When self-driving cars become available, will you actually buy one?

Mildredop

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So many companies and countries are now pumping millions (billions?) into testing self-driving cars. I guess it won't be long until they come on to the market.

This got me thinking - would I actually buy one? After a few days of thought, I've decided I wouldn't. I enjoy driving (I get bored as a passenger) and for those occasions when I'm drunk or don't want to sit in traffic, there's always a taxi (perhaps self-driving?!) or the tube/train.

I'm also guessing that the onus will still ultimately lie with the driver, so you'll need to be as aware as you would were you just driving the car yourself.

So, imagining that a self-driving car would be a similar cost to buy and run as a normal car, would you actually buy one?
 

A.Goldberg

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Jan 31, 2015
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Well to some extent they're already here. Semi-self driving anyways. I remember last summer I was driving from Boston to Rhode Island, passed a Tesla, and the driver just had he seat reclined about halfway, hands behind his head... car steering itself down the road.

I think there are 3 different ways to look this...
1) Driving: I like cars and enjoy driving, so fully taking away manual control would be disappointing.
2) Convenience: There are times when it would be nice to not have to focus on driving, such as long trips. Having the option might be nice but I'm not sure how much I'd trust the system. I feel like it might be less stressful to drive.
3) Societally: If every car on the road was autonomous you could program them to optimize traffic flow, efficiency, and therefore energy. I heard a stat onetime that estimated if Boston had autonomous cars we'd save 30-40% of gas expenders (if I remember correctly). Less fuel/energy and time to get from point A-B is always welcome.

It will be interesting if the fully self driving car catches on, which I'm sure it will. Will people be required to only operate them in the future? If so think about how the industry would change. Automakers would probably focus little on power and performance. The goal would be efficiency, comfort, and ammenties. And the age old question of what do you do in your car if you no longer have to drive (what Apple is supposedly working on).
 
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Mildredop

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3) Societally: If every car on the road was autonomous you could program them to optimize traffic flow, efficiency, and therefore energy. I heard a stat onetime that estimated if Boston had autonomous cars we'd save 30-40% of gas expenders (if I remember correctly). Less fuel/energy and time to get from point A-B is always welcome.
This I get. It would be a great way to increase capacity etc. But it would require every vehicle to be autonomous, and how would they persuade people to buy autonomous cars? Maybe "auto-only" lanes on motorways etc.?

You didn't answer whether you'd buy one...
 

twinlight

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I envision a future where we don't drive. We ride along in a shared car park. Maybe like Uber, maybe something shared within a gated community, city block or whole city.

You want to go somewhere? Choose your preferred vehicle and wait 5 minutes. You only have a backpack and are going to the mall? Share the ride with someone, with or without a privacy screen. Friends or family? A small van picks you up.

Larger rides will probably be like busses today with a possibility to schedule the ride. 30 people from work going out, no problem just book it a day in advance.

We will share the road the next 20 years with regular drivers but in 30-50 years we will have roads and highways that only accepts autonomous vehicles.
 
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Mildredop

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You want to go somewhere? Choose your preferred vehicle and wait 5 minutes. You only have a backpack and are going to the mall? Share the ride with someone, with or without a privacy screen. Friends or family? A small van picks you up.
I just think this is ignoring human nature and emotion. People could do this now - sell the car and just use taxis.

But people like to own cars. It's a status symbol. People also like their own space where they can listen to the music they want, pick their nose etc.

Are you saying you will buy one?
 

A.Goldberg

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Jan 31, 2015
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This I get. It would be a great way to increase capacity etc. But it would require every vehicle to be autonomous, and how would they persuade people to buy autonomous cars? Maybe "auto-only" lanes on motorways etc.?

You didn't answer whether you'd buy one...
I would only buy one if it could retain manual driving abilities.

But it seems like the human error is what makes the autonomous car most valuable- not just efficiency, but another point I neglected to mention- safety. While I'm sure no system is 100%, I'd think the risk would probably be overall lower if everyone had a self driving car (no DUI's, no fender benders, distracted driving).

