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Smarter Cars: 9 Tech Trends
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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 1:37:56 PM
Re: External airbags
@David:  i would expect replacing the airbags across a whole car could be several thousand dollars.

This is true, though that is also what it cost me in repairs when my car (not dear Mabel) encountered an automobile-eating pole in our office parking lot.

While life and limb were unharmed, the car sustained absurdly expensive damage. Perhaps a less costly shield could be created for those low-impact situations for drivers like me who have, er, spatial reasoning challenges?


@Susan- Did the pole jump out and grab your car? Did it fall? Because I know you didnt do thousands of dollars of damage running into a stationary object at parking lot speeds. :)


No, seriously, the holy grail for fender benders would be a system that could deploy and redeploy without a mechanic. But sadly, I don't see the money in that from the automaker's perspective which is sad. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 1:34:46 PM
Re: Mabel the MINI
@Susan- always happy to help give Mabel her 15 minutes. Pics? :)

But regards to the flying car, I think we'd have them right now if people were't such lousy drivers. think about 11 million accidents a year happening in the skies instead of on the ground. think about all those older folks who keep driving long after their reflexes have started to fail trying that in a flying car. Think about a 16 year old taking driver's ed in a flying car.

the self-driving car is a necessary step to the flying car. As soon as they can drive themselves they will fly themselves.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 12:55:45 PM
Re: Who's responsible when something fails
@rmansker53101- Well, we'll see. I feel like we'v ehad the "humans are too addicted to technology" argument since the wheel. Maybe one day people who say it will be right and we'll kill ourselves and the planet with technology. Maybe not. But what I personally observe is that when a new technology comes along, people abuse it, learn from it, and move on. 

When smart phones first came out they were annoying as heck. People wouldn't talk to each other. They jsut stared at their phone. I see that receding and people adapting. Not everyone. There's always someone around to misuse something. But most people. 

We'll see.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 12:44:37 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
Scary to think of the level of autonomy we are willing to give up in the name of convenience/safety.


I don't see why I'd be giving up autonomy. I feel like I'd be gaining it. Sure, sometimes it is fun to drive. But if I'm stuck in traffic, I'd much rather be reaading a book or playing a game or talking to my family than worry about hitting the bumper in front of me. Sometimes I have to pick up my kids at school in the middle of a meeting. If i had a self-driving car, i could send the car to get them without leaving.

In my mind that ADDS autonomy. I still choose where i'm going. I still choose when I'm going. Sure, I give up braking to avoid an accident to the car, but wow, look what I get-- the chance to finally read Beowulf or beat Candy Crush or sleep or whatever. To me that's a trade off for my autonomy. I give up the drudge of driving for more time fo rme.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 12:39:45 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
It's the transition that will be tough, when you have a mix of humans and computers on the road.


An interesting point. But aren't we already in the middle of that transition? If you have a self-parking car, or a car with a backup camera or warning system, or a car that warns you about what lane you are in, you are on your way. By the time self-driving cars are ready to roll out to consumers, nearly all new cars will have these features standard. Many of the used cars on the road will have had them for a while.


By the time self-driving cars are on the road, most "human-driven" cars will really be driven at least part way by computers. What;s interesting to me is that the quest for the self-driving car is bringing it to us piecemeal as automakers perfect certain parts. Heck, we've been doing this since we started cruise control and anti-lock brakes decades ago. Humans are giving up parts of the driving equation with each new option they buy.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 12:34:20 PM
Re: All this technology is well and good...
@smonfort402- A very fair point. I feel that way about dashboard entertainment systems these days. i was just fine with my smartphone plugged into an aux cable to listen to Pandora on the road. Now they have jammed what is essentially a tablet into my radio so it can be "pandora enabled." Just extra money at no value to me in my opinion.

That said, you might find we save money elsewhere. If braking assist keeps you out of more fender benders and all of your neighbors out of more fender benders, your insurance won't keep going up as much.

If external airbags lower highway fatalities (as internal ones have) then your health insurance might not go up as much.

I wish car companies would pay more attention when selecting technology to add to cars to give a good customer ROI, but adding tech doesn't automatically mean the car becomes unaffordable.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 12:28:42 PM
Re: Who's responsible when something fails
@rmanske53101- I'm pretty sure the argument you're making has been made for smart phones and tablets. I'm pretty sure before that it was made for scheduling software like Outlook. Before that it was probably made for alarm clocks and regular telephones and radio and all sorts of things.

What happens when technology changes human behavior? We adapt to it.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 12:25:51 PM
Re: Smarter Cars: 9 Tech Trends
However, the idea of having a driverless car is one that I don't think I will ever reconcile myself with. Automated? Maybe, but never driverless. Not even Google (they are trying out driverless cars by the way) can predict everything and design a car that can handle all that so human intuition and instinct will always have an edge!

@sachinEE- It is interesting. I generally feel the same way, and yet Americans alone have about 11 million car accidents per year. Most drivers will be involved in multiple car accidents in their lifetime.

I am constantly amazed by the human brain and intuition. But the brain can only act on what it can see. Connected cars will be able to see farther down the road than a person. They'll be able to see what other cars are doing, sometimes before they start doing it. Self-driving cars will never eliminate accidents. Mechanical failures, environmental surprises (ice, nails on the road, etc), and software failures will still cause accidents.

But I'm guessing human intuition eventually gets beaten by extending the knowledge of the car beyond the point of human ability.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/31/2014 | 10:09:46 AM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
I have heard discussion about that -- and when ALL cars are self driving, accidents will probably be drastically reduced, so insurance as an industry will be disrupted. Even theft will likely be minimized, as you can program your car to work only for select people. We could install breathalyzers.

It's the transition that will be tough, when you have a mix of humans and computers on the road. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 6:48:20 PM
Mabel the MINI
@David: thank you for immortalizing my beloved Mabel the MINI! (Cooper S, 2005, Harmon Kardon stereo package, runflat tires, sport suspension, same transmission as an audi TT...How I loved that car.)

Anyway, what I really want to know is where is my flying car?!?

I mean, all these tech advances are very nice, but I feel cheated. I was promised by every piece of science fiction I read as a kid that we'd have flying cars by now. What's the holdup?
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