Self-driving vehicles

Regulating Self-Driving Cars Like Pharmaceuticals Is a Really Stupid Idea

Conventional cars didn't need FDA-style regulation, and neither do self-driving cars.

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Waymo
Waymo

After Elaine Herzberg became the first person killed by a self-driving car, the proponents of government control quickly urged greater federal regulation of the nascent industry. But such regulation would not enhance safety. Most likely, it would kill more people, by delaying the deployment of safer automotive technology.

One of the stupidest ideas for regulating self-driving vehicles has been put forth by Jack Stilgoe, a lecturer at University College London, in the current Issues in Science and Technology. Stilgoe suggests that we adopt "a regulatory mechanism analogous to the Food and Drug Administration. New technologies would be systematically tested before release and continually monitored once they are out in the wild."

He adds:

Demanding regulatory approval before these technologies hit the market would be a big shift. It would also force governments to rediscover skills that have been allowed to atrophy, such as those of technology assessment. If these technologies are as new and exciting as their proponents say they are, then we should ask what new rules are needed to ensure that they are safe, broadly accessible, and free from problematic unintended consequences.

First, let's just say that the government's record of skillful technological assessment is spotty.

Second, a 2014 report from the Brookings Institution argues compellingly that the current liability system is quite capable of resolving any issues that arise from the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Uber, I'll note, has apparently already settled with Herzberg's family.

Concerning accessibility, Stilgoe asserts that "self-driving car technology is set to benefit the same people who have benefitted most from past technological change—people who are already well-off." This amounts to arguing that no one should have a Tesla until everyone can have one.

In fact, Stilgoe gets it exactly backwards. Uber, Waymo, and Lyft are not developing autonomous vehicles that will sit 23 hours per day in their owners' driveways. They are aiming to create fleets of robo-taxis that will dramatically reduce the costs of transportation for most folks living in metropolitan areas. A team of researchers led by Lawrence D. Burns, director of the Program on Sustainable Mobility at Columbia University, estimates that fleets of shared self-driving vehicles could cut a family's transportation costs by as much as 75 percent. Such a steep drop would greatly benefit families in the bottom third of the income distribution, who spend about 16 percent of their earnings on transportation. (Folks in the top third, by contrast, spend just over 8 percent of theirs on getting around.) Children, the disabled, and the elderly would also especially benefit from access to autonomous vehicles.

Stilgoe makes clear what worries him about robocars when he describes the horrors created by conventional automobiles:

The technology brought huge benefits from increased mobility, but also enormous risks. In addition to what the author J.G. Ballard called the "pandemic cataclysm" of road deaths, the nation's enthusiasm for cars also made it harder to support alternative modes of transport. The conveniences of cars trumped other concerns and allowed for the reshaping of landscapes. Vast freeways and flyovers were built right into the hearts of cities, while the network of passenger railroads was allowed to wither. Around the cities' edges, sprawl made possible by two-car families leaked outwards. By the 1950s, the United States—and much of the world—had been reshaped in the car's image.

Basically, Stilgoe is worried that people will do things that he doesn't think that they should want or be allowed to do. Stilgoe's rather absurd implication is that an FDA-like Automobile Regulatory Administration around 1900 would have been able to anticipate and plan for stop lights, divided highways, turn signals, shopping malls, suburban homes, automobile dealerships, mechanic training and repair garages, speed limits, long distance trucking, licensing drivers, gasoline service stations, and so much more.

As for the "pandemic cataclysm" of automobile fatalities, it is certainly true that as more cars took to the roads, more deadly accidents occurred. But thank goodness Congress did not think it necessary to regulate the development of automobiles after an electric car ran over Henry Bliss in New York City in 1899. Doing so might have locked in the much less safe horse carriage transportation system for longer. While the figures are not dispositive, the fatality rate per mile traveled via horse-drawn* transportation appears to be higher than that for automobiles.

