Self-Driving Cars: When will it become mainstream, and would you purchase one?

SeoulSoxFan

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I've seen the amazing Google car video, and just watched this Rinspeed XchangE "Autonomous Driving" concept car.
 
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uf9nni-SuM[/youtube]
 
I actually love long-distance driving (recently driving from Austin to NH and enjoying pretty much most of it), but the idea is more than intriguing. 
 
I don't think it'll become mainstream for another 10 years, but I'd be more than willing to purchase one. How about you SoSH? When do you think it'll be a realistic option, would you purchase one, and what are some technical obstacles current technology faces?
 

NoXInNixon

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Ten years seems about right. Maybe even less. The technology is practically almost already there, it's just a matter of figuring out the legal issues.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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NoXInNixon said:
Ten years seems about right. Maybe even less. The technology is practically almost already there, it's just a matter of figuring out the legal issues.
 
Maybe even less may be true -- apparently the new gorgeous 2014 MB S class and the 2014 MB E class drive itself under 35 mph, and up to 10 seconds of self-driving above 35 mph:
 
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShYLRus6RTg[/youtube]
 
Is the biggest obstacle not technical, but legal???
 

santadevil

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I just saw the article on Engadget this morning as well.
 
This is the picture they posted with it.

These people look amazingly awkward.
 

Import78

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I would absolutely get one if I could afford it.  I'd like to have the option of driving myself because there are times when I enjoy driving but the convenience factor is huge.  Want to spend a night out but don't have a DD? Problem solved.  Exhausted and still miles to go, no problem.  Elderly parent wants to be independent but isn't safe anymore.  Done.  Long, boring drive you've done many many times before and would rather sleep through or read?  All set.
 
There will obviously be legal hurdles to clear about liability, accidents, malfunction etc.  There is also going to be a comfort level that society is going to have to reach.  I think that may take a while.  People are used to being in control when behind the wheel and I would bet that most people will need to have some experience behind the wheel but not in control before they are satisfied that it is safe etc.  Park assist and things should help with this but I think it takes a while before people are really comfortable with them.
 

SumnerH

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Import78 said:
I would absolutely get one if I could afford it.  I'd like to have the option of driving myself because there are times when I enjoy driving but the convenience factor is huge.  Want to spend a night out but don't have a DD? Problem solved.  Exhausted and still miles to go, no problem.  Elderly parent wants to be independent but isn't safe anymore.  Done.  Long, boring drive you've done many many times before and would rather sleep through or read?  All set.
 
 
Most important: daily commute with crappy traffic?  Surf SOSH instead of getting angry at traffic.
 

Rovin Romine

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SeoulSoxFan said:
 
Maybe even less may be true -- apparently the new gorgeous 2014 MB S class and the 2014 MB E class drive itself under 35 mph, and up to 10 seconds of self-driving above 35 mph:
 
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShYLRus6RTg[/youtube]
 
Is the biggest obstacle not technical, but legal???
 
As far as legal issues go, there will be a question as to where liability lies once someone is injured or killed using this technology.  
 
In more mundane matters, speed limits could pose a problem for the tech, unless the service provider maps all the zones and/or municipalities install sensors or something.  
 
The confluence of the two is the real problem; speed and liability.  All those long trips will be done at the speed limit, because of potential liability.  For a lot of people, the max practical speed (over the limit, below ticketing range) is how they conceive of long distance driving. 
 
Then there's also the issue of traffic "flow" and how many new accidents will be caused if you drop a bunch of random 55mph drivers on the highways.  Personally, I think that different cities and regions have their own different driving styles - in some of those being the odd driver out can be more dangerous than simply breaking the letter of the law in the same way everyone else does it in that location. 
 
**
I could also see a dedicated interstate lane for self-driving vehicles - but if many people are going to self-drive long distances, there ought to be some kind of aggregating service (like a train-type structure or something) where fuel waste could be reduced. 
 

