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Old 11th January 2017, 15:41   #181
mickulty
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Originally Posted by deltic View Post
doesnt the technology that google cars is using deal with this issue [object detection+identification] okay?
No, it doesn't. Google's cars, despite their engineering might and insane amount of training miles racked up, are very inclined to stop when in doubt (for example because someone skateboarding the other way on the other side of the road trips their "idiot detector", or because it sees a cyclist doing a track-stand and assumes they're moving because their feet are off the ground).

The google cars are 100% safe, polite drivers but in order to be safe have to err on the side of caution and stop when in doubt, this would create unacceptable delays on a railway. As well as the luxury of stopping when in doubt, they also don't have any of the secondary responsibilities outlined by lineclear in post #91. And for those thinking we're on the cusp of technology to comprehensively address object detection, there is no technology in existence that allows a computer to apply logical reasoning to an unforseen situation. Neural networks can recognise the familiar very well, although doing so requires colossal amounts of training data, but can't really do anything with the unfamiliar.

A way of introducing automation without causing delays from excessive caution would be to have a fully attentive human driver backing up the AI. At that point there isn't a huge amount the AI could be expected to add, maybe enabling perfect power and braking if the conditions are perfectly known.

Someone mentioned AIs that work with doctors to help with diagnosis and it's true that they sometimes flag things that would otherwise have been missed and are therefore helpful, but they also miss plenty of things a human would spot and raise plenty of false positives. Again the key to their effective use is that they work with a human, not instead of.
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Old 11th January 2017, 16:27   #182
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What is everyone who works in these automation areas supposed to do? What are drivers/guards/signallers and their supporting staff (managers/rosters etc) supposed to do? And in other industries too where are the people replaced by machines supposed to work and earn money?
This is a societal problem, and it's nothing new. Even tiny stations used to have a staff of half a dozen, steam trains had 2 or 3 people driving it, cars used to have a man with a red flag in front. Insurance assessors, iphone assemblers, even doctors, are having jobs replaced by machines. 3d printers can assemble houses far faster and more efficently then the fleet of builders needed today. Why is the railway so special?

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I can't see the government giving us all money for sitting around while robots do the work.
True, the government has no money. The government could however tax those owners.

Imagine a world where every job is automated. Wouldn't that be better? Wouldn't it be better to not have to drive a train than to drive a train?

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This change of models is possible, because without the labour cost of the driver, a taxi would cost about the same per trip as your car does. It is possible that ARVs implemented this way would cost even less as some of the fixed costs you have will be spread over much more utilization of each vehicle.
Factors bringing it down
1) Depreciation per mile lower as more miles per hour, a car will be end of life within the first year, you're not going to have to treat rust for example.
2) Smoother driving
3) No costs for parking
4) Right car for the right job, use a smaller car for short journeys that's more efficent, a larger car for longer journeys that's more comfortable. Currently the larger car is used for both.

Factors pushing it up
1) Less care of the car interior/Higher standards being demanded (I have a pile of old receipts in the side pocket of my car, and the floor has many crumbs on it. That's fine as it's my car, I wouldn't be happy with a hire car like that.)
2) More complex sensors to maintain

There's also a whole issue about child seats - which are a massive pain if you're getting a taxi (or taking a train long distance then hiring a car at the far end)

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Even with all the advantages outlined above, mass transit of some form is likely to be necessary for dense urban flows. ARVs will improve the efficiency of how road space is used (particularly once driven vehicles reduce), but not to the degree that would allow every London commute to be done this way – even if every last piece of rail infrastructure were converted into dedicated ARV roads. For railway routes carrying fewer than perhaps an average of 1000 - 2000 passengers per hour, the above - if and when it comes to pass - will be very bad news indeed.
Or rather it would be very good news. If something comes along that's cheaper, faster, more convienient, that's good news.
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Old 11th January 2017, 17:01   #183
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Something doesn't have to be on the internet to have a risk of malware, hacking, infiltration or have other weaknesses.
Indeed. I just wanted to point out that similarly, being IP based doesn't automatically mean exposed to the Internet.
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Old 11th January 2017, 17:29   #184
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Or rather it would be very good news. If something comes along that's cheaper, faster, more convienient, that's good news.
Yes absolutely for passengers! I was imagining it would be less good for the members of this forum who are either employed in the industry or rail enthusiasts or those like me who are both...

But our industry has no particular right to exist. As you observe, our passengers travel only because they want to be somewhere else and for that journey rail is the best combination of price and convenience available.

Outside of the intense commuter routes in London and the South East and the key high speed intercity corridors, rail's market is surprisingly dependent on a few particular market segments, several of which are exactly the groups who would gain most from Autonomous Road Vehicles. ARVs aren't there yet, but I wonder whether even in the next few years, some rail investment plans will suffer as the DfT becomes convinced that substantial road automation will occur during the life of the assets being bought.
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Old 11th January 2017, 17:41   #185
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ARVs aren't there yet, but I wonder whether even in the next few years, some rail investment plans will suffer as the DfT becomes convinced that substantial road automation will occur during the life of the assets being bought.
The solution was posted earlier in the thread - the if TOCs invest in fleets of ARVs they can offer door to door service with the train doing the 'heavy lifting' in the middle.
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Old 11th January 2017, 22:21   #186
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Where does one start!

For a start, the impression one gets is it's designed by a bunch of software computer programmers, rather than railway engineers. Secondly London Underground has had to fit round it, rather than the other way round. Nonetheless it's reasonably reliable when it works, but ...

