Mazda Finds 71% of Europeans Don't Want Full Self-Driving Cars

KungFury

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On the road
Well-weathered leather
Hot metal and oil
The scented country air
Sunlight on chrome
The blur of the landscape
Every nerve aware...

Wait, that dude is Canadian. Why cars though, seems to me trains and that sort of thing would make more sense in such a small area. Personally I ride a bicycle almost daily because it's much more peaceful than fighting traffic but I'd never go for an auto car on any level. I don't think anything like that would fly over here but we do have wide open spaces and a different mindset.
 

Northstar

The Original Party Worm
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24,128
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I think we're missing the real story here, how do you manage to poll 11,008 people? Did they get to 11,000 and figure they would bug 8 more just to see if they would tip the scales? :lol:

I would personally love an autonomous work van as I regularly have to drive 45 minutes to an hour (sometimes even more) in order to get to a job-site and it's not always paid drive time. Plus a big van isn't the most thrilling thing to drive.
 

Famine

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Why cars though, seems to me trains and that sort of thing would make more sense in such a small area.
If I wanted to get from here to popular seaside destination Scarborough, it would take me about an hour. It's under 40 miles in a straight line, and just under 50 miles driving. I could do it on probably £6 of fuel.

If I went on a train, it would take nearly three hours, using three different trains. And it would cost me £48. And I have to go when the train goes, which is once an hour - if I'm a minute late, I'll be an hour late to Scarborough... And I have to walk to the train station, which sucks when it's -4 outside.


Also, Europe is 3.9 million square miles and the USA is 3.8 million square miles.
 
88
Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
renny2000
You ever ride in a car with a friend whose driving ability you don't really have faith in?

That's the kind of feeling I have with these self-driving cars.
i think we all feel the same lol, but only because it's something new for us, if we implement full self driving cars the next generation will see them as something normal and daily. i think this happens with every new technology that comes every couple of years
 
1,018
New Zealand
Christchurch
kismet8051
But not by much - same as everywhere else in Europe. It all seemed to bottom out in 2012-2015 and it's changing by literally thirty or so each year.

Nope. 30,000 people annually across all of Europe is less than one in ten thousand. You're ten times more likely to die from seasonal flu.

But even one in ten thousand doesn't do just how rare road deaths actually are. Let's take the UK, because I have numbers for the UK to hand. In 2016 there were 1,792 deaths on the UK's roads - and that's among all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorbikes, cars, buses, lorries... everything. In 1926 - the first year of recording - it was 4,886. The highest ever recorded was 9,169, in 1941, and just to put that into context, you were about 25% as likely to be killed on the roads during a WAR than you were by enemy bombs during THE BLITZ.

Anyway. In 2016 we had 65 million people, who drove 36 million road vehicles a cumulative 325 billion miles. This means that one death occurred for every... wait for it... 180 million miles. If you want to compare that to 1926, I can't as I don't have numbers, but there were 5,250 deaths from 32 billion miles, or one every 6 million miles. These figures are usually reported as "deaths per billion vehicle miles" and peaked at 165 in 1949, but hit 5.6 in 2013.

So not only have road deaths (and again, that's among all road users) fallen in raw number by about 80% from its all time high and 65% since records began, they've fallen in frequency by about 97%.

Road deaths in the UK are not a high number - and they're fairly representative of Europe.


Tolls? You mean... like... paying to use the roads? I don't see how that's really relevant. If you mean death tolls then see above. They're tiny.

I mean, if you want even more context, there's an expected base line of annual deaths in the UK that is roughly half a million people. That is to say that during any one calendar year, 500,000 people are expected to die. 1,792 road deaths represent 0.3% of that figure. By comparison, an ineffective flu vaccine in the winter of 2015 (wrong strain) was among the leading causes for an additional spike of 24,000 deaths that year...


That's what the KSI (killed and seriously injured) figures are for. In 2015, there were 23,869 road users (as above, all road users including pedestrians) killed or seriously injured in the UK. Again, that's still less than the extra deaths caused by a wonky flu vaccine in one winter, and represents one serious injury or death every 13.6 million miles. At 75 KSI per billion vehicle miles, that's less than half of just the deaths in 1949...

