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Self driving buses, trains, trucks etc

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,478 ✭✭✭ eeguy


    type-writers are not a valid comparison to rail freight. rail freight can be competitive in ireland with a policy shift toards it. it would require breaking the stranglehold of the road hauliers but it will be worth it once done. greater use of rail freight will be cheaper then paying all those fines for carbon emissions as well i'd bet. electric trucks will still require a lot of energy to power them all which will have to come from burning something and in a lot more quantities.

    Didn't people move away from rail because of the stranglehold of rail hauliers?

    Automation is happening. The Irish news in particular is often months behind reporting. The big story today about road convoys in the UK fails to mention that it's already been done in Germany and France last year.
    Tesla are expected to reveal their electric semi-truck next month, which is reported to have similar autonomous capability to the cars.

    It's not just restricted to transport. If you need surgery in ten years time you can be guaranteed there'll be a robot guiding a surgeons hand.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,897 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    anyone else reckon that this convoy idea is solving a problem with computers that was solved centuries ago with rail?

    The issue with rail is the high capital cost of building it and the fact that it doesn't go everywhere.

    The advantage of driverless truck convoys is that they can cheaply use the infrastructure that is already in place for cars.

    I think rail freight will still make sense across long distances (like across the US), but driver less trucks and convoys will definitely be a thing everywhere else.
    the timetables are not set up for the staff first. the wage savings would only pay for a few busses i reccan, busses don't come cheap.

    Wages make up 60% of Dublin Buses income.

    New buses (100 per year) cost just about 14% of Dublin Buses income (though note they currently cost DB zero as the NTA pays for them).

    At the very least self driving vehicles, especially if using cheap electricity, would pretty much guarantee we would have 24/7 bus services and probably more frequent services on Sundays. If wages are no longer an issue, then no reason to leave the buses sitting in the depot when they can be out earning revenue.

    Though I do wonder if buses will survive the upcoming self driving revolution at all!

    On demand, uber style self driving pod car type services could end up completely bypassing buses completely.

    I've read reports that modelled the cost of such services. They found it to be about 50c per mile. To put that in context I travel about 2 miles on DB and it costs me €2.05. With this type of service, the same trip would cost about €1. Half the price, door to door and the pod car to myself!

    I think some bus services will still survive, heading into the core city center with heavy congestion is present. However they will likely need to be self driving to bring the cost of services and tickets down to be more competitive with on demand car rental services.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 41,310 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    eeguy wrote: »
    It's not just restricted to transport. If you need surgery in ten years time you can be guaranteed there'll be a robot guiding a surgeons hand.
    what do you mean by 'guiding'?
    robotic assisted surgery has been around for years; in the sense that robotic surgery allows surgeons to 'step down' their hand movements and buffer them, operating from a console. buffering out hand tremors too.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 41,310 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    bk wrote: »
    The issue with rail is the high capital cost of building it and the fact that it doesn't go everywhere.
    in the short term anyway, i can see these road convoys being limited to motorways and the like - in an irish context, places that generally are already served by rail.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,478 ✭✭✭ eeguy


    what do you mean by 'guiding'?
    robotic assisted surgery has been around for years; in the sense that robotic surgery allows surgeons to 'step down' their hand movements and buffer them, operating from a console. buffering out hand tremors too.

    You'd be hard pressed to find that in an Irish hospital ;) I'm talking about haptic assistance, systems that show the surgeon exactly where to cut and how to approach a cut, keep the cut angles correct and lock up when the blade moves outside a predefined "safe zone".

    They already exist to some extent, but are not as intelligent or ubiquitous as they will be in the next decade.
    in the short term anyway, i can see these road convoys being limited to motorways and the like - in an irish context, places that generally are already served by rail.

    Yep, in the short term.

    I remember years ago people writing off laptops. They're too slow, too big, battery is crap, screen is crap etc. Most people look at something and see it for what it is, not what it has the potential to become.


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 41,310 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    eeguy wrote: »
    You'd be hard pressed to find that in an Irish hospital ;) .
    my father's prostate was removed about seven years ago, using a da vinci robot - the surgeon was about 15 feet from him at the time; which is obviously one of the things i was referring to. you can program that so that for every 1cm the surgeon's hand moves, the cutting blade on the robot will move 1mm, say. they're mad looking things:

    da_Vinci_S_HD_System.jpg


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,586 ✭✭✭ Layne Rotten Colon


    It's had zero success. They've fired a cart down a 100 metre long tube at less than 100 miles per hour. This isn't anything new and it's the equivalent of throwing a toy rocket in to the sky and claiming we've mad great progress getting to the moon. This idea isn't new Jules Vern was writing about it 170 years ago

    That was actually a pod doing 190mph in a 500m tube at DevLoop site in Nevada, the project is heavily backed up by just a few million $$$.

