A Thousand Horsepower

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note: this is a machine generated transcript and may not be completely accurate. This is provided for convience and should not be used for attribution.

Anthony: Yeah, technology’s silly. Hey, listeners.

Welcome to another episode of The Silly Technology Podcast. No, no Center.

Fred: Good morning, .

Anthony: I like how you’re very good morning. We don’t know when people are listening to this. It could be 3:00 AM Somebody’s I can’t go to sleep. I need the dulce tones of Fred Perkins to put

Fred: not my problem if there’s listening to this late at night.

Anthony: Okay, fair enough. So this week listeners, we’re gonna cover a bunch of news. We don’t have any guests this week, but we’ve got a bunch of news we’re gonna catch up on. So first thing I’m gonna jump into is the Guardian had an article about Amazon has a self-driving fleet in California. They’re testing.

Now this is a bunch of cars that don’t have steering wheels, but they have humans inside them shuttled around like prime package. . And so my question as I’ve looked at these vehicles, they’re made by a company called Zoox. They look like an old West Valley that, as far as I could tell, would not survive a five mile per hour crash to a, into a wall.

How are these things on the road? Take it away, .

Michael: They. They’re self-certified to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards, which means that Zoox has basically put a stamp on the vehicle saying that we meet all of the 100, 200, 300 series of federal motor vehicle safety standards. How they did that without the steering wheel and brake pedals and such is an interesting part of that we haven’t really looked deeply into yet.

But that’s certainly something that’s interesting. There’s no also pedals that if you don’t have a steering wheel or, or human operating the vehicle actively, it’s, what do you need a brake pedal for Anthony? I

Anthony: panic. That’s what I want. I want the old school pull-up, yank emergency.


Michael: don’t know, maybe they have a button or something like that. At emergency, we’re not we, the articles haven’t specified that maybe you should write in one and see what’s ask. Do you got any trips to San Francisco coming up? You’d have to actually work for Zoox or Amazon to do that.

And I’d have to fit

Anthony: in the

Michael: cardboard box. It looks like they’re shuttling around their workers from between campuses or something, but they’re not taking passengers on the way that GM is currently doing in San Francisco and Waymo’s doing

Anthony: in Arizona. So do these Amazon Zoos employees, do they get hazard pay for riding in these cars?

Fred: I don’t know. A lot of the tech companies right now are trying to reduce the headcount and maybe, maybe this is part of that program. ,

Anthony: I, I guess this is one way Yeah. Speaking of silly tech companies that are pretending to be auto companies Tesla we all, we’ve all been saving up our pennies to pay an extra $15,000 to get beta software on our cars and pretend they drive themselves well.

Elon Musk has been saying for years, since at least 2016, that, Hey, these cars will drive themself. It’s coming next year. No, it’s coming next year. No, it’s coming next year. Now it’s 2023. And he’s saying no, we’re going to come up with a new hardware version. And so if you paid me $15,000, thanks, but the car will drive itself and no, there’s no way for me to put this new hardware version in your old car.

But I didn’t like, cuz my cars drive themselves and they’re safer than humans. Don’t look behind the curtain.

Michael: Look, I think anyone could have told. Tesla in 2012 or whenever they started putting these cars that aren’t now going to be Rob Robotaxis on the road they could have told ’em.

Retrofitting vehicles with technology is incredibly expensive. And if you don’t get every, all the hardware you actually need into that original batch of cars, they’re never going to achieve the promises that you’ve made to your customers. So it’s, that’s something that auto manufacturers have known for 40 years.

Unfortunately, Tesla doesn’t have the experience that other auto manufacturers have in that area. And so it looks like they thought they were gonna be able to put new hardware to these vehicles as they grew it. Now they’re finally coming to the realization that, that’s far too expensive and that they’re just gonna leave customers who bought these supposedly fully self-driving capable vehicles they’re gonna be

Anthony: left and alert.

Yeah, it’s absolutely surprising to me that I, this sounds more like less of a safety issue and more of a fraud issue.

Michael: That’s, it’s, that’s a theory that’s been. tried out in the courts unsuccessfully so far, but to me it’s, it looks like a basic fraud plan. Sell vaporware to customers for thousands of dollars and then never give it to ’em.

Anthony: Okay. Continuing the thread of electric cars with silly features. You guys ever hear of something called the GM C Hummer?

Michael: They’re not, you mean the, I was thinking about a singing group

Voice Over: in Detroit

Fred: or something Bob Motown. It

Anthony: could have been.

Michael: So what would you guys say if I came up to you and said, let’s build an electric SUV that weighs just under 10,000 pounds.

Give it a button that generates a thousand horsepower and lets it go zero to 60 in three seconds. And then market it to the most attention starved, self concerned people on our roads. And then you tell them that they can only use that button on a closed course. What do you think is going to happen?

Anthony: Can I get it with flame decals on the side? Yes. Okay. Then I think it’s an amazing idea.

Fred: A thousand horsepower is a lot. To put it in perspective, oil tankers on the open ocean are generally around a thousand horsepower. This is this is an awful lot of power.

And to put all that power into getting back and forth to the Piggly Wiggly to get your french fries, it’s an interesting prospect. So

Anthony: the, what

Michael: is this the best part about it in.

Anthony: Go ahead. No this button. I want to hear more about this button. Is it an actual button that I can press?


Michael: is an actual button. And not only that, it’s called the WTF button or it triggers w TF mode, which for children who, since there may be children listening, I won’t go on to exactly what that means, but I think we all know and it’s stands for, what is it? , it’s this really watts to freedom.

It’s this, oh, , it is the dumbest name I’ve heard in a while. Watts to freedom. So technically they’re saying that, a button that allows you to accelerate recklessly anywhere you want, endangering other road users is somehow freedom. I thought that other people’s freedom ended where mine began, but maybe I’m wrong, been wrong this whole time.

The tires thinking when they’re putting it in a ,

Anthony: what are the tires in this thing? Cuz you’re moving that like 9,000 pounds a at such a fast rate does the road literally rip up behind you as you hit this button? .

Michael: I know, I, and I’m sure the, it’s only supposed to be used in a closed COR course, an Anthony.

