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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 214567  
Subject: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 8:28 AM
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GEICO sells automobile insurance.

Self-driving cars, a "pipe-dream" several years ago, may soon be coming to the market place.

"Toyota reveals self-driving car"

http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/04/autos/toyota-self-driving-ca...

Today I read a tongue-in-cheek article suggesting that Google buy Ford.

"No more speed demons darting in and out, and fewer slowpokes making the speed demons even more dangerous -- it's relative speeds that create the most danger on our roads. That, and drivers impaired by age, drink, drugs, cell phones, hamburgers, hot coffee, ADD (squirrel!) and kids fighting in the back seat."

https://news.fidelity.com/news/news.jhtml?cat=Opinion&ar...

Highway carnage cannot continue.

Tim
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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197712 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 9:21 AM
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Most of these developments can be characterized as cruise control on steroids. I doubt that we will see a day when licensed drivers are not required to be in the vehicle during operation and sober and awake enough to override these systems at any time. This means no driving while drunk, asleep, reading the paper, etc, which is much of the appear of "self driving cars".

In addition, I expect that ultimate liability for mishaps will remain with the owners of vehicles rather than the manufacturers and will therefore require auto insurance coverage. If the technology advances far enough and is proven in safe operations, auto insurance rates could very well decline over time but so would losses in absolute terms and perhaps in terms of loss ratio as well.

Some of us like to drive as well, although EPA regulations may eventually take all of the fun out of operating motor vehicles.

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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197714 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 12:18 PM
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This means no driving while drunk, asleep, reading the paper, etc,

And the chances of this happening are zero. Less than zero, if that's possible.

Right now, today, when attention is required out the windshield at all times to watch for drunken teenagers and errant cement trucks, we have people applying mascara, sending texts to friends, eating a cheesburger in one hand with a Coke in the other and steering with their knees, chatting on the phone, and otherwise ignoring the single most important thing they might be doing: paying attention to the road.

You think once the cars can steer themselves people are going to pay more attention?

If the technology advances far enough and is proven in safe operations, auto insurance rates could very well decline over time but so would losses in absolute terms and perhaps in terms of loss ratio as well.

Right up until the hacker schools in China worm into the software and disable it in hundreds of thousands of cars simultaneously as people cruise carelessly down the highway.

Can't wait.
 


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Author: Zamboni Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197719 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 2:08 PM
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Here us the ultimate in multitasking while at the wheel:

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/02/breastfeeding-...

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Author: knighttof3 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197720 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 2:12 PM
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Highway carnage cannot continue.

It would be good if this does happen, if only because it will take away a ridiculous argument made by gun people - that in US cars kill more people per year than guns but no one advocates taking away your cars.

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197722 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 2:29 PM
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My forecast for the technology:

Big success in reserved autopilot lanes which may have to be specially
constructed to some extent. Magnetic lane markers embedded in the
pavement perhaps, definitely end of controlled section beacons, probably
run-off areas and parking at the end of each controlled section where
the car can position itself until the driver decides to wake up and take
over without getting rear ended. That will mean a pretty slow roll-out.

Negligible possibility elsewhere. It might get tried, then it will be
banned the first time a car runs into a crowd, which will of course happen.

Jim

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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197723 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 2:39 PM
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My forecast for the technology:

Big success in reserved autopilot lanes which may have to be specially
constructed to some extent. Magnetic lane markers embedded in the
pavement perhaps, definitely end of controlled section beacons, probably
run-off areas and parking at the end of each controlled section where
the car can position itself until the driver decides to wake up and take
over without getting rear ended. That will mean a pretty slow roll-out.


Bad forecast. Requires a complete reconstruction of roads, bridges, highways, on-ramps. And what happens when a car is approaching something that isn't "wired"? It just stops in the middle of the road it's on? You might as well ask to rewire the entire electrical grid, including the appliances in your house to accept 50v DC instead of 120v AC.

