Road Racing and AI Autonomous Cars: Fast & Furious Contentions

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By Lance Eliot, the AI Trends Insider

When I was in college, a friend of mine had a “hotrod” car that he doted over and treated with loving tender care. One day, we were at a red light and another souped-up car pulled alongside of us. For a moment, I almost thought I was in a James Dean movie, which was well-before my time, I might add, but in any case, it is generally well-known here in California that James Dean died when driving his Porsche at high speeds and ran into a Ford Tudor at an intersection in Cholame, California.

My friend glanced over at the other driver and made one of those kinds of glances that says “my car is better than your car” kind of message. The other driver looked back, slowly nodded his head as though saying prove it, and the next things I knew the engines of both cars were being revved up. There I was, sitting in the front passenger seat of my friends racing-like car and apparently, I was about to become entrenched in a road race, also sometimes called a street race.

You might find of idle interest that in Los Angeles alone there are about 700 illegal and completely unsanctioned road races each year (that’s based on the latest stats collected in 2017). In some cases the road race starts just as my situation in college wherein one car driver challenges another car driver on a spur of the moment basis. In today’s world, the use of social media has allowed illegal road races to become much larger and semi-organized affairs. There are social media sites that you can post your intent to engage in an illegal road race and it will give a heads-up for people that want to come and watch or perhaps directly participate.

If you are under the assumption that only the drivers would be facing the chance of going to jail for breaking the law by undertaking an illegal road race, you might want to know that bystanders can also be arrested. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) here in California, anyone that aids in a speed contest, including those that are merely viewing it, observing it, watching it, or witnessing it, they too are violated the Speed Contest law (speed contest is another name given to the illegal road races).

In California, if convicted of participating in a speed race, you can be imprisoned for up to three months, which encompasses those doing the street racing and those “aiding or abetting” a street race. Plus, you can be fined up to $1,000, have your car impounded, and have your driver’s license revoked. I remember one such illegal road race here in Los Angeles that the police broke-up and arrested 109 people. That’s right, over one hundred people were busted for participating, of which only a small fraction of those people was actually racing a car.

Getting back to my situation in my college days, I knew at the time that my being a passenger in a racing car would do little to prevent me from potentially being arrested, assuming that we got caught. Of the things that I might get arrested for, it did not seem like being involved in a speed contest was one of the worthy reasons (I’m not going to list what reasons would be worthy, sorry). I knew that my college buddy would consider me “a chicken” if I tried to prevent the road race from occurring.

Which was more important, the off-chance that I might get arrested for participating in an illegal road race, or being called a chicken by my friend and perhaps word spreading that I was a party pooper when it came to doing a speed contest?

Dangers of Unsanctioned Road Racing

Before I answer the question and tell you what I did, let’s also consider some of the other reasons why participating in an illegal road race is a bad idea. The most obvious perhaps is that you can get injured or killed. It is relatively common that when a road race occurs, inevitably someone spins out of control or somehow loses control of their racing car and hits someone or something. Another racing car might get hit. Bystanders might get hit. Innocent pedestrians that had nothing to do with the road race might get hit. Other cars that had nothing to do with the road race might get hit.

In fact, one particular criticism of these illegal road races is that the drivers are often not skilled in driving a car at high-speeds and in a racing manner. These amateurs are wanna-be high-speed race drivers. They are cocky and think they can drive fast, when in reality they lack the skills and demeanor to do so properly. If they really were serious about wanting to race cars, they’d do so on a closed track in a sanctioned manner.

In proper and legal road racing on a closed track, the cars themselves are also specially prepared for sanctioned road racing purposes. These cars are outfitted with safety gear meant to protect the driver of the car. The cars might be augmented with special NOS (Nitrous Oxide System) capabilities to allow for the boosting of speed via increasing the power output of the engine. There might be special tires with extra thick tread. For the illegal road races, it is a wild west of however the racing car shows-up. It might be completely done up in a flimsy manner, and there have been many instances of these cars exploding by their own means.