The number of all casualties, including all minor injuries ("slightly injured") like whiplash, were unsurprisingly higher, at 186,209. This is 40% lower than in 2000 - I mean... 2000! That's not even a blip in the 24 million visits people make to A&E each year

All of these numbers are at historic lows. Pedestrian fatalities/KSIs since 1950? Reduced by 80%. Cyclist fatalities/KSIs? Reduced by 90%. Motorbike fatalities/KSIs? Reduced by 75%. Children KSI? Reduced by 80%. Distance driven? Up 1000%...


The fact is that road deaths among all road users are now ridiculously unlikely. The greatest single reduction actually came from the three point safety belt, but other passive safety systems like airbags (officially known as a "supplementary restraint system" or "SRS") and straightforward crash protection structures, along with electronic aids like standard ABS and ESP have dragged deaths, injuries and boo-boos down to levels that mean they barely register any more.

I mean... as many children are injured by DOGS annually as by cars (around 1,700 in each case)...
Here in NZ the road toll means road deaths hence the confusion.
30000 deaths pa in Europe is still a lot so when autonomous cars take over saving all or close to all that amount of people plus the injured will be no small thing, both from a tragedy point of view and an economic one as well. The costs of those deaths and injuries to a society must be huge.

This right here completely slams the notion that we need self-driving cars.
Not at all. Are those 30,000 lives plus the injuries sustained by survivors not worth saving?

Factor in the $ savings to the motorist and society as well from autonomous cars makes the argument for them compelling.

Then of course there are the environmental benefits too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a car guy through and through but I can see the way things are headed and I’m ok with it.
 
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512
United States
Newport Beach, CA
TurismoSlayer
I read not long ago in an article with Mazda that the auto industry is breeding lazy drivers and that Mazda’s focus is more towards driving pleasure or something along those lines. It’s good to know there is still an automaker for the masses that is still about the sensation of driving. Also with what they’re doing with the Skyactiv X and I’m super excited to see what Mazda has for the future. Petrol power!
 

Joey D

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I really want a self-driving car. I hate commuting to work and having a car that did it for me would be fantastic. Also, having a car that could shuttle me around to various places that's also electric means I could, in theory, save enough money over the course of a year to own something fun and enjoyable for weekend jaunts.

Don't get me wrong, I love driving, but 95% of driving is awful. There are only very few instances where you can actually enjoy your car on a road that's meant to be driven. Sitting in bumper to bumper traffic while creeping along at 10 mph seems better suited for a computer than a human.
 
1,942
Canada
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The_EH_Team_43
I would have an autonomous car in a heartbeat, hell a van even. I love driving, when driving is interesting. In Canada roads are arrow straight for the most part. There is almost no single interesting way to get where you're going even if it's an extra 10 minutes. My commute is currently highways and arrow straight regional roads. It's impossible to have fun and be safe. Monday I leave for work 3 hours away at 5 in the morning and Friday is the same somewhere after lunch. 6 hours I could be using for something else, I could read, do parts of an online course, play games, sleep, anything that can be mobile. If I could have that time back I would be ecstatic. I could keep my BRZ in the garage instead of pound countless highway miles into it and make it last longer. Autonomous cars are next level commuting transport and I welcome them with a large embrace.

My Dad currently spends 10 hours per week commuting, I'm sure he would love to get that time back as well. He's a busy guy with work and ~3 extracurriculars of which he does managing/paperwork for among the actual activities.

A lot of people don't realize the time they're using for a commute is pretty much wasted. Here you are sitting in your car (hopefully) concentrating on the road situation and doing the speed limit all the way to work. Say that's 6 hours per week. You have 6 hours tied up that you can do nothing about because you have to drive yourself on an incredibly boring road with incredibly frustrating people on the road around you. Suddenly you could not have to be doing that but still be getting to your job at the same place and time. How is that not fantastic?
 

Danoff

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Not at all. Are those 30,000 lives plus the injuries sustained by survivors not worth saving?

It's not about whether or not they're "worth" saving. Why must we reduce everything to a utilitarian calculation about whether the sacrifice is worth the reward? Nobody needs to make this evaluation. Self-driving cars are coming along on their own, no need for legislation. They'll drive down road deaths all by themselves, and as @Famine pointed out, they're doing it in small pieces too by taking over emergency maneuvers when it's clear that the human is out to lunch.