Far more likely is video-interpreted computing power (which is already accelerating), attached to the mechanics of the car which recognizes edges of streets, oncoming and trailing vehicles, and makes intelligent decisions based on all those other random-ish parameters. And is coordinated with GPS maps to know exactly where the corners are, the driveway begins, and anything else necessary to accomplish the task.

Some cars will have it, some won't, you pay a little extra and get the extra "feature set."

It might get tried, then it will be banned the first time a car runs into a crowd, which will of course happen.

No question it will happen. It happens now when very elderly people run into a pack of kids, but in spite of calls to take away their licenses, or at least heavy up the requirements, not much gets done.

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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197724 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 2:43 PM
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What happens when a self-driving car appears at a fast food window?

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/drive-thru-prank-leaves...

Tim

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197726 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 3:30 PM
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Some cars will have it, some won't, you pay a little extra and get the extra "feature set."

I'll pay to get rid of the "feature set".

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Author: Watty56 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197727 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 4:11 PM
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I think it was in the book " Freakonomics" that the author pointed out that if you really wanted people to drive safely then a way to do it would be to install a spear in the center of the steering wheel pointed at the drivers heart.

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197728 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 4:54 PM
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Bad forecast. Requires a complete reconstruction of roads, bridges,
highways, on-ramps. And what happens when a car is approaching something
that isn't "wired"? It just stops in the middle of the road it's on?
You might as well ask to rewire the entire electrical grid, including
the appliances in your house to accept 50v DC instead of 120v AC.


That's my exact point.
i.e., I don't think it's a bad forecast, I think it's a good forecast of a bad result.
Picture a single 20 mile road with a big secure parking lot at the end.
You can only get onto that section of road if you have the appropriately enabled car.
The car drives itself along the road (whee!), and at the end it parks itself safely in the lot so you can take over.
That's about the best you can ever hope for.
20 miles of automation, and the rest of the world is unchanged.
You can always build more, but I have a hard time picturing the required
safety levels without having the roads entirely without other obstacles.
Fences against people, animals, and non-automated vehicles.
So yes, the world will be transformed, 20 miles at a time.

Jim

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197736 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 7:19 PM
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Will this device be able to notice a tennis ball rolling into the street from between two parked cars, realize that if a ball comes into the street that a child hidden by the parked cars will very soon follow? It is not technically impossible that that kind of perception, pattern recognition, and anticipation are a bit much for present-day computer systems. Remember that the software has to be pretty close to perfect. If it fails only 0.001% of the time, which sounds good, it would be unacceptable.

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Author: ubn Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197737 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/10/2013 7:47 PM
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Will this device be able to notice a tennis ball rolling into the street from between two parked cars, realize that if a ball comes into the street that a child hidden by the parked cars will very soon follow? It is not technically impossible that that kind of perception, pattern recognition, and anticipation are a bit much for present-day computer systems. Remember that the software has to be pretty close to perfect. If it fails only 0.001% of the time, which sounds good, it would be unacceptable.

You should have seen Jeopardy when Big Blue handily beat two former Jeopardy superstars.

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197748 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 12:45 PM
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Remember that the software has to be pretty close to perfect.
If it fails only 0.001% of the time, which sounds good, it would be unacceptable.


Such an error rate might be totally acceptable to any rational person,
given the number of deaths prevented the rest of the time.
But it's probably a deal killer as soon as the law suits start.
Most Zeppelins didn't blow up, but the airship business has been kinda slow since 1937.

Jim

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197750 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 12:53 PM
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Logically one would have to compare the error/accident rate attributable to "self-driving" cars to the same rate attributable to human drivers. To the extent that self driving cars are the same or better, they would be permitted. However, human psychology doesn't work that way because we can always explain away accidents involving humans since, after all, we are all above average when it comes to driving, right? But if someone's automated Camry plows into an overpass, everyone who owns an automated Camry would freak out regardless of the underlying reasons. And of course, the lawsuits would be epic. All of this reminds me of the Jetsons cartoons I watched as a kid thinking that "surely by the year 2000 we would have flying cars."

