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Full-Size Remote Control Cars

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the no-mr-bond-i-expect-you-to-die dept.

Transportation 91

cylonlover writes "Thanks to efforts of groups such as Google, Oxford University, BMW and Continental, we're getting closer and closer to the advent of autonomous cars – vehicles that drive themselves, with the human 'driver' pretty much just along as a passenger. Researchers at Germany's Technische Universität München, however, are looking at taking things a step further. They're developing remote-control cars that could travel along city streets with no one in them at all, their operator located somewhere far away."

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91 comments

Not exactly a step further. (3, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about a year ago | (#44440499)

Having a human to control the car makes it relatively EASY compared to autonomous. Whether there is a human in the autonomous car or not makes no difference. Of course it's still a technically challenging undertaking... drivers rely on being able to look behind them to check blind spots etc but a well designed remote would be able to give the driver all the info and control he'd need. Then it's just a matter of latency and control design.

automatically brakes until it reaches a standstil (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44440555)

can be end being very unsafe (with if it stops on rail road tracks) or any other number of unsafe places also can make some big jam ups let's say it stops on an 1 lane ramp?.

Re:automatically brakes until it reaches a standst (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44442273)

can be end being very unsafe (with if it stops on rail road tracks) or any other number of unsafe places also can make some big jam ups let's say it stops on an 1 lane ramp?.

It will be piloted by predator drone operators and will carry explosives, tested in Iraq, perfected in Afghanistan, sold throughout the world, by Target, get it?

Re:Not exactly a step further. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44440647)

Agreed, different set of challenges. I think of this as a branch rather than advancement.

Re:Not exactly a step further. (-1, Offtopic)

naoursla (99850) | about a year ago | (#44440691)

Why would you say "exactly"? It isn't even close to exactly. I think "really" would have been a much better choice. Also, drop the period in the subject. It's cleaner.

You're an ass! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441675)

You are an ass. You took The MAZZTer's post, bitched about it's grammar and then went a rewrote it yourself which scored you a +5. You're a karma whore. DIAF. I modded both your posts down.

Re:You're an ass! (1)

naoursla (99850) | about a year ago | (#44453185)

I posted my original at the same time as his. The GP was making fun of how similar our titles were.

Remotely directed but still autonomous (1)

erice (13380) | about a year ago | (#44441065)

That's what would be a step further. Being able to direct my car to come pick me up and not bother me with the details of how it got there.

Remotely piloted vehicles might useful for long haul trucking. It would be easier to drive in shifts this way if the drivers did not have to be physically present. They could even get a decent "night"'s sleep in a bed when not driving.

Re:Not exactly a step further. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441481)

drivers rely on being able to look behind them to check blind spots etc

Huh? I haven't seen this kind of driver in a long time... I want to drive where you live.

Not really a step further (4, Interesting)

naoursla (99850) | about a year ago | (#44440511)

Human drivers operating remotely is really a step in a different direction. It isn't moving past autonomous vehicles.

You could replace the remote humans with remote computers and it would be a form of autonomous vehicle.

In any case, given how often my cell phone drops signal while I'm driving I'm not sure I would want one of... oops...

sdfdxcal
[CARRIER LOST]

You're still an ass! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441699)

You are such an ass. You took The MAZZTer's post, bitched about it's grammar and then went a rewrote it yourself which scored you a +5. You're a karma whore. DIAF. I modded both your posts down.

Re:You're still an ass! (1)

naoursla (99850) | about a year ago | (#44453187)

Check the times on all of the posts.

Re:Not really a step further (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44442637)

I think it's a great advance. I can send my car to work while I stay home.

Re:Not really a step further (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44443543)

Great, let's just make the roads even less safe than they are now.

Driving is a very odd activity in that the person who does the stupid thing is very rarely affected by the consequences. Like say drinking and driving. A drunk driver getting into an accident rarely gets major injuries, however, the victim(s) usually get the brunt of the injuries and damages.

Consequence-free results of driving? Now an drunken idiot can go an cause havoc on the roads and basically get away scot-free - not even a scratch on his body. Even when we elevate a DUI to murder it's still not quite the same as what happened to the victim.

Re:Not really a step further (2)

Eivind (15695) | about a year ago | (#44444621)

What do you mean "even less safe" ? The roads in most of the developed world are safer than they've ever been, and improving rapidly. For example, here in Norway when I got my drivers licencee we had around 400 casualties a year, now 20 years later we've got around 170.