My girlfriends father just bought a brand new Tesla Model S 90D (AWD). I think he did end up getting the autopilot package which is like a $2500 software unlock. I haven't seen it yet but when I do I'd love to try out the autopilot feature. I just drove to my parents in CT from Boston for the holidays. Autopilot would have been nice for such a trip.
[doublepost=1480418723][/doublepost]I don't think the car sharing model works too well. Lyft Line and Uber Pool are very flawed systems, at least in Boston. I've tried it a number of times, the price is an incentive. Generally speaking I find it takes 2-3x as long to get where you're going. One time I had a 10 minute ride that took 40 minutes.

Maybe it would work better if more people utilized the service, but unless these companies are less stingy in matching riders who are too far apart, people will not catch on. Most people I know only use the sharing feature if they're willing to take a gamble with time, which usually isn't the case.
 

Apple fanboy

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Feb 21, 2012
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Autonomous? No thanks. I generally like driving. My car has radar detection (so it slows you down if the car in front does) and lane assist.
But your still in control (and that feels weird enough!).

As for society where we don't own cars? Maybe if you live in a big city, but try using Uber in the countryside!
 

twinlight

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Sep 4, 2016
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I just think this is ignoring human nature and emotion. People could do this now - sell the car and just use taxis.

But people like to own cars. It's a status symbol. People also like their own space where they can listen to the music they want, pick their nose etc.

Are you saying you will buy one?
Will I buy a shared car? No. Would I maybe join a car pool? Depends on how much I need a car. Now I own one but in reality I would do fine with busses and the occasional loaner.

In big cities I can't believe people having cars in the future. As a status symbol, sure, on display on the 20th floor. Preferably a GTO 250.
 
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velocityg4

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I'd consider them after laws catch up with the technology and enough generations have passed to prove reliability. A major point of concern for me is whether or not the actual driving control computer has any sort of wireless or internet connection. If it does I would be quite hesitant. As the system could be hacked. Just think of malware affecting cars en masse yet going undetected. Then at a set time the cars go into demolition derby mode during rush hour. School buses and semis seeking each other out for maximum destruction. It would be a terrorists dream come true.

Unless the driving control computers are physically isolated and just get input from the array of on-board sensors and driver commands. I just can't see how it would ever be trusted. As no system which can be accessed remotely in any possible way is hack proof. While this would reduce the effectiveness of energy conservation and traffic efficiency it would increase safety.

As for laws catching up. The car should legally be considered the driver when it is in control. Meaning all people inside are passengers. They can sleep, use the computer, sit there drunk, have sex (assuming privacy screens) or whatever. As the car is in control. In cases of accidents, traffic violations and other incidents the car is at fault (the manufacturer). Unless it can be determined it was due to poor maintenance by the owner. Insurance should still be required. Rates will just be affected by a specific make and models driving record.

If I have to sit in the driver seat and pay attention to the road. What would be the point of autopilot?
 

Mildredop

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No more speeding, no more nipping through the lights, no more fun. I just don't think the majority of people will want a self-driving car.

Makes me wonder if all these companies sinking millions into R&D are going to see much of a return.
 

Khalanad75

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Jul 8, 2015
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I envision a future where we don't drive. We ride along in a shared car park. Maybe like Uber, maybe something shared within a gated community, city block or whole city.

You want to go somewhere? Choose your preferred vehicle and wait 5 minutes. You only have a backpack and are going to the mall? Share the ride with someone, with or without a privacy screen. Friends or family? A small van picks you up.

Larger rides will probably be like busses today with a possibility to schedule the ride. 30 people from work going out, no problem just book it a day in advance.

We will share the road the next 20 years with regular drivers but in 30-50 years we will have roads and highways that only accepts autonomous vehicles.
A major problem I see with this envision of the future....

The family and I love camping. We go perhaps 4-5 times a year. It's not always on a main road.

I still have yet to see any of these self driving cars test out an off-road capability of any kind.

edit: and no, I don't see me buying one. I hate the fact that my car now is an automatic and not a stick as I don't feel I have as much control over the car. Not giving up anymore than I already have with just the transmission.
 
