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Thread: Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

    Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

    I had to share.

    Driverless car makers are discovering a unique problem as they begin to test the vehicles in Australia.

    It turns out the unusual way that kangaroos move completely throws off the car's animal detection system.

    "We've noticed with the kangaroo being in mid-flight ... when it's in the air it actually looks like it's further away, then it lands and it looks closer," Volvo Australia's technical manager David Pickett said.

    Because the cars use the ground as a reference point, they become confused by a hopping kangaroo, unable to determine how far away it is.
    So far, so good.

    But Mr Pickett said it was even more complicated than that.

    "First we have to start identifying the roo," he said.

    "We identify what a human looks like by how a human walks, because it's not only the one type of human — you've got short people, tall people, people wearing coats. The same applies to a roo.
    Well I just lost my shit over this. A couple of beers, roos wearing coats. It's a weird disturbing Saturday night where hopefully you don't get arrested. But I suppose at least the roos were warm.

    The company nailed down their large animal detection software, first tested on moose in Sweden. But the research team, who were sent to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in Canberra 18 months ago to study roos, are still solving the Australian problem.

    "It's quite interesting for them," Mr Pickett said.

    He said it would not delay the eventual rollout of driverless cars in Australia, but it was critical to solve the problem before they were introduced.

    According to the NRMA, there were more than 16,000 collisions with roos a year, with nearly 1,000 of those in the bush capital - the number one hotspot for roo collisions in the country.
    That's a lot of roos wearing coats getting hit by cars.....

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

    I was listening to recent discussion where the question was asked "If the car had to decide one out of two human targets to hit if faced with an emergency situation, would it differentiate a child over an elderly person?"

    The vague answer was something along the lines of 'questions like these part explain why this technology is not already mainstream on our roads. Accidents and road deaths happen daily; much the result of human error. The one time a driverless car decides to hit a child instead of an older pedestrian in this example, it will set back the public trust in this technology by years.

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Default Re: Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

    I love the driverless car concept, bring it on. 35k died on US roads last year, 1,200 died in Australia and those figures are dwarfed by China, Russia and probably India. As soon as driverless cars demonstrate vastly diminished accident rates, driving will simply be banned. Driving a car will go the same way as riding a horse - something you do in a designated place as a hobby.

    Having said that, i fucking love driving. I'd be sad not being able to drive anymore but i'll probably be dead by the time driving is banned, or too old to drive anyway, so i wont be affected.

    Another issue here is that 10% of the workforce drives for a living but mass unemployment is coming anyway due to AI and robotic automation, in my opinion, and the sooner it happens the better. I say that in the hope that we'll start talking about universal income and existential alternatives to deriving a meaning in life that is not based on going to work. These would be good things, so bring on that AI car.

    The kangaroo problem is a concern especially if it's based on the fact that being airborn throws the AI off. What about birds? Or jumping people wearing a fancy dress costume? Have they tested for that?What about folks that choose the pogo stick as their preferred mode of transport or exercise? They might be at risk, you'd think.

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Toontown, in the Bible Belt.

    Default Re: Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

    Extinction of people who ride those space-hopper thingies? Can't come soon enough!


    I’m not one of the dead ones yet. - Ms Fishie.

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  8. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Central coast, NSW

    Default Re: Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

    Would this mean the end of road kill? (with the exception of the choice between hitting a human or another vehicle or an animal)
    It would be great for the animals sake, especially vulnerable ones like koalas and wombats. Although ferals will rejoice! (no, I don't really wish a bloody death on ferals)
    What about motorbikes? Will I still be able to ride in the future? Most of the time the car is at fault anyway. The biker generally will only be a threat to themselves, not animals or people.
    “It's not my responsibility to be beautiful. I'm not alive for that purpose. My existence is not about how desirable you find me.” ― Warsan shire
    “Human beings have rights and are entitled to respect. Ideas, books, and beliefs don’t, and aren’t.” ― Ali A Rizvi

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

    This story reminded me of this one

    The rider, one “Oxtox” took to the forums of Road Bike Review with a tale in which he spotted “a Google self-driving Lexus”.

    Oxtox says “near the end of my ride today... we both stopped at an intersection with 4-way stop signs.” The rider was aboard a fixed-gear bike. Such steeds, commonly known as “fixies”, have no freewheel so when the pedals are moving, the wheels are moving. Cyclists whose shoes bond to their pedals with cleats often prefer not to detach when stationary so use a technique called a “track stand” whereby they stand on the pedals, turn the front wheel and balance without moving.

    Track stands are tricky to sustain: riders often wobble, rock and move a centimetre or five as they fight to stay keep their feet off the ground.

    Oxtox says the Googlemobile “apparently detected my presence … and stayed stationary for several seconds.” He then started his track stand, thinking the car would go through the intersection. “It finally began to proceed, but as it did, I rolled forward an inch while still standing. The car immediately stopped.”

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Re: Driverless cars: Kangaroos throwing off animal detection software

    It also reminds me of when I saw a demo of a military planning system. The Australians had borrowed a system designed in the US and before trialing it they made some modification to terrain and wildlife to suit Australian situations.

    During a demo to some visitors from the US they were flying a helicopter towards an enemy encampment only to be ambushed by kangaroos firing machine guns, who had apparently been entered into the system mistakenly as enemy combatants.

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