NoXInNixon

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Rovin Romine said:
 
 
The confluence of the two is the real problem; speed and liability.  All those long trips will be done at the speed limit, because of potential liability.  For a lot of people, the max practical speed (over the limit, below ticketing range) is how they conceive of long distance driving. 
 
Give the choice between a long journey driven by me at slightly above the speed limit and a long journey driven by my car at exactly the speed limit, I will choose the former every single time.
 
Also, it seems to me that very soon after they become moderately common on the roads, the statistics will show how safe they are and speed limits for self-driving cars will be raised, even if that requires their own special lanes as you mentioned.
 

SumnerH

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NoXInNixon said:
Give the choice between a long journey driven by me at slightly above the speed limit and a long journey driven by my car at exactly the speed limit, I will choose the former every single time.
 
Also, it seems to me that very soon after they become moderately common on the roads, the statistics will show how safe they are and speed limits for self-driving cars will be raised, even if that requires their own special lanes as you mentioned.
I'll take the latter, so long as "driven by my car" really means that I'm allowed to sleep or watch TV or whatever (and not "the car is driving, but you must be at the wheel and attentive").  6 hours of doing some work and catching up on TV and whatever beats 5 hours of driving and listening to music.  
 
And, yeah, these cars should be so much safer that the speed limits for them get raised fairly early on.
 
I also wouldn't be surprised if the liability issue falls out on the owners eventually; insurance rates would still decline because they're safer than driving yourself, and to a certain extent where you drive and how often is going to factor into accident rates even if you're not at the wheel.  And pragmatically it's where the infrastructure already is.
 

Rovin Romine

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NoXInNixon said:
Give the choice between a long journey driven by me at slightly above the speed limit and a long journey driven by my car at exactly the speed limit, I will choose the former every single time.
 
Also, it seems to me that very soon after they become moderately common on the roads, the statistics will show how safe they are and speed limits for self-driving cars will be raised, even if that requires their own special lanes as you mentioned.
 
Interesting idea.
 

Harry Hooper

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The hype is way out of control on this. The Google demos were done to try to program some aggressive driving tricks into the robot's driving styles, but these were tests in closed conditions with all the human drivers aware they are interacting with autobot cars. It is a lot harder to program in behavior when interacting with humans who may not always follow the one-and-one when it comes to things like merging under very busy traffic conditions. I can easily see an autobot car stuck with a line of cars behind it, as it waits and waits for a super clear opportunity to merge, which can be a long time in coming. The autobot will be programmed to always defer in a "chicken" scenario, or face massive liability concerns.
 

czar

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SumnerH said:
I'll take the latter, so long as "driven by my car" really means that I'm allowed to sleep or watch TV or whatever (and not "the car is driving, but you must be at the wheel and attentive").  6 hours of doing some work and catching up on TV and whatever beats 5 hours of driving and listening to music.  
 
And, yeah, these cars should be so much safer that the speed limits for them get raised fairly early on.
 
I also wouldn't be surprised if the liability issue falls out on the owners eventually; insurance rates would still decline because they're safer than driving yourself, and to a certain extent where you drive and how often is going to factor into accident rates even if you're not at the wheel.  And pragmatically it's where the infrastructure already is.
 
I agree. This is my exact rationale behind flying back east (from Michigan), even with layovers. Even if I'm 25% efficient with my time, it's better than 0% (maybe 5% if I make some calls on the highway).
 

Joe Sixpack

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There are really people that would choose driving instead of being able to relax, read a book, watch TV, or whatever the hell else you feel like doing, just so they can travel 75mph instead of 65mph? I really can't comprehend that at all.

Driving sucks. I try to do as little of it as possible. The day that I can buy an affordable, self-driving car will be a life changer. I just don't get how people enjoy it. Every once in awhile I have to drive to work instead of taking the train for one reason or another and it just puts me in a foul mood for the whole day.
 

