back to article I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!

“Why are Volvos called Volvos? Because their drivers are cunts.” Youtube Video So pronounced one of my bosses in my student holiday job days, as he sat, Buddha-like, at the head of the baggage-handlers’ crew-room at Leeds-Bradford Airport, delivering his words of wisdom to a weary audience of one. I eventually learned that …

  1. glen waverley

    windscreen wipers?

    Why does the self driving car car in the vid have its windscreen wipers on? There's noone inside to look out.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: windscreen wipers?

      Probably rain sensing.

      THIS is how to drive a Volvo.

      1. glen waverley

        Re: windscreen wipers?

        So why does it need rain sensing wipers? (Hope I am not embarking on the " 7 whys" technique.)

        Ok, it might be a showroom model fitted out with driverless tech. But still doesn't have anyone to look out the wiped windscreen. So why leave the rain sensors hooked up to the wipers?

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: windscreen wipers?

          Conversely, you could ask "why bother disconnecting them?" The engineers have a (probably very long) list of more important things to worry about.

          And when they're ready, self-driving cars will still carry passengers who will probably want to be able to see out of them.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: windscreen wipers?

            I know I'd leave them in along with the sensor activation live. The last think I want to think about is what safety systems have to be put back in/on to allow the id10t driver to take control.

            'Sides, how else do you get a cool-looking video with the driving conditions readily apparent. Engineers are known for caring about kewlness, every once in a while.

            1. Someone Else Silver badge

              @ Jack of Shadows -- Re: windscreen wipers?

              Engineers are known for caring about kewlness, every once in a while.

              Actually, engineers are known for caring about making the damn thing work. K3wlness is the provenance of Marketing types....

        2. Vociferous

          Re: windscreen wipers?

          >So why does it need rain sensing wipers?

          Because it's a standard assembly car with added tech, not a ground-up purpose built car. Although I expect commercial self-driving cars will also have windshield wipers, to let the humans in the car see out.

          1. Jes.e

            Re: windscreen wipers?

            "Although I expect commercial self-driving cars will also have windshield wipers, to let the humans in the car see out."

            Why even have windows?

            Being unable to see outside the vehicle will leave the occupants relaxed and they won't have to be stressed out that their vehicle has left the road and is about to drive off a hovercraft ramp directly into the water as directed by their GPS.

            What's the use of upsetting and stressing people out needlessly as they generally won't have time to react to an emergency situation in the case their car goes off the rails so to speak..

            1. Alistair Dabbs

              Re: windscreen wipers?

              >> Why even have windows?

              The first London Underground trains didn't have window panes for this reason. It was felt that since there was nothing to look at while passengers were in a tunnel, and given that in those days there were guards and porters to help people on and off at each station, windows were unnecessary. Go to the London Transport Museum and sit in one: it's like being locked inside a communal wooden coffin. Nor do you experience any relief when arriving at a station. Passengers hated it.

            2. PNGuinn

              Re: windscreen wipers?

              "Why even have windows?"

              So it will crash - it's a prototype you fool.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: windscreen wipers?

              Because the human occupant will be required to takeover in the event of some shortcomings in the software.

              Thus rendering the whole point of them useless, people want to relax, sight-see or sleep. They don't want to have to pay attention.

            4. WylieCoyoteUK

              Why even have windows?

              They have to have an OS, did you think they were going to put Linux in there? :)

            5. ma1010

              Re: windscreen wipers?

              I agree. No need for windows at all. Or if you do have windows on your self-driving car, see if you can get some Peril Sensitive Sunglasses like Zaphod Beeblebrox had. Designed to help you have "a more relaxed attitude toward danger," they turn darker as peril increases. About the time your car goes off that hovercraft ramp, they should turn completely black.

        3. Kepler

          Re: windscreen wipers?

          "still doesn't have anyone to look out the wiped windscreen. So why leave the rain sensors hooked up to the wipers?"

          Surely Glen Waverley was being sarcastic when he wrote this, no?* Was his point not, by posing the rhetorical question, to induce everyone to reflect and realize the obvious ridiculousness and unnecessary complication of the alternative — namely, of connecting the passenger-presence sensors to the interface between the vehicle's rain sensors and its windshield-wiper motors, and making the "On" or "Off" status of the latter interface or connection depend on the presence or absence of passengers?

          I believe that the several responses his comment received were actually just repeating his point.

          (Apropos of which, remember that part of the point of the "Joke Alert" icon and the flashing "Joke Alert" gif is to poke fun at those who make their use necessary. If memory serves, the introduction of the flashing "Joke Alert" gif some 10-14 years ago was accompanied by words from Lester to the effect that "We wouldn't have thought additional words were necessary to make clear that we were joking" — about what, I've long since forgotten — "but obviously we were wrong.")


          * I don't believe he was being sarcastic or insincere in his original post. I believe that post was merely intended to point out the irony of having the windshield wipers on even when no one is in the car. But I honestly do believe his latter post, or at least its second paragraph/final sentence, were intended to be sarcastic. I looked for any follow-up posts in which he might have defended his later assertion, and was relieved to find none.

