Mostly Bollogs, I'm afraid

But occasionally, a glimmer of truth.
If you find one, please let me know.

Monday, 18 May 2015


You're driving down this road, doing 60 mph.

Suddenly, a child walks out from your left, from behind the bush. 

A car is coming the other way.

What do you think you'd do?

a) try to stop
b) hit the oncoming car head on
c) drive through the fence

Now, if you were programming a driverless car and you had these inputs, what would you program it to do? You can't choose at the time, you have to program it to KNOW what to do.

a) trying to stop would reduce your speed to 46.7 mph on impact with the kid. Newton's law says the kid will be lucky if it just dies
b) the other driver will try to stop as well and you will hit it at a closing speed of 93.4 mph with the kid between the two
c) those fence posts are concrete, the first law of robotics forbids you that course of action

Asking for a friend.


Anonymous said...

Hand brake turn?

Mitch said...

Fit car with Radar and Infra red sensors then car slows down avoiding the issue.

Ray Turner said...

Instinct tends to take over in such circumstances. I'm not sure you can program instinct...

When I've been in a similar position on the roads previously, what I did was hit the brakes hard and try to scrub off as much speed as possible on the grippiest possible surface, whilst looking for a soft spot to to park the van (a ditch) at the very last moment, when going as slow as possible. Fortunately the oncoming vehicle did the same kind of thing and pulled in behind the truck it was stupidly overtaking. Because of that, we avoided a high-speed head-on crash.

What I was actually doing there was trying to change the situation, give myself more options and pick the one that reduced the inevitable impact and caused the least damage overall.