tjh290633 wrote:odysseus2000 wrote:Imho the Ap is not far away from being able to navigate UK roads, but to be useable it will also need to learn how to deal with roundabouts and junctions, the former unknown in the US and the latter very different.
If you want to try it out, try sending two autonomously driven cars along our lane, one from each end, and see how they sort themselves out when they meet in the middle. They may well each have a queue of traffic behind them, to complicate matters, and there are always a line of parked cars in the narrowest section.
Manually driven cars are able to negotiate the lane with little problem, until an oversized truck (>6'6" wide) attempts it. They often have to reverse out and that can take some time.
I wouldn't fancy having a driverless taxi to take me home.
Like others have mentioned, autonomous cars could have a 5g network to resolve these kinds of situations, although personally, I think any autonomous car will need to be able to resolve these situations of their own accord without any recourse to inter-vehicle communication - which I don't see any reason they couldn't.
Autonomous cars will have full 360 degree vision, so driving backwards shouldn't be any kind of technical hurdle.
There are plenty of algorithms in software engineering related to deadlock resolution, etc, so it's not like there aren't plenty of ideas... networks and concurrent systems have been grappling with (the software equivalent of) single track roads for decades now - so it's just a matter of choosing and implementing the algorithm people think is the most appropriate or acceptable (that's not necessarily the most efficient - people don't always instinctively like the theoretically most ideal solution, and may be happier with a suboptimal algorithm for sorting out meeting in the middle of single track lanes)
I think the biggest challenge for autonomous cars will be the ambiguity that often arises between whether a car is parked or dropping someone off, or whether it is stationary because it is queuing.
At all times the autonomous car should at least be 'safe' and won't attempt anything that causes it to collide, but in some of these ambiguous situations there is a high likelihood of the car ending up dithering because its got itself into a situation that it misinterpreted and ended up in the wrong lane or wrong position, or ended up waiting and waiting and waiting behind a car that was actually parked, rather than overtaking it.
The other situation I think they may struggle with is the same issue for human drivers - many junctions only indicate which lane is for which direction using road markings, in lane, and only at the last minute... on a clear road with clear visibility of the lanes, that's fine... but in heavy traffic with the car in front obscuring the lane in front, it's very easy to end up in the wrong lane as you approach a junction.
I guess an autonomous car should be better at continuously monitoring the lane even as a sliding window... unlike a person, the car doesn't need to keep looking up, so it could I guess generate a continuous picture of the road / lane and fully extract any markings from it...
… though often in heavy traffing, you'll already be in the wrong lane / queue before you see the marking telling you that you should be in the adjacent lane, which is now packed with cars queuing.
I think an autonomous car might find it difficult to 'push' into such a busy lane.
These aren't necessarily dangerous problems - in all cases the car's basic safety programming should ensure it doesn't physically try to drive into something else, and should also prevent it shooting out into the path of another moving vehicle... but that's part of the problem... that level of caution will make it difficult to be 'assertive' to get itself out of a situation that it misinterpreted, so may end up stranded for some time if the surrounding vehicles are being driven by, well, let's just say 'certain types'.
I agree with Odysseus2000 regarding road differences.
It's not that the differences in the UK are insurmountable - they're certainly not insurmountable. It's just that the UK is a small island globally with it's own quirky rules (like driving on the left), and an unwillingness to converge with others / determination to keep its own separate rules, so as to protect its 'sovereignty'...
.. that's going to mean developing cars for the UK will always be at least one step behind autonomous cars developed for other markets, assuming manufacturers think the extra investment is justified at all... though I think in most cases, once developed for other markets, the development costs for the UK market will be smaller than completely starting from scratch so the effort will be made... it will just be one or more steps behind, and have an additional cost... developing for the UK quirks won't come for free.
So we'll be paying a premium for autonomous cars in the UK as a result of our determination to be different and set our own rules, our insistence that we develop our own non-standard road signs different from our neighbours, etc