And that is despite the fact that driven-kilometers has almost doubled in those 20 years. Thus fatalities-pro-driven-km has fallen by something like 80% in 20 years.

I expect autonomous cars will continue the trend, and in another 20 years we'll have double-digit-fatalities, despite another increase in kilometers-driven.

Re:Not really a step further (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year ago | (#44507077)

How much lower are traffic fatalities simply because people carry cell phones? Which coincidentally ties in with the OP.

Re:Not really a step further (1)

Eivind (15695) | about a year ago | (#44508203)

Hard to say. Seems plausible, certain even, that always *having* a cellphone saves lives sometimes. It means quicker alerting of 911 for example, especially in the case where something happens far from the nearest landline.

I was just taking issue with the "even more dangerous" nonsense. There's plenty folks argue as if the world is going to hell and everything is deteriorating. Some things are, but traffic-fatalities certainly are not one of them.

Re:Not really a step further (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44444867)

yeah but the human drivers would also be remotely controlled

unnecessary sophistication (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44440533)

Too much sophistication. Not much practical....

Software is more reliable (2, Interesting)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44440565)

I trust software more than I trust most drivers these days.

Re:Software is more reliable (3, Insightful)

Green Salad (705185) | about a year ago | (#44440775)

Me too, but it is somewhat dependent on the vendor supplying the software. My trust in both is declining.

Re:Software is more reliable (2)

Dare nMc (468959) | about a year ago | (#44443383)

The question I have is owner maintenance and modifications. What happens when the cameras pointed straight down at the road, the Tires have patches on the sidewalls, the Car is loaded with 10 bags of 100# cement, and a couch is strapped to the roof?

Re:Software is more reliable (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#44440903)

Just FTR: it wasn't me on your lawn.

Re:Software is more reliable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441075)

A lot of my software problems are even caused by drivers.

Re:Software is more reliable (1)

m2shariy (1194621) | about a year ago | (#44441443)

Duh, with this remote thingy you will need to trust BOTH!

we're back to traffic jams (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44440597)

In the event of a bandwidth bottleneck or a sudden connection failure, the vehicle automatically brake

FYI, I see a lot of cars sitting on the highway (i.e. lesson one of wireless technology: don't use it!).

Re:we're back to traffic jams (2)

KieranC (1807174) | about a year ago | (#44442009)

If a truck is moving at 100km/hour, that equates to 27.8 m/second. So a half second latency will mean about 13m error. I hope the big, safe, remote controlled truck wasn't coming into a turn then. If may cause it to cross the lane divider and squish someone. This is a much worse scenario than merely stopping and blocking traffic.

Re:we're back to traffic jams (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | about a year ago | (#44443473)

Similar is done in many remote applications already, basically if it is capable of handling all short term decisions, just like the fancy cars today. Some cars can already stop on their own before hitting the car in front, avoid crossing lane lines (in a corner or straight), park in a parking space... The more difficult things like, can I run over that plastic bag/tumbleweed, is it solid or a important life. Can I drive on the shoulder around the debris in the road. Is that a wet road ahead. Are the cars blocking my way ever going to move, or do I need to maneuver around. Construction took away the lane markers, what now? Having a autonomous 4 seat car that could shuttle people around continuously, without having 25% of the car capacity being consumed for the driver as a possible huge plus. Especially with cars with a limited range (electric for example) where all the chargers are full at your desired destination, but it can go 4 miles to the nearest open charger, and come back charged. (or not hog a charger for my 8 hour work shift, if it took 2 hours to get its fill.)

Trucking? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44440605)

How feasible is something like this for long-haul trucking I wonder. Then the drivers wouldn't have to be away from home for weeks on end -- they could just sit in what amounts to a simulator room that was setup like a real cab with numerous cameras to give you normal vision and maybe some force-feedback.

I assume the eventual future will be monotonous stuff like long-haul trucking will all be automated.

Re:Trucking? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44440707)

How feasible is something like this for long-haul trucking I wonder. Then the drivers wouldn't have to be away from home for weeks on end -- they could just sit in what amounts to a simulator room that was setup like a real cab with numerous cameras to give you normal vision and maybe some force-feedback.

