View Full Version : Apple gets permission to test autonomous cars

04-14-2017, 02:35 PM
There hasn't been much about what Apple is doing with autonomous cars. IMO, making cars is likely not a good future for Apple, but rather creating the software that powers the next generation of autonomous cars that can be licensed by car makers seems like a good path..

Anyway, Apple (amongst other companies) got permission to test autonomous cars in California, so don't be freaked out if you see a car driving itself around with no one inside on CA roads..

I wonder how many iterations/generations before this is reliable technology whereby humans could really delegate complete control to the car and either not have a steering wheel at all or sit in the back reading their paper, napping or whatever until their destination..

Read more here: http://www.theverge.com/2017/4/14/15303338/apple-autonomous-vehicle-testing-permit-california

04-14-2017, 02:40 PM
Anyway, Apple (amongst other companies) got permission to test autonomous cars in California, so don't be freaked out if you see a car driving itself around with no one inside on CA roads..

LOL, couldn't be any worse than the average CA or TX driver and might even be an improvement! ;D

Interesting article, something I'll be following.

04-14-2017, 03:17 PM
As a disabled, non-driver I've been interested in this sort of thing for a while now. Ashwin has raised an interesting question about how long it will take before the cars are truly autonomous. It probably won't be as long as some people think but here are definitely some hurdles to overcome.

One problem that I can see is there will always be a group of people who like driving their cars and will choose to avoid autonomous cars as long as possible. Can you see some of our members trading say, a vintage Mustang or Corvette for one of these cars? If cars are packed together as closely as some people have suggested they could be, I can't see how anyone will be allowed to drive their own car.

04-14-2017, 03:56 PM
I can totally see the need for autonomous cars especially for those in the same position as Sly. I could even enjoy the option being available but I would like the ability to "go manual" when the mood strikes. I enjoy driving and hate to be a passenger. One big reason is I get car sick if I am not driving. It also happens when I have to fly too. So, I am glad they sell motion sickness pills in 100 count bottles. :D But if I wanted to nap my way through the trip I could be on board for that.

But can you imagine how much fun setting up the programming is to anticipate the reactions of all the other human drivers and how they will react? Take a presumably rational autonomous car on the road with a not always rational human driver. I predict it will be great fodder for the YouTube/Facebook video crowd.


04-14-2017, 05:02 PM
I could make all sorts of jokes about how it often seems as though they're here already - with drivers texting, phoning, waving their arms about....

But the worry I have is amply represented by the airline industry where in commercial practice, pilots have almost completely lost their flying skills as a result of computer-controlled aircraft. Not me speaking; the editors of aviation journals.

I have a big hobby interest in this. And the airline literature is full of situations where the computers fail and hand over control to the pilots. And they don't know what to do. Air France (AF 447) ring a bell? Three highly trained captains with over 30,00 hours experience between them did everything wrong it's possible to do.

How many of us - right now - could take manual control of an autonomous vehicle at a moments notice if something went wrong? Now suppose we haven't actually driven for 6 months or a year because we had got used to a "perfect" car. Take over? Take cover.

I'm not against progress nor the obvious advantages for the disabled. I'm just wary of computers and how easily humans lose their skills.


04-14-2017, 05:18 PM
Good questions. I hadn't thought of the loss of skills issue you raised though I know that is a concern in the aviation industry.

I hadn't even thought in terms of loss of skills. Assume the driver has lost no skill and isn't distracted. If a problem arises could the driver assess the situation quickly enough to take control. Not if cars are jammed together as tightly as they could be in some of the scenarios that have been suggested. I think I remember someone suggesting that with automated cars the vehicles could be closer together than with humans in charge. This would allow some crowded traffic corridors, such as Boston, to handle more traffic without having to find space for larger highways. Add inn the inevitable distraction that comes with not having to be actively engaged in driving and the problem gets worse.