Rovin Romine

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Joe Sixpack said:
There are really people that would choose driving instead of being able to relax, read a book, watch TV, or whatever the hell else you feel like doing, just so they can travel 75mph instead of 65mph? I really can't comprehend that at all.
Driving sucks. I try to do as little of it as possible. The day that I can buy an affordable, self-driving car will be a life changer. I just don't get how people enjoy it. Every once in awhile I have to drive to work instead of taking the train for one reason or another and it just puts me in a foul mood for the whole day.
 
As Sumner pointed out, it depends on the amount of freedom an automated car actually gives you.  Personally I'd go for the "read a book" option - exchanging highway travel for something productive.  But if it's just sitting there and letting the car drive while staring out the window at the scenery, I'm sure that many people would choose to get to their destination a bit faster. 
 
There's probably a sweet spot for that kind of thing - not very short trips or very long trips where time is important (and increased MPH saves you time.)  It would be ideal for rush hour conditions or long trips with no time constraints.
 
That said, when conditions are good, there's something very satisfying about driving, especially with a manual transmission.   I'd assume one would just turn off the autopilot when they got to the good roads though. 
 

Infield Infidel

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Rovin Romine said:
 
As far as legal issues go, there will be a question as to where liability lies once someone is injured or killed using this technology.  
 
In more mundane matters, speed limits could pose a problem for the tech, unless the service provider maps all the zones and/or municipalities install sensors or something.  
 
 
 
IIRC from an a couple articles back when Google was first announcing this stuff, the main technical issues were weather (especially snow covering road markers) and temporary changes in traffic signaling, such as human signalers or newly configured detours
 

Blacken

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SumnerH said:
Most important: daily commute with crappy traffic?  Surf SOSH instead of getting angry at traffic.
This is why I moved somewhere where I don't have to drive. I'd be down with an hour-plus commute if it meant I could work or read during it.
 

jayhoz

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The transition to driverless cars is going to be difficult for people as evidenced by how uncomfortable this dude is.
 

Blue Monkey

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Well this is all interesting. I'm not the technological guy out there. There are a lot of questions I have. How does the car know where you're going? What if you want to take the scenic route? How does it handle detours? What if you want to stop at the grocery store or gas station on your way home from work? What if you just want to head out and drive around for a bit? How does it adapt to changing road conditions (rain, snow, ice)? Very interesting. I assume there would be some manual override so you can take it out of "auto drive" and proceed manually?
 

SuperManny

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Blue Monkey said:
Well this is all interesting. I'm not the technological guy out there. There are a lot of questions I have. How does the car know where you're going? What if you want to take the scenic route? How does it handle detours? What if you want to stop at the grocery store or gas station on your way home from work? What if you just want to head out and drive around for a bit? How does it adapt to changing road conditions (rain, snow, ice)? Very interesting. I assume there would be some manual override so you can take it out of "auto drive" and proceed manually?
 
I would imagine that the majority of the directional functionality is based on a dashboard GPS. The GPS screen in the Tesla video looked awesome. I would think rain, snow, and ice would be the hardest thing for the driverless cars to overcome since they rely on cameras though.
 
I think it freaks people out to have a steering wheel but not use it, they should have it collapse into the dashboard once they get the automation completely accurate.
 

FarvinMoosey

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Import78 said:
I would absolutely get one if I could afford it.  I'd like to have the option of driving myself because there are times when I enjoy driving but the convenience factor is huge.  Want to spend a night out but don't have a DD? Problem solved.  Exhausted and still miles to go, no problem.  Elderly parent wants to be independent but isn't safe anymore.  Done.  Long, boring drive you've done many many times before and would rather sleep through or read?  All set.
 
Completely agree with this.  Could additionally have some advantages if you dont feel like staying overnight somewhere.
 
Also agree that I believe this will be largely more safe and since I despise paying insurance the thought of driving down my premiums is icing on the cake.
 

jayhoz

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FarvinMoosey said:
 
Completely agree with this.  Could additionally have some advantages if you dont feel like staying overnight somewhere.
 