          But obviously I'm kind-of out on a limb here.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: windscreen wipers?

        THIS is how to drive a Volvo.

        Love the engine sound - sounds like a supercharger hard at work :).

        I rather like the work Audi is doing at the moment, because quite a lot of that seems to be focused on getting it into production - the whole boot full of kit they had last year has already been turned into dedicated PCBs - that may also explain why they tend to use standard production vehicles and only modify them as much as is required to do this auto drive.

        The only thing I didn't like was when they did this in front of a large audience, and there was no way to just listen to the engine - I would have clocked that reporter one not even 20 seconds into the demonstration :)

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: windscreen wipers?

          Love the engine sound - sounds like a supercharger hard at work :).

          No superchargers here, just a naturally aspirated V8. The whining noise is the meshing of the straight cut gears in the transaxle. Strong, but also noisy.

      3. Lord-a-miytee

        Re: windscreen wipers?

        > THIS is how to drive a Volvo.

        Very impressed that car claims to be lubricated with Vulvoline.

  2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle


    but I must take issue with the unfair and, not to put to fine a point on it, unjust characterisation of BMW drivers as incompetant and useless drivers.

    When a BMW appears in your mirrors , you know its going to be some self important lower middle manager or some down on his luck financial advisor, and you know that they will not indicate or use their mirrors.

    This means that they can safely be predicted in their driving actions and thus either be avoided, or compensated for by your driving.

    No , the real menaces on todays roads are the f***ing audi drivers who all drive like utter morons, just because they think they are being some cool by not buying a BMW

    Nope when it comes to weaving across motorway lanes, driving way too close in the rain (about 6" away) , parking on the pavements forcing everyone to walk in the road, and generally behaving as utter c***s, its always a f***ing audi

    1. Darryl

      Re: Sorry

      You're lucky. We have the dreaded 'Redneck in a Pickup Truck' to deal with as well as BMW and Audi drivers.

      Known as the 'Rig Rocket' as they can only be afforded by oilfield workers, they're jacked up high, fitted with loud exhausts and 24" wheels, and the drivers are almost 100% dicks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry

        Rednecks in trucks I have no beef with. Soccer moms in land barges, texting while putting on makeup and feeding their offspring OTOH...

        1. Fatman

          Re: Sorry

          Soccer moms in land barges, texting while putting on makeup and feeding their offspring OTOH...

          Don't get me started.......

        2. Marshalltown

          Re: Sorry

          Heh. I knew that the world had changed when it became clear that the FIRST thought upon seeing an erratic driver was "cell phone" instead of "drunk."

      2. Eric Olson

        Re: Sorry

        ...and the drivers are almost 100% dicks

        They come up short in every other part of life, typically the trouser region, so why not go deep into debt to purchased a truck that has been rendered useless by aftermarket codpieces?

      3. Doug Bostrom

        Re: Sorry

        Audi: German for "asshole." Here in the States, anyway; something to do with ad campaigns creating a self-selected market of the self-absorbed.

        Of course there are exceptions to every rule, generally found at the dinner table after one remarks that "Audi is German for asshole." :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sorry

          Audi: German for "asshole." Here in the States, anyway; something to do with ad campaigns creating a self-selected market of the self-absorbed.

          Ah, that may explain why Audi runs the US servers isolated from the rest at their HQ. In general, I tend not to judge cars after brands, but after how they are driven. Personally, I like Audis because they tend to be good but obtrusive - my v8 doesn't look all that much different from a standard 2.0 unless you know where to look and I like that, and a 60/40 diff means that I can let someone else drive this car in snowy conditions without having to worry about it that they will kill themselves in the process, yet still have some fun if I want to.

          Personally, I dislike most ad campaigns, but that's probably because I just like the facts, after which I make my choice. I rarely watch TV anyway :)

          However, Audi is one of the companies that is quite advanced in driverless driving, experimenting with practical things like self-parking (and that is SELF parking, not assisted parking - getting out and letting the car park itself) and it too has now automatic queueing in traffic jams and active braking in production vehicles. I suspect the latter will become eventually as standard as ABS has become.

      4. macjules

        Re: Sorry

        And down here in rural Central London we have all those nasty 4x4 Yummy Mummies to deal with. If Volvo drivers are 'See You Next Tuesdays' then Rangerovers are known as porcupine cars ... the difference being that a porcupine has all the pricks on the outside.

    2. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

      Re: Sorry

      Is this why I have a four-ring badged car attached to my towbar* when driving down the M62**?

      Bootnote: I drive a 2009 Citroen C5 - it's quick and absolutely no feedback from the road which is just as well on the M62

      * for a [big] trailer - no caravans

      ** that's going between Warrington and Liverpool where it is possible to do a decent speed unlike the stationary bit over the Pennines

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry

        > I drive a 2009 Citroen C5

        Thinking about upgrading to a car at some point?


        1. stucs201

          Re: Sorry

          My first thought too when I first heard of the C5 - why would anyone name their car after Clive's electric buggy?

