So, no driverless cars in California then?

Volvo’s North American CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, lost his cool as the automaker’s semi-autonomous prototype sporadically refused to drive itself during a press event at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

“It can’t find the lane markings!” Kerssemakers griped to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was at the wheel. “You need to paint the bloody roads here!”

Shoddy infrastructure has become a roadblock to the development of self-driving cars, vexing engineers and adding time and cost. Poor markings and uneven signage on the 3 million miles of paved roads in the United States are forcing automakers to develop more sophisticated sensors and maps to compensate, industry executives say.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently called the mundane issue of faded lane markings “crazy,” complaining they confused his semi-autonomous cars.

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18 Responses to So, no driverless cars in California then?

  1. Irish says:

    We need to fix the roads! Raise Taxes!!

    • Wirecutter says:

      And that is exactly what’s going to happen.
      Now all they need to do is install blowers and de-icers every 10 feet on roads that are in the colder climates so the cars can ‘see’ the lines.

      • Craig says:

        This is one of the reasons that Google has been so close to the Fed money spigot. It’s a two-way street so to speak. Google helps the government with technology to spy on the people and the Fed continues to give them funding for projects like driver-less cars. Crony capitalism at its best.

      • dumbplumber says:

        Where I live, they need to install sweepers as well. They put cinders on the roads to improve traction in ice. Good luck to those driverless cars up here.
        Friend of mine went into the Chevy dealer to see how many miles a Volt would go in the snow, with the windshield wipers, heater and headlights on. The answer was he could not make it back to his house (75 miles) if he bought one right then.

  2. Will says:

    I tried to point this issue out to one of the engineering eggheads at work, and also pointed out that in the Midwest a lot of the lane markings are buried in snow and ice much of the time. Egghead didn’t get it and basically called me a Luddite afraid of new technology.

    My prediction: self driving cars will never be widely adopted.

    • AlphaDelta says:

      Unsettled legal liability ramifications will kill the vehicles before the issue of lane markings will. The way I see it, the whole program has been one big taxpayer subsidized busywork exercise.

  3. STW says:

    Even with nice painted lines the required white lines aren’t real useful when it’s been snowing. Idiots.

  4. Nobody says:

    ummm… does nobody out there live on a dirt road? Haven’t seen too many lane markings here.

  5. Doonhamer says:

    “Single track with passing places” should be interesting. As will your 4-way stop junctions when 4 cars arrive simultaneously. A classic logical dilemma.

  6. Tennessee Budd says:

    Well, thank God; that means that at least I won’t see those robotic bastards tooling around TN’s roads anytime soon.

  7. Katya Mullethov says:

    I dont even know what to think of this .. “

    Autonomous race car series

    Ten teams, each with two driverless cars, will compete in one-hour races over the full championship season. All the teams will have the same cars however will compete using real-time computing algorithms and AI technologies.

    “The mission of Roborace is to demonstrate that the future of automotive and information technology is already here and can even work in extreme conditions.


    If they all have the “same car” what is to prevent it from looking like a slot car race ?

    With NASCAR attendance decreasing , it’s only a matter of time before they go hybrid in a quest for the burgeoning man-bun demographic . When they finally quit having the Isle of Mann TT race , you’ll know the end is quite near .

  8. john says:

    lots of paved roads in KY with no lines, Just some roadkill splatter

  9. NC Mike says:

    I am seeing all kinds of disruptive potential here. Sandblasting off fog lines, replacing them with lines that lead into the river…

  10. soapweed says:

    Thank the good lord for our dirt roads…… If I need to go to town after they put sensors in our roadbase, we’ll just drive in the bar ditch. Hell, it already works for post-thirsty drives home……

  11. Terrific! Obama will (as he did with hybrids) demand all Federal Agencies equipment themselves with Self-driving Cars; which will obey all posted speed limits, divert to toll roads to increase Federal revenue and fail to navigate any path not legally registered with the Google database.

    They will never catch us!

  12. Gnome Sane says:

    I want to see ’em dodge the monster potholes around here, there’s an art to it.

  13. Darthsentry says:

    Sounds like something you can have Bugs Bunny type fun with. Just paint a line going into a ditch or tree and wait.

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