Another factor to keep in mind is that a sanctioned road race on a closed track is going to presumably have a proper roadway set aside for a race. The road surface is likely well prepared for a race. When the illegal road races occur, they do so wherever they can find a place to do the race. This can include quiet neighborhoods that have families and children and pets, all of which might inadvertently get dragged into or run over by the road racers. The street itself will likely get torn up by the racing cars. If the road racers lose control of their cars, they can damage property such as light poles, fences, and so on.

Sometimes the illegal road races tempt fate in additional ways. For example, a so-called Potts Race involves the racing cars trying to drive through a multitude of successive intersections and the “loser” is the first racing car that comes to a stop at a red lighted traffic signal (the phrase of “Potts” comes from the aspect that these kinds of races were quite popular in Pottstown, Pennsylvania in the 1980s). You can imagine that other cars not involved in the road racing are all at risk of either getting struck by these maniac racers or those innocent and unaware drivers might accidentally run into one of the racing cars. A recipe for disaster, either way.

To further bolster the case for not doing illegal road races, I’ll mention too that often times drinking or drugs accompanies these underground events. The drivers might opt to get themselves jacked-up for the racing and the participants might do the same. Obviously, this adds to the chances that something untoward will arise. The police also point out that often there is illegal betting that takes place, and these races are ways for gangs to congregate and add to their ranks. Plus, the gangs will at times decide to after the race perform other illegal acts, and especially if they are already “lit” after drinking and taking drugs.

I’ll mention another factor that I’ve seen many times about these illegal road races, and I’m not sure how much it also contributes to the negative aspects of road races. I’ll see a bunch of similar souped-up cars all going along on the freeway or a highway, likely heading to an illegal road race. They try to stick together and thus it is apparent that they somehow are linked with each other. This would not be problematic except that they often want to do a kind of mini-race before the “real” race that they are heading to.

Thus, on the freeway or highway, they will each try to outdo each other. If there are other cars around them that are somewhat blocking their progress, they often delight in zipping around those cars. They tend to cut into and out of traffic, doing so without regard for the other drivers. They have turned the normal freeway or highway into a game for them to play, while on their way to the race. I’ve seen many close calls of them ramming into other cars.

In that sense, those driving to and presumably later on driving from an illegal road race are potentially menaces to the normal driving conditions. They are eager to showcase their own prowess. They want to do their own pretend car racing. I wonder how many car accidents happen due to this tomfoolery and horseplay that they do. I’d wager that besides the potential for injuries, deaths, and damages while an actual road race happens, there is some similar kind of likelihood for untoward results either just before or just after the road race occurs.

Why do these presumably licensed drivers do this? As mentioned, it can be gang-related. It can also be out of boredom or having nothing else to do. It can be due to a bet or challenge to someone else. It can be as a result of a kind of pride of their own car and a desire to show-off what they have. There is a sub-culture aspect often to illegal road races, involving those that perhaps in-their-hearts love cars and racing, and maybe also like the idea of going to the edge. Some relish the lawbreaking aspects, even though they would assert that it is not much of an illegal act.

I’ve heard some of these illegal road racers claim that it is unfair to stop them from their efforts. They aren’t hurting anyone, they’ll avow. They are just having a good time. Don’t the police have better things to do such as busting “real criminals” is another refrain. Given the lengthy list of dangers and downfalls of illegal road racing, I have little sympathy for such pleas. If you want to road race, do so legally and go to the right places, using the right equipment, in the right manner, would be some potential advice.

Large and Miniature Moments of Road Racing In Our Lives

Now that I’ve covered some of the background about these illegal road races, let’s get back to my personal dilemma while I was in college. As mentioned, I was sitting in my friend’s car, and he was making a silent but clear-cut challenge to a car driver next to us, and they were both now revving their engines. An illegal road race was imminent.

Do I participate as a passive passenger, which nonetheless means I’ve actively been involved in an illegal act, subject to prison time and other criminal penalties due to aiding and abetting? Or, do I “chicken out” and insist to my friend that we not compete, but this will surely have him tout to the world that I backed-out and I didn’t have “the guts” to do a road race.

