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posted by martyb on Monday November 13, @11:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-prefer-the-Age-of-Aquarius dept.

Bob Lutz, former General Motors Vice Chair, opines:

It saddens me to say it, but we are approaching the end of the automotive era.

The auto industry is on an accelerating change curve. For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans and for the past 120 years it has been the automobile.

Now we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile because travel will be in standardized modules.

The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you'll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway.
...
The vehicles, however, will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways.

The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents.

Is he right? Is the age of the automobile coming to an end?


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by coolgopher on Monday November 13, @11:04AM (25 children)

    by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @11:04AM (#596125)

    Yes.

    Though there will still be some level of recreational driving happening. Presumably in "vintage" cars, which won't have access to a lot of "roads".

    • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Monday November 13, @11:24AM (11 children)

      by MostCynical (2589) on Monday November 13, @11:24AM (#596128)

      there will be a spike in 'adventure' travel, where you get to drive (control!) an actual car, in exotic locations, like Brazil, or, some African or Australian deserts.
      then there will be an underground of groups keeping 'old' cars on the road (models with 'hackable' software)

      Some time later, MSF and other aid agencies will be unable to deliver aid to third world disaster sites (like Florida, 2030?) without AI drones..

      --
      (Score: tau, Irrational)
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday November 13, @12:16PM (3 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @12:16PM (#596139)

        Yeaa... naaah!
        I'll buy myself a tractor. Or two. Chinese ones - simple, no software, just gear and engine.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by dwilson on Tuesday November 14, @06:34AM (2 children)

          by dwilson (2599) on Tuesday November 14, @06:34AM (#596686)

          I farm for a living, and I tell you truth, you've got no need to go looking at chinese brands if you want a simple tractor. You can buy some good, solid, made-in-(north)-america gems for rock bottom prices.

          Most of these (quickly searched for to link here) models can be found still in a mostly-running condition:

          http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Case_900 [wikia.com]
          http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Case_930 [wikia.com]
          http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Massey-Harris_744D [wikia.com]
          http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Massey-Harris_Pacemaker [wikia.com]
          http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Allis-Chalmers_IB [wikia.com]

          My Great-grandfather operated his entire farm with a Case 900. We've got a 930 still in service here at our farm, it's PTO runs most of the augers, as well as the baler. it's bucket lifts anything I need lifted, including 1000lb+ bales. My brother uses an old Massey 744D as an acreage tractor, and in the winter he plows snow with it so he can get his semi out for work (He hauls fluid for a living). I'll admit I have a soft-spot in my heart for Massey, being that they were a Canadian company and briefly achieved the 'biggest agricultural machinery company in the world' status. One day I'll buy it off him and restore it proper-like.

          An old tractor is nothing to be sneered at. They can be had cheap, they're easy to maintain, inexpensive to operate, and very, very easy to fix. Best part? The engineers who designed them hadn't even -heard- about computers.

          --
          - D
          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday November 14, @06:42AM (1 child)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @06:42AM (#596690)

            I farm for a living, and I tell you truth, you've got no need to go looking at chinese brands if you want a simple tractor. You can buy some good, solid, made-in-(north)-america gems for rock bottom prices.

            Given that I'm dwelling in Australia, the made-in-(north)-america is a problem. A shipping one to be more precise.

            • (Score: 1) by dwilson on Wednesday November 15, @03:24AM

              by dwilson (2599) on Wednesday November 15, @03:24AM (#597123)

              Given that I'm dwelling in Australia

              Heh. Well, that would change things around a bit, yep.

              --
              - D
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Monday November 13, @12:41PM (6 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday November 13, @12:41PM (#596150)

        So, as to that "Adventure travel" - a surprising amount of travel happens in the Continental US on surfaces that are only charitably called "roads." Private land has internal road systems, when you get into timber tracts and ranches over 200 acres you'll have miles of internal road system, some of which is just traversing an open grass field, some of which has frequent hazards like downed trees across the road, streams to ford, seasonally muddy patches that need more intelligent navigation than a Google car (or many drivers I know) can bring to bear successfully without needing to be towed out.

        While it is an infinitesimal percentage of road-miles traveled, those "roads" are presently traveled by the same vehicles that travel the interstates and normal local roads. Calling an end to the self driven vehicle will deny the normal access used by hundreds of thousands of people to tens of millions of acres of land. "Solutions" like keeping a self driven vehicle on the property aren't entirely workable. Eventually, I imagine you'll see driven vehicles ferried in auto-driven carriers like horses are today, but I feel like that's much more than 20 years in the future.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday November 13, @04:43PM (5 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @04:43PM (#596284) Journal

          I suspect that autonomous vehicles will eventually be able to navigate offroad, at least as well as people do. Not in the near future, of course, but eventually. When Geronimo's picture was taken, sitting in a Locomobile*, few people really thought that automobiles would dominate the landscape in this country within a few decades. Today, it's hard to imagine autonomous vehicles dominating the roadways - but it's almost certainly coming. Whether it be 2, 4, or maybe 5 decades, it's coming.

          *Geronimo's Cadillac was actually not a Cadillac at all. https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/geronimos-cadillacer-locomobile/ [indiancountrymedianetwork.com]

          --
          This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
          • (Score: 1) by redneckmother on Monday November 13, @05:06PM (3 children)

            by redneckmother (3597) on Monday November 13, @05:06PM (#596305)

            "I suspect that autonomous vehicles will eventually be able to navigate offroad" ...

            Not unless the GPS maps improve.

            I live in a community of small ranches, with the roads maintained (albeit poorly) by an owner's association.

