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'I was a little scared for him', says nervous passenger...

A journalist from France has caught on camera the moment a Nissan driverless car passes a cyclist without leaving enough space.

 

The video, shot in London as Nissan showcased its driverless progress, shows how the car’s console registers the cyclist, but then fails to move over to give him space.

Tetsuya Iijima, global head of autonomous drive development at Nissan, is behind the wheel, but fails to over-ride the car and move out either, the video, spotted by BikeBiz, shows.

One of the French journalists in the car can be heard saying: ”I was a little scared for him"  in French.

Last year we reported how Adrian Lord, of the transport consultancy Phil Jones Associates, fears that once technology that prevents pedestrians and cyclists from being hit by vehicles makes it to our roads, it opens the door for vulnerable road users to take advantage of the impossibility of being injured.

He said: "Once people realise that an autonomous vehicle will stop [automatically], will pedestrians and cyclists deliberately take advantage and step out or cycle in front of them?

“If that’s the case, how long would such a vehicle take to drive down Oxford Street or any other busy urban high street?”

Meanwhile professor of transport engineering at the University of the West of England, John Parkin, told the Financial Times (link is external) that much of the infrastructure that's being implemented to keep bikes and cars apart in inner-city environments, will be made redundant by autonomous technology reaching maturity.

"When fewer cars are driven by humans, in cities at least," the professor said. "There would be less need to segregate cyclists from traffic. This would allow roads to be designed as more open, shared spaces."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

47 comments

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Housecathst [603 posts] 7 months ago
12 likes

People are obsessed by the idea that cyclists and pedestrians will 'take advantage of driverless cars'. it sounds like there judging cyclists and pedestrians the same the same way motorist currently act towards vulnerable road users 'it's ok their get out of my way or their be dead'. The difference is that people in driverless cars aren't going to have there lives put in danger by the actions of a cyclists or a pedestrian on a daily basis, there just going to have a slower journey, oh the humanity. 

 Aren't they going to predestriase oxford street anyway. So yeah it going to take a very long time to driver down there. 

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Strathbean [25 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes

the thought of these simpering geeks faffing about with this nonsense anywhere on public roads beggars belief

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bstock [18 posts] 7 months ago
9 likes
Quote:

He said: "Once people realise that an autonomous vehicle will stop [automatically], will pedestrians and cyclists deliberately take advantage and step out or cycle in front of them?

“If that’s the case, how long would such a vehicle take to drive down Oxford Street or any other busy urban high street?”

 

Sounds like a plan for far more civilised cities to me.

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drosco [369 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

My mate was victim of a close pass by a Tesla the other day. When confronting him, the driver's response was 'sorry mate, it was on autopilot'.

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Leviathan [2780 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes

Le singe est dans l'arbre.
 

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 7 months ago
7 likes

The difference is that the autonomous driving algorithm has the potential to gather data and effectively learn from every single scenario. More importantly it has the capacity to share those learnings with all vehicles using the same algorithm.

Having experienced no fewer than 3 dangerous passes on the club ride this morning, I'd far sooner take my chances with software being in control.

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Ramuz [309 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

I hate geeks and their robotic fantasies.

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 7 months ago
8 likes
Ramuz wrote:

I hate geeks and their robotic fantasies.

And yet your entire world is stuffed full of robotic devices and computer controlled systems that you probably take for granted or are just unaware of.

Nobody seems to have a problem in buying a car that has essentially been built by robots but autonomous operation of those same machines seem to strike at the heart of the male ego in particular.

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fenix [748 posts] 7 months ago
20 likes
Ramuz wrote:

I hate geeks and their robotic fantasies.

He says on the internet....

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Rich_cb [376 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

I agree with Mungecrundle, this is obviously far from ideal but once the engineers are.aware.of the issue and fix it all autonomous Nissan will pass safely.

Given that this trial has only just started it's not surprising that there are a few teething difficulties.

Nissan hope to have this perfected by 2020 so hopefully the days of close passes are very much numbered.

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Bigfoz [140 posts] 7 months ago
9 likes

"I agree with Mungecrundle, this is obviously far from ideal but once the engineers are.aware.of the issue and fix it all autonomous Nissan will pass safely." 

That presupposes Nissan engineers recognise it. The engineer at the wheel could have taken over and steered the car around, but chose not to. So I don't see him seeing anything wrong with the car's behaviour that needed correction...

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Ramuz [309 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

But the truth is that robots will soon be impregnating your wife. Sex and procuration will be done artificially.

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 7 months ago
18 likes

Not if I hide the batteries.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1799 posts] 7 months ago
4 likes
Ramuz wrote:

I hate geeks and their robotic fantasies.

I probably _am_ a geek, but I still half-agree.

Techno-evangelists get on my nerves a bit. Socio-political problems require socio-political solutions. Technology changes problems but doesn't necessarily solve them.

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Rich_cb [376 posts] 7 months ago
4 likes
Bigfoz wrote:

"I agree with Mungecrundle, this is obviously far from ideal but once the engineers are.aware.of the issue and fix it all autonomous Nissan will pass safely." 

That presupposes Nissan engineers recognise it. The engineer at the wheel could have taken over and steered the car around, but chose not to. So I don't see him seeing anything wrong with the car's behaviour that needed correction...

