Vehicle: Car: Recreational Driving
Stunt-by-wire   (+2)  [vote for, against]
The future of driving suddenly looks much more dramatic

One of today's car toys is adaptive cruise control; this is a relatively unsophisticated way to let the car's electronics steer, accelerate and brake the car. At the moment it is limited to lane keeping and not hitting the car in front, but the technology will certainly develop.

With advances in telemetry, satnav etc, a car that knows where it is, where it is going and what it is capable of (how powerful its engine is, how much weight it is carrying etc) will come to exist.

When it does, the road system should be designed to accommodate it.

Here's the idea: Why do you need a bridge if your car's powerful enough to jump the gap? Simply provide take off and landing ramps and leave it to the car's computer to decide if it is capable of making the jump or needs to find an alternative route.
-- david_scothern, Jun 08 2004

Why? Insurance, I suppose.
-- yabba do yabba dabba, Jun 08 2004

Don't sully my utopian future by trying to sell insurance in it...
-- david_scothern, Jun 08 2004

I'll sully your utopian future by letting you know it's not utopian.
-- yabba do yabba dabba, Jun 08 2004

but it'd be fun...
-- david_scothern, Jun 08 2004

That it would. :}
-- yabba do yabba dabba, Jun 08 2004

"An initially small wreck on the East-bound landing ramp of I-94 quickly turned into a 348 car pile-up today as car after car continued to attempt the jump with no room for a safe landing. Survivors of the crash say that from their view in the moments before take-off, they were completely unaware of what awaited them on the other side of the river..."
-- luecke, Jun 08 2004

This is why I said you'd need all the electronics - with a decent GPS-type setup, your car would be aware of the positions of other cars and would not try the jump. Equally, cars that had already crashed could make the fact known. Try it now and it'd be a recipe for disaster, but given time and development it could be fun without wrecking your car...
-- david_scothern, Jun 08 2004

Provided, of course, that in time you buy a new car with these developments.
-- yabba do yabba dabba, Jun 08 2004

Well no... I'm proposing that the jumps be added to the normal road network, offering shortcuts to those with cars capable of taking them. So you can still drive your beloved Austin Seven or Lincoln Continental. Guess the problem comes when someone takes their beloved pre-electronics Dodge Charger over it, and misjudges it...
-- david_scothern, Jun 08 2004

GPS is slow to update. Depending on it for collision avoidance is folly.
-- bristolz, Jun 08 2004

Auto-controlled cars may be cool - for safety reasons, traffic control and jam-reduction - but auto-controlled cars for the sole purpose of safely 'doing jumps' may be stretching the bounds of the idea.

If you want to do jumps, get a job being a stunt driver, or move to Hazard County.
-- zen_tom, Jul 12 2004

Great idea, no need for stop lights any longer just have one road's traffic jump over the crossing road's traffic.

Why have it all elctronically controled? Just have minimum/maximum speed signs on the run-up lane to the jump.

Obviously you could still have stop lights for those to chicken to put their foot to the floor.
-- scubadooper, Jul 12 2004

[Zen_tom] not for the sole purpose of doing jumps; that'd be an expensive way to cut five minutes off your journey. But if automatic control systems already existed in cars, as it is reasonable to expect they eventually will, extending them to permit this wouldn't be difficult.

(For the record, this idea didn't come of too much Dukes of Hazzard... I'm sad to say I've never seen an episode in my life)
-- david_scothern, Jul 13 2004

The thing is that while I suppose the car would be potentially able to judge whether it was capable of making a jump, it's level of certainty or correctness is not going to be any better than that of your average human driver.

Since we don't already take advantage of jump-bridges, or ramped-crossroads in our road-network, I don't see how the application of a computer (albeit a very clever one) is going to radically change the way we layout our road-system.
-- zen_tom, Jul 17 2004

Its level of certainty would be massively better than a human, because it would have mathematical data and the ability to process it. The average human driver is a little weak on ballistics calculations requiring everything from car engine power, vehicle weight, distance, angle, speed, air resistance... but feed that data into a well-programmed box and it would return you a speed, which a drive-by-wire system could then match. That has to be an improvement - jumping isn't just a question of getting the car further than a set distance, it's also about landing near the top of the ramp with almost no vertical speed. Otherwise you wreck your suspension.
-- david_scothern, Jul 19 2004

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