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Autonomous driving LEAF, and the implications for BEVs.

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:26 am
by edatoakrun
The article below summarizes some of the of the semi-Autonomous feature available in vehicles today, and their safety benefits.
Cars' safety systems are getting a whole lot smarter

Automated safety systems are starting to have a real effect in protecting passengers and limiting accident damage, regulators and insurance industry experts say.


By Jerry Hirsch
September 21, 2013, 5:00 a.m.

The big, black Mercedes-Benz is going 70 on the 101 Freeway making minor steering adjustments to hold the lane. I have taken my hands off the steering wheel. A computer is driving.

After maybe 10 seconds, the steering wheel icon on the dash turns bright red, as if to say: Dude! Hands back at 10 and 2.

Forget about Google Inc.'s self-driving Toyota Prius, jammed with technology only a legion of Caltech professors can understand. Autonomous driving is already here on cars in dealer showrooms. It's packed into the safety features on this $100,000 flagship S550 Mercedes sedan; on the new Acura MDX sport utility that sells for half that price; and on less expensive vehicles such as the Ford Fusion, which can parallel park itself.

We're still a long way from sending unmanned cars to the grocery store, but automated safety systems are starting to have a real effect now in protecting passengers and limiting accident damage, according to regulators and insurance industry experts.

Such systems can alert drivers to an impending rear-end collision — and slam the brakes. They can stop a vehicle from hitting a post as it backs up. They can track the speed of the car in front, adjusting to maintain a safe distance. Some warn a driver when a car is about to wander out of its lane, and steer it back on course. Another system automatically adjusts headlamps to better illuminate turns.

"We think these systems can make a huge difference in saving lives," said David Strickland, chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Forward collision avoidance systems, which automatically hit the brakes and tighten seat belts, have reduced property damage claims on some Mercedes and Acura models 14%, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, an Arlington, Va., organization that analyzes crash data for the insurance industry. More important, they lowered bodily injury claims — in which the driver of one car is accused of hurting someone in another — by 16% in the Mercedes and 15% in the Acura.

A system that comes on the Volvo XC60 sport utility vehicle has even better results, reducing the types of crashes that occur in city traffic and parking lots. It slashed injury claims more than 33%.

"That is a huge number," said Matt Moore, a vice president at the institute.

Front-to-rear crashes are the most frequent on the road, so the systems could make a huge dent in injury totals, Moore said. Eventually, that should make insurance rates lower for cars with these safety features...
http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/l ... 6836.story" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Autonomous driving LEAF, and the implications for BEVs.

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:18 pm
by GRA
For those who are interested, I recommend "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)":

http://www.amazon.com/Traffic-Drive-Wha ... 0307277194" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Autonomous driving LEAF, and the implications for BEVs.

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:40 pm
by AndyH
One of the nerds/scifi geeks inside me loves the idea of auto-drive cars. The other one is concerned about this:


Re: Nissan to introduce autonomous driving LEAF prototype.

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:36 am
by timhebb
mwalsh wrote:...the autonomous stuff is of little interest to me. I'm a driver, in every sense of the word. Of course, if it keeps all the idiots who can't drive out of my way, then perhaps the technology has validity after all! I just don't want it in any of my cars.
I can sympathize with the "drivers" who resent and resist the wave of autonomous vehicles coming our way.

But there will eventually come a time when driverless cars infiltrate prestigious competitive racing events - Indy, Formula 1 - and prove their superiority in a way that deflates the romantic notions attached to being a human pilot, and tweaks the ego invested in it. The same way IBM's Big Blue rather painfully adjusted the attitudes of those of us who clung to the belief that a machine could never - should never - defeat a chess grandmaster.

We got over it, as human drivers will, and can still enjoy playing chess for its own sake. Driving enthusiasts willing to pay the price will still enjoy that pastime too, but will be disabused of any romantic notions of superiority to the machines that we created to replace us.

Re: Nissan to introduce autonomous driving LEAF prototype.

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:52 am
by PaulScott
timhebb wrote:
mwalsh wrote:...
We got over it, as human drivers will, and can still enjoy playing chess for its own sake. Driving enthusiasts willing to pay the price will still enjoy that pastime too, but will be disabused of any romantic notions of superiority to the machines that we created to replace us.
Well said.

It should further be noted that those of us who grew up driving are the only ones with any romantic notions of driving. Many young people these days don't even want cars, much less want to spend time driving them. As we old farts die off, the next generation will gladly sign on to robot cars since they will be cheaper, safer and will allow more productivity.

Re: Nissan to introduce autonomous driving LEAF prototype.

