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Autonomous Vehicles (On-Road Testing and Impacts)

SaugeenJunction

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Hey all - I made this thread in response to an article that I came across in the Toronto Start today:

Uber's self-driving cars hit Toronto streets — in manual mode

uber-self-drive.jpg.size.custom.crop.1086x724.jpg


I understand that this tech isn't specifically public transportation or infrastructure, however Ontario has green-light 7 companies to start testing autonomous vehicles (Uber, the University of Waterloo, the Erwin Hymer Group, QNX, Continental, X-matik Inc., and Magna).

Most likely, a vast majority of these tests will take place in cities like Toronto. This thread could be a valuable place to discuss the impacts that this disruptive technology could have on Toronto, and how Toronto-specific(ish) obstacles like streetcars and the snow could be overcome. Also, as companies like Uber move to real autonomous testing later this year, we can track their progress here.
 

TheTigerMaster

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And "real" autonomous driving (I assume you mean Level 5) is a long ways away.

Level 5 autonomy is autonomy in all situations, including dirt roads and other very poor ground conditions. For nearly all of the driving public, the absence of Level 5 autonomy is irrelevant. Level 4 autonomy will be able to handle paved roadways, just about anywhere, and even some unpaved roads. There aren't very many people in Toronto regularly driving on remote and unpaved roads.
 

SaugeenJunction

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amnesiajune

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Level 5 autonomy is autonomy in all situations, including dirt roads and other very poor ground conditions. For nearly all of the driving public, the absence of Level 5 autonomy is irrelevant. Level 4 autonomy will be able to handle paved roadways, just about anywhere, and even some unpaved roads. There aren't very many people in Toronto regularly driving on remote and unpaved roads.

The big problem for Level 4 autonomy in Toronto is weather. Those cars can't necessarily handle a torrential downpour or slippery winter roads. Level 4 is going to be great for reducing accidents, but the "driverless cars" that people obsess over aren't coming to downtown streets for decades.
 

kEiThZ

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The big problem for Level 4 autonomy in Toronto is weather. Those cars can't necessarily handle a torrential downpour or slippery winter roads. Level 4 is going to be great for reducing accidents, but the "driverless cars" that people obsess over aren't coming to downtown streets for decades.

Exactly. I'm doing grad school on a military exchange. We have guys doing thesis work on drone swarms. AI has advanced a ton. Something everybody talks about. But nobody talks about what it would take for regulators to sign off on completely self-driving cars. And that will take a lot. You're right that we're decades away.

At some point they have to start building infrastructure to support that level of automation. Then government has to start mandating automation on all cars. And from that point on we have to have the existing car fleet switch. If all this happens by 2040, I'll be surprised.
 

crs1026

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There aren't very many people in Toronto regularly driving on remote and unpaved roads.

I would challenge this assumption. The next street over from mine is unpaved thanks to road and sewer work, has been for weeks. Anyone who works on a construction may find themselves figuring out a path through mud just to park on the construction site every day. Many central parking lots are nothing but dirt or gravel. And the number of city dwellers who use their cars to get out of the city to go kayaking, cycling, hiking, farmers' markets, campgrounds, cottages..... the unpaved and unmarked road may only be that last hundred meters of a 100km drive, but automation will have to figure out how to keep the car out of the creek for that last hundred yards. And when I go see a Ticats game, everyone wants me to park on their lawn.

- Paul
 

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