Also agree that I believe this will be largely more safe and since I despise paying insurance the thought of driving down my premiums is icing on the cake.
 
Good luck with that.
 

MainerInExile

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My guesses: There will be self-driving cars for sale within 5 years.  Within 10, basically all new cars will be able to drive themselves.  Within 25, the US fleet will have mostly turned over, and there will be very few manual cars on the road.  My kids will learn to drive.  Their kids probably won't.  When I'm old, people will be dumbfounded that they used to let humans drive around - it's very dangerous.
 
I also wonder whether self-driving cars are the beginning of the end of people owning their own cars.  What would the cost of an Uber be if it didn't need a human driver?  Would that close the gap with ownership so much that buying your own is no longer worth it?
 

jercra

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The idea that this is 5 to 10 years away is ignoring that it's already here.  Elon Musk recently announced that all Tesla S will can upgrade their software to get "Autopilot" which allows for auto driving on the highway, including lane changes, as well as auto parking capabilities.  This is basically how it's going to go in my opinion.  I think there will be 3 short term drivers that lead the to the eventual "all auto" long term.  The first is what Tesla just released.  The highway driving model.  This will eventually include things like "auto trains" when the tech trickles down from luxury cars to all cars.  The second is kind of the opposite model and that's high congestion, inner city, driving where sections of the city can be designated as "driverless".  This would allow places like NYC, DC, Boston, London, etc. to eliminate the biggest inner city traffic locations as well as relieve the pressures on existing public transportation networks.  It would also allow them to install additional sensors to overcome some of the weather related issues as well and they could expand organically from there rather than relying on massive capital projects to install everything at once.  The third I think will be closed loop systems like airport shuttles, convention centers, etc.
 

crystalline

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Tesla is smart... The best place to introduce this is at the high end. And it can be a key differentiator for them.

Also jercra to your point about gradualism- they are smart to require drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. In a year or two once people are familiar with it, we'll see what happens with highway laws.


As Bill Gates said "people always overestimate the progress that will happen in 2 years and underestimate the progress that will happen in 10"
 

jayhoz

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jercra said:
The idea that this is 5 to 10 years away is ignoring that it's already here.  Elon Musk recently announced that all Tesla S will can upgrade their software to get "Autopilot" which allows for auto driving on the highway, including lane changes, as well as auto parking capabilities.  This is basically how it's going to go in my opinion.  I think there will be 3 short term drivers that lead the to the eventual "all auto" long term.  The first is what Tesla just released.  The highway driving model.  This will eventually include things like "auto trains" when the tech trickles down from luxury cars to all cars.  The second is kind of the opposite model and that's high congestion, inner city, driving where sections of the city can be designated as "driverless".  This would allow places like NYC, DC, Boston, London, etc. to eliminate the biggest inner city traffic locations as well as relieve the pressures on existing public transportation networks.  It would also allow them to install additional sensors to overcome some of the weather related issues as well and they could expand organically from there rather than relying on massive capital projects to install everything at once.  The third I think will be closed loop systems like airport shuttles, convention centers, etc.
 
I wonder if we will see incentive programs tied to driverless cars like we see from energy companies who offer discounts to people who allow the companies to adjust their AC during peak demand.  Cities could offer discounts on insurance or taxes if they were allowed to route driverless cars where they wanted to reduce congestion.
 

NortheasternPJ

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My biggest thing with these cars (outside of liability with accidents, being terrified driving on 128 and weather) is repair costs and longevity of the car. How reliable is the whole computer system, wiring and sensors after 5+ years. Are they going to keep getting software updates?
 
It's all great having these things, but can they hold up for 10+ years? I'm not one to replace a car every 4-5 years. 
 

