Embracing Our Autonomous Future - 2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,137
edited August 2015 in Acura
imageEmbracing Our Autonomous Future - 2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.com explores the active driving features in its long-term 2015 Acura TLX.

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Comments

  • kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Member Posts: 863
    Still seems like more of an "alpha" version more than anything. I'll be interested to hear how the Tesla version does on the highway - I bet it works quite well in comparison.
  • legacygtlegacygt Member Posts: 599
    It would be interesting (although slightly boring) for Edmunds to get some philosophers to weigh in on autonomous cars and the moral problems they will create. Right now, human drivers react to different scenarios and sometimes there are deaths and injuries. These are unfortunate but they are explained by instinct, human error, loss of control, poor judgement, etc. Autonomous cars will have none of these. They should perform exactly as their programming instructs them. So the questions then come up around who should be protected by the car's programming. Does the car do everything it can to protect its occupants? What calculation is there for the safety of other drivers and passengers? Does it veer away from a vulnerable cyclist or pedestrian but into a car knowing that the car's occupants are more likely to survive a crash? Will it sacrifice it's own occupants in order to avoid a multi-vehicle accident? And, as you sort these things out, does every car have the same programming or does a manufacturer distinguish itself with programming that prioritizes your safety over the safety of those around you? This is boring stuff but it's important to sort out before filling the roads with autonomous vehicles.
  • agent0090agent0090 Member Posts: 26
    How does that "removing hands from the wheel" alarm work exactly? On the freeway I will often have only one hand (with maybe only a couple fingers) on the wheel. Be a shame if that triggered an alarm.
  • locke42locke42 Member Posts: 25
    agent0090 said:

    How does that "removing hands from the wheel" alarm work exactly? On the freeway I will often have only one hand (with maybe only a couple fingers) on the wheel. Be a shame if that triggered an alarm.

    My car (Audi A3) has lane keeping assist, as well. I don't know if Acura's system works the same way, but the A3's system works by sensing if you are torquing the steering wheel. If you don't make any steering corrections via the wheel for about 5-10 seconds (i.e. applying no torque to the wheel), it beeps and flashes at you. All you have to do then is wiggle the wheel a bit and it'll reset the lane keeping.

    I've done some... ahem... testing of this feature on the road, and I've found that sticking a full water bottle into the steering wheel applies enough torque to fool the system into thinking you still have your hands on the wheel. It works well enough to keep the car going on a straight road with clear road markings, but not if the road turns. If the road turns, it will follow it a little bit, and then vibrate the steering wheel to let you know you're about to go out of your lane.
  • locke42locke42 Member Posts: 25
    legacygt said:

    It would be interesting (although slightly boring) for Edmunds to get some philosophers to weigh in on autonomous cars and the moral problems they will create. Right now, human drivers react to different scenarios and sometimes there are deaths and injuries. These are unfortunate but they are explained by instinct, human error, loss of control, poor judgement, etc. Autonomous cars will have none of these. They should perform exactly as their programming instructs them. So the questions then come up around who should be protected by the car's programming. Does the car do everything it can to protect its occupants? What calculation is there for the safety of other drivers and passengers? Does it veer away from a vulnerable cyclist or pedestrian but into a car knowing that the car's occupants are more likely to survive a crash? Will it sacrifice it's own occupants in order to avoid a multi-vehicle accident? And, as you sort these things out, does every car have the same programming or does a manufacturer distinguish itself with programming that prioritizes your safety over the safety of those around you? This is boring stuff but it's important to sort out before filling the roads with autonomous vehicles.

    I understand the question you're trying to raise, but I think the physics of how automobiles work simplify the question. Cars are made to withstand stresses longitudinally, and that includes impacts. Imparting even a slight amount of lateral force to an impact greatly increases the danger to everyone involved, regardless of what type of object the car is hitting. On top of that, straight-line braking is just about the most predictable avoidance maneuver possible in terms of how it affects the car's handling. Any other sort of evasive maneuvers put the car at risk of losing control, even with a computer at the helm.

    With that in mind, collision mitigation systems will probably prioritize braking over any other maneuvers.
  • legacygtlegacygt Member Posts: 599
    locke42 this is a good point. I guess swerving may be even less common once the machines take over. But the philosophical problems still remain: A person runs across the crosswalk, does the car slam on the brakes to avoid the pedestrian, leaving the car in an intersection to be hit by an oncoming vehicle? What if there are 2 people running across?
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