Volkswagen demonstrates “Temporary Auto Pilot” (w/ Video)

Jul 29, 2011 by Bob Yirka weblog

Volkswagen, the German car manufacturer who has stated its goal of becoming the largest car maker in the world, has demoed a new addition to the growing list of driver assisted automobile test features from a variety of car makers. The new system, called Temporary Auto Pilot (TAP) uses production ready technology to assist drivers during times of inattention, thereby hopefully reducing accidents.

The system has been incorporated into a and a video made of it in action. What’s most striking about the demo, is perhaps the lack of various gizmos hanging off of, or sitting on top of it, making it look like an ordinary vehicle.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Demonstrated was an ability to keep the moving vehicle in the right position in the lane (hands free), ability to maintain posted speed limits, automatic speed reduction around construction zones, disallowance of passing on the right (slows the vehicle), emergency braking (when sensing an object in its path), and a driver distraction warning (a verbal wakeup call). Not seen in the video, but still included in the system is automatic slowing of the vehicle when approaching a bend in the road.

The car achieves all this via the use of radar, cameras, ultrasonic sensors a laser scanner and something called an “electronic horizon”; all connected to a computer, naturally.

The idea says on the website for the new system, is to assist the driver during times when drivers are most likely to need it, such as during traffic jams, or on long monotonous drives. It’s these situations where the most help is needed, they say, because it’s when most non-alcohol related occur. An interesting idea, not mentioned by Volkswagen or any other maker of driver assist systems, is if such a system might actually help prevent accidents due to that have been drinking.

The TAP is part of the EU funded HAVEit project that was created in 2008 to develop automated driving systems for cars to lower the number of accidents, especially those related to driver inattention or distraction.

What’s not clear is if such a system is actually sold to consumers, which appears likely soon, who will bear liability in accidents? While most current laws would likely indict the driver for any accidents, that could change if consumers begin suing car companies, and winning, if they feel the automated system actually contributed to a crash, or worse perhaps, failed to prevent a crash the consumer was promised the car would avoid.

Volkswagen has made it clear that the system is meant to be used as a driver assist, not a replacement for driver attention. What’s surprising here though is that companies such as Volkswagen don’t seem to be doing much testing to see if such systems really would prevent accidents, or worse, cause them to increase due to driver’s coming to rely on them too heavily.

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User comments : 31

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IscopeU
5 / 5 (4) Jul 29, 2011
Interesting conclusion.
What if there will be accidents, but there will be significantly less? Should we stop this technology, even when it actually makes the road safer?
FrankHerbert
4.4 / 5 (59) Jul 29, 2011
IscopeU, the answer is a resounding NO we should not stop the technology. Seat belts have probably killed people through various mechanisms. I'd be surprised if no one has had his neck broke by an airbag. I'm sure people have not managed to stop in time in good weather due to ABS. None of this matters. They are all far more helpful than harmful.

Pretty sure actual autopilots (aviation) have failed too. Still got 'em. We have spaceshuttles with full autopilot now.

You can drown in water but try not taking a drink.
pokerdice1
not rated yet Jul 29, 2011
@Frankherbert... like your screen handle to!
Mayday
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2011
I think there should be some sort of signal light on the auto-pilot car to warn other drivers that the car is in zombie mode. I would certainly give it a wide berth.
indio007
1 / 5 (5) Jul 29, 2011
Do you know how much money automated driving is going to cost the state? there will be no need for licenses , registration, insurance. No more traffic stops that lead to arrests for other things.

This is a god send for freedom loving people everywhere. The car has caused the largest loss of liberty in the history of the world.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.1 / 5 (37) Jul 29, 2011
This will end badly.
nothingness
2 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2011
Entropy will eventually have its way-
socean
1.5 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2011
Compare this level of innovation with Obama's proposal to achieve a measly 56 mpg in 14 frickin years.

I certainly hope my 2 yr old girl never has to face the day when other drunks, weary or distracted people and teenagers are driving. Robots will soon be superior drivers and we should demand that they be put to use as soon as possible.

I say lets sue companies for NOT putting this technology to work!
dogbert
1 / 5 (8) Jul 30, 2011
Cars designed to seize control from the driver will cause accidents and will kill people.
la7dfa
not rated yet Jul 30, 2011
This is great developement. In the future, you probably just have to mark your destination om the display.
I see some problems with snowy conditions, but the future sensors and computers will be far better at this than any human.
john007
not rated yet Jul 30, 2011
electronic navigation decreases our ability to do it on our own, now this will help make us less able to drive. We (humans) are becoming obsolete faster than was ever envisioned.
Skepticus
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 30, 2011
Someone somewhere have said:"If you can't drive, buy a donkey!" That's because the donkey will do the thinking for you. This VW mechanical version of the donkey will of course needs further testing and refinement, such as copin with whimsical thoughts like "I would want to turn of this freeway and go across the scenic grass field there.., etc", or a suicidal thought" I want to hit that concrete barrier/that dickhead/cop car now, OVERIDE!". As with all new tech, we must all task ourself how we can use it to our advantage. The Luddites have no problem with electronic controls of the engine, and conveniently ignore that ESC, ABS, seatbelts and airbags have saved their asses time and again. I think the resistance to change has nothing to do with whether the tech has merit or potential, but a deep seated fear that the fellow man next door will find out that you are too lazy to use your brains to cope with the new world, and just wish it to continue coasting in neutral!
FrankHerbert
4.2 / 5 (52) Jul 30, 2011
Cars designed to seize control from the driver will cause accidents and will kill people.