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OLDCODGER

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I take it you haven't read Dante's Inferno. Here's the short version, in the Ninth Circle of Hell, Satan is at the center of frozen Cocytus. So Hell has already frozen over.:D:D:D

Anyways... I'm with you. No self driving car for me. I will only get one if one can beat me at the track.:p
I haven't gone quite that far into hell, yet. :)
 

garirry

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Apr 27, 2013
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No, I would not.

A few months ago I pretty much advocated entirely self-driving cars for all the advantages people already are aware about. Fairly recently, I've also started driving. Honestly, I am already sure that I would never enjoy a self-driving car only. Driving is ridiculously fun, time flies by instantly, and lessons (it's kinda obligated to some extent when you're new) feel like they are finished too early. Maybe I'm just being naive and maybe the feeling is different from when you start compared to when you're experienced, but right now I feel like it's insane amounts of fun (and not the speeding at 300 km/h fun I mean) and sitting in the passenger seat is just downright boring.

If I were to have a self-driving car only, I'd be bored to death and not enjoy moving around, travelling, etc. I need a wheel and something to keep me occupied while the car is in transit for a certain period of time - I can't keep my eyes on a screen while I'm in a vehicle or else I get dizzy. So if I'm in a car, the only time I would enjoy it is if I drive, or if I communicate with the driver - there's nobody to communicate with if I'm the driver and I don't have friends anyway. So whenever I get my full licence, which should be soon enough, and whenever I get money for a car, which is probably not going to be soon, I'd pick a car with a wheel and pedals.

That being said, I'm not against the idea of self-driving cars though. I think that upon proper optimisation, we could have an autopilot-only time of the day on the highway when there's usually heavy traffic when all cars would be on autopilot and drive at insane speeds, I mean the only reason we drive much slower than our car's capabilities is because of our own incompetence and risk of danger, right? If all cars intercommunicate then there's no worries. Alternatively, maybe even just have autopilot lanes, only for autopilot vehicles, at all or certain times. It's probably also convenient as either an emergency backup solution, or just great when you're tired and you want to take a break.

Also, I'm legitimately curious, what if all the roads become autopilot-only? What would happen to vehicles such as motorbikes? And pretty much all truck driving and maybe even bus driving jobs would disappear. I'm all for the inclusion of such a sophisticated feature, but I would not sacrifice the expense of fun for its full inclusion. Even if it means I can die. But then again, a better way to deal with that would be to start properly punishing people who don't put their signal lights when turning (and overall just teaching driving better).
 

MICHAELSD

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Jul 13, 2008
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Model 3 on reservation, and my current car is already semi-autonomous to an extent as it has active cruise control (I still have to monitor it and adjust the speed, but it can keep distance between cars pretty well when I choose to use it). Once Tesla's system is polished I'll trust it, but Tesla's current implementation they've been testing doesn't look 100% smooth. I'm sure they'll work the kinks out though. I do trust it, but I may still monitor it for the first year or two even once we reach the point where they say we don't have it.

However, I wouldn't pay $8,000 for self-driving capability. I see the value at that price for somebody who's commuting an hour or two every day, but I'll enjoy driving my car instead for that price.

Self-driving does add a lot of value and open up opportunities though that aren't possible now. For example, one could use their car to commute into New York or to a transit station then have the car go park safely at home or at a spacious lot.
[doublepost=1480488559][/doublepost]
I envision a future where we don't drive. We ride along in a shared car park. Maybe like Uber, maybe something shared within a gated community, city block or whole city.

You want to go somewhere? Choose your preferred vehicle and wait 5 minutes. You only have a backpack and are going to the mall? Share the ride with someone, with or without a privacy screen. Friends or family? A small van picks you up.

Larger rides will probably be like busses today with a possibility to schedule the ride. 30 people from work going out, no problem just book it a day in advance.

We will share the road the next 20 years with regular drivers but in 30-50 years we will have roads and highways that only accepts autonomous vehicles.
Most cars spend about 98% of their life parked. I quite like the future idea of cars coming to you when you need to them. Unfortunately in some circles I think at first this type of "ownership" will be a bit taboo.