There will be some people who refuse. They'll say "I'll never trust my life to one of those things". And who is to argue? Maybe one of them gets maliciously piloted into a wall. Maybe there is a glitch that ends your life. Maybe it snows a lot where you are and it can't find the lines. Or maybe you just don't want to pony up the dough. After all, in the US you can still legally drive the stuff below. Full-autonomy is coming none-the-less for those who want it. And every time someone opts in, of their own choice, they make the roads a little safer in the process.

overland.jpg

211243372.jpg
 
7,212
Bahrain
Parts Unknown
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I sometimes wonder how people couldn't bear driving for 20-30 minutes on mostly moving traffic while listening to something enjoyable but then i remember that i live in a tiny island with everything within the reach and face a much shorter travel distance, that i'm going to Uni rather than some tedious work place or have to worry about stuff that much, that i don't face many traffic lights and very heavy traffic jam. Maybe it's just because i enjoy the fact i'm free to go anywhere i want to. Maybe i haven't grown mentally and still feel like when i was a kid towards cars.

Honestly, the only times where i wished if i wasn't driving was when i was really tired and sleepy which it didn't happen that often. For me, this whole self driving cars is interesting in tech wise only and not much in actual usage in real world.
 
356
Kuwait
Kuwait
I'll make this short for everyone :
As long as the Self Driving Cars ( SDCs ) needs maintenance - there is a chance of software faults which will increase after the last service - the closer it get's to the next service - for example :
99% functional software after service - 90 or 85% functionality before next service - not to forget that it will drop more - the closer you get to the major services.
They may decrease death rates but that's MOMENTUM if we counted my theory of services ... imagine 5 years of 70% drop of death rates - then suddenly a terrorist or a huge glitch or mulfunction kills 90% of their riders after 5 years of less death rate, then that death rate could equal 10 or 15 years of death rate by manually operated vehicles.
Caught my drift ?
 
838
Brazil
Brazil
I have no problems with fully autonomous and self-driving cars as long as those are not mandated by law.
(On the same way I have no problems with eletric engines taking over, as long as ICE cars are still allowed to drive, letting the free market decide the fate of ICE, not some prohibitive law)

In the future, if it will be mandatory for us to not be in control of our cars and let a software do the work, then I want said future to stick up to it's ass, I'm sorry, but I can't trust a software(which can and WILL be hackable, as every other software) to do that, not only that, but I like to be in charge, control and select where I want to go.

I'm a liberal, and I see such thing as potentially harmful to the individual liberties of the people, which can be even worse if the government decides to track and store data of all drivers and monitor it(like NSA does with emails and phones).

My opinion might seem a little bit conspiracional, but that's how I see it.
 
I hate the idea of self driving cars but in the end everything changes. 100 years ago we were all riding horses, that skill is lost on the most part, just like driving will be.
 

Famine

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30000 deaths pa in Europe is still a lot
It... just... isn't. I have no idea how you can say it is after quoting a post where I explain how it isn't.

Aside from being 80% less than it was 50 years ago, despite a tenfold increase in driven miles, it's as many people as die from flu in the UK in one winter. It's half of the suicide rate. It's about equal to the number of people who die after falling down the stairs.

It's 0.6% of the total number of deaths.
 
838
Brazil
Brazil
I hate the idea of self driving cars but in the end everything changes. 100 years ago we were all riding horses, that skill is lost on the most part, just like driving will be.

Nothing is stopping you to get a horse and ride it everyday of the week if you so desire, though.

Currently, everything is pointing towards a future where autonomous cars are going to be mandated by law, not by choice, same deal as the ICE cars in the future, Germany, France and other countries of the UE are talking about and working on regulations that prohibits ICE cars from driving, and that is not fair for those who doesn't like eletric and hybrids.
 
