on, is this - an automated car with no manual takeover method shutting down due to adverse weather conditions would be, contrary to your original assertion, a huge fucking problem for 99.99% of people who use them.

              • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                So I guess the conclusion here is buy a self-driving car with manual mode, and learn to drive it in extreme conditions.

                Having said that, if the snow is say 50cm deep is it really a good idea to drive through it? Assuming you have a suitable vehicle, you still can't see what is under there and are risking either hitting something or falling into something. On the extremely rare occasions when it happens around here they close the roads until they can be cleared for this reason.

                Seems like an extreme edge case

                • Having said that, if the snow is say 50cm deep is it really a good idea to drive through it?

                  I don't know, does keeping your job seem like a good idea? Very few employers I've encountered are very forgiving when it comes to not coming in due to foul weather. "you could always get another job" is a nice platitude, but it falls flat in reality.

                  Assuming you have a suitable vehicle, you still can't see what is under there and are risking either hitting something or falling into something.

                  And despite that, literally millions of humans navigate such conditions regularly, most of them with little difficulty and no mishaps. Almost like we've done it before...

                  On the extremely rare occasions when it happens around here they close the roads until they can be cleared for this reason.

                  Good for you. Of course, not all of us live where you do, work where you do, or live like y

                  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                    Interesting, around here no employer in their right mind would demand you come to work through 50cm of snow because even if they managed to open up themselves they would likely be liable for any accident that befell you. We have quite strong health and safety rules and expecting employees to travel in dangerous conditions is not looked favourably upon.

            • What ability does a human have which it lacks, that would be critical in this situation?

              Judgement and pattern recognition.

      • Will self-driving cars still be reliable when the street is covered in snow, so it can't see the lines?

        They will be better than you are. They will know the positions of street signs, and be able to use them for navigational reckoning.

        Or when it snows so much that the snow sticks to traffic signs making them unreadable?

        They already know what most of the signs say in the entire country. Only one car has to drive past a sign and snap a photo of it, which can then be uploaded to the centralized management system — all AVs will be using one of these, and they already have data-sharing agreements in place so that when one network gets this data, all networks do. So they're going to be better

        • They already know what most of the signs say in the entire country.

          Clearly you don't live where I live. There is a *major* intersection in my city where the GPS in my car doesn't even know you can turn left there. I don't know who updates these things and what motivation is given for them up update it, but clearly it isn't working where I live.

        • Will self-driving cars still be reliable when the street is covered in snow, so it can't see the lines?

          They will be better than you are.

          That is unlikely to be true in my lifetime.

          In addition, the only signs that are really important have unique, distinct shapes.

          This is largely true, but not universally so. You certainly can't assume it.

          a crosswalk is the only house-shaped pentagon.

          This is not true. That shape is also used for country route markers. Other shapes that have multiple/ambiguous uses: diamond, rectangle, and trapezoid.

          And the car will be able to "see" them (with radar) even in dark and snow, when you can't.

          But can they read the text? For a lot of signs, it's also important to be able to read the text.

          First, the car already has robotic assistance for that; it's called ABS

          I don't think you can call that "robotic". Or at least, it's no more robotic than a vibrator.

      • This situation is just like the "we need charge stations before electric cars become viable" argument. In the end simple low power radio transponders at signs and intersections will allow navigation to be precise and fluid. Even if one of the transponders were moved it would be a simple thing for the system to notice the out of place navigation marker among all of the other data. Self driving cars are coming. 12,000 auto related deaths a year is reason enough.
      • That might be the problem where you live, but not where I live: Minnesota. Will self-driving cars still be reliable when the street is covered in snow, so it can't see the lines? Or when it snows so much that the snow sticks to traffic signs making them unreadable? How about stopping at a traffic light when the street is covered in black ice? You want my trust in self driving cars? Then have several of them drive around here in the winter.

        Dang straight. These people are getting WAY ahead of themselves.

    • Imagine a self-driving car doing exactly the speed limit in the passing lane

      Or look at reality. Tesla's Autopilot and other driving assisting software will exceed the speed limit if the human requests it, and they can do so safely. Why would Waymo do it differently?

