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Autonomous cars and cyclist salmon.

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Autonomous cars and cyclist salmon.

Old 04-28-14, 07:00 AM
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Autonomous cars and cyclist salmon.

>>>To deal with cyclists, engineers initially programmed the software to look for hand gestures that indicate an upcoming turn. Then they realized that most cyclists don't use standard gestures - and still others weave down a road the wrong way.

So engineers have taught the software to predict the behavior of cyclists based on thousands of encounters during the approximately 10,000 miles the cars have driven autonomously on city streets, Hohne said. The software projects a cyclist's likely movements and plots the car's path accordingly - then reacts if something unexpected happens.<<<

Excite News - Google: Driverless cars are mastering city streets
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Old 04-28-14, 08:48 AM
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SO what is the software's reaction to taking the lane? Hopefully its to slow down and wait their turn, or some sane action. Thereafter I will always ride in the middle of the street and make them wait for my slow butt. (Not really, but that will happen).
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Old 04-28-14, 01:55 PM
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Here's a video, discussing cyclists at the 1:00 mark. Yeah, it can watch front and back, left and right, all at the same time.


From the transcript:
Our cars treat cyclists as a special category of moving object. Watch in this example—when
the cyclist holds up his arm, our software detects his hand signal and predicts his movement
into our lane. The car knows to continue yielding to the cyclist passing by...even when he changes his mind...multiple times...

So now what you'll see is our vehicle at a busy intersection. Here the cars are represented
by pink boxes, and the cyclists and pedestrians are the red and yellow boxes. Now, notice
the boxes moving past us—it's the cyclists and pedestrians turn to go. The red and green
fences indicate that the car will stop and wait until its path is clear. We even detect
the cyclist approaching from behind and wait until they've passed. Once the cyclist has
gone by, the vehicle determines that it's safe to turn.

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Old 04-28-14, 02:04 PM
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All hail Google...

This is promising. Even if a car is only partially equipped with this kind of software, it will make roads that much more safer.
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Old 04-28-14, 02:07 PM
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Computers don't get road rage and don't care if they are slowed down and lose a few seconds of travel time.
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Old 04-28-14, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
SO what is the software's reaction to taking the lane? Hopefully its to slow down and wait their turn, or some sane action. Thereafter I will always ride in the middle of the street and make them wait for my slow butt. (Not really, but that will happen).
This could be a problem. With the significant increases in cycling numbers over the past decade, the majority of riders are new to the activity. If Google is using data from their limited encounters with cyclists and the majority of said cyclists are newbies who tend to gutter hug and ride in the door zone (SFBC claims that dooring is the number one cause of cycling injuries by cars), then the algorithms may have trouble with those who cycle competently. This should be an easy fix, but only if they realize that they are biasing themselves to noobs.
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Old 04-29-14, 10:40 AM
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FWIW: Smart cars could be programmed to prevent a door from being opened if they detect a vehicle (bike) approaching closely from the rear. This would not only help protect cyclists from dooring but protect oblivious vehicle occupants from stepping in front of traffic. An attempt to open an affected door could trigger an audible alert and require a further override to open the door.

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Old 04-29-14, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Computers don't get road rage and don't care if they are slowed down and lose a few seconds of travel time.
But their owners do.

I can see people taking advantage of the perfectly behaved computer drivers -- cutting in front of them knowing that the computer will do the right thing every time, for example. Do that enough times and the driver may become enraged and take manual control (if it's still an option, though I imagine it would be at least for a while.)

Of course, even if they took manual control, the computer would probably still be recording their every move so that might temper their actions to a large degree.

I would not expect these systems to stop road rage ... in fact, in some cases they may increase it as cars under manual control (and hacked/modded computers?) and cyclists and pedestrians "take advantage" of cars that they know will do the safe thing. The advantage lies in that computer controlled cars will make far, far fewer mistakes than humans do. Injuries and fatalities will drop to near zero, with the exceptions being cars that are under manual control for whatever reason and very rare malfunctions. Once the laws catch up, drunks will be able to safely get in their cars and have their car take them home. People will be able to own fewer cars -- have cars drive without a person in them to where somebody else needs them -- which makes taxi/car share service cheaper and more practical. A possible bad side effect is that people will forgo parking and instead have their car drive around by itself.