          1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

            Re: Sorry

            C5 because it's next down the model line from the C6............

            Most people are snide about Citroen models because:-

            1. They've never been in a modern one (all vintage ones are cool)

            2. They've never driven one

            3. someone in the dealership at Ford/Vauxhall/BMW/Audi/pub told them they were rubbish

            4. They don't drive 500miles on motorway in one trip

            Having driven >5 to between 125 - 200k miles each I have tested them. Thoroughly

            I moved from BMW as a daily drive as I hated paying >£1600 per annum in insurance for 5yrs+ no claims in an 1800cc petrol with round badge.

            I still own a [1987] BMW for sunny summer days. OK it's a poor man's version - 3.18i with M10 engine. Oh and it is that very same fisrt car I bought. Nice

            1. Alistair Dabbs

              Re: Sorry

              I've driven plenty of Citroens, from the classic DS to the iconic 2CV to the modern C models and Picasso. Comfy cars but the dashboard layout was designed by a lunatic.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sorry

                > the dashboard layout was designed by a lunatic.

                A blind, dyslexic lunatic suffering from Alzheimer's.

                1. phuzz Silver badge

                  Re: Sorry

                  >> the dashboard layout was designed by a lunatic.

                  > A blind, dyslexic lunatic suffering from Alzheimer's.

                  No, just someone French. Presumably the same French designer that decided to put the controls for the electric windows in the Peugeot 206 in the middle of the car, behind the handbrake.

                  The worst thing is, after years of driving it I now automatically grope around the middle of a car when I want to open the windows.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sorry

                But 'tis very stylist no?

              3. Someone Else Silver badge

                @ Alistair Dabbs -- Re: Sorry

                Comfy cars but the dashboard layout was designed by a lunaticFrenchman (probably the same moron who designed the dash layout for Peugeot).

                There, Fixed it for ya!

            2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              Re: Sorry

              And yet every citroën I have seen on the road has, without fail, had an entirely non-functional left brake light. Every single one. They may be great cars to drive, but the electrics seem to be universally shite.

              Then again I drive an old cherokee so what do I know?

            3. Dr_N

              Re: Sorry

              Even the French sneer at modern Citroens. (Old persons car: The C6 was specifically designed and marketed with a retired 80 year old president in mind.)

              Which is unfair as everyone knows it's Renault who really badly manufactures cars.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sorry

              > Most people are snide about Citroen models because:

              6. They're half-arsed designed with low quality engineering for what until not long ago was a bit of a captive market.

              More seriously though, their main focus *is* the French market, which is vastly different from the German, Central, and Northern European markets. They respond to their market, in the same way German manufacturer's respond to theirs, so viewed in that sense, there is not much wrong with them.

              Much the same applies to BMW--they address a certain market so in a way, yes, to an extent they're designed to make you want to drive like a wanker, but properly driven there is not much wrong with them. In fact, I like their noise attenuation and smoothness of the 8 gear automatic boxes. That said, I never owned one and I wasn't too impressed with the build quality of the current 3-series (5-series is better), so I do not how reliable they are in the longer term.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Sorry

                When the kids were little a Citroen Berlingo was perfect. (Peugeot are also Citroen, and do the same vehicle slightly higher specced, possibly).

                It's not flashy, far from it. It's not speedy, or smart. But absolutely perfectly functional. It does exactly what it was designed to do, and does it well. Tons of storage in any spare space. Lots of power outlets for the DVD players. Seat back tables for the kids to colour ( and eat) on.

    3. Vociferous

      Re: Sorry

      IME, nothing screams 'entitled twit' like a Porsche SUV.

      1. Cpt Blue Bear

        Re: Sorry

        "IME, nothing screams 'entitled twit' like a Porsche SUV."

        You've clearly never driven one. The old Cayenne Turbo S was ugly as a hat full of proverbials, but holy crap do they go!

        1. Marshalltown

          Re: Sorry

          The OP *did* use the word "entitled." True story: Driving along a rural road in California. Rural roads in the Central Valley in California tend to follow Section or Quarter Section lines - a section being nominally one mile on a side. The gotcha is that since the earth's surface is curved, that neat rectilinear projection occasionally has to be as adjusted slightly so the rural road has an occasional right angled zig in it. Unlike mountain roads or some of the roads I've experienced in eastern Europe, California's rural roads, because of the tendency to follow such a nice neat grid, are deceptive to outsiders. I am tooling along at a reasonable pace when a Porsche SUV comes tearing up behind, blowing its horn, the road is two-lane, no passing, and no shoulder, so I can't pullover and let the tailgating knothead by. He doesn't like that. The double line ends. The Porsche driver hits the accelerator and blasts past waving at me with one finger. He's up to 80 MPH before long and dwindling in the distance, when suddenly I see brake lights, some swerving and then a cloud of dust. When I caught up, the Porsche was 100 yards out in a pasture trailing considerable barb wire and a few fence posts. I smiled and waved all my fingers as I negotiated the jog in the road and continued on.