IdiotKicker

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jayhoz said:
I wonder if we will see incentive programs tied to driverless cars like we see from energy companies who offer discounts to people who allow the companies to adjust their AC during peak demand.  Cities could offer discounts on insurance or taxes if they were allowed to route driverless cars where they wanted to reduce congestion.
The other thing is this could be the end of a two-car home in some cases. If you and the spouse go to work at different times or if one of you stays at home, the car can drop you off and head to where the other spouse is for their use during the day, returning at 5pm to pick you up.

Insurance companies and automakers will have to adapt or die though. It's going to be fascinating.
 

mauf

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Self-driving vehicles will take over the long-haul trucking industry long before they get a toe-hold in the consumer auto market. The ability to drive 24/7, stopping only for fuel, and without having to compete to hire qualified drivers who are willing to drive long hauls, will become an irresistible proposition as soon as they get the safety issues ironed out.
 

IdiotKicker

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Monbo Jumbo said:
My understanding is these things so far only travel at the speed of golf carts.
A couple companies have begun highway testing in the last year or two actually. The biggest problem with the tech right now is that it is essentially too cautious, and there have actually been accidents because of it. An example would be a driverless car coming to a full stop for two seconds at a stop sign with no other cars in any direction, and it gets rear-ended by a car who thought it would do a rolling stop and move on like a person would.

We're probably 7-8 years away from the first fully-autonomous models and another 15+ for widespread adoption due to the fleet turnover rates. Average car on the road right now is just over 11 years and that age continues to increase even with a 17m+ pace this year.
 

Dehere

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MainerInExile said:
When I'm old, people will be dumbfounded that they used to let humans drive around - it's very dangerous. 
It's amazing to me how much death and injury we accept as part of having a car-dominated culture. I suspect most adult Americans know at least one person who has been involved in a serious wreck. 30,000+ US fatalities a year. Over 3.5 million all-time. I think future generations will be astonished that this was simply an everyday risk that people lived with for over 100 years.

I hope I get to own a self-driving car in my lifetime. As soon as one hits the market that I can more or less afford I'm in.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Dehere said:
It's amazing to me how much death and injury we accept as part of having a car-dominated culture. I suspect most adult Americans know at least one person who has been involved in a serious wreck. 30,000+ US fatalities a year. Over 3.5 million all-time. I think future generations will be astonished that this was simply an everyday risk that people lived with for over 100 years.

I hope I get to own a self-driving car in my lifetime. As soon as one hits the market that I can more or less afford I'm in.
 
What do you mean by "accept"? I don't think it's a matter of acceptance, but what's the other option? Self driving cars are the only alternative outside of mass transit and they don't really exist yet. "lived with for 100 years" is an odd statement. 
 
I think everyone wants car transit to be safer, but with aging infrastructure, highways designed to handle 1/8 of the traffic they're handling today and and everyone can't just take mass transit, is there any other option?
 
It's great that everyone in the future with their flying cars and transporters look at us like neanderthals but I don't see many other options with today's technology. 
 
If you're from New England, I'd highly suggest reading this site: http://www.bostonroads.com
 
It has the history of New England Roads, why they were designed and even more importantly what was canceled. A lot of MA transit problems are outlined in canceled projects. 
 

jayhoz

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Yeah, I'm not sure we've accepted it given how much time, effort, and money have gone into making cars safer. Seat belts, crumple zones, air bags, ABS, proximity sensors, automatic braking, etc.
 

mauf

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Traffic deaths per capita in the US are more than 3x higher than in Britain, and roughly 2x higher than in Canada. Maybe it's overstatement to say we've "accepted" so many traffic deaths, but there's a lot of things we could do without going back to the stone ages that we simply choose not to do.
 

Monbo Jumbo

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Why is tremendous progress never "good enough?"  You all sound like my ex-mother-in-law.  Why is it you all think some type of unattainable utopia is attainable? 
 

NortheasternPJ

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maufman said:
Traffic deaths per capita in the US are more than 3x higher than in Britain, and roughly 2x higher than in Canada. Maybe it's overstatement to say we've "accepted" so many traffic deaths, but there's a lot of things we could do without going back to the stone ages that we simply choose not to do.
 
