Babysitting Self Driving Cars

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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: You’re listening to their auto be a law, the center for auto safety podcast with executive director Michael Brooks, chief engineer, Fred Perkins, and hosted by me, Anthony Cimino. For over 50 years, the center for auto safety has worked to make cars safer. Hello world. Hello everybody.

I think Today’s episode is going to be more Tesla, more AV, autonomous vehicle heavy than normal. And I know you’re sitting at home going, how is that possible? You guys have an obsession with this stuff. No, we have an obsession with safety, and safe cars, and keeping you safe. But let’s get into it. We’ve talked about before with San Francisco the autonomous vehicles, and the state of California, and places, and companies like GM Cruise, and Google’s Waymo saying, Hey, just let more of our cars out on the road.

It’s all fine. It’s okay. Let’s just go ahead and do this. And the fire department and the police of San Francisco were saying, Hey, look, we’re not anti technology, but these things… Let’s slow your roll here, people. Let’s not really get crazy with this. There is a vote on this tomorrow with the California Public Utilities Commission on August 10th.

And we don’t know what’s gonna happen, but we’ve got some good articles we’re linking to where you can see the 55 reports so far. Of robot cars interfering with the San Francisco Fire Department. You can see basically the residents of San Francisco not really being in favor of this. There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal we link to.

And one of these articles, my favorite part of it as well. When these vehicles they block emergency vehicle, emergency responders, when they collapse in the middle of the road, essentially GM Cruises response is we have a three and a half minute video demonstrating how to dismantle a cruise vehicle blocking the roadway.

It requires three to four people to implement this. Cruz’s response is, Hey, our car died over your fire hose, spreading a fire. Where, your fire firemen, fire people, what are they called? I don’t know, first responders? They’re gonna sit there, pull up YouTube on their phone, watch a three and a half minute video, while a building burns.

Then pull three to four firemen off of the fire and disable this vehicle and get it out of the way. That’s insane. It’s, so there are three to four emergency responders no longer responding to an emergency, but instead acting as unpaid tech support. The gall of these people.

Fred: So you think that’s unreasonable?

Anthony: Yes. Highly. And just, that’s just this tech bro nonsense view. Oh hey look, you just, look, we put together a video, this is how you can disable our vehicles. We’re helping you. Whereas if there’s a human in the car, you’d move your vehicle and it’s done.

Michael: It’s, it brought to mind, just visions of old VW beetles and smaller cars getting picked up and moved by football teams at schools across the country to, to play pranks on their principals and teachers. But we don’t often see a company come out and say, Just take our vehicle apart and move it.

Can you imagine the liability, by the way, that you’re incurring there for the city if you’re touching one of these multi million dollar vehicles and taking it into pieces and moving it? What’s that? I would be so anxious just. touching a car that costs that much. I’m not sure that I could take it apart.

Anthony: Amazing. Cruise executive chief executive, Kyle said in an interview that officials would cause more people to be harmed if they slowed the rollout of self driving cars, citing company data that linked their increased precedence to reduced collisions. They will not share this data.

Michael: Yeah, it’s a complete lie.

I don’t believe it unless they share it and they can say anything they want, just like Elon has been saying, we’re going to have a robo taxi service for you next year to justify our massive losses over the past few years. They keep repeating this stuff, but it’s all not true. They can’t prove it.

They, they won’t show the data to the public because it doesn’t exist.

Fred: I think it’s important to note that the Public Utility Commission is full of sober, reasonable individuals and fully transparent, and there’s no conflict of interest that would affect the vote on whether or not to proliferate the AVs throughout California.

Isn’t it? Isn’t that Michael?

Michael: It’s not actually the… One of the commissioners was actually GM’s Cruz’s managing counsel for two to three years, 2019 to 2021, which he should be recusing himself from the vote. There’s no doubt in my mind, I don’t think anyone that’s reasonable thinks that someone who was the one of the former lead attorneys for a company can come in now on the Public Utilities Commission and make an unbiased decision That’s.

It fits right in with all the malarkey we’ve seen coming out of this industry that, someone thinks that they’re going to be able to be unbiased after being paid by the company two years before to be their, one of their managing attorneys. I don’t know. I, that, that guy needs to recuse himself yesterday.

Anthony: How long before he goes back to his job at GM Cruise?

Michael: You never know. We’re seeing a lot of folks jumping ship over at NHTSA to go work for Zooks and for some of the autonomy companies. And there’s very few protections. That are set up in governments to prevent conflicts of interest like this occurring and it’s something that’s been going on in the federal government for well over 30 years.

We’ve continually seeing people hired directly from industry. To the point where, I think in around 2005. Nitsa brought in the chief counsel from Chrysler to be their chief counsel, that kind of thing. Decisions that just don’t make any sense objectively if you’re a consumer and you want someone unbiased and independent making these safety evaluations.

You can’t bring in people from the industry who have been paid by the industry to support its goals. And, last year, two years ago, three years ago, 10 years ago, there has to be some sort of vetting process there to ensure that these votes remain uncompromised by, by outside money. Oh,

Fred: I stand corrected.

I, I guess my naivety is slowly dissipating.

Anthony: Hey, my job in this show is to play the role of the naive fool, okay? That’s not your job. Come on. We look at you as sober realist, okay? My job is to be like, why isn’t everything perfect? Got it. Alright. Got it. Understood. Thank you. On Monday members of the Fire Department and Police Department appeared before the Public Utilities Commissions to argue against enabling more of these AVs out on the road.

And there’s a great quote from San Francisco Fire Chief Janine Nicholson. She said, I will reiterate, it is not our job to babysit their vehicles. Which is amazing. To this, GM crews and Google Waymo say, Hey, there’s QR codes on the outside of these vehicles and firefighters, emergency responders, they can scan that and it will connect to our tech support hotline.

Which is insane. Because again, this is again, tech bro nonsense. They’re like, hey, I’ve used the QR code, it works for me. Not realizing that firefighters don’t have access to their phones, okay? They’re wearing a hundred pounds of gear. Their job is not to be like, Hey, how easy is it to get to my phone?

Oh, let me remove all of this gear I have on to protect me. Find my phone, figure out how to scan a QR code, and then wait for tech support. The best part, the kicker, when you call tech support, you may be waiting for five minutes and more.

