I don’t drive. I don’t care about those things.

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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.

But I did have to avoid a very aggressive Tesla driver who decided from. The far, the lane three, the left lane, to say, Hey, let me cut across all of these, cut over to make an exit, where the exit is, it’s That, I don’t know, what is that called? That kind of V separation? The gore. The gore.

Is it called the gore? Yeah. He tried to gore me, because he’s just Mrowm! Cuts over the gore, and I’m like, what are you doing? Full self idiot. That’s what mode he was in. Hey listeners, welcome to another episode of there ought to be a law. I

Michael: don’t know

Fred: why I said that. A gory story, started with a gory story.

Anthony: Started with a gory story. Are we ready?

Michael: I think we’re ready.

Anthony: Good. Cuz I already pressed record and it’s too late at that point. We’re down the rabbit hole. So we are committed. Let’s let’s get into the most important thing of the day and not the Tesla trying to. But the California Public Utilities Commission is having a vote on July 13th, so the day this is published.

This episode, if you’re listening to this episode now, and you live in California, and it is not yet 11 AM, you can go and view this meeting happening. This is a vote to see if California will… San Francisco, and I think another city in California, to have all autonomous vehicles operate 24 hours a day.

So they can continue to stop over fire hoses, block intersections, and do all sorts of things. The vote is Thursday. I guess it’s just for the members of the California Public Utilities Commission. Can the public participate?

Michael: The public can participate and they should participate. I believe they can file comments prior to the vote.

And I don’t know about testimony at this point. You probably have to sign for that in advance, but this isn’t going away. This issue is going to come up again and again, wherever you live in California. At some point, your city will probably have this come into play. And unfortunately, at this point, your city has very little say.

And what ultimately happens, it’s going to be a decision made at the state level, regardless of the impacts in individual cities.

Anthony: We have a link to the the voting information for the California Public Utility Commission. And also we have a link to this fun article in MSN, where it starts off I know I did.


Fred: please. That other city in California you mentioned is called Los Angeles. It’s a well known Metropolitan area. Never heard of it. Yeah, apparently they don’t have any traffic problems down there right now. The whole idea of introducing any marginal additional problems due to self driving cars is, it’s got to be a good idea.

I I can’t see any consequences at all of that. Tesla spontaneous or self driving car spontaneously stopping on the… 110 freeway. Don’t see how that could be a problem.

Anthony: It won’t happen. Clearly, these things don’t happen. But anyway, so in this article in MSN, we have a link to, it starts off, On a recent Friday evening, a driverless car pulled up alongside an outdoor dining shed in the Mission District of San Francisco.

I don’t drive a car, he grumbled, so I don’t really care about these things. I assume since he’s smoking a cigarette, he must be French, and it must be, I don’t know, the 1940s. But that sentiment there of him saying, I don’t drive a car, so I don’t care about these things. is stupid. It’s stupid because he is a participant in society.

I assume he doesn’t just stay on that one block on that one side of the street. I assume it sometimes he might cross the street. Maybe he has a bicycle that he uses while smoking cigarettes.

Michael: And he was sitting in an outdoor cafe, first of all, which is certainly not immune to automobile accidents as we’ve seen a few.

Over the past years, as dining moved outdoors for the pandemic, I think we probably saw a few more of those types of collisions than usual,

Anthony: I don’t care. I don’t drive a car. It’s just he does.

Fred: He does have an ignition source between his lips. He might be interested in noting that 66 instances of interference with fire responses have been documented by the Washington Post.

Since theCruise vehicles started to operate in San Francisco.

Anthony: Keep in mind, it’s not just our friend Kyle atCruise and his company producing less than good products. It’s also our friends at Google, Waymo, and Apple. Amazon. Amazon, yeah, so there’s a lot of people, that want to get between that guy’s lips.

Not really sure what that last part meant.

Fred: We’ll let that go. Is this G rated or what are we doing here?

Anthony: I don’t know, but it’s fascinating because it’s, so related to this is continuing our theme of everything will be better in the future, but right now. Activists in the San Francisco area are fighting back against AVs in the most fascinating way possible.