Either way, this is exciting stuff.
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Old 04-29-14, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
But their owners do.

I can see people taking advantage of the perfectly behaved computer drivers -- cutting in front of them knowing that the computer will do the right thing every time, for example. Do that enough times and the driver may become enraged and take manual control (if it's still an option, though I imagine it would be at least for a while.)

Of course, even if they took manual control, the computer would probably still be recording their every move so that might temper their actions to a large degree.

I would not expect these systems to stop road rage ... in fact, in some cases they may increase it as cars under manual control (and hacked/modded computers?) and cyclists and pedestrians "take advantage" of cars that they know will do the safe thing. The advantage lies in that computer controlled cars will make far, far fewer mistakes than humans do. Injuries and fatalities will drop to near zero, with the exceptions being cars that are under manual control for whatever reason and very rare malfunctions. Once the laws catch up, drunks will be able to safely get in their cars and have their car take them home. People will be able to own fewer cars -- have cars drive without a person in them to where somebody else needs them -- which makes taxi/car share service cheaper and more practical. A possible bad side effect is that people will forgo parking and instead have their car drive around by itself.

Either way, this is exciting stuff.
So i guess in Manhattan, these cars would be at a standstill almost all the time. At any intersection (and in the middle of the streets) there will be streams of jaywalkers that will ignore the right of way of the car, making it impossible for them to move.
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Old 04-29-14, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
So i guess in Manhattan, these cars would be at a standstill almost all the time....
Something like that was mentioned in the link. The Google car would get stuck at 4 way stops because the other drivers would not come to complete stops, go out of turn, signal to another to go first (something the google car couldn't detect) etc.
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Old 04-29-14, 08:29 PM
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Well, one way to resolve this may be to have a 180 degree car-cam so any particularly aggressive road-user can be tried in court.

That would make people think twice about taking advantage or doing dangerous stuff in front of these cars.
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Old 04-30-14, 01:06 AM
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I am just so excited about the prospect of robocars out looking for, filming, and prosecuting traffic violations.
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Old 04-30-14, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Computers don't get road rage and don't care if they are slowed down and lose a few seconds of travel time.
Computers don't get road rage, correct. People do, and I am curious, if there is a way to turn off the 'automation', just like turning off the auto-pilot in a plane. Because it presents several problems.

1. Will it detect things going on inside the car?
2. What if the software malfunctions, making it impossible to turn of the 'auto-pilot' in an emergency. Making it impossible to get to the hospital fast.
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Old 05-01-14, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
SO what is the software's reaction to taking the lane? Hopefully its to slow down and wait their turn, or some sane action. Thereafter I will always ride in the middle of the street and make them wait for my slow butt. (Not really, but that will happen).
In the video it mentions staying stopped at a RR crossing until the tracks are clear, even noting that if a car crosses the tracks before the Google vehicle senses the tracks are clear it has to wait until the vehicle has cleared the tracks before it'll move. It also points to a cyclist unable to make up their mind and weaving into traffic a few times. I can't see it being a HUGE issue.

Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
Computers don't get road rage, correct. People do, and I am curious, if there is a way to turn off the 'automation', just like turning off the auto-pilot in a plane. Because it presents several problems.

1. Will it detect things going on inside the car?
2. What if the software malfunctions, making it impossible to turn of the 'auto-pilot' in an emergency. Making it impossible to get to the hospital fast.
Software malfunction? Google? NOOO, NEVER! Kidding aside, all videos I've seen related to the self-driving car on public roads still have someone sitting behind the wheel and there's a big red button within easy reach. Presumably that button detaches the autonomous control from vehicle control, allowing the person behind the wheel to take over control. There IS an override, otherwise there would be no way they'd be allowed to test on the same streets we drive on, and I presume the override would be mandatory IF this ever goes mainstream.
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Old 05-07-14, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by hallux View Post
Software malfunction? Google? NOOO, NEVER! Kidding aside, all videos I've seen related to the self-driving car on public roads still have someone sitting behind the wheel and there's a big red button within easy reach. Presumably that button detaches the autonomous control from vehicle control, allowing the person behind the wheel to take over control. There IS an override, otherwise there would be no way they'd be allowed to test on the same streets we drive on, and I presume the override would be mandatory IF this ever goes mainstream.
I was just at a conference where the Google car made an appearance and we got to talk to the engineer driving it. The car was a white Lexus just like the one in the linked video above.