Oh. So nobody’s gonna be using this out on roads because, G M C said, they’re doing exactly what Tesla’s doing. They’re selling technology that’s dangerous. And then putting the responsibility on the driver to decide when to use it, when you know. What we think Tesla should be doing and what GM is actually doing with some of their other technology, like the Super Cruise, is it’s geofenced.

You can only use it when you’re on a divided access highway or on interstate or that type of road. In this case, they’re putting technology into these hummers that is clearly dangerous. This, their webpage on this is already probably been stamped and filed away by lawyers who are saving it as an exhibit because it’s ba it’s cl it clearly recognizes that the technology is dangerous.

Probably shouldn’t be used anywhere, but a close course and then just putting it on a big button in the car for any teenager to hit when he hops in there. It’s, I think it’s very reckless bad marketing and it’s, the Hummer EV is just an awful concept. .

Anthony: So Fred, you have one on order, you’ve put your deposit down.

Fred: I’m more a 10 horsepower to the Piggly wiggly kind of guy. I just, I don’t know what I would do with a thousand horsepower, and I can guarantee you that anybody who puts the pedal down and actually generates anything like 500 or a thousand horsepower is gonna have a big laundry bill associated with cleaning their underwear.

This is, this’ll be a really dramatic event, a one-time event in people’s lives. And, that’s, it is funny that’s the way they sell a car is with horsepower, right? But the difference between a car and a truck is a duty cycle. So a truck might use 250 horsepower, but they do it for hours at a time, days at a time.

A car that advertises 500 horsepower or a thousand horsepower might be able to do that for a minute. Before the engine falls apart, there’s no duration associated with that. So I feel badly for the people who are going to buy it in good faith thinking that this is something that’s gonna last. Because if they actually do use that kind of horsepower, they’ll be ripping that vehicle to shreds as well as themselves and whatever pedestrians in nearby.

Anthony: Oh, so what is it like a typical sedan, how much horsepower is in that? Like my little Corolla? What is that? A horse, you

Fred: might have a hundred horsepower or something like that, but when you go back and forth to the Piggly Wiggly, you’re talking about using 10 horsepower, 10, 15 horsepowers to, to just get down the road.

When you are on the highway going along 70 miles an hour, you might be using 25, 30 maybe 50 horsepower. Yeah. This excess horsepower is simply there for thrilling people when they want to accelerate. It’s, and every other time they use it, it’s just extra weight. That’s how hybrid cars work, by the way.

They have a very small engine, but it’s a little bit, it produces a little bit more power than they need to cruise. So that extra power goes to charge the batteries and the batteries step in when they do need to accelerate. That’s why they can be lighter and more efficient than a comparable gasoline engine car.

It’s just because the engine’s smaller, the weight is less.

Anthony: I know my car, there is an a highway entrance here where you actually have to go from a stop sign to highway speeds as quickly as possible, because some people won’t let you in. And you slam that pedal down and I get up to 50 miles per hour and I don’t know how, maybe it’s 10 seconds, eight seconds, it feels pretty quick in that car.

I, I couldn’t imagine a thousand horsepower. What I would do with that, I’d gain weight. .

Fred: The other thing about a thousand horsepower is you’re gonna spin your tires and when you spin your tires, gyroscopic forces are going to cause your car to spin about its axis. So I dunno if you’ve ever had this experience of being on a snowy highway and hitting the gas and the tires spin and all of a sudden the car starts to spin outta control, right?

That’s what’s going to happen with ease on any kind of wet surface, maybe on a dry surface, but certainly any kind of slippery surface. If somebody tries to hit the gas or hit the pedal, use that power, the vehicle is going to spin about its vertical axis and you know it’s gonna point somewhere where the driver doesn’t really want it to.

Anthony: Go listeners, if you have a spare of $110,000 and you wanna spend somewhere you don’t know where to go get this, or better yet, go to auto safety.org g and click the donate button. We don’t need a hundred. If you wanna give $110,000, that’d be great, but, a thousand dollars, a hundred dollars, $10, that would be good too.

And if you’d we can meet you in person. I will spin you around in a circle briefly. For any donation amount less than a thousand horsepowers as a petite sized human male, I could probably do a quarter horsepower. So might be too much information. Sorry. Good

Fred: morning. America certainly is certainly an attractive concept.


Anthony: like that. Yeah. I take it back. Nevermind. I’m not gonna do this. I already realize what’s gonna come in. Ah, okay. Let’s the New York Times this morning had this great article from it was featuring Dr. Missy Cummings. And she not only being one of the first female fighter pilots was, and I, correct me if I get this wrong, she was an administrator at Nitsa or was the N T S B?

Michael: It was at Nitsa. She was brought in about, I think it was a little over a year ago to , advise them on some of the more advanced technology issues that they’re facing with, autonomous vehicles and some of the advanced driver assistance, crash avoidance, that type of


Anthony: Yeah. So the article goes into her feelings on a lot of things that we’ve talked about in the past adas and lane centering and not full autonomous vehicles. But what she pointed out in there as saying she’s felt compelled to speak out because the technology is being abused by humans, which I thought was an amazing way to put it.

And we’ve talked about this before, where people think my car can drive itself. Because the technology is being advertised that way, or, hey, it centered itself in the lane, I can go to sleep. And she follows up in this article saying we need to put in regulations that deal with this, which I thought was amazing because we never see that anywhere except on this podcast, which you’re subscribing to and clicking five stars on right now.

Michael: The thing that really stuck out to me in some of the data that Missy reported is that sh it, I think she’s looking at the standing general order data and to figure out, the speeds those vehicles are traveling at. And some of the crashes we’ve seen with the A D A S and what stood out was that the vehicles are, that are getting into crashes.

Are exceeding, are being programmed to exceed the speed limit. They’re not, they’re not being operated by the human at the time of these crashes. They are in the adaptive cruise or whatever mode that those vehicles are in. And they’re being programmed to speed. And that’s a kind of a big issue.

You’re functionally allowing people and cruise control is like this. You can set your cruise control to 75 miles per hour and a 60. But this is, manufacturers actively putting in software into a vehicle that allows the machines to break the law, which seems very complicated to us.