We’ve talked about all the problems these vehicles have, and they found an interesting, very simple solution to stop these cars, disable them on the street. They put a traffic cone right on the hood. They just come up to one of these cars, find a traffic cone, they’re everywhere, there’s literally 22 of them right outside of my building right now and they grab one and they put it on the AV just stops.

Which is good, because you can control where it stops, as opposed to now, where they just give up wherever they want. No?

Michael: I guess that’s good. I’m still trying to figure out whether that’s good or not. It’s good to have a, a local form of protest that might have an impact. It certainly seems to be having some sort of an impact.

I’m less, I guess I have doubts about where the cones are being deployed on these vehicles and whether they might be contributing to some of the issues we’re seeing on San Francisco’s roads, are these activists being really careful about where they’re stopping these vehicles is probably my biggest concern.

But if, it’s good to know that the cruise AI or the Waymo AI, I’m not sure what, maybe working on both of them is picking up traffic cones. It’s bad that the traffic cones are throwing the vehicles into, as we call it in the floor, an existential crisis for which they need an engineer.

to hop in another car and go out 30 minutes or so to fix the problem.

Anthony: They’re picking up traffic cones when they’re on the roof of their car. We’re not so sure how well they pick up traffic cones when they’re actually on the street.

Fred: I wonder if the police should start carrying traffic cones so that poor police officer who is trying to Control the AV a couple of weeks back, might’ve just plunked a traffic cone on the car. I guess it must just be detected by the cameras and seen as an obstruction, which would cause the car to stop.

Interesting approach. We don’t recommend it by the way, it’s the ideas out there.

Anthony: We don’t recommend it, but if you go to the auto safety, the Center for Auto Safety store, you can buy your own traffic cone right now. We should totally do that. Can we do that? Or traffic cone t shirts?

Oh my god, traffic cone t shirts! This is a brilliant idea.

Fred: I think that’d be a great giveaway for the… Third person to call in with ,

Anthony: wait, give away Fred? This is a nonprofit we look write in if you think you’d love a traffic cone t-shirt,

Fred: if they give them away, then you know it’ll even reduce our profits further.

So I, I think it’s consistent with our goal.

Anthony: Oh, , Fred, keep in mind is the engineer, ladies and gentlemen, math, not his strong point.

So yeah, there’s a couple of great articles we have on this on the last couple of things to talk about the California Public Utility Commission vote happening on July 13th, which as we record, this is tomorrow. And this, the activists putting safety cones on top of vehicles. And then

Michael: I think next week, we’ve got a lot going on autonomous vehicles from a legislative perspective, the house.

Republicans introduced a bill that is, for better, I don’t have any really better words to describe it than awful and outdated last week and so we’re monitoring that and we plan to Make that the focus of our discussion next week.

Anthony: Ooh, that sounds exciting. But this is at the federal level, correct?

Not the state?

Michael: This is at the federal level. This is where the lobbyists for the A. B. industry are trying to get federal law to preempt state laws. So that the states who are controlling things now don’t have any power. So not only will localities not have power, neither will states.

Anthony: What a world we’re living in.

Things will be better in the future. Speaking of things being better in the future, Toyota says it has made a technological breakthrough that will allow it to half the weight, size, and cost of batteries, and what could herald a major advance for electric vehicles. Toyota basically says, Hey, we’ve got solid state batteries ready, and we’re gonna put them out by 2025.

Which is, if true, phenomenal. Amazing. Is it true?

Fred: I don’t know. I haven’t examined the the details of that, but it could well be true. There’s an awful lot of activity going on to increase the specific energy of batteries. The question is, would they take that additional capability and turn it into reduced weight?

Or would they turn it into increased range for these vehicles? It could go either way. And there’s no way of knowing which way they’re going to go. I guess that would be determined by their marketing people.

Anthony: Yeah, in this article from The Guardian which we have a link to it says they’ve developed ways to make batteries more durable and believed it can now make a solid state battery with a range of 745 miles that could charge in 10 minutes or less.

Michael: That would be, that would be absolutely amazing, and it would solve a lot of the problems that I think a lot of the resistance from people who are really concerned about the range of these things. I think it would solve a lot of problems for people who are working and are towing and are doing some of the heavier jobs that, The current pickups that are on the market, the electric vehicles don’t really provide a lot of that for, your average farmer or someone who’s actually using these trucks for work, the size of a battery needed right now to allow you to do those things isn’t.

