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Learning to Trust a Self-Driving Car

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Auto engineers face a paradox: how to design an autonomous vehicle that feels safe but reminds us that no driverhuman or artificialis perfect.

Credit: Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

On a clear morning in early May, Brian Lathrop, a senior engineer for Volkswagen's Electronics Research Laboratory, was in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S as it travelled along a stretch of road near Blacksburg, Virginia, when the car began to drift from its lane.

From The New Yorker
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Detlef Heinze

In my opinion the majority of drivers would like to drive by themselves: Driving is fun and they don't want to delegate it to a machine. The discussion about autonomous cars is focused on automation of the driving function. David Mindell calls this type of automation in his very good book (OurRobots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy, 2015) "control automation" and describes a lot of disadvantages.
But as Mindell points out there is another kind of automation: "Information automation". For a car means that type of automaton that the driver is in full control of driving but is supported by the computer with optical, haptic, and acustic hints during driving. Imagine a head-up-display which shows in the dark night the borders of the street on the front shiled by colored lines. This type of functionality reduces dramatically the problems discussed with autonomous cars and more important: Driving is still fun! So let's implement information automation and not control automation for cars.

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