Michael: And then they’re going to tell you, you need a screwdriver to take the car into three or four pieces, move it out of the way.

And all of this is happening while maybe they’re sending a team out to move the car, but you’ve got whatever emergency situation the fire and police or whoever is there that they were already dealing with, whatever that situation is going, it’s continuing and you’re losing personnel to a it’s a mess.

I, I, until GM or Zoox or any of these companies can show any real benefits safety wise to the disabled to anyone, I don’t think they should be allowed on the roads causing this kind of havoc. It’s going to result, if it hasn’t already, it’s going to result in, deaths or injuries or, any other number of things right now, it looks like it’s mostly resulting in a lot of time being spent by emergency responders in San Francisco babysitting.

Fred: The bottom line for the ethics on this, it seems to me is that the developers of these autonomous vehicles are saying implicitly that it’s okay. If a bunch of people die. While we’re developing these things, because, that’s just the cost of doing business. And, eventually, in the future, everything will be better.

We won’t have to kill people anymore to do it, but in the meantime, we’re just going to have to sacrifice some people who may be in a fire, may be in cars, may be emergency responders, while we learn how to do this, while we train our AI systems, while we, while we do all the stuff that tech bros do.

And I’d like to know. What is the budget they propose for dead people to train their vehicles? That’s really fundamentally what this is all about. They’re saying it’s okay to kill people while we learn. Fine. How many people are you going to kill?

Michael: And what other, I’m trying to think about other consumer products that have this kind of…

It would be a really bad business model, for Twinkies to say, oh, we’re going to have a perfect dessert one day, but we’re going to end up killing a bunch of people in the process. Or, maybe medicine is a good analog where you’re going to have tests and there may be, may be some complications from a medication or a medical procedure on the road towards perfecting that procedure.

But there are guidelines that are set up in the medical area to prevent that from happening. There are, 1st of all, there are guidelines around who and what. Is a test subject and consent, nobody in San Francisco is getting that in this case, everybody on the roads, then the emergency responders and the people who need the emergency responders are being used as guinea pigs in this situation.

I think that points to what, where we’re going here is that there really need to be stronger regulations around the deployment and testing of these vehicles, and they really need to be showing a true benefit before they’re out on our roads, creating havoc.

Fred: Then the difference with the medical example, you brought up is that in the evaluation of whether or not a new medicine is going to be used.

It’s always considered whether or not conventional medicines or prior regimens or medicines are adequate to the purpose and the only time when An experimental method is allowed to be used is when all other options have been exhausted, and there’s a critical need to keep the person alive.

I don’t see any, I don’t see any critical need to put these vehicles on the street. I don’t see anybody dying waiting for AVs. I do see people dying because of AVs. This is just a bizarro world, it’s completely upside down.

Anthony: Maybe if we gave you some stock options in GM Cruise, it would change your ethical consideration.

Fred: Are they a sponsor of Center for Auto Safety, Michael? I just want to be clear about this.

Anthony: I want to be clear that Michael said no, but I think he put himself on mute again.

He now he mimed. No,

Fred: that’s an emphatic no. This no.

Michael: We are not supported by any, anyone in the auto industry and never will be .

Anthony: Ah, yeah. So let’s jump over to our good friends in Tesla Land, the Wall Street Journal put out a video this morning where they have exclusive footage of a Tesla on autopilot crashing into parked emergency vehicles.

This is a driver who gets into the car. Inebriated has engages Autopilot, which again, astute listeners, Autopilot is nonsense. It is just a marketing term. It is not remotely like Autopilot on an airplane, which by the way also requires a human behind it and apparently requires more work of the pilots and starts going down the highway.

He was prompted a… Dozens and dozens of times to put his hands on the steering wheel, did and then came across Emergency vehicles, lights flashing, and instead a human driver would get out of the way. He figured hey autopilot man This is what it’s doing. My bro Elon says This is the jam, and he hits a parked police car at 54 miles per hour, sending three officers to the hospital, and the person who was originally stopped.

I’m at a loss. This is insane. These officers now, they’re suing Tesla, and the Tesla fanboys are just like, Yo, that was software from three years ago, bro. It’s insane.

Fred: Back to my point, it’s just the cost of doing business in the Syrian is to kill people. And then again, all right, if, if Mr.

Musk thinks that’s an appropriate business strategy, tell me how many you’re going to kill. What’s your budget? And, how much money have you reserved? And your stockholders would like to know, how much money have you reserved to settle these cases of the people who are dying? What is, what’s your strategy?

Michael: The people who are dying and being injured right now are not having any of their cases settled from what I understand. Tesla’s got a slash and burn legal strategy that’s basically trying to Delay and extend all these cases out as far as possible. And I think I’ve discussed that here before, there’s a reckoning coming and many of those cases when they actually get to trial.

I think the next one’s coming up later this fall. Because at that point, there’s going to be the real chance of punitive damages. In addition to some of these other things. Nitsa is really the 1 who could have put a stop to this years ago before this crash. I think this crash that. That Anthony was discussing was in 2021.

And it’s hard to tell, we don’t really know if the driver was awake or putting his hands on the wheel. We know he was drunk. He could have been asleep using 1 of the many methods that sold to trick the Teslas into believing that there’s actually a driver behind the wheel. The Tesla buddies or, weights on the steering wheel.

But in any event, that driver apparently. Really believed that the autopilot was level two autopilot. Let’s make that clear. This is not a self driving vehicle. It’s not even close. He believed that was going to get him all the way home and it ended up driving him straight into the back of a police car.

Anthony: Tesla’s marketing’s fascinating. I met a guy who owns a Tesla just the other day, and he says, I do not trust their full self driving autopilot at all. I don’t trust it at all. But he says, I love it, because the other day, I was stuck in traffic on a bridge, and I let the car take over. And I didn’t want to say this to the man, because I had just met him, and I was like, oh.

My, my car does that and I didn’t have to pay 15, 000. It’s just you’re paying for something that’s standard on the low level car I have that’s three years old. It’s, literally, he paid half of the value of my car. For something that just comes for free, that’d be like my seatbelts are extra soft or something.