I'm not saying this sarcastically, but what do we simply choose not to do?
 
The UK has 519 vehicles per 1000, Canada 607, the US has 819, so the per capita argument there is suspect. In terms of Canada, how many dense population centers do they have vs. the US?
 

mauf

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Monbo Jumbo said:

 
 
Why is tremendous progress never "good enough?"  You all sound like my ex-mother-in-law.  Why is it you all think some type of unattainable utopia is attainable? 
Who are you talking to? I compared the US to Canada and the UK, not some "unattainable utopia."

You're looking at per-mile fatalities. The per capita numbers are less impressive. We've made choices that tolerate (and in some cases, encourage and subsidize) people to drive more miles than a generation or two ago. Maybe those choices were defensible, or even desirable, but it's not like the resulting traffic deaths were something beyond our control that just happened.
 

NoXInNixon

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IdiotKicker said:
The other thing is this could be the end of a two-car home in some cases. If you and the spouse go to work at different times or if one of you stays at home, the car can drop you off and head to where the other spouse is for their use during the day, returning at 5pm to pick you up.
I would go even further. You won't need to own a car, you'll just rent one whenever you need it. It'll be something like Uber, where you just log into an app, tell it where you are and where you want to go, and it will send a car from its fleet. If it's a trip you make regularly, like to work, you'll be able to subscribe, and to conserve energy, it will suggest possible car pool partners.
 

mauf

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NortheasternPJ said:
 
I'm not saying this sarcastically, but what do we simply choose not to do?
 
The UK has 519 vehicles per 1000, Canada 607, the US has 819, so the per capita argument there is suspect. In terms of Canada, how many dense population centers do they have vs. the US?
The relatively decentralized population of the United States is a product of the choice we've made over the past two generations to invest heavily in highways, and only modestly in mass transit, while taxing gasoline lightly. Other countries that have made different choices have lower traffic fatality rates and smaller carbon footprints.

I'm not even arguing that our choices were wrong. I'm just pointing out that they were choices, and that we could have chosen differently.
 

NortheasternPJ

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maufman said:
Who are you talking to? I compared the US to Canada and the UK, not some "unattainable utopia."

You're looking at per-mile fatalities. The per capita numbers are less impressive. We've made choices that tolerate (and in some cases, encourage and subsidize) people to drive more miles than a generation or two ago. Maybe those choices were defensible, or even desirable, but it's not like the resulting traffic deaths were something beyond our control that just happened.
 
What do you mean that we made choices for people to drive more miles?
 
I need to travel for work. My wife's family lives 268 miles away from our home. 
 
I think per mile is very relative since our country is 3.806 million square miles vs 94,000 sq miles vs the UK. A vast majority of Canada's population is near the US border.
 

NortheasternPJ

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maufman said:
The relatively decentralized population of the United States is a product of the choice we've made over the past two generations to invest heavily in highways, and only modestly in mass transit, while taxing gasoline lightly. Other countries that have made different choices have lower traffic fatality rates and smaller carbon footprints.

I'm not even arguing that our choices were wrong. I'm just pointing out that they were choices, and that we could have chosen differently.
 
I've posted in other forums about it but I'm 100% for more investment in mass transit. It's a shame our public transit systems in Mass are as bad as they are compared to the rest of the world. I'm also 100% for better investment in highways that are very lacking.
 
I think the US investment in highways to connect major cities was 100% right and necessary. You have a country of 3,000 miles east to west. The US was horrible (at least in the Northeast) at planning on future capacity around cities. Go to Bostonroads.com to look at the traffic capacity numbers vs. what they are now.
 

mauf

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NortheasternPJ said:
 
What do you mean that we made choices for people to drive more miles?
 
I need to travel for work. My wife's family lives 268 miles away from our home. 
 