--Dogshit

WHERE'S ARE COUNTRY ?! I WANT MY FREEDUMB !!1

Go away dogbert.
dogbert
1.1 / 5 (50) Jul 30, 2011
FrankHerbert,

Please stop trolling.
FrankHerbert
4.2 / 5 (52) Jul 30, 2011
You first.

"Speak softly, carry a broom handle for rapin' libs!" -Dougbert

A = A
dogbert
1.1 / 5 (37) Jul 30, 2011
Frankie,

You are the only one making snide comments and attributing statements to me that I have not made. I am only asking you to try to be civil.
Conner
5 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2011
I am very much looking forward to this becoming the norm. Night driving, long distance driving, drunk driving, etc will all become equally safe once this technology has advanced sufficiently far. I would absolutely love to be able to get in a car, give it a destination 24 hours worth of driving away, and then just sit and read/play video games/watch movies/nap until I got there. No need to worry about falling asleep or otherwise being distracted. Ah, this is a great step in the right direction of making this technology common and affordable.
Conner
5 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2011
dogbert: You say that these cars will cause accidents and will kill people. Most likely that's the case, but do you really believe that the mortality rate from these systems will be higher than that of purely human operated vehicles? All technologies have kinks that need to be worked out once they are brought into mass use, but almost always those technologies become significantly safer with each generation.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 30, 2011
Conner,

First, this article is not talking about car autopilots. It is talking about the vehicle seizing control from a driver during the operation of a moving vehicle.

Any interference with a driver can result in an accident.

Yes, I think such technology will result in accidents which will likely result in injuries and death.
Conner
5 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2011
"Demonstrated was an ability to keep the moving vehicle in the right position in the lane (hands free), ability to maintain posted speed limits, automatic speed reduction around construction zones, disallowance of passing on the right (slows the vehicle), emergency braking (when sensing an object in its path), and a driver distraction warning (a verbal wakeup call). Not seen in the video, but still included in the system is automatic slowing of the vehicle when approaching a bend in the road."

All of those things sound like areas where a potentially fatal car accident could be avoided. Yes, any interference with a driver CAN result in an accident, but it's a long shot to say that it will with high frequency. That seems like it is begging the question to me. If you can show a relevant study that finds that these systems increase accidents then I will happily concede that your assumptions are well founded. However, these systems are meant to engage when the driver is already distracted.
Telekinetic
2 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2011
I think there should be some sort of signal light on the auto-pilot car to warn other drivers that the car is in zombie mode. I would certainly give it a wide berth.


Like when I see 'Student Driver'.
dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2011
Yes, a "Zombie Mode" warning would be appropriate.

It would also be useful if the driver could turn off these distracting interferences.
Telekinetic
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 30, 2011
"All technologies have kinks that need to be worked out once they are brought into mass use, but almost always those technologies become significantly safer with each generation."

I remember seat belts without the shoulder harness. I used to drive around in my friend's Corvair, the car on which Nader based his book, "Unsafe At Any Speed." Lucky to be alive.
MentalHealthNut
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2011
Automatic transmission is already too automatic for me.
FrankHerbert
4.3 / 5 (51) Jul 30, 2011
Let me get out the crank handle so I can give the ol' dynamo a whirl...

I'm sure I can do a better job than that newfangled electric starter!

F*** I just broke my arm. Let me get on the internet and blame Obama.
Kedas
not rated yet Jul 31, 2011
I can not believe that the speed meter is still analogue When are we ever going to switch to digital.
Is this so hard to duplicate from the C4?
http://www.youtub...w45REeJI
Kedas
not rated yet Jul 31, 2011
Also watch this, can't be that hard to implement an extra display.
http://www.youtub...HZE-8fCw
stripeless_zebra
1 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2011
So far my wife is the best Temporary Autopilot :)
Vendicar_Decarian
1.3 / 5 (46) Aug 02, 2011
"implement an extra display." - Kedas

Looks good in the dark.

What about daylight?
Vendicar_Decarian
1.4 / 5 (47) Aug 02, 2011
"F*** I just broke my arm. Let me get on the internet and blame Obama." - Franck Herbert

If Obama hadn't forced me to purchase cheap WalMart running shoes by not banning their import then I wouldn't have slipped and fell while carrying a sign protesting Obama forcing me to carry this anti-obama sign, and I wouldn't have broken my arm and hence I wouldn't have been protesting.

Death to the Federal Government.
Vendicar_Decarian
1.3 / 5 (46) Aug 04, 2011
"We (humans) are becoming obsolete faster than was ever envisioned." - John007

Our machine replacements will probably keep a few humans around as pets.

Properly domesticated, humans can be quite diverting. Just don't let the destructive beasts run free in the wild.

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