Author Topic: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars  (Read 514 times)

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Offline SantaCruzRider

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Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« on: April 14, 2018, 03:51:19 pm »
Not sure if this has popped up onto everyone radar yet (pun intended), but living in Silicon Valley, I'm increasingly encountering driverless cars and starting to rethink some of my riding strategy.

Here's a couple of recent stories: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/gm-sued-over-self-driving-car-crash-with-motorcyclist/

(this one relates to bicycles, but the commentary applies to MCs)  https://www.fastcompany.com/3068141/bikes-are-still-a-headache-for-self-driving-cars

I've heard that these cars also have a difficult time recognizing narrow obstacles (like a motorcycle) at the diagonals, making it hard for them to see an MC stopped at traffic light when the bike is at one edge of the lane. Some have suggested it's going to become safer for MCs to stop in the middle of the lane so the dumb car knows that it can't run you over.

Not sure how this will sort, but I'm already rethinking my stopping position at lights (including becoming more aggressive to run a late yellow rather than get stuck as the first vehicle at a stop light) and modifying my lane splitting around anything badged "Tesla" -- which in this area is as common as Honda.

Anyone else pondering these mysteries or have some safety wisdom to pass along?
Dan Breeden
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Online ron203

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 03:57:40 pm »
None of these around here - yet, but we're seeing the introduction of "semi-autonomous" cars that "hold the lane", hands off on the interstate. Cadillac says the driver has to "remain alert", right. That's gonna happen. You're going to see 85 year old drivers heading to FL falling asleep (or worse) at the wheel. I do NOT want to be the guys driving the speed limit and getting overtaken by one of these people. Self-drivers in Atlanta are going to a catastrophe. The people are bad enough.
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Offline Thud300

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2018, 05:05:45 pm »
Yes, there are now vehicles with active (radar-based) cruise control and lane keeping systems that use a camera to read the lane lines and will steer themselves to stay in a lane if no turn signal is activated.

With both systems, this means you can set a cruise speed faster than traffic allows, the radar cruise will keep your vehicle at the same speed and distance as the vehicle you are following, and the lane keep system will do the steering, but the vehicle will drift back and forth from one lane line toward the other.

I did this myself while test driving a Silverado pickup a while back, followed a truck this way on a 2 lane highway for about 10 miles, never touching the controls. Fascinating, and disturbing, all at once. And its definitely not the way these systems are intended to be used.
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Online ron203

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2018, 05:19:01 pm »
I wonder if the radar is reading the lines or the pavement edge and what happens when those are obscured, worn away, or otherwise "missing" like on a dark, rainy night?  I'm sure the instructions say to not use it in those conditions, but idiots happen and road conditions can change unexpectedly. I don't want to be that kind of "exception."
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Offline SantaCruzRider

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2018, 06:32:49 pm »
I think the lane finding is done with video/optics. My understanding is that its a great system when the lines are easily visible, with good contrast. Not so good when the lines are obscured by weather, reflections or when the lines are worn.

I work across the street from Google and have been seeing these fully auto cars for a while. It can be interesting to see how they turn through an intersection where the lane lines are mixed with curving railroad (light rail) tracks.
Dan Breeden
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Offline Tour1

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2018, 10:45:35 am »
I haven't actually come across an explanation of what the self-driving lane keeping does for the driver if not actually driving the car.  I've seen the TV commercial where the car beeps if it drifts out of its lane.  If the driver has automatic over-ride like cruise control does, when do they expect it to become active while a driver is driving?  Or does it just fight the driver once ina while when it disagrees with input?
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Online ron203

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2018, 12:11:40 pm »
I drove a Tahoe with lane alert activated last year. When you drift or change lanes slowly, there's a light on the mirror (I think) and the seat bolster vibrates. First time or two it happened, it startled the crap out of me.
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Offline Bur

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2018, 03:48:48 am »
Glad I saw this thread, was just wondering how the "driverless"cars are going to handle lane splitters.  If we stay next to a moving car for long at all, will it "drift" away from us?  Also, by obscuring the lane lines on one side (it's really "sharing", right?  ;) ) will the car then drift toward us?

Worst case scenario that I put at about 1-2% of happening eventually:  Driverless cars get sorted out, prove to be much safer, older non-driverless cars are forced off the streets as are motorcycles.
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Offline SantaCruzRider

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2018, 03:54:40 pm »
I suspect the car won't drift toward an MC obscuring the line next to the car because the cameras are forward facing and reading the lines directly ahead and adjusting the steering to put the car at the center.

What I would love is some type of radar pulse that tells the driverless car that semi truck is alongside and allows them to move over accordingly!   :motonoises:
Dan Breeden
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Offline Charby

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2018, 10:58:04 pm »
Just won't be the same if you have to give the finger or cuss them out. :(

Offline Jorge

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Re: Changing riding habits to deal with driverless cars
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2018, 04:25:10 am »
Quick comment on radar...
Rode a few weeks ago with good friends that have a Toyota highlander with the bells and whistles.
At one point, on I295 (three lanes across), a motorcyclist came into his lane, not close, but closer than good following distance for my friend. The car automatically slowed down for a few seconds, and when the motorcycle got further ahead of us, it returned to the set cruise speed.
He has been riding longer than me, and is very passionate about it, and he is pleased by how the system works.