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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197751 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 12:55 PM
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"Most Zeppelins didn't blow up, but the airship business has been kinda slow since 1937."

"NASA, Pentagon sponsor $35 million high-tech zeppelin that could be key aircraft of the future"

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/high-tech-zeppelin-...

Tim

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197752 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 1:21 PM
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"NASA, Pentagon sponsor $35 million high-tech zeppelin that could be key aircraft of the future"

They gotta paint it green.
It's clearly Thunderbird #2.

Pentagon version:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9tyHoECyuJo/RtR1WtLgNWI/AAAAAAAAAa...
Thunderbirds version:
http://thunderbirds.sfdaydreams.com/toys/taktb2.htm

Jim
(more of a Fireball XL5 person, myself)

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Author: knighttof3 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197756 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 3:44 PM
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Jim
(more of a Fireball XL5 person, myself)


Holy crap, they do exist!
People who remember Fireball XL5, that is.
Dating myself, but - I watched its reruns when growing up in India.

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197762 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 4:44 PM
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"surely by the year 2000 we would have flying cars."

Only a bit late
http://www.terrafugia.com/
Went into phase 2 flight testing last July.

Jim

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197763 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 4:44 PM
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(more of a Fireball XL5 person, myself)
...
Holy crap, they do exist!

People who remember Fireball XL5, that is.

Hey, who can resist a see-through robot?

Jim

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197765 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 4:56 PM
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Remember that the software has to be pretty close to perfect.
If it fails only 0.001% of the time, which sounds good, it would be unacceptable.


Such an error rate might be totally acceptable to any rational person,
given the number of deaths prevented the rest of the time.


Some have questioned if I were rational or not. Ignoring that, the way I looked at it, 1 out of 10,000 opportunities for an accident would occur. So on a really big highway, used by 10,000 cars per hour or per day, or whatever, one of those is going to have an accident because of this. That would be one an hour or one a day for each highway that used this.

But it's probably a deal killer as soon as the law suits start.

That could be really interesting. Imagine the Lawyers Lobby favoring this, and the Automobile Insurance Lobby fighting it. Every single accident where this is used would be in court, everyone suing everyone else. The device manufacturers, the automobile manufacturers, the automobile dealers and repair shops, ... . My aching head spins...

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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197774 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 8:14 PM
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But if someone's automated Camry plows into an overpass, everyone who owns an automated Camry would freak out regardless of the underlying reasons. And of course, the lawsuits would be epic.

Washington Metro automated train crashed in 2009. MARTA, the automated system in Atlanta has had several crashes, at least one of the fatal. San francisco's BART system has had multiple fatal accidents...

...and people still ride them every day. In fact, they ride them only hours later.

Yes, people may over-react to incidents, but then often they don't, either.
 


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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197775 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 8:36 PM
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So yes, the world will be transformed, 20 miles at a time.

What happens when the car reaches my driveway, which I haven't bothered to wire. I stop in the middle of the street, blocking everyone else?

20 miles of automation, and the rest of the world is unchanged.

Who is going to pay extra for a car which can self-drive, but only on a main road, and only for 20 miles? And if nobody will buy that car, what government is going to spend the money to wire that 20 miles, or the next, or the next?

Since self-driving cars are going to have to have video recognition anyway (to keep them from rear-ending other cars or avoiding debris in the road or whatever) doesn't it make much more sense that it will simply be a higher technological iteration of what already exists, rather than requiring the rewiring of four million miles of roads, not including driveways, alleys, parking lots, etc.

It's distributed processing, not central control. It's the 21st century. Things are different here.

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Author: DrtThrwingMonkey Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197777 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/11/2013 10:03 PM
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20 miles of automation, and the rest of the world is unchanged.

