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Meeting Minutes
Torch Club of the Fox Valley
09 February 2017
Atlas Coffee Mill & Café

Notes taken by: Jude Kuenn, secretary
Attendees:  Karen Bachhuber, Jim Baumbach, David Debbink, Marcia Debbink, Mary Flanagan, Paul Freiberg, Jean Hedges, Walt Hedges, Jean Jepson, Barbara Kelly, Bill Kelly, Jude Kuenn, Cam Maurice, Mary Poulson, Richard Schoenbohm, Bob Swain, Helen Thiel, Peter Thiel, Scott Valitchka, Sofia Wilson

Guest: none


Meeting called to order at 6:40pm.

Business segment adjourned at 6:50pm for dinner.
David Debbink’s Talk: Who’s Driving the Bus?

Or, who/what is driving your car? Driverless cars have 20-25 ultrasonic sensors to alert vehicle to potential obstacles in its path. The laser sensor on roof top has a 360 degree view and is continuously scanning around the vehicle. Other technology used includes Lidar (light detection and ranging), radar (radar detection and ranging), a robust GPS system, and ~20 integrated cameras.  Even with these advantages, there are numerous scenarios requiring driver intervention.

NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) autonomous driving tech levels:
0 – no technology, all standard stuff by 2011.
1 – most functions still controlled by driver. Adaptive cruise control and lane keeping technology can be used in limited circumstances.
2 – integration of level 1 function, allowing driver to disengage both hands off wheel and pedals.
3 – auto-pilot in limited situations; driver emergency intervention required. (Manufacturers plan to skip 3.)
4 – all driving sub-tasks automated in limited environments, i.e. dedicated highway lanes, parking ramps (allowing close quarter parking to double use of current ramp space).
5 – full automation, which meets / exceeds performance of human drivers, including extreme environments.

Where are we now? 0-2. There are currently 24 GPS satellites orbiting the earth, and another 24 co-owned. Driverless cars would need ~140 satellites to function optimally. Vehicles will face same challenges are human drivers in adverse weather. They will be unable to determine if obstacle is a pedestrian, another car, or a bridge pylon. The automated braking system could cause collision.  
 Targets for automation:

Impediments of automation:

Driverless vehicles are an oversold and hyped idea. And it’s not happening soon. Plan 2045-2070 before cars will be fully automated. Today’s price tag for a Google Car is $1mm.

The future of automation:

The evening adjourned at 8:50pm.

With Atlas Coffee Mill & Café closed 3/09/17, our next meeting will be Tuesday 3/07/17.
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