I’m paying extra for that. Not a great analogy. Early in the morning. I’m doing what I can,

Michael: we also learned this week that, you can hack a Tesla and get past that 15, 000 window. Who knows what that opens up?

Anthony: What I can do what?

Michael: There was a story that came out this week

Anthony: I’d have to find it.

I didn’t read it. Yes. I see it.

Michael: It’s free for yourself driving. So you They’re half those have managed to they found an exploit in tesla software where they can get around locked features. So Things like heated seats that manufacturers are starting to charge all of the new car buyers for They found hacks to get around that and get free heated seats But they also found a way to get the full self driving package and to unlock that so You know that points to a pretty severe cyber security failure on the part of tesla because right now, not everyone is even I’m not sure where Tesla is on their grading of full self driving customers now.

I know that in the past they’ve prevented some people from getting that feature because they simply weren’t safe enough drivers to qualify. Now if anyone can hack into it, then, there, there’s really nothing preventing, the 13 year old who was driving a Tesla this week from popping it into full self driving and going to the ice cream store.

Anthony: Yeah, this is an article in electric. co. The hack requires physical access to the car. If you have the car, you have physical access to it. And involves a voltage fault injection attack on the AMD based infotainment systems? They’re connected to everything. And these, the group of hackers claims that their Tesla jailbreak is unpatchable and allows to run arbitrary software.

On the infotainment system. Oh, I feel safe on the road.

Fred: It just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

Michael: Yeah. And we’ve, we’ve discussed where there’s a problem with infotainment systems and, the entire. Car’s control system being with, contained within the infotainment system.

We’re connected to it, and we’ve always thought there needs to be some type of firewall or something preventing, all this flood of information that’s going to be coming back and forth through vehicle entertainment systems for being accessed. Or being connected to the vehicle control system, because that is a, other than the million other things on vehicles that are susceptible to hackers.

That’s a pretty big point of attack and right now, when there are no cyber security regulations on vehicles, manufacturers can do whatever they want, including not put good cyber security and in the 1st place. And that’s what we’re seeing mostly. And that means that, for the next.

Yeah. Until cybersecurity regulations are in place, you’re going to continue to see things like this where hackers are able to access different vehicle things, hopefully just infotainment type functions. What we’re really concerned about are hackers being able to access the vehicle control system.

Fred: In any system where you’ve got millions of lines of software. No human being is going to understand all of the interfaces associated with those millions of lines of software. The software that goes into these vehicles is by most reports, Much more complex than that, that goes into an airplane.

There’s just there’s no way any human being is going to be able to understand all that because the companies refuse to do adequate validation of the software through regression testing and the various processes that are well understood in the software industry. Any changes that the companies make and any vulnerabilities that are in the software are going unreported and undetected and and unverified.

It’s just, it’s a nightmare. When people can put a software fix in place in a day or two, as has often been reported and send it out to the world, there’s no way that could have been adequately tested and checked against all the software interfaces that are available encapsulating the.

Infotainment system to make sure that it’s isolated from the operational system is only the beginning. And even that’s not being done in these cars.

Anthony: It’s so weird to me. I don’t get it, but, hey, listeners, have you ever had your computer crash on you, or freeze on you, and you’re like, Ah, this is awful!

Now, imagine you were inside your computer, and it crashed on you, and froze on you, and your computer was actually a car. In this case, a Tesla! Ha! An Arizona man was trapped inside his… Tesla Model Y during a hundred degree day with no knowledge of how to get out. I couldn’t open the doors. I couldn’t open the lower the windows.

The computer was dead, so I couldn’t open the glove box. I couldn’t open anything. How insane is this? I never even considered this as a possibility that You’re trapped inside your dumb computer car, and it just decides to crap the, crap out on you, and you’re stuck inside. Tesla claims they have an override to escape the vehicle if the battery dies or if the door won’t open.

Who, besides me, and possibly Fred, have actually read their entire car manual to find this, side note. Eh. This is insane. Why don’t they have door handles? Aren’t they mechanical door handles though?

Michael: No we’ve received this complaint before too from someone who’s I can’t remember their battery If they ran out of battery or for some reason their electrics they were riding in a friend’s tesla and for some reason the electrics went out in that vehicle And they couldn’t figure a way to get out and had to crawl through the front door because the rear door wouldn’t open.

And we’ve seen at least, 5 to 10 complaints. We don’t get a lot of complaints compared to Nitsa, certainly compared to Tesla, but we’ve seen 5 to 10 complaints where people have, written us saying they’ve noticed this feature and they’re concerned and also. There are a couple of crashes that we’ve covered where someone was trapped in the vehicle and we have no idea, if that person was making an attempt to escape the vehicle or not.

I believe in 1 that we covered. There was actually a witness stating that the man in the vehicle was trying to get out. And that’s a huge problem. There, there really needs to be a common accepted method of egress from these vehicles, when there’s a crash and there’s no power available to operate the doors with electric power, there has to be a manual and easy way to get out.

That’s just total common sense. And. It’s, it, frankly, the thing that’s most concerning here is that there’s not a regulation in place that requires this already in every vehicle, you shouldn’t have to figure out or open your owner’s manual to figure out how to escape your vehicle when, the car is on fire

Anthony: or in this case, you can’t even open the owner’s manual because it’s in the glove box and you can’t open the glove box.


Michael: It’s just a really bad design when it comes to egress and it shows you that, the engineers at Tesla aren’t thinking about these types of situations and the fact is they occur frequently on our roads. There are many. People killed and severely injured every year and fires when they’re unable to escape the vehicle making it as easy as possible to get out quickly.

It should be something that’s regulated and, it should be a big red button type thing and not something that’s buried in your owner’s manual.

Fred: I want to remind our listeners that virtually every public building you go into has exit doors with a crash bar on them and this crash bar overrides.

Any other way of securing the door so that if there’s a fire, you just hit the crash bar and out you go, the door opens. This is not a complex requirement, not something new for anybody. The idea that you should be able to get out of a burning, trapped volume that’s not a revelation. That’s not something that has, needs to be qualified or doesn’t need to be invented.

Just do it.

