Who is responsible for autonomous driving — the driver, the vehicle owner, or the manufacturer? Since robots cannot act like humans or be treated like them, we must clarify how to assign our criteria from criminal law, civil law and common morals to the new technologies,” said Prof. Dr. Julian Nida-Rümelin, Professor of Philosophy at LMU Munich.Nida-Rümelin, an expert in the field of technology ethics, is one of over 100 experts attempting to address these questions at a special symposium, “Autonomous Driving, Law and Ethics”, this week in Germany, organized by Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler.RELATED STORIESToyota commits US$50M to automated driving researchReady for an Apple car? Report says company moving forward with projectGoogle names auto veteran to lead self-driving car development pushTheoretically, autonomous cars could cut road collision deaths, congestion, pollution and driver stress levels overnight while simultaneously boosting many people’s quality of life. Yet until there is a consensus regarding not just liability but, for instance, how a self driving car is programmed to act in an unexpected traffic situation or how it collects and potentially uses personal data, progress towards reality will be slow.”The safety of every road user is our top priority for automated driving as well. Just as important as technical developments is that our customers have legal certainty and security when it comes to ethical and data protection matters,” said Dr. Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs.What isn’t open for discussion at the symposium, however, is the technological feasibility of self driving cars; everyone is in agreement that it is simply a question of when, rather than if. Dr Hohmann-Dennhardt is convinced that the advantages offered are so great that autonomous cars will become a fixture of future mobility, a sentiment shared by every major carmaker at this month’s Frankfurt motor show.
Elon Musk believes Tesla cars will be fully autonomous by 2018, and have an all-electric range of more than 1,000km, double what it is today. He also predicts that by 2035 all new cars will not require a driver.A renowned futurist and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Musk predicts that the range of the Model S can be increased by between 5% and 10% every year, as battery technology improves. He also claims the AutoPilot self-driving feature currently being beta tested by Tesla will be rolled-out to all compatible Model S vehicles by the end of October. AutoPilot provides automatic steering, accelerating and braking on motorways, but only in countries which have updated their road laws to allow it.In an interview on Dutch television, Musk said: “My guess is that we could probably break 1,000km within a year or two. I’d say 2017 for sure…in 2020 I guess we could probably make a car go 1,200km. I think maybe 5-10% a year [improvement], something like that.” A Model S was recently driven 452 miles (723km) on a single charge, but drove at an average speed of just 24mph. Musk says his predictions account for driving at a more realistic speed.We will have full autonomy in three years
The path to fully autonomous vehicles will be long and littered with iterations, so firstly we’ll see features trickling through for the most part, but there’s also some very exciting things happening.Self-park is already a feature on a lot of cars out there – it’s filtered down to the likes of a Ford Kuga for example – and this is indicative of how you’ll see things coming through the pipeline that will slowly get consumers used to the idea that their cars will do a lot more of the actual maneuvering in the years to come than they do now.You can get lane assist that will make a noise should you start to drift into another lane, road sign recognition, auto-braking if you get too close to another vehicle, and so on. All of these things are preparing us as consumers, and paving the way to the future.
Suppliers will need to develop new hardware and software capabilities if they want to participate in the emergent autonomous car market, according to a new report from just-auto set to be published next month.The report’s author Professor Peter Wells, Director at the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, argues that new entrants such as Google and Apple will pose a credible threat to established auto maker. He also expects that the key issue not be technology but rather how autonomous cars will be integrated into society.Speaking about the report, Autonomous Vehicles – Divergent Futures, just-auto editor Dave Leggett said:”These are exciting times in the automotive business. Over the next ten years vehicle manufacturers and suppliers alike will have to consider the changes that are coming and adapt.”Those companies who fail to adapt to the rapidly changing technological and business landscapes will eventually disappear,” Leggett added.Professor Wells outlines three potential visions for the future of the car in the report; cocoon car; commodity car; and eternal car, and he details the implications of each vision for OEMs and automotive suppliers.The report also covers the possible impact of urbanisation on autonomous vehicle takeup, and examples of collaboration between automotive and technology companies.
Who is responsible for autonomous driving – the driver, the vehicle owner, or the manufacturer? Since robots cannot act like humans or be treated like them, we must clarify how to assign our criteria from criminal law, civil law and common morals to the new technologies.” Julian Nida-Rümelin leads research projects in the field of technology ethics and is a member of the Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility at Daimler AG.Autonomous driving requires a legal and ethical frameworkAutomation not only makes driving cars more convenient, but also has the potential for lower emissions and greater safety. It reduces stress on drivers during monotonous trips in traffic jams or on the highway. At the same time, they would still be able to take the wheel for routes that are more fun to drive. The topics discussed at the symposium include liability, data protection and ethical questions related to unexpected traffic situations.
Once researchers fired up their drones and computers, the quadcopters went about their work on their own. The flight area is equipped with a motion capture system that constantly collects information about each drone’s position and attitude. That information is then fed into computers and algorithms parse the data to wirelessly send commands back to the drones. The drones weave in and out, up and down, and left to right in specific patterns to build braids and links in a rope bridge.When they finished, the end product was a rope bridge that spanned a 24-foot gap and could withstand a 5,200-pound load.
Autonomous features, such as active park assist, are rapidly being introduced into new vehicles, yet American drivers are hesitant to let go of the wheel,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “While the vast majority of Americans say they would not trust self-parking technology, AAA found these features performed well in tests and warrant consideration of new car buyers.”In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA tested self-parking features on five vehicles: a 2015 Lincoln MKC, a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic, a 2015 Cadillac CTS-V Sport, a 2015 BMW i3 and a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited.Compared to drivers who manually parallel parked with the aid of a standard back-up camera, AAA found:Drivers using self-parking systems experienced 81 percent fewer curb strikesSelf-parking systems parallel parked the vehicle using 47 percent fewer maneuvers, with some systems completing the task in as little as one maneuverSelf-parking systems were able to park a vehicle 10 percent fasterSelf-parking systems were able to park 37 percent closer to the curb