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posted by martyb on Thursday February 04, @02:24AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the look-ma-no-hands dept.

A short article and video describes the latest self driving pilot program, using a minivan with what appears to be a very full suite of multiple cameras/lidars/radars all around the vehicle:
https://www.automotivetestingtechnologyinternational.com/news/vehicle-development/autox-opens-fully-driverless-robotaxi-pilot-to-chinese-public.html

The video (with charming actress) does its best to defuse any concerns about driverless cars. The ride itself presents several slightly-challenging driving situations, but all at low speeds. At one point the car moves onto a larger road...where the speed limit is 40kph (25mph) and a few other cars pass the robotaxi. It's also worth noting that the roads were all pretty new (no potholes), no attempt to go into an older city center, and nearly empty. There were some large commercial vehicles in awkward locations--but it wasn't at rush hour.

No hint about how much tailoring/special-casing was done to the local maps and driving algorithms for this pilot. Your AC submitter suggests that it might not be very easy to re-train this system for another city?


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @02:44AM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @02:44AM (#1108775)

    What do they care if a few toddlers and moms get run over? They got more than billions of them, as long as it's not "important" party cadres.

    CCP China is basically like Borgs. That's why they are scary.

    • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Thursday February 04, @03:10AM (5 children)

      by ikanreed (3164) on Thursday February 04, @03:10AM (#1108788) Journal

      It's a little circular though, isn't it? The star trek writers came up with the borg basically as a response to saying "well we've dreamed up this techno-communist utopian society for our setting, what if we made a more extreme representation of techno-communism as a villain, by focusing on its flaws?" Pointing at a techno-communist society and noting similarities isn't groundbreaking.

      I mean it's a bit like saying "wow this animal farm sounds just like Stalin's Russia". The author's on record saying that was the basis for the book.

      Also do consider the status quo in china for traffic fatalities really bad. #1 in the world for 30 years running by total traffic deaths. Admittedly that has a lot do with having a high population, but at the very least India ought to be giving them a run for their money.

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @09:32AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @09:32AM (#1108855)

        In traffic news today in Mumbai, a motorcycle was involved in a serious single vehicle accident. There were three fatalities and 8 serious injuries. 7 passengers escaped unharmed.

        • (Score: 2) by legont on Thursday February 04, @11:05PM (1 child)

          by legont (4179) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04, @11:05PM (#1109094)

          3+8+7=18 people riding and/or killed by a single motorcycle? Wow! Got to be a record even for India.

          --
          "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @03:07PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @03:07PM (#1108918)

        Per capita, traffic fatalities in China are on par with the US:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate [wikipedia.org]

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by ikanreed on Thursday February 04, @03:19PM

          by ikanreed (3164) on Thursday February 04, @03:19PM (#1108924) Journal

          Per capita, there's a LOT fewer cars in China.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday February 04, @10:44PM

      Yes, you're so right, that's precisely why they abolished the One-child policy in 2015/2016.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday February 04, @02:49AM (4 children)

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday February 04, @02:49AM (#1108778) Homepage

    Well no shit, of course you can develop a decent self-driving vehicle when you have a bunch of ugly bulbous sensor pods all around the exterior.

    The sensor positioning is almost Mexican-like in its design, the front-center pod especially almost feels zip-tied and duct-taped on. Though I didn't stick around the video long enough to see how well it actually drove, I just wanted a laugh knowing it was going to be ugly as fuck and I sure wasn't disappointed. It could be the most perfect self-driving vehicle ever and people might ride in it, but fucking nobody will buy anything like it for their own personal use.

    Sensor aesthetics -- the real challenge with self-driving vehicles -- remain closely guarded secrets within the industry.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @03:00AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @03:00AM (#1108783)

      But you will probably agree that the actress was well "styled", almost enough to compensate for the minivan with sensors stuck all over?

      • (Score: 0) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday February 04, @03:18AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday February 04, @03:18AM (#1108792) Homepage

        Unnatural hair color, eyelid (and God knows what else) surgery, face ironclad with caked layers of makeup, probably Botox'd all to hell.

        Rather have a less-attractive but real Chink than somebody who will look like a Bogandoff brother by age 40. But my Asian buddies tell me that Chink women are bitchmost amongst the Asians due to the positive female/male ratio of China amidst their rising cosmopolitanism. I'm no expert of slant-eyed women anyway.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by multistrand on Thursday February 04, @08:27AM (1 child)

      by multistrand (13836) on Thursday February 04, @08:27AM (#1108847)

      "... ugly bulbous sensor pods ..."

      Yeah because every time I take a taxi I'm super concerned about the car's style.

      "... It could be the most perfect self-driving vehicle ever and people might ride in it, but fucking nobody will buy anything like it for their own personal use. ..."

      Nobody? The car could look like a rolling turd but if it safely got me where I want to go, I'd buy it. I'd rather spend my travel time not doing the driving and if the aesthetics of such a vehicle must take a backseat to that function, so be it.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday February 04, @04:20PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04, @04:20PM (#1108947) Journal

        I agree. A car is for transportation, not fashion. Especially a vehicle you hire but do not own. But I must point something out . . .

        If you value function over aesthetics, you'll never be able to get a job at Apple. I hear Apple will soon begin making cars. And computers.

        The classic Apple (pre return of Jobs) was concerned about function more than fashion. And function includes making it easy and efficient to use. Pretty to the eye is not the same thing.

        --
        I need to spend more effort optimizing performance within while(false) loops.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @04:53AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @04:53AM (#1108810)

    [Quaid wakes up in a Johnnycab]

    Douglas Quaid: Where am I?

    Johnnycab: You're in a Johnnycab.

    Douglas Quaid: I mean, what am I doing here?

    Johnnycab: I'm sorry. Would you please rephrase the question?

    Douglas Quaid: How did I get in this taxi?

    Johnnycab: The door opened. You got in.

    [Johnnycab rolls his eyes]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @04:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @04:54PM (#1108958)

      Different AC here. ^^^ came here to say this!

      :)

      Leaving satisfied, knowing someone else "gets it."

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @02:22PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, @02:22PM (#1108889)

    It knows how to avoid pedestrians because they all look the same.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday February 04, @04:21PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04, @04:21PM (#1108948) Journal

      If the pedestrians avoid getting struck by the self driving vehicles, it turns into an even easier AI problem.

      --
      I need to spend more effort optimizing performance within while(false) loops.
  • (Score: 2) by legont on Thursday February 04, @11:07PM (1 child)

    by legont (4179) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04, @11:07PM (#1109095)

    Can one drink and use while "driving" that thing?

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, @04:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, @04:49AM (#1109193)

      No idea what local laws are in that part of China, might be perfectly legal to use a variety of intoxicants. However, everything you do inside that robo taxi is going to be recorded on video and who knows who looks at it (and/or where they post it).

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