Probably weighs more than two or three cars. So a solid state battery would, not only increase the range, but allow a lot more work to be done by those folks who need to get it done. As opposed to, the neighborhood dad who buys a 10, 000 pound truck so he can look good.

Anthony: Okay, aesthetic observations aside. This is this is fascinating. And really, as far as I can tell on this, Toyota seems to be the only one really saying, Hey, we’re going to do this. We have it ready. Whereas every other OEM says, yeah, it’s going to happen. Toyota’s really

Michael: putting it out there. Toyota was, they, their CEO got in a lot of trouble and they’ve been in a lot of trouble because they’re not willing to 100% commit to EVs.

That’s the only thing. And the only answer that’s ever going to work. Which I think is a silly criticism of them because they’ve been the leaders on some of the hydrogen fuel cell stuff and on hybrids and on other ways of propelling vehicles and mechanisms of transportation without solely relying on electricity and as we know, a grid that’s Not quite up to snuff yet.

And, half of America is not convinced and isn’t balled in that, that EVs are the only solution. That’s because the cars that are coming out so far are too expensive and they don’t allow for you to go a long way if you’re towing something or you’re working. So there’s a long way to go.

And I think a solid state battery, if it comes out of Toyota by 2025 is. It’s incredible and then would really revolutionize the market and make it a lot more, hopefully make some cheaper vehicles come become available on the market for folks that can’t afford something under $40, 000. And also put, trucks and work vehicles out there that people who right now don’t think they can rely on EVs, it could assuade their concerns as well.

Fred: Someone who’s not going to this is any company that has invested billions of dollars in a new factory to build lithium ion batteries. So it’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out. If this is, I don’t think this is a Betamax versus VHS type of competition because Toyota has sufficient market presence to move ahead with their new technology, regardless of what their competitors in the lithium. Ion battery business care to do. I, this is going to be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Michael: And we don’t have a I don’t know if we’ve gone back and covered this right now, but a solid state battery is really important for a lot of reasons to us. Obviously, we’re talking about range and power and those type of things right now, but also.

It’s certainly worth considering that the fire risk with them is, I believe, non existent or very low. And also, when you can make a battery with that much range, you can reduce the weight of batteries that you’re putting in your everyday cars and, battle physics in, in, in in crashes, basically.

The less weight involved in crashes, the, the less deadly they’re going to be.

Anthony: Take that, physics. We got an article from the New York Times about why car repairs have become so expensive. And I have this issue a lot with my vehicle. Okay, I have to bring it to the auto body shop because somebody else who drives the car scraped up part of it, removed the paint, and you can see the steel undercarriage, and there’s…

This brownish, reddish material appearing there now. And that other driver’s I’m taking it to the beach this weekend! And I’m like, Rust! Come on! This is I don’t know how long it takes. And I thought that it looked like the body was aluminum. Maybe, does aluminum rust?

Fred: Aluminum does not rust.

Anthony: So it’s not aluminum. Okay.

Fred: You got your basic rust bucket there. But, you gotta consider that this is a small price to pay for the fact that he did not get the damn motorcycle.

Anthony: No, he didn’t. He doesn’t have a driver’s license yet. No. He does not have a driver’s license.

It’s the other driver who’s who’s tested out our automatic emergency braking field of view and we find that isn’t as great as it should be. Yeah, so anyway, this is a scrape and I know taking it to the auto body shop That’s they’re just gonna be like that’s five hundred dollars And i’m like really just give me an angle grinder and this kind of spray paint i’ll do it But I don’t i’ve never used an angle grinder Did they

Michael: propose at any point to charge you forty two thousand dollars for a bumper repair?

Like they did the poor guy in the article with the rivian

Anthony: No, thankfully, no, I haven’t even brought it in yet, but no, so this article in the New York Times basically talks about how cars are becoming more and more like computers, and so any little, injury you have to the car, so what Michael just talked about, so this guy bangs his Rivian up, which is a high end Electric truck that weighs 3 billion pounds.