California law states that cars must have a driver so the car won't be on the street without someone behind the wheel. The red button on the center console is indeed an emergency stop switch.

The car can detect objects with two wheels and it assumes they are cyclists, motorcylists, or scooters. It is also programmed to know what a bike lane is and that it shouldn't be driving in it. I asked the Google guy if they used Google Maps and he laughed and said no, they have their own street software that gets updated every day in order to keep up with any recent road changes. The car can also detect when an emergency vehicle is coming up with lights and sirens on and it will pull over to the side of the road.

The big spinning thing on the top of the car is a laser detection system. It still has some trouble navigating in foggy conditions. I asked what happens if there is a software glitch - the car will give visual and audio announcements to the driver that it is returning to manual mode. If it doesn't receive a response from the driver it assumes the driver is incapacitated and it pulls over to the side of the road and turns on it's emergency flashers.

Finally, I asked the engineer if you could tell the car to drive to the grocery store and park in one of those small angled spaces. His answer: "Um, not yet."

This car is a nice concept and a good start but I can't see it going on the market any time soon.
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Old 10-13-14, 05:59 AM
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I'm excited about driverless cars. attention paid to pedestrians and cyclists will rise.
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Old 10-13-14, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post

This car is a nice concept and a good start but I can't see it going on the market any time soon.
What is "any time soon?"

I think that is the key question. If the technology curve continues and follows something like Moore's law, then the processing power will more then double every two years or so... collision avoidance tech, will become smarter cruise control, which will become autonomous driving... one step at a time.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that the autonomous car sees everywhere at once... It can never say, "I didn't see the cyclist." And it will probably record every moment...

Consider these autonomous machines, and it will be so clear. The car will never stop being a driver. It would never rage, and it would never hurt, never shout at others, or get drunk and hit someone, or be distracted and too busy to spend time driving. It would always be there. And it would see everything, to serve and protect the passengers. Of all the would-be "good drivers" who have come and gone over the years, this thing, this machine, is the only driver who will really measure up. In an insane world, this is the sanest choice.
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Old 10-13-14, 08:30 AM
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Despite Elon Musk's fear of AI, he just equipped his latest creation with more of it. Tesla unveils all-wheel-drive and autonomous features for its Model S - LA Times
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Old 10-13-14, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
What is "any time soon?"

I think that is the key question. If the technology curve continues and follows something like Moore's law, then the processing power will more then double every two years or so... collision avoidance tech, will become smarter cruise control, which will become autonomous driving... one step at a time.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that the autonomous car sees everywhere at once... It can never say, "I didn't see the cyclist." And it will probably record every moment...

Consider these autonomous machines, and it will be so clear. The car will never stop being a driver. It would never rage, and it would never hurt, never shout at others, or get drunk and hit someone, or be distracted and too busy to spend time driving. It would always be there. And it would see everything, to serve and protect the passengers. Of all the would-be "good drivers" who have come and gone over the years, this thing, this machine, is the only driver who will really measure up. In an insane world, this is the sanest choice.
Nail on the head. It's only a matter of time before the AI can see more than any human, and more precisely, without missing anything. That part is not really going out on a limb; with Google's resources that part is a matter of good enough hardware - inevitable - and refining the algorithms.

The real challenge is, still, the human edge in pattern recognition. I don't mean pattern as in recognizing an object, although that is also "pattern recognition", but discerning circumstances and fitting that into a previously learned situation to predict changes in the observed system, and hopefully construct a decision tree. We're good at that, still better than artificial intelligence. But even clearing that hurdle may now be just a matter of more processing power and a large enough data store. "Soon" may be just a few years, and possibly as little as a decade until the computers are unambiguously superior in every traffic situation. I am out on a limb with that, but I've got a very strong intuition that this is happening a lot faster than we're expecting.
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Old 10-13-14, 10:49 AM
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Okay, (and I think that this has been asked before) who is responsible if the computer, or the software crashes, or if the software isn’t updated, Or if the computer or the software is hacked?

