Autonomous driving – useful or not?

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Is autonomous driving the end of freedom?

Autonomous driving - useful or not?-alone racetrack Attention high-speed drivers

Source: Getty Images

No, thinks Lutz Fugener, because even steering and braking vehicles are a blessing for young and old. Yes, says Guido Bellberg, because they are a means of compulsory regulation.

At the technology fair CES, Audi demonstrated with a tour of almost 900 kilometers that self-driving cars are ready for the road. A model A7 vehicle, nicknamed “Jack”, equipped with 20 sensors drove the route from the development laboratory in California’s Silicon Valley to the trade fair city of Las Vegas in two days. BMW and Mercedes will also be presenting their innovations for autonomous driving. The new technology is of great help, believes Lutz Fugener, Professor of Transportation Design at the Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences. Here is his rationale.

A ghost looms in Europe, and not only there: the vision of autonomous driving. With the Google experiment, the idea once again received media support. As a consequence, it is about nothing less than the dissolution of the boundaries between individual and public transport, the total assimilation of the driver in a fully networked traffic situation, the supposed end of all driving pleasure.

Exposed to the system, we sit in driverless taxis with interiors that look like a designer hotel, deprived of any direct influence on route and speed. We only try to use a few virtual controllers to make suggestions to the mechanism within the limits permitted by the programmer.

Even windshield wipers will then no longer be necessary. With this prospect alone, it seems that car drivers of primeval times have granted us the grace of early birth, that period in which driving was self-determined and always inseparable from one concept: freedom.

A future without car accidents and traffic lights

Independent driving of cars is expected to revolutionize road traffic in 10-20 years. Gerhard Fettweis is an expert in the field of communications technology and is driving this development. Source: The World

Driverless driving is already technically possible. With the advances in electromobility and increasing mobile data networking, it is becoming feasible. There is still no solution or no political will to create it just for legal protection. If it exists, it could actually seriously change our infrastructure.

Set pieces of the system already exist

A first step in the introduction of this type of automotive locomotion would be reserved lanes, initially physically separated from conventional traffic, on which the driver can hand over his vehicle to the system, whereby the organization of precisely these moments of handover and assumption of responsibility is a real challenge for the Represents the developer of such processes.

The driver would be released from his responsibility, provided with a specific route and time preview and called back to the wheel in good time before leaving the autonomously drivable zone. In a further expansion stage, mixed traffic with both self-controlled and automated vehicles is conceivable. In contrast to the conventional car with a combustion engine, its electrically operated counterpart would hardly be more complicated for this. If the hardware is completely controlled "by wire" anyway, autonomous driving becomes a pure software problem.

The drift of the year

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That’s drifting: In a right-hand bend, the front wheels have turned to the left, so the BMW M235i can prevent it from breaking away. The peculiarity: Here it actually preventsch the BMW itself and not the driver.

Source: BMW

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BMW engineer Yves Pilat (right) with “Welt” editor Stefan Anker before the test lap on the racetrack. this time the car tester is allowed to …

Source: BMW

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… only take a seat in the front passenger seat. Yves Pilat shows his guest here where he can later read which ones …

Source: BMW

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… Centrifugal force will act in curves. In curves that don’t …

Source: BMW

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… the engineer drives actively, but drives the car himself. Theoretically, the driver’s seat could also remain unoccupied: the BMW drives better than most men on its ownchen, his …

Source: BMW

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… It finishes drifting on wet roads cleanly and without swinging the rear end in the opposite direction, as is often the case.

Source: BMW

If this scenario still looks like science fiction, despite some announced model tests – automation has already sneaked into our cars. And we let them be. Cruise control, lane assistant, ABS, parking assistant, distance control ACC / ADR – these are all set pieces of this system and are waiting to finally be able to network with each other and far beyond the individual vehicle. Sports motorcycles with an output of more than 200 hp have program switches that help the driver to use these outputs of more than one hp per kilogram at all.

