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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Fossil BS: Predictions, as of 2012 (61* d) RE: BS: Predictions, as of 2012 19 Dec 12

Eliza, Since I came to live in NZ, I have done round-the-world flights every year, so yes, I have flown long-haul, many, many more miles than I really like to think about. And yes, I'm quite happy with the concept that the auto-pilot does the boring stuff: once the airship has reached cruising altitude out of Auckland, there is nothing for a pilot to do for 12 hours until they reach the San Francisco airspace anyway.

Same with sailing: once you're out of harbour, an Autohelm can easily keep the boat on whatever course you like, while you go and do other things, tend the sails, cook your dinner, read your book, whatever.

But driving a car on a road on which thousands of other individuals are tearing along, weaving in and out, going round corners, negotiating roadworks etc is a different kettle of fish. Many, many more factors in play, more decisions to make, faster. After all, on an aircraft or a boat, even if some hazard comes up that the auto-pilot can't deal with, there is (or should be) a qualified individual watching the controls, able to take over in good time.

Not sure that this would be the same in a computer-driven car: things happen on the road very quickly and unless you're concentrating, you might not be able to get out of trouble. In which case you might as well be driving...

Sure, you can write a programme to steer any vehicle down a predetermined route at a predetermined speed, even - with suitable sensors - maintaining a predetermined distance from the car in front. It's the variables that cause the problem. My point was that I'm not yet sure that they have programmes good enough to keep you safe under all the circumstances that might arise on a car journey and it will only be when I *am* satisfied that I'll consider using them.

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