There have been a few shows in which a person using, and probably depending too much on their GPS. Discovered that their GPS had been hacked and they’d been sent somewhere other then where they had wanted to go.

CSI: NY had one such story and the original CSI had another story in which a third party was able to hack a cars onboard computer and using a presumably over the counter remote control unit to take control of the car.

So what is to stop things like that from happening with autonomous cars?

IF they evolve to the point where a person can “drive” it to the local store and then tell it to “circle the block” for x-amount of time then come back. Who is responsible if it gets into a crash?

Will it allow the autonomous drive feature to be disabled IF it is in a dangerous situation, say someone trying to “race a train” at a train crossing, or if there is a large group of pedestrians or cyclists in front of it.

How will the software be updated? Via Bluetooth, WiFi, 4GLTE, cellular, via a hardline when the car is plugged in to recharge. What happens if in the middle of an update the signal is lost and the update isn’t completed? What happens to the car? Will the updates be sent and installed while the car is in motion, while it is “docked,” or when? And will one have to take it to two different shops to be worked on?

And will these autonomous cars follow the one car length per 10MPH of speed? If so what happens if someone driving an older and non-autonomous car tries to squeeze in? And what about the older non-computerized cars? Will they be allowed to be operated on the public roads? If so how will the autonomous car deal with them? How will the automated traffic handling systems that would arise from autonomous car use handle these older cars?

Will this software find it’s way into the public transportation system? Will buses/taxies be able to stop anywhere there is customer flagging them down? Will they be able to stop wherever a passenger wanted to get off?

Also will they like airplanes have a “black box?” Or will it “share” it’s data at predefined times? How will the owners (if there is one) privacy be protected? If it has a black box, will it like the ones in airplanes record both data and voice? If so again how will the owner/occupants privacy be protected? Will the voice recordings be admissible in a court of law? What are the safeguards?

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Old 10-13-14, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Okay, (and I think that this has been asked before) who is responsible if the computer, or the software crashes, or if the software isn’t updated, Or if the computer or the software is hacked?

There have been a few shows in which a person using, and probably depending too much on their GPS. Discovered that their GPS had been hacked and they’d been sent somewhere other then where they had wanted to go.

CSI: NY had one such story and the original CSI had another story in which a third party was able to hack a cars onboard computer and using a presumably over the counter remote control unit to take control of the car.

So what is to stop things like that from happening with autonomous cars?

IF they evolve to the point where a person can “drive” it to the local store and then tell it to “circle the block” for x-amount of time then come back. Who is responsible if it gets into a crash?

Will it allow the autonomous drive feature to be disabled IF it is in a dangerous situation, say someone trying to “race a train” at a train crossing, or if there is a large group of pedestrians or cyclists in front of it.

How will the software be updated? Via Bluetooth, WiFi, 4GLTE, cellular, via a hardline when the car is plugged in to recharge. What happens if in the middle of an update the signal is lost and the update isn’t completed? What happens to the car? Will the updates be sent and installed while the car is in motion, while it is “docked,” or when? And will one have to take it to two different shops to be worked on?

And will these autonomous cars follow the one car length per 10MPH of speed? If so what happens if someone driving an older and non-autonomous car tries to squeeze in? And what about the older non-computerized cars? Will they be allowed to be operated on the public roads? If so how will the autonomous car deal with them? How will the automated traffic handling systems that would arise from autonomous car use handle these older cars?

Will this software find it’s way into the public transportation system? Will buses/taxies be able to stop anywhere there is customer flagging them down? Will they be able to stop wherever a passenger wanted to get off?

Also will they like airplanes have a “black box?” Or will it “share” it’s data at predefined times? How will the owners (if there is one) privacy be protected? If it has a black box, will it like the ones in airplanes record both data and voice? If so again how will the owner/occupants privacy be protected? Will the voice recordings be admissible in a court of law? What are the safeguards?
You are watching too much TV if you are worried about a CSI like hacking scenario. The last time I did jury duty I remember the well versed and jury friendly judge making a comment regarding evidence and what is presented in the courtroom... and that CSI was only a TV show... it doesn't happen like that in real life.