Anthony: I think this might be a good segue into this week’s towel of. . Are we ready for it? I can see he’s geared up, ready to go. He’s stretching. This week we’re gonna expand, Fred’s gonna expand on something we’ve touched on briefly last week with the with the former, with the current police chief and something we’re all very passionate about, which is a do no harm standard for automated vehicles.

So take it away. You’ve

Voice Over: now entered the Dow of Fred.

Fred: Thank you. One of the observations I’ve made over the last couple of years working in this industry is that a fundamental problem associated with AV development is that there is no set of requirements that the AVS need to adhere to when they’re being developed and put on a road, or, put in the face of traffic jeopardizing people.

So we have. in our generous spirit on the industry a big favor, which is to put together what we believe is a minimum set of requirements to allow AVS to be safely introduced into commerce and into, in fact, into test on public highways. This is a gap that nobody else seems to want to fill. So we have put together what we call a provisional AV bill of rights.

Now, this is a set of simple standards to which we believe AVS should conform before they’re put into commerce or before they jeopardize the public. There’s a lot here. I’m just gonna go through them quickly. The whole list. And then we’ll come back to the fundamental requirement, which is the first one.

So these are written as requirements because engineers like requirements. They tell the engineers what to do. For example a requirement might be a vehicle shall have four wheels. That’s why you see a lot of vehicles with four wheels, because there’s a requirement to have four wheels. So this set of requirements is associated with AV specific features.

And we’ll just go through ’em right now. The first one is AVS shall not increase the risk of injury or death inside or outside of an av. Essentially, they should do no harm before they’re allowed into commerce. They should be shown to prove to do no harm. Now, this is not the objective for avs. This is just the bare minimum standard that they should.

Be able to demonstrate before they’re brought into commerce that they do no harm. Next, AVS shall secure, verify and authenticate operational commands and external communications. You don’t want anybody breaking into your car. You don’t want anybody disturbing the directions you’ve given to the car. If you want to go to work, you don’t want somebody else jumping in and saying, no, let’s go to the beach instead.

AVS shall not prejudice for or against any group of living persons with respect to any other group. AVS must respond appropriately to emergency vehicle lights, audible signals, and manual directions from police officers and good Samaritans. Without endangering either those third parties or vehicle occupants, AVS shall not be programmed to violate motor vehicle laws.

AVS shall expedite first responders safety and safe recovery of persons injured or killed after a crash, including providing means to readily render vehicles safe for first responders, second responders, and bystanders, avs shall safely transition between political boundaries without increasing risk of injury or death.

AVS shall automatically during safety inspections, confirm the validity of installed software and firmware versions for that vehicle, and assess and report nominal capability and or failures of safety and life critical features that are not visually verifiable. AVS shall include a foolproof capability to expedite safe egress on demand of its occupants.

AVS shall not sell or distribute personally identifiable information of any person to any third parties without their explicit consent. AV manufacturers, their agents, representatives, and dealers shall assume legal responsibility and liability for safe AV operation. In no case shall a vehicle occupant who is not actively driving an AV be held responsible for the actions or consequences of its automated controls.

AVS shall collect and report operational data to support research and development to improve safety, performance and reliability. Finally, AVS shall not increase the transportation sector environmental burden over their design lifetime now. Now this is a lot. That’s what I was saying. . Yeah. Yeah, it is a lot.

And we’re going to cover these in more detail over time. Today we’ll just talk about the first of those, which is the AV shall not increase risk of injury or death outside of an av. This is a global standard. So where does that come from? Basically, the nitsa National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in 2017 published a report which established that let’s see, with respect to fatal crashes, a vehicle fault as a critical factor in those fatal crashes only occurs 4% of the time.


Anthony: What does that mean as a critical fault?

Fred: We talked about this last week. A critical fault, a critical factor, not fault, critical factor is A contributing factor to a crash. It’s not the cause of a crash, but it’s a contributing factor. So it’s

Anthony: not me the driver swerving. It’s something fundamental.

Fundamental to the vehicle’s design.

Fred: And this, what this has showed is that the critical factors associated with the actual vehicle itself and false associated with the vehicle only happens once every two and a half billion miles driven billion. So a billion once and every two and a half billion miles.

So if you assume the vehicle is traveling at 35 miles per hour, that means that once every 70 million mo million hours driven is associated with a vehicle critical fault that could be associated or critical factor. Again, that could be associated with a death. Now, that’s for all causes from a vehicle.

So you have to apportion that between the AV specific features like data processing sensors, object, event detection and response, all of these different factors that go into the overall AV operations. So I just assume for the moment, for talking purposes that half of the allocation of that risk is associated with the AV specific components.

And if you do that, you come up with a rough number of about one out of every 150 million hours of operation can be the minimum standard for the AV specific factors, critical factors in a fatal crash. Again, this is not the cause, but it does set a standard for understanding what the digital section performance has got to be for the vehicle in order to not degrade overall highway safety.

So it’s a number that we’re hopefully supplying to the industry as the target for how their software and how their data processing system has got to work.

Anthony: Dear industry. You’re welcome.

Fred: Yes, you’re welcome. I’m sure they’ll be very happy to have that , but that ties into, what it means to say do no harm.

Okay. If you do no harm, you’ve got to have at least the same safety profile as common components with conventional cars that are already out there. And that’s just once per 150 million of operation for a critical factor fault that’s associated with the AV specific features. And that’s just the bare minimum.

Okay. No, so there are corollaries to come from that. For example, if AVS will not increase the risk of injury or death, That no vehicle design may be deployed, that increases the frequency of crashes or the likely magnitude of property damage due to crashes or fire. No vehicle design may be deployed that increases the probability of injury or death to vehicle occupants.

All the motorists of the vehicles structures. The might contain the av, for example, , a garage that might go up in flames if the battery fails, because a lot of these avs will be electrically powered. They must preserve this.

Anthony: Go ahead. So as a, from an engineering perspective, I wanna, I’m curious cuz look we’ve discussed Waymo and cruise, and they clearly don’t meet this first guideline.