          1. Alistair Dabbs

            Re: Sorry

            Unfortunately, having driven his SUV into the field, he's probably blaming *you* for the incident.

            1. Marshalltown

              Re: Sorry

              Well, yes. But I did wvae politely.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sorry

            > When I caught up, the Porsche was 100 yards out in a pasture

            Maybe that where he was wanting to go? :-)

            Now, I never drive above the speed limit on public roads (that's what racetracks are for) but I do not particularly mind other people speeding if they do so in relative safety and without inconveniencing other users.

            On the other hand, I could never understand those who, when you're overtaking on the motorway, come right up your arse and start flashing lights and stuff. I mean, you're already doing something illegal (speeding, violating the safety distance, aggressive driving--which is an actual offence where I live) so why the fuck not just overtake on the hard shoulder or something? If you're going to be a twat, at least have the balls to be a proper one.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sorry

          You've clearly never driven one. The old Cayenne Turbo S was ugly as a hat full of proverbials, but holy crap do they go!

          Yes, but it really, really needed that turbo to move at all. The poor man's Cayenne (aka the car people buy who can't really afford a Cayenne) was pretty much changing gears all the time to camouflage the fact that it had no oompf at all under the hood. I was seriously disappointed in that one.

  3. Haku

    Had a drive home from hell? Grab a glass of your favourite and listen to this:

    I'm also reminded of a joke I once read that went along the lines of:

    Kid in back of car with mum driving: "Mummy, why don't you see any fucking bastards and bloody whores on the roads like daddy does?"

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Had a drive home from hell? Grab a glass of your favourite and listen to this:

      The next time someone posts a link to some Country and Western music, could they please mark it up as Not Suitable For Ears? Thanks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Had a drive home from hell? Grab a glass of your favourite and listen to this:

        Elwood Blues: "Er, what kind of music do you usually have here?"

  4. OzBob

    If you want real brand-name-association,

    "Audi", its german for "overpaid wanker".

    1. hplasm
      Thumb Up

      Re: If you want real brand-name-association,





  5. Chris Miller

    What GPS really needs

    (and it shouldn't really be hard to achieve) is an option to omit all roads unsuitable for wide vehicles. I've lost count of the number of times I've watched an artic (semi for our American cousins) trying to reverse up our narrow country lane because its GPS decided that trying to get down it would shave 5 minutes off its journey.

    1. Haku

      Re: What GPS really needs

      Yup, I can't agree more on having that option.

      One time we came home to discover our drystone wall that's adjacent to the road had been almost completely knocked down, a neighbour told us that a 5-axle lorry had caused it and didn't even stop.

      Over the years numerous chunks of stone have been chipped away from that wall by large lorries squeezing past because they blindly followed their satnav to get to a destination that 's more accessable if they got to our road from the other end.

      Move the wall you say? Not possible, part of it is attached to our and our neighbours house. And unfortunately it's never going to stop because that section is perhaps the narrowest along the road.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What GPS really needs

        What those lorry drivers are doing is negligence and unlawful property damage, so they have no excuses.

        My suggestion would be to embed well supported replaceable heavy duty cutting tools * level with the stones, at a position designed to cause the maximum damage to their wheels/tires if they damage the wall, and add a fair warning road width hazard notice on your land!

        * The kind of tools use by industrial steel cutting lathes.

        As for the article, I think there will need to be ground based edge/location beacons before I'd fully trust GPS like navigation, and easy to detect hard boundary & boundary/entrance indicator materials to aid much better edge detection for well over fastest speed stopping distance before I'd trust self-drive cars. Any boundary materials would need to be detectable in fog or otherwise visually obscured, possibly using low power radar.

        1. Notas Badoff

          Re: What GPS really needs

          Warning sign:

          Very narrow road ahead

          Very sharp edges too...

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: What GPS really needs

            Sorry, but some roads are narrow. And some people, against all common sense, choose to live on those roads. What's a delivery company to do?

            Use a smaller vehicle? That would add cost, which means they'd have to jack up their prices, and would promptly go out of business because other, less-scrupulous players would use their lower costs as a competitive edge. Or they could refuse to service those addresses? - same result, with added vilification from the would-be customer thrown in.

            After all, whoever's sending the package - Amazon? - whatever, they don't give a damn' about the garden wall of some unrelated codger who'll never even know who was responsible for damaging it.

            Damage to third-party walls (etc.) is an externality, that the delivery company doesn't have to pay for. As long as we allow such things to exist, the incentives will remain all to cock. We need to charge people for the things they break - even if nobody sees them breaking, even if nobody even knows who owns them.

            And that, in a nutshell, is the case for a carbon tax...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What GPS really needs

      There are plenty of satnavs out there designed specifically for trucks, that choose routes suitable for the vehicle size and weight you enter. They're not even that expensive, so there's really bugger all excuse for trucks squeezing down narrow windy country roads or taking out low bridges nowadays.

  6. GreggS


    The indicators are expensive optional extras!