The February 18, 1914, issue of the automobile trade magazine The Horseless Age estimated that motorized vehicles already accounted in 1913 for about two-thirds of the vehicle miles traveled in New York State. This would consequently mean that "if the number of fatalities caused by automobiles were double those caused by horses, the proportion would be no greater in relation to the amount of traffic or travel." The Horseless Age then calculated, "In the big cities the proportion of motor traffic is greater than on State roads, but, according to the accident reports, there are 302 deaths due to motor vehicles in Greater New York in 1913 and 170 due to horses, or only one and three quarter times as many of the former, showing that, relatively, the motor vehicle is actually less dangerous than horse-drawn vehicles."

Lastly, a quick word about the "vast freeways" that earned Stilgoe's ire. The advent of roaming on-demand fleets of cheaply rentable robotaxis will free up huges swaths of urban land currently devoted to parking lots. A typical highway with all human-driven vehicles uses only 5 percent of the roadway space, according to a 2013 study by the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research. The researchers predict that a 50 percent autonomous road fleet would boost highway capacity by 22 percent; an 80 percent robot fleet will goose capacity 50 percent; and a fully automated highway would see its throughput zoom by 80 percent.

Stilgoe urges us to "ask what new rules are needed to ensure that they are safe, broadly accessible, and free from problematic unintended consequences." The short answer is none. Conventional cars didn't need federal regulation and neither do self-driving cars.

* Disclosure: I gave up riding horses after I left my family's farm. When I asked a friend if he still rode, he replied, "No. I don't like the weight to IQ ratio." A sentiment I heartily endorse.

See ReasonTV's excellent "Self-Driving Cars Will Make Most Safety Regulations Unnecessary" below:

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78 responses to “Regulating Self-Driving Cars Like Pharmaceuticals Is a Really Stupid Idea

  1. Ron, you’re ignoring that autonomous vehicles are inherently dangerous. If anyone had ever been killed by a human-piloted car, people would be screaming bloody murder to have them taken off the roads immediately.

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  2. Hell, regulating pharmaceuticals like pharmaceuticals has turned out to be pretty stupid.

    1. And yet, we seem to have no shortage of pharmaceuticals. And while we don’t get them as fast as we should, we still seem to get them. So, it is hardly the end of the world.

        1. In the long run, we are all dead anyway. And while Thalidomide was a one-off example, it was a real one. If we got rid of the FDA, we would save some and kill others.

          1. In the long run, we are all dead anyway.
            That’s why I’ve been advocating we all OD together in a van together and compare each other’s dicks.

            1. Seems like you phased out of this universe for awhile. Haven’t seen you around.

              1. Unlike current dimension’s present me and John, I can’t be stirring shit up 24/7.
                That and I’m still mourning the loss of the A.M./P.M. links.

            2. Indeed!

              When you attend a funeral,
              It is sad to think that sooner or
              Later those you love will do the same for you.

              And we will all go together when we go.
              What a comforting fact that is to know.
              Universal bereavement,
              An inspiring achievement,
              Yes, we all will go together when we go.

      1. > And yet, we seem to have no shortage of pharmaceuticals.

        We have plenty of shortage. People die for lack of cures.

        > And while we don’t get them as fast as we should, we still seem to get them.

        We never see the drugs that don’t exist because because of FDA regulation. So no, we don’t always seem to get them.

        > So, it is hardly the end of the world.

        It is the end of the world for people who die for lack of treatment.

        Fuck off, slaver.

  3. The advent of roaming on-demand fleets of cheaply rentable robotaxis will free up huges swaths of urban land currently devoted to parking lots.

    That is the most absurd fantasy. People have massively different uses for cars. No one size fits all on demand road fleet is going to replace privately owned vehicles. People use their cars to store things. You can’t do that in a cab. And not everyone needs a single seat echo box. People need specialized cars that bigger and do different things. But the smaller and more specialized the demand the higher the costs will be. I cannot for the life of me understand why otherwise intelligent people can believe this nonsense.

    1. That is the most absurd fantasy.

      Not only is it absurd fantasy, it’s rather explicitly saying, “As long as my absurd fantasy only fucks over rural hicks, it’s all good.”

