Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Drinking the Self-driving Car Kool-aid

By Othello | Dissident Voice | January 27, 2018

Recently, a Tesla on autopilot slammed into a parked fire engine at 65 mph. It turns out that there was no malfunction. According to Tesla’s manual:

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control cannot detect all objects and may not brake/decelerate for stationary vehicles, especially in situations when you are driving over 50 mph (80 km/h) and a vehicle you are following moves out of your driving path and a stationary vehicle or object is in front of you instead.

So whereas any half way decent human driver would have braked and/or swerved to avoid the collision, Tesla’s “smart” car proceeded full-speed ahead.

Even if you choose not to buy a self-driving car, you or your loved ones could have been in that parked vehicle struck by a stupid “smart” car. This is not just about technophiles who want to be able to play World of Warcraft while speeding down the highway… this technology is potentially dangerous to all road users and any deaths, injuries or property damage caused by this flawed technology should see the drivers, manufacturers and approving authorities prosecuted or sued… no high-tech exemption!

It is not only Tesla; according to the Wired article referred at the start of this article:

Volvo’s semi-autonomous system, Pilot Assist, has the same shortcoming. Say the car in front of the Volvo changes lanes or turns off the road, leaving nothing between the Volvo and a stopped car. Pilot Assist will ignore the stationary vehicle and instead accelerate to the stored speed.

The article explains why these self-driving systems are engineered that way but blithely promises that in the future LIDAR (Light Identification Detection and ranging, which uses lasers) will replace and/or augment radar and cameras to solve this problem. However, one can discern the real agenda when it informs us that:

Lidar’s price and reliability problems are less of an issue when it comes to a taxi-like service, where a provider can amortize the cost over time and perform regular maintenance. But in today’s cars, meant for average or modestly wealthy consumers, it’s a no-go.

Self-driving cars are a promising new profit center for auto and technology companies. They want to own personal and commercial road transportation which they will provide as a service (at a tidy profit, of course). They repeatedly argue that the technology is safer that using human drivers using flawed statistics while self driving cars cause fatal accidents because the car’s cameras failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky or knock over motorcyclists.

There is a general love-fest for things regarded as cool technology. However, unlike the great innovations that have made driving safer like ABS, ESP, collision avoidance systems, air bags etc. the real intent of self-driving cars seems to be creating a new industry that will be dominated by auto and tech giants who would ultimately control all road traffic…a truly huge potential market.

You probably didn’t hear about the conclusions of Germany’s Highway Research Institute (BASt) that:

After many thousands of kilometers of testing, BASt reportedly concluded that Autopilot represents a significant traffic hazard. Judging that is was not designed for complex urban traffic situations, the report declared that the car’s sensors are too short-sighted to cope with the reality of German motorways.

Or that:

American research conducted by John F. Lenkeit of Dynamic Research, which concludes that forward collision warning systems for automobiles fail dramatically to detect motorcycles.

Before concluding that self-driving cars are an inevitable part of a rosy future one should read an article like The “Self-Driving” Car is only an Oxymoron. In it you might learn that:

… in the first week of March, Uber’s 43 test cars in three states logged some 20,000 miles on public roads. Their drivers had to intervene and take control away from the software, an average of once every mile. Critical interventions, required to save lives and property, were counted separately; they occurred every 200 miles.

In a world where millions would love to have the job of driver and where training and technology geared towards supporting safe driving provide accessible solutions to improving road safety, self-driving cars seem to be of dubious value and downright dangerous as well.

January 27, 2018 - Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular |

1 Comment »

  1. smart cars
    smart phones
    smart tvs
    smart doors
    smart brooms

    smart ball bats?

    Comment by 5 dancing shlomos | January 28, 2018 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s