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Author Topic: All modern cars are robots  (Read 1764 times)

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Offline z.s.tar.gzTopic starter

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All modern cars are robots
« on: September 14, 2010, 09:28:39 AM »
I was thinking: What differentiates a robot from a car?

Remote controlled battle robots are generally accepted at 'real robots'. A human controls the robot from a high level point of view via the controller. That controller doesn't directly control the robot, but the signals it generates are interpreted by a microcontroller which in turn controls the robot. The human doesn't have to generate pwm signals or monitor the battery use. That's all taken care of 'behind the scenes'.

Most modern cars (let's round it off to 2005 and newer although it includes a lot more) are controlled by a computer. This computer handles the air intake levels, the fuel compression, the injection timing, etc. The human simply turns a wheel and presses pedals. These pedals don't directly control the motor, but tell the computer how much acceleration is desired. Some cars even have sensors that active the brakes and steering if you are about to have a head-on collision. Lets not forget about anti-lock brakes which react based on negative acceleration.

So what really is the difference between robots and cars? As far as I can tell not much.

Note: There are always exceptions. I don't want this thread to become "but the year-make-model has this-and-that and robot-model-from-japan does so-and-so". It's about generalizations, not specifics.
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Offline GearMotion

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2010, 01:38:16 PM »
So are VCRs. DVD players. Modern elevator. Agricultural combine equipment. Store displays. If you loosen sufficiently the definition of Robot than anything microcontroller-controlled with programmatic motion is a robot.

Offline z.s.tar.gzTopic starter

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2010, 01:54:03 PM »
That's true. Therefor, robots can't be defined by what they are but rather what they do.
(And that's impossible to define too)
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Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2010, 01:57:16 PM »
The definition of robot is insignificant  ;D

Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2010, 08:12:22 PM »
Apart from the thing that today's society requires even a blondie to get under the wheel so the wheel is being turned to a tool rather than a passion... Well....

So let's categorize so things.... A robot is a machine that can do things autonomously...
A man made machine which get an input and turns it into an output...


But what really distinct robots from other machines... Well... The word robot means slave...
A slave apart from getting an input and turning it to an output he/she has a mind of his/her own....
( Oh yes that sounds bad... hehehe)

So let's say that a robot is a machine that can get something turn it into something else, but also
can change on it's own both the output and the way the output is outputted.... ( gggrrrr, couldn't think the way to tell it better)  :D 
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Offline Metal Slug 2

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2010, 09:19:34 PM »
Its always about where we draw the line...
The only problem is that we all choose a different place to draw that line.

Consider the following:
Your $50 robot.  It can operate autonomously around your house without any human interaction what so ever.  If you characterize a "robot" to be "a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks" (Merriam-Webster), then your $50 robot satisfies the condition.  Now consider your car.  It does Not 'Automatically' perform the much more advanced "complicated often repetitive tasks" than the tasks your $50 robot does, so it does not satisfy the aforementioned condition.  Would this qualify your $50 robot as a "robot" and your car not?

I think when determining a definition for a robot we must first decide upon whether or not human interaction -- apart from initial startup -- is allowed for a machine to function.

If only Asimov was still alive...we could have asked him... ::)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 09:23:42 PM by Metal Slug 2 »

Offline GearMotion

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 08:34:07 AM »
I pop a tape in my VCR. It plays, gets to the end, rewinds, ejects. I wouldn't call it a "robot", but it is robotic.


(Yes I still have a VCR. There are a lot of old things still on tape.)

Offline Admin

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 08:05:33 AM »

Offline Soeren

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2010, 06:20:33 PM »
Hi,

[...] This computer handles the air intake levels, the fuel compression, the injection timing, etc. The human simply turns a wheel and presses pedals. These pedals don't directly control the motor, but tell the computer how much acceleration is desired. Some cars even have sensors that active the brakes and steering if you are about to have a head-on collision. Lets not forget about anti-lock brakes which react based on negative acceleration.
The cars ECU (or whatever you like to call the main control module) and sub-modules like the ABS controller will (ideally) always give the same response for a given set of parameters (like air mass/second, intake air temp, engine temperature, speeder command etc.). Admittedly, there are lots of combinations possible, but you could qualify them into a (very long) table if you wanted - the ECU does nothing autonomous, but just responds to a set of parameters with a predefined output.

Battle 'bots has nothing to do with robots either (apart from the name and the visuals), they're nothing but glorified R/C vehicles or ROV's (Remote Operated Vehicles) and while they may share eg. methods of drive train etc. they are not gonna make up their mind to try a different type of attack or to improve their timing from lessons learned.

Actually, most of the robots build by members of this board aren't real robots either, as you can calculate their behavioral response if you know the inputs to their sensors (like what's gonna happen when it's getting too near a wall).

So, does this mean that I think there should be a full blown AI core aboard to call it a robot?
Not necessarily, but if the 'bot never learns from its mistakes and improves its modus operandi in at least some small way, what's separating it from a ROV?

I'm not saying that Battle 'Bots and other ROV's isn't funny to make, I'm merely giving my definition of what it takes for me to see a vehicle as a real robot.

Anyone may consider taking their ROV's to robot status by making at least a bit of it smarter, by dabbling a little with perhaps an arm or how it detects stuff - training a small network will, over time, yield better results than the best "dumb" filter and using both... The sky's the limit  :)


(ABS brakes does not react based on deceleration (what you call negative acceleration), they react on wheel slippage or left/right-differential  you may call it and result in maximum deceleration.)