Then what would the point be? At least if they were actually driving the truck they'd have the opportunity to see the country. Not to mention, the windows don't roll down in simulators; things could get messy. [youtube.com]

Re:Trucking? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year ago | (#44440799)

Yeah, freight seems a good justification for this. However I expect that the majority of road use is about moving people between locations so remote control seems a bit pointless.

Or maybe it's a growth opportunity. I guess you could hire a chauffeur in another country to drive the vehicle for your commute to work while you read the paper. Or maybe drive it home after a night on the town. "Yes officer, I'm completely drunk but I'm not driving the car. I've hired a guy on the other side of the world to do it."

Re:Trucking? (1)

ethanms (319039) | about a year ago | (#44440849)

I'm sure they'll hire experienced drivers, remote Teamsters?

This will end up being a lowest bidder situation and just like call centers, you'll have "simulators" over in China, India, wherever filled with remote drivers.

Re:Trucking? (2)

jcwayne (995747) | about a year ago | (#44441875)

you'll have "simulators" over in China, India, wherever filled with remote drivers.

That might cause a bit of a latency problem. Plus it adds the risk that the next time a ship drags anchor on an undersea cable, several thousand trucks crash. Oops...

Drones (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year ago | (#44440661)

Just what we need. Drones on the road.

one word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44440693)

latency

LTE, 4G, 3G as dead zones and data low caps (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44440699)

Also don't even think about roaming with this as let's say $10-$20 an meg and ruining an car at $10 per minute (based on an very low data use of an 1 meg per minute is unworkable able let's say it more like 5-10 meg an minute that's like $500-$1000 in 60 minutes you bill is at the price of an NEW CAR!!.

Even at $10 per GB (usa no slow down rates) can still add up to like $10 per an little over 1.30 hours and that is not counting any other costs.

Re:LTE, 4G, 3G as dead zones and data low caps (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441723)

God dammit, Joe. You still can't speak fucking English. What the hell is your post trying to say?

There's 007 reasons this sounds familiar (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#44440709)

Anyone else immediately think of the remote control car from Tomorrow Never Dies [youtube.com] ?

These days you could run the remote app on just about any smartphone...

truckers (1)

Twillerror (536681) | about a year ago | (#44440715)

I wouldn't be surprised if UPS would be interested. Trucker gets tired just hand off. No more potty breaks etc.

I'm interested in the security and reliability of the connection. Cloud cover, overpasses, etc etc. Although I suppose you could combine a little auto driving in there like auto breaking and dealing with being cutoff. I don't think you could react fast enough remotely...plus if you wrecked the impact is less for you so you might get lazy.

still need some to pickup and drop packages (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44440873)

still need some to pickup and drop packages and remote drivers will cost more then just an driver doing it all.

Re:still need some to pickup and drop packages (1)

erice (13380) | about a year ago | (#44441359)

still need some to pickup and drop packages and remote drivers will cost more then just an driver doing it all.

The sending and receiving depots have people to load and unload. I can't see it being used for end point deliveries without extensive additional automation. However, for moving packages between depots, it would work fine.

Re:truckers (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#44441005)

I'm interested in the security and reliability of the connection

It's nice that someone is!

Re:truckers (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44441113)

If you eliminate the driver, who's going to mangle your packages for you? Someone needs to be there to toss your new glassware from the curb to your front door.

DoS attacks (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44440719)

at the basic level all you will need is some cell phone jamming and at the harder going after the control centers.

Re:DoS attacks (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44441159)

More interesting option, take over the signals, and drive your new car to a hidden location.
how many cars could you get if this takes off in a large city. You could sit in your mom's basement in your underwear, collecting large number of cars.
You could create a service: Someone wants a car for a robbery, and you can deliver one to them without ever touching it.
The bad giuys would have a field day with this.

Re:DoS attacks (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44441367)

yes that can happen but just and most basic and easy to do not take over but are able to shut down parts of the system it to have cell phone jamming.

Anyone know who operates airport subways? (1)

Green Salad (705185) | about a year ago | (#44440737)

I've always wondered who operates the airport concourse subways and trams. There's no visible driver. Is it totally automated? Are they monitored remotely?

Re: Anyone know who operates airport subways? (2)

ragnarok (6947) | about a year ago | (#44440875)

They're totally automated. They're monitored from a control center somewhere but it's not like there's a driver for each train, there may be one person watching the whole system.

Re:Anyone know who operates airport subways? (1)

crow (16139) | about a year ago | (#44440879)

I've long wondered that same thing. If they can safely operate without a driver, why can't they use the same technology for regular subway systems?

small track runs (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44440901)

small track runs and in places only 1 train on each track.