No doubt some hacking may occur, as we are now seeing hacking happen to financial institutions... but consider the motive.... in that case it is clear; money... just what is the motive for hacking YOUR individual car? On TV, it is always some important person... who are you?

Oh and BTW anyone depending 100% on GPS technology (developed largely in the '70s, deployed in the '80s) for their ONLY navigation is as foolish as a made for TV movie. GPS can only accurately tell you where you are... not what the roads look like, nor what the traffic looks like. The google car only barely depends on GPS... it more accurately sees the road with a variety of sensors... and it does this full time, unlike humans.

Oh BTW are you aware that most modern autos already have a blackbox... and that that data coupled with your cell phone data can reveal everything you are already paranoid about. There are also auto insurance companies that offer you better rates if you allow them to install a module into your car that completely does everything you are paranoid about... and they report it via the various cell networks AND have small backup batteries, should you decide you don't want your last actions reported... oops, too late.

You want to be anonymous? First get rid of the cell phone, second, stop using credit carts and ATM cards; ride a bike or walk, avoid business areas with security cams. Modern life is full of means to track you... oh yeah, get off the computer... Move to a large city and blend in with the homeless... but don't hang out with them... you'll stand out in a small town or as a foreigner. Good luck.
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Old 10-13-14, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Something like that was mentioned in the link. The Google car would get stuck at 4 way stops because the other drivers would not come to complete stops, go out of turn, signal to another to go first (something the google car couldn't detect) etc.
I've got to wonder what would happen at an intersection I go through on my commute home. Freeway offramp that exist at a 90 degree angle to the frontage road.

Much of the time it is ok, never really good. But far too often you are getting off the freeway and all has been fine. You expect one car going either way on the frontage road to go and then your turn. But what happens it one goes and the one going the other way is slow to go and the first has almost cleared the intersection before the second starts. Not bad yet, but then a second car goes from the direction of the first to make it through.

An engineer has no choice but to make the automatic car a bit timid. At that intersection I can see getting stuck for a long time once the drivers going the other way decide the driver is timid.


Nasty add on is this is a short offramp that already backs up, I can easily see just a little of this making a major nbackup that jams the freeway. Not good.
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Old 10-13-14, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
You want to be anonymous? First get rid of the cell phone, second, stop using credit carts and ATM cards; ride a bike or walk, avoid business areas with security cams. Modern life is full of means to track you... oh yeah, get off the computer... Move to a large city and blend in with the homeless... but don't hang out with them... you'll stand out in a small town or as a foreigner. Good luck.
Perhaps the poster should follow your advice on anonymity and blend in with the local car free folk in a bigger city.
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Old 10-13-14, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
I've got to wonder what would happen at an intersection I go through on my commute home. Freeway offramp that exist at a 90 degree angle to the frontage road.

Much of the time it is ok, never really good. But far too often you are getting off the freeway and all has been fine. You expect one car going either way on the frontage road to go and then your turn. But what happens it one goes and the one going the other way is slow to go and the first has almost cleared the intersection before the second starts. Not bad yet, but then a second car goes from the direction of the first to make it through.

An engineer has no choice but to make the automatic car a bit timid. At that intersection I can see getting stuck for a long time once the drivers going the other way decide the driver is timid.


Nasty add on is this is a short offramp that already backs up, I can easily see just a little of this making a major nbackup that jams the freeway. Not good.
Install traffic light. Problem solved.

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Perhaps the poster should follow your advice on anonymity and blend in with the local car free folk in a bigger city.
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Old 10-13-14, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
You are watching too much TV if you are worried about a CSI like hacking scenario. The last time I did jury duty I remember the well versed and jury friendly judge making a comment regarding evidence and what is presented in the courtroom... and that CSI was only a TV show... it doesn’t happen like that in real life.

No doubt some hacking may occur, as we are now seeing hacking happen to financial institutions... but consider the motive.... in that case it is clear; money... just what is the motive for hacking YOUR individual car? On TV, it is always some important person... who are you?