Because they’ve stopped and blocked traffic, they can potentially have all this problems. So I’m asking you as an engineer, how do you manage to build something without real world testing and to get over this? .

Fred: And that’s the easiest thing in the world to do, ah, to, to build something without testing.

Michael: The

Anthony: hard part, , sorry. Not build without testing. I do that every day. But how do you build it with with real testing that I can come to you and say, Hey, I’m confident that this performs at this minimum amount that you’re requesting.

Fred: The first step in that is to have a requirement, right?

So if you are developing the AV without a set of requirements, except for whatever pops into your head, you can say that’s fine. It’s good. My boss told me that it has to be green. It’s green. I’m good to go. That’s why we’re developing these independent standards to say what numbers that pops into your head and the voices in your head are good and fine, but there are other voices that should be listened to particularly from a consumer perspective.

To guarantee or to the best extent possible that what you’re doing won’t harm the public. But how that’s

Anthony: where these are coming from. Yeah. No, I get where it’s coming from. But how do I prove that to you without doing what GM and Uber do right now? I’m gonna prove it to you.

They have, let’s pretend they have a standard. How do they prove it to me with letting these vehicles, without first letting these vehicles run rampant through Arizona? In

Fred: a perfect world, what you do, what you would do is probably run a lot of simulations to find out what are the really hard parts of this traffic problem.

Things that pop out tend to be like unprotected, left turns across a multi-lane highway. It’s a very difficult thing to do. Understanding where these critical events can occur, you would then say, okay, what we need to do is set up a test process so that we can validate these models that we’ve got.

So you would then bring your car to a track, you would set up. S an unprotected left turn across multiple lanes of traffic, and you would run the car with a supervisory driver and test driver so that everybody’s aware of what’s going on and you put it through its spaces in this difficult traffic circumstance until you’ve got things worked out so that it actually works as expected and has the kind of, has the kind of robustness that is needed to assure public safety.

We don’t seem to live in a perfect world because people are just throwing this stuff out there and seeing, throwing it against the wall and seeing if things stick. But auto, but that’s a typical process.

Anthony: Automakers, they already have these test tracks, right? They have, because we see all the commercials.

Like I think Audi’s the one who’s and here on our test packet track and Nun Barracks, they already have these facilities. It’s just setting them up to try unprotected left turns and. and for ab,

Fred: right? There are lots of, there are lots of test tracks that are all over the country and all over the world, and they can be set up to simulate these very difficult traffic situations.

But what has to happen first is you’ve gotta have a requirement that says, this is what you need to do. And then people have got to spend their own resources to identify what these critical traffic circumstances are and then actually do the test to see if it works. Okay? That’s called validating the process.

You’ve got a requirement, you’ve got a design. Then you test the design in the context of real operations to validate that you can, in fact, support this design require. .

Anthony: So there’s no need to right now to be like, Hey, we don’t have any requirements. We don’t know exactly what we’re doing. Hello Phoenix.

Let’s just put these cars out there. They could come up to these, their, these own regulations or these things that we’re proposing and set all of this up away from the public using us as test dummies on, on witting test dummies and set all this up on test tracks. So there’s ways to where they can get real world data and test all this stuff without causing potential harm to the public.

Fred: They’ll never be able to anticipate everything that can happen, but they can identify critical factors and critical situations and then test their way through it to make sure that they’re able to support those actions. We already know of several si situations that have caused fatalities of cars that are being driven under their own control.

Anthony: Right?

Fred: And okay, things like. Mountain view accident where the vehicle didn’t recognize the gore on the highway. The multiple acci, multiple collisions where people vehicles ran into tractor trailers. They were trying to cross the highway in front of them. We already know what a lot of these situations are, and as the experience develops, we’ll run into more and more of these situations.

But again, the standard that should be in place is let’s do the, let’s figure out what the hard stuff is. Let’s design and test for this hard stuff. Instead of just throwing things out on the highway and saying we’ll just run it, we’ll just drive along happily as can be until something bad happens.

And then we will dissolve the business and sell it to somebody else, which is the business approach that we’ve seen so far. .

Anthony: So there’s that, that the argument they make that Hey, we need to test in your town, your city, everything like that. We need this data. It’s not true.

There’s they’re jumping four steps ahead before, they’re learning to fly before they’ve learned to crawl, essentially ,

Fred: That’s typical engineering approach is crawl, walk, run.

Anthony: Cause he’s more like, why, and everything else didn’t happen.

Fred: There’s another sequence called gritty Aim Fire.

Okay. . But you can turn that into Ready, fire, aim, , which seems to be the approach that’s being taken now. Okay. That’s generally a less safe. .

Anthony: Okay. I, yeah I think this would be great if we can get some some input from, we won’t, but from AV people or former AV people, you can you contact us anonymously and be like, I tried to do this internally.

It didn’t happen. Now I work at your local coffee shop. Or, or now I work for space.

Fred: Sure. I wanna emphasize that these bill of Rights that we’ve just talked about is just from the voices in our own heads. And we’d be more than happy to listen to people in the community who want to offer their own opinions about, how these can be improved so that they can actually stand up as an industry standard for the safety and the consumer protection as AVS develop.

Anthony: I, I love it. I love it. The fact that we’re pushing this out there, I think it’s really good to put this marker out there for people and say really put, it’s putting protection for consumers and putting a challenge to the AV makers. Be like, Hey, this is the standard. We say, tell us why we’re wrong, or tell us why we’re right, or just keep hiding.

And with your GM crews that just gave up.

Fred: So a couple more bullet points under AV shall not increase risk of injury or death. Okay. AVS must include automatic fallback to a safe state in the event of mechanical failure software or data processing, failure or fault inability to safely continue based on object event detection and response processing failure or other consequential operational problem or on occupant demand.

None of these are currently a standard, but we, these are just common sense items that are needed to protect. The public and of course the occupants who might be in one of these vehicles. I’d love to know how Zoox has done this for the Amazon employees that they’re traveling

Anthony: around. Yeah, that’s the question I have is do I have a, why is there no break , like Yeah,

Fred: yeah.

