The smart car for your grandchild’s future

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15 Responses to The smart car for your grandchild’s future

  1. briand75 says:

    Astounding. I can’t believe we are here with robots. The sad spot – putting people out of work. The good spot – people have to build and program the robots.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      In 2012, a reporter at Mother Jones did a long story about how awful it was working at an Amazon fulfillment center as a temporary worker during the holiday season. Her main beef was that she was being measured and evaluated on how quickly she was working, with the obvious intent that Amazon would hire the better temporary workers for permanent jobs.

      http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online-shipping-warehouses-labor

      She also complained that she was sexually assaulted by being forced to look at dildos people (presumably mostly women) had ordered.

      So now the chickens have come home to roost. The robots do get rid of most of the walking

      US Foods works much the same way – pickers are assigned a list of food items to pull from pallets to load onto delivery trucks. cases are filled from ground level and excess inventory is stored up higher in the air and lowered down as needed. The picker works on one order at a time, adding the products on a pallet and picks the heaviest items first.

      There are warehouses where the picking can all be done by automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) similar to what Amazon is using except the robots remove the item from the racks rather than carrying the rack to the packer.

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    Expounding on the original thought, in the opening of the TV cartoon show The Jetsons, the two children are put into self flying jet cars that fly them to school. Google thinks that people being born today will probably never drive a car, nor own one. Ultimately, self driving cars will require remaking some aspects of streets and other vehicles. Once self driving cars are a reality, I can’t see any reason that school buses won’t be replaced with smaller self driving minibuses.

  3. TheChairman says:

    This topic has so many facets… where to begin? Versions of this technology have been around for decades. My uncle was managing engineer at the USPS Bulk Mail Center near Detroit, he gave us a tour of the facility before it opened in the late 70’s. Wires in the floor guided self propelled mail bins for automated sorting and routing back then.

    The thing about Amazon (and Walmart, etc) is they are warehousing and distribution networks, they don’t actually produce anything. Amazon bought Kiva when they saw it had a cost/benefit. The real sweatshops are in China, and there is little comparison other than the fact that Amazon, Google, etc cloned their communist factory culture.

    A couple of videos illustrate the paradigm that Amazon (Google, etal) emulated, and where they are going with it. The first video is a’ factory city’ in China which utilizes (exploits) it’s human-capital, with little reliance on IT or robotics. The second video shows the contrast of a factory in India, which is exploiting ‘techno-capital’. It’s not difficult to foresee the problems facing China as competition from India accelerates.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKseBx1YPgo

    (First 5+ min, jump to 25:00 for a few, then 45:00 and follow the girl on the bicycle)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vItaF69SoNI

    (personally, I hate drinking anything from a ‘Tetra Pak’)

    These are the factories and manufacturers which make Amazon viable. I find it interesting that nobody seems to do an expose on the mass of raw materials and robotics/industrial engineering which make all of these super factories possible.

    The notion of manufacturing jobs returning to the U.S. is a misnomer for those who are envisioning the return of Detroit, Pittsburgh, etc. It’s a brave new world, baby.

    What irks me are ‘white collar’ Amazon employees who complain about the corporate environment, particularly that their ideas are challenged or critiqued. Millennials…

    My latest Amazon order offered same day delivery for free, Monday Jan 2 (USPS and UPS were off). The package was delivered at 6 pm, by a woman using her own car. I thanked her, and as she drove away I wondered: “how long before she’s replaced.”

    Amazon, like Uber, utilized human-capital to build it’s empire and position, and now it will proceed to jettison the human element for increased efficiency and less liability.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      One of the things that puzzles me (not really) is the notion that creeps into robot designs is people start from the premise that humans are the ultimate model to use as a prototype. The most obvious is the idea that we look forward. For a biological entity, a vision system with 360Β° vision is not practical and would overwhelm the brain’s ability to process the data. Not having rear facing vision is a serious vulnerability of humans. We compensate for that by hearing, which is capable of detecting direction, including forward / backward.

      A robot that can see in every direction at once, and see in infrared, and is equally mobile in any direction would wipe out an army of humans as long as it has standoff over the human opponents or not vulnerable to their (our) weapons. If the robot kills using only energy, there would be virtually no limit to its lethality.

  4. Parrott says:

    Mother Jones is a rag. Fake news L_O_L.

    That was a pretty wild video of the fulfillment center. I would guess it was Louisville KY site. The little chick at the 1:17 mark, I love that corn-fed midwestern look, excellent.
    Or was I suppose to look at the ‘roomba’s rolling around on the floor ? : )
    robots, , I got a $35 drone for christmas. I have already broke a propeller, waiting on a replacement.
    I can see this drone technology for Railroads, they are already wiring for PTC . That could be the end for a lot of older Locomotives. Get your SD40-2 pics while you can.
    I don’t know about robot/ auto driving cars. too many variables.
    See how clean that floor was in the amazon warehouse ? Good environment for the robot and model train. Not outside in the road.
    See these auto-drive cars in the snow, that should be fun. They should have to be a special color or have a special light on the car to identify it. That way when it goes bat guano crazy, you can shoot it, L_O_L.
    Best
    parrott

    • Fred Stiening says:

      I made a comment on the wsj article about the concept of “smart roads”. It drew only one really tepid response, and is far from the worst case….

      The question is “how does a self-driving car know if it should stop for a school bus?” Before you rush to respond, the laws are different in different states. The biggest variation is the situation where there is a divider in the road between directions of travel. In some States, you can continue on if the road is divided, in others you must stop in both directions. Different kinds of school buses signal differently, In NC (I think) they have yellow and red lights. In some situation the yellow lights are only a caution and the red lights don’t come on.

