MK-2 (7th November 2011)
I need to be very careful here. Last time I 'contributed' (for small values of contribute) to a 'driving' thread I said how I was unsympathetic to anyone who speeds before the speed limit terminators. I still am[*1], but naturally Karma Kamera then clocked me at 34 in a 30, 20 yards before the terminators and I spent half a day last week attending a speed awareness course. Part of that involved a video analysis of another motorway pileup - the 1991 M4 crash. The video was a reconstruction using toy cars - just documenting what happened from the van hitting the central barrier to the last cars impacting the mayhem. The chap who was taking the course gave a simultaneous commentary of the footage - the whole thing lasted 5 minutes to describe in amazing detail what actually took 19 seconds. Much of that carnage was due to people driving ... not over the speed limit, but too fast for the conditions and too close to the vehicle in front. It's difficult to see in major multi vehicle pileups how anyone but perhaps the unfortunate first vehicle can claim anything else. When you plough into the back of something, you have very few reasonable excuses.
[*1] Perhaps more so.
I don't think speed is anywhere near as big a problem as people claim in this incident. If the smoke was that thick then:
- If you slow down you become a major hazard and get rear ended by traffic behind. This tends to be the first reaction of the uncertain and they won't stop in time anyway.
- If you maintain the same speed, you still won't stop in time and hit said slow traffic.
You have to remember, this isn't like heavy rain or fog where you can still make out traffic in front. This is a cloud of black smoke making everything disappear suddenly. All they can do is pray no-one in front has stopped or slowed.
Rawns (8th November 2011)
Perhaps the other thing to remember about reducing speed and increasing distance between vehicles is that whilst there is an element to reducing the chance of collisions, it is also there so that should something terrible like this happen then there is a greater chance of there being fewer fatalities and fewer serious injuries. Sometimes things do just happen due to things outside of all our control ... and anything which can be reasonably done to mitigate it going from a bad situation to a worse one has to be good ... to be honest, that is what I got from the OPs initial thoughts ...
I am not saying (and never have) that the firework smoke didn't cause an initial accident, but speed is a mitigating factor to what might have caused a lot of the carnage shown.
Why would you then be praying nobody in front has slowed down? If fog descended and you slowed down to a safe speed, would you want the driver behind keeping his foot at 70/80 thinking "i hope nobody is slowing for this" or would you rather he also slowed?
Think of it another way, if asked, would you rather drive for 20 seconds with your eyes closed at 80mph or would you rather drive for 20 seconds with your eyes closed at 40mph? Both could end in an accident, but one probably has a greater chance of death than the other
What we do in panic or unexpected situations is not always logical. Too easy to hit the accelerator instead of the brake, freeze and do nothing. It's a lot easier to think we know what we would do when we have time to think about it.
Edit: I saved a young lad from drowning February last year. It was a rock pool with slimy rocks. It took what seemed an age for me to remember all my training. Only then could I extract him from my neck to stop him taking us both under, turn him around and bit by bit move him to the side. Without training I would likely have panicked. What training do we get when learning to drive... stop as fast as you can when I tap the screen with my clipboard...
Last edited by creese; 7th November 2011 at 10:42 PM.
Google Has A Secret Fleet Of Automated Toyota Priuses; 140,000 Miles Logged So Far. | TechCrunch“Even the most optimistic predictions put the deployment of the technology more than eight years away,” according to NYT.
There's a big difference between a test of cars manned by trained engineers and real life where people can't monitor the software, cars aren't maintained quite as well as they should be...
Besides all of this relies on all the other systems being 100%; electricity to data centres and ISPs etc, network connectivity, GPS?,
Last edited by j17sparky; 8th November 2011 at 11:59 AM.
But it is besides the point, the technology exists already and works perfectly well.
"A driver is always on hand to take over in case something goes wrong, and an engineer is always on hand in the car to monitor the software."
Also, they've only managed around 7k miles without any human interaction (1k in 7 cars) - so I wouldn't say it's working perfectly well yet...
First, it relies on very detailed maps of the roads and terrain, something that Urmson said is essential to determine accurately where the car is. Using GPS-based techniques alone, he said, the location could be off by several meters.How Google's Self-Driving Car Works : Discovery Newsbefore sending the self-driving car on a road test, Google engineers drive along the route one or more times to gather data about the environment. When it's the autonomous vehicle's turn to drive itself, it compares the data it is acquiring to the previously recorded data, an approach that is useful to differentiate pedestrians from stationary objects like poles and mailboxes.
And the key question; how much does one of these cars cost? The technology to send people to the moon has been around for a very long time now but the costs involved stop it from becoming a tourist destination
Last edited by localzuk; 8th November 2011 at 12:38 PM.
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