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Old November 20 2012, 09:55 PM   #188
Geckothan
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Is taking the control away from the user always a bad thing?

No real benefits, well that depends on what you class as a benefit. On Motorways robot control cars could in theroy travel at higher speeds more safely than human controlled cars. So instead of having say a 70mph limit, a train of robot control cars could travel at twice that speed.

Roads in some areas are very congested, having motors controlled by computer would likely mean that exisiting roads can be better utilised so instead of building moree roads, widening existing roads we are better able to use exisiting capacity.

As the roads would be used more efficentently there could be an econmic benefit, enviromental benefit.

So there are potential real benefits.
Taking control away from stupid users is a good thing, but not everybody wants to be driven around by a robot car.

There are privacy implications, as such a car would almost certainly contain some kind of 'black box' device that records every movement, and could almost certainly be remotely disabled (yes, most new cars already have both of those facilities, with built-in GPS systems/satnavs and 2G or 3G radios that are built directly into the ECU, but 99% of cars from before the mid-2000s are safe from such idiocies), and if they became widely adopted, they would almost certainly end up replacing real cars with real manual controls (or even drive-by-wire ones). Maybe the first few generations would still have steering wheels and pedals as overrides, but I doubt that will always be the case.

As a driving enthusiast with good car control and respect for the laws of the road and other drivers on it, I'd hate to see proper cars taken off the market entirely in favour of idiotmobiles. At the very least, I'm willing to bet that motorways would become robot-car-only for 'safety reasons' or something.

They've already pretty much phased out proper non-drive-by-wire brakes, clutches, manual gearboxes and mechanical throttles in most mainstream cars (other than the few pure enthusiast-centric sports cars with relatively small engines but ridiculously light chassis), which completely sucks, but as much as I hate silly drive-by-wire electronic nanny controls, at least you still have some input into their operation. I dread the day when real cars with real controls no longer exist. Driving aids that can be implemented on top of proper controls (e.g. ABS and power steering, which are effectively passive, and active suspension, which simply reacts to the outcome of your input) are great, however.
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