And so it’s gonna, hey, you want to replace your bumper? That’s 42, 000. Because you’re not replacing just the bumper, you’re replacing all of the cameras that are in there, the radar that’s in there. I believe Rivian has LiDAR. I don’t know if that’s in the bumper. The ultrasonic sensors. The, give everyone in the Rivian factory a cup of coffee.

Yeah, that’s $42, 000.

Michael: It sounds like what would happen if you dropped your computer off of a balcony or something. It’s just, it, I guess it brings home the point that, these vehicles have so many electronics packed into them that… You’re not just hitting steel anymore. You’re hitting a an embedded electronic system every time there’s a crash, and that’s what’s driving these costs.

Anthony: Yeah, it would be like if you dropped 42, 000 computers out of your window, like the price in this is amazing. I remember when I found out the field of view on our automatic emergency braking wasn’t that insurance paid for it, but you see the bill that the insurance company says this is how much it costs.

And I’m like, that’s half the price of the car. This is nonsense. You guys are doing some weird math here. It didn’t cost that much. But, then it just gives the insurance company a justification to raise my rates a couple hundred bucks a year. But, yeah, so this is this is fascinating.

They’re saying part of the issue is because in the case of Rivian, it’s a new company and not enough people know how to do it. Which, fair enough, but they’re also talking about repairing electric models is more expensive than repairing gasoline. Because I lost my place in the article, I should be able to do that.

Michael: I think it’s more expensive to repair the electric vehicles for many of the same reasons. They’re so new that the parts distribution isn’t as. As wide as what’s been established with ICE vehicles over the years. And the manufacturers are somewhat new.

Anthony: And it’s with everything so integrated like that, you used to be able to just use a part from one place and put it into another place.

And I can’t tell if both Michael and Fred froze or just Michael froze.

Michael: Really, the past couple of years with the supply chain and, this suggests that, a lot of the arguments for electric vehicles are that they require less maintenance and they require, less hands on time.

But when you get in a crash, it may be that they require more because of the complexity of the systems and the sensors and things that are generally going to be available more so on electric vehicles at this point than on the internal combustion engine.

Fred: You’ve also got to recognize that all vehicles are not created the same.

If you want a vehicle to be easy to repair, you have to build it in as a requirement for the vehicle. And conventional cars have been doing this for a very long time. Established car companies have been doing it for a very long time, and they’ve learned that customers are very unhappy if you have to rebuild the entire vehicle to change the spark plug.

These newer companies are only just now starting to feel the growing pains of having to persist in the market rather than just pump something out for the early adopters. And I think this is part of it as well. That article goes on to say that there was some particular part that spanned the entire vehicle from the rear bumper to the front A pillar, which is the A pillar for our readers as our listeners is the thing that.

Basically supports the windshield and the roof. So the front of the car, that’s a really dumb design to have to span the entire vehicle in order to replace a bumper. But this is something that companies grow into as they persist in a marketplace, if they’re going to persist in a marketplace. I would guess that whatever insurance company financed the repair of this vehicle is going to be very circumspect about insuring their next Rivian.

Time, time will tell, but time tends to move people towards design for easy repair.

Anthony: And is Rivian, that’s one of the companies where every car they’ve ever manufactured has been recalled at this point too. This is unrelated, but yeah.

Michael: I think Lucid, it’s almost unavoidable if you’re producing a small batch of all the same things once you have, one recall that covers the design of the vehicle rather than manufacture.

It’s going to cover your whole fleet.

Anthony: Cause I, I saw a Lucid drive down my street the other day and I just wanted to stop the driver and be like, Oh, I’m sorry. That’s just too bad. You spent 120, 000. On a lemon. But that’s just me being a jerk. Cause hey! No one disagreed, they just looked at me. Speaking of being a Oh, yes please.

Fred: Self awareness is always a good thing, Anthony. And

Michael: mindfulness. Anthony needs to practice mindfulness. Ha

Anthony: Ha. No, I’m just upset that I mean I don’t have 130, 000 dollars to spend on a car.

Michael: What, you don’t like, you don’t like slow turtle mode?

Anthony: Ha, no, slow turtle mode I do not like. Limp home mode in my Ferrari.