      The citation that only 5% of the road is used by human drivers in motion and that 80% increases in throughput could be achieved through automation is an idiotic conflation that ignores the fact that parking lots aren’t about throughput and that you don’t park on roadways. You’re either going to have massive moving parking lots where pedestrians and cyclists will be instantly killed by any incidental encroachment or massive parking lots in far away locations that urban drivers won’t care about or a combination of the two.

      1. The parking lot thing is really bizarre. Right now when I drive somewhere my car is only on the road when I am getting there. Once I get there, it is off the road and parked. The claim is that we will no longer need parking lots because these fleets of automated cars will drop us off and head off to the next pickup and not need to be parked. Okay, so all of these cars that now are parked during the day will be out on the roads cruising for new fairs. And this is going to solve traffic congestion how?

        And the 5% line is just retarded. Yeah, only five percent of the total is used at any one time. But the total includes places in the middle of nowhere that have few cars. That figure says nothing about actual congestion other than to point out the obvious fact that people travel the most on a few roads. That fact probably has something to do with why those roads are congested.

        1. J: Estimates are the 10 to 20 percent of urban land is devoted to parking. Please also read the highway study to which I linked.

          1. Which is all the more reason why that claim is utterly inconsistent with the claims of reduced traffic. 20 percent of urban land is currently housing cars that this system will put on the road. Don’t you see the problem there?

          2. A typical highway with all human-driven vehicles uses only 5 percent of the roadway space

            A typical highway with all human-driven vehicles provides a maximum throughput of about
            2,200 vehicles per hour per lane, which is also called the roadway capacity. This reflects only
            5% utilization of the roadway space.

            and a fully automated highway would see its throughput zoom by 80 percent.

            Your quotation, Ron, is accurate but, assuming direct proportionality and that cars don’t physically take up significantly less space in motion than they do at rest, the 5% utilization jumps to a whopping 9%. Assuming 10-20% urban land for parking is a hard number and there’s no overlap usage-wise with the 30-35% of urban land devoted to commuter streets (which is almost certainly untrue) we’re just talking 4% smaller parking lots for 4% larger roadways. And this still all just assumes that vehicles stopping to pick people up, waiting for items to be loaded, breaking down and sitting for repair, etc. is immaterial relative to the requisite amount of parking/street space and throughput.

            1. Mad Casual,

              Whenever I read things like this I get the feeling the authors have never seen a car much less owned one or have any idea what is involved in using one.

              1. J and all: Even if you don’t agree with or like my vision of the transportation future, we can at least all agree that we don’t need regulation of the development of self-driving cars, right?

                1. Yes. Ron. There is no reason to regulate these contraptions.

                2. J and all: Even if you don’t agree with or like my vision of the transportation future, we can at least all agree that we don’t need regulation of the development of self-driving cars, right?

                  How about we agree to a lack of policy or new regulation one way or the other? I don’t like it that regulators are trying to stifle innovation but I won’t be pleased either when Seattle (or wherever) decides to supplant its failing light rail system with an all-electric self-driving fleet because it’ll save them on parking.

              2. Even if you’ve never driven a car, you’re a scientistic person. Surely you went through ‘unit cancellation’ in Jr. High, again in HS, likely again in Undergrad. Maybe I should be saddened that the equivocation of ‘relative square feet’ and ‘vehicles per hour’ isn’t recognized as incoherence out of hand by even relatively educated people.

                Chicago just upped it’s fine for parking in a moving zone from $100 to $300. Apparently, if you need to block a public roadway to unload say, a moving truck, you have to apply for, and be granted, a permit. The permitting fee? $100. This is after The City granted amnesty a couple years ago because it was disproportionately issuing parking fines to inner city minorities. I don’t expect to see any fewer cars parked in traffic lanes with their blinkers on.

            2. However, at small market penetration rates such as 10% even CACC technology does not lead to discernible capacity benefits. At 50% market penetration, they estimate a maximum capacity of 2685 vehicles per hour per lane (vphpl), which is 22% higher than the today’s typical highway capacity (of 2200 vphpl).