  7. Zog_but_not_the_first


    Truly a vision of Hell. Jeez, the IoT has even forced Dabsy to change his password and his name to Kelly Fiveash.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Yep

      I don't know who Kelly Fiveash is but she's a damn fine writer.

      1. Zog_but_not_the_first

        Re: Yep

        Indeed. The salacious thought did flicker across my mind that "Kelly" might be your "weekend persona".

  8. Cipher

    This whole IOT is getting out of control. Just this morning I find that my toaster has been hacked, all toast is burned to charcoal, the dreaded BreadBurn has struck me.

  9. ravenviz Silver badge

    Negative view on Sat nav

    I found the article very negative about sat nav, maybe tongue in cheek at best. I've had various devices over the years, including factory fitted, but now find that Google Maps on my phone is just fine, very accurate, and gives accurate real time traffic information (I can only presume as crowd-sourced from connected devices). The only downside is having to set up a route where there is 3G, it uses GPS from then on; otherwise it's back to that old screen in the glove box or, shudder, actually knowing how to get to where you're going.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Negative view on Sat nav

      Bullshit. As I'm the sort of guy that gets lost in his own house, I've used a lot of GPS units.

      Google Maps is fine as long as you strictly follow the route. The moment you leave it, it's "fuck you, you're on your own" - I had to pull over recently and wait for it to take nearly 4 minutes to recalculate the route. I had full satellite lock and 5 bars of LTE, so it's not like there was a problem other than the software.

      Garmin is ok, until you don't want to pay $100 for the 6 month map update. Then you do, and my rather large neighborhood, which has existed since 1988 IS A HUGE BLANK AREA!

      TomTom is ok, until you're confronted with "Do You Not Want To Avoid Toll Roads?" Yes! No! Wait, what????? Oh yeah, and for the longest time, it insisted that Interstate 4 and the 417 toll road did not have any interchanges in downtown Orlando. As I-4 has been in Orlando longer than Walt Disney, this is rather a mysterious error.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Negative view on Sat nav

        In the UK, Garmin sells a one-off Lifetime Update so you don't have to buy a subscription, although it's limited to the device you buy it for.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Negative view on Sat nav

          We switched from TomTom to Garmin because to get the traffic update renewal you had to buy a whole (expensive) package of stuff we didn't want. But now we regret this. Garmin has, as Dabbsy says, a lifetime update. But it doesn't seem to actually be any good. Months of driving in traffic jams while the Garmin looks at us and promises "NO traffic ahead" and we've had enough of it.

    2. Lionel Baden

      Re: Negative view on Sat nav

      May i recommend Waze for those who like real time traffic updates. Free on android, personally i find the address lookup a bit poor, but otherwise for routing and traffic flow calculations it is really good

  10. Dr_N


    Mr Dabbs,

    Stereotyping people by the cars they drive is lazy journalism. Not all BMW drivers are utter c***s. (Although many probably are.)

    You don't go around saying all French drivers are bad, do you? (Even if they are.)

    1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

      Re: Stereotypes

      Actually Belgian drivers are far far worse

      From substantial experience over 20 years driving in France

    2. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: Stereotypes

      I will say that the A5 going into Wales sees a lot more nutty driving than up 'til then, it's mainly small hatchbacks with drainpipe exhaust pipes scraping the ground.

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Stereotypes

      All French drivers *are* bad, except for my wife and brother-in-law.

    4. DocJames

      Re: Stereotypes

      Nah, I remember driving in France on summer holidays. The French were ok drivers. You could spot the Brits and Germans as they were the only nationalities behaving like dicks.

      1. Dr_N

        Re: Stereotypes

        "Nah, I remember driving in France on summer holidays. The French were ok drivers"

        I live there. Believe me, they are quite bad.

        I'm sure Mr Dabbs could write a whole book on French driving attitude and "skills".

        1. thenim

          Re: Stereotypes

          Have you *seen* the Italians drive? Drove south of Rome towards Naples for the first time a few weeks ago, now that region is special... Indicators are dead weight on their cars...

          The only way to get anywhere is to be a complete and total dick on the road, i.e. not Christian driving... (e.g. do not signal, ever, even when pulling on to the motorway; turn onto a main road even if there is on coming traffic - for they will stop; traffic lights are, well, just for information really; pedestrians - bah, meatbags, all fair game; speed limits are for other people, 60, ususally means 100, 130 is about as fast as your ferrari* can go on the road; and finally right of way is governed by size...)

          Special place for driving...

          * all cars are driven as if they are ferraris...

        2. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Stereotypes

          >> I'm sure Mr Dabbs could write a whole book on French driving attitude

          What strikes me most of all about French motorists is the lack of any awareness of the concept and purpose of maintaining the flow of traffic. No-one under any circumstances whatsoever will ever "let you in" or flash their headlights to allow you to go first, even if doing so would ultimately speed up everyone's journey including their own.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stereotypes

      Have you been driving a BMW recently, Dr_N?

      1. Dr_N

        Re: Stereotypes

        "Have you been driving a BMW recently, Dr_N?"

        Nope. Never, Mr AC.