Limp home mode in my Ferrari is probably faster than my Toyota. Anyway speaking of lack of self awareness and whatnot, another Tesla plowed into a fire engine on Highway 680 in Fremont, California. A Tesla plows into a stationary fire truck that is respondable to a multiple vehicle crash in Interstate 680 and the Tesla said, We want to be part of the party.

Come on. Let us in. The Fremont Fire Department said one of its fire engines was on the northbound lanes of traffic at Auto Mall Parkway. Really? That’s something called auto When it was hit by a Tesla Model Y, the Tesla driver unfortunately had to be hospitalized. No firefighter. Firefighters were injured, and it was not immediately known whether the Tesla was in self driving mode at the time of the crash.

Michael, forget self driving mode, forget autopilot. How often do normal, average drivers just crash into stationary firetrucks?

Michael: All the time. No, really? Yeah, it’s very common. That’s the stuff that Tesla’s supposed to be fixing, but yes. I can for as an example, we had a defect in Crown Victoria police vehicles where their fuel tank was incorrectly placed in the late 90s, early 2000s time period.

And, police officers were routinely being killed and burned because drunk drivers. And sleeping drivers, whatever they are, drivers not paying attention or colliding with these vehicles with blue lights, very clear object in front of your vehicle. You shouldn’t hit all the time. It happens all the time.

And I think it’s a really important part of training for all those folks is trying to keep an eye out for that type of thing because it happens frequently.

Anthony: Cuz I’ve seen situations where you have a a police car pulled somebody over for speeding, for example, they have them on the shoulder, and drivers who just drive in the right lane really fast still next to them, which is insane.

The only time I’ve never experienced that was in the state of Montana, where everybody’s doing, minimum 90 miles per hour. But anytime there was any car pulled over on the shoulder, everyone would get out and free up that lane. Yep. Which I thought was amazing.

Michael: And it’s required in a lot of states as well.

To move over laws, and it’s important, and that’s why those laws exist, because there have been so many injuries. And deaths to emergency responders. And also, this is, part of road crews and working crews on the on interstates and other roads protecting them as well,

Anthony: So in this particular case, though, from looking at the video of it, there’s two fire trucks and what they extend over two lanes.

More or less, they already have traffic cones down. So it’s not this kind of common scenario where we see on the shoulder like just that. And they’re hugging it. This is a Pretty like this is hey, we’re blocking a lot of traffic. There’s cones. It’s the middle of the day. It’s sunny It’s very bright outside.

I know you don’t have exact data on this, but that’s no it’s

Michael: It’s obvious to anyone but a really bad driver a really dumb computer camera system on a vehicle That’s not working from

Anthony: don’t you dare call Tesla dumb my Tesla will fight you in a cage match

Michael: I can’t wait to watch that one. But, it’s…

It runs into, something else we were just thinking about discussing, which is, do you really trust your vehicle to make these decisions for you? You do you trust a vehicle to make a decision as to whether or not you potentially kill and injure emergency responders? Or would you rather just?

Have the creature comfort of letting your car drive you home. That’s something I think everyone should really think hard about before they turn on autopilot or any of these other systems, particularly when it appears that doing so could ultimately subject you to criminal liability, even though Elon Musk is telling you everything’s fine and dandy.

Anthony: I know anytime I have automated cruise control and lane keeping assessed on the car and my wife and I are on a long road trip, she gets very angry when she finds out that I have it on. But I still have my hands on the wheel. I’m still paying attention. We were in this stop and go traffic and I’m like, we’re moving five miles per hour, I’m just gonna put this on.

And it’s the car, unfortunately, it’s software is very heavy on the brake. And so she’s giving me this dirty look like, what is wrong with you? Why can’t you drive? And I’m like, it’s not me. It’s the car. And that was the wrong answer. That was the

Michael: wrong answer. I applaud your wife for being the everything in the family.

Fred: Is there a right answer in that?

Situation? No.

Michael: You turn it off and say, yes, dear. Come on.

Anthony: I know. At highway speeds, it’s much fa it doesn’t do that it’s much smoother. But, eh, yeah speaking of this of Hey, I want autopilot and and full self lying driving on all the time.

There’s a lot of items you can buy to ensure that your Tesla is driving itself at all times. They’re called you want to relieve your shoulder pain? Is driving too hard for you? Holding that steering wheel, that 10 and two not good enough for you? You can get wheel weights or wheel knobs, basically.

