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2 hours ago, tater said:

Even minus people behind the wheel, they would need to deal with people in the streets

Just let them go on different levels. Lower street - robo-cars, upper street - pedestrians.

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That would require maybe trillions in infrastructure development, not gonna happen.

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Or just exchange some freedom for order, the thermodynamic style.

Yeah, I also enjoy driving, but in a jam ? On a long, straight, boring road ? (Incidentally it's often where things are exciting where the collisions occur !)

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1 hour ago, kerbiloid said:

Just let them go on different levels. Lower street - robo-cars, upper street - pedestrians.

Separating wheeled traffic from pedestrians was tried at least in my country in the 50's and 60's. Those neighbourhoods are consistently voted worst places to live, work or visit in. Unanimously by users of all transportation models too.

The issues directly arise from the vertical separation: you arrive on the traffic level, be it by private car or public transport, but your destination is on the pedestrian level. So you cannot see the route from your parking spot or bus stop to the house or business you are looking for, you must first find a way to the other level. Only then you can seek out your actual destination. Same trouble going back, you must remember which stairs or lift you came up with or you may spend ages looking for your vehicle.

Then you haven't completely separated pedestrians from vehicles, as people leaving or entering vehicles must still get close to them. In fact you never can completely achieve that separation simply because people are using those vehicles to get from A to B and by necessity must board a vehicle at A and disembark at B.

Finally the lower levels tend to be dark, closed concrete worlds. Places like that often make people scared, even if only sometimes for a good reason. Having to daily go through scary places does not happy people make.

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On topic, it seems like it would be hard to have egress routes to the surface very often given that there are roads, houses, buildings already above most plausible tunnel routes. Buying real estate to provide them seems like it would be a non-trivial expense in expensive, urban areas.

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11 hours ago, monophonic said:

in the 50's and 60's

Imho, that's the root of evil. But those technologies also were not appropriate for self-driving cars.

Of course, I can't say on my own experience, my own city streets are mostly slanted (hilly landscape), rather than levelled.
But the problems described by you look mostly caused by insufficient IT infrastructure (50s-60s) and unfortunate planning.

Say, one must search his way to the upper level probably because the passways are tricky placed, and there is not enough info around.
I just take as an example Moscow subway. When I I was living in Moscow, I used subway as my main transport an never met any problems with getting to somewhere, even while I had very poor idea about this city geography. Though, at that time it was using information technologies of 30s.
I'm sure that currently, with modern information displays, a smartphone, etc, I would find there anything before I had thought about it.
Also, yes, I couldn't see what's currently happening above (though, on-wall displays allow this, anyway they should be there for commercials, etc), but I just know which station is here, and plan my further route from this.

11 hours ago, monophonic said:

Same trouble going back, you must remember which stairs or lift you came up with or you may spend ages looking for your vehicle.

Unless you can see this on your smartphone. (An arrow "Your car - that way").

Or instead of driving a personal car, inside a city rent a robo-taxi or choose a robo-bus (local, electric).
Of course, this would offend car fans, but gives additional bonuses. City ecology, less personal cars, less traffic problems, no personal parking problems.
Say, when one usually doesn't goes by his own car across a corporative territory.

With a robo-taxi or robo-bus this problem disappears at all. There is a bus stop. Get into the closest.

11 hours ago, monophonic said:

Finally the lower levels tend to be dark, closed concrete worlds.

Not necessary dark, though of course not sunny. But people shouldn't walk there, just get in, get out.

11 hours ago, monophonic said:

Then you haven't completely separated pedestrians from vehicles, as people leaving or entering vehicles must still get close to them. In fact you never can completely achieve that separation simply because people are using those vehicles to get from A to B and by necessity must board a vehicle at A and disembark at B.

Imho, this will be achieved automatically when automated plants and offices will give most of people a lot of free time, but much less free money.
Then robo-taxi will become main option for most of a city population, and the problem will just degrade into, saying mathematically, a degenerate case.
Say, in Soutj-East Asia you just rent a riksha for a short trip, not buy him with his carriage or bicycle  (though, having enough money, possibly could). The same here, but without riksha.

I don't mean that all streets must get multi-levelled right now, this is impossible. But 20-30 years later (when the said would happen) - why not.

Actually, I mean multilevel streets: first level -  pipes and wires, second level - unhuman cargo city traffic, third level - robo-taxi carriages, fourth level - humans..
As modern infrastructure anyway needs huge underground storages and facilities, this is even not a street (a gap between houses), but more like a city-sized concrete fortress with people on top and traffic inside. Living on top of a city-sized storehouse+parking.