            The private roads have recently shown up on Garmin maps, but are highly inaccurate - roads and intersections are shown that would require crossing a fenced property line, and do not exist. I suppose someone consulted a terrain image on Google, and ass u me d that some trails and driveways are part of the communal road system. Weird.

            --
            Pitchforks? Check. Torches? Check. Lampposts? Check. Rope? Oh crap, Colorado smoked all the Hemp!
            • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday November 13, @06:24PM (1 child)

              by HiThere (866) on Monday November 13, @06:24PM (#596353)

              Don't be blindered1 by current state of the art. GPS is only an intermediate step. It will be continually useful in "new locations", but in the future (10 years? 15 years?) cars will learn the local terrain the same way people and rats do. They'll remember where they've been and the path they took to get there.

              Please note that this is going to take a lot more computer capability than they currently have, but Moore's law isn't dead, it's hit slow points before. And anyway when they need to they can do 3-d stacking of circuits, possibly with laser signaling between the layers to allow cooling, or possibly some other approach. It was done in labs a decade ago, but hasn't yet been needed. (There are already chips with internal liquid cooling, but I'm not sure that's the right answer.)

              Remember, technology isn't only advancing along one front, it's advancing everywhere from aardvark management to zebra monitoring. We may not always like the direction of the advance (cheaper rather than more durable is annoying), but it's happening.

              1. Blindered: To wear blinders such as those worn by a skittish horse, which prevent distraction by events from peripheral vision.

              --
              Put not your faith in princes.
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday November 14, @02:31AM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday November 14, @02:31AM (#596617)

              I worked for the Florida Department of Transportation in 1987, at that time the official state maps weren't 100% accurate, even for well traveled paved roads. I found an interesting route home from work on the official map one day, drove there in person to find a canal bisecting my route, with no bridge - not a tiny error, and not the only one like that in the county.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday November 13, @08:11PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday November 13, @08:11PM (#596422)

            I think the near-term solution will be manual takeover mode, illegal on the public roads, but permitted and necessary when off of them.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @11:33AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @11:33AM (#596131)

      Probably more than just "some level".

      1. such a transition will not happen all over the world at the same time, so there will not only be different generations doing different things with their cars, there will be different nationalities doing different things.
      2. horses are still routinely kept for riding, sometimes in professional settings (i.e. farmers keep them for roaming vast farm-land). in the same way, people will keep cars for fun, but some people will need their all-terrain vehicle for complex tasks, and construction vehicles will most likely be controlled by humans directly for a longer while.

      I would be very happy if we had true AI (capable of adapting to changing outside conditions as well as a human driver, for instance driving through a forest fire or going off-road to avoid a tornado, but it seems to me that any such sufficiently smart agent would have its own ideas, and may actually want to watch TV rather than drive us around.

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @12:23PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @12:23PM (#596143)

        ).

        Argh.

        • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday November 13, @03:51PM

          by acid andy (1683) on Monday November 13, @03:51PM (#596229)

          Making a point of closing your bracket gave me a nice fuzzy feeling. The closest mod I could find to say thank you for that was a Touché.

          --
          Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by HiThere on Monday November 13, @06:39PM

        by HiThere (866) on Monday November 13, @06:39PM (#596365)

        You're confusing intelligence with motivation, and also assuming the existing of such a thing as general intelligence. The "find your way from here to there" part of intelligence doesn't require sophisticated AI. Things like Alexa show that reasonable interactive guidance can be achieved with only moderately "intelligent" systems. So instead of a driver a car can have a conductor (music analogy, not electric) who will be able to say things like "get me out of here FAST" to impart a sense of urgency, and "this place is dangerous" to heighten caution. As well as things like "take me to the coffee house I was at last Tuesday that I came back so late from". Note that I'm not saying that Alexa can handle these things, Alexa is not only more primitive, Alexa is designed to facilitate ordering stuff. Neither is a general intelligence, and I doubt that such is possible. Certainly most humans aren't a general intelligence. There are many skills that appear to be rather simple that all tested humans have difficulty handling. This was made clear by the paper "The magic number 7 plus or minus 2" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two [wikipedia.org] by George A. Miller. I'm not sure I believe his exact thesis, but the general idea is certainly correct.

        --
        Put not your faith in princes.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @12:28PM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @12:28PM (#596145)

      It will happen if we allow it. I suspect that large groups of motivated people will fight for their right to drive. I suspect large city cores will be the first to mandate automated driving. Hopefully smaller cities should be safe for a long time.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:23PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:23PM (#596158)

        When you say "safe", you mean 40k deaths per year? Just trying to calibrate.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Monday November 13, @04:40PM

        by DannyB (5839) on Monday November 13, @04:40PM (#596280)

        large groups of motivated people will fight for their right to drive.

        When you get a drivers license they make it clear that driving is not a right.

        Other people fight for their supposed 'right' to smoke. To pollute the air and water with chemicals for their own profit. To improperly park in handicap spaces. In some places even, to defecate on the sidewalk.

        When someone wants to live among other people, they don't always get everything they want.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @07:59PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @07:59PM (#596951)

        i will be building my own road warrior autos between now and then. fully equipped with various weapons systems.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 18, @07:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 18, @07:29PM (#598735)

          Thank you Mad Max, I'll look forward to seeing you in Thunderdome.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday November 13, @08:34PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday November 13, @08:34PM (#596438)

      It saddens me to say that Bob Lutz hasn't driven off of a paved road since he went too senile to remember what the implications of "offroad" are to self-driving vehicles.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by turgid on Monday November 13, @11:20AM (6 children)

    by turgid (4318) on Monday November 13, @11:20AM (#596126) Journal

    Country pubs will thrive when self-driving vehicles become ubiquitous. An investment opportunity?