Imagine though that we do the illegal road race and the car hits a tree, or the car rolls over and there isn’t a roll cage to protect us? Or, suppose the other car crashes and they die because we played this game? Maybe we all hit other innocent cars that happen to be in the road ahead. Perhaps by dumb-luck there is a police car that catches us, and I end-up with a police record that follows me the rest of my life? All of those aspects had to be weighed against the being-a-wimp outcome.

When you are in college, these things matter, though upon reflection now it is kind of obvious to me which was the right answer.

Assuming you are on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what happened, I sheepishly admit that before I could take any action, the light turned green and the other car went ahead at a breakneck speed, tires squealing and burning rubber could be smelled. My friend, giving me a big grin, merely proceeded ahead at a normal driving pace. He had tricked the other driver. For him, he told me that it would have been a waste of his precious car’s assets to race against some idiot that happened to be at an intersection during a red light with him.

Of course, that’s not the only moment in my life involving the notion of road racing.

Indeed, I would suggest that we all have our own miniature moments of road racing during our daily driving. Let me share with you an example that happened just this morning.

I was at a red light and there was a lane to my left going in my same direction. A car was there. We were both at the front of the line of cars waiting for the red light to turn green. There was a lane also to my right, but it was slated to runout once you got across the intersection. You could use that lane to proceed ahead straight, though you would quickly need to merge into my lane once you passed through the intersection. By-and-large, most people used the lane that was to my right to make a right turn and did not use it to proceed ahead through the intersection.

I’ve always thought that this setup of the traffic structure was begging to get someone into trouble.

If there was a car in my current position and they were not looking around to realize that the lane to their right can go straight, they might inadvertently stray into that lane as they cross the intersection, perhaps cutting off a car in that lane that is trying to go straight. Likewise, a car in that lane, if not paying attention, might inadvertently panic as they go through the intersection and realize at the last moment that their lane is disappearing, and therefore attempt wildly to merge into my lane.

Well, a car in that rightmost lane pulled up beside me and it was apparent that the driver was not intending to make the right turn. In which case, I knew they would be desirous of going straight through the intersection once the light turned green. This also meant that they would quickly want to get into my lane, since their lane disappeared rapidly upon reaching the other side of the intersection.

Did this driver realize they were going to lose their lane? If so, would they be polite about it? Presumably, the driver should allow my car to proceed ahead and then they should come back behind me. In some cases, a driver in that rightmost lane opts instead to hit the gas and try to get ahead of the cars in my lane. They figure that they can race through the intersection once the light turns green, and get ahead of the other cars, allowing them to take over the merged lane and proceed ahead unimpeded.

Notice that I alluded to the notion of racing in that last statement. Yes, there was a possibility that my car would be raced by the car to my right. This would be an unsanctioned race.

Unfortunately, the roadway engineers that devised the road structure had created a circumstance that invited a kind of road race to take place. I’m sure that throughout the day, this spot has its repeated moments of miniature road races. Over and over again this would play out. Unsuspecting drivers would get dragged into a road race. It would be interesting to know how many scuffles and bumper scrapes this produced. Hopefully it wasn’t leading to injuries and deaths, though it was certainly devised to encourage such untoward results.

Since I didn’t know what the other driver might do, I decided I would rapidly accelerate once the green light appeared and try to get ahead of the other car. It was my hope that doing so would make it clear to the other driver that they could simply fall in behind my car. They might not realize the need to do so until after getting across the intersection, but in any case, I’d have already cleared past the intersection and so the obvious choice for that driver at that juncture would be to merely get into my lane, being positioned behind my car which had already sped ahead.

That was my plan.

When the light turned green, I sped ahead at a faster speed than I might normally do so when starting from a stopped red light to a go-ahead with a green light position. The other car in the rightmost lane though must have perhaps driven this stretch of road before, or perhaps detected the disappearing lane while sitting at the red light and therefore opted to also accelerate rapidly as a means to zip forward. The driver seemed to be intending to get ahead of me and ultimately swing into my lane, rather than a willingness to fall behind me.

The road race was on!

I looked in my rear mirror and could see that the car behind me had decided to go at my same speed and was right on my bumper. This other driver was perhaps also thinking that the rightmost lane driver should fall behind us all. Or, the driver behind me was just a pushy driver and wanted to get going fast, and maybe was oblivious to the road race situation happening. It’s hard to know what the other driver behind me knew or was thinking about.