Anthony: Listeners, if you enjoy learning terms such as crash bar, which I just thought, I don’t know, is the thing you pressed on or gore, which is that part of the highway, that’s that triangular thing before the exits or around the exit? I’m not describing it well, but if you like learning terms like this, go to auto

Click on donate and each week Fred will just share some terms with you that you didn’t know for everyday things. You know that thing in your kitchen where you flip it and lights go on, light switch? No idea. Crazy. So wait, let’s go back to this trapped in a Tesla thing here. So why in a car is it not?

Is it just a cost saving thing? Like why is it not a mechanical release? A door handle? You open, it pulls a cable, it opens the door. I don’t I’m lost here. I’m pretty sure my car. You pull the handle. There’s a mechanical,

Michael: There’s also, the, one of the problems in the Teslas that we’ve heard about or the.

What are they called in the goal wing doors or the doors that they require electric power to raise those doors. And so they have to build in a separate manual release that allows you to push them out. And, a manual, a crash bar wouldn’t work in a car, but something similar might, a crash bar is something that could be triggered and open the doors during a crash.

But we need something that is, a button somewhere where it’s not going to be, inadvertently hit, but is obvious to drivers and passengers because we’re, this isn’t just something that should be under the driver’s control. There should be in any vehicle that has doors that are powered by electric by electricity or that can be.

Locked or unable if you can’t latched or locked and require electric power to open them after a crash. There has to be some type of obvious manual release. It’s. Yeah, most vehicles don’t, we don’t have this problem, in my car, at least I pull the handle and the door opens whether the door is locked or not, no matter what child locks are similar here, there’s something where if you’re in a crash and you have child locks on in your backseat and the driver isn’t able to get out of the car and open the doors for whoever’s in the backseat, then you’re going to have a similar problem.

All right,

Fred: Anthony, I have a question for you. True. When people are developing technical standards, voluntary industry standards, and mandatory industry standards for autonomous vehicles, there is only one organization that keeps insisting that we need to have available safe emergency egress at all times for autonomous vehicles.

Can you guess who that organization might be?

Anthony: That is the Center for Auto Safety.

Fred: Oh, you win. Yay! You

Anthony: win the prize. Holy, you’re listening to their Auto be a law. by The Center for Auto Safety. I could have been a game show host in another life. I don’t know how much more we want to stick on Tesla and poke them, but they had a really busy week of just pure dumbness over and over again.

Michael: One thing that’s that I definitely want to mention on Tesla was that We covered a few months ago, the the spying where Tesla employees were passing around videos, of people in intimate moments and otherwise that they got from the in car cameras. And what happened after that was one of these folks sued Tesla and there was a, there’s a class action that was just started.

But what last week Tesla came into that court and said whoa. You signed this. Contract and in this contract, it says that all disputes are going to be taken to an arbitration, which is something we’ve talked about before forced arbitration. Basically, they take a properly filed civil case.

It’s against Tesla and they move it to a kangaroo court of arbitration that where the arbitrators being paid by Tesla where consumers don’t have any opportunity for discovery and the normal things that actually you use to build your case and civil court and the judgments are invariably going to favor the manufacturer.

This is the kind of thing that Uber tried to do to sexual assault victims and its vehicles before they relented a few years back. All of the tech companies that are involved in autonomous vehicles want to be able to use forced arbitration. If you’re in a, and you hit something and you’re injured, they want you to go to their court, not.

Your state or local court they basically want to remove that backstop of the civil justice system to reduce their cost. Obviously, it’s all about money, so that’s a huge problem. And it’s something that I wanted to point out specifically about Tesla this week, because they are continuing to use force arbitration in this case to thwart the claims of their own owners who they were spying on and passing video around about at work.

Anthony: When did people sign these contracts? Is like

Michael: when they buy the car so they don’t really you either get the car or You either get the car and sign the contract or you don’t sign the contract and don’t get the car There are contracts of adhesion, which means you don’t have any choice and it’s a practice that I think should be eliminated You know Across America and every consumer contract, not just vehicles, consumers should be able to make a purchase without signing themselves off to going to arbitration and losing any rights they had before the purchase.

Fred: Didn’t Uber run into a situation where sexual assault victims were suing Uber and they tried to force it into arbitration, but they were overruled by a judge. Isn’t that right?

Michael: I can’t remember if they were overruled by a judge or if they finally came to their senses that they were doing something that was really bad, but, that was a particularly, that’s a particularly sensitive area, if you’re just, Joe Blow on the street and you’re in a crash, and.

An uber or you’re in a crash and a tesla, you don’t really have that type of you’re not going to get the press and you’re not going to get the publicity that a case like that involved hundreds of sexual assault victims. And so the odds of you winning and not being forced to go to an arbitration court are very low.

And it’s something that we think needs to change broadly in American law. Otherwise, I think. It forced arbitration isn’t pushed out of the law instead of being, brought in more and more the tech company. Here’s the crazy thing about it. The traditional manufacturers, GM, Ford, Chrysler, they don’t use this because they work through a network of dealers and those dealers are based in states and they’re generally going to be subject to state law and arbitration clauses are much not something they’ve used traditionally.

And it’s not something that. Okay. Auto buyers have really had to deal with until this massive influx of our friends, the tech bros into the system. So now Tesla Waymo, maybe even GM will start using these, but a lot of the tech companies that have gotten involved in transportation are using these clauses in their contracts and in their terms of service when you, this isn’t even really a contract.

In the traditional sense, when you sign up for uber and agree to their terms of service, you’ve agreed to, not take your case to court and instead go to arbitration. Of course, you have no idea you agree to that because it’s buried in the agreement way further down than any of us are ever willing to read in these types of contracts.

So it’s, it’s basically a hidden provision and. That’s going to, essentially make sure that you lose your legal rights.

Anthony: I always blown away that these arbitration clauses actually stand because the majority of people who sign this stuff didn’t go to law school, don’t know what arbitration means.

And the judge is you signed this. Huh? I have a fourth grade education. I couldn’t even read the contract. What are we doing here,


Michael: Even the ones who did go to law school are inevitably going to sign them because, if they want that Tesla, they have to sign it.


Anthony: =don’t want that Tesla.

I don’t have to sign it. Okay, let’s take a break from Tesla and let’s let’s go into Fred and his his towel this week that the AI software always transcribes as the towel of Fred. I don’t know why I keep trying to train it and get it better and it’s always nope, the towel of Fred. So this week, the towel of Fred.

