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Old 01-21-07, 05:26 PM   #1
tjh_bike
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Popular Mechanics article on driving technology

There is an article from the December 2006 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine (http://www.popularmechanics.com/auto...s/4201979.html) which discusses whether automobiles are "smarter" than humans. I liked hearing that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is requiring automobile manufacturers to include Electronic Stability Control (ESC) in all light vehicles by 2012. Of interest to all in the forum are how companies are building automobiles to take over for the driver in order to avoid a collision, or to reduce the damage in a collision.

Unfortunately, I do not see this system directly helping bicyclists in the near future; it appears to be designed specifically for protecting drivers. In addition, I can see driving skills and situational awareness deteriorating with driver automation, even if the systems are designed to work part time.

If the system becomes mature enough to recognize and successfully avoid objects, such as a stationary/moving bicyclist, then I think this will be a great technology for saving lives.
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Old 01-21-07, 05:43 PM   #2
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Interesting article. Thanks for the link.

I have driven some vehicles with ESC and have found that some of them (the one in the newer camry) were crude. I hope by 2012 that the harsh turning on of the systems is ironed out.

I would point out one thing though: if we introduce this in a widespread manner, it won't make any (serious) difference. Here is why. IF people drive as they do now, it will help. If this has the effect of making a car feel more stable, people will push the envelope and guess what, crash. We can look to all wheel and 4 wheel drive vehicles for an example. Vehicles with awd are safer in foul weather compared to front wheel drive IF they are driven with the same prudence as a front wheel drive car is. However, since they feel more stable (they are) people unwittingly push it, and largely cancel the effect. Just the other day I saw a driver of a Jeep take a corner in a manner that the stability of her straightline traction would indicate is good. She understeered clear across the intersection, over a ramped curb, through a snowbank, and moored herself. She and her daughter were ok, and since there was no one around at all, all it was was comical. But it does underscore my point. I wonder if she would have done that in my civic since it does not have the (real but exaggerated) benefits the jeep has in bad weather?
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Old 01-21-07, 05:55 PM   #3
CommuterRun
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Greaaat, then we'll have an automated system choosing to hit the smaller moving object (cyclist) over hitting another car.

I like somebody else's idea to make safer drivers:
Replace the driver's side airbag with a telescoping steel spike in the steering column.
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Old 01-21-07, 06:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjh_bike
There is an article from the December 2006 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine (http://www.popularmechanics.com/auto...s/4201979.html) which discusses whether automobiles are "smarter" than humans. I liked hearing that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is requiring automobile manufacturers to include Electronic Stability Control (ESC) in all light vehicles by 2012. Of interest to all in the forum are how companies are building automobiles to take over for the driver in order to avoid a collision, or to reduce the damage in a collision.

Unfortunately, I do not see this system directly helping bicyclists in the near future; it appears to be designed specifically for protecting drivers. In addition, I can see driving skills and situational awareness deteriorating with driver automation, even if the systems are designed to work part time.

If the system becomes mature enough to recognize and successfully avoid objects, such as a stationary/moving bicyclist, then I think this will be a great technology for saving lives.
It only works perfectly, if you remove the driver from the equation, a car that drives itself in other words, which creates more issues, how large or small an object will the automated system recognize, if it just recognizes cars, trucks and trains, it's only doing a small part of the job. A perfect system, would be able to avoid a squirrel on the road. It would either go around such an object or stop, it would need to be able to determine if the object is within it's path and moving or stationary. If the object is moving, then in which direction. I don't think that a 2.5GHz computer is anywhere near fast enough to compare two sets of stereoscopic images taken at a fixed timeframe, to make that decision.
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