1,230
Greece
Patra
Rotorist
Drivng wouldn't be dangerous at all if driving licenses were given after stricter driving and psycho tests and were repeated once a while (let's say 10 years) and there were permanet licence recalls for surpassing limits in violating the driving laws. It seems that there is an agenda when intentionally allowing drivers to become worse in order to have more securuty-related excuses when they end in banning driving. And then, some terrorists will cause chaos just by remotely controlling our cars and killing us driving one to others at ful speed. And the same who voted the law and allowed it will get in front of the camera looking shocked. We have already seen some episodes of this series since the attack on the twin-towers. Wake up people. Computers are only to serve humans and should't be allowed to get our lifes into their "hand" without us being able to turn them on-off them at any time. Or else the consequences will be disastrous.
 

Famine

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Currently, everything is pointing towards a future where autonomous cars are going to be mandated by law
Currently nothing is pointing towards that. Level 3 and 4 systems aren't even legally allowed on the roads except by special dispensation - which means no-one even sells them - never mind fully autonomous level 5 systems.

The only thing even close is an automakers' agreement to have a standard AEB system on new cars from 2022, and even then there are exceptions. AEB will also will form part of the NCAP testing program (if fitted; the section will be failed if it is not fitted) from 2018. But that's not a legal requirement in either case.
 

GTP_Remo

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We as a society have yet to answer the question of whom does the autonomous vehicle sacrifice in an unavoidable situation.

Protect the passengers? Protect the bystanders?
 

Famine

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We as a society have yet to answer the question of whom does the autonomous vehicle sacrifice in an unavoidable situation.

Protect the passengers? Protect the bystanders?
It's not necessary to answer that question - it's literally just a thought problem (the trolley problem) which has no application to the real world.

How would a situation arise in which an autonomous vehicle would be required to choose who to kill? The situation requires a split-second decision based on available information (which an autonomous car would have more of than a human), but how do the choices come down to just "avoid harm to others" and "avoid harm to occupants" - and what would the different reactions be? Swerving one way or the other? Why not braking? If you have time to change the car's direction, you have enough time to slow it down too. Or instead.


For that matter, how would that situation arise for a human driver? Has it ever been the case that a human driver has had to choose between ploughing through a crowd of childrens/nuns/supermodels or killing themselves?


Most advanced technology has a failsafe. That is, should the technology fails, it reverts to a safe state. Not moving is the safe state for a vehicle. That's the likely reaction to any such decision.
 

Joey D

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I sometimes wonder how people couldn't bear driving for 20-30 minutes on mostly moving traffic while listening to something enjoyable but then i remember that i live in a tiny island with everything within the reach and face a much shorter travel distance, that i'm going to Uni rather than some tedious work place or have to worry about stuff that much, that i don't face many traffic lights and very heavy traffic jam. Maybe it's just because i enjoy the fact i'm free to go anywhere i want to. Maybe i haven't grown mentally and still feel like when i was a kid towards cars.

Honestly, the only times where i wished if i wasn't driving was when i was really tired and sleepy which it didn't happen that often. For me, this whole self driving cars is interesting in tech wise only and not much in actual usage in real world.

This is what I sit in most days on the way home from work:

636386671305287150-XXX-Memorial-Day-Travel-4843.JPG


If my car was autonomous, I wouldn't mind sitting in traffic because I could either continue to work, play on my phone, or do virtually anything else besides stare at the taillights of another car.

Don't get me wrong, I love driving, but when a vast majority of my time behind the wheel consists of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the I-15 I find it to be terrible.

I'll make this short for everyone :
As long as the Self Driving Cars ( SDCs ) needs maintenance - there is a chance of software faults which will increase after the last service - the closer it get's to the next service - for example :
99% functional software after service - 90 or 85% functionality before next service - not to forget that it will drop more - the closer you get to the major services.
They may decrease death rates but that's MOMENTUM if we counted my theory of services ... imagine 5 years of 70% drop of death rates - then suddenly a terrorist or a huge glitch or mulfunction kills 90% of their riders after 5 years of less death rate, then that death rate could equal 10 or 15 years of death rate by manually operated vehicles.
Caught my drift ?

You know that happens with non-autonomous vehicles right? If you don't service your car now, the likelihood of failure goes up, as does the chance of an accident.

We as a society have yet to answer the question of whom does the autonomous vehicle sacrifice in an unavoidable situation.

Protect the passengers? Protect the bystanders?