I love this idea. I’m just going to let you take it away because I want to volunteer to be part of the study.

Fred: All right. There has been a claim, particularly by our friend Kyle, but a lot of other people, excuse me, that AVs never drive drunk, get sleepy or get distracted, implying that makes them better than human drivers.

But why? Because there’s an underlying assumption on the part of the, whoever’s spouting that nonsense, that… The AVs are just as good as human drivers in other circumstances, and so overall they’re better when the human drivers are degraded because they’re otherwise just as good. But let’s take that apart.

If manufacturers were actually convinced that AVs are safer than human drivers, they’d be making the argument that it’s a moral necessity for everyone to use them, right? Because they’re safer, but that’s not the argument that they make. Instead, they’re arguing that the road to automotive safety heaven uninspectable, unknowable, and unquantified unleashed AVs endangering the public until until when?

How many people have to die to satisfy the developer’s ambitions? What, what is the budget? 10? 100? 10, 000? How many examples of unsafe or lethal AV interactions will it take to train their computer driver? But, developers say that they’re inherently safer because they never drive drunk.

Fair enough. Let’s compare let’s posit a test where we compare the AVs to a human driver. Let’s first just take this apart and say, what are the situations where AVs and human drivers can have competing efficiencies? A couple that have come to mind, I’ll just read through my list.

A safe stop when overtaken by police or fire truck using their emergency lights. Safe immobilization on demand of police using manual signals or whistle, right? Don’t, please don’t run over me car. Avoidance of pedestrian with and without a bicycle at night on unlighted highway at the top speed for the ODD.

Safe navigation around a scene of an emergency response by fire, ambulance, or police. Rerouting against a mapped route. For example, going the wrong way up a one way street when directed by police. Oh, that’s a child. Go

Anthony: ahead. I said that’s a good one. Yeah that, that will happen sometimes where police will say, yeah, you’re going down the street.

Fred: I like it. Avoiding a child or an adult or a bicycle or a wheelchair or running into the street from behind an obstruction. Avoidance of a pedestrian suddenly emerging from a crowd and crossing the street in front of a vehicle. Avoiding pylons in a slalom course. Reversal of direction and rerouting at unmapped road blockage.

For example, there’s suddenly a road block up somewhere. And you got to turn around and get out of dodge. A safe approach to attract a trailer crossing in front of vehicle. We know this has killed several people already. Safe navigation of a highway gore. Again, that’s been known to kill people.

Avoidance of a pedestrian. Or a bicyclist or child while the vehicle is cresting the hill. We know from independent tests by IHS that the vehicles don’t carry over the crest of a hill very well. They lose their position. They lose the reference by the side of the road. That’s got a lot to do with geometry and where the senses are.

How about avoiding front over and back over contact with a child when the vehicle is starting? The safe occupant egress to the dead battery and doing this all at night in bad weather. If that’s allowed by the ODD, these are all very simple tests that could be done safely and compare the AV response to a human response.

I think I know how that’s going to come out and But, I’m sure the GM and Cruz and Waymo and Aurora and, they’re all corporate citizens with great response, great feelings of responsibility. So they’ve probably already done all these tests and we’re just curious why they haven’t published the results of that.

But I think we can, once we’ve set this up, we can up the ante. Let’s maybe let’s introduce alcohol into the equation. If crews and these vehicles are really better than a drunk driver let’s test it. Let’s see if that’s the case. Because once you’ve got the test set up so you can do them safely, you can certainly do them safely with a little bit of compromise of the driver, right?

There’s got to be a way to do that. You can use a. For example, you could use a support driver alongside the drunk driver and just see what the comparison is.

Anthony: I’m gonna jump in real quick. I was all for I will be the drunk driver. I’m looking forward to this. But then when you started talking, I realized there’s another way to do it that’s even simpler.

They have drunk driving simulators, and I was in one years ago, where it’s a car, quote unquote, it’s a computer system that it changes its inputs to have the reaction time of a typical drunk driver. Actually, it wasn’t a drunk driving simulator, it was a NASCAR simulator. I didn’t do very well.

Either way.

Fred: It’s demanding, but, I’m not sure how this test would get set up, whether to do it real live or do it virtually or what you’re going to do. I think you’d have to do it live, though, because the assertion is that these real live AVs are better than real live human beings in all of these circumstances.

Anthony: Yeah I’m going to challenge it to a push up contest after I beat its ass.

Fred: Yeah you’re right. That’s a testable assumption, and I’m sure that the corporate sponsors wouldn’t have put it out in public unless they’ve tested the assumptions. Please, send us the data. We’d love to see how those tests have come out.

And and we’d be happy to share this list of… Simple tests that you can use as your reference for the comparison between the human and the AV drivers, or the computer drivers, however you want to think of that.

Anthony: If Bartles and or James is listening, we’d love you to sponsor this because it’s going to get expensive just from a liability point of view.

And if it is Bartles and James, I’m not going to become the drunk driving simulator person or real

Michael: person. I don’t even know where you pulled the Bartles and James from. That is like a 40 year old wine cooler reference.

Anthony: That’s just how I roll.

Michael: They did have good commercials.

Fred: Let’s just go with Miller time, right?

They’re still using that.

Anthony: Yeah, that one. You have to drink like a case of that. It’s, I think it’s water. That’s what I told the cop today. Anyway,

Fred: the, but the serious part of this is if the companies are going to put out a statement that says it’s better than something show us the, show us the data.

What are you afraid of? And if you have no data, Stop speaking about it. This is not a political contest. This is people’s lives at stake, and the future of the technology at stake. And if you screw it up not only will the people’s lives not be saved, but you’re also going to ruin the climate for the proliferation of this technology in the future.

Anthony: Kyle keeps saying that, hey, according to our data, which I won’t share with you we’re safer. And then he’s hey, we’ve got a million miles I’m testing. And as you guys have pointed out to me, a million miles and car testing is a rounding error. It’s not remotely impressive.

Fred: A million miles with 55, a minimum 55 examples of interference with emergency response.

Which comes out to be, what did I figure out? 23, 000 times more frequently than,

Anthony: Oh, no, it was like a hundred and forty something thousand.

