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Old 05-17-17, 01:58 PM   #1
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Would a self driving car World make it safe for cyclists?

Remember about a year ago, I was obsessed about the world becoming safer for cyclists. I literally wish we had our own cycling highways. But everyday I hear more and more about safer self driving car technology. Now I don't really know how close we are till this technology is improved or perfected. I really don't know.

But if this technology did take off in say 10 years and it was proven to be 100 x safer than human driving, would that be good news for cyclists? Could we just cycle every road without any worries? Imagine what a heaven that would be for us. Just saying.
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Old 05-17-17, 02:12 PM   #2
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I say we're 30 years away from full autonomous domination...aka Skynet.

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Old 05-17-17, 02:16 PM   #3
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My fear, and this may be completely unfounded, is that the cars won't be able to understand bicycles and we will be band from roadways.
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Old 05-17-17, 02:31 PM   #4
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Yes, it will be good for cyclists. It will be an great improvement in safety for everyone.

For example, the laws that mandate a buffer zone around bicyclists (1 meter rule or whatever) would be rigidly adhered to by automated vehicles. And eventually it would massively relieve traffic congestion, freeing up more road for dedicated bike lanes. The coordinated driving that would relieve congestion is still a ways away.
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Old 05-17-17, 03:06 PM   #5
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My fear, and this may be completely unfounded, is that the cars won't be able to understand bicycles and we will be band from roadways.
It is. Cars don't have to "understand" bicycles to avoid running into them. Autonomous cars are already far better at spotting and anticipating these situations than humans are.
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Old 05-17-17, 03:15 PM   #6
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At least one self-driving car set admitted that their software has problems dealing with cyclist = less safe for cyclist for now.
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Old 05-17-17, 03:19 PM   #7
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At least one self-driving car set admitted that their software has problems dealing with cyclist = less safe for cyclist for now.
What problems, exactly? Has their "car set" hit more cyclists than human drivers, on average?
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Old 05-17-17, 03:32 PM   #8
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It is. Cars don't have to "understand" bicycles to avoid running into them. Autonomous cars are already far better at spotting and anticipating these situations than humans are.

Problem is they work great only under ideal conditions. Like sunny southern California.
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Old 05-17-17, 03:36 PM   #9
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What problems, exactly? Has their "car set" hit more cyclists than human drivers, on average?
The link is in another of the several self-driving car threads here in A&S.
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Old 05-17-17, 03:39 PM   #10
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There was an interesting problem recently discovered, I think with a google car: a bicyclist was stopped at an intersection but didn't have his feet down, so technically he wasn't stopped, he was moving slightly to maintain balance. The car interpreted this as a bike moving towards the intersection, so stopped and waited for the bike to cross. And waited. And waited. And waited...
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Old 05-17-17, 03:40 PM   #11
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Problem is they work great only under ideal conditions. Like sunny southern California.
They probably won't be legal until they can work great in all expected conditions.
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Old 05-17-17, 03:57 PM   #12
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There was an interesting problem recently discovered, I think with a google car: a bicyclist was stopped at an intersection but didn't have his feet down, so technically he wasn't stopped, he was moving slightly to maintain balance. The car interpreted this as a bike moving towards the intersection, so stopped and waited for the bike to cross. And waited. And waited. And waited...
Yep. And the car erred on the side of caution. Just what I'd hope it would do when faced with an unfamiliar scenario. They've no doubt used that incident to improve the programming.

Autonomous car luddites like to hold up any minor occurrence as evidence they are unsafe, when what we should be focusing on is whether they are more or less safe than human drivers on a per-mile basis. And it's not even close.
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Old 05-17-17, 03:59 PM   #13
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It is not much an issue of safety, but of how many people, drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclist find out how to and desire to game the system. It will not take many to bring traffic in a city to a complete standstill.
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Old 05-17-17, 04:04 PM   #14
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It is not much an issue of safety, but of how many people, drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclist find out how to and desire to game the system. It will not take many to bring traffic in a city to a complete standstill.
This thread is about safety to cyclists. Don't forget that we are talking about software considerations in an emerging technology -- they'll figure out the traffic flow stuff, patch by patch.
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Old 05-17-17, 04:52 PM   #15
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It is not much an issue of safety, but of how many people, drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclist find out how to and desire to game the system. It will not take many to bring traffic in a city to a complete standstill.
Critical Mass'ers would luv automomous cars. LoL
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Old 05-17-17, 05:40 PM   #16
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They probably won't be legal until they can work great in all expected conditions.
That's a really high standard compared to what is currently acceptable for human drivers.
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Old 05-17-17, 05:56 PM   #17
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IMO there will be issues that delay the "self driving" car dream.