Or how do, how, how do I stop this thing? How do I get outta here safely? Yeah. The

Anthony: New York City subway system, they still have an emergency brake pull, which isn’t insane. Yeah. But hey, I, I get it. Maybe, actually, I’m not really sure why that makes sense at all. Let’s be honest. I think

Fred: they may have one in zoo’s vehicle, I’m not sure.

But Zoox is not required to put it in. Shameful. And there are requirements for all vehicles that are engaged in transport of the public, right? Buses have standards. You have to have windows that you can kick out there. School buses have emergency exits. Trains have lots of features.

why aren’t these automated vehicles that are carrying people required to have similar kind of safety mechanisms in it? It’s mysterious. So again, I’m sure the industry will thank us for bringing this forward. But over the next few weeks we’ll be going through these items and more detail. We welcome comments from our listeners.

We also welcome comments from people who are not our listeners, , and , if we can get more listeners, that would even be great. But please, contact us. We’ll be happy to send you a copy of these provisional bullet points. This provisional bill of rights. Yeah, and bullet of points.

And we like to get this conversation going. We don’t think that we can expect this out of the government. Our friends in the government for a long time, they tend not to do this and tend to be very reactive. But the way the industry is evolving and the way that new vehicles with new capabilities are being brought forth we need to do something.

We need to have a reference point that industry can use to safely develop this technology. And that’s what we’re trying to do. I look

Anthony: forward to JD Power and Associates giving us an award. They’ll have to create a whole new category, but dammit, I think we’re worth it. . I’m all for it.

Okay, good. Speaking of avs, there was a, what was, this was out of m i t a report on AV efficiency, and I’ve got some questions around this now. Their study, the folks at m i t, pretty smart people. Were talking about that, the commuting, the I gotta get it up and come on. Where’d it go? There’s so many.

Okay. So that the widespread adoption of self-driving cars will create a major bump in carbon emissions without changes to their design. Basically it’s saying that the AV cars using these neural networks and these computer processing, taking in so much amount of data right now using current data centers would generate so much CO2 would be really bad for the planet.

So I’ve got a couple questions around this. One are, do they make the assumption. Automated vehicles are always connected to a network of some sort. Because I thought all of these features I don’t think my, it’s not an automated vehicle, but lane centering and a s and emergency braking, it’s all self-contained in the car.

I thought all this would be self-contained. Is that enough?

Michael: I doubt that everything is going to be self-contained in the future self-driving cars, simply because it’s, the system’s required to safely run, those things seem to be incredibly complex and something that’s going to have to, involve some operating ability from outside of the vehicle.

Back, back at the home base. We already see remote operators and that type of thing, but if you think about the kind of, for instance, if you think about the data these vehicles are gonna be storing, that’s, That needs to be used to make them better, more reliable and safer, that’s going to have to be continuously transmitted.

Or, yeah, I would assume continuously transmitted back to the cloud for the developers to work with and that type of thing. This reminded me of the like the bitcoin cyber money thing where they’re using server farms to do these blockchain things. I’m not smart enough to understand any of that stuff, but that sounds not it.

It, that was the, that was a drawback of that technology. It, or that movement is that it, it wasn’t environmentally friendly money. And here we’re seeing, non environmentally friendly outcomes from computers and cars and not the emissions from the vehicles themselves.

Fred: Takes a certain amount of electrical energy to make a digital decision, right?

Because it’s electrical and something has to happen. You gotta flip a bit from one point to another. So I haven’t read the study, I read the report that was published, but I think that the answer is that the software is incredibly complicated and it has to run very quickly. You’ve got several hundred million, a hundred million, several hundred million lines of code and the cars computer that’s processing all of this visual information, the cameras, the environmental information, all those inputs, it has to do it over and over again.

It has to do it very quickly. It has to do it very accurately. That takes a lot of. , that’s not something that’s gonna run on your iPhone. Okay? So I think what they were looking at is the aggregate amount of power based upon the projections of computing capability that is required to run that system in a fleet of cars that could extend to tens or hundreds of millions of vehicles.

It’s like taking a data center and proliferating that by a factor of millions. And so the moving data from the car to a server farm somewhere like they do at Tesla, that’s certainly one factor. But the other factor is that you’re gonna have a lot of capability in the car. You gotta be running these things all the time.

And there’s no way to avoid the energy requirements to just run all this very sophisticated. data all at the same time continuously. I think that’s where that’s coming

Anthony: from. Yeah, that’s I think so too. And I think one of their big push takeaways was better, more energy efficient hardware and, improving the electrical grid so it’s not, running off of fossil fuels.

But it was interesting. I couldn’t tell if they’re like, wait, it has to be connected all the time. Cause I’m like, then you can’t drive through Montana. You can’t drive


Fred: There’s a, there’s another way to approach this whole data processing, which is to use anor organic being that runs on, food for example, granola bars.

It has built-in sensors and built-in judgment capability. I think these organisms exist in the world and they do a pretty good job actually. They tend to run these vehicles with a crash frequency of the order of a hundred, one every a hundred million miles. So maybe that’s an approach that, that would make sense to use these organic.

Beings to control the vehicles has an alternative to the computers.

Anthony: Oh, my, sometimes my angle gets tired, pressing the gas pedal and like my, the torque ah, it’s no, it can be,

Fred: it can be a burden. Yeah. , it can be a burden.

Anthony: Okay. Simpler computers and cars seatbelt reminders. So I h S the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Guys.

Didn’t think I’d remember that one. I got it. Says that Toyota Sienna seatbelt reminders stand out among minivans. Now, I’ve had a few issues lately with seatbelt reminders. I love seatbelt reminders. I think it’s great. But I’ve gotten into like Ubers and, my wife and I’ll be in the backseat, but it’s this large seat, and if she puts her bag, or e it doesn’t even have to weigh much at all in the center section, the seatbelt reminder will go.

So we have to then struggle and just, there’s no one sitting there and put the. Belt latch into the thing. So they seem a little too sensitive. And actually now I think about it, that was in a Toyota Sienna.

Michael: Yeah. Toyota was the first, I think, the first manufacturer to put the seatbelt reminder, rear seatbelt reminders into all their vehicles.