      If you see a school bus approaching in the opposite direction, we humans make a judgement based on our speed, the apparent speed and distance to the school bus as to whether to try to stop, or slow down in anticipation the yellow/red lights might suddenly appear.

      An even more complex decision is whether the lower speed limit applies in a school zone. Some have lights that flash (sometimes when school isn’t in session – others just have lettering in small print that says something like “speed limit 25 when children are present (common in CT). What does “present mean? What is the definition of “child”? If the student is 17, the speed limit is 25, but the child is 18, the speed limit is 45? Computers are not good at judgement.

      Smart roads will require an end to variations in state laws, and a whole bunch of real time transmitters and communication between vehicles – rather than relying on visual clues, the school bus could signal its location, direction and intention. How do self driving cars deal with fog? If they can “see” better than a human, will they drive too fast for conditions? How will they handle a construction zone with single way traffic with people with slow/stop signs? What if it is a long construction zone where the two ends can’t see each other and a guide vehicle leads a long string of cars? Will a self driving car refuse to ever use a traffic lane going in the wrong direction? Many states require you to change lanes on an interstate if a policeman or tow truck is on the berm, or slow down if changing lanes is not possible. How will the car react to a chunk of truck tire retread in the lane?

      • TheChairman says:

        You are touching on similar points I made on a local AZ blog.

        When Uber exited California and brought their self-driving cars here to Arizona, our governor foolishly touted the “jobs it would bring.” (20 ?) Arizonans are not all rosy about these Uber cars, not to mention the fact that Gov. Ducey acted unilaterally. The first group of cars arrived on a self-driving truck…

        There have already been a few near-miss incidents involving pedestrians… Uber self-driving cars ran red lights, yet the in-car employees made no effort to stop their vehicles. Why not?

        I made the point that self-driving cars lack the ability to -look- at traffic 1/4 mile ahead and ‘anticipate’ a situation… the car is just executing an algorithm with proximity sensors and inputs.

        This is evident in various Tesla incidents posted on Youtube; the system is not capable of assessing the intent of other drivers.

        Questions I posed to the writer of the AZ article: How does the Uber car know if it hit a pedestrian? Will it stop? Are occupants required to render aid? What if there aren’t any passengers? I was focusing on the legal liability issues and Asimov’s 3 laws.

        “Hit a road worker” signs warn of 5-15 years imprisonment in most states, with fines of 3500-15,000. Who is the defendant?

        Of course, their argument will be: “We can’t make the system foolproof until everyone is in a self-driving car.” (total control)

        • Fred Stiening says:

          That’s the goal. An alternative is segregated highways.

          Now digging the hole even deeper – humans misjudging the intentions of self driving cars and Vice versa… what happens when two self driving cars made by different companies using different algorithms misunderstand each other’s intentions?

          Or the opposite – two cars with identical programming. We’ve all experienced as pedestrians walking down a street and both people try to avoid each other and end up moving toward each other, then both move the opposite direction at the same time to avoid walking toward each other and near collide again.

          A lot of behavior while driving is things like making eye contact or judging the expression of the other driver, and things like the age and ethnicity. Are there bumper stickers on the car? Do you smell pot or booze? A big red flag for me is unrepaired body damage. Frequently the driver engages in exactly the same type of behavior that caused the first accident.

          I’m not as pessimistic as it might sound. I think a starting point could be self driving transit buses. They travel over well known predictable routes. Being a bit Uberish, they could operate much more efficiently without the logistics of needing drivers at the right place at the right time. Some sort of remote control could solve the “I don’t know what to do” issues in the software. Currently, the software beeps and returns Control to the driver. If the passengers are 6 third graders, they won’t be much help.

  5. Parrott says:

    Yeah the School bus is an excellent example. I guess once they get the self-driving car working in San Fran, then need a army of contract programmers in Bangalore India or Pakistan to program for Palo Alto. I guess they get the code close and then U.S. programmers make changes (FIXES) on the edges to fill in the details for each specific area. That’s what we do.

    Yep you are exactly right Chairman, I can’t see the self driving car anticipating deer, or snow, crazies driving same speed in the left lane and right lane side by side.
    (For Miles) L_O_L.
    I like the rotating radio station pics. ( I do miss the Dinosaurs : )
    parrott

    • Fred Stiening says:

      The dinosaur pic is still in the rotation, just diluted. You might even
      See the nostalgic Bern it Down 2016 one

      In computer stuff, you get to 80% completion with 20% of the effort. The last 20% takes 80% of the effort. Just a few more things that come to mind – how will the car deal with making a right turn in Manhattan where you have to get aggressive to edge into the crosswalk? How will it react to coming up behind a snow plow? Does it understand the concept of a drawbridge? “Road closed” Detour signs? Flooded underpasses during a rainstorm? Tornado sirens going off?

  6. Fred Stiening says:

    Sears is closing a bunch of Sears and K-Mart stores. So is Macy’s. Brick and mortar is dead, which means shopping malls will follow

  7. Fred Stiening says:

    Bye bye video. Probably a national security issue. Much of the video was lifted from another older video, so maybe a copyright issue

  8. Fred Stiening says:

    Shipping is the sexy part of running a warehouse – the hard part is the receiving

    https://youtu.be/dAXdeqcHBp4

  9. Fred Stiening says:

    I bought some amazon stock today.

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