        @Alistair Dabbs

        I've recently fitted a dashcam. Not for insurance purposes.

        Just to share the exploits of incompetent Gallic drivers

        with friends & colleagues.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > You don't go around saying all French drivers are bad, do you?

    No he doesn't. That's my job.

    For the rest, I agree that the article is too long for the subject. He's run out of steam at the 500 word point.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Which word was that?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The article is attributed to Kelly 5ash as of now.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Misattribution

      Normal byline service has been resumed. Thank you.

  13. Conundrum1885


    LMAO, ROTFL and all that.

    At the thought of "Siri, brake now.. and it does. Full emergency brake with anchors and handbrake for good measure, resulting in a faceplant.

    I had something similar happen with a previous car, for no apparent reason it decided at 25 mph to slam into REVERSE resulting in a horrible sound of mashing gears and more lights than NCC-1701 escaping from the Romulans appearing on the dashboard, the likes of which I've never seen before or since.

    Then it stalled in the middle of the (*&*(^!£ING ROAD and wouldn't start, later discovered this little beauty was caused by a faulty internally shorted 12V battery causing the automatic controller to throw a wobbly and lose power unexpectedly.

    Needless to say it got sold on with a new battery and a polite note to get the thing nuke and paved at a proper garage with a diagnostic computer.

  14. jake Silver badge

    Agree about BMW drivers.

    Subaru drivers, however, are far worse ... at least here in Northern California. The clueless idiots think they are invincible.

    Self driving cars? Do not want. I know too much about computers & programmer error. To say nothing about software variability between multi-billion-dollar multinational corporations ... can you "self driving car" proponents HONESTLY show[1] me that Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, Fiat, Honda, BMW, Mercedes (google), et alia will all play together nicely on the open road?

    Apple, MS and un*x certainly don't ... There are risks, and then there are risks. Self driving cars are a risk I don't really want to see when out & about.

    [1] I said "show". Don't tell me, show me.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Agree about BMW drivers.

      Wow, is Subaru a real car? I thought they only existed in WRC.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Agree about BMW drivers.

        "Wow, is Subaru a real car?"

        Yep. Driven by idiots, and built to stay that way.

        "I thought they only existed in WRC."

        Visit Sonoma/Napa/Mendocino/Lake counties in Northern California. Enjoy the brews & vintages & victuals ... but avoid the Subaru drivers. They are almost always head-in-the-clouds tree-huggers with absolutely zero clue about reality. Or traffic laws, for that matter.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Agree about BMW drivers.

          Sounds odd.

          Subaru drivers here are more likely to be wearing blue anoraks and humming the theme to the BBC Rally programme.

          They also will be fans of both the late Richard Burns and the late Colin Mcrea

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Agree about BMW drivers.

      My neighbor has a subaru, and every fucking morning when i am having a bath he lets it sit there for 15 god damn minutes warming it up !!!!

      If i wanted a god damn vibrator in my bath i would of gone to ebay !!!

      Cant stand the bloody cars.....

  15. TheOtherHobbes

    >what we’ll end up with is a disparate system of barely compatible and loosely interconnected but eminently “cool” yet murderous, hackable self-driving missiles on tyres.

    You say that as if it's a bad thing.

  16. keith_w

    SOD Self Drivng

    Thank you for showing a vision of the future Alister. Now is the time to pass laws against self-driving vehicles while we still can, cause once they are on the road, there will be no chance of it passing.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: SOD Self Drivng

      So long as we take the obvious corrollary step, and ban all amateur drivers.

      Seriously, why is it that commentards here are simultaneously whining about how crap human drivers are, *and* predicting that software drivers will be murderously incompetent? You can't have it both ways.

      If the car were a new technology, being invented today, a "driving license" would be something that cost tens of thousands of pounds and months of intensive training to get, and an independently verified log showing that you'd clocked at least 500 hours behind the wheel per year, without accidents, to maintain. It's amazing the idiots we currently allow on the road. If software does nothing else, it will give us some hilarious YouTube fodder.

  17. Chris G

    Looks like

    An average Traditionalist Ibicencan driver in the video, after their usual morning Carajillo or 7 (strong espresso coffee with cognac, usually the coffee is served in a small glass with a bottle of cognac next to it, the customer drinks a little coffee and tops up the glass, continues to do this until the iquid no longer has any coffee flavour, this is the signal to pay and then drive the rest of the route to work at 25-40KPH using the entire width of the road).

    Actually, it may have driven a little better!

    The notion of a self driving car is even worse than the current self driving driver to found on the world's roads, at least you can scream abuse at a driver. What do you do to irritate a rubbish computer that won it's licence in a church raffle?

  18. pctechxp

    Excellent points made in an amusing way.

    This will scare you senseles then - an Audi RS7 driving at racing speeds

  19. 404

    What is the difference...

    ... a BMW and a porcupine?

    On the BMW, the prick is on the inside..


    1. Darryl

      Re: What is the difference...

      Over here that joke is about corvettes and cacti

      1. 404

        Re: What is the difference...