    --
    Don't let Righty keep you down.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Webweasel on Monday November 13, @11:42AM (27 children)

    by Webweasel (567) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @11:42AM (#596133) Homepage Journal

    For the majority of people, yes this is probably true.

    Us pertrol heads will be around for as long as we can afford it. There's no experience better than nailing a corner, feeling the car grip and booting it out of a turn. Eventually we will have to move to electric cars, but so many of us love driving that we won't want an AI car.

    --
    Priyom.org Number stations, Russian Military radio. "You are a bad, bad man. Do you have any other virtues?"-Runaway1956
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday November 13, @12:20PM (2 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @12:20PM (#596141)

      You can take my ICE from my cold dead hands!

      If so you wish, I think this can be arranged. Should we start examining the practical details?

      (grin)

      • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Monday November 13, @12:30PM (1 child)

        by MostCynical (2589) on Monday November 13, @12:30PM (#596146)

        Wait - check what sort of car it is first - don't want to kill some one for the wrong car.

        --
        (Score: tau, Irrational)
        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday November 13, @01:04PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @01:04PM (#596154)

          Wait - check what sort of car it is first - don't want to kill some one for the wrong car

          Oh, come on! I'm a friendly guy.**

          ---
          ** Can't remember the title, it as probably one of those spaghetti-western movies; from which I remember something on the line of "Hey gringo, I kill people for money. But you are my friend, I'll kill you for nothing"

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Monday November 13, @12:46PM (9 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday November 13, @12:46PM (#596151)

      I'm fine with moving from petrol to electric - if I could afford $100K+ for a performance electric vehicle I'd already have one, the tech is "out there" but the high performance electric power systems are unreasonably expensive, today.

      Giving up human control of the vehicle is the real issue here. Our home is located down a single lane dirt track about 1/4 mile long, shared with 6 other homes. I'd like to see two self-driven cars meet on that and figure out what to do. As for now, Google maps knows the correct GPS coordinates for our home, but doesn't get the routing right - we're closer to a paved street that's inaccessible to us due to privately owned land in-between with two fences, but that's how Google maps tries to route people to our house.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:27PM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:27PM (#596161)

        Maybe there's a future when google doesn't own all the maps and you can edit them yourself.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Monday November 13, @01:38PM (2 children)

          by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @01:38PM (#596168) Journal

          Google maps are fine when you're in the big city. They become useless out in the less-travelled parts of the country. In the West there are vast tracts with roads that Google maps shows as undifferentiated green or gray.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
          • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Monday November 13, @01:57PM

            by crafoo (6639) on Monday November 13, @01:57PM (#596176)

            I'm fine with this. It's a pretty good filter.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday November 13, @08:06PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday November 13, @08:06PM (#596419)

            Or... cities like Jacksonville that are a rural-urban mix. The real problem with Google maps and our house is that the Google mapping car was afraid to drive down our shared driveway, maybe it was the sound of dueling banjoes or maybe it was the rebel flags on the big house, or maybe it just looked too bumpy for them. In any event, since they haven't driven it, it's not a road in their database.

        • (Score: 1) by j-beda on Monday November 13, @01:58PM

          by j-beda (6342) on Monday November 13, @01:58PM (#596177) Homepage

          http://openstreetmap.org/ [openstreetmap.org]

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday November 13, @03:39PM (1 child)

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @03:39PM (#596221)

          Maybe there's a future when google doesn't own all the maps and you can edit them yourself.

          I doubt it.

          We already have exactly what you're talking about: it's called OpenStreetMap. I hear it's actually pretty popular outside the US, probably mostly in Europe. However, here in the US, no one knows what it is or cares.

          You can also edit HERE maps, but how many people use that? Only people with certain nav systems that use HERE.

          Also, the problem with things like OSM is that it doesn't provide the other features that things like Google Maps and Waze do: 1) traffic updates, to route you the fastest way taking into account traffic, and 2) a business directory (e.g. I want to go to the nearest Home Depot, but I sure as hell don't know the street address offhand, and I also want to know what its hours are so I don't waste a trip and find they're closed).

          Google seems to be the best at providing all that in a single smartphone app, but they're absolutely awful at letting people correct the data. You can file a correction request, and not hear back about it for a year.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:00PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:00PM (#596235)

            > You can file a correction request, ...

            I've filed several, a couple in the suburbs (correcting names) and one in a rural area (dirt road, their "road" was parallel to the actual road, offset about ~100 meters). All were fixed within a few weeks and they sent me a thank-you email for my contributions.

            Do you remember any details of what change(s) you requested?

      • (Score: 1, Redundant) by Runaway1956 on Monday November 13, @04:52PM (1 child)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @04:52PM (#596290) Journal

        If your dirt road is like my dirt road, it is actually two lane. Everyone who drives on it feels compelled to drive right down the center of the road, for poorly understood reasons like, "the ride is smoother" or "don't want to scratch the car on the limbs sticking out". A trip or three up and down the road with a weed eater takes care of the scratching nonsense. And, if the full width of the road is actually used, the county employee who grades the road will actually grade the width of the road. Personally, I use one lane when I come home, and I use the other lane when I leave home. Pretty much everyone else only sees on lane, right in the middle.

        --
        This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday November 13, @08:22PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday November 13, @08:22PM (#596429)

          Ours is right at 10' wide, dirt tracks with grass on either side and down the middle... half of it is a bit wider, maybe 18-20', but that's quasi-paved and bumpy. There are places where you can pull into the grass to get past each other, turnouts into driveways, and spots where somebody is just going to have to back up.

    • (Score: 4, Touché) by stormreaver on Monday November 13, @02:04PM (6 children)

      by stormreaver (5101) on Monday November 13, @02:04PM (#596183)

      There's no experience better than nailing a corner, feeling the car grip and booting it out of a turn.