Michael: 167, 000, I believe is the number. Yes.

Fred: Yeah. 167, 000 times the frequency or more common than NHTSA has reported for conventional vehicles, endangering the drivers. I, it’s just bizarro, I don’t, I just don’t get it, it’s like putting an airplane on the runway and saying it’s certified to fly, but we’ve never actually been in the air.

What the hell, it’s just crazy.

Anthony: There’s an autopilot button, though. Come on, Fred.

Fred: We’ve run a simulator, and this airplane should be just perfectly fine. Hey, go ahead and, fill it up with passengers, and off it goes.

Anthony: Come along the new Boeing 737 MAX. Oh, I know, that was a little too dark.

Okay, before we go into Recall Roundup, here’s a, here’s one that’s gonna be landing in people’s cars just any day now. Actually, I think it’s already started happening, whereas all of your, there’s a, a fight over the touchscreens, the infotainment system. Most cars, your infotainment system built by the car manufacturers I think, according to the internal research I have suck.

It’s the horrible experience, so everyone instead uses their phone and uses Apple’s CarPlay or Android Auto, which suck much less. And now General Motors is like yeah, we’re we’re banning CarPlay. We’re not going to allow this stuff in there because, why? Not because they don’t want you, their customer, to have a good experience.

It’s because they went, wait, we want to control this stuff because Apple wants to be in your car because every time you do something in your car that costs money, Apple’s taking 30%. I don’t know why. For some Biblical reason, that’s why they’re doing it. Some very Old Testament reasons is why they take 30%.

Now the auto companies are like, wait a second, we gotta get these guys out of this, cause we want the money. We, if someone wants a heated seat on a cold day, I wanna nickel and dime them. Okay, oh, if you want a seatbelt that actually clicks properly, yeah, that’s gonna cost you more. Oh, you want fast speed that cost you a little bit more if you want full self driving, which is just a term.

It doesn’t mean anything that’s gonna cost you more. So I feel bad for the consumers of the future. I will drive my car until it is dust

Michael: oh, I continue to think that gm kind of stepped over all crossed a line that they may wish they hadn’t at some point in that because To me, at least the people I know seem to value their brand of phone or being able to use their phone a lot more than the brand of vehicle that they drive, maybe.

I just see people who are fanatics, for instance, about Apple and they’re in the Apple ecosystem and all their music and everything they have is connected there and then why would they buy a car that doesn’t support that, all and Apple has been very forward. I think it was in the link that will be on our podcast page.

But this is the 1 where Apple has really spent a lot of time. Yeah. Basically, designing systems that are not just intended to give you a little screen, but to actually in many ways, combine or infiltrate the vehicle electronic systems to produce your own Apple dashboard, overtaking things like your vehicles.

Speedometer and things like that. I think that’s way out in the future and there are probably some compliance issues there. But what it shows you is that, that, Apple and Google are both very heavily invested in this area. And I think the automakers see them as competition at this point. And that’s why I think GM would really with that move was putting a stake in the ground and said, we’re going to do it ourselves.

The problem with that is that they don’t have a lot of great. Years of tech experience that suggests to me, they’re going to be able to beat out an Apple or an Android and in that area. And none of the other automakers have joined GM and that push at this point, they all seem to be hanging back and saying, Oh, whoa, no way we’re getting rid of Apple or no way we’re getting rid of Android.

So it’s something that’s going to continue to develop over the next decade or more, and it will be really interested to see. Not just, which manufacturers try to build their own systems and how well those work and what consumer acceptance looks like. But, what does your dashboard look like in 10 years?

Are we going to have these massive touchscreens creating all these fantastic environments, or are we going to figure out that’s actually not safe and is a huge distraction for drivers and that we might be better off just sticking with our old fashioned buttons?

Anthony: I like a good button. A good button’s nice.

Yeah, it’s interesting because General Motors, they’re not actually really developing the software. They’re using Google’s Android Auto software as the platform they’re building on, because I think they realize at least that, hey, we can’t really build this, but hey, we’ll put a GM logo on it and we’ll take the money, all of the money that comes in, and they won’t do the tithing.

Fred: Isn’t it pretty much guaranteed to suck five years after you buy the car? You can’t… You can’t run current software on your iPhone 3 that you bought 20 years ago.

Anthony: Why are you driving a car that’s 5 years old? Why do you hate the economy?

Fred: Cause it got hit by a deer and I’m waiting for it to be repaired.

Michael: There’s a the big difference there is that the manufacturers are going to have to update their product cycle. For years, cars have been on like. It takes a long time to design and build a car and they’re on these 5 year product cycles where you’ll see the same model being made essentially for a few years before it’s changed.

Whereas, in the phones, we’re seeing a new model, new Apple or new and new Samsung. Come out every year. And those are, those have new hardware, not only new hardware, but, new software. Now, the vehicles you’re buying a vehicle with expectations that lasts a lot longer than a phone. And so what the manufacturers are going to have to figure out is how to get good software updates into these vehicles that will allow for better consumer choice when it comes to these issues.

Anthony: Listener Michael mentioned the links in the podcast description. If you’re listening to this while driving down the road, pull over. Don’t start trying to click on these links while you’re driving. And now that you’ve pulled over the car and you’ve come to a safe stop, go to autosafety. org on your phone and click donate.

Yeah, oh, and why you’re pulled over on the side of the road. Hopefully you have your hazards on. It’s a safe area. Hopefully the drivers around you have gone sideways. If you see a Tesla coming, turn your car back on and just gun it! Get out of there! Go, quick! And tell all your friends. But now it’s time Oh, sorry.

Fred: Save yourselves first.

Anthony: Yes. Save yourselves first. Do not become part of a Tesla full self driving crash video. Speaking of crash videos, I don’t have any crash videos for Recall Roundup, but let’s get into Recall Roundup.

Michael: Strap in. Time for the Recall Roundup.

Anthony: The early part of the show we talked about one of our favorites company’s Tesla. And now we’re gonna get into our second favorite company, Hyundai Kia. Oh boy. Hyundai Kia got a lot of issues this week. They have an engine compartment fire for the powertrain of 121, 000 plus vehicles. Certain 2017 to 2022 Niro and 2018 to 2022 Niro plug in. If you’re gonna name your car Niro of course it’s gonna catch on fire.