        Pfft! I wouldn't expect a Corvette to be much competition to the machinery ya'll get over there, unless they get in the way all the time.

        I've come to realize we're sucking hindtit over here - detuned vehicles and shit gas. EPA is a monster - don't let them talk to your people, ever.

  20. James Stewart

    I've only come to comment...

    ...that this article was the best laugh I've had in a long time. Just about sums up my opinion of the self-driving car craze, and had me dying laughing at the end.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: I've only come to comment...

      I, too, really laughed out loud. So much so, that I drove my Audi into a marked police car.

  21. Vociferous

    Not impressed by those videos? A gentle reminder...

    ...this is where self-driving cars were 10 years ago:

    Does anyone really doubt self-driving cars will be On A Road Near You in another ten year's time?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Not impressed by those videos? A gentle reminder...

      "Does anyone really doubt self-driving cars will be On A Road Near You in another ten year's time?"

      I don't doubt it (they exist already). Idiots abound, alas.

      The only question is, will I be allowed to sue the auto manufacturer/OS provider when (not if!) a computer driven car drives itself under my Semi hauling alfalfa from Nevada to California?

  22. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    BMW (White) Van?

    I'm just glad that unlike the other main motor manufactures, BMW do not produce Vans. If they did, think of the mayhem that could be caused by BMW White Van Drivers.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Dabbsy come back.

    You're meant to write witty, human pieces for us. The clairvoyance stuff has to stop .Get rid of this Kelly Fiveash and get back to work

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best Column Evar!!

    ..though strangely enough, there was no hinting about your sweaty body parts as one commenter complained about last week.

    Perhaps he was wrong?

    Seriously funny!!

    The future never quite materializes as one expects, eh?

  26. Herby

    They ARE interesting...

    Having been next to one of the Chocolate Factory's self driving beasts, it is interesting. They seem to know what IS going on, and DO stop at stoplights. They even make proper left turns. I haven't seen them on the freeway, but it would be interesting to have them drive from the bay area down to the LA area on I-5. I suspect that they wouldn't handle the traffic as well as I can at 70+ MPH (which is the speed that EVERYONE (including the trucks) drives on this two lane (each way) freeway has.

    Do i get £100 for having a positive review?

  27. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Voice control

    you walk out of a carpet seller after telling them to shove their stupid rugs up their asses. "For mat, see colon"

    Nothing works anymore

  28. Conundrum1885

    Re. Voice control

    Not as bad as "Google Safesearch Off Me*ts*in Im feeling Lucky" yelled at people with Google Glass.


    Re. self driving cars, one would hope that there would be an override in the form of a missle style lidded launch key with "!Emergency Stop!" placed somewhere sensible.

    1. BlartVersenwaldIII

      Re: Re. Voice control

      > one would hope that there would be an override in the form of a missle style lidded launch key with "!Emergency Stop!" placed somewhere sensible

      Better to have it voice-activated. "Activate emergency high-speed self contained escape pack crisis response units!"

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Re. Voice control

      No doubt you've all seen this: two Scotsmen in a voice-activated lift...

  29. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    The funny thing about the tired old BMW jokes is that they are out of date. All those particular knobs have migrated to an Audi, probably thanks to those adverts a few years ago that featured some sales type dickhead implying that all sales type dickheads drive BMWs while Audi drivers are all Mother Theresa.

    The only BMW centric bad driving I tend to see these days usually involves older bimmers driven by twats who think that the propeller badge automatically makes their car an M3 and every road the nordschleife.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd

      Its absolutely true. In the UK at least, if you are cut up, tailgated or otherwise generally hassled on the road, there is a way better than average chance that the moron doing it is behind the wheel of an Audi.

      Audi's ads seem to play on this, too. While others seen to concentrate on the economy|, safety or confort of their products, Audi's ads are clearly aimed at the knuckle draggers.

      Happily all the BMW jokes translate nicely into Audi jokes, though.

  30. Mikko

    Looking at the rainy day video, I would say the engineers have successfully achieved the simulation of a driver with about 0.2% blood alcohol level.

    Can you be both relieved and frightened at the same time? A driverless future seems much farther away than I feared.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loved the video

    When the first video got to about 1:50, the car suddenly comes to a halt and the scene opens out to include the chase cars reminded me of OJ's chase.

    (I had visions of the occupants of the other car saying things (in comedy KorEnglish naturally) 'It's stopped, Get out and check", "Honorable general-san: Are you out of your fecking mind?".)

    All that random speeding up and slowing down with arbitrary direction changes was brillliant, can't wait till these hit the road.

  32. Kiwi

    You're kidding, right?

    The weird thing is that I have occasionally accepted short-term loans of BMWs from wealthier colleagues over the years and I can personally attest to the high quality of the vehicles.

    Seriously, are you high or something Alister?

    A friend of mine purchased one of these to make up for a lack in 2 areas of his anatomy (one, obviously, is the brain). I've had the mis-fortune of helping maintain it since.