              At 50% market penetration the cars consume 1% more highway space and, assuming mileage maintenance, etc. is all the same or similar, 1% less parking space. I strongly suspect this is a drop in the bucket relative to the increase in the total number of cars, highway, and parking added in the time between now and when we reach 50% penetration of the Level-4 AVs.

              1. If people decide to have them, they will just park them like every other car. You wouldn’t want the car out putting miles on itself unless it had to. This holds true for fleet owned cars. Even if the world adopted such a system, the owners of the cars would have to keep excess capacity to meet peak demands. And when those cars were not in demand, they would be parked. They would have to be. Otherwise, they would be driving around burning fuel and wearing themselves out without producing any revenue.

                Parking lots are not going anywhere, no matter what happens with robotic cars.

              2. If I own a fleet of self-driving cars, every mile that those cars travel without a paying customer costs me money. So any car that doesn’t have a passenger will be parked. I honestly have no idea where people get the idea that robotic cars will just cruise around waiting to be recalled like bored hunting dogs.

    2. If you have a large enough fleet to meet peak demands at rush hours, you are going to have massive excess capacity at off peak hours. You are going to have to store that excess capacity somewhere, because just having them drive around empty most of the day is wasting fuel.

      1. They are going to be parked. And the economics of peak demand is going to greatly reduce the savings such a system could offer. The cost of riding a mile in one of these cars will be a function of the cost of the car, fuel, maintenance, reasonable return on investment and use. If a car is used the maximum amount it can every year, the owner will be able to charge whatever his total cost plus return on investment divided by the number of miles the car is rented every year. The fewe miles it is used, the higher the cost the owner must charge for each mile in order to make it work. All of the cost savings assumptions assume every car being used at 100% capacity. But that can’t happen because of the need for excess capacity for peak hours.

        1. And the economics of peak demand is going to greatly reduce the savings such a system could offer.

          All the way around. All the phenomenal advantages of AVs is in motion and at highway speeds, which is largely on rural highways. When it comes to pulling up to the curb and waiting for Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman to load her hat boxes in the trunk, the car is just as obstructive to rush hour traffic and not exceedingly more efficient or necessarily safer than a human. Not that it’s the car’s fault but as you said above, it’s like all these AI programmers and engineers have never spent a solid 2 hours in a cab let alone a day or more as a cab or delivery driver.

  4. Second, a 2014 report from the Brookings Institution argues compellingly that the current liability system is quite capable of resolving any issues that arise from the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Uber, I’ll note, has apparently already settled with Herzberg’s family.

    I’m sure that’s a great relief to Herzberg.

    To be clear, I’m not saying we need more regulation of autonomous vehicles. But pointing out reactive compensation when someone calls for preventive action is kind of missing the point. They don’t want families to get payouts in a timely manner, they want families to not lose members. If you’re going to try and refute that point, you need a better argument.

    1. That is a great point. The liability system just compensates you for harm done. It does not necessarily prevent harm from occurring in the first place. Bailey throws all common sense and logic out the window on this topic.

      1. We need common sense everything control.

        1. I don’t see how that is a sensible response. Do you really not understand that liability is post facto? Liability is a good thing but it is hardly a cure all.

        2. I read a book about this once in college. Well, it was more of a manifesto, but still the gist was the same.

    2. I retract this comment.

      1. Why? Is it because John agreed? John agrees with all of us sometimes. Part of growing up is learning to accept that.

        1. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME YOU’RE NOT MY REAL (or fake) MOM!

          I mean, I have no problem playing devil’s advocate and pointing out bad arguments even when I agree with the point, but having John agree with me just makes me feel dirty.

          1. ^snowflake

    3. In fairness, a liability system can prevent future harm to the extent that paying for the possible harm gets people to avoid causing it in the first place. But the evidence for that is that Uber is improving its safety not that it paid off the victim’s family.

      1. But the payment is evidence of an incentive to improve safety.

    4. “They don’t want families to get payouts in a timely manner, they want families to not lose members.”

      And I want a sparkly unicorn pony that shits gold and farts diamonds.