      This is an excellent argument for legally mandated autonomous vehicles, and for legislating human drivers off the road.

      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday November 13, @03:57PM (1 child)

        by acid andy (1683) on Monday November 13, @03:57PM (#596233)

        It all depends on whether they have a clear view of an empty road beyond the corner. It's a shame that too few drivers seem to bother to make this distinction.

        --
        Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
        • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Monday November 13, @06:04PM

          by stormreaver (5101) on Monday November 13, @06:04PM (#596343)

          It all depends on whether they have a clear view of an empty road beyond the corner.

          That is entirely irrelevant. There are hundreds of unforeseeable circumstance that make that a very bad idea.

          It's a shame that too few drivers seem to bother to make this distinction.

          It's a shame that there are still people who think such a distinction matters. People need to get their thrills in ways that don't put others (or their property) at risk.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @06:12PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @06:12PM (#596347)

        Autonomous cars can drift really well. A university actually tried it for parallel parking. The car would parallel park facing the opposite direction by drifting into the spot. The rear of the car would swing around, the car would go sort of backwards and sideways while skidding, and finally the car would perfectly slip into the parking spot.

        I'd pay for that!

        Instead we get cars that drive slower than my grandpa, puttering along below the speed limit and never bending a rule even a tiny bit.

      • (Score: 2) by Virindi on Monday November 13, @08:13PM (1 child)

        by Virindi (3484) on Monday November 13, @08:13PM (#596423)

        When I read this I pictured a track or private property...

        It seems a bit unreasonable to force casual racers to have two cars (one for racing and one for regular roads), when they could just have one.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:58AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:58AM (#596633)

          Nobody's forcing you to do that.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:02PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:02PM (#596953)

        and yours is why we need more dead politicians.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @02:21PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @02:21PM (#596191)

      The Autoextremist commented on the Lutz article,
          http://www.autoextremist.com/current/2017/11/7/the-lingering-interregnum.html [autoextremist.com]
      I thought his title was suitably SF-like-- "THE LINGERING INTERREGNUM"

      Now that Bob Lutz has dropped his dire predictions for the future of the automotive world in Automotive News - a Lutzian Nightmare that projects the total annihilation of the automotive world as we know it, while painting a grim landscape dominated by faceless autonomous transportation modules that come in small, medium and large, a dystopian scenario that will send traditional car companies and luxury brands to the scrap heap of history - maybe it’s time to step back and take a deep breath.

      “Maximum Bob” is entitled to express his opinion when it comes to all things automotive - he’s certainly earned that right - but if that’s our final destination at the dawn of this autonomous era, then to paraphrase Samuel Goldwyn’s famous quote, “Ladies and gentlemen, you may include me out.”

      I’m frankly tired of the subject at this point in time, because despite the prognostications, we’re talking far into the future. And though some of our readers have expressed irrational exuberance for all things autonomous, salivating at the thought of a Jetson-esque future of effortless transportation unburdened by driver involvement, I decline to get excited about it, because for most of the country, it’s simply not going to happen in our lifetime.

      Think about this: If we maximized the mass transportation systems already in place in this country, and added to them judiciously, the whole autonomy thing would be a sideshow, but because there are massive dollars on the table, and corporate entities both real and imagined are clamoring for their piece of the action, autonomous vehicles are going to be sold as the panacea that society is waiting for and shoved down our collective throats.

      He then goes back to some items of current concern, such as the return of subprime financing and 72 month car loans. This is usually a sign that new car/truck sales have peaked and the managers are just trying to keep the sales numbers high for a little longer. The market for new vehicles is probably near the bust part of the typical boom-bust cycle.

      He signs off with,

      Because this just in: the Jetsons, at least until further notice, was just a cartoon.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday November 13, @03:26PM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday November 13, @03:26PM (#596215) Journal

        There are a lot of deaths due to car accidents and the technology is ready to the point where it can be driven in traffic. I doubt we will have to wait a lifetime to see some adoption. They won't be popular in rural areas though.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:07PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:07PM (#596241)

          I'd argue the opposite, given the size of the system, there are very few highway deaths. Think about how much time people spend in hospitals (many less hours than most spend in cars)...and compare to deaths from getting a hospital-infection that you didn't have when you went in for some other problem.

          Further, note that you can greatly improve your odds on the highway if you desire--just don't drive when impaired or distracted.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:23PM (#596254)

      Us pertrol heads will be around for as long as we can afford it.

      No one cares. Really. Because 99% of people don't care. Which means only 1% of you petrol heads will be left, which doesn't matter, really. You can continue to drive as long as you drive safely. The comments made were about the other 99% who will pick the convenient, cheaper option to get from point A to point B.

      There's no experience better than nailing a corner, feeling the car grip and booting it out of a turn.

      You should only do this in one place - on the track, where if you fuck up, it's not innocent bystanders that can get hurt.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Monday November 13, @04:47PM

      by DannyB (5839) on Monday November 13, @04:47PM (#596286)

      You seem to be mixing the petrol vs electric with self-driven / human-driven.

      You might have a superior experience in electric cars that have higher torque than a fossil fueled vehicle.

      You want to be able to drive your vehicle manually. Some people enjoy shooting firearms. Or smoking. Or listening to Justin Bieber. There are designated places where such activities can be safely conducted without endangering everyone else. As long as there is a market for it, safe spaces will be created where people can drive vehicles.

      Some people want to drive very fast. (manual driving, that is) There are tracks where that can be done.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:49PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:49PM (#596287)

      There's no experience better than nailing a corner, feeling the car grip and booting it out of a turn. Eventually we will have to move to electric cars, but so many of us love driving that we won't want an AI car.