But it's not all black and white. many elements of the technology, mainly the crash avoidance systems are rolling out already. As car makers tinker with these, including (for example) rear close angle detectors that interlock with car doors and can prevent doorings, all manor of lane change, and straight ahead collision alarms and automatic braking.

I expect that we might see more like GPS enabled automatic speed controls, that will limit the ability nto drive over the limit.

So, yes, we can expect technology to improve safety, and IMO expect to see real results much sooner than many are now predicting.

But all the controls in the world, and even fully integrated self-driving, won't prevent every accident. Bicyclists can still cause or contribute to collisions, by acting in ways that even "infallible" computers can't predict. For example a bicycle can enter from a side street, with a car approaching, and at a distance where stopping is physically impossible.

That's but one of a number of scenarios wherein collisions can and do happen, and will continue to happen.
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Old 05-17-17, 07:01 PM   #18
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That's a really high standard compared to what is currently acceptable for human drivers.
Yes indeed. The standard will be much higher than for humans.
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Old 05-17-17, 07:39 PM   #19
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What people forget is that the ultimate goal is not for autonomous vehicles to operate in concert with traditional traffic, but to replace all individually controlled vehicles with an interconnected driverless transportation system controlled by some future generation of The Cloud *cough* Skynet *cough*. Traffic will move much faster, with vehicles in much closer proximity to each other. All pedestrians and non-automated vehicles (including bicycles) will be banned from roadways. Pedestrian crossings will likely be over or under intersections so as not to interfere with the flow of traffic and bicycles, as a personal mode of transportation within the traffic flow, will be a thing of the past. We will likely be relegated to some future incarnation of MUPS. Not to worry, one big cyber attack or EMP and bicycles will be the only thing on the road
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Old 05-17-17, 08:32 PM   #20
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Who defined this "goal" and what is the agreement that this is the goal?
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Old 05-17-17, 08:45 PM   #21
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.... But if this technology did take off .... to be 100 x safer than human driving, ... Could we just cycle every road without any worries? Imagine what a heaven that would be for us. Just saying.
Yes AND no. I ride the local roads and streets now without worry. As does many others I know.

I know one lady who makes her kids ride the sidewalks... which would scare the hell out of me. But the idea of her kids riding in the streets scares her.

Those who worry now... will likely worry later as well. Unless they find some superstitious ritual (like blinky lights and Styrofoam hats) that make them feel safe. Just MHO.
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Old 05-17-17, 09:05 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
There was an interesting problem recently discovered, I think with a google car: a bicyclist was stopped at an intersection but didn't have his feet down, so technically he wasn't stopped, he was moving slightly to maintain balance. The car interpreted this as a bike moving towards the intersection, so stopped and waited for the bike to cross. And waited. And waited. And waited...
That's not a safety issue.
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Old 05-17-17, 09:07 PM   #23
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That's not a safety issue.
Correct.
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Old 05-17-17, 09:38 PM   #24
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What people forget is that the ultimate goal is not for autonomous vehicles to operate in concert with traditional traffic, but to replace all individually controlled vehicles with an interconnected driverless transportation system controlled by some future generation of The Cloud *cough* Skynet *cough*. Traffic will move much faster, with vehicles in much closer proximity to each other. All pedestrians and non-automated vehicles (including bicycles) will be banned from roadways. Pedestrian crossings will likely be over or under intersections so as not to interfere with the flow of traffic and bicycles, as a personal mode of transportation within the traffic flow, will be a thing of the past. We will likely be relegated to some future incarnation of MUPS. Not to worry, one big cyber attack or EMP and bicycles will be the only thing on the road
I see it the other way around: existing roads will be the free-for-all with human driven cars, bikes, and pedestrians; and new roadways will be dedicated to self driving things. A single lane robot road could accommodate the same volume as 10 lanes of human driven cars (I'm guessing), so it would be good bang-for-buck to build raised the robot roads. Building raised robot roads is easier than convincing people they can't drive their own cars or walk across streets.
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Old 05-18-17, 12:28 AM   #25
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This thread is about safety to cyclists. Don't forget that we are talking about software considerations in an emerging technology -- they'll figure out the traffic flow stuff, patch by patch.
Or maybe by bruise by bruise OR broken bone by broken bone.
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