    Similar companies and investments are appearing around the world based on this friction-less technology.

    The theoretical top speed is 670mph (1080kmph), which would leave all other land based, and indeed some air transport in the shade.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,897 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    in the short term anyway, i can see these road convoys being limited to motorways and the like - in an irish context, places that generally are already served by rail.

    Sure, I agree on the first point, but on the later point, nothing stopping freight companies from using rail today, yet rail freight continues to be less then 1% of all freight carried in Ireland today.

    The reality is even having a driver in the cab today is quiet a good bit cheaper then rail freight in Ireland for a variety of reasons.

    Road freight companies would be looking to reduce this cost even further from their already lower cost base.

    Another strong possibility is remotely operated trucks. A "driver" sitting in an office somewhere, remotely controls the truck when it is in the docks, remotely drives it out through the city onto the motorway and then leaves it go into self driving mode until it hits the next city where he takes over control again. Obviously the one remote driver would be switching between multiple trucks.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,558 ✭✭✭✭ Interested Observer


    Until I see any actual progress I will be calling hyperloop the fevered dream of mad men

    Commercial maglev trains are already a thing, in China they carry passengers I'm pretty sure (might be wrong), Japan has them at testing/construction stage and they will carry passengers in the future.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 41,310 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    heh - one stream of debate on the thread is how a new rail system is the future, another stream is how rail is insuffiicient as it's too limited in where it can go.


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 41,310 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    bk wrote: »
    Though I do wonder if buses will survive the upcoming self driving revolution at all!
    this is one claim i keep seeing that i've yet to understand fully/be convinced on; i might need to do more reading on it. i'm not sure whether it's because we're expecting a higher rate of car ownership with self driving cars; or whether people will be more inclined to carpool?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭ plodder


    maglev isn't coming to Ireland any time soon, but these road trains could well be. The difference between them and rail is that the transition from convoy to non-convoy is not just seamless; it's invisible. The driver will just press a button (or hear a warning signal) and that's it. He takes control leaves the convoy and continues his journey. Rail will never be able to compete with that, outside of certain niches areas.
    this is one claim i keep seeing that i've yet to understand fully/be convinced on; i might need to do more reading on it. i'm not sure whether it's because we're expecting a higher rate of car ownership with self driving cars; or whether people will be more inclined to carpool?
    I'm sceptical about that aspect too. We've had car pooling schemes already. I don't really see how self-driving is linked to car pooling specifically.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,586 ✭✭✭ Layne Rotten Colon


    HGV/Lorry driving is the common job in the USA, the new self driving trucks (in convoy) is going to hit these blue collar drivers like a lorry.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,478 ✭✭✭ eeguy


    HGV/Lorry driving is the common job in the USA, the new self driving trucks (in convoy) is going to hit these blue collar drivers like a lorry.

    Yep, the writings on the wall for them.

    Taxi drivers in New York called for a 50 year ban on autonomous development last year. They were rightly ignored.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,586 ✭✭✭ Layne Rotten Colon


    eeguy wrote: »
    Yep, the writings on the wall for them.

    Taxi drivers in New York called for a 50 year ban on autonomous development last year. They were rightly ignored.

    Agree, there is some small growth for drivers up to 2020, but some folks think Phase4 near 100% utopian autonomous adoption could occur as soon as 2026-30.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 534 eezipc


    Driverless buses are already in Tallinn. Was on one today. https://www.eu2017.ee/news/press-releases/driverless-buses-arrive-tallinn


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,586 ✭✭✭ Layne Rotten Colon


    This topic is directly related to UBI (basic income guarantees), so that the new inevitable 'AU plated' transport will be welcomed, not feared.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 41,310 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    plodder wrote: »
    I'm sceptical about that aspect too. We've had car pooling schemes already. I don't really see how self-driving is linked to car pooling specifically.
    we've had car pooling, we have short term car rental schemes like go car (or even taxis), and we've long term rental also. the main barrier lifted with autonomous driving is ability to drive (be it driver training or even driver sobriety), but i suppose the question is - in an era of autonomous vehicles - will i still choose to get the bus into the city centre/to galway? what was preventing me from driving before - cost of my own car, or ability to drive, or....?

    i guess one possibility would be that there would be an app where i could input 'i want to go from A to B at approx. 7 this evening' and a people carrier would swing by and pick me up along with other people nearby it has matched to me with similar transport requirements; but this should be possible (albeit more expensive) with a human driver. would be curious if it's ever been tried.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    type-writers are not a valid comparison to rail freight. rail freight can be competitive in ireland with a policy shift toards it. it would require breaking the stranglehold of the road hauliers but it will be worth it once done. greater use of rail freight will be cheaper then paying all those fines for carbon emissions as well i'd bet. electric trucks will still require a lot of energy to power them all which will have to come from burning something and in a lot more quantities.