Edited by kerbiloid

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Some points :

20 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Just let them go on different levels. Lower street - robo-cars, upper street - pedestrians.

While this might not been the case in what I present, the idea was almost well-conceived - basically how to let people use the cars not on old, narrow street networks.

http://www.cbrd.co.uk/articles/glasgow

http://www.cbrd.co.uk/articles/liverpool-inner-motorway

http://www.pathetic.org.uk/features/tyneside/

http://www.pathetic.org.uk/current/a58m/ (not sure about the rest of the project)

http://www.milfordstreetbridgeproject.org.uk/content/events/the-inner-relief-road-construction/story-inner-relief-road (taken from locals viewpoint, but still shows the grandeur if you consider the right-of-way are still there in another use)

The story (and the premise) is mostly the same - you drive your car into town, park somewhat near the shops and walk to there and back. Massive demolition ensues.

In the UK (at least), the idea was that destruction from war would provide spaces for improvement. This is most clearly shown in London's Ringways ("backup" article, refereed main article hasn't been re-released again after website upgrade). Sadly, you don't just rise so from a war - when you actually can do it something is already there replacing the gaps.

One plan more grandeur than Musk's Boring Company however :

http://www.cbrd.co.uk/articles/underways

Edited by YNM

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On 7/26/2017 at 9:22 AM, kerbiloid said:

But those technologies also were not appropriate for self-driving cars.

None of the issues cited hinge on whether the vehicles have a driver or not. Human psychofysiology hasn't meaningfully changed in 70 years.

On 7/26/2017 at 9:22 AM, kerbiloid said:

Say, one must search his way to the upper level probably because the passways are tricky placed, and there is not enough info around.

Say, one in every street corner is not enough? And if you add signage to every potential destination within a 400 meter radius, you will have so much signs that they cause way more confusion than help. (~400 meters is the empirically measured catchment area for a bus or tram stop within which most people don't find the walk irritating.)

On 7/26/2017 at 9:22 AM, kerbiloid said:

Unless you can see this on your smartphone. (An arrow "Your car - that way").

I know it may seem shocking to people interested in technology, but majority of folks still prefer to navigate by their eyes. Many even find being forced to rely on devices cumbersome. Time of course will change this over a few generations, but no navigator will ever better seeing your destination and the route there.

On 7/26/2017 at 9:22 AM, kerbiloid said:

With a robo-taxi or robo-bus this problem disappears at all. There is a bus stop. Get into the closest.

Where does this bus go? Do I care or am I just travelling for travelling's sake? Taxis of course work from anywhere to anywhere, but they share the disadvantage of private cars in that they only move few people at a time. All you save is the parking requirement.

On 7/26/2017 at 9:22 AM, kerbiloid said:

But people shouldn't walk there, just get in, get out.

Get in or out, how? On your feet, by walking, of course.

On 7/26/2017 at 9:22 AM, kerbiloid said:

Say, in Soutj-East Asia you just rent a riksha for a short trip, not buy him with his carriage or bicycle  (though, having enough money, possibly could). The same here, but without riksha.

The streets in S-E Asia are still full of rikshas. Ownership or driverlessness does not change the fact that small transports just are terribly inefficient in the amount of real estate they require. Rikshas in S-E Asia also deliver you right to the door of the shop, house or other destination you are going to. That is not possible in a vertically separated architechture.

On 7/26/2017 at 9:22 AM, kerbiloid said:

Actually, I mean multilevel streets: first level -  pipes and wires, second level - unhuman cargo city traffic, third level - robo-taxi carriages, fourth level - humans..

We have that separation right now. Well, cargo tunnels also run pipes and wires where convenient, since the latter don't need constant attention and the former can deal with the rare blocks when they are needed. And carriages and pedestrians are horizontally separated rather than vertically, because that makes changing from one to the other so much more convenient.

You personally may not mind the issues so much. But urban design has to serve the masses.

Edited by monophonic
Typos

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(I just proceed on typical Moscow subway stations and their surroundings, which I was using for several years, so of course I can't speak on your city without looking at.
So, of course I'm not pretending to say what's better for your place.
I just believe that if that station were an underground level of a typical city block, the problems described by you, were elminated at all. Just with cars instead of trains.)

Not so grim dungeon.
https://www.google.ru/search?newwindow=1&client=opera&biw=1920&bih=980&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=московское+метро+станции+фото&oq=московское+метро+станции+фото&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i24k1.1488.1488.0.1679.1.1.0.0.0.0.81.81.1.1.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.1.80.4TaXNOYO2xA

12 minutes ago, monophonic said:

Say, one in every street corner is not enough?

