Mercedes Prototype Automatically Slams on Brakes at Red Lights

Illustration for article titled Mercedes Prototype Automatically Slams on Brakes at Red Lights

The light has been yellow for too long, and you're not making it through the intersection before it's red. But either you don't notice or you don't care. But even though your foot is on the gas, the car brakes.

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Mercedes-Benz is experimenting with this very scenario at their R&D facility in Palo Alto.

Using a smart intersection, the light essentially communicates with the car. And if the driver still isn't responsive to, say, brake after several warnings of a red light, the car can stop itself. (Start the clip around 50 seconds in for the full demo.)

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Mercedes-Benz admits that, though the technology is "almost there," we're still a decade out from its deployment. After all, every stoplight in America would need an upgrade to smart intersection status (for which there are no agreed standards). Plus, given that these intersections would cost money that would surely be lost through less tickets, it's hard to imagine where the money will come from.

So what do you think? Is this a handy safety feature or a limit on our human rights to break the law? [BBG]

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DISCUSSION

I can't think of anything else to add as to why this is a bad idea that hasn't been posted already. Sounds like a lot of lawsuits, sounds like a pileup waiting to happen, sounds like an emergency vehicle's nightmare.

So we now have cars that park themselves, watch for lane veering and steer themselves, watch for braking vehicles and slow/stop themselves, smart cruise control that tracks the speed of the vehicle in front. Provide augmented reality tracking of objects behind and in front. Watch the driver's eyes for sleepiness or distraction. I can understand why some people would like these features. I personally can't stand the idea of my car acting on its own, even if it's acting to prevent an accident.

But when you build a car that acts on its own to FORCE you to obey the law, Forces you to signal every turn, forces you to stop at every red/yellow, forces you to obey the speed limit, Is anyone really going to buy that? Does anyone think that's the future.

When cars can completely take me to my destination without me so much as having to look outside, thus, I can use the time to watch TV, do something productive, rub one out, whatever, then that car can observe the traffic rules, not that there will need to be any, since intersections will be made up of cars weaving between each other with precision accuracy. But while I'm at the controls, I don't want my car telling me what to do.