Who is going to pay extra for a car which can self-drive, but only on a main road, and only for 20 miles?



Goofy,

You seem to be having trouble seeing that mungo is agreeing with you. I suggest you try re-reading his posts without your 'hate' glasses on.

Regards, DTM

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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197782 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 9:25 AM
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You seem to be having trouble seeing that mungo is agreeing with you. I suggest you try re-reading his posts without your 'hate' glasses on.

Uh, quite the opposite. He is talking about outfitting THE ROAD as well as the car. I am talking about outfitting ONLY THE CAR.

Picture a single 20 mile road with a big secure parking lot at the end.
You can only get onto that section of road if you have the appropriately enabled car.


You see? I ask again. What happens when you are about to leave his 20 miles of "that section if the road"? You come to a stop in the middle if the street? Or does this inky work when there is a parking lot at the end? What about a driveway? It doesn't work then unless I somehow out sensors all over my driveway?

Are there going to be two different road systems? No? Then my outfitted car is still going to have to deal with UN-outfitted cars in the same road. Therefore I'm going to have to have automatic braking, acceleration, turning, and all the rest enabled by some sort of vision system. If that's true, and given that GPS can already tell my car exactly where it is to the closest foot, what do I need the road to be outfitted for?

I'm not understanding? How else do I read this?

The car drives itself along the road (whee!), and at the end it parks itself safely in the lot so you can take over.
That's about the best you can ever hope for.
20 miles of automation, and the rest of the world is unchanged.
You can always build more, but I have a hard time picturing the required
safety levels without having the roads entirely without other obstacles.


You don't have to "imagine" it. It already exists. It's in prototype today: (From this morning's NYT)

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Driving around a college campus can be treacherous. Bikes and scooters zip out of nowhere, distracted students wander into traffic, and stopped cars and speed bumps suddenly appear. It takes a vigilant driver to avoid catastrophe.

New technologies are changing the way cars are driven. — John Markoff

Already in Some Cars

Jesse Levinson does not much worry about this when he drives his prototype Volkswagen Touareg around the Stanford University campus here. A computer vision system he helped design keeps an unblinking eye out for pedestrians and cyclists, and automatically slows and stops the car when they enter his path.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/12/science/drivers-with-hands...

PS: I have no hate glasses. I am reading simple English, and understanding what the esteemed poster is saying, I believe.

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Author: dividends20 Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197783 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 10:21 AM
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Although its interesting to speculate, no one can predict these things. Innovation sometimes in incremental, sometimes big and sudden and sometimes stops.

Almost 45 years ago, when man landed in moon, people were predicting that by now, space travel would be routine.

15 years ago, you would not have predicted that 1 billion people would be connected on a social platform like FB or horizontal drilling would make it possible to fund Shale gas in such abundance.

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Author: DrtThrwingMonkey Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197784 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 10:25 AM
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I am reading simple English, and understanding what the esteemed poster is saying, I believe.


My obsessive compulsive side required me to reread this whole thread to see if I am in error, and I have to acknowledge that I probably am, to some extent at least. My summary is that the initial idea was that automated cars might have an impact on GEICO. Jim responded that he thought that road infrastructure would have to be changed, and that this would be rolled out slowly, if at all. You responded that that is a bad forecast, since road structure is unlikely to be changed, and why changing that infrastructure would not work well, which doesn't seem like it is much of a contradiction. But perhaps you really meant to emphasize not that road infrastructure was unlikely to be changed (where you are in agreement), but that the alternative, distributed technology, with sensors, cameras, software, etc. in the car, and not requiring road infrastructure changes, was the more likely route forwards, and that skepticism about automatic cars was misplace.

If so, then my apologies, and I tend to agree with you to boot.

Regards, DTM

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197785 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 10:31 AM
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If that's true, and given that GPS can already tell my car exactly where it is to the closest foot, what do I need the road to be outfitted for?