For a relatively inexpensive cost though you could have a maintained car that you don't have to worry about as much. I.e. if somebody totals it either with you in it or not, then you don't have to deal with weeks of insurance hassles and purchasing a new vehicle. Want a Tesla Model S P100D for a weekend day? Pay a premium and experience Ludicrous mode 2.8 second 0-60 (probably even better by then) when you want it. Need a Model S SUV? Go ahead, you're not limited to owning a single vehicle. No need to wash it or worry about a vehicle either: it'll all be easy and require no thought.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
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1,636
Australia, Perth
So many companies and countries are now pumping millions (billions?) into testing self-driving cars. I guess it won't be long until they come on to the market.

This got me thinking - would I actually buy one? After a few days of thought, I've decided I wouldn't. I enjoy driving (I get bored as a passenger) and for those occasions when I'm drunk or don't want to sit in traffic, there's always a taxi (perhaps self-driving?!) or the tube/train.

I'm also guessing that the onus will still ultimately lie with the driver, so you'll need to be as aware as you would were you just driving the car yourself.

So, imagining that a self-driving car would be a similar cost to buy and run as a normal car, would you actually buy one?
well, it will take time for me to adjust...

I dunno but the skies are actually safer... Have u seen the many mainacks on the street ? it will only work if we all have self driving cars... I think i'll pass.

Good for when u'r drunk etc,, but what about other drivers.. ?
 

Mildredop

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Oct 14, 2013
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Self-driving does add a lot of value and open up opportunities though that aren't possible now. For example, one could use their car to commute into New York or to a transit station then have the car go park safely at home or at a spacious lot.
Imagine the chaos when at the end of the day all the passengers summon their cars to be waiting at the train station for when the train arrives.

Where would all the cars wait? What would happen if the train becomes delayed?
[doublepost=1480496983][/doublepost]
A major problem I see with this envision of the future....

The family and I love camping. We go perhaps 4-5 times a year. It's not always on a main road.

I still have yet to see any of these self driving cars test out an off-road capability of any kind.

edit: and no, I don't see me buying one. I hate the fact that my car now is an automatic and not a stick as I don't feel I have as much control over the car. Not giving up anymore than I already have with just the transmission.
I agree - all this self-driving talk seems to focus on a time when all vehicles using the roads will be self-driving. I can't imagine there ever being autonomous motorbikes, bicycles, tractors, etc.

It'll take a few more accidents by some Teslas and fingers will start to point and the self-driving dream will begin to fade.
 

MICHAELSD

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Imagine the chaos when at the end of the day all the passengers summon their cars to be waiting at the train station for when the train arrives.
Smart queue system. There can be an option like uberpool where passengers going the same direction can share a ride.
 

Mildredop

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Smart queue system. There can be an option like uberpool where passengers going the same direction can share a ride.
What's smart queue system?

And people could share a ride today. But they don't want to. People want their own space, their own music, their own temperature settings etc.
 

MICHAELSD

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What's smart queue system?

And people could share a ride today. But they don't want to. People want their own space, their own music, their own temperature settings etc.
A system that automatically schedules vehicles around different people's needs so there's minimal waiting.
 

Three141

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Jan 1, 2016
393
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London
Depending on my financial situation and on the electric car re-charging infrastructure definitely!

I am hoping for a future where wireless charing of the vehicles becomes the norm before the transition to solar vehicles.

For me it would be great with long trips and night driving. No longer worrying about being blinded by the sun, distracted at the wheel, poor weather, Traffic, city driving, speed limits etc.

But if Uber/rivals can get a reasonable cost driverless electric car network fully flowing (clean and reliable), I would happily use that service and not own a car at all.
 

Mildredop

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A system that automatically schedules vehicles around different people's needs so there's minimal waiting.
I see. And where would all these vehicles wait? At my local station, there just isn't the space for a hundred cars to wait every time a train arrives.
[doublepost=1480501146][/doublepost]
Absolutely. I can surely spend my time on something other than watching asfalt and how bad other people drive.
But you will still have to watch the road as you will still be ultimately responsible.