    How many 10's billions do you think this would require?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    That was actually a pod doing 190mph in a 500m tube at DevLoop site in Nevada, the project is heavily backed up by just a few million $$$.

    Similar companies and investments are appearing around the world based on this friction-less technology.

    The theoretical top speed is 670mph (1080kmph), which would leave all other land based, and indeed some air transport in the shade.
    I'd not seen that test. Impressive progress in fairness but still major issues to overcome in order to scale it up and prove it safe.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Commercial maglev trains are already a thing, in China they carry passengers I'm pretty sure (might be wrong), Japan has them at testing/construction stage and they will carry passengers in the future.

    It's not the maglev that's the issues it's the 600 km sealed tube.


  • Registered Users Posts: 952 hytrogen


    Infini wrote:
    You know its really low to want people to be out of a job I mean thats just being miserable and petty. I mean do you want a good chunk of the population to just sit around around or do nothing or be forced into low wage jobs?

    MOD EDIT: Sorry no quoting of the troll, thanks

    Ya know true socialism or "communism" as you think you believe it "comerade" would not be pressing for wage hikes or new terms and conditions; it would be pressing for a wageless utopian society where everyone is treated equally and fair, had a right to work and everyone worked efficiently with due diligence, those in responsible positions lead with confidence and those who worked executed those jobs effectively instead of threatening down tools destruction of a world leading tram systems in 1913, holding a city to gridlock ransom every couple of years to fluff your feathers and pumping a binjuice dalogue of "us Vs the man" "David Vs Goliath" tralalala so go away with ye ya hypocrite troll!

    What I came here to say before seeing that binjuice:
    In terms of haulage of freight going driverless, why can't we focus on rail freight if that is where the demand is leading towards??? Automated trucks won't know what you're doing until you do it, at least on rail it's a secured line, with far less risks associated and can carry much more tonnage per litre/kilometres..


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,207 ✭✭✭✭ tipp_Gunner


    The whole driverless vehicle concept still doesn't sit easy with me.

    That said the lunatics I've encountered on the road overtaking strings of cars on bends recently, etc.... well perhaps driverless cars couldn't be any more dangerous


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,897 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    this is one claim i keep seeing that i've yet to understand fully/be convinced on; i might need to do more reading on it. i'm not sure whether it's because we're expecting a higher rate of car ownership with self driving cars; or whether people will be more inclined to carpool?

    Yup, I'm not sure my self. I do think it will kill local bus services in the suburbs and orbital services. Since it would simply be cheaper and faster to get around by one of these self driving on demand cars.

    However in going into the city center you run into the problem of congestion and their simply not being enough road space to fit all those self driving vehicles.

    However worth pointing out that I'd expect these self driving cars to be small, single seat pod cars, taking up probably 1/4 of the space of a car we have today and for eventually all these pod cars to be communicating with one another and thus optimising the road space, so I'd expect that the road capacity to increase around at least 5 fold. But that still probably isn't good enough for the core city center.

    However another danger for buses, even on core routes going into the city center, is people opting to take their pod car to their nearest DART/Metro/Luas station and taking those forms of transport instead of a bus.
    plodder wrote: »
    I'm sceptical about that aspect too. We've had car pooling schemes already. I don't really see how self-driving is linked to car pooling specifically.

    Do you mean car pooling as in 3 or 4 people sitting in one car or 3 or 4 people sharing a car at different time throughout the day. Because they are two different things.
    i guess one possibility would be that there would be an app where i could input 'i want to go from A to B at approx. 7 this evening' and a people carrier would swing by and pick me up along with other people nearby it has matched to me with similar transport requirements; but this should be possible (albeit more expensive) with a human driver. would be curious if it's ever been tried.

    Already exist, it is called Uber Pool and it is SUPER popular in Manhattan and other big cities. I've used it in Manhattan a few times and super fun, easy to use and much cheaper then a taxi. Basically everyone uses in Manhattan when going out at night.

