July 1, 2017

"Volvo admits its self-driving cars are confused by kangaroos."

The system judges where things are by reference to the ground, and when the kangaroo is "in the air, it actually looks like it’s further away, then it lands and it looks closer."

36 comments:

Ralph L said...

Animals or people in the road sound like a problem for self-driving cars. How will they know when to steer or when to brake? Trash cans on one side vs. legs on the other?

richlb said...

A dingo ate my baby!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The mule deer often LEAP out of the trees and shrubs on the side of the road. They seem to lurk, waiting until you are just close enough to not be able to stop in time.

In order to avoid hitting a deer, you learn to scan far ahead down the road and especially scan the areas that are OFF of the road. You might see their ears or the tips of their horns peeking out. Once you spot them you slow way down until you have passed them.

When that first deer makes a bounding leap onto the roadway, you need to stop because there are inevitably going to be several more following, including little fawns.

How is a robot car going to handle this situation.

Or...these which I have experienced: the hawk or eagle that swoops low across the road looking for that tasty road kill (the deer the last guy hit). Flock of buzzards standing on the carcass at the side of the road and fly right out in front of you. (Trust me....you do NOT want to hit a buzzard. They puke all over your car) Pheasants. Hay truck that looses a load coming at you on a tight curve. The guy skidding on black ice on a two lane bridge now on a head on trajectory with you. Cattle truck full of pissing and pooping cows also strewing stuff all over the road and your car.

Robot cars are a stupid idea in anyplace other than Disneyland.

Fen said...

DBQ, your post reminded me of a parody of Blue City State enviros. They had decided that no one had a legitimate need for a V8 engine. Or trucks.

Same crowd that thinks steak comes from the grocery store.

Fen said...

"And on the 495 spur, traffic still not moving. 6 hours now. Police are reporting another ransom-ware stoppage."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here is another reason that self driving cars are stupid.

They insist on leaving a "safe driving distance" at all times. A safe driving distance is a good thing....BUT, do you know what happens on the freeway in Calif if you leave a space big enough for another car to fit in? A car takes that space.

Then your idiot robo car makes another space...and another car jumps in front of you or uses that space to cross 4 lanes of freeway. Back up...another space...another car. Rinse and repeat Pretty soon you will be so far back that you will never ever get to your destination.

Robo cars assume that everyone is acting logically. We know THAT is a wrong assumption!

Diogenes of Sinope said...
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Diogenes of Sinope said...

A little more processing power and it's smop (simply a matter of programming). Roos aren't a show stopper.

madAsHell said...

This is only a problem for non-Aussies.

Michael K said...

Self driving cars are not the only thing confused by kangaroos.

When I was there for the 1987 America's Cup, we all saw the signs that tell you not to drive into the Outback unless you know what you are doing. The road maps are all marked that way.

The Italian America's Cup team took a drive out to look at the Outback anyway. As they were driving, with six guys in the car, they hit a kangaroo.

The kangaroo was unconscious in the road and they all got out to see if it was alive.

They then got a brilliant idea. They lifted the groggy kangaroo up and put the team jacket on it to take a picture.

About that time, the kangaroo woke up and took off wearing the team jacket.

They then realized the car keys were in the jacket.

Kangaroos also confuse Italians.

zyz65 said...

I think we just need to make sure all wild kangaroos are confined to an island somewhere. Oh, wait a minute...

Original Mike said...

If you read the car rental agreements in Australia, you find all sorts of references to "single vehicle accidents". Basically, you are responsible for damages incurred in a "single vehicle accident", even if you have paid for coverage. Turns out, "single vehicle accident" is a euphemism for hitting a kangaroo.

Paddy O said...
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Freeman Hunt said...

To avoid deer at night, drive behind a semi. They won't swerve around, and they can't stop faster than your car.

FullMoon said...
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William said...

Everyone finds kangaroos confusing. It's the pouch bearing marsupial thing. The platypuses are even worse. Very little taxonomic clarity about such creatures. Self driving cars will probably hunt them down and kill them.

Fernandinande said...

Diogenes of Sinope said...
A little more processing power and it's smop (simply a matter of programming). Roos aren't a show stopper.


The MSM article doesn't actually indicate anything about a general problem (without re-skimming it, anyway!) : "Volvo admits its self-driving cars are confused by kangaroos."

Means ...
- Every company but Volvo has it figured out?
- Every company has this problem but only Volvo admits it?
- Only Volvo has tested against kangaroos?
- They only talked to Volvo?

mockturtle said...