Other manufacturers have lagged behind a lot, and Nitsa has been lagging on this regulation for many years now. And it seems like a very simple thing. You’re essentially taking the seatbelt reminder tech from the front seat and moving it to the back. , and it doesn’t seem like it would be all that complicated to write a regulation around, but we have seen very similar objections from the auto industry, like what you say, Anthony, which is, people are putting bags and using their backseat for storage and these bells and whistles are going off and annoying them.

One level my answer to them is, sorry. The, these bells and whistles are gonna make kids buckle their seat belts in the back and save a lot of lives, so just deal with it.

Anthony: I just think they need a better sensor. That’s it.

Michael: Yeah. And that’s, I think that’s part of it too.

Why they don’t want to put better sensors back there, another nickel. Yeah. So that’s when it comes down to money. Right now there’s also a, , the Hot Cars Act, and the movement around that is, is, and we’ll talk about this in detail next week when Jeanette Fennel joins us from kids and cars, but there are sensors that can also, that can not only detect, whether you’re storing a kid or a suitcase in your backseat, and make that, dis make that distinction.

There are sensors that can, tell you when you’ve left a human being in the backseat of your car before you park that car for the day, which would, save 30 to 50 children per year depending on the year in America. So that’s an important issue and a similar technology. Both, a good rear seat I’ll put it this way, the rear seat has been ignored for many years, and we’ve talked about that before.

And, we really are at a moment with, as Rideshares grown, where a lot more people are riding in the backseat than they ever have. And rear seats don’t have pretensioners on their seat belts and some other technology that makes sure your seat belts work properly.

That’s already in the front seats. And it’s, we’re glad i h s has taken up some of the push for rear seat safety we’ve been pushing for many years now with seat back collapse issues and some other things. But it’s a, it’s. , it’s a very ignored area of the vehicle and Nitsa needs to catch up and do a lot better to make sure that rear seat passengers are protected.

Anthony: Yeah, the better sensors I think is a good idea because right now, with some of them being so sensitive, people will just latch it in and just ignore it and just this is a burden. I’m

Michael: glad. Yeah. My dog sets off my front seat one and she’s about 30 pounds, so why isn’t she wearing a seatbelt? . She’s, she hates getting in the car.

If I put a seatbelt on her, it would probably prevent me from getting her to the vet. ?

Anthony: No, it’s, that’s not dog safety. Related in to backseats and seat belts. I was once in a cab with a a well-known let’s call ’em a consumer advocate. And and he dug around looking for the seatbelt thing, couldn’t find it.

And I looked it up and he just went shrugged his shoulders, .

Michael: Hey, he was accepting the risk at that moment. Exactly.

Anthony: I got my

Michael: seatbelt on. I assume it was a,

Anthony: he. I I said, I don’t know if I revealed, did a gender reveal on that one. And speaking of gender reveal parties, pickup trucks but let’s see, in AM Americas, we love our pickup trucks.

The best three best selling vehicles in America are pickup trucks. Yep. Who is everyone? A contractor? What’s going on? Why are there’s a good survey out when they said it’s 87% of the time people are just using these to go to, as Fred has mentioned, the Piggly Wiggly. I have no idea what a Piggly Wiggly is.

I have some ideas in my head of what one could be, but it does not seem appropriate for this podcast.

Michael: It is a great grocery store, Anthony, that’s popular in the

Anthony: South. Ah, and yeah, and basically using what you’d imagine a pickup truck for like hauling materials, towing that’s rarely used, like people are just, wow.

Why would you, I don’t understand , like, why would you have all of this big space to once you bought a piece of plywood or something and you didn’t want to strap it to the roof of your car? .

Michael: It’s, it goes back to the Hummer issue and in other ways, but, I see pickups driven around all the time by people who are clearly not interested in towing boats or hauling construction materials.

And, some of ’em just prefer a larger, bigger vehicle that they can see over traffic with some, a lot of people just to look rugged and that type of, it’s the type of phenomenon that’s driving the gm, Hummer, EV sales and that problem, this image conscious purchase of vehicles that people are making to enhance who they are.

Pickups play into that somewhat. At the same time, they’re also incredibly useful for a significant portion of our population. And, our requirement for many people in their day-to-day work, . Yeah, I got it. The thing that I think was interesting about the article, if you look at it, you look at the old Chevy or Fords from the sixties and seventies, and they are very utilitarian vehicles with long beds, intended to carry a lot of stuff.

And then over the years you see the bed get a lot smaller. The passenger compartment get a lot bigger rear seats, and now they’ve become essentially in many cases, family vehicles rather than work trucks. It’s understandable why a significant portion of American men in particular might gravitate towards them after having a family.

So it’s a problem, it’s a problem for fuel economy if we start putting, batteries in these big trucks already and putting, making them, weigh in excess of 7,000 pounds. Plus we’re going to see problems on the roads and crashes due to that additional weight. This is one of those areas, Americans demand a lot of pickups, whether or not we actually need them.

And it’s, it creates, it exacerbates the safety issues on our roads and, it’s a reason why, I think we need to better educate consumers about, the capabilities of their vehicles. And I wish we could push back on the whole image conscious America who wants to buy a great vehicle to make themselves look great.

But I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon.

Anthony: Yeah. Cause I love that illustration too, they had where the truck beds keep getting smaller and smaller. Yeah. Eventually they’re gonna just go away and then what? It’ll just be an suv. Yeah, it’s a minivan. Yeah, if you need a minivan, get a minivan.


Michael: mean, I guess if, if you. 30 plus year old male with a family, driving a minivan can be, I drove one for a number of years and it didn’t always make me feel greatly masculine, but, it also didn’t wanna make me spend $70,000 on a pickup truck. , and this might be

Anthony: for a different podcast, but what does make you feel greatly Masculine?

Masculine. Nevermind. Let’s move on. . For

Fred: those people who aren’t gifted with the the visuals that we’ve got, Michael is a very macho guy. Just wanted to let that out there. But, thinking about the pickup trucks, they’re, they, they combine reduced visibility, particularly in front of the car.