Given the safety systems put in place on cars currently and with a trend continuing that way, chances are the car would attempt to disable itself and if it couldn't it would ultimately crash into something that's not another person. If a car is safe enough, your chances of walking away from an accident are higher if you're in a car versus being hit by a car.
 

SlipZtrEm

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27,384
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SlipZtrEm
I'll make this short for everyone :
As long as the Self Driving Cars ( SDCs ) needs maintenance - there is a chance of software faults which will increase after the last service - the closer it get's to the next service - for example :
99% functional software after service - 90 or 85% functionality before next service - not to forget that it will drop more - the closer you get to the major services.
They may decrease death rates but that's MOMENTUM if we counted my theory of services ... imagine 5 years of 70% drop of death rates - then suddenly a terrorist or a huge glitch or mulfunction kills 90% of their riders after 5 years of less death rate, then that death rate could equal 10 or 15 years of death rate by manually operated vehicles.
Caught my drift ?

Do the programs on your computer slowly shed code over time?

You're also conveniently ignoring something @Joey D touches on; servicing isn't exactly clockwork for humans currently. People are lazy. A good chunk of people I've known over life don't care for preventative maintenance. They see it as an unneeded expense at best, or mechanics trying to con them out of money at worst.

An autonomous car would arguably be able to keep track of these things far better than a regular driver. It could be rolled into the price of the car, too; look at Volvo's new car rental approach. With a fully autonomous car, you wouldn't even have to worry about the most annoying part: waiting at the dealer/garage while work is done. You head to work (without the stress of gridlock), and the car takes itself to get serviced. It greets you at the end of the day all updated/fixed, or a courtesy car does the same to bring you home until your car is ready, at which point it drives itself home.

This is what I sit in most days on the way home from work:

*traffic*

If my car was autonomous, I wouldn't mind sitting in traffic because I could either continue to work, play on my phone, or do virtually anything else besides stare at the taillights of another car.

Don't get me wrong, I love driving, but when a vast majority of my time behind the wheel consists of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the I-15 I find it to be terrible.

Whenever I hear people talk about how "it's not that bad" or "deal with it" about sitting in traffic, I think of Calvin's dad:

upload_2017-12-30_11-29-37.png


I can't think of a single thing gained from sitting in traffic that I couldn't get elsewhere. It doesn't teach me anything. If I've had a great discussion with a passenger while sitting in it, or found a new song on the radio I like, well, I could do either of those things with the car taking care of the commute.

I don't see people decrying the lack of hand cranks on modern cars. Why?

I can't wait for autonomous cars, because the standards of the average driver in Canada are atrocious. Over the course of the past few years we've seen our commute to St. Catherines (where most of Sam's family is) regularly hit three hours or longer. It's barely over 100km away, and that's one way; if we get stuck in traffic there and back, that's six hours spent sitting in a car, doing nothing.
 

homeforsummer

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I'm still blown away by the option of renting a self-driving van that shows up with a bed in the back. You hope in, tuck in for the night, and go to sleep while it drives you 10 hours to another city. When you wake up in the morning you get changed, maybe have a bite to eat, maybe use the built-in bathroom, and hop out ready to go when you arrive. It could kill short-distance air travel.
I'm not sure I like this idea, at least in relation to it replacing short-haul flights.

A relatively small short-haul, narrowbody aircraft like an Airbus A318 or Boeing 717 can carry 100 or so passengers. Immediately, one of those flights alone removes potentially 100 cars from the roads that aren't required to do that particular journey.

You can then multiply that by however many times that route is flown in a day (conservatively, a flight might take a fifth of what an equivalent drive might, so operators can squeeze many more of them into a day), multiplied by all the other routes that might put a car on the road for ten hours, multiplied by all the carriers doing that route. LA > SLC. Or Miami > Atlanta. Or Des Moines > Denver. Or NYC > Detroit.

That's what... tens of thousands of ten-hour car journeys not required? There are other factors to consider of course - people will still have had to drive to the airport in the first place, and individually they have to wait around for a bit, and you might say that the ease and speed of air travel means more people will travel in the first place than if they were sleeping in the back of a van for ten hours, but you have to imagine that the sleeper van thing would be far more problematic than it seems at a glance. Probably more expensive than a short-haul flight too.