If I slowed down mid-intersection, doing so to allow the rightmost driver to pull ahead, I might risk having the car behind me ram into my car. Me and the driver behind me were both accelerating at the same pace and an unexpected braking or slow down might have caught them unawares.

Another option was to go even faster. I already had the presumed right-of-way in my lane and if I sped up it would prevent the rightmost driver from trying to get ahead of me and merge into my lane in front of me. I was sure that the driver behind me would welcome my going even faster.

At this point in time, none of us was going faster than the speed limit. I mention this because I don’t want you to think that any of us were doing an outright race at top speeds. We were all accelerating at rather rapid amounts but still well-below the actual posted speed limit. As I say, this was a miniature road race.

Upon my accelerating even more, the rightmost driver did the same. Was he doing so by happenstance and merely trying to get ahead of me, or was he doing so because he felt challenged by my car and thought we were somehow immersed in a personal road race? There is always the chance of sparking a road rage by seemingly engaging someone into an even mild road race situation.

For more about road rages, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/road-rage-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For defensive driving, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/art-defensive-driving-key-self-driving-car-success/

For the foibles of human drivers, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/ten-human-driving-foibles-self-driving-car-deep-learning-counter-tactics/

For why drivers are greedy, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/selfishness-self-driving-cars-ai-greed-good/

For irrational driving aspects, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/motivational-ai-bounded-irrationality-self-driving-cars/

Illegal Versus Simply Ill-Advised Road Racing

Assuming you are once again on pins and needles and wondering what happened in this miniature road race, I “prevailed” in that I got ahead of the rightmost driver and he ended-up falling in behind the car that was behind me. All in all, the situation played itself out in a matter of a few seconds. It is the kind of driving moment that most people have all the time and never give much thought to. You mentally move on.

I brought up the circumstance to try and point out that we do road racing in our daily driving. It certainly isn’t the kind of road racing that brings together a hundred spectators and gets posted onto social media. Instead, our day-to-day driving challenges will at times get us into a kind of road race with other drivers, whether we pay attention to it or not.

Was this road race illegal? I suppose you could claim that it was perhaps ill-advised, and it could have led to an untoward outcome.

Maybe I should have motioned beforehand to let the rightmost driver know that I was going to give them passage into my lane and been civil about the predicament. Maybe the rightmost driver should have respected the cars in my lane and not tried to get ahead of us and waited his turn to fall in behind us. Any driving act that is considered untoward and creates a dangerous driving situation can be considered “illegal” per se, and as such I suppose you could say that we all were not showing the proper respect for the right-of-way of others and keeping safety as the top priority in our driving actions.

AI Autonomous Cars and Road Racing

What does this have to do with AI self-driving driverless autonomous cars?

At the Cybernetic AI Self-Driving Car Institute, we are developing AI software for self-driving cars. One aspect involves the AI being prepared for and able to contend with road racing.

Allow me to elaborate.

I’d like to first clarify and introduce the notion that there are varying levels of AI self-driving cars. The topmost level is considered Level 5. A Level 5 self-driving car is one that is being driven by the AI and there is no human driver involved. For the design of Level 5 self-driving cars, the auto makers are even removing the gas pedal, brake pedal, and steering wheel, since those are contraptions used by human drivers. The Level 5 self-driving car is not being driven by a human and nor is there an expectation that a human driver will be present in the self-driving car. It’s all on the shoulders of the AI to drive the car.

For self-driving cars less than a Level 5, there must be a human driver present in the car. The human driver is currently considered the responsible party for the acts of the car. The AI and the human driver are co-sharing the driving task. In spite of this co-sharing, the human is supposed to remain fully immersed into the driving task and be ready at all times to perform the driving task. I’ve repeatedly warned about the dangers of this co-sharing arrangement and predicted it will produce many untoward results.