Do you have some kind of military GPS device? Because my civilian one sucks. Sometimes it does not even know where I am, and knows it. Other times, it does not know where I am and does not know it. And not in the middle of the desert either. Middletown, New York earlier this week. The cell phone worked just fine, but it could not get the GPS signal. It does in my neighborhood near Red Bank, New Jersey.

I know when some years ago, a railroad outfitted a few locomotives and cars for testing GPS, everything worked fine. Then the military found out that a security leak permitted the railroad to get military access, and they fixed the leak. Then the railroad got accuracy much worse than 6 feet. They could not reliably tell which of the parallel tracks the train was on. So unless they ran single track, it was useless. They had to do major software changes to interpolate between readings and estimate where the trains were.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197786 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 10:46 AM
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15 years ago, you would not have predicted that 1 billion people would be connected on a social platform like FB or horizontal drilling would make it possible to fund Shale gas in such abundance.

Horizontal drilling from Kuwait to Iraq over 20 years ago was sufficient to be one of the causes of the war between the two countries. It is an older technology, perhaps, than you thought.

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197788 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 11:28 AM
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Do you have some kind of military GPS device? Because my civilian one sucks.

Civilian GPS is only vaguely accurate and certainly not sufficient for automating vehicle travel. For example, the GPS I use for running indicates that my maximum speed on my just completed run was 15.7 mph. I'm fast for my age but not that fast.

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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197789 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 12:04 PM
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Sorry to prolong this thread but this is the article that prompted my original post. As "retired guy" with insomnia, I have a lot of internet "surf time."

Four ways self-driving vehicles may change business

1. Trucks could travel 12 inches apart in "platoons" that reduce drag. Fuel savings could reach 15% to 20%.

2. Americans spend on average 250 hours a year commuting. If a car does the driving, that time could be spent working.

3. Because self-driving cars will be safer, they won't need heavy safety cages. Bad news for the steel industry.

4. Insurers will have to figure out who's liable in an accident: the car maker, the software designer, or the GPS provider.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/11/12/self-driving-cars/

and I might add:

5. Who will watch automobile races if they are no longer a "blood sport"?

6. Who will buy a Ferrari if you aren't allowed to "floor it"?

http://autos.yahoo.com/ferrari/

Tim

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197791 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 12:22 PM
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Trucks could travel 12 inches apart in "platoons" that reduce drag. Fuel savings could reach 15% to 20%.

Isn't that called a train?

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Author: Manlobbi Big red star, 1000 posts CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197795 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/12/2013 8:54 PM
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>Trucks could travel 12 inches apart in "platoons" that reduce drag.
>Fuel savings could reach 15% to 20%.

Isn't that called a train?


The insight is valid. Trucks would be able to travel
more efficiently as well as disperse at times according
to their exact route, giving them an advantage over
trains. Drag is nearly the entire friction. Of course
long way away, but anything that saves cost and
doesn't cause a problem has a way of finding its way
into business one day.

- Manlobbi

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197801 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/13/2013 7:09 AM
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Drag is nearly the entire friction.

I am not sure about that. The rolling resistance of an inflated rubber tire on a concrete road is considerably higher than a steel wheel on a steel rail.

Furthermore (not strictly friction, but energy cost none the less) going up and down hills, unless trucks are powered in a manner similar to a Toyota Prius, the energy going down hills is not a benefit. Railroad engineers (the ones who design the railroad, not the ones who drive the trains) make heroic efforts to keep all grades below 1% and highway engineers do not.

In addition, the way modern electric and diesel-electric locomotives are designed, far more energy-saving measures can be taken than in a single truck. The cost that cannot be borne for a single engine pulling one or sometimes two trailers can easily be averaged out when pulling a 100 "trailer" train.