      "Siri, I wish to experience farfegnugen. Please turn the next corner in an exciting manner."

      Siri: "Sorry, Dave, I cannot do that."

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday November 13, @08:42PM

        by DannyB (5839) on Monday November 13, @08:42PM (#596445)

        Alexa: If you want an exciting ride, go to Disney World.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by t-3 on Monday November 13, @12:12PM (10 children)

    by t-3 (4907) on Monday November 13, @12:12PM (#596137)

    Governments all around are pushing for backdoors - they will be legislated into these new driverless vehicles. If boats/ships and planes become completely driverless as well it's even worse. Someone who figures out how to access those backdoors can remotely shut down 99% of global economic activity by blocking a few canals (eg, Suez, panama, Sault st Marie, and I think one or two more major ones I'm forgetting), runways (probably a lot more targets, but the system as a whole is more easily panicked into paralysis), and highways (the hardest as things are currently, but I imagine a driverless world would be more centralized and therefore more vulnerable) or even just taking out the traffic coordinating systems and letting the system fail on its own.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday November 13, @12:34PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @12:34PM (#596148)

      Governments all around are pushing for backdoors - they will be legislated into these new driverless vehicles.

      Yea of little faith.
      Some more Republican govts, some more deregulation and security race to the bot... err, sorry, it's called "capitalistic efficiency" now... and your comrade hackers from Russia will have something to do over the long Siberian nights.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:29PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:29PM (#596162)

      Don't worry, you'll still be able to shit your pants and buy more guns.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @03:08PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @03:08PM (#596207)

        Translation - you're losing freedom hand-over-fist on daily basis, how are those guns working for yea?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:04PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:04PM (#596956)

          europeans: the original self righteous, know-it-all, yankees.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bradley13 on Monday November 13, @02:21PM (5 children)

      by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @02:21PM (#596190) Homepage Journal

      Forget the hacking - though that will undoubtedly be fun. How much rejoicing will there be in police departments, when they have this power?

      Need to stop a criminal? Why, just stop all traffic in the whole city, lock people in the cars, and start searching! Who cares that you've just inconvenienced a million people - it's for the children!

      Seriously, police departments already fail to do any sort of cost/benefit analysis. Just this week, my wife spent ages in a traffic jam, along with thousands of other cars. Why? Because the police randomly decided to shut down a fricking major highway, just to see what they could find. Result: 300 tickets for various exciting things like broken tail lights, and one kid with no license joy-riding in his dad's car. Tens of thousands of peoples time wasted, but the police got to issue a few $thousand in tickets. If they get backdoors into autonomous cars, it will be even easier to pull stupid stunts like that.

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:26PM (#596259)

        what city? not a great place for new businesses to move to, sadly

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by mhajicek on Monday November 13, @04:37PM

        by mhajicek (51) on Monday November 13, @04:37PM (#596278)

        The car will know the identity of it's occupants through some security measure or other. The government will edit an approved list of destinations for each occupant. If you're a known political dissident you'll be kept away from protests. The lower classes will be kept out of rich neighborhoods and away from anyone with power. If you have a warrant on you, are wanted for questioning, or sometimes just for a random search and a dose if intimidation, the car will bring you right to the police station.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:38PM (#596279)

        Q for bradley13 --what city is this near? I want to make sure and not visit anytime soon.

      • (Score: 2) by Spamalope on Monday November 13, @05:35PM (1 child)

        by Spamalope (5233) on Monday November 13, @05:35PM (#596328) Homepage

        I've been pulled over for 'I don't like the way you look' citations in the 30 years I've been driving. (Wish my dashcam was available back in the day)

        I can't believe speed trap cash is going to be given up easily. So, what will the ticket trap for a self driving car look like? Pop up speed limit signs/changing limit signs? Signs disguised in a way that humans see but that don't meet the car AI standards for a limit sign? Contradictory signs? Tickets for arbitrary 'unsafe for conditions' where the only arbiters are the agents of the municipality that wants the cash?

        There better be some sort of protection/cloud copying of data or cars will be impounded and returned only once the trip data was wiped. (as happens to photographers now - along with a resisting arrest and assaulting an officer charge - once the photo evidence to the contrary is destroyed naturally - I've seen it done in person in NOLA, + a night stick to the head for trying to document police hippy beatings) The end result may be making every road a toll road since it will be so easy. It'll probably start as a 'congestion zone' tax and spread.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:11AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:11AM (#596638)

          No, they'll ticket the non-autonomous cars that exceed the speed limit by 1 MPH, since the autonomous cars will refuse to. Even with 75% autonomous, there's still 25% non- , and they can hit that 25% 4 times as frequently. And it will make sense, too, since the insurance companies will have the stats to show how the 25% are the unsafe ones.

          It's a lot like smoking, in that regard.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @12:23PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @12:23PM (#596142)

    The vehicles, however, will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways.

    The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents.

    I think 15 to 20 years is quite optimistic for such drastic change, and accident statistics won't be the push for such change (there was a recent report in the Netherlands that most people weren't using all the technology present in current day cars
    that could prevent lots of common accidents).

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:31PM (#596164)

      Well, unfortunately "all the technology" amounts to "shit beeping" all the time. It got to the point in my previous car, I located the beep and put a nail through it - that fixed all the technology.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:25PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:25PM (#596160)

    This future scenario of "homogenized driverless modules", how will it help people such as tinkerers and junk scavengers?

    I currently have an old pickup car (tray, utility, or whatever else you call it) and most of the time it lives a sedentary life outside my house. 99% of the time I ride bicycles around my city, and for long distances I get on a train along with my bike.