For my overall framework about AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/framework-ai-self-driving-driverless-cars-big-picture/

For the levels of self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/richter-scale-levels-self-driving-cars/

For why AI Level 5 self-driving cars are like a moonshot, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/self-driving-car-mother-ai-projects-moonshot/

For the dangers of co-sharing the driving task, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/human-back-up-drivers-for-ai-self-driving-cars/

Let’s focus herein on the true Level 5 self-driving car. Much of the comments apply to the less than Level 5 self-driving cars too, but the fully autonomous AI self-driving car will receive the most attention in this discussion.

Here’s the usual steps involved in the AI driving task:

  • Sensor data collection and interpretation
  • Sensor fusion
  • Virtual world model updating
  • AI action planning
  • Car controls command issuance

Another key aspect of AI self-driving cars is that they will be driving on our roadways in the midst of human driven cars too. There are some pundits of AI self-driving cars that continually refer to a utopian world in which there are only AI self-driving cars on the public roads. Currently there are about 250+ million conventional cars in the United States alone, and those cars are not going to magically disappear or become true Level 5 AI self-driving cars overnight.

Indeed, the use of human driven cars will last for many years, likely many decades, and the advent of AI self-driving cars will occur while there are still human driven cars on the roads. This is a crucial point since this means that the AI of self-driving cars needs to be able to contend with not just other AI self-driving cars, but also contend with human driven cars. It is easy to envision a simplistic and rather unrealistic world in which all AI self-driving cars are politely interacting with each other and being civil about roadway interactions. That’s not what is going to be happening for the foreseeable future. AI self-driving cars and human driven cars will need to be able to cope with each other.

For my article about the grand convergence that has led us to this moment in time, see:https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/grand-convergence-explains-rise-self-driving-cars/

See my article about the ethical dilemmas facing AI self-driving cars: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/ethically-ambiguous-self-driving-cars/

For potential regulations about AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/assessing-federal-regulations-self-driving-cars-house-bill-passed/

For my predictions about AI self-driving cars for the 2020s, 2030s, and 2040s, see my article:https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/gen-z-and-the-fate-of-ai-self-driving-cars/

Returning to the topic of road racing, let’s explore what an AI self-driving car should know about this topic and what kinds of actions it should be able to undertake.

First, many AI developers might argue that an AI self-driving car does not need to know anything about road racing at all. They would say that since road racing or street racing is considered illegal, and since in their perspective an AI self-driving will always and only be driving in a legal manner, there is presumably no reason or basis for the AI self-driving car to be concerned about road racing.

That’s when I debunk their false belief.

Let’s start by acknowledging that there are going to be instances whereby an AI self-driving car will potentially be driving in an illegal manner.  Never go faster than the posted speed limit is considered by some naïve AI developers consider as an inviolable legal restriction that shall not ever be disobeyed by an AI self-driving car. Hogwash.

We all know that there are times that you will inevitably be going faster than the posted speed limit. Suppose there is an emergency and you are rushing to the hospital? If that seems overly extreme as a use case, the prevailing speed on our freeways here in Southern California is typically well above the stated speed limit (when the freeways aren’t otherwise snarled) – is an AI self-driving car going to puddle along in the traffic stream and strictly be going no more than the speed limit?

For my article about why AI self-driving cars will need to drive “illegally” at times, see:https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/illegal-driving-self-driving-cars/

So, I am arguing that simply because something is considered an illegal driving act, it is nonetheless still potentially a driving act that an AI self-driving car might need to undertake at some point in time. Therefore, the AI ought to know about it.

Act of Knowing Is Not the Same as Necessarily Doing

The act of knowing does not mean that the AI will necessarily undertake the illegal act. I say this because some of the AI developers would claim that if you give the AI system the ability to perform an illegal driving act, you are opening a Pandora’s box to the AI opting to routinely and wantonly perform illegal driving acts. I’ll say this again, hogwash. Knowing about something does not equate to doing it for the sake of doing it. Instead, it will be crucial that the AI be equally versed in when to perform such an act and when not to perform such an act.