So what really is the difference between robots and cars? As far as I can tell not much.
The driver!

The average driver (well, even the worst driver really) will be able to make decisions based on something learned in very different situations and apply the actions based on that in less than 1.5s (that's supposed to be the average reaction time, although it differs from ~0.5s to a bit over 2 seconds).
Unfortunately, we humans lack 100% logic thinking and behaviour, especially in critical situations :(

Let's say you see a car crossing in front of you. Just by looking at it briefly, you have a pretty good idea of how soon it will reach you, based on visuals alone (how fast it apparently increases in size), add to that the sense of hearing (which you know changes in amplitude with the square of the distance - whether you are able to express it or not). This may be stuff you learned as a toddler, watching and listening to your mother, a rolling ball or whatever, that you now apply to a different situation.

Now make a car do this, and even I will call it a robot :)

Humans can make a single decision based on a multitude of inputs, where some of them may be from past experience, some from the immediate situation and some from A Priori knowledge and what you've learned up to this point in time (whatever it's relevant or not). Gut feeling, subconscious knowledge, 6'Th sense or whatever you wanna call it, is responsible for most of our decisions throughout a day and I'm not saying that we always make the right decisions (just turn on the boob tube for an instant denial of that ;D), but we do make them and we do make them much faster than you can hope to get any machine to do and that's not gonna change for a very long time, so the difference is... The car has a "bio-controller", but only while you're in it.

Rereading all the crap I just unleashed on your poor eyes, from the top of my tired head, I have to conclude that I presently* think that intelligence is what differentiates a robot from any other vehicle. Further, that I think your question is based on the ROV's, in which case I'll agree, 'cause they're the same, it's just whether the driver is on the inside or the outside and whether the driving is done while it's done or programmatically entered beforehand.


Oh btw. The bicycle gear selector that I'm working on (on and off) will make the gear selector a robot, even though it will maintain a semi-manual selector, mostly for training it and keep it from taking over the world though  ;)
Over time, the manual shifting should be a thing of the past (unless my physical condition changes suddenly in some way of course).
I don't see my bicycle as a robot, even if a part of it will be.


*) Presently... 'cause it's what I think now, based on what I have learned up until now. Tomorrow, or 3 weeks and 5 minutes from now, I may stumble over some evidence that modifies my present ideas.
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline z.s.tar.gzTopic starter

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2010, 07:09:21 PM »
All robots have a predictable output given that they have predictable inputs. Even learning robots use algorithms which change other algorithms so they have predictable outcomes even though it's tough to actually predict them.

So, cars are more like horse-rider beam robots (which we can all agree are robots) where the human takes the place of the "rider"
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Offline Gertlex

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2010, 05:19:07 PM »
All robots have a predictable output given that they have predictable inputs. Even learning robots use algorithms which change other algorithms so they have predictable outcomes even though it's tough to actually predict them.

So an autonomously flying robot in a storm can be predicted (Sure, if you're God and can predict air flow and weather in real time)?  Heck if I really wanted to invalidate your claim, I'd build a robot to make decisions off of the number of counts in a detector per second for a low activity radioactive piece of material.  (Hint, it's not a constant # counts/second)

There's also the concept of fuzzy logic which I haven't really read about, but that might well create randomness too.
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Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2010, 07:25:34 PM »
Basically, I can't find where you disagree with Soeren...

The autonomous flying robot, will behave the way you program it, in a bad weather situation...
It may be a clever machine, it may have a large combination of sensors to make decisions but still...
If it's programmed to fly, it will actually do it...
It won't say... "Oh look the weather is so sh!tty.... Let's play backgammon with another flying autonomous robot and then take of for our destination..."

The issue is, that if you program it, to do so... It will in fact do so... If you don't, it won't make the decision by itself...

If you don't understand the concept here, read some chaos theory... It's exactly the same thing...
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Offline Gertlex

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2010, 07:34:55 PM »
Basically, I can't find where you disagree with Soeren...

The autonomous flying robot, will behave the way you program it, in a bad weather situation...
It may be a clever machine, it may have a large combination of sensors to make decisions but still...
If it's programmed to fly, it will actually do it...
It won't say... "Oh look the weather is so sh!tty.... Let's play backgammon with another flying autonomous robot and then take of for our destination..."

The issue is, that if you program it, to do so... It will in fact do so... If you don't, it won't make the decision by itself...

If you don't understand the concept here, read some chaos theory... It's exactly the same thing...

Assuming that was @ me... where did I refer to Soeren?  (I didn't - I quoted z.s.)

I in fact didn't read the entire thread, skimmed and then read the last post, which was laughably simplistic :)
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Offline Admin

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2010, 08:44:05 AM »
Everything is predictable, assuming you're able to model the system exactly as the real world.

Unfortunately, its impossible to model the real world with 100% accuracy.

Offline voyager2

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Re: All modern cars are robots
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2010, 06:45:48 PM »
Ok I hope I'm not too late to this but, here's my say:

A car is not a robot, it cannot make its own decisions,
yet an engine could be a robot...
The engine uses stimuli such as piston position, temperature, and from the gas pedal...
Sure, it needs petrol to operate, but your robot needs you to give it battery's, doesn't it?

Voyager
And Admin said "Let there be robots!"
And it was good.

 


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