    I love bicycles. I love public train networks. I am ambivalent towards automobiles, however occasionally they are indispensable especially for a junk scavenger such as me; that's why I own a pickup car.

    I am always spotting interesting junk here and there and sometimes I want to carry it home. Sometimes the junk is too huge or heavy to be carried on my bike. So I jump in my car very late at night when the roads are quiet and I go pick up the junk (if it is still there. :)

    How does this future of "homogenized driverless modules" mesh with lifestyles such as mine?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @01:35PM (#596165)

      You click on the "homogenous scary thingy" button and select a different "homogenous OMG scary" vehicle. It arrives. You do your shit. Life continues for another day.... but watch out, they're coming after you.

    • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Monday November 13, @02:26PM (1 child)

      by inertnet (4071) on Monday November 13, @02:26PM (#596195)

      And that is how it should be. You use your car the way you like and I'll use mine the way I like. No way am I going to order a random driverless box and sit in other peoples dirt. I'll always own my own cars.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:18AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:18AM (#596639)

        You'll surely be able to outright buy your own random driverless box, and sit in your own dirt. But it will likely cost more.

        A lot more, since your box won't be usable to others when you aren't using it. You'll probably settle for a "luxury box"--one that's guaranteed to meet certain requirements, even if you don't own it. That can be arranged for less than outright buying, but more than sitting in others dirt (Hint: this is what mass transit is today).

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by crafoo on Monday November 13, @02:02PM (3 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Monday November 13, @02:02PM (#596180)

    It's almost like all of these people live in cities and only very rarely venture outside of their metro bubbles. Quite a lot of people in the USA live off of dirt and gravel roads. Many of them are not mapped accurately. What do you do once you've reached your major hub town but now need to travel 50 miles through roadways and terrain an automated vehicle can't handle? There is no way I would cede control to an autonomous vehicle on a gravel road, known for washout and downed trees, with no guardrails and 20 meter+ drops on one side. You think that situation is uncommon? No, sorry, quite common from where I am from.

    Human controlled vehicles are here to stay. Maybe in 50 years we can have this conversation again.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RS3 on Monday November 13, @03:15PM (1 child)

      by RS3 (6367) on Monday November 13, @03:15PM (#596212)

      It's not an "A" or "B"- there will be incremental steps. Cars more and more have GPS, LTE, etc., and your back roads will be mapped. That map info will be aggregated and sold.

      If you're wealthy or "important", there will be human-less pods which will check road conditions ahead of the human occupied car.

      If you're not wealthy or "important", when your autonomous car fails to recognize the road washout and tumbles into a canyon, the automated system will learn and report that info to the central AI, preventing further tragedies. Your untimely demise won't be for naught, and in your final moments you'll learn the meaning of "collateral damage".

      Of course evildoers will crack into the system and intentionally send people over the cliff. It will be a horrible breach of security, and there will be congressional investigations, inquiries, execs. resignings, firings, stocks sold, etc. Then something else will pop up in the news and take media attention.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:22AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:22AM (#596640)

        Of course evildoers will crack into the system and intentionally send people over the cliff. It will be a horrible breach of security, and there will be congressional investigations, inquiries, execs. resignings, firings, stocks sold, etc. Then something else will pop up in the news and take media attention.

        100% Correct. You win the internets!

    • (Score: 2) by SacredSalt on Tuesday November 14, @05:15AM

      by SacredSalt (2772) on Tuesday November 14, @05:15AM (#596667)

      Nor would I cede that control to a computer on an ice patch and snow covered road in the hills/mountains under similar conditions. I might be willing to cede traction control (if it works well enough to get me up the hill) rather than the tricky feathering to do it, but I was a medical courier. Medical couriers have to run 24/7/365 all weather conditions, just the same as ambulances and police. I've seen far too much stuff that can get a human driver killed, and certainly would get a human killed with a computer driver programmed on "reasonable" expectations of performance that may or may not exist. Even just thinking of a few hairy spots where I hit a patch of ice and had to use every bit of off road skills to stay alive makes me not want to cede that to a computer. You can learn to drive in those conditions, and a professional will as best that they can; a computer is going to be programed with the assumptions it has on those conditions. While that may or may not be as good as the average driver in those conditions, its not something I want to the guinea pig to test.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @02:14PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @02:14PM (#596187)

    It is always risky to predict if/when/how a new technology will roll out.

    The man has a lot of domain knowledge in the area, so he's probably correct that something will happen in this area.
    But his what and how seem unlikely.

    The most glaring thing in his statement is that performance won't matter because everybody will be going the same speed.
    This seems unlikely for two reasons.
    First not all vehicles are safe at higher speeds, no matter who or what is driving them.
    Second, not all vehicles go fast up hills.

    What seems likely to me is that there will be a gradual change over time.
    Perhaps something like the HOV lanes we have now will be reserved for vehicles with specific capabilities.
    (Power, sensor, comm, and driver (human or auto) skill.)
    I drive a 50foot RV rig which depending on weather is unstable in the 50-80Mph range.
    I don't see this sort of thing going away or moving to the fast lane.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday November 13, @04:54PM

      by DannyB (5839) on Monday November 13, @04:54PM (#596292)

      It is always risky to predict if/when/how a new technology will roll out.

      Yes. That.

      A number of technologies, including the automobile itself, have changed society in ways that nobody expected.

      While I am quite sure self driving vehicles will profoundly change society, I think we are still unable to foresee some of the changes.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:54PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:54PM (#596293)

      > I drive a 50foot RV rig which depending on weather is unstable in the 50-80Mph range.

      Does it smooth out over 80 mph? Just asking...