For the paperclip AI dilemma that relates to knowing versus doing, see my article:https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/super-intelligent-ai-paperclip-maximizer-conundrum-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For the AI as Frankenstein, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/frankenstein-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For the Turing test for AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/turing-test-ai-self-driving-cars/

For the potential of an AI singularity, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/singularity-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

Based on my remarks so far on this, at about this time I’m sure there are some AI developers that are wondering to themselves whether I am a proponent of AI self-driving cars participating in illegal road races. Am I that kind of a scofflaw that I want AI systems to encourage and abet speed contests?

No, I am not.

That being said, I think it is useful for the AI system to be wary of road racing and speed contests so that it can recognize one. Imagine that you are driving your car and you come upon a situation whereby you are able to assess the scene around you and hypothesize that a road race is brewing. As a defensive driver, I am guessing you would reason to try and get away from the area and tend to keep from getting immersed into the matter. The AI ought to be able to do the same.

Thus, it is vital that the AI be able to detect the surroundings and assess whether or not a road race is either brewing or maybe already underway. Furthermore, remember how I earlier mentioned that I saw the remnants of a potential road race by noticing cars that were going to one or that had come from one? Once again, the AI ought to be looking around for these kinds of telltale signs. It makes the AI be more defensive and drive in a manner to aim for heightened safety.

I suppose we ought to also consider another angle about the road racing topic. If we somehow restrict the AI by preventing it from ever being about to perform in a road race at all, what about sanctioned road races? Would we be preventing an AI self-driving car from participating in a closed track and legally abiding road race?

Even if you retort that it seems silly to think that anyone might want to see an AI self-driving car in a legal road race, I would hold that laughter if I were you. I’d bet that people will be eager to see AI self-driving cars race legally against human race drivers, plus they would likely enjoy seeing AI self-driving cars racing against other AI self-driving cars. Think of chess. We today have sophisticated chess playing AI systems that play against humans, and also play against other automated chess playing systems. Seems like we would have the same interest of pitting AI self-driving cars against humans and other self-driving cars.

Overall, I’d wager that we’ll want to have an AI system be able to carry on a road race but have some means to inhibit it and only allow it under certain circumstances. Does this imply that we are setting ourselves up for troubles? Some might assert that if the capability exists, an enterprising owner of an AI self-driving car might hack into it to get the AI to drive in illegal road races too. Sure, it is possible, but this brings up an even larger topic, namely if an owner can hack their AI self-driving car to do illegal road racing, the odds are that the owner can hack the self-driving car to do a lot of even worse things.

In that sense, we’d better be building the AI systems for self-driving cars with sufficient security and protections that such hacks are essentially impossible to undertake. In addition, if somehow such a hack manages to succeed, we presumably might want to have the AI self-report itself or have some other means to be able to disable the hacked AI.

For my article about virtual spike strips to stop a wayward AI self-driving car, see:https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/virtual-spike-strips-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For aspects of computer security and AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/ai-insider/ai-deep-learning-backdoor-security-holes-self-driving-cars-detection-prevention/

For the pranking of AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/pranking-of-ai-self-driving-cars/

AI Dealing with Road Racing Nearby the Autonomous Car

Here’s another subtle consideration on this matter of road racing and AI self-driving cars. There are the obvious illegal road races that involve hordes of spectators and the social media underground postings. I’ve also though mentioned the day-to-day road races that we all encounter, such as my example of being at a red light and having a car to my right that tried to race with me across the intersection when the light went green.

That is a form of everyday road racing. What would the AI do? If the AI system was not versed in how to handle such a situation, I’d bet that human drivers would realize that they can always outgun the AI by simply racing against it. This means that we’ll have human drivers that essentially know how to “prank” an AI self-driving car. It would be akin to knowing another driver that always drives in a certain way, and so you adjust your driving style to outwit that other dimwitted driver.

I don’t think that as a society we want our AI self-driving cars to be so easily bamboozled. I say this not because I somehow am worried that the AI will have hurt feelings, but instead because with the mix of human drivers and AI self-driving cars, those tricky human drivers will be trying to find an added edge over the AI self-driving cars. This can produce untoward driving behavior by the human drivers.

If I knew that another driver will always back down and let me exit from the freeway by simply cutting in front of the driver and causing them to slow down, you’d bet that’s what I’m going to start doing. If I knew that at an intersection, I could get the other driver to let me go ahead by outracing them forward, I’d likely do so all the time. In essence, human drivers will change their driving based on what they know about the inherent limitations of how the AI system is going to drive the self-driving car.