      People aren’t killed by manually driven cars now?

      The automatic bias for manual driving over automated driving is idiotic, and murders people by preventing safer cars on the road.

      1. And I want a sparkly unicorn pony that shits gold and farts diamonds.

        C’mon, everyone knows that unicorns poop soft-serve ice cream (“creamy poop! creamy poop!”)

  5. Whar muh autonomous sexbot?

    1. If I recall headlines correctly, Germany.
      If I recall stereotypes correctly, Japan.

    2. I think fully-realized VR will be better. It would most likely be less expensive, and the customization would also be way better.
      Also real people look gross, and I would not want to stick my ponos in it. A lot of omegas would agree.

      1. Fully realized VR is likely the future over sex robots. Sex robots are both dirty and hard to conceal. Most people are not going to be too keen on admitting they have a sex robot. But VR can be used for lots of non-sexual things and having a VR setup doesn’t mean you are having sex with it any more than having a computer means you are surfing porn. There is at least an element of plausible deniability.

        The other problem with sex robots is that once you buy one, that is it. Whereas with VR, you can always have sex with a different person.

        1. You nailed it. And really, if I had a robot with the “intelligence” of a sex-companion robot, I’d rather have it do mundane things around the house like cleaning, feeding my cats, etc. while I traverse virtual lands as a little girl equipped with a SMG.

          1. Playing the new Sword Art Online game?

            1. Nah, I don’t have enough HDD space. I’ve only been watching the show. Every time I watch I get depressed because we won’t have that level of VR in my lifetime.

              1. Go play Yakuza 6. It came out yesterday.

                1. BUCS, I think we need to have an intervention. Your dedication to this series is unsettling.
                  Also I don’t have a PS4.

          2. People get bored with having sex with super models. Why would it be any different with a robot? I agree with you. I want a robot to clean my house and do my laundry.

          3. Why could it not do both?

          4. Why could it not do both?

      2. I think fully-realized VR will be better.

        It’s the next best thing to not having to be there.

  6. This amounts to arguing that no one should have a Tesla until everyone can have one.

    Now you finally understand! That’s it exactly. Fairness for all. It is only justice.
    But perhaps not a Tesla, it will take them way to long to produce the vehicles. Maybe Ford and/or Chevrolet.

  7. Stilgoe suggests that we adopt “a regulatory mechanism analogous to the Food and Drug Administration. New technologies would be systematically tested before release and continually monitored once they are out in the wild.”

    I have to give him credit for one thing though: it probably took a lot of effort to come with an idea that monumentally stupid.

    I’ve always said that if we had the regulatory environment of today back when the car was first invented it probably would have been killed in the crib. Horseshit like this just re-enforces that belief that much more.

    1. It would just end up being a payoff to the regular car companies. As the tech companies lived in regulatory hell, the car companies would slowly make their cars more autonomous and avoid the entire process.

  8. Concerning accessibility, Stilgoe asserts that “self-driving car technology is set to benefit the same people who have benefitted most from past technological change?people who are already well-off.” This amounts to arguing that no one should have a Tesla until everyone can have one.

    Libertarians should continue to look for alliances with progressives.

  9. You keep spouting that 75% cost reduction nonsense. Let’s look at a real life example: Honda Accord LX 5yr TCO (15k mi/yr, 3.19% APR for 5 years):

    Fuel:$5,954
    Insurance:$3,995
    Financing:$1,789
    State Fees:$2,357
    Maintenance:$1,944
    Repairs:$1,659
    Depreciation: $13,954

    Fuel costs: $5954 – Same because you are traveling the same 15k miles (actually higher because you have to pay for deadheading)

    Insurance: $2k – Also going to be similar because the probability of something happening to the vehicle is proportional to the time spent on the road which is determined entirely by the 15k miles. There are 2 potential advantages: reduced rate of accidents, and amortizing comprehensive losses over more users. The latter should be a small component. So let’s do our Fermi approximation and say you save 50% on insurance.