What do you people think? Did it come with a little violin? So this is the dealers will inspect and replace the hydraulic clutch actuator, as necessary, actually, Gesundheit, and install a new fuse free of charge. Order notification letters expected to be mailed September 29th. Okay, I’ve got, before we get into the details of this, So NITS is announcing this now.

It is now August 9th. They announced this a couple days ago. Why is it, why are the letters going to go out over a month later?

Michael: Generally, we’ll see the letters going out about that far after the recall. The companies have a very, they have a five day window. Which arguably many of them do not meet, but a five day window after they determine that there’s a defect in the vehicle for them to notify Nitsa.

So the first thing that we see, and the first thing that the public sees is the part 5 73 notice. And that basically covers what the recall is, all the models involved, everything that’s submitted to Nitsa, and then within another month or two, they have other deadlines depending on whether they’ve got a.

Fix ready for the vehicles or not. They can either go ahead and announce the recall and say, come on in and get it fixed. And that takes some time. It takes a little while to get all the VIN numbers together. Get all your dealers on board with it. If you’ve got a part that requires repairing or replacing, you got to make sure your dealers have that in stock.

So there’s a lot of kind of. Administrative work that goes into recalls. So you’ll generally see a delay between the time the recall is announced from the manufacturer to NHTSA and the public finds out about it to the time where owners are actually receiving notifications saying, hey. Come into the dealer or hey, don’t come into the dealer.

We’re not ready yet. It, which is the case sometimes. Or, also as we’ll see in the other two recalls from key and Hyundai this week, they’ll have the, you need to park your vehicle outside for now until we can get you a fix. So there’s generally a delay there of some weeks to a month or two before the actual notice is provided to the owners.

Fred: Does Kia get a group rate because they’ve got so many recalls or any kind of discount with NHTSA? There’s got to be some way of, optimizing the paperwork.

Anthony: They’ll get franking privileges.

Michael: I don’t even know what that is.

Anthony: Franking privilege, it’s what Congress has, they get to send postal letters for free.


Fred: it’s got nothing to do with barbecue. No

Anthony: but listen, as Michael’s face got so happy when he said part five 73,


Michael: saying that it’s basically the bread and butter of recalls is the part five, seven, three.

And for our next part, five, seven, three, another. Kia powertrain electric oil pump assembly may cause fire. I love how like passive these titles are may cause fire. I don’t know. Almost 40, 000 vehicles recalling certain 2023 soul sportage.

So I, is that, huh? And 2023, 2024 Seltos. I’ve heard of a Kia. Okay, wait. Okay, I see where the comment is. Great. The electronic control of the idle stop and go oil pump assembly may contain damaged electrical components that can cause the pump to overheat. It’s all very may contain that’s what my shampoo has.

That’s really because it’s not going to happen in every car, right? If they said it will contain, then, every owner in America is going to be scared that it’s going to happen. But, these things don’t happen to every vehicle. And so they use that language, although, we think more people would be likely to get the repair if the language and 573s was a little stronger, especially in the consumer notification part.

And this recall also applies to a bunch of Hyundai’s. It’s one of those recalls with Hyundai and Kia where it’s their 2023 to 24 Palisade and then their 2023 Tucson, Sonata, Elantra and Kona. So a lot of very recent Hyundai’s are having this problem. And basically they’re, is this the one where there’s a circuit board?

Anthony: Yeah, the electronic controller for the idle stop and go oil

Michael: pump and it causes the pump controller to overheat. So this 1 and the Kia and the Hyundai 1 here are both park outside and away from structures until the recall repair is complete. And in this case, we’re not seeing owner notification letters go out until September 25th of this year.

So a couple almost a month, a little over a month now, a month and a half.

Anthony: For a park outside notice, I’d want people to know immediately. And also I came with a new business idea. It’s called park outside parking, where we’ll park your exploding car or potentially fire car away from structures.

Michael: No, that’s something that, that.

If it was a valet service, it’d be nicer if you could, meet me at my office building where I’m not allowed to park in my parking structure and then take my car somewhere else. But I gotta think that’s more expensive than most owners will be able to afford. I

Anthony: gotta buy asbestos fireproof suits for my drivers.

That’s too much.

Michael: The so this one looks like They already know what the fix is going to be for these. So it doesn’t look like they’re having to design a fix for the problem. So that should get owners for these 2 recalls fixed pretty quick. Although it’s not starting until next month.

Anthony: Moving on, we have one for Chrysler the company that always surprises me, it still exists.

B pillar trim may interfere with airbag. For those of you at home who don’t know what a B pillar is, the Sitting in the driver’s seat, you look to your left, that kind of Part in between the windshield wiper, or the windshield, and your driver’s side passenger window, there’s a structure there, that’s the A pillar, and now going back between the driver’s side window and the rear passenger window, there’s a more structure there, that’s the B pillar.

Alright, look at that, I learned something, Fred didn’t even teach me that, I learned that on my own, was that correct?

Fred: You amaze me every day, Anthony.

Anthony: This is amazing, we only talk once a week, but I amaze him every day. Okay this is the e

Fred: mail. The e mail.

Anthony: Potentially 44, 708 vehicles. Chrysler is recalling certain 2022, 2023 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

And if you’ve got the Grand Wagoneer, boy are you special. The upper B pillar inter interior trim may not be fully seated and could interfere with the side curtain airbag deployment. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 226, Ejection Mitigation.

Ejection Mitigation was also a great name of an Alan Holdsworth album from 1982. Huh. Nah, I just made that part up, but,

Michael: that’s interesting in itself. I don’t know if everybody will catch that, but, it’s not a it’s not an airbag compliance issue there that they’re violating. That’s because there aren’t any federal standards on the curtain airbags in 208, where most of the other airbag regulations are.

But it is a violation of the 226 ejection mitigation because these side curtain airbags are critically important in preventing people from being object ejected, in lots of cases, in case of an open window or damaged door opening, or any number of other circumstances where a passenger or driver may be unbuckled and might be subject to being ejected from the vehicle.

It’s a, it’s side curtain airbags are, have come to perform a pretty critical role in preventing injuries and ejections and rollovers and other types of crashes.