Unlikely. A typical subway station in Moscow is ~160 m, and it has two wide entrances at both parts (say, 10-20 meters wide).
Some of them are paired (belong to different lines) and have crosswalks between them.
Typical time between nearby stations ~4 minutes. Typical interval between trains ~4 minutes (so, ~3 km or so in the city center).
As the robo-taxi is not a train, its stations can be much closer to each other, almost in every city block.

22 minutes ago, monophonic said:

And if you add signage to every potential destination within a 400 meter radius, you will have so much signs that they cause way more confusion

They put signage to the nearest and the most significant destinations.
So, knowing that what you need is placed near some significant object, you can just keep moving in its direction following arrows and reading the signs with local details. Hard to get lost.

Anyway most of people just pass this way every day and dont need the signs at all, while the city guests basically know near what large object they want to appear. So, they just proceed as above.

27 minutes ago, monophonic said:

majority of folks still prefer to navigate by their eyes. Many even find being forced to rely on devices cumbersome.

Of course. I just mean that later the projected virtual signs will be enough without on-wall tables.

29 minutes ago, monophonic said:

Where does this bus go?

To which station. And a robo-taxi, rather than a train, allows you to choose not only straight chained lines, but just to select a destination.

30 minutes ago, monophonic said:

Get in or out, how? On your feet, by walking, of course.

Walking or staying on elevators, as in subway stations or molls.

32 minutes ago, monophonic said:

small transports just are terribly inefficient in the amount of real estate they require. Rikshas in S-E Asia also deliver you right to the door of the shop, house or other destination you are going to.

Robo-riksha would deliver your to the desired subway station. Then you will need to walk. 
Exactly because small transport is less efficient that big one, and because 90% of people follow the same routes, I mention robobuses, which can carry many people at once along major routes.
Small transport is more efficient for that people who moves along a custom route, and in this case they are more efficient.

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@kerbiloid@monophonic On the point of rikshaws : as I actually live in one of the places where they're quite abundant (it's called "becak" in Java, fitted with pedals so unlike those in Thailand or India or something, elsewhere they have different names, and some are motorized (most in other islands are motorized) and have funny names such as "heli(cak)" and so on). Their only reason to exist now, most of the time, are people carrying cargo (say, groceries or supplies or other things), or the cargo itself (sometimes fresh products shunted between markets or shops). Some of the users walk to the shops / market, then come home with one. (Extras hidden as it's quite off-topic)

Spoiler

 

Despite that all, I have to add they're now almost wiped by the presence of motorcycles - you can always use one (even kids 10 years old use them when they have the opportunity - it's not legal in any way), and financing schemes exist that you can buy one very cheaply, or you'll find used ones cheaply as well. Some people still use them (like sometimes my father do) to go to and back from the market, but those that have motorcycles or even bicycle (and still capable of covering the distance) would use what they have. But if you have a private vehicle so robust (my own testimony on that), why use a public one ? In big cities (the capital conurbation usually) however, it's just too congested so some people are/feel compelled to use public transport that's available and reasonable (usually commuter trains or busses), and will only use their motorcycle then park and get on a public transport vehicle. The interesting thing is that now we have taxis based on them, and this is probably more the reason why "becak" (rikshaw) aren't as used as it was. In fact these motorcycle taxi ("ojek") got so well, along with apps and such that allows distant ordering (previously you have to be in physical contact), that the usual car-based taxi drivers felt they're reducing the use of their service and they hold a few protests and boycots.

There's another mode of public transport that we have, "angkot" (roughly "public share taxis", I heard once), these runs within a "district" (though sometimes the route cross very long distances that if you're patient enough you can get very far) of the town and you use it sometimes to a very close point from your home/destination or even it pass in front of it. Again, they face competition now with "ojek", have held some protests, boycots and strikes (which funnily only compel more people to use the competing seevice !).

 

Anyway, whether they could be adopted to underground usage and so, I really think you're better off with a travelator or something.

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I think the real reason for the "Boring Company" is to get first hand experience with tunnels. Think underground bases on Mars. Elon Musk typically doeas something short term to generate income that then feeds into something bigger/long term.

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There's also the potential to reduce his commute time in LA. He quite accurately described LA traffic as "soul crushing."

I've only driven there a few times, and that small dose was more than enough, lol. I think I'd start to tunnel with a shovel.

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11 minutes ago, tater said:

There's also the potential to reduce his commute time in LA. He quite accurately described LA traffic as "soul crushing."

