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Driverless Car Assistance

Remotely Supervised autonomous cars
  [vote for,

Self-driving cars available to the consumer are believed to be about ten years away, largely because they have to work safely even when they are not maintained to the high standards of current prototypes. They will (like current prototypes) require a competent driver to be available behind the wheel.

Fully autonomous cars (such as "driverless taxis") are even further away. Even when an autonomous car can navigate 99.9% of the roads, that's not good enough - who wants to be in a driverless taxi when it says "Sorry, I don't know how to respond to this situation, I will stop here"? Getting that last 0.1% of situations taken care of will be difficult.

One solution, potentially, is to have an autonomous car that can communicate with a human driver (specifically, a monitoring centre with multiple people) on the rare occasions that it needs to. The car stops when it encounters a situation it doesn't understand and, within a few seconds, a human can intervene via the car's onboard cameras and sensors. Dead sheep in the road? No problem, the human can decide that it can safely edge up onto the pavement to get past it, and that it doesn't matter if it runs over the tail. Graffitied road sign that the car can't make sense of? The human can assess the situation.

To be clear, this isn't about safety per se - obviously that has to be handled autonomously and quickly. It's about remotely helping driverless cars to deal with the rare situations they don't understand. Based on the current performance of "supervised" autonomous cars, intervention would be needed only very rarely and you might only need one human per thousand driverless cars.

MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 10 2019

How this would work https://xkcd.com/1897/
[hippo, Nov 11 2019]

The Ig Nobel Prize goes to... https://homeandfurn...-for-study.html?m=1
The rheology of cats. Solid? Liquid? Shapeshifter? Non-Newtonian fluid? [RayfordSteele, Nov 13 2019]

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       // helping driverless cars to deal with the rare situations they don't understand. //   

       <Driverless Car>   

       "You don't need to see his identification ...."   

       <Driverless Car/>
8th of 7, Nov 10 2019

       [MB] -- this is in fact going to be one of the results of 5G penetration. The publicized case often is "robotic surgery", but remote truck driving (perhaps with autonomous highway driving" is actually a killer app for 5G, as an example. Or for instance someone mowing your lawn remotely without killing the neighbor's dog.
theircompetitor, Nov 11 2019

       What about mowing your own lawn remotely while "accidentally" killing the neighbour's cat ... ?
8th of 7, Nov 11 2019

       Regarding 5G in the UK, there was recently an outcry over the decision to allow Chinese company Huawei provide much of the infrastructure. Such a move would open the door to cyber espionage and state-sponsored hacking on an immense scale. Personally, I'm all in favour of it - if we can use the Huawei network to hack into China, it can only be to the good.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 11 2019

       // cyber espionage and state-sponsored hacking on an immense scale //   

       ... like the UK and US governments do already ? Sure, go ahead ...
8th of 7, Nov 11 2019

       yes, the Huawei questions are a major factor in the US as well.
theircompetitor, Nov 11 2019

       yes, they've been telling us we'll die from cellphones, and then funny enough we use them all the time, but actually never talk on them with the phone to the ear.   

       Doubtful on anything that would outweigh the benefit, though rooting for Musk and his Starlink for universal satellite connectivity (despite the protestations of astronomers)
theircompetitor, Nov 11 2019

       How ? They said George Stephenson was mad. They said Brunel was mad. They said the Wright brothers were mad. They said Werner von Braun was mad. They said Howard Hughes was mad*. They said Frank Whittle was mad.   

       But in retrospect, some of their ideas were not mad at all, but visionary - and ultimately successful ...   

       *Well, yes, actually Howard Hughes was mad; but the Spruce Goose did actually fly, albeit briefly.
8th of 7, Nov 11 2019

       A great idea. I recently drove through a wildly confusing construction zone - cones all over, ignore the lines, drive on the wrong side of the road when the man in flouro waves. I wondered if any self- driving car could EVER manage that situation. This is a viable solution.   

       Obligatory pun: Need to get past dead sheep? You need a Dodge Ram.
AusCan531, Nov 11 2019

       ....... @ ...... @ ...... @ ......   

       <Wind whistles, bell clangs in abandoned adobe church/>   

       ...... @ ......@ ......@ ......
8th of 7, Nov 11 2019

       //They said Brunel was mad.// Technically speaking, he was. He had bipolar, and also Tourette's (not identified as such, at that time). He also had only four toes on each foot (congenitally, not as a result of dropping a ship on his feet or anything).
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 11 2019

       Mad maybe, but only mad north-north-west. When the wind was southerly, he knew a hawk from a handsaw*. Howard Hughes, despite being madder than a box of frogs, was also very rich, and therefore could not be officially classified as "mad", only "eccentric ".   

       * Academics disagree about the exact origin and meaning of this, but a "hawk" is a flat board with a handle, used by plasterers along with a board or steel for their trade of plastering walls, and a handsaw is, well, a saw worked by a hand (even in Tudor times there were water-powered sawmills). So Hamlet could tell the difference between two commonplace craftsman's implements (given the right weather conditions ), an analogy that would have made perfect sense to his audience, unlike his "jokes" which even then had the groundlings giggling in nervous incomprehension.
8th of 7, Nov 11 2019

       Hard to kill a cat by running over it when they are technically classified as liquid. Which when they're sleeping, they are. I think you have to dilute them in a hot liquid like on Terminator 2. See link.
RayfordSteele, Nov 13 2019


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