I'm not entirely against the idea of autonomous cars, but the example above quite neatly illustrates one of the big concerns I have with the concept.

A lot of companies and advocates of the concept seem to be pushing them as a way of making dozens more superfluous journeys than the superfluous journeys people already make. They're claimed to be capable of reducing traffic by better integrating with vehicles around them, but there could be more of them on the road in the first place - used by people who can't currently drive for whatever reason, or even completely empty vehicles going from job to job - or just circling the block for a bit at the behest of its owner - when normally a car spends most of its time parked. I'd rather clever people tried to make public transport a more viable option than giving us a system where people can summon a glorified mobility scooter out of the ether for a journey they might otherwise think a bit more carefully about making.
Don't get me wrong, I love driving, but 95% of driving is awful. There are only very few instances where you can actually enjoy your car on a road that's meant to be driven. Sitting in bumper to bumper traffic while creeping along at 10 mph seems better suited for a computer than a human.
The elephant in the room is that you'd still be creeping along at 10mph in an autonomous car, you just wouldn't have to be concentrating on it.

I'd rather a system where I didn't have to waste my life in traffic in the first place, instead of inventing a device to make those wasted hours pass by a little easier. Lots of companies have these grand plans that you can use the time for socialising or (god forbid) as part of your working day, but the root of the issue is that people are spending hours each morning and evening sitting in a moving box, not what is controlling that moving box.

It struck me a while back that I don't actually find motorway journeys that boring. I've done huge road trips through Europe and the US and enjoyed just sitting there, clicking off the miles on an empty highway. What's boring and demoralising is doing so in traffic, and taking 50% longer to do a given trip than it should for a given distance. The monotony of commuting is more in having to share the roads with other commuters than it is in the trip itself.

To play devil's advocate with someone like @Eh Team above, is the problem there that your commute is boring, or is it that you live three hours from where you work, rather than say, 15 minutes away?
 
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Famine

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That's what... tens of thousands of car journeys not required? There are other factors to consider of course - people will still have had to drive to the airport in the first place, and individually they have to wait around for a bit, and you might say that the ease and speed of air travel means more people will travel in the first place than if they were sleeping in the back of a van for ten hours, but you have to imagine that the sleeper van thing would be far more problematic than it seems at a glance. Probably more expensive than a short-haul flight too.
But you'd not be sexually molested as much with the van. Or get beaten up by the police and removed from it because the van was overbooked.
 
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It's not necessary to answer that question - it's literally just a thought problem (the trolley problem) which has no application to the real world.
This. As unlikely as the scenario is now (which I believe is just short of impossible), the presence of autonomous vehicles further reduces the chances of it happening by eliminating events that occur prior to that moment a decision must be made.

I see the argument as a lack of any other reasonable argument against implementation made by someone who just doesn't want it to happen.
 
20,678
TenEightyOne
TenEightyOne
That's what... tens of thousands of ten-hour car journeys not required? There are other factors to consider of course - people will still have had to drive to the airport in the first place, and individually they have to wait around for a bit, and you might say that the ease and speed of air travel means more people will travel in the first place than if they were sleeping in the back of a van for ten hours, but you have to imagine that the sleeper van thing would be far more problematic than it seems at a glance. Probably more expensive than a short-haul flight too.

Lots of people already use similar sleep-and-ride services of course, the difficulty over air travel is that for some parts (in Europe at least) the roads themselves aren't up to high-volume traffic or are in geographically dangerous areas. Crossing the Alps is an obvious one, for example.
 

homeforsummer

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But you'd not be sexually molested as much with the van. Or get beaten up by the police and removed from it because the van was overbooked.
I know there's an element of humour in here (not to mention irony - I feel like plenty of sexual molestation goes on in the back of vans) but these are not big or frequent issues.

I've lost count of the number of flights I've been on in the last five years. I've probably had a pat-down fewer than ten times (and never one I felt violated by - maybe I'm not attractive enough...) and I've suffered an overbooking problem once, and on that one I simply didn't get on the fight, rather than being requested to leave.

That said (and I'm probably going to get some flak for this), I've not got a great deal of sympathy for the people who get "beaten up" being asked to leave a flight.