Fred: Okay, Michael, I have a question for you with all of these key is catching on fire. Won’t they fall under EPA? EPA governance for global warming pretty soon.

Michael: You would think they would count the fires as part of the emissions, but I’m not sure if they’ve got that, that in their testing.

Anthony: How many of these Kia’s are located in Canadian boreal forests? That’s a thinker. Probably not so many anymore. Ha. And while we think about that, Lucid…

Heh, another company. That’s it. They’re just a company. They’ve got software may not display warning for loss of power. A loss of drive power without warning increases the risk of a crash. Lucid’s recalling potentially 778 vehicles, which is less than their previous recalls, which just said all of them.

They’re recalling certain 2022 to 2023 air vehicles. Software version blah blah blah blah blah blah may not respond to inverter. power module failure, which can result in a loss of drive power without warning. Now, what’s this regression testing thing you always talk about, Fred?

Fred: That’s where you always test new software against the old software and make sure that you get the same results for the new software as you would have gotten with the old software where there’s a comparison.

For example, If you build a new calculator, the old calculator would say 2 plus 2 equals 4. You want to make sure that the new calculator with the new software also says 2 plus 2 equals 4.

Anthony: That’s fascinating. You could have worked for Intel in the mid 90s and saved them a ton of money.

Michael: Last one. And that lucid one, it goes back to something we discussed.

I believe in this year’s resolutions for this year, we asked for NHTSA to get on top of Lucid and their loss of power problems, which have been pretty well documented by their owners on various Lucid forums. They call it the Turtle of Death, or… Turtle mode. I forget what they call it, but there have been just an obscene number of complaints on the limited number of vehicles.

Lucid is built so far regarding loss of power. And this I believe is the second recall this year that attempts to address that issue. So we’ll see if this one works.

Anthony: That’s what Lisa lucid, that’s what lucid calls it. Sales techniques to loss of power. The last one we got is NHTSA has an open recall query open recall query, into RAM 1500 pickups.

The subject vehicle may experience a sudden, intermittent, or complete loss of power steering assistance. It’s got power steering assistance? What’s… These are the same people who make rear backup cameras. What’s going on here?

Michael: This one is so the reason this one is a recall query and not just your usual and it’s a engineering analysis or preliminary or their initial evaluation of an issue.

It’s a recall query because there’s Chrysler already recalled some of the later models here, 2015 to 16s. And they did that in 2016. 7 years ago, Chrysler recalled the later models of this, and now it looks like NHTSA is saying, oh we’re seeing a lot of, reports of the same problem in the 2013s through the 2014s.

16 that you didn’t recall, which always raises our suspicion suspicions here, because, it could be that the exact same parts are on all of these vehicles. But Chrysler negotiated a sweet deal with only recall a few of them and left the other ones on the road where they continue to degrade. And now we’re having.

The same problem, which is completely expected. Really? I think Fred would agree with that from an engineering perspective. If you have the same part of a vehicle, and you only recall a certain batch, you’re going to have a big risk remaining and the rest of them. So that’s what this looks like to us. And so it’s.

Fiat Chrysler has a history of not being the most responsive when it comes to addressing safety issues by a recall. So we are interested to see how this one develops and hope that some Chrysler owners who have had to deal with the problem and were left out of the initial recall are able to receive something out of this.

Fred: I just want to point out that there’s a misunderstanding in what you just said, which is that engineers ever agree with anybody on virtually anything. That’s just, that’s not a thing with engineering. I also want to do a walk on here. We talked last, a couple of weeks ago about Rivian electronic, electric Pickup trucks and how expensive they were to repair after a fairly routine crash, right?

I watched a video this week on the Tesla super truck or a cyber truck or Vomit truck or whatever. They’re calling it right now and how it’s being built and they’re headed down the exact same path Because what they’re doing is they’re building the vehicle out of stainless steel and using that stainless steel body as a Primary structural member, a primary structure means everything else hangs off of it, right?

So if you have a bridge on a, a barrier on a bridge, the barrier on the bridge is not primary structure. The bridge roadway itself is the primary structure because it’s carrying everything else. When you make a body that is the primary structure, particularly out of stainless steel, you’ve got a huge repair bill when anybody bangs your fender.

Because you’ve got to replace that stainless steel or straighten it out or do something to it that will probably involve cutting out the section that’s broken, welding in a new piece of stainless steel, grinding to weld, x ray inspection because it’s a load bearing structure. Man oh man, if you’ve been holding off on your purchase of a Rivian because you’re afraid of the repair cost, I think you might look somewhere else besides the the Cybertruck from Tesla.

I… I imagine that’s going to be a huge repair bill associated with any routine crash that you’re going to encounter.

Michael: I’m wondering if it’ll be a problem because, I think the Cybertruck will look better after an accident.

Fred: That’s true. It actually seems to be designed to avoid radar detection.

It’s got a stealthy stealthy contour and it’s got all the angular… Presentations. It does have that what of a vehicle that is supposed to be stealthy. So it compares with the F 17. You’ll see a lot of a lot of parallels. I don’t know if that’s a sales point for them or not, but hey, a stealthy, autonomous vehicle.

That can carry a big load. Man, there’s a certain population in the world that’s gonna love that.

Anthony: With that, listeners we’re out of time, but I’d like to make a request for next week’s towel of Fred. Can we talk about stainless steel? Because everyone thinks, stainless steel, it doesn’t corrode, it’ll be perfect and wonderful forever.

But as someone who’s seen stainless steel rust, I will disagree. I am not the Tao of Fred, so maybe we can talk about stainless steel, crash testing of stainless steel how that’s gonna work

Fred: Listeners, listeners please call in and comment and give us some appraisal of your interest in metallurgy, because I’d love to do that, but, I’m a nerd, and so I get off on tangents that…

But thank you for the suggestion, Anthony.

Anthony: We’ll try and make it more colloquial. Okay. We’ll play Neil Young’s arc weld in the background. It’ll be good. All

Fred: That sounds good. That all sounds good. Okay. Thank you for

Anthony: listening, folks. Thank you listeners. Have a good one. Bye. For

Fred: more

Michael: information, visit www.

autosafety. org


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