Re:Anyone know who operates airport subways? (1)

dantotheman (2887483) | about a year ago | (#44440947)

Probably has to do with the lack of cross-traffic at an airport versus a whole city's worth of subways trying to go in different directions.

Re:Anyone know who operates airport subways? (1)

ethanms (319039) | about a year ago | (#44440885)

Those trams and subways amount to not much more than sideways elevators. I'm guessing that someone monitors these things at large airports/etc just like someone monitors that the elevators are going. But otherwise they are easily automated because they are on rails, their paths are exclusive, secure and well controlled. There are generally double doors so no one can get in/out when they shouldn't, etc...

Re:Anyone know who operates airport subways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441001)

It's the same people who drive the elevators.

Re:Anyone know who operates airport subways? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441025)

They are automated, but controlled by at a central point. The DLR in london is a public light rail service that is fully automated since the 80's. In fact the Victoria tube line in London has been essentially automated since 1968 in terms of running between signals and stations. It has the driver simply there to open and close the door and make sure everybody is free of the train before letting it head off, that process could easily be done remotely by a team of 1 or 2 in a central facility, but the unions...... That line carries 200 million passengers a year.

Re:Anyone know who operates airport subways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44444353)

Same people who drive anything in the top of this list (GoA 4)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_driverless_trains

A step further (1)

jovius (974690) | about a year ago | (#44440765)

At first sight it doesn't sound really efficient, with empty cars driving around, but there could be new kind of shopping. Drive through malls where stuff is thrown into the empty car which can then be driven back home. Or how about a nice day at the beach with friends, in 5.1 surround and 360 degree vision? Maybe later models have more audio channels too. Next step could be to use car stereo system to transmit voice. There will be a boom in the car audio retail.

remote control isn't as hard as autonomous (1)

OlRickDawson (648236) | about a year ago | (#44440801)

DARPA's grand challenge had the cars unmanned. Totally autonomous, no human control, no one in the vehicle. Remote control of them would be easier than that. DARPA's goal at the time was to have supply trucks for the US Army to move around with like drones, so they wouldn't risk soldiers to IEDs.

Re:remote control isn't as hard as autonomous (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about a year ago | (#44440927)

DARPA's grand challenge had the cars unmanned. Totally autonomous, no human control, no one in the vehicle. Remote control of them would be easier than that.
DARPA's goal at the time was to have supply trucks for the US Army to move around with like drones, so they wouldn't risk soldiers to IEDs.

Overall I'd agree that autonomous is probably harder. But remote, especially long distance remote introduces some difficult problems, such as handling lag and disconnects. Seems like a silly endeavor since you'd most likely need to fail over to autonomous anyway in some situations.

New Top Gear Challenge (2, Insightful)

havana9 (101033) | about a year ago | (#44440857)

Fit three clunkers with actuators on steering wheel, horn, pedals, stick and connect them to an RC car receiver
Put cameras inside it.
Put cars in Dunsfold Park circuit
Give Jeremy, Richard and Dave one RC car controller each.
Make funny Top Gear Episode while the clunkers are trashed.

Re:New Top Gear Challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441171)

Don't you mean Jeremy, Richard and James. Or are you thinking of that crappy spinoff on the History Channel

Re:New Top Gear Challenge (1)

moschner (3003611) | about a year ago | (#44441345)

There was an episode of Top Gear in Series 19 where James May raced aTerraMax. The vehicle in the segment could be set to run autonomously or be remote controlled.

Re:New Top Gear Challenge (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#44442387)

1) You are aware that they had an episode many years ago where they did almost exactly that, yes?

2) Who the hell is Dave?

Re:New Top Gear Challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44445885)

Sounds similar to Mythbusters to me actually.

This sounds like fun (4, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#44440881)

I could stay home while driving to work.

Re:This sounds like fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441213)

Or your child could take a break from playing GTA to send the car after you.

Re:This sounds like fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441371)

You live in your office and work from it as a cab teledriver?

Re:This sounds like fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44442525)

This could be great improvement when leaving a party after getting stinkin drunk.

Mythbusters did it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44440917)

Grant already modded several cars with remote control so that they can do dangerous stuff to the car without hurting themselves. Now, mind you, he did it as a human replacement (levers and pistons that operate the brake, gas pedals and gear box), rather than having the logic built into the car, but the idea is already there.