In "Rain" mode, carefree full throttle is possible when leaning, while in "Race" mode, the machine gently lifts the front wheel off the road when accelerating out – the wheelie app. The computer shows what is possible here, if one could. A control technology that hybrid or fully electric cars already have with them in many cases – but has so far been used to keep the wheels on the road at all times.

Sometimes driving is annoying

A BMW i8 needs more source code than an F16 to get a grip on the electrically operated front axle, the conventionally driven rear axle and the complex energy management. The few awkward control commands from the driver are negligible from a computational point of view.

All of these helpers seem welcome, as long as they don’t put a stop under the gas pedal or even grab the steering wheel – because regardless of all legal feasibility, the fun with the idea currently seems to stop here. But the vision of a fully autonomous vehicle should not scare anyone. If it joins the principle known to us as a freely selectable option, there are actually some reasons to long for it.

We are currently living with an almost completely mobilized generation of drivers of retirement age who rightly perceive the loss of their mobility as a social amputation and who will delay this moment for as long as possible. Some will miss it – with the corresponding consequences for themselves and those around them.

A look into the future of design

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The BOT shared taxi from Polish designer Chris Luchowiec won the Michelin Design Challenge 2014. The car is ordered via a mobile phone app and from a cloud computer controlled in the internet. Like all entries to the competition, the BOT is only a draft and an idea – there is no model and no technical development.

Source: Michelin

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2nd place: AKA24 by Chuang Dong, Zhen Qiu and Haowen Deng from China. The single-seater can be placed upright, with the passenger compartment remaining in place. In this Platzsparmodus is supposed to float the car over a magnetic tape next to the road.

Source: Michelin

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3rd place: GelenK by Takbeom Heogh from South Korea. Space-saving truck system with flexible transport boxes that can also autonomously follow the towing vehicle.

Source: Michelin

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4th place: Dreamon by Christian Polanco from Guatemala. The car closes like a cocoon around its driver and entertains him with a holographic infotainment and game system, while it drives completely autonomously from A to B. If the driver wants, he can take the wheel himself. Intended for the big city in 2050.

Source: Michelin

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5th place: Sight for Blind People by Sun Zongheng from China. The 21-year-old design student from Shanghai thought of his 50 million compatriots with visual impairments and designed an A.Auto that blind people can drive too. Of course, it operates autonomously, and it also gives the driver feedback in the form of vibrations, sounds or spoken words.

Source: Michelin

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6th place: HERE by Ludovico Campana and Seunghon Jeong from Italy. Except for a few philosophical statements about human abilities and willpower in generalThere are no pertinent references to this car idea in the contest publications. Maybe you could still work on the aerodynamics.

Source: Michelin

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7th place: NUUP by Ramon Ramirez Perez from Mexico. Nuup is a Mayan word and means connection. The designer conceived the car as a personal assistantert who anticipates what you need and where you want to go – like a butler on wheels.

Source: Michelin

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8th place: CO-V from Amadou Ba Ndiaye from Canada. The abbreviation stands for Co-Vehicle, and the design by the native Senegalese Ndiaye is intended to be particularly suitable for future forms of the C.arsharing. A smartphone app should be able to change the rear of the car (hatchback, sedan, station wagon, pick-up) in order to adapt it to the next trip. This works thanks to flexible components that are layered on top of each other.

Source: Michelin

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9th place: Twinway by Marko Lukovic from Serbia. The design professor, born in 1977, relies entirely on fully automatic functions in the car. His thesis: In Belgrade, the Serbian headtstadt, there is no subway, so there are massive traffic jams in the morning and evening. So the cars have to be made smart enough to drive autonomously and flawlessly so that the roads can pass more vehicles through in the same amount of time.

Source: Michelin

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Place 10: Uniblock by Jungu Lee from South Korea. This narrow car can either drive alone through very narrow streets or join with one or two other uniblocksin order to cover longer distances on large roads as a mini-train, broad side first. When looking for a parking space, the convoy is then separated again.

Source: Michelin

The automated drive would be a blessing for all those directly and indirectly affected. From this perspective, it doesn’t seem fast enough to get this technology on the road. What is comfortable for old people is also comfortable for young people and young people. Why drive when driving is not fun, yes, annoying.