... the architecture is very centralized, so when things fail you can lose large areas. In the worst case the entire line can go down. On the Central Line (and I think the Vic, although I'm not 100% on their local procedures) the driver can continue in Restricted Manual, on their own authority if necessary, unless or until they reach a semi-automatic area - which you'll only find in places where there are points.

On the Jubilee and Northern Lines the train can only work in Restricted Manual under the signaller's specific authority.
Thanks for the response, having been involved in applying the Central Line and Victoria Line systems elsewhere it is interesting to compare different suppliers products. BTW the Central and Victoria Lines both feature distributed trackside systems, although the the track to trains comms is by radio on the Vic rather than track based. The use of RM is probably similar on both lines.

Seems like my former colleagues always knew what they were doing and considered the Operator in the system architecture.
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Old 12th January 2017, 10:53   #187
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If anybody is worried about the new world of computerised automation, rest easy, it clearly didn't last because in the 23rd century the Starship Enterprise needs a crew of 500.
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Old 12th January 2017, 11:35   #188
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If anybody is worried about the new world of computerised automation, rest easy, it clearly didn't last because in the 23rd century the Starship Enterprise needs a crew of 500.
The crew didn't run the ship. They ran the multitude of systems and sub sections. Security (mostly cannon fodder), Medical (treat the crew not the ship) etc. But the engineering department was pretty huge.

However, you do raise an interesting point.

How many "crew" are required to run an automated train ? Establishing that we already need a Driver/Captain are any additional "crew members" required ? Does it reduce the number of Signallers, PWay, Maintenence, Trainers, Guards, PIS/CIS, dispatchers etc etc.

Will ATO require more staff to manage the trains and the system or will it reduce the staffing requirements across the board ?
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Old 8th February 2017, 15:26   #189
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Default Driverless trains. Is it possible?

http://news.sky.com/story/driverless-trains-could-solve-growing-rail-demand-10759195

Yes, yes, yes, there is always that age old, historical, argument that "it is not safe". What is safe?

There are already well documented examples of driverless rail systems, Vancouver Sky Train, Copenhaga, Barcelona, Turin, Paris and some portions of the Victoria line as well as a large array of American services, many of which do not have a standby driver to look for hazards and perform door closing duties. These prove that the system is possible even now.

Given the nature of modern technology advances, with collision avoidance and spatial awareness tech used by driverless cars around Milton Keynes as an example, could driverless trains over the entire network actually work?
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Old 8th February 2017, 15:30   #190
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There are already well documented examples of driverless rail systems, Vancouver Sky Train, Copenhaga, Barcelona, Turin, Paris and some portions of the Victoria line as well as a large array of American services, many of which do not have a standby driver to look for hazards and perform door closing duties. These prove that the system is possible even now.
Just a quick fact check. The Victoria Line is not driverless. The trains usually control their own movement between stations, but with mandatory full-time driver supervision and dispatch. The driver is not on "standby" at all.
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Old 8th February 2017, 15:31   #191
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There was quite an extensive discussion of this topic over in the Traction & Rolling Stock sub-forum a little while back. You might want to take a read of the thread.
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Old 8th February 2017, 15:31   #192
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Originally Posted by JohnFM View Post
http://news.sky.com/story/driverless-trains-could-solve-growing-rail-demand-10759195

Yes, yes, yes, there is always that age old, historical, argument that "it is not safe". What is safe?

There are already well documented examples of driverless rail systems, Vancouver Sky Train, Copenhaga, Barcelona, Turin, Paris and some portions of the Victoria line as well as a large array of American services, many of which do not have a standby driver to look for hazards and perform door closing duties. These prove that the system is possible even now.

Given the nature of modern technology advances, with collision avoidance and spatial awareness tech used by driverless cars around Milton Keynes as an example, could driverless trains over the entire network actually work?
It's quite a jump to driverless trains from what's proposed. The best bet is to look at the ETCS thread , which is focused on firstly the removal of conventional lineside signalling, and then onto moving block signalling.

Driverless trains, at least in the sense that you're dicussing, will nominally come into use on the Thameslink Core from next year. Where there is the massive capacity issues, making trains drive themselves makes a degree of sense. There are many threads on this topic though, and I'm no expert, so I'll defer to those who are.
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Old 8th February 2017, 15:46   #193
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The metros you mention (at least the genuinely driverless) benefit from being grade separated which makes it a lot easier. Its been possible in that context for decades.

Cars have a much shorter stopping distance and slamming on the brakes if something that isn't actually a cause for concern spooks the AI is far more acceptable on the roads.

It's also worth remembering the unfortunate reality that these systems do suffer deaths that could have been avoided by a driver. For example in 2015 someone suffered an epileptic fit and fell onto the tracks at Stratford DLR station - 12 seconds later they were under a train. Not long enough for members of the public to find an emergency button but plenty of time for an alert, trained driver to act.

The "rail chiefs" of the RDG briefing in favour of full automation are made up of businesspeople who stand to increase their profits at the cost of a few deaths here and there if they can convince the public they shouldn't have to employ drivers. Take their proclamations with a pinch of salt.
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Old 8th February 2017, 15:49   #194
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London's DLR is driver-less under normal operating conditions.
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Old 8th February 2017, 16:00   #195
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London's DLR is driver-less under normal operating conditions.
The major differences between the DLR and mainline railway were covered in the related thread I linked to earlier.
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