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197802 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/13/2013 9:15 AM
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I was partly joking in the comment on trains but I doubt that any truck convoy automation will approach the fuel efficiency of rail in terms of fuel per ton shipped. Where trucks are superior, of course, is flexibility and sometimes that flexibility is more important than mileage. I could see dedicated truck lanes with automation being of some benefit (separation from cars being one important factor). There has been talk of dedicated truck lanes on I-81 in Virginia for many years. Maybe automation could be a part of that. The issue, obviously, will boil down to money.

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Author: TMFHockeypop Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197803 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/13/2013 10:04 AM
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There has been talk of dedicated truck lanes on I-81 in Virginia for many years.

There ARE dedicated lanes on I-81. ALL of them are dedicated to trucks. We 4-wheelers get on that interstate at our own peril.

bob ... who rode that route for years.

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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197835 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/14/2013 5:16 PM
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"Congress should also consider the model offered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Autonomous vehicles may in the future be judged an essential social good. But, as with vaccines, the potential for rare but extremely costly lawsuits could inhibit manufacturers from meeting demand. To ease such concerns, Congress could direct claims against autonomous-car manufacturers to a special federal court outside the normal tort system, and establish a fund to compensate accident victims."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-13/is-the-world-prepar...

Tim

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197839 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/14/2013 8:33 PM
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"Congress should also consider the model offered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Autonomous vehicles may in the future be judged an essential social good. But, as with vaccines, the potential for rare but extremely costly lawsuits could inhibit manufacturers from meeting demand. To ease such concerns, Congress could direct claims against autonomous-car manufacturers to a special federal court outside the normal tort system, and establish a fund to compensate accident victims."

Right. What the Price-Anderson Act did for nuclear energy, this new act can do for self-driving cars. What a deal! Energy too cheap to meter!

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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197867 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/15/2013 9:03 PM
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Do you have some kind of military GPS device? Because my civilian one sucks.

A GPS signal is supposed to be accurate to within 10 feet. But as you note, that's "civilian." I saw a lecture where they said military should be accurate to within 1 meter.

But that's for a single, standalone system. There are now three of them: the US, Russia, and China (not fully deployed yet.) Additionally, there are "augmentation" systems (usually called "cell towers"), and if a GPS receiver were to utilize several systems the accuracy would be within centimeters. (Cell towers don't move, nor are they as susceptible to atmospherics and weather. That's why your cell-phone GPS renders almost immediately and your dedicated Garmin spends a couple minutes "looking for satellites")

The receivers will surely be capable and price efficient within a couple years. The only trick will be the interface between the receiver and the car, legal issues, and - obviously - public acceptance.

[But I do hope the lords of GPS maps take the time to get the corrections in place. We live on a road called "**** Ferry Landing". It heads directly into a river, and on the other side of the river is also "**** Ferry Landing." Garmin thinks you can drive straight across the river, because it must all be one road, right? I have had to turn around countless delivery souls trying to get a delivery to the other side by toodling down our road. The ferry went out of business in 1952 or so. Hopefully Garmin, et al. will catch up with this soon.]
 


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Author: haywool Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197872 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/16/2013 7:41 AM
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Hey Goof !

All of your information is correct. The Chevy P-U that we have GPS on would probably show and tell the same thing about your "Ferry Landing" address ... they are not the best yet.

However, We have GPS guidance installed on our Deere "Planter tractor" and our combines. They are accurate to within one (1) inch. When we calibrate them on hard surface, like the blacktop road or the concrete drive, they are "spot on" dropping a kernal of seedcorn every 2-5 inches and will stear an exact 30" row spacing. While in the soft soil, the stearing wheel is CONSTANTLY adjusting. This is a civilian system and uses 9 satalites in stationary orbit.

The tech is there ... but I think the average auto driver wouldn't pay for it, so they use something cheaper.

Rich (haywool) long, straight rows with even stands

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Author: RaplhCramden Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197883 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/16/2013 1:44 PM
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That's about the best you can ever hope for.
20 miles of automation, and the rest of the world is unchanged.