Oh and BTW anyone depending 100% on GPS technology (developed largely in the ‘70s, deployed in the ‘80s) for their ONLY navigation is as foolish as a made for TV movie. GPS can only accurately tell you where you are... not what the roads look like, nor what the traffic looks like. The google car only barely depends on GPS... it more accurately sees the road with a variety of sensors... and it does this full time, unlike humans.

Oh BTW are you aware that most modern autos already have a blackbox... and that that data coupled with your cell phone data can reveal everything you are already paranoid about. There are also auto insurance companies that offer you better rates if you allow them to install a module into your car that completely does everything you are paranoid about... and they report it via the various cell networks AND have small backup batteries, should you decide you don’t want your last actions reported... oops, too late.

You want to be anonymous? First get rid of the cell phone, second, stop using credit carts and ATM cards; ride a bike or walk, avoid business areas with security cams. Modern life is full of means to track you... oh yeah, get off the computer... Move to a large city and blend in with the homeless... but don’t hang out with them... you’ll stand out in a small town or as a foreigner. Good luck.
Gene,

I understand and agree that what is shown on TV and in the movies isn’t “real life,” that said IF someone can think up something for a TV show or movie plot then someone else can think it up to try in real life.

Case in point, I saw an interview with the stars of CBS’ new series “Stalker.” And one of the questions that they were asked was weren’t they afraid that their show could teach would be stalkers how to be “better” stalkers. And they acknowledged that that was a possibility but that they’d hoped that potential victims would learn what steps to take in order to minimize the possibility that they’re stalked.

It’s not just financial institutes that have been hacked it’s been everything from major national retailers such as Target and Home Depot to Goodwill and I am sure everything in between that has been hacked. MY individual car IS hack proof, or have you forgotten that I do not own a car let alone a drivers license. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we here in the USA have credit/ATM/debit cards with microchips embedded in them. Of course with those “new” microchip embedded cards we’d need wallets and purses, etc. that block RFID scanners.

I completely agree that anyone who relies 100% on their in car GPS are foolish. I also have to “laugh” at the advice that one NOT program their home address into their in car GPS. As a way of “preventing” would be thieves from finding one’s home, uh, unless one waits until they’re at least a mile or so away from home before engaging their GPS and turning it off a mile or so away from their home when returning. There is still going to be a track right to their front door.

Again, not MY car, but I do understand what you’re saying. And I wonder if it is revealed to new buyers that there is a black box inside their car. Do they just record data or do they also record voice as well? Either way that is information that a new buyer should be made aware of. Particularly given the wire tapping laws in some states. I’ve also seen the commercials where people are encouraged to try out their device to get lower rates.

And I am not paranoid as you are suggesting, but I do presume that if anyone wanted to that they can more likely than not listen through their cell phone, particularly if it is a so called Smartphone. The best way for anyone to guarantee that their cell phone can’t be used to gather evidence against them is to either as you say is to “ditch it,” or given that few people are willing to do so. Remove the battery and put it in the trunk of their car.

Agreed, there really aren’t very many places where one isn’t on at least one security camera. And usually as you’ve said multiple cameras, all one has to do is to stroll down the sidewalk and they’ll be recorded on at least a dozen or more security/CCTV cameras.

Actually, I would have to say that if one really wanted to “disappear” that their best hope would be to find a nice cave on the top of some mountain somewhere. But even doing that I don’t think would totally guarantee that they can “disappear.” As if it is suspected that they live there and for whatever reason they’re suspected of some sort of foul play, the government can use either one of the so called spy satellites to “spy” on them, or these days more likely then not, they can send a “drone” up to “spy” on them. And speaking of “drones” I have to laugh as they too have been around for a VERY long time. “Back in the day” they were called remote controlled hobby aircraft, such as planes and helicopters. Then some “eager beaver” figured out that they can be used as a platform to perform surveillance and then some other “eager beaver” figured out that these same “drones” can be armed and used for combat.

In this modern day world the sad thing is that in reality there we really do not have much in the way of privacy. And what we do have we get looked at “suspiciously” if we try to protect it.
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