    Obviously removing the driver would make this service even cheaper.

    But again, this is car pooling. There will also be self driving car sharing services.

    We have GoCar today, but the issue is that you have to drop it back to where you picked it up which limits it's utility greatly.

    How self driving car sharing will work:
    - Pull your phone out of your pocket and order a self driving car from a to b [1]
    - A self driving single seat pod car is dispatched from a parking lot [2] and pulls up in front of your home
    - You jump in and it drives you to your destination
    - The pod car then either goes to pick up the next person in the local area or goes off to one of the companies garages to recharge and wait for the next order.

    [1] This can be highly automated to tie into your calendar so the car arrives at your front door every morning at the right time (taking into account traffic conditions and weather conditions) to get to your destination.
    [2] Realistically the rental car will have hundreds if not thousands of these cars circling the city, using algorithms to place them close to where people are likely to order them from.


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 17,087 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cherryghost


    10 years away is incredibly optimistic and naive.

    I would be thinking 20-30 or even more. There's so much variances that come into play that even with extensive testing there'll always be more to test.

    I do envisage that one day in the future, everyone in the country will travel from A to B with an on-the-rail-and-unassisted mode of transport.

    No human drivers at all eliminates the chaos factor. Mixed human/self driving content is still a very grey area.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,478 ✭✭✭ eeguy


    10 years away is incredibly optimistic and naive.

    I would be thinking 20-30 or even more. There's so much variances that come into play that even with extensive testing there'll always be more to test.

    I do envisage that one day in the future, everyone in the country will travel from A to B with an on-the-rail-and-unassisted mode of transport.

    No human drivers at all eliminates the chaos factor. Mixed human/self driving content is still a very grey area.

    You'd be surprised why can happen in 10 years.
    10 years ago even James Bond didn't have a smartphone. Technology and the adoption of the technology can happen in no time at all


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭ plodder


    we've had car pooling, we have short term car rental schemes like go car (or even taxis), and we've long term rental also. the main barrier lifted with autonomous driving is ability to drive (be it driver training or even driver sobriety), but i suppose the question is - in an era of autonomous vehicles - will i still choose to get the bus into the city centre/to galway? what was preventing me from driving before - cost of my own car, or ability to drive, or....?
    yeah, I was thinking of go car in particular.
    i guess one possibility would be that there would be an app where i could input 'i want to go from A to B at approx. 7 this evening' and a people carrier would swing by and pick me up along with other people nearby it has matched to me with similar transport requirements; but this should be possible (albeit more expensive) with a human driver. would be curious if it's ever been tried.
    I guess if money changed hands, then you're stepping on taxi toes but it's hard to see a business model without money being involved. Uber is probably the closest thing.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,478 ✭✭✭ eeguy


    plodder wrote: »
    yeah, I was thinking of go car in particular.

    I guess if money changed hands, then you're stepping on taxi toes but it's hard to see a business model without money being involved. Uber is probably the closest thing.
    Taxi drivers have very little power to stop change. Sure we don't have Uber but there's never been a popular push in favour of it.
    If you could promise people a service that's a fraction of the cost it will happen. Tesla are developing a network where you can rent out your autonomous car when it's not in use


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,897 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    eeguy wrote: »
    Taxi drivers have very little power to stop change. Sure we don't have Uber but there's never been a popular push in favour of it.

    Actually we do have Uber here, I use it all the time! Yes, we don't have the US style Uber, just anyone driving a car, but we do have the Uber Taxi and Uber Black (limo) services here.

    You are right though, the self driving car revolution is likely to completely bypass taxi's and maybe buses too. It won't even be a case of a self driving taxi (ala Total Recall) or self driving bus, it will be a whole new industry of self driving car sharing and pooling that will completely bypass the other industries.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭ plodder


    10 years away is incredibly optimistic and naive.

    I would be thinking 20-30 or even more. There's so much variances that come into play that even with extensive testing there'll always be more to test.

    I do envisage that one day in the future, everyone in the country will travel from A to B with an on-the-rail-and-unassisted mode of transport.

    No human drivers at all eliminates the chaos factor. Mixed human/self driving content is still a very grey area.
    The thing is this isn't really autonomous driving at all. It's just the computer equivalent of the mechanical link between train carriages. It's a much simpler problem to solve and less risky than actual autonomous trucks.
    eeguy wrote:
    Tesla are developing a network where you can rent out your autonomous car when it's not in use
    What has stopped Ford or VW from doing this before now? That's what I don't get. Like what's the difference between a network of autonomous cars for rent and human driven ones?


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