Hang a weight off your steering wheel. It convinces the Tesla that there’s torque applied to the steering wheel. And for astute listeners, two weeks ago, Fred explained what torque is. He’s looking at me like I can ask you again what torque is and you won’t know.

Fred: No. I’m really eager. I can go through that again.

Anthony: No, we’ve got better stuff for you. And you can buy all these things to overcome the limitation, which is not much of a limitation. It’s, literally, you can just rest your hands on the steering wheel. Is it Tesla drivers who are just like, Hey, I believe that my car is better than these regulations?

Michael: No, there are people, , I say

Fred: the worlds would like to jump out of airplanes. , Your turn. Go ahead.

Michael: Yeah, I, I don’t think it’s just Tesla drivers. I think it’s, there’s a combination. There are people who trust the vehicle. There are people com there are literally people walking this earth that think that Tesla’s been driving themselves and they wanna enable those vehicles to do and then there are people who I assuming, are just lazy and don’t wanna deal with what is. Driving’s not fun. It’s, for, you, some people enjoy cruising down, a beautiful highway in the sunset and that’s what on car commercials. But, driving in DC at rush hour raises my blood pressure.

It’s not something we all like to do, and. As Americans will sometimes take the easy way out. And in a lot of cases, I think this is just, folks who are lazy and don’t want to drive home or want to, let the car pretend to drive while they play a video game or do something else.

So Tesla is not really directly involved here as the bad guy. There’s a group that about five years ago, I think it was a while back that was producing these little rubber. Implements called Tesla buddies that you could put on the steering wheel to fool whatever the software was doing back then.

This is just another iteration of that. And it’s actually ordered them to cease and desist sales of that product. Although I don’t think they really did. They just labeled it as for off course use, like GM does with the WTF mode on the Hummer, as though that somehow erases legal liability there.

But. I think it’s just, lazy people or people who trust the technology far too much who are taking advantage of this and, going back to the previous thing we talked about, that’s going to expose them to liability.

Anthony: Yes. So talk to us more about liability because we have an update on a story we’ve talked about a few times where this was a Tesla Model S on autopilot in 2019.

It ran the red light out in California and it slammed into a. Honda Civic, while it was traveling at 74 miles per hour. The person did this at night and they were recently sentenced to probation. And they killed two people. In this car crash. Is, how is it written now? Is it, cause what’s the law?

Hey, my car drove it, my car did it. Which, my wife doesn’t like that answer. But the judge seemed to… Okay with it. I think it’s

Michael: Pretty clear under the wall that if you’re choosing to rely. On a technology that’s unproven to drive your car for you and you kill people, you’re going to be held criminally liable in some form.

Now, in this case, the guy didn’t get jail time, I don’t believe, or anything truly punitive in that way. But I’m not aware of what the, the average sentence would be, for instance, for someone who ran a red light and killed two people in the absence of this technology. It may be a very similar sentence.

It may be, that they’re not prosecuted because there’s not that aggravating factor of The autopilot being turned on. I just don’t know what typically California would do in that circumstance. But so it’s unclear whether, you’re exposing yourself to any additional liability, but you can be held criminally liable in California for using and trusting autopilot and, committing harm to other humans

Anthony: can the driver of the vehicle sue tesla and say hey I was using your software and it failed?

Michael: He can try if he wants to deal with the mountain of lawyers That tesla is going to throw at him. That’s going to be a very expensive case

Anthony: This episode brought to you by the mountain of lawyers If you’d like to help fight against the Mountain of Lawyers, go to autosafety. org, click on the donate button.

Michael: Can you imagine an actual Mountain of Lawyers? That would be the worst vacation ever.

Anthony: Don’t go up here, the rocks are loose! Hey, oh, you got a sprained ankle there? Alright, come here, talk to me, buddy. Oh, how’s that ambulance getting up this mountain? Alright I think, I don’t know, Ted, ted? Did I just call you Ted Fred? Hey Fred, your name’s now Ted. I’ve decided, that’s what it is. I think let’s go into the Tao of Fred?