Re:Mythbusters did it (2)

Wookact (2804191) | about a year ago | (#44440957)

This is exactly what I was thinking. There is no reason that turning a car into a R/C car would be difficult in the least. The hard part is autonomous.

Done already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441129)

Didn't they already do this in the 1960's? I seen a remote control car in Mission Impossible once!

Re:Done already (0)

bmimatt (1021295) | about a year ago | (#44441455)

Mythbusters have done it numerous times already.  Not autonomous, RC however.

Re:Done already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44443219)

And every show I have seen with a r/c remote, something goes wrong with it. Lack of breaking / failsafe not working / etc.

Re:Done already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44445747)

Not all the time. Successive iterations have improved a lot. What they always do every show is they wreck all of them so they never make it to market.

And that's why we can't have nice things.

More useful than it looks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441189)

Seems to me, this would be a boon to automating driving. Since with the ability for cars to be remotely controlled, a central traffic computer could move these cars, knowing their destinations ahead of time (you'd tell it where you'd like to go.) much more efficiently than we could ever hope to do.

Some challenges to overcome, but this could be a step in the right direction. I think a combination of on board computers to manage the vehicle in combination with a central traffic computer to guide cars in relation to each other more efficiently, we could be looking something quite nice. Obviously, to me at least, the on board automation needs to be robust enough to operate on it's own whenever a central traffic computer is not available for one reason or another.

Team driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441301)

Employment as part of a five-member committee that cooperates in team-driving one vehicle at a time. Or a train, when the engineer is using his cell phone.

Incorrect phrasing.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44441389)

Please replace "taking things a step further"
with "trying something a bit easier"

As many have said this is in no way a step forward from autonomous. How many times have the Mythbusters done this already?? (Albeit not from a distant location, but big deal)

Google utopia (Googlopia?) (1)

bmimatt (1021295) | about a year ago | (#44441439)

Now you do not have to distract yourself from watching Google-provided ads while you're driving.
Get your computer hands off my steering wheel, I like driving my car!

Why? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44442837)

The point of having a car is to get me from point A to point B. An autonomous car I can understand. For those too dim to drive. But what would be the point of me sitting at home while directing my car all over town? I mean if I've got to sit with a wheel in my hand, I might as well be sitting in the driver's seat.

The application proposed by TFA (delivering rental cars) still requires paying a (remote) driver for the one way trip. Might as well have one person drive a car carrier and drop vehicles off where needed.

This was my childhood dream (1)

Paul Sajna (3003793) | about a year ago | (#44443559)

:-D

Autonomous cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44443569)

Has anyone considered that another solution might be a workable public transit system? I like driving as much as anyone but every time I go to a city I marvel at all the cars going to roughly the same place during rush hour.

Awesome! (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about a year ago | (#44443813)

Now I know the plot of the next Grand Theft Auto: Reality Edition!

Looks brilliant. (1)

Molochi (555357) | about a year ago | (#44443831)

I saw them testing this on Top Gear.

If this were available (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44444133)

Muslims would be mowing down pedestrians and causing head-on crashes left, right, and centre. It's a real "terrorists toolkit"

IDD - improvised drone device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44445391)

nt

Already done for mining dump trucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44444315)

http://www.komatsu.com/ce/currenttopics/v09212/
http://www.itnews.com.au/News/296907,rio-tinto-prepares-mine-for-driverless-trucks.aspx

Coming up next: (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#44444355)

Live Action GTA

Already Done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44444891)

alreay done!
Atlas Car - Aveiro University - Portugal
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN4-AfUN-3A

Re:Already Done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44444915)

oh ... and with a perfectly *regular* - *adapted* - car.

NO NO NO NO NO (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a year ago | (#44445743)

Oh hell no, as a cyclist I know that drivers take enough risks with MY life even when they're in the car and I can confront the idiots 50 yards down the road at the lights.

How can police see if the driver is drunk, old enough, awake, not playing tetris etc.

  No fucking way, I will **censored** if a remotely driven car comes anywhere near me.

Re:NO NO NO NO NO (1)

gapagos (1264716) | about a year ago | (#44445979)

As a fellow cyclist regularly commuting by bike to work, I 100% agree with you.

Bumble-Bee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44446015)

A remote control Bumble-Bee that would do my office work while I just sit at home and have beer ?

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