Increased propensity to kill pedestrians, more energy that is imparted into a crash more weight, worse mileage. How could this be a problem? It

Anthony: sounds pretty good to

Fred: me. . And for the record, Piggly Wiggly invented the self-service supermarket. Just so you know that the, all of the shopping carts and all that sort of stuff, they were, that’s a Piggly Wiggly production.

Anthony: I, I’ve asked you not to plug your other podcast, Fred discusses American Ephemera. But hey, if you wanna listen to that, people go right ahead. ,

Michael: I, I highly recommend the Piggly Wiggly in Daphne, Alabama. What is

Anthony: happening to this podcast? So we haven’t done this in a couple weeks, but I think it’s time for the recall roundup

Voice Over: strap in time for the recall roundup.

Anthony: And this week we should start off with the one that will never, ever go away, Toccata airbags. Honda has issued a do not drive warning. Last week it was February 3rd for certain 2001 to 2003 Ho Acura and Honda vehicles equipped with on repaired Teta airbag, alpha driver’s side airbag, inflaters. They have a 50% failure rate.

We’ve, this podcast is soon gonna be called the fixture toccata. Already people Honda seems to be the one that keeps doing this. Reminders. Are they the laggard in that people never got these fixed more on Honda and Acuras, or are they just still the ones being vocal about it?

Michael: So these are the , these are the alpha airbags, which are the very first oldest batch of those toccata inflaters that’s the most riskiest right now.

And I wasn’t aware of the how risky they wa actually are, but Anne Carlson, who is the nits administrator in that press release, gave that 50% number, which is astounding, frankly, and very scary. There’s 8,000 of these vehicles still out there that have not been fixed yet, and they have a 50% chance of rupturing even in a minor crash, which is in incredibly high.

And it’s, we’ve been warning folks about this for weeks and months or years it seems like now. But these bags are just particularly dangerous. They’re getting more dangerous as they age. And I wanted to be clear. Honda is not, let me just say Honda is not on the , back end of this, they’re not the slow manufacturer.

In fact, breaching 99% completion rate in this segment of airbags is pretty remarkable, and it’s a number we’ve never seen before in a recall campaign. So Honda has actually been on the forefront of these Tata recalls as far as co cons, consumer notification and recall completion.

Fred: I want to be clear that this discussion inevitably uses euphemisms.

Yes. Like rupture and failure. What we’re talking about are essentially grenades that are exploding in the face of the drivers and will create shrapnel that can, as a minimum disfigure you and in a worst case, kill you. So this is nothing to be trifled with, and it’s actually a great thing that Honda put out this do not drive warning because these are very dangerous.

It’ll be the worst day of your life. You’re gonna crash your car and the car’s going to explode in front of you, and the injure will kill you. Don’t do this, folks. Get those

Anthony: cars fixed. Yeah. As we’ve mentioned numerous times, this is a free fix. Please do it as best you can. Speaking more airbag related recalls Nissan has a potentially recalling over 400,000 light trucks where the the emblem on the driver’s side.

Airbags, where you see right on your steering wheel. The emblem will shoot off when an airbag is deployed, and that will be a nice little projectile aiming at your face. And have they issued a

Michael: fix for. . No. It appeared there’s still a developing a fix when the only issue there was a, an adhesive that didn’t hold up over time.

Which is odd. It seems like one of the easier fixes you could design. Sticking an emblem back in the steering wheel. But I say everybody should just pull emblems off steering wheels, period. Why are we putting this junk on steering wheels when it might detach and be a projectile? Within vehicles?

It’s, stupid marketing. You can mold steering wheel covers in the shape of a logo if you’re really that desperate to advertise a vehicle that’s already been purchased . I just I don’t understand why we’re adding emblems to vehicle steering wheels. The advertising has probably gone a little too far at that point.

Anthony: Gotta have my logo everywhere, man. Gotta have my logo. GM has a recall of let’s see. Michael described it as GM stall due to fuel tank collapse. Yeah. Which sounds amazing to me. This is 22,132 vehicles. They are diesel trucks. The R P O L five P Oh wait, no, these are Chevy Silverados. 2017. Yeah.

To 2019 with the dual fuel tank option. This is for the diesel version of this. So what is a fuel tank’s collapse.

Michael: Yeah. So one of the fuel, it’s one of the fuel tanks, it’s the rear fuel tank in these vehicles. And the collapse when, you know, when I first saw collapse, you think of a fuel tank literally falling out of the car, fall of the structure of the fuel tank not being supported by the frame.

In this case, it is a, I guess a plastic Tank that it’s got a fuel pump that’s pulling the fuel out and it’s got another basically area with a filter or something in that’s getting clogged with debris. So it’s the vent for the tank. So what happens is the vent gets clogged and the fuel pump’s continuing to pull.

And what happens is the tank basically collapses and on itself. And that doesn’t, it doesn’t cause what we would typically think of in a fuel. collapse, or which would be damaged to the tank allowing, greater risk of vehicle fire, that sort of thing. In this case, it causes the vehicles to stall because they’re being starved of fuel, because of the defect.

So that was an interesting recall, applies to a, a lot of Silverados from 2017 to 2019, and also the g m Sierras and stalling in the middle of the road is a dangerous condition. So we’d encourage everyone to get that one fixed as soon as

Anthony: possible. So here’s one that’s a follow up from something we’ve mentioned a number of times in the show.

It’s not a recall, but Hyundai Kia, we’ve talked about how the TikTok kids have managed to hack those cars and steal them using basically a USB cable. Hyundai Kia has finally come up with a software fix for this, and I believe you can bring your affected cars to your dealership and they will download the software for you.

Or they’ll take a bunch of glue and just jamming at a USB slot for you. But I, and that again, is a free recall, which is good because if you live in certain places, you no longer have car insurance on that

Michael: vehicle. Yeah. And we want to get That’s, I think that’s what they’re, that warning from the insurers finally got Hyundai IKEA to do after hearing from their owners that they have effectively designed a software that functions as an immobilizer that’s being.

Retro uploaded, I don’t know if you can call it retrofitted, but it’s being popped into these vehicles so that it prevents them from being started without a key, which is the fundamental act I believe that allowed for the TikTok hack. This is a lot better than the fix we talked about a couple months ago where they were provi, where they were, I think, charging customers for a kit that was basically a club you put on your steering wheel.