    The materials quality is shit, to put it extremely nicely. How many other models of car have a metal bracket in the drivers door handle break as a result of normal use? Every few years?

    Broken Money Waster, Barely Manages to Work, Broke My Wallet (my friend's own one), and all the other nasties about the lack of quality in construction and materials in BMW's are well-earned, and tend to be exceedingly polite. Having worked on one, I would never own one. Any other "friend" who wants one knows not to bother talking to me again if they ever make the purchase.

    That said, I did see a very nice looking 2010 BMW the other day. It was a crumpled pile in the local wrecker's yard. About to get the ultimate face-lift for any car, a car crusher!

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: You're kidding, right?

      Cars only have two components that matter: comfy seats and a good hifi. I know I'm bizarre but a metal bracket in the door handle that allegedly breaks after a few years does not even make my top ten.

  33. Robinson


    This is a wonderful piece Alistair. Thank you.

  34. Greg D

    I tend to find BMW man has been replaced by fake-4x4 man. Anyone driving those pointless pretend 4x4's are usually the ones driving like utter cunts. The kind of 4x4's which, while actually being 4-wheel drive (and possibly offering decent performance), offer no functionality beyond making the driver look like a pretentious cunt with a higher viewpoint so they can look down on all the other drivers. Then they go and drive like one.

    The kind of 4x4's where they have all the equipment to tackle some majorly precarious roads, but will never be driven near a patch of mud due to the 20" pristine alloy wheels they are equipped with, or the 2-tone paint job some pretentious cunt paid loads of money for, and lowering springs to reduce comfort.

    I'm talking any BMW X-series, Merc ML series, Audi Q-series. And lest we forget the Range Rover Vogue. All pretty much the same car.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      One car has to be removed from the last.

      The Range Rover is still a very competent off roader, as I found out last year dviving around Eastnor Castle.

      Also drove a D4 and a Defender. BTW was not keen on the new Defender engine, I prefer the pre 2008 lump.

      X series - bland, ML no thanks, Q no.

  35. Reading Your E-mail

    "the fridge has crashed and the cupboard containing the glass tumblers is in the middle of a scheduled update"

    That made my day !!!

  36. Someone Else Silver badge

    Dear Alistair-

    That was fun!

  37. earl grey

    Lexus drivers are all arseholes

    BMW drivers think nobody else is on the road.

    Audi drivers think they own the road.

    Pickup drivers don't understand about lane change or turn blinkers.

    Most everyone else thinks the red light at a signal is for everyone else but them.

  38. Kepler

    "a car that lacks working indicators"

    "No, seriously, what right-minded individual would pay that much for a car that lacks working indicators and cannot be parked outside a supermarket except diagonally across three spaces?"

    What an interesting usage. I had not previously encountered it.

    The dashboard of any car is full of indicators — gauges, dials and meters that serve as indicators of vehicle speed, engine speed, miles traveled, remaining fuel (be it petrol or gasoline), and so on (time, temperature, engine temperature, oil pressure, the state of battery charge, . . .). When I first read the article, I honestly thought that Mr. Dabbs was asserting either that such instruments are typically broken on BMWs, or somehow are absent altogether.

    Only later did I start to surmise that the statement in question might have been euphemistic sarcasm. That by "indicators" he actually meant turn signals — indicators specifically of one's intention to turn or change lanes — and that his assertion that BMWs lack working indicators was actually just a cutesy way of saying — yea, indicating — that Beemer* owners are too lazy or stupid to use their damn turn signals.

    A subsequent Google search ("indicators British English") bore out my suspicion, providing numerous sources indicating what a large portion, if not a majority, of Reg readers already knew — that Brits use "indicator" to mean turn signal.** But also indicating that they also use the term broadly, the way everyone else uses it — to denote things that indicate, quite generally.

    The British usage seems reasonable and perfectly sensible to me, but it obviously is one that depends heavily on context to indicate when the narrow, specific meaning of "indicator" rather than a broader, more general one is intended. Given that even Brits use the term "indicator" in its broader, more universal sense as well as as a term specifically for turn signals, it would have been helpful if Mr. Dabbs had used some different or additional words to indicate/make clear that in this instance he was not referring to (missing or malfunctioning) gauges, dials, meters, or other indicators on the dashboard. (For instance, at the very least, something like "indicator lights" or "direction indicators".)


    * Or, if one prefers, "Bimmer":


    ** All of these sources save the last show Brits using "indicator" either to mean a turn signal or as everybody else uses the term, to denote pretty-much any kind of indicating device whatsoever:

    1. Kepler

      P.S. "regular coffee"

      P.S. The confusion this usage naturally conduces to reminds me of another well-established regional usage. In the New York City area but no place else on Earth that I know of, the term "regular coffee" is used not in opposition to decaf — as it is everywhere else in the English-speaking world — but to denote coffee with milk and no sugar. (That's right, milk — not cream.) Which seems like a pretty fucking stupid default position, since you can always add milk if it was omitted and the customer wanted it, but you can't take it out once it has been added.

      But there you are. The usage exists and persists all the same.

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