The engineer in the car might have missed it but there will be a whole army of them poring over the data from every journey.

The fact that most newspapers have sent reporters for a ride around London in the new Leafs suggest a huge PR exercise is also underway. Negative coverage will be monitored very closely.

I very much doubt this will remain an issue for long.

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Podc [84 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes

Bit too much chuckling going on for my liking  2

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jimbo2112 [82 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Podc wrote:

Bit too much chuckling going on for my liking  2

 

Agreed... obviously non-cyclists.

 

However, this is a blip soon to be a non-story. In 10 years these cars will be the norm and I'm happy to predict, close and punishment passes will be long forgotten. (Except for those that have not gone full auto yet)

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Cupov [49 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Podc wrote:

Bit too much chuckling going on for my liking  2

Yeah....Fuckin hilarious when that happens

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userfriendly [616 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes

Don't know what the hubbub is about, Nissan got this one spot on, no? The computer is adapted perfectly to the UK style of driving, all working as intended.

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thesaladdays [123 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

The difference is that the autonomous driving algorithm has the potential to gather data and effectively learn from every single scenario.

By the sounds of it they're learning to be more like real human drivers!  Next thing they'll be bleating on about road tax in electronic voices.

Seriously though, do these algorithms contain strict red lines on adhering to safe distance minimums, or is there some allowance for taking reasonable (clearly not in this case) risks if it decides it's safe to do so?  Hope it's not the latter...

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ConcordeCX [439 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
Leviathan wrote:

Le singe est dans l'arbre.
 

le singe est au volant

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handlebarcam [1044 posts] 7 months ago
6 likes

Looks like the Nissan software engineers have faithfully replicated the programming found in many human drivers' heads:

if (cyclist.inBikeLane == true) {

    passingDistanceMeters = 0;

} else {

    passingDistanceMeters = 1;

}

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Henz [53 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes
Quote:

"... how long would such a vehicle take to drive down Oxford Street or any other busy urban high street?”

Private motor vehicles should not be allowed on "Oxford Street or any other busy urban high street". Problem solved.

Considering that this took place in London will the Met accept this as video evidence of (at the very least) careless driving by Tetsuya Iijima?

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mike the bike [957 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes
Ramuz wrote:

 But the truth is that robots will soon be impregnating your wife. Sex and procuration will be done artificially. 

 And not before time, if I may say so.  When I reached the age where my sex drive throttled back it was like being unchained from a maniac.*

 

*I stole that but it is so accurate.

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JonD [485 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
Ramuz wrote:

I hate geeks and their robotic fantasies.

You'd better go and live in cave, since all the technology you use and rely on every day is design and developed by 'geeks'.

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JonD [485 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
Bigfoz wrote:

"I agree with Mungecrundle, this is obviously far from ideal but once the engineers are.aware.of the issue and fix it all autonomous Nissan will pass safely." 

That presupposes Nissan engineers recognise it. The engineer at the wheel could have taken over and steered the car around, but chose not to. So I don't see him seeing anything wrong with the car's behaviour that needed correction...

The engineer in the car might have missed it but there will be a whole army of them poring over the data from every journey.

On one tv news item there was another example where the car aproached what I think was a narrow pavement/street sweeper vehicle (travelling, not sweeping) and the driver had to intervene and made some comment. A little worrying he didn't intervene in the cycling case, but yeah, I'd expect a whole lot of engineers will be looking at driving data.

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P3t3 [413 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

No offense Professor John Parkin, but this: "There would be less need to segregate cyclists from traffic. This would allow roads to be designed as more open, shared spaces."

Is complete bo11ocks! Roads ARE open shared spaces, which are dominated by bullying self entitled people driving cars. When the robots are driving we aren't suddenly going to be able to have picnics on them and I seriously doubt people will be any keener to cycle/walk in close proximity robots at high speed than they are being close to traffic at the moment.

Robots in factories have protective guards around them and they still go wrong (e.g. the robot that killed a worker in a VW factory recently), why would we risk asses them differently when they are loose on the highway.

Stick to the numbers John, or become a humanity professor where ideas and unsubstantiated opinions are welcome...

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arowland [165 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

If I understood the displays correctly, the car was only doing 32-37 km/h, so perhaps the pass wasn't as frightening as all that. But is should still leave min 1.5m in case of the cyclist needing to swerve.

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arowland [165 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
handlebarcam wrote:

Looks like the Nissan software engineers have faithfully replicated the programming found in many human drivers' heads:

if (cyclist.inBikeLane == true) {

    passingDistanceMeters = 0;

} else {

    passingDistanceMeters = 1;

}

If only drivers did think in C!

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velo-nh [125 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Mungecrundle wrote:

Having experienced no fewer than 3 dangerous passes on the club ride this morning, I'd far sooner take my chances with software being in control.

How many crashes has Airbus had due to automation?  And that's without the complexities of being on a road in heavy traffic.

As a software engineer, I don't see self-driving cars being a thing anytime soon.  At least not safe ones, or ones that don't require a lot of human intervention.  Worse, this is just going to lead to drivers that will be incapable on the occasion where the self-driving doesn't work.  

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