      Possibly related? A motorhead friend insisted that every car had it's "happy speed" (or speed range) where it felt the best on the freeway. Often this was pretty fast, at least for the sports cars that he often owned.

      Since every car is a collection of masses connected by "springs" of various stiffness, my guess was that he found a speed that minimized the excitation of resonant frequencies: engine on engine mounts, suspension resonances (some high frequency), slight wheel imbalance (also, higher harmonics from tire non-uniformity), cabin boom (audible) from engine firing rate, etc, etc.

      With all the effort that goes into making cars quiet and smooth these days, it's harder to detect these resonances. They are there if you just pay attention and listen/feel for them, but in newer cars they are well damped or masked by other systems. An early attempt fixed a steering wheel shake at idle...by tuning the front bumper mount stiffness! Yes, this stuff can be complex!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @01:23AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @01:23AM (#596598)

        I used to own a Datsun that liked doing either 90 or 110 km/h. (Highway speed limit here is 100 and the cops have almost zero tolerance, they will ticket you at 102.) If you tried to sit on the limit it was like balancing on a rolling log, it would creep higher or lower and you had to constantly adjust the accelerator.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @02:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @02:17PM (#596188)

    The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command.

    That's not called being a driver, that's being a PASSENGER.

    And once you fix that mistake, we already have "modules" with no capability for the passengers to exercise command. It's called a BUS.

    I don't know about you, but around here the only purpose of a bus is to teach young people to want a car and not bother with public transport.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by starvingboy on Monday November 13, @03:13PM

    by starvingboy (6766) on Monday November 13, @03:13PM (#596211)

    I can't wait. It'd be nice to be able to read a book or watch a movie instead of pilot a car down another boring stretch of highway for hours on end. Whoo! Or, heck, just do an overnight drive, and not lose any sleep :D

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by srobert on Monday November 13, @03:26PM (1 child)

    by srobert (4803) on Monday November 13, @03:26PM (#596217)

    "The vehicles, however, will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways."

    My bet is that insurance costs will practically eliminate human drivers before legislation will. Leave the car under AI control and get a whopping 98% reduction in your insurance premium. Not many will opt to pay the cost of being a human driver.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @06:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @06:58PM (#596373)

      What insurance cost? Insurance is for the driver since the car is "auto" then GMC or Toyota pays all insurance.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by knarf on Monday November 13, @03:42PM

    by knarf (2042) on Monday November 13, @03:42PM (#596224)

    Cue Rush' "Red Barchetta" [1], based on the short story "A nice morning drive" by Richard S. Foster [2]:

    My uncle has a country place
    That no one knows about
    He says it used to be a farm
    Before the Motor Law
    And on Sundays I elude the eyes
    And hop the turbine freight
    To far outside the wire
    Where my white-haired uncle waits

    Jump to the ground
    As the Turbo slows to cross the borderline
    Run like the wind
    As excitement shivers up and down my spine
    Down in his barn
    My uncle preserved for me an old machine
    For fifty-odd years
    To keep it as new has been his dearest dream

    I strip away the old debris
    That hides a shining car
    A brilliant red Barchetta
    From a better, vanished time
    We fire up the willing engine
    Responding with a roar
    Tires spitting gravel
    I commit my weekly crime

    Wind in my hair
    Shifting and drifting
    Mechanical music
    Adrenaline surge

    Well-weathered leather
    Hot metal and oil
    The scented country air
    Sunlight on chrome
    The blur of the landscape
    Every nerve aware

    Suddenly ahead of me
    Across the mountainside
    A gleaming alloy air-car
    Shoots towards me, two lanes wide
    I spin around with shrieking tires
    To run the deadly race
    Go screaming through the valley
    As another joins the chase

    Drive like the wind
    Straining the limits of machine and man
    Laughing out loud with fear and hope
    I've got a desperate plan
    At the one-lane bridge
    I leave the giants stranded at the riverside
    Race back to the farm
    To dream with my uncle at the fireside

      [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Barchetta [wikipedia.org]

      [2] https://www.scribd.com/doc/33762958/A-Nice-Morning-Drive [scribd.com]

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:06PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @04:06PM (#596240)

    This guy is spelling out a model that lots of business's are investing in, that really has no hope of implementation. Particularly not in the U.S.

    The economic utility of vehicles extends way beyond passenger moving. If you look at all the respective utility provided by a car, vs. the cost of the various other transport systems, the market has ALREADY decided what it want's to look like. We know what the future looks like, because the Germans have already built it.

    While U.S. automakers have notoriously tried to dictate the shape of the American transportation market, (gas guzzling land yachts that sell cheap and cost a fortune to maintain in the post market, screwing consumers as much as possible) the market has bankrupted them every time they go down that road.

    So no. What this guy is actually saying is: "GM has a future in whiz bang autonomous vehicles, and the Fed will mandate that OUR products are the ones that consumers use!"

    But the truth is that GM needs to be broken up. They will not be competitive in emerging automotive markets. The way you know that, is that executives come out and say stupid shit like what this guy just said. Which is like the stupid shit they said before they bought out CARB board members and then went bankrupt. And like Chrysler said before deciding to "weather" the economy car market, and went bankrupt.

    When you core product is at the end of the extended part of its life cycle, you have to diversify and look for new products. GM will not survive if it throws all its eggs in the autonomous car market, because that market will still NEVER provide the utility that consumers are actually looking for in a consumer vehicle. Like towing the trailer they now have to live in because some ivy league pimp drove their company into the ground while flogging a line of bullshit.