That you probably have the insurance companies to thank for that, for putting a little more pressure on Hyundai

Anthony: Kia. Thank you. Insurance companies. Volkswagen recalling 20,904. 2021 Volkswagen ID four s. And this is a, this is an interesting one where it says the oh, I just lost it. It’s right in front of me.

I had the English, basically the battery management system will okay, the battery ma battery management control module resets while driving the vehicle’s. Electric motor will not be supplied with power for the duration of the reset. In rare case, the pulse inverter may be deactivated while driving.

Each of these conditions may lead to a loss of repulsion without pre-warning and may increase the risk of a crash. The pulse inverter, so basically the battery management system, you’re driving along, it says, wait a second, reboots itself, and then you no longer have power to the car. .

Michael: That’s basically what it sounds like effectively a loss of power while driving.

Similar to what’s happening with the collapse fuel tanks, the GM trucks from a safety perspective. But from, it’s interesting hearing, the battery management systems are something that we really think that Nitsa needs to put some rules into place around, not only to prevent, issues like this, losses of power, but also to prevent battery fires, which we’ve discussed extensively.

And we’re hopeful that’s going to happen sooner rather than later. And it might help prevent some issues like this where battery management systems are being reset at some really inappropriate times, like while the vehicle’s driving.

Anthony: And finally we have one for all of you Porsche drivers.

It’s amazing. It’s only 24,467 vehicles, but it’s a lot of ’em. I’m not gonna read ’em all off. Basically, if you own a Porsche that was made in 2017 to 2018, it looks like I, in 2019 and 2020, basically you own a Porsche that was made in the last few years. Get this checked out. And what this is on the effective vehicles, there’s possibility of humidity ingress into the external coolant pump for the climate control system.

This could cause a short circuit and in some instances thermal damage to the external and cooling pump. Basically vehicle fire, that’s the short, it’s a short oven. Yeah. They don’t wanna say it, right? No, it’s hidden way down there. Yeah.

Michael: That, that was what was interesting to me about that recall is they’re going to great lengths.

First of all they. , they changed the design or changed the part out in 2021. Bentley is also part of this, recalling it. The union didn’t know that. Cause I know you need to check the vent on your Bentley. I do. They’ve replaced these parts years ago in their design and manufacturer of the vehicle.

So they knew something was wrong there. And then they’ve waited until now to both recall them. And then even then, they’re being very careful not to say, oh, this is gonna cause a fire. But that it is. That’s clearly the thermal event they’re talking about. And I’m wondering in this case, because on the PORs report, it says that, the, this portion of the vehicle can remain active.

20 minutes and even more after the vehicle’s been turned off. So this fits exactly into the bucket of recalls that Nitsa has been actively issuing. Do not park inside your garage. Do not park warnings, that type of thing for the past year. And I’m a little surprised that this course recall didn’t qualify for a do not park in indoors warning.

Anthony: And I

Fred: think so should we send a, should we send a note to King Chuck that tells him to leave his benley outside of Westminster? Or or where does he live in a Windsor castle? Where would they put it? If he can’t, if he can’t keep it into the castle, what would he do? .

Michael: I think they’ve got some plenty of grounds and gardens at their manners that they can keep it on.

So I’m not worried about, I’m not worried about Chuck or anyone with a Bentley. Go get it fixed when you get the recall notice in the mail, people .

Anthony: And let’s end on a a happy, positive note. The Washington Post had a great article entitled, states Love Jokes on Road Safety Signs. The Feds aren’t laughing.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen these. You’re driving down the road and they have warnings like New Jersey. Slow down. This Ain’t Thunder Road. I think that’s hilarious. In Maine, they have ones such as the best unopened gift. Your airbag, you’re not a pumpkin. Don’t drive smashed camp in the woods.

Not in the left lane. I think these are great, but the Feds are just like, no, this isn’t that funny. They should all be very serious. Gentlemen what are our

Fred: thoughts here? Being a former Fed, I, you have to check in your your sense of humor when you take the oath of the office. Now that I’ve retired, I’m recovering my sense of humor very gradually, but it’s a halting process, but I’m working on, I’m working hard to become a normal human being again.


Anthony: Do Michael, do these help?

Michael: I don’t have any problem with a lot of ’em, particularly the one telling people to get outta the left lane. But, I, they’re not particularly distracting. I don’t think there was any suggestion that they were dangerous. There was also, not a lot of suggestion that they actually work to reduce crashes and other things , I think they’re very useful for providing drivers with information on events ahead, potential crashes, objects in the road, that type of thing.

They’re very useful and maybe if they tell 20 bad jokes in a row, you stop paying attention to the important messages. So maybe that’s what the feds were getting at. I’m trying to defend them a little here, I do think they’re playing buzzkill in this

Anthony: situation. Okay. Agree. And I have to disagree about the whole object and the road ahead because I’ll see those signs and then Google Maps will tell me caution as an object in the road ahead.

One, they don’t tell me how far ahead is and or what the object is, and I have yet to ever see any object.

Michael: But you know what? It keeps you paying attention. If I had a sign like that set up, I would just say, we are watching you. Oh. Because then you would you would pay attention to the rest of your drive.

But it

Anthony: interrupts the movie I’m trying to watch on my phone while I’m texting. Buzz kills. .

Michael: And

Fred: with that big brother Michael, we like that .

Anthony: And with that, I think we’ve ended another hour of your life. Hopefully you’ve become informed. Hopefully you go to auto safety.org and you click donate.

Become a monthly donor, 10 bucks a month. Ain’t nothing. Come on. It’s two Mochaccino Rockwell latte things. Nothing at all. But it makes a big difference for us. Please look, re-listen to the tower today. Give us some feedback on the AV Bill of Rights. Yeah, these things are not widespread, but they’re coming out on the road.

More and more. Get a, join us, get ahead of the curve, get your voice heard, and we can actually make these things safer and better, like maybe we’ll have a stop button inside these things. Anyway, thanks for your time, everybody. Bye-bye.

Michael: Thank you.

Fred: Bye-bye. Bye, everybody.