This is too much like directions of cellphone and xerox copiers. building sensors to detect roads lanes other obstacles is most of the way done.just has automation in factories has improved products made Automation driving will improve the safety record. After all motivation will benefit from all the experience not just from experience of a single driver.

Parenthetically, this is the first post I've ever made using voice to text on a tablet.

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Author: RaplhCramden Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197925 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/17/2013 3:28 PM
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Then the railroad got accuracy much worse than 6 feet. They could not reliably tell which of the parallel tracks the train was on. So unless they ran single track, it was useless. They had to do major software changes to interpolate between readings and estimate where the trains were.

Years ago is the key here. You could almost certainly outfit a locomotive with a small camera which with readily available software could tell
1) how many sets of tracks are in front of the train
2) which set this locomotive is on
3) detect switches, crossings, bridges, and other common features of the track
4) detect problems with the track ahead.

The point being there are much better ways for a machine to tell which track you are on than using GPS, just as there are much better ways for a person to tell which lane she is in than by using a map.

Further, GPS will NEVER serve as the primary sensor for self-driving cars. GPS doesn't tell you where the other cars are, where the pedestrians are, what color the traffic light is, etc. These are all done much better with image processing from a camera, and laser and radar. I believe the Google self-driving cars use all three.

Even so, GPS built in to a car is much better than hand-held GPS. Much better antenna can be deployed, handheld antenna has to be tiny and able to tolerate a large range of orientations to the sky. Combining GPS with tire-tick info gives significant further improvement of GPS tracking, not possible in hand helds.

The new paradigm is machines will do what humans do, we will not need to groom the environment to make it usable by machines. It is purely a matter of software, and we are, effectively, there already. With increasing deployment and the usual improvement that comes when valuable technologies grow in use quickly, you WILL see cars that can do a better job of driving themselves than humans can.

As to the predictions that regulation will not let it happen, I don't think so. Regulation will provide an effectively healthy drag and delay on the process. But we have had airplanes flying themselves for years now, the law didn't seem to have a particular problem with that. It is not just that regulation SHOULD follow real value, its that there are so many economic forces in a reasonably free and technological society pushing regulation to do so that it actually WILL follow. In the US, already, states are competing to have self-driving cars developed in them by providing helpful regulation. It is only sci-fi doomsday scenarios with probability <<<<.001 that could produce a result that would stop this trend.

R:

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Author: RaplhCramden Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197926 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/17/2013 3:32 PM
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Civilian GPS is only vaguely accurate and certainly not sufficient for automating vehicle travel.

Not really true as stated. "Civilian" GPS spans the range from the "free" GPS you get in any smart phone, which is QUITE helpful in navigating vehicles, up to specialized systems that allow large scale construction and earth-moving projects to grade dirt and/or build structures with centimeter (inch) accuracy over a kilometer (1000s of feet). These latter are called RTK and are used routinely. "Civilian" GPS can currently land commercial airliners with piles of "souls" on board.

"Civilian" doesn't mean "smartphone" or "handheld." Civilian means not secret, not military. Incredible things are done with civilian GPS and the price of doing them continues to drop like a rock.

R:

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Author: RaplhCramden Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197927 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/17/2013 3:40 PM
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Four ways self-driving vehicles may change business

Yes, those things will change with the onset of self-driving vehicles. But there are other important things that will change:
1) GIGANTIC parking areas need not surround popular venues. Cars can deliver people close to their destination and then drive even a few miles away to park on non-valuable real estate.
2) pizza delivery, prescription delivery, all sorts of delivery will be driven down in price with the option of small vehicles (don't need to carry a driver anymore) and no driver to do deliveries.
3) automated taxis can be slightly smaller for given passenger load, and much cheaper with no human to pay. Also they will be less likely to "game" the system by being racially prejudiced in who they pick up, trying to rip-off tourists, going the wrong way to drive up the fare, and refusing fares that are too low because they just waited a long time in an airport queue and need a trip to the suburbs to justify that.
4) the capacity of existing arterial roads will be increased as automated cars will be able to drive at higher speeds closer together. This will require dedicating some of the roadway to automated cars, which will likely not happen until a significant fraction of cars are automated, although this will be pushed faster in places where roads are very crowded and very scarce (the biggest, richest, cities).

