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  • Sean

    I’m looking forward to riderless bikes.

    • Morten Reippuert Knudsen

      oh yes – it will make the 3km UCI roule obsolete and make bunch sprints a lot safer. GC riders wont be scared shitless in Paris-Roubaix.

      Sky’s marginal gains in a controlled enviroment will prevail.

  • jules

    but who would we abuse for cutting us off?

    • Dave

      Okay Google, FU!

    • George Darroch

      Other cyclists, of course.

      Hold your line you ******* moron!

      • George Darroch

        And pedestrians. Expect them to blindly step out in front of cyclists once there’s no danger of being hit by cars…

  • Mark Blackwell

    One very interesting change brought by driverless vehicles is the requirement to make explicit choices on deeply moral issues, like whose health to favour in the event of an unavoidable collision. Computers make decisions far quicker than humans, so these choices can be made, probably by car companies. Imagine an hypothetical scenario where the driverless vehicle is faced with the choice between hitting another vehicle and swerving into a bike, which should it choose? Hitting another vehicle is much more likely to hurt its occupants, so perhaps it will choose to hit the bike? Not trying to be alarmist, and could have easily replaced the bike in this scenario with a pram or child running onto the road after a ball… point is more that human drivers don’t have sufficiently fast reflexes to make these choices today, but they will need to be made in the case of computer controlled cars… and the decision is going to be made by some programmer at say, VW.

    Good article here: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jun/23/will-your-driverless-car-be-willing-to-kill-you-to-save-the-lives-of-others

    • jules

      vaguely similar dilemma in medicine. huge resources pumped into keeping old and sick people alive for a bit longer than they’d otherwise live. undoubtedly at a cost to quality of life of younger people for whom medical resources are inevitably diverted away from. no great moral dilemma there – we treat patients as they present. even knowing it may indirectly cause harm to others. but you don’t have to look them in the eye.

    • Steel

      I’ve heard this line trotted out before. In what scenario is this likely – complete brake failure? That is just so infrequent, it’s not worth worrying about. In most cases, won’t the car just hit the brakes and take as much energy out of the impact as possible? This is just parlour games for bored philosophers and is distracting from the real issues.

      • jules

        what about on the Hell Ride when everyone spreads out across Beach Rd for the sprint?

      • Robert Merkel

        For what it’s worth, I think the trolley problem is the oughts equivalent of the Ticking Time Bomb scenario – a philosophical conundrum that generated a great deal of discussion but doesn’t actually present itself very often in the real world.

        As you say, the vast vast majority of the time the appropriate response to an emergency situation is just hit the brakes as hard as the computer can manage (or, in bumper to bumper traffic, a mandated maximum deceleration) and transmit this action to every other vehicle nearby.

    • Mike

      I’ve already programmed my Lada’s onboard computer to deal with such a scenario Mark. The hierarchy of death runs something like this:
      People I like or am married to. ( This could be two categories?)
      My friend Harry. At least until he repays the £20 he owes me.
      Big John the plumber. He’s safe until the bathroom is finished.
      Audi drivers. Obviously.
      The two police officers who shouted at me for riding six feet past a “No Entry” sign.
      BMW drivers.
      Drivers of vans with a dashboard like a cluttered desk.
      Stella. She knows why.
      The puncture guy who failed to replace the tube I lent him. And now blanks me.
      BMW drivers. In case they survive first time around.

      That should do for the time being.

  • Augsburg57

    The driverless cars are one thing, and you’re right to point out the issues for cyclists.

    But the auto open doors on Tesla’s and the like are another new hazard for cyclists. Check out some of the videos posted by Tesla enthusiasts on YouTube. Falcon wing doors that automatically open out into the street when the driver approaches. Sure, they have sensors – for fixed objects, not someone moving along on a bike at 10 to 20 mph. Or regular swing doors that can be opened by someone not able to see if anyone is coming. We cyclists already have to try to peer into cars with dark tinted windows to see if they are occupied by someone that may swing a door open in our face. We learn to give parked cars a wide berth – but now we will have to be extra careful around autos with these auto door features. Now the door may open with no one inside! Jessh!