    Maintenance: $1944 – Based on mileage
    Repairs: $1659 – Mileage
    State fees: $0 – Potentially large savings because amortized over more users, so we’ll give you all of this.
    Financing: $0k – This is really tied in with depreciation because the car will wear out much faster with more intense use.

    Which leads us to the big kahuna: Depreciation.
    Depcreciation is at LEAST as big as for the individually owned vehicle because there are very limited secondary customers for these cars. After all the whole model is fleets of these vehicles. SO we’ll say Dep. is the same at $13994.

    Grand total savings: $6,146, or a 20% savings. Nowhere near 75%.

  10. “After Elaine Herzberg became the first person killed by a self-driving car”

    She basically killed herself
    https://goo.gl/s5hBjs

    Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir stated the collision was “unavoidable” based on the initial police investigation, which included a review of the video captured by an onboard camera.[14] Moir faulted Herzberg for crossing the road in an unsafe manner: “It is dangerous to cross roadways in the evening hour when well-illuminated, managed crosswalks are available.”[15]

    The driver said it was like a flash, the person walked out in front of them. His [sic] first alert to the collision was the sound of the collision. […] it’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.

    ??Chief Sylvia Moir, Tempe Police, San Francisco Chronicle interview, March 19, 2018[15]

    1. That ‘well-illuminated managed crosswalk’ doesn’t exist. Here’s a daytime view of the collision site

      Two lanes. All traffic from one direction. Street light on both the side of the road and the median.

      and the intersection (not ‘crosswalk).

      Seven lanes – with traffic coming from four directions. The safety median has been completely eliminated at the intersection – so once you start to cross you gotta get all the way across. Crosswalk is not identifiable as such to a car. Traffic controlled by lights timed ENTIRELY for cars not peds. Street lights only at the corners of the intersection so for FIVE lanes ped is more invisible at the intersection than where she crossed. And at any traffic intersection like this, drivers pay more attention to the lights and other cars (not peds at night).

      A full nightime video driving along that road – collision site at :33; intersection at :42 – https://youtu.be/CRW0q8i3u6E

      If the car didn’t see anything at one point what makes you think it would have seen anything at a different point?

      There is a reason that Phoenix has the highest ped death rates in the US. It ain’t because people walk there. But blind lying chiefs of police contribute.

      1. Looks pretty well lit in the vid–at least to me. But I’m from rural ‘Murica, so I’m used to different driving conditions.


    2. “It is dangerous to cross roadways in the evening hour when well-illuminated, managed crosswalks are available.”[15]

      Except one minor fact:

      SELF-DRIVING CARS ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WHATSOEVER AT ALL RELY ON VISIBLE LIGHT.

      In fact, it’s one of the explicit benefits they tout.

      So, what now? The police chief might be right when it comes to a human, but isn’t the whole fucking point that we’re talking about a vehicle that isn’t piloted by a human?

      Jesus fuck, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

      The simple truth is the ‘police chief’ is under tremendous political pressure not to ruin a good deal for the Phoenix government. Just pay the family that your robot cars killed, sweep that shit under the rug, and continue on as if nothing happened.

      1. Except one minor fact:

        SELF-DRIVING CARS ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WHATSOEVER AT ALL RELY ON VISIBLE LIGHT.

        Well if the other car(s) that had just driven by her had picked her up via LIDAR and the whole system were networked, it could’ve warned the ?ber car about the pedestrian. Just require that all cars be self-driving… problem solved.

        Now, back to weeping over our loss of privacy…

  11. “Conventional cars didn’t need FDA-style regulation, and neither do self-driving cars.”

    FDA regulation, particularly when it comes to AI and software, kills people.

    I worked at a place that made a machine for automated pap smear screening. The bottom line is that the FDA prevented women from having cheaper and more accurate pap smear screening for years.

    And the FDA rules were simply retarded.

    We couldn’t upgrade a line of algorithm without a clinical trial. *But* we could tweak our system integrity parameters to our heart’s content, parameters that *hugely* affected machine performance.

    Also, you don’t want to know how much variation there is in performance between screeners at different institutions.