    My guess is the board members are already selling off. And if the SEC isn't at looking at that, they need to be fired. Heads up GM employees, start looking for a new job. Because I don't think the fed is going to bail GM out twice in a decade.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @05:10PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @05:10PM (#596309)

      Nice rant but you need to work on the facts:

      > We know what the future looks like, because the Germans have already built it.

      Not sure what you mean here, but Germany doesn't have anything like our "flyover country" in the middle like the USA, so the needs of the country are quite different.

      If you mean "making reliable cars" that must be a joke--the German brands are very high maintenance after a few years in the USA. Better buy a long term warranty if you buy a used Merc/Beemer/Audi. Fairly simple reason, like Japan they have a very stringent used car inspection process that means there are very few older cars on the road in Germany...after a few years their used cars are exported to lower income countries and become a problem for someone else.

      > They will not be competitive in emerging automotive markets.

      GM is very competitive in China, right now.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @10:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @10:46PM (#597031)

        "Nice rant but you need to work on the facts:"

        How about this fact: Population density increases at a faster rate than transportation infrastructure. Which means that it doesn't matter whether you achieve higher unit density on the highways due to AI. The curve will never catch up. Which means that AI will NOT solve congestion problems.

        And this other one: Heavy rail is cheaper per pound moved that automobiles are, or will ever be. This is just basic physics. Steel on steel has less friction, and one long skinny thing has better aerodynamics than lots of squat fat things.

        And how about this one: Freight makes up a large percentage of consumer goods costs. If the U.S. is going to have a rebirth of domestic manufacturing, we MUST be competitive in heavy transport. Which is to say if that employee wants to keep his job, what he makes has to ship as cheaply as it does in other parts of the world. And that isn't currently so. But further, there have been economics studies commissioned that have said that public transportation is cheaper for the state to manage than highway.

        So from a time management perspective, a cost benefit perspective, and from a social welfare perspective, rail beats cars every time, in both the long and short haul. And this has been proven all over the EU.

        This is the part where you sock puppet: "Americans like their cars". Of course to prefer something you have to be aware of the attributes of the alternative. And few Americans have ever ridden on a good public transportation system. And then comes the argument where you tell me where AI is better because.... And then try and find any attribute of AI driven cars, that doesn't also apply to a well managed public transportation infrastructure.

        And all of that is before we even mention inflation and fuel prices.

        "GM is very competitive in China, right now."

        Buying American made cars are they? So what your saying is that when GM goes bankrupt in the states, there will still be a vestigial penis of a company flopping about on the other side of the globe. Awesome. Hope their executive staff goes there. In fact they should leave NOW, so that somebody else can come in a figure out how to use GM's PPE in a way that doesn't require it all being sent to auction.

        Sorry, but I lost all respect for GM when their union didn't string up their executives by the balls during the bankruptcy. Hell I was ready to send the union a case of beer and some hookers, and maybe even donate to their legal defense fund. But after they bent over and took it in the ass, it was clear there wasn't any need.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, @02:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, @02:43AM (#597113)

      Bob Lutz hasn't been an executive at GM for several years now.

      I would say GM has taken another direction. They've put their money on trucks, SUVs, and more recently a bunch of utterly generic crossovers. Sure, they have things like the Volt and Bolt, but their bread and butter is still trucks. The next time gas goes over $4/gallon, we'll be bailing out their failed asses, again.

      What GM needs to do is kill off another couple of useless divisions like Buick and GMC* and start focusing on cars that are well designed and fuel efficient and that people would want to buy, instead of yet another stupid CUV.

      *Except perhaps the large commercial vehicles that don't have an almost identical Chevy equivalent.

  • (Score: 1) by WillR on Monday November 13, @05:24PM (2 children)

    by WillR (2012) on Monday November 13, @05:24PM (#596322)
    Mate, nobody younger than you even experienced "the good times" in the first place. They ended with the oil crisis, and by the time you guys dragged engine technology forward to a point where we could have horsepower (and speed limits above 55) again in the 90s, there were too damn many people on the road to enjoy driving.
    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday November 13, @07:25PM

      by HiThere (866) on Monday November 13, @07:25PM (#596390)

      That happened before the oil crisis, depending on where you lived. In fact, depending on where you lived the "open road" was gone by the early 1950's. Even when it existed it was always the "property" of a small minority. In the late 1950's I lived in a rural setting, and there we generally had an "open road"...but not always even then. (I couldn't legally drive, but that didn't keep me from observing.) Our current ideas of the "open road" are largely the creation of Madison Avenue.

      Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman was about the time of the Civil War, say the 1860's plus or minus a bit, but what he was talking about was travel by foot, and at that time travel and travail were the same word. And again, this "open road" was the property of a small minority, mainly vagrants, though I believe there were still some "mountain men" and other hunters.

      --
      Put not your faith in princes.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:56AM (#596631)

      I'm old enough to remember "No Speed Limit" signs in California. I remember paying $0.35 per gallon for gas and thinking it was steep. I remember hearing my parents talk about the long Sunday drives they used to take for entertainment and how I thought that was such a stupid idea. Driving for entertainment on a perfectly good Sunday afternoon? Even back in the 60s and 70s driving had become a bit of a chore for a lot of us. Personally, I look forward to the day I get get in a vehicle and order a destination then sit back and relax. If that service existed I'd donate my car to charity right now.

      I am skeptical though. Haven't there been a few reports in the past month or two about how the so-called autonomous vehicles are a lot more limited than we're being led to believe?

  • (Score: 1) by redbear762 on Monday November 13, @06:16PM (1 child)

    by redbear762 (5576) on Monday November 13, @06:16PM (#596349)

    'Little Red Barchetta' come to mind...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @09:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @09:51PM (#596491)

      Red Barchetta or Little Red Corvette??

      Or did Prince cover Rush songs?

(1) 2