  • Alex

    One thing I’m worried about is how pedestrians, cyclists, and non-driverless (drivered?) cars will start acting once driverless cars become the norm. If we know the vehicle is going to do everything it can to possibly not hit us the above mentioned groups are more likely to start disobeying the rules of the road. Distracted pedestrians will walk into the middle of a busy intersection, people who still drive cars will blast through them along with the cyclists. This presents a dangerous situation because inevitably not all accidents can be avoided and collisions will still happen. Or maybe I’m just worrying too much…

    • marcus_moore

      It might be just myth, but….
      I’ve been told of a story of a race between a driverless vehicle & race car drivers on a race track where the car drivers beat the driverless vehicle through gaming the driverless vehicle into slowing down to avoid crashes / impacts.

    • Morten Reippuert Knudsen

      Danish national TV recently had a feature story reg. the robotic ethics that needs to be build in to the software:


  • Dale Smith

    Sounds great, but I’ll miss the odd call of “wanker” every so often. Maybe they can engineer that in to the system, just so us cyclists feel properly appreciated.

    • pervertt

      Don’t worry, the ‘driver’ will now have 2 hands free – one to wind down the window, the other to throw something at us.

      • Dale Smith

        Ahhh that’s ok then. Can’t see a downside.

  • Steel

    Hi CT and all,

    If you’re really interested in this subject, there is a session on vehicle sensing for bicycles at the upcoming ITS World Congress in October in Melbourne.

    Get along.

    There will also be some low speed urban shuttles which are being forecast to operate in spaces alongside pedestrians and cyclists:

    • Steel

      Weblink didn’t work :(
      Just Google Navya Arma or Easymile EZ10

      • Great stuff Steel, thank you. We’ll check it out.

    • jules

      and sandwiches

  • gpop87

    Would be nice to sleep while driving to/from races :)

  • Noneofyourbusiness

    A non-issue. What I do expect are more tickets for cyclists that impede traffic and violate other traffic law, since cars aren’t going to be getting any.

  • david__g

    The only thing I sort of disagree with is “What is likely is that the total number of motor vehicles will fall”. Some people just really like cars. Lots of people, in fact. And they like owning them so they have them whenever they need. Maybe as we get further down the line, but I don’t expect a significant drop in cars on the road for a long time. People will either continue to own a normal car because they don’t want or trust a driverless one, or will just get a driverless car all for themselves because that’s the way people are – they want stuff to themselves and have no patience or desire to compromise.

  • MadBlack

    Good food for thought but I completely disagree with the author’s notion that public transport is ineffective and redundant. Actually far from it and I dare say the opposite will be the case in the future. Presumably the author hails from Australia and has never experienced effective public transport in cities like London, Berlin, Paris or New York. I also would support more public funding going into the development of public transport options in Australian cities.

  • CycleCam

    Bring it on I say – I’d like to see TDF driverless vehicles for the DS team cars, that would require some interesting programming ! Only issue I can see is that EVs are so quiet. You can hear them coming from behind

  • Pinkie Boadicea, PhD

    I bike because of the freedom. Never surrendering that. Ever.

  • Dave Wissenbach

    After a summer of commuting on roads used by Google test self-driving cars I’m not impressed. The vehicles are programmed by idiot savants. The cars stop across the bike lane when entering the road, blocking my path. Or use their super reflexes to jump the gap on a right turn when left-turning cars have to stop but before the green — I’m left in the sidewalk with a green light and a slowly right turning google car blocking my way. No human driver does this because it is dangerous and discourteous but a google car has no morals and no conscience.

    I commented on the cars on google’s web site and the nice lady gave me a response that this experiment is being done in the interest of safety. In other words, “We’re on a mission from God.” I get the feeling that they are not really interested in feedback on improving the cars but instead just want to rack up accident-free miles on relatively safe streets like the ones I use to cycle to work.

    • David9482

      We should all get out there and draw straws to see who gets to put on full set of hockey equipment and end the “accident-free miles” record…

  • saimin

    There was a report by the IEEE recently saying the best driverless cars can currently locate bicycles on the road about 60% of the time. How long will it take for this number to get much better?


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