Performance comparison with artificial intelligence

Why look for a parking space, drive to the workshop or the car wash when the car can do it without us. Why leave the car behind when the law forbids us to drive by hand after a boozy celebration? Child taxi? They don’t always want you with you anyway. With the assumption of the often annoying transport tasks, the potential of this principle is by no means exhausted.

When the cars move around us in a self-controlled and computer-optimized manner, driving becomes a challenge again, comparing performance with artificial intelligence, the ghost car, which demonstrates an optimized drive for us with stoic infallibility – in our car or in the one in front of or behind us.

More on the topic of autonomous driving

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How will autonomous driving change our mobility??

Autonomous driving - useful or not?-alone racetrack Attention high-speed drivers this

Volocopter

We sat in a real air taxi

One would have to get used to being an imperfect analogue obstacle every now and then for the automatically driven contemporaries. But it won’t bother them, because they are sure to be busy with something else in their car. However, the profession of driver is then on the red list.

The autonomously driving car incapacitates the pilot and he loses driving pleasure. Here is the position of Guido Bellberg.

Self-driving cars – I see a bad moon rising. This morning I saw the future of the automobile frighteningly clear. So if you have the faint of heart or are a real petrolhead, now is a good time to get into fashion. Are you still there? All right then let’s try a simple addition:

a = increasing share of pensioners in the population.

This increases the proportion of pensioners in the electorate and car buyers.

b = professional politicians who base all proposals and their voting behavior on the presumed majority of voters.

This presumed majority apparently fears day after day of inflation (or deflation), the end of the world due to warming (or cooling) and of course the Americans (or, less often, the Russians). Then there are the primal fears of illness and death, and in the end, quite a few people are very quickly prepared to accept almost any restriction in order to feel more secure – no matter how small.

c = self-driving cars at affordable prices.

Happens when the European manufacturers have prepared the market and the Koreans and Chinese install the technology for 2.50 euros. Inevitably.

a + b + c = The end of the car as we know it.

Sure, you can – just for example – laugh at the Google car and think that the whole thing is an embarrassing project by Californian bastards with a budget that is too big and that can never be implemented in Europe. And the design undeniably underground. Recovered? Did I already mention that the first 100 European cars are already driving independently through Gothenburg in a pilot project? As far as I know, with some success and so far without any accidents.

Look sadly at the exhaust

Tata – there you have the future: cars as autonomous trams, only without other passengers. I ask myself with a shiver: Can there be a greater social, hedonistic and mobile regression? The entire basic idea of ​​an automobile is that it a) drives by itself (“autonomously”), but b) in the way the driver wants it to be. And as good or bad, fast or slow, as the person behind the wheel wants or can.

BMW drives alone on the racetrack

Attention, high-speed drivers: In this PR video, a BMW circles a racetrack without the driver having to do anything. The prototype is intended to demonstrate how far the technology for autonomous driving has already come.

So after the development of the automobile, from the carriage to the means of transport for a few wealthy people to the individual mobilization of the masses, is the role now backwards again? From the self-determined individual back to the functional subject who ensures as little trouble as possible?

It’s sad, but I suspect what is likely to happen is this: First we get self-driving cars, where the driver determines when to drive or when to let the car (i.e. the networked computer) control it. An intermediate step that is ideal for gently getting used to the lack of automotive freedom.

After a few years there will only be self-driving cars. Because it’s just safer and more sustainable. This is followed by the compulsory use of more or less functioning buses and trains, prescribed from above, because it is of course superfluous for twenty self-driving cars to roll into the city center, where the whole thing could also be done with just one tram. Even easier and safer. And of course even more sustainable, whatever that means.

The Swedes are already talking confidently that self-driving cars will fundamentally change attitudes towards driving. They are right. Because the arguments are really unbeatable. In the future, in the one hour A1 from Hamburg to Bremen, you can either stare gloomily at the exhaust of the Polish truck in front of you or read “Die Welt” on the iPad.