In a world in which human drivers only magically interact with AI self-driving cars, which are presumably programmed to act in the same manner all the time, it might work itself out okay. Keep in mind though that there are other human drivers on the road too. This means that a human driver that starts to play tricks on AI self-driving cars might very well carry those tricks into how they drive against other human drivers. Meanwhile, those responding human drivers aren’t going to necessarily do what the AI self-driving car does. The mishmash of AI driving styles of a restricted nature and the human wide-open styles, it will likely produce havoc on our roadways.

I know that this will encourage those pundits that will say this further provides evidence that we need to get human drivers off of the roads. I’ve already stated this is impractical. Some might say let’s separate the human drivers from the AI self-driving cars, doing so by having special lanes or roads that are for human drivers and others that are for AI self-driving cars. Sorry, this is also impractical. The infrastructure cost and effort would be tremendous, and it just doesn’t pencil out as sensible.

For my article about mass transit and AI self-driving cars, see: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/personal-rapid-transit-prt-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For my article about safety aspects of AI self-driving cars, see: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/safety-and-ai-self-driving-cars-world-safety-summit-on-autonomous-tech/

For the boundaries of AI self-driving cars, see: https://aitrends.com/ai-insider/ai-boundaries-and-self-driving-cars-the-driving-controls-debate/

For the reframing of levels of AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/ai-insider/reframing-ai-levels-for-self-driving-cars-bifurcation-of-autonomy/

Via the use of Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL), analyses of traffic and driving behavior can aid in enabling the AI to be able to contend with road racing.

Using Machine Learning and Using V2V

Using lots of traffic and driving data, it is feasible to devise Artificial Neural Network (ANN) models to be able to gauge when a road racing situation is developing. This also needs to be coupled with the AI action plans that provide the AI with driving tactics and strategies to deal with the matter.

There is also the use of V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) electronic communications that can help in this matter.

If one AI self-driving car detects a brewing road race that might be of merit to forewarn other nearby AI self-driving cars, the AI could let them know via a V2V message. One twist on this would be to potentially notify the authorities such as the local police or highway patrol.  There is though still a great deal to be decided about how much we want AI self-driving cars to tattle on what is happening on our roadways, and a concern that perhaps we’ll be going down the path of a 1984 Big Brother by the use of AI self-driving cars in this manner.

For aspects about privacy of AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/privacy-ai-self-driving-cars/

For Machine Learning and AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/ensemble-machine-learning-for-ai-self-driving-cars/

For the use of ethics boards, see my article: https://aitrends.com/ai-insider/ethics-review-boards-and-ai-self-driving-cars/

For the nonstop use of AI self-driving cars, see my article: https://aitrends.com/selfdrivingcars/non-stop-ai-self-driving-cars-truths-and-consequences/

Conclusion

Should we keep the AI in-the-dark about road racing and not teach it, train it, or imbue it without any indication about road racing? Some might say we should not let the genie out of the bottle, but I would say that it is narrow thinking at-best to assume you would want the AI to be blind to the nature of road racing. I’d prefer that the AI is versed in it, being able to detect when it happens, and be able to contend with it if forced into a road racing circumstance.

I would also suggest that there will unequivocally be a need for the AI to have road racing prowess. This will help the AI to deal with day-to-day miniature road racing that happens as part of the mix of human drivers and AI self-driving cars on the roads. It would seem too that humans will relish wanting to see AI self-driving cars that can legally race, doing so in the right situations and with the proper safety precautions undertaken.

Movies like “The Fast and the Furious” have glorified illegal street racing and you can anticipate that our culture will continue to foster that kind of driving approach. If humans are going to be fast and furious, let’s make sure that the AI can be fast when needed, and of course we ought to skip the part whereby the AI becomes furious. Perhaps the movies about AI self-driving cars will be entitled “The Fast and the Faster” and we’ll have eliminated the furious aspect of driving in speed contests.

Copyright 2019 Dr. Lance Eliot

This content is originally posted on AI Trends.