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Google’s new self-driving minivans will be hitting the road at the end of January 2017

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Seems to happening faster than many assumed;
 

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Waymo, the self-driving car startup spun-off from Google late last year, will be deploying its fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans onto public roads for the first time later this month, the company announced at the North American International Auto Show today.

The minivans will be hitting the roads in Mountain View, California and Phoenix, Arizona, where the company’s self-driving Lexus SUVs have already driven thousands of miles over the past few years.

But here’s the thing about these minivans. Waymo says that for the first time, its producing all the technology that enables its cars to completely drive themselves in-house. That means for the first time, the Google spin-off is building all its own cameras, sensors, and mapping technology, rather than purchasing parts off the shelf as it had done in the past.

This allows the company to exert more control over its self-driving hardware, as well as bring the cost down to ridiculously cheap levels. In a speech in Detroit, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said that by building its own LIDAR sensors, for example, the company was shaving 90 percent off its costs. That means sensors that Google purchased for $75,000 back in 2009 now only cost $7,500 for Waymo to build itself.

Rumor has it that Waymo and Chrysler will eventually launch its own autonomous ride-sharing service to compete with the likes of Uber and Lyft, possibly by utilizing Google’s Waze mapping service. Indeed, during his remarks in Detroit, Krafcik said Waymo was eyeing a number of products, including ride-hailing, logistics, personal transportation, and last-mile solutions.

 

http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/8/14206084/google-waymo-self-driving-chrysler-pacifica-minivan-detroit-2017

 

Less than ten years ago this was science fiction.:ph34r:

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25 minutes ago, ChewingGrass said:

Even less reason to accomodate migrants then.

Somebody's got to unload the vehicle and get a signature for receipt of goods at the other end.

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13 hours ago, interestrateripoff said:


Seems a large number of taxi drivers are soon going to be out of a job.  Self driving buses next?

Trains.....then there were none.;)

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13 hours ago, hotairmail said:

Who's going to stop people shagging in the back, clearing up any puke etc.?

Everyone using this service will probably do so via an app and credits. You'll have a respect rating and if you were to step into a filthy, semen stained car then I expect you'll be able to flame the previous occupant and the car will autonomously find it's way to a Romanian car wash. Cleaning charged to the culprit (credit deductions) and maybe the other party offered a free ride or credits. Too low a rating and you'll find yourself out in the cold. Very easy to implement.

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A bit skeptical here. On one of their product videos it shows the car slowing for a cyclist who has their arm out to signal (the technology actually detects the arm pointing in the direction of intended travel). In my experience cyclists often just give a look over their shoulder or a nod and don't actually signal, so it doesn't seem practical. Maybe I'm wrong, perhaps their AI will be good enough to think and make decisions better/faster than a real driver. Without actually testing one out I wouldn't know and I wouldn't trust a promo video from Google. Let's wait for some proper in-depth reviews1!

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16 hours ago, 200p said:

Will people jump out in front of these to get compensation?

Considering everything will be recorded on several cameras you could jump out, get a broken leg and then be sued for damage to the car.

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24 minutes ago, opt_out said:

I doubt that humans will still be allowed to drive on the roads in 10 years time. 

Does that make classic cars a good or bad investment ?

 

 

What an awful thought but very plausible sorry to say......rent the ground you walk on, the air you breathe....money apart from taxes can't be made from owners.....could find people will have many small rental, contract, membership, debt, payments etc deducted monthly from salary just to live....One million people paying £1 each month = £1,000,000 in your pocket each month.

Hang the classic car on the wall......Some will pay to see it, pay more to touch it, sit in it, or ride it.;)

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Well, might sort out the problem of people working as taxi drivers for 16/24 hours in order to get WTC and avoid the benefit cap. In London there are lots of them (and many don't pay tax either so costing the country a fortune in "in work" benefits). 

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36 minutes ago, fru-gal said:

Well, might sort out the problem of people working as taxi drivers for 16/24 hours in order to get WTC and avoid the benefit cap. In London there are lots of them (and many don't pay tax either so costing the country a fortune in "in work" benefits). 

You'd rather have them all out of jobs instead?

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2 hours ago, opt_out said:

I doubt that humans will still be allowed to drive on the roads in 10 years time. 

Does that make classic cars a good or bad investment ?

 

 

Might still be allowed to drive yourself...as long as you pay the appropriate tax which they'll no doubt invent as soon as they can. Self-driving Road Tax.

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2 hours ago, opt_out said:

I doubt that humans will still be allowed to drive on the roads in 10 years time. 

Does that make classic cars a good or bad investment ?

 

 

To give another perspective. As somebody who's already not allowed to drive i think self driving cars are a bloody marvelous innovation.

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19 minutes ago, EnglishinWales said:

You'd rather have them all out of jobs instead?

Nope. I'd rather they have a full time job, paying taxes and not having to rely on benefits. But I am looking forward to self driving cars in general.

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Very interesting.  We seem to have been "5 years away from self driving cars" for quite a while.

 

But now it looks the future is finally arriving.  I think 2020 will be the year when this hits the mainstream.

 

I for one cannot wait!

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Out of all the tech companies to tackle the autonomous thing I'm betting on Google to have the best software, and will likely end up providing the software to the other companies like Microsoft did with Windows. The data analysis kinda stuff is their forte... I remember the old search battle days where they blew every other search engine away.

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20 hours ago, 200p said:

Will people jump out in front of these to get compensation?

"I have nothing to lose, my job was automated, I got a zero hours contract job, so I want to get £1m compensation"

There's probably ways to fool the "eyes" of the van. Maybe wrap yourself in foil, or hold up a picture of the road to make yourself look invisible.

article-2358826-1ABB54DE000005DC-745_634

^The invisible football kit, which was changed over at half time as the players could not see each other.

When the first textiles machine were invented, the angry workers who felt their jobs were being taken threw their shoes/clogs (called sabots) into the machine. This was called sabotage.

Edited by 200p

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Despite the fact that these things look ridiculous, something akin to a cartoon police car - I think the adoption rate will be initially low, limited to taxis and possibly courier services. 

auto-mobile-police-clipart-cliparthut-fr

I can't see the average admirer of all things automotive, including the high end German marques and the more sporty crowd liking a dirty great LIDAR sensor stuck on the top of their prized possession. One thing's certain, the next 10 years will be very interesting.

Edited by Pindar

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I think the techies are once again ignoring basic human behaviour.  The great Terry Pratchett had the right idea when he wrote about the inventiveness of the citizens of Ankh-Morpork, who would game any rule or regulation to make money.

Self driving lorries?  Great, lets step into the road and rob it when it has to stop.  No driver to get in the way

Self driving taxi?  Great, stolen credit cards a go go

Self driving company car?  Great, I will push my idiot granny in the road and ride the ghetto lottery all the way home to the bank

the fact that there will be no human 'victim' means that it becomes even easier to justify.

 

Edited by wherebee
spelling

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