Like a pack of half-starved Rottweilers

Do I have to mention that the self-driving cars are getting quite a lot of support from the Swedish government? Their goal – that should get enough votes – is to reduce the number of road deaths in Sweden to zero, and who seriously wanted to say something about it? I am also against traffic fatalities, especially in Sweden.

Sure, people die while exercising, on vacation and especially around the house, but everything in good time. The goal is probably, as I have complete confidence in the foresight of the responsible politicians and the innovative spirit of the industry, to bring the number of deaths in Scandinavia to zero in the long run.

The winner of the Audi Urban Future Award

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Jose Castillo is an architect and urban planner, he teaches at Harvard University, among others. For the Audi Urban Future Award he has …

Source: Audi

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… with his team a solution for the permanent traffic jam in the Santa Fe office district in …

Source: Audi

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… found Mexico City. The people should act as so-called data donors and …

Source: Audi

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… report via smartphone when and where you want to go from which starting point. Then you will be suggested how to get to your destination with as little traffic jam as possiblecan.

Source: Audi

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In addition to Mexico City, Boston was also represented in the competition. Urban planner Phil Parsons investigates for the …

Source: Audi

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… Somerville district, how to use the available space more effectively. In addition to dynamic road user charges, he also relies on …

Source: Audi

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… that cars will soon be able to park without a driver. That would cut the space required for parking garages by half.

Source: Audi

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The most futuristic suggestion came from the Berlin team: people sit in autonomous cars at the stops of the train, which bring them precisely to their destination. These cars …

Source: Audi

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… but don’t necessarily have to look like cars. The team around the architect Max Schwitalla takes care of the connection of a new district, which is on the site of the heuTegel Airport, which is still in use, is to be built.

Source: Audi

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The competition participants from Seoul took the Korean peculiarity of being constantly online via smartphone as a starting point and concluded that …

Source: Audi

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… the cars should definitely drive autonomously in permanent traffic jams and, moreover, have to be completely networked in order to be able to maintain permanent contact with other drivers.

Source: Audi

And then all over Europe and later also the rest of the world. I’m guessing a solution that looks like the physical reality behind the matrix: we all lie relaxed in lukewarm liquid food and watch TV all day.

Also, please don’t forget: You can sell pretty much anything with "security", from shower mats to insurance to gold. And if you add a little "sustainable", "comfortable" and – unbeatable in Germany – "economical" to the mix and stir it all up, you will have a real bestseller in no time at all.

Do you think the self-driving car will not come, or at least not soon? Unfortunately, I’m not so sure, because one thing is clear: The idea of ​​autonomous "cars" – ideally still to be controlled from the outside – will jump into the rulers in political parties, administrations, NGOs, churches and environmental associations like a pack of half-starved Rottweilers of a fat man in a ham suit. And what would you have said to me in 2004 if I had told you that in ten years you will no longer be allowed to smoke in pubs?

Audi is entering the high-tech duel with the RS7

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Fast-paced: the sportiest autonomous vehicle, the Audi RS7, circles the circuit in Oschersleben.

Source: Audi

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A driver is only on board for emergencies; the computer takes care of steering, accelerating, clutching and braking.

Source: Audi

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It should be the beginning of a new generation of cars that should assist people in driving.

Source: Audi

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In the future, it should be possible to take your hands off the wheel, but at least Audi does not give priority to pure robot vehicles.

Source: Audi

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“World author” Marcel Sommer with the computer modules and sensors that are distributed all over the car.

Source: bernhardhuber

The only thing that spontaneously comforts me is that navigation devices will still be error-prone in the future. Haha, another SUV in the Rhine. And that there will still be young men when I’m old and even drooling. I like the thought.

Because I just trust that the youngsters of tomorrow will find a way to outsmart technology and make the most of their misery. Like young men do. Hey, guys in the future: in thirty years, why don’t you visit me for a few quick laps in the old people’s home with your box. But don’t forget to get me some valerian cake, mate tea and a couple of English top gear seasons on the way.

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