I should think the kangaroos are equally confused by the self-driving cars.

Achilles said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

When that first deer makes a bounding leap onto the roadway, you need to stop because there are inevitably going to be several more following, including little fawns.

How is a robot car going to handle this situation.


Far better than humans do.

Achilles said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
Here is another reason that self driving cars are stupid.

They insist on leaving a "safe driving distance" at all times. A safe driving distance is a good thing....BUT, do you know what happens on the freeway in Calif if you leave a space big enough for another car to fit in? A car takes that space.


Easy solution. Take human drivers off the road.

This will happen quickly. People will not tolerate the thousands of deaths caused by human error in driving.

I am not saying this out of spite or as an argument. Step back and without emotion or bias look at the issue. There will be some holdouts but the public will shift over very rapidly. Driving to the store will be nap time. The three hour drive to the beach will be movie time. It will happen within the decade.

The vast majority of people will not allow a few holdouts to endanger them on the road anymore. There will be reserves for people who want to go manual drive for nostalgia reasons.

mockturtle said...

It's fine if self-driving cars are restricted to freeways. I prefer to avoid them, anyway. So many people are more interested in texting than in driving it would probably be a good thing for the daily commute. But I enjoy driving and will continue to do so as long as I am able.

Original Mike said...

"The vast majority of people will not allow a few holdouts to endanger them on the road anymore. There will be reserves for people who want to go manual drive for nostalgia reasons."

You support the government taking away our cars? Because that's what you're talking about.

Achilles said...

Original Mike said...


You support the government taking away our cars? Because that's what you're talking about.

I said in the same post:

"I am not saying this out of spite or as an argument. Step back and without emotion or bias look at the issue."

Don't think about what you want. Think about what will be.

Achilles said...

@ Original Mike

Also we should look at the parts we can keep when it happens. We need to focus on keeping individual ownership of vehicles possible and we need to focus on being able to modify our vehicles as well as be able to tell them where to go.

mockturtle said...

Don't think about what you want. Think about what will be.

That's a very defeatist attitude, Achilles. If people are willing to simply roll over and play dead, accepting every lamebrained scheme that comes down the pike [literally], then you could be right but I'm hoping we have more spine than that.

Original Mike said...

I don't believe this will happen within a decade. There's more to this than just the cars. There's a lot of infrastructure that will have to go in first (IMO) before a wholesale change to self-driving cars is viable. But yeah, prohibiting people from driving is the inevitable conclusion. I'm glad I'll be dead first.

rehajm said...

This will happen quickly. People will not tolerate the thousands of deaths caused by human error in driving.

If only I could short this.

rehajm said...

My hour with an autonomous vehicle consisted of 57 minutes of the instructor telling me all the places I would need to intervene because the system gets confused. That's not going to get better.

rehajm said...

Or the lawyers will kill them.

Gahrie said...

So we just kill all the kangaroos.......

(I'm kidding, I'm kidding)

Original Mike said...

"My hour with an autonomous vehicle consisted of 57 minutes of the instructor telling me all the places I would need to intervene because the system gets confused."

Which is a complete non-starter, of course. There's no way a human can keep the mental focus to jump in at a moments notice if they're not actually driving. And even if they could, what would be the point? You're not being freed of anything if you have to pay attention.

Original Mike said...

"So we just kill all the kangaroos......."

Kangaroos are tasty....

Gahrie said...

At a time when distracted and impaired driving deaths are so high, autonomous cars make more and more sense.

mockturtle said...

They will have to pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

MikeR said...

This kind of problem won't last long. It isn't hard to deal with this kind of special case by giving lots of examples of pictures with kangaroos in it. It was just outside of the more normal cases the software had handled so far.

Michael K said...

"There's a lot of infrastructure that will have to go in first (IMO) before a wholesale change to self-driving cars is viable."

Could see doing this as an optional system for commuters. For example, I drive to Phoenix (110 miles) round trip twice a week for work. I leave at 4 AM and the road is empty. The AZ speed limit is 75 and everybody goes at least 80. I would choose a self driving option so I could sit there and listen to my audible book (Right now it's Caro's biography of LBJ) and watch the road. Coming home at 2 PM has more traffic and I might set the self driving option after we get out of Phoenix but I could see a place for it.

Plus, I go back to California every couple of months and that is 500 miles of pretty easy driving.