This is off the top of my head, no doubt with some of the ideas being things I have read various places. "Its a great big beautiful tomorrow" is truer than it has ever been.

R:

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Author: RaplhCramden Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197929 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/17/2013 3:47 PM
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In addition, the way modern electric and diesel-electric locomotives are designed, far more energy-saving measures can be taken than in a single truck.

If we can afford regenerative braking in a Prius or Civic or one of 100 other cars, then certainly we can afford it in the trucks and train locomotives. IF it turns out to be cost effective in these vehicles, that is.

As excited as people get about the cost of fuel, it is actually not all that expensive. Triple tractor-trailers get about 200 ton-miles per gallon as things are now.

R:

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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197932 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/17/2013 4:10 PM
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Plan on making a long interstate trip?

Or fly and have your own car at your destination?

Road Train!

"Self-Driving Cars Head Down Spanish Motorway"

http://news.discovery.com/autos/drive/volvo-self-driving-car...

Tim (born a "car nut", can recite the specs of every vehicle owned, favorite- 1969 Mustang with manual transmission)

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 197949 of 214567
Subject: Re: self-driving cars and GEICO Date: 1/18/2013 8:01 AM
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Years ago is the key here. You could almost certainly outfit a locomotive with a small camera which with readily available software could tell
1) how many sets of tracks are in front of the train
2) which set this locomotive is on
3) detect switches, crossings, bridges, and other common features of the track
4) detect problems with the track ahead.


Sure you could. Driving a train, in some sense, is easier than driving a car, since the engineer does not even steer the thing. (S)he goes where the tracks go and at the switches, he goes where the dispatcher set the switches to go. He is even going at the correct speed on good railroads because the signals tell him what speed to go at. And with a train with automatic train control, if he goes too fast, the brakes go on automatically and bring the train to a stop. Once they go on, there is nothing the engineer can do to make the train go. (S)he must wait until it stops, wait an additional delay, and then restart. The conductor will write him up for that, and he his promotion will be delayed.

But there are other reasons why driving a train is much more difficult than driving a car. Braking is one of them. On a long freight train, the brakes do not go on on all the cars at once. The ones nearest the locomotive go on first, and the "signal" to the other cars goes back through the train at no more than the speed of sound, so a 150 car coal train might get the signal at the rear 5 seconds later than the front. Imagine what happens. The rear of the train runs into the front of the train and cars derail. Not good.
One could argue that an electrical signal scheme for the brakes would be better. And that is true. But the capital cost of doing that is so high (every care in the country would have to be retrofitted) that it will not be done for a very long time. They have had 50 years to do it and have not even started (though they do use it on some passenger trains that need it less).

The point being there are much better ways for a machine to tell which track you are on than using GPS, just as there are much better ways for a person to tell which lane she is in than by using a map.


The big problem with trains is where the other trains, and each car of each train, are located. And a camera is no use for that because no matter how good the camera is and how good the software might be, it will not be able to detect every one of those far enough ahead of time (say two minutes) to stop the train in the event of an obstruction. For that, the best current signal systems (invented in the 1920s, amazingly enough) are extremely good. But that kind of signalling would not be possible for automobiles, and automobile drivers are less likely to obey the signals, and more than one car at a time is allowed between the signals, something that is almost never done on a railroad.

[why does my spell checker think that automobile and railroad are misspelled?]

In any case, I think the problems of self-driving trains is an easier one than self-driving cars, so I do not expect cars will do it first.

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