I think per mile is very relative since our country is 3.806 million square miles vs 94,000 sq miles vs the UK. A vast majority of Canada's population is near the US border.
You mean you didn't choose where to work or where to live??

Why do you think much of Canada's population stayed clustered in a few areas, rather than spreading out the way ours has since WWII?

Edit: By the way, I wouldn't ask for a do-over on the interstate system either. We should just acknowledge that it has had unintended consequences.
 

NortheasternPJ

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maufman said:
You mean you didn't choose where to work or where to live??

Why do you think much of Canada's population stayed clustered in a few areas, rather than spreading out the way ours has since WWII?
 
We do choose to live and work in New England. Her family does choose to live in New York. 
 
I was assuming that a huge amount Canada was in the Arctic Circle and is the same reason why Alaska isn't densely populated. 
 
75% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border. Is it because they love the US or because of the horrible weather in most of their country?
 
I'd imagine if Canadians had the US land to live in, they wouldn't cluster due to fuel efficiencies or saving the world. Same with all of Europe.
 

mauf

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Weather certainly keeps Canadians from moving north in large numbers, but it doesn't explain why areas like the Maritime provinces aren't more populated (or why the people who do live there are do concentrated in the cities). For whatever reasons, Canada chose not to invest in highways the way we did a couple generations ago.
 

Couperin47

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maufman said:
Weather certainly keeps Canadians from moving north in large numbers, but it doesn't explain why areas like the Maritime provinces aren't more populated (or why the people who do live there are do concentrated in the cities). For whatever reasons, Canada chose not to invest in highways the way we did a couple generations ago.
 
Half the reason for our investment, especially in the Interstate system was for defense purposes, the Canadians didn't invest for the same reason they didn't invest in their military...they have us.
 

crystalline

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Oct 12, 2009
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maufman said:
You mean you didn't choose where to work or where to live??

Why do you think much of Canada's population stayed clustered in a few areas, rather than spreading out the way ours has since WWII?

Edit: By the way, I wouldn't ask for a do-over on the interstate system either. We should just acknowledge that it has had unintended consequences.
Agreed with everything you said- our society made choices about transportation over the past two generations and you summarized them well.

One commment: I wouldn't be surprised if a large or the largest part of those vehicle miles were local commuting miles, not long haul miles. In which case the choice is not between interstates and no interstates, it's between relatively compact urban areas, and more spread out cities and suburbs with little mass transit, in both cases with interstates used for long-haul vehicle travel.

The scenarios outlined above for commuting in self driving cars sound like heaven. I like driving but hate spending long time periods in a car and hate commuting in one.
 

notfar

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Oct 17, 2008
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"so what did you do before self-driving cars?"
"we just drove 'em ourselves!"
"wow, no one died that way?"
"oh no, millions of people died"
‏@cat_beltane
 
 

Import78

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May 29, 2007
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maufman said:
Self-driving vehicles will take over the long-haul trucking industry long before they get a toe-hold in the consumer auto market. The ability to drive 24/7, stopping only for fuel, and without having to compete to hire qualified drivers who are willing to drive long hauls, will become an irresistible proposition as soon as they get the safety issues ironed out.
 
I'm not sure about this.  The Teamsters Union is pretty strong and I'm sure they would be up in arms about the loss of jobs possible safety issues.  My wife is terrified of semis on the interstate.  I bet she would quickly succumb to the argument that a truck without a driver is more dangerous than one with a driver.  That may not be true, but the optics will probably sway her.  My bet is that unless a company has the bankroll to switch over a large chunk of their fleet at once it won't happen any time soon.  It probably won't get mandated by the government either.  Who's going to vote to eliminate that many jobs?  
 
I would like to see it, I'm just not sure it will happen before it takes over the private/domestic sector.
 

Monbo Jumbo

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They will have to pry my 5 speed stick shift knob from my cold dead hands.   (hopefully, that doesn't occur following a wreck.)