    • by imidan ( 559239 )
      Why would an autonomous car bother to try to pass another vehicle that was going ~3 mph slower than the limit? Why not just hang out behind it? It's unlikely to make any significant difference in how long it takes to get where it's going. Plus, it can realize somewhat better fuel economy from the decrease in drag that goes along with drafting behind the truck (assuming it can maintain an appropriate distance due to its sensor and control systems).
      • Why would an autonomous car bother to try to pass another vehicle that was going ~3 mph slower than the limit? Why not just hang out behind it?

        This is a question I ask every time I see a human driver doing it. The answer, of course, is that humans have emotions and some get very, very angry when they can't go the exact speed they prefer.

        If the car is doing the driving, those people will become no less angry. That will affect the sales of such cars.

    • Self-driving cars aren't the problem there, laws that most people violate are. If driving on a road safely means violating the laws that govern that road, then the laws are badly broken and should be fixed. Having a significant percentage of motorists actually follow the rules and cause mayhem as a result would be the best way of getting them fixed.
    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      It is possible that in some situations, having self driving cars doing stuff like this could actually improve overall flow. Often you get situations where, if everyone just slowed down a little, they would avoid adding to a jam ahead. On the NJ turnpike they try altering the speed limits to try to help with this, but people don't follow/trust the signs. Even 10% of cars actually doing this could potentially improve things in some cases.

    • Yeah, maybe that car can take me to Starbucks to get a cup of coffee-flavored coffee.

      Actually, my wife says that the contemporary coffee-flavored coffee is the bread-flavored bagel.

  • How about they just simply demonstrate that their cars dont make mistakes? Or is that too hard?
  • Intel has already put a backdoor into every computer using their processors and is heavily involved in anti-competitive practices. Nobody should trust anything made or said by Intel.

  • by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @09:04PM (#55340515)

    ...I can't take you to that destination. The government told me not to.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @09:51PM (#55340727)

    saying we will cover you in court is a better way.

    be by saying we are liable for civil stuff and if there happens to be a criminal case we will cover your costs + bail if needed.

    • by eepok ( 545733 )
      Exactly. Technology aside, I want to see the liability agreement. If Google says, "We're 100% liable for all harm caused by or insufficiently avoided by our vehicle when the vehicle is in 100% autonomous mode," I'll consider trusting them. Until then, they don't even trust the tech themselves.
  • by oldgraybeard ( 2939809 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @11:47PM (#55341099)
    Individuals figure out things like:
    - They are mobile billboards for your tagging prowess and skills.
    - And don't forget the videos screwing with them, so one can get that 15 minutes of fame online.

    Everyone does recall what Phone Booths in urban areas looked like! OOPS right ;) lol I have dated myself ;)
  • Thus with great fanfare and childish hope did mankind embark on the path to its own annihilation.

  • Vechicle-to-vehicle communications + all systems on one computer/bus + hacking = worms which wardrive themselves. Even if that gets locked down, we'll still have DoS attacks that cause all cars in range to slam on the brakes.

    Disclaimer: I'm excited about self-driving vehicles and will go out of my way to buy one once available, despite my fears.

  • Your data, and your lives, are safe with us. Like, totally.

    Sincerely, Alphabet and Equifax.
  • I use Google Maps, primarily to detect traffic jams and such ... which is a good thing, because much of the time it doesn't even actually start up before I'm halfway there. Then it's behind a few turns for awhile, telling me to make turns I already made.

    This is when it's not thinking I'm on a completely different road (like a frontage road).

    If it were driving my car? Holy #$%^.

    (Yeah, I know, I'm an idiot for thinking that Google's navigation product would be anything like ... Google's navigation product

  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @03:13PM (#55345075)
    Good marketing falls into one of the following categories:

    Problem with X? Use Product Y!

    Product Y: Better at X than other products!

    And the always-favorite: Product X: Apply directly to the Y!

    What they all have in common is getting your name out there to people who may be looking for it, and occassionally telling people about a need they didn't know they had. This could be that, or it could be an airline telling potential customers that it's 10 times less crash-and-burn-y than the competition. Self-driving cars seem like a solution to a non-existent problem for the average person. That's the barrier to cross more than anything else right now.

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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