I've only driven there a few times, and that small dose was more than enough, lol. I think I'd start to tunnel with a shovel.

That's pretty scary, especially if he is coming from the Silicon Valley.  The last time I drove around California was in the 1990s (before the tech boom) and I don't recall having problems driving in LA (I mostly was in parts south and flew in and out of the LA airport), but certainly had troubles around the SF-Bay area.  Don't ask about the time I had to drive from the Silicon Valley to Petaluma (i.e. straight through SF)  when then President Clinton was giving a speech in Oakland.  I was a few hours late.

I also have to wonder what the fuel economy of self driving cars would be once they are allowed to draft each other.  I'd expect freeways to keep open "human driven lanes" (probably protecting the safer automated lanes with jersey barriers) simply because the self-driven cars wouldn't need as many lanes (with near ideal braking and drafting).  Every time this comes up I also include a rant about how my father (and his father before him) needed to stop driving around the time he hit 80.

The advantage of The Boring Company has over self-driving cars and hyperloop is that most of its problems are technical (and it has Musk driving his geniuses relentlessly).  While hyperloop and self-driving cars have significant technical problems, I can't see hyperloop's political problems being solved (in the US, judging by the "one house in the middle of the road" pictures it looks like China has similar issues) and self driving cars hinge on whether the baby boomers are willing to turn driving over to electronic chauffeurs when driving becomes an issue or if the "soccer moms" demand that cars drive their kids around for them.  People who frequent bars (and those who drive near closing time) certainly need self driving cars even more, but don't have the political clout to push the issue.

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22 minutes ago, wumpus said:

self driving cars hinge on whether the baby boomers are willing to turn driving over to electronic chauffeurs when driving becomes an issue or if the "soccer moms" demand that cars drive their kids around for them

It's more a cost and regulatory issue. Plenty of people are willing to pass the reigns to the computer. People love their autopilot but it's pretty limited in its capability compared to something like Waymo. There are already a few things that are becoming more common that are similar to autopilot: lane departure correction (and warning system) as well as adaptive cruise control/collision mitigation. With collision mitigation on track to becoming mandatory and being the basis for adaptive cruise control. 

As these systems become more common and reliable, both from a manufacturers standpoint and the consumer, they will slowly start to be added to the autonomous repertoire. As manufacturers increase their production volume of the systems, the costs will come down and we will see incremental increases in autonomy. However, this is still pretty basic and the implementation plan is 5 years out for passenger cars. I would say that the "autonomous only" lanes are more than 10 years away at the earliest.

As for someone building an autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals, there is no regulation for that currently. Typically in the US, the federal government has regulated cars while the state governments have regulated drivers. Once you mix the two, things get tricky of which entity should make the rules since it's already a bit dicey on which states allow fully autonomous vehicles. The manufacturers have also been very cautious about just throwing something out there because it would be really easy to spook the regulators and risk an outright ban. I would say that this level of automation is also around 10 years out since the hardware is far too expensive for the average person to afford and I highly doubt the manufacturers would be willing to let it out into the uncontrolled public until thoroughly vetted.

I suspect that the first scenario of autonomy slowly creeping into the market will pave the way for something fully autonomous. This will probably happen so subtly that no one would think twice about leaving it up to the computer. 

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There could only be one reason for Musk.

 

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I tried “I love NASA,” various ways, no dice.

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Finally got my Boring Company hat this week!

Spoiler

WIN_20180127_10_22_57_Pro.jpg

 

10 minutes ago, tater said:
20 minutes ago, cubinator said:

Apparently you can preorder your Boring Company flamethrower if you guess the password:

https://www.boringcompany.com/flamethrower

I tried “I love NASA,” various ways, no dice.

Protip: if you ordered a Boring hat before they ran out, then you know the password. It comes inside the box.

Not tellin'.

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Ah. I don’t wear ball caps, so I didn’t get one—I wear a hat hiking, but I want a large brim (the sun is out 300+ days a year, and I live at 6,500ft above sea level).

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2 minutes ago, tater said:

Ah. I don’t wear ball caps, so I didn’t get one—I wear a hat hiking, but I want a large brim (the sun is out 300+ days a year, and I live at 6,500ft above sea level).

I don't wear ball caps, either, but this time I made an exception.

My wife just about lost it, hah.

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At $600, I doubt all the hat people reserve a flamethrower. If it actually threw fire a decent distance, I’d consider buying one. They must be illegal in his home state, lol. Probably open-carry here in the Wild West :wink: .

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