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:37 am
by edatoakrun
PaulScott wrote: ...It should further be noted that those of us who grew up driving are the only ones with any romantic notions of driving. Many young people these days don't even want cars, much less want to spend time driving them. As we old farts die off, the next generation will gladly sign on to robot cars since they will be cheaper, safer and will allow more productivity.
The reality (for most people, most of the time) today, driving is an experience ranging from miserable to boring, largely restricted either to suburban/urban traffic, or to freeways engineered to be (relatively) safe, even when driven on by incompetent and/or inattentive human drivers.

But does anyone here truly enjoy the monotonous hours of freeway travel, on roads designed to reduce the risks, but also take most of the fun, out of the road miles?

Now that I avoid freeways whenever possible (to save time in my LEAF, up here in DC-less-land) I realize I always used to drive so damn fast on freeways, largely because driving on them is such a depressing experience.

I am old enough to remember when families went for a drive because it was enjoyable.

And I moved out of the San Francisco bay area, ~20 years ago, in part to be able to continue my hobby of driving.

Would many under ~50 years of age today, even understand those concepts?

The good news is that outside the overpopulated regions where most "drivers" live, many of the pre-freeway roads are still there, and often free of traffic (but still very dangerous per mile driven, BTW) and I now enjoy them in my LEAF.

But I also realize how my present attitudes towards driving are eccentricities, not representative of the larger population.

Re: Autonomous driving LEAF, and the implications for BEVs.

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:24 am
by edatoakrun

Nissan LEAF With Driver Assist System Gets License Plate For Public Road Testing In Japan
(w/video)

Nissan announced that President and CEO Carlos Ghosn today took delivery of Japan’s first license plate for a vehicle equipped with “highly advanced driver assist systems.”

This vehicle will be tested on Japanese roads, marking a first for this type of technology to be used on roads in Japan.

The Japanese manufacturer argues that real-world testing is critical to develop Autonomous Drive before 2020. The license plate includes the number 2020, which reflects “Nissan’s goal to be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by the year 2020“.

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn stated:


“This is an ordinary license plate for an extraordinary vehicle. A month ago we revealed to the world our 2020 Autonomous Drive target. Road testing of the underlying technologies is critical to maintaining our leadership position and we are grateful to the Government of Japan for its support.”

Nissan Executive Vice President for Research and Development, Mitsuhiko Yamashita, added:

“The realization of the Autonomous Drive system is one of our greatest goals, because Zero Fatalities stands alongside Zero Emissions as major objective of Nissan’s R&D. Through public road testing, we will further develop the safety, efficiency and reliability of our technology.”

The first prototype to be tested is capable of a number of functions, but the systems are designed to allow the driver to manually take over control at any time:

Lane keeping
Automatic Exit
Automatic lane change
Automatic overtaking slower or stopped vehicles
Automatic deceleration behind congestion on freeways
Automatic stopping at red lights...
http://insideevs.com/nissan-leaf-with-d ... -in-japan/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Nissan to introduce autonomous driving LEAF prototype.

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:48 am
by TomT
It also means the demise of the automotive industry and economy - and manufacturers, including Nissan - as we presently know it... Big and not necessarily all pleasant implications...
PaulScott wrote:As we old farts die off, the next generation will gladly sign on to robot cars since they will be cheaper, safer and will allow more productivity.

Re: Nissan to introduce autonomous driving LEAF prototype.

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:46 pm
by RegGuheert
TomT wrote:It also means the demise of the automotive industry and economy - and manufacturers, including Nissan - as we presently know it... Big and not necessarily all pleasant implications...
+1 In my mind, there is more to life than making humans more productive.



That song has always held a spot close to my heart...but boy those guys really look old!

Perhaps those gleaming alloy air-cars are not too far off anymore. :(

Re: Nissan to introduce autonomous driving LEAF prototype.

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:42 pm
by PaulScott
TomT wrote:It also means the demise of the automotive industry and economy - and manufacturers, including Nissan - as we presently know it... Big and not necessarily all pleasant implications...
PaulScott wrote:As we old farts die off, the next generation will gladly sign on to robot cars since they will be cheaper, safer and will allow more productivity.
The benefits will far out weigh the negatives. Yes, the OEMs will sell fewer cars because one electric robot car can serve 10-20 people every day. It can operate 24/7 with minimal maintanace, no operator to get tired and want time off. So, yes, the OEMs will have to change. The savings in energy, pollution, military costs, health costs, etc. will more than make up for the disruption in what has become a bloated ICE industry catering to people who want power over efficiency and who don't care that they cause harm to others.