If it's got to the beating-up stage in the first place then it's probably someone's own doing - airlines tend to ask nicely for quite a while before calling in the heavies, and if someone is still saying "no" even when a couple of armed police are asking them to deplane then they're morons. Historically the odds aren't good for someone grappling onto their armrest in defiance in that situation. Get off the plane, don't make a scene, and then feel free to sue the ass off the company if needs be, but sitting there screaming about your rights like a child as two people with batons walk down the aisle is only ever going to end badly.
Lots of people already use similar sleep-and-ride services of course, the difficulty over air travel is that for some parts (in Europe at least) the roads themselves aren't up to high-volume traffic or are in geographically dangerous areas. Crossing the Alps is an obvious one, for example.
The roads virtually anywhere aren't up to that, if you suddenly drop hundreds of thousands of cars onto them whose trips would otherwise be handled by aircraft.
 

Famine

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I know there's an element of humour in here (not to mention irony - I feel like plenty of sexual molestation goes on in the back of vans) but these are not big or frequent issues.

I've lost count of the number of flights I've been on in the last five years. I've probably had a pat-down fewer than ten times (and never one I felt violated by - maybe I'm not attractive enough...)
The TSA in the States is notorious for it.

But frankly the whole airport security thing would be enough to put me in an autonomous car rather than a plane. Losing an hour (on a good day) to standing in line, making sure you don't have too much toothpaste and being X-Rayed, just so you can spend 90 minutes stood in a queue to sit in the world's least comfortable seat is so tedious, I'd sleep in a self-driving van to avoid it.

That said (and I'm probably going to get some flak for this), I've not got a great deal of sympathy for the people who get "beaten up" being asked to leave a flight.

If it's got to the beating-up stage in the first place then it's probably someone's own doing - airlines tend to ask nicely for quite a while before calling in the heavies, and if someone is still saying "no" even when a couple of armed police are asking them to deplane then they're morons. Historically the odds aren't good for someone grappling onto their armrest in defiance in that situation. Get off the plane, don't make a scene, and then feel free to sue the ass off the company if needs be, but sitting there screaming about your rights like a child as two people with batons walk down the aisle is only ever going to end badly.
It's not always quite that simple - and the reason given in this case turned out to be bollocks anyway...
 

homeforsummer

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It's not always quite that simple - and the reason given in this case turned out to be bollocks anyway...
It's fairly simple, I'd say. It could be to reaccommodate staff, it could be for security reasons, it could even be that the airline is massively racist and simply didn't want a man of Vietnamese decent onboard. The airline and the security aren't going to suddenly change their minds about the decision, so ultimately there's no scenario in which the day won't end with you getting off the plane one way or another.

Going back to the flight vs. autonomy thing, I can't really relate. Again it depends on several factors, but I'd have to be seriously hindered by all the airport stuff to select a night in the back of a moving van over a short plane hop. Living where I live at the moment, I leave my flat about 4.5 hours before departure to get a flight at Heathrow (if I wasn't concerned about traffic, it'd be 3.5 hours).

If I was going to say, Geneva, that's a 1.5 hour flight on top of that. Providing the flight itself is on time - and most are, realistically - it's six hours for me from leaving my front door to wheels-down in Geneva (or five, if I'm lucky with M1 and M25 traffic and have the balls to leave only 1.5 hours to get to the airport...). Or I could spend 11 hours in the back of an autonomous van.

Probably around eight of which I'd actually be sleeping for (provided it was comfortable enough to do so, and assuming all this travelling takes place in the middle of the night where I'd not be doing anything anyway), so I'd still have three hours (or more) to kill on the road in the back of a van.

Given the choice of six hours of getting somewhere and having five extra hours to kill pre- or post-travel, or 11 hours of which eight might be asleep, I'd take the air travel and the free time not spent in a metal box.

Or, given the Geneva example, I'd drive the 11 hours myself (only 2.5 of which would be the awful UK bit), listening to music and podcasts, stopping for food and ablutions occasionally and, given the French leg of the trip is mostly on empty motorway, not really feeling overly worn down or stressed in the first place. Having done the trip myself a few times anyway, I could probably knock off an hour or more from the AV's time doing speeds the AV would be programmed not to do...