    A tip for the ladies – get your pap smears done at a university hospital. I suspect this is a pretty good rule for any mass human diagnostic screening test.

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  13. NTSB NHTSA report to congress and congress writes laws.

    We don’t need more letters in the soup.

  14. Most likely, it would kill more people, by delaying the deployment of safer automotive technology.

    Whut??? The auto industry hasn’t developed a damn thing in 100 years that makes it safer to be HIT by a car. Making vehicles heavier and bigger (SUV’s) has made them MORE deadly to peds by making peds less visible to drivers and a deadlier force of impact at a given speed.

    Robocar ain’t any solution at all to the issue of traffic fatalities in urban areas. Neither is federal regulation. The solution is:

    1 reengineer urban roads to force slower speeds on any road where there is mixed traffic. Not via a sign or paint but by chicanes, roundabouts, bulbouts, speed tables/dips/bumps, reverse camber curves, and other traffic calming.

    2 separate the different kinds of traffic completely – which means eliminate cars entirely from some heavy-ped areas (eg shopping/entertainment areas), eliminate thru traffic and rat runs in residential neighborhoods, eliminate peds/bikes on designated arterials. So that cities essentially have separate traffic grids for peds – for bikes – for cars/buses/trucks – just like railroads have their own grids.

    Just like Netherlands reduced fatalities from over 3000 in 1971 to 500 now. And injuries even more.

    1. “The auto industry hasn’t developed a damn thing in 100 years that makes it safer to be HIT by a car.”

      The auto industry does study how to mitigate injuries to pedestrians in the design of vehicles.

      1. The other statement isn’t true either or at least not for the reasons he’s suggesting. The auto industry wants SUVs to be as light and cheap as they can make them and still sell them. Making them bigger in response to market demand spreads any impact out over a larger surface area.

        The specific complaints sound more like he’s complaining that automakers haven’t implemented a specific solution that he doesn’t know will work and he goes on to suggest social engineering solutions that the carmakers couldn’t really effect anyway.

  15. The author buys hook, line, and sinker into the hype that autonomous cars will drive better than humans but doesn’t offer any proof or even evidence that this will be the case. The evidence so far is against the author.

    The author further makes no distinction between developers of autonomous systems. They’re all good and all equal in his view. It doesn’t trouble him that uber lost developers in droves because they were appalled at the way uber mismanaged its development program. It doesn’t bother him that SF kicked uber’s testing program out of the city after a long line of egregious failures. It’s all good according to the author.

    Before I can drive I must prove to a regulatory agency that I can see adequately and that I have a good understanding of the rules of the road. I may also have to take a driving test or show proof that I’ve passed driving school. If I screw up on the road too many times I lose my driving privileges. Does the author feel this is bad?

    At what point in an autonomous system’s development is it safe to try it out on public roads and who decides this? The system developers? Because autonomous?

    If an autonomous system screws up and hurts people and/or property multiple times, at what point does someone step in and say enough? Nobody? Ever? Because autonomous?

    I can go to jail if I negligently or recklessly endanger other people’s lives on the road. Who goes to jail when an autonomous system does the same thing? Nobody? Because autonomous?

    1. I can go to jail if I negligently or recklessly endanger other people’s lives on the road. Who goes to jail when an autonomous system does the same thing?

      Mark Zuckerberg.

      You see the upside here, right?

  16. M? t? cabhlach de ghluaiste?in f?iniom?na agam f?in, t? gach m?le a thaisteal ag na gluaiste?in sin gan chustaim?ir ag ?oc as airgead dom. Mar sin, p?irce?lfar aon charr nach bhfuil paisin?ir ann. N?l aon smaoineamh agam go hionraic i gc?s go bhfaigheann daoine an smaoineamh go mbeidh gluaiste?in robotic d?reach ag ciorcal timpeall ag fanacht le cuimhne orthu mar mhadra? fiach leamh.

  17. There’s more justif’n for pre-market licensing of motor vehicles than there is of drugs, medical devices, & food additives, because cars can hurt innocent bystanders.

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