Fred: Is it the Tao of Ted? I’m not,

Anthony: however that goes. I don’t know. Ted’s Taos. It’s funny cause the The automated transcription software always refers to it as the towel of Fred.

And I always have to fix that. So you’re entering the towel of Fred.

Fred: All right. So I have a question for you, Anthony. So your car was identified the last six months in a row, parked for a half hour at your aunt Edna’s house the day before your rent was due. But no other time. What should we conclude from that data?

Anthony: She’s totally my aunt. Okay, she’s totally my aunt. Okay, look. Yep that’s what you should conclude from that data.

Fred: Okay other conclusions could be drawn but, related to that, would you mind sharing with us your listeners here, your credit card number, the expiration date and the security code?

Would you be so kind?


Anthony: I wouldn’t, but somebody actually sent me a photograph of their credit card the other day. And I was like, oh, don’t do that.

Fred: This, well, Michael, all right, I’ll turn to Michael then. Your credit card has been used at the local Piggly Wiggly every time they ran a special on Kleenex during the pandemic.

Now, is that a coincidence or is there some causality here? What conclusion should we draw from that?

Anthony: Does Piggly Wiggly make you cry? And does your credit card number start with the number four?

Michael: I am very emotional and maybe, and I I don’t know, a monthly cycle to that is what makes it odd.

I can’t really, once maybe I’d cry a lot of tissues. I don’t even use tissues.

Fred: I know you use your sleeve, I understand that, but it’s, synthetic fibers.

Michael: In Anthony’s case, I would, say, he could be going and taking her social security check out of her mailbox and cat, hey! That would be one thing you could get from that data. There’s some other things that are probably even worse.

Fred: Yeah the point of that… of this whole discussion, of course, is that if somebody has access to where your car is, and when it’s at that location it’s a lot of valuable information that people can glean from that even without having the personally identifiable information that you would normally associate with somebody.

So this brings us to cars and hacking, and another question for you guys, what was the first widely acknowledged vehicle hack that was when

Anthony: Edsel Ford rewired his grandfather’s model. A to run off of kerosene.

Fred: Michael, I’m not sure that’s true, but Michael, what’s your guess?

Michael: I guess it would be when you you don’t need a key to start some of the older vehicles. You can get them going down a hill and do it. Kickstart and get it going.


Anthony: I think I know what it is, actually, because this was big in the 90s, where on the passenger floorboard, you could open it up, you can access some chips in there, you could pop out a chip that would defeat the emissions, so you’d get, the car would be faster, and you’d put in a new chip.

Fred: Those are very creative and excellent answers.

No, the last one’s true. They’re wrong, of course. Now, the first known hack was during something called the Trojan War, and in that in that instance, the Greeks, having feigned defeat, put together a wooden horse that was filled with soldiers, and the People who lived in Troy were elated by this, and they actually dragged the Trojan horse inside the city walls, which the Greeks had been unable to penetrate for 10 years or so, despite intervention of various gods and demigods.

It did not end up well for the Trojans. The first instance of vehicle hacking was very bad. And There’s a guy named Christopher Wray, who is the head of the FBI, who thinks that vehicle hacking in the AV environment could be more or less equally bad. So he was quoted in Davos. Talking about the various things that can happen.

So there’s two main aspects of this. One is, of course, the physical security associated with the vehicles, the energy that they’ve got and the energy that they could contain, including, chemical explosives. So he said as he talked about AVs there, he said a different kind of harm we’re concerned about is the enormous amount of data that autonomous vehicles, for example, aggregate, said Ray.

And anytime you aggregate lots and lots of sensitive data, it makes a very tempting target. That’s certainly true. And that, that harkens back to what we were talking about earlier, Anthony, because when people use AVs as a service for hire, Their credit card information goes directly to the owner of the of the AV or whatever service it is that you’re subscribing to.

So this is a lot of information is flying around out there. Not only that though, but the car… The AV contains a lot of cameras, some of them can be pointed inside, some of them can be pointed outside. And so the visual images of you and whatever location the car is bringing you to can certainly be associated with the travel and associated with your credit card.

So there’s a lot of jeopardy and a lot of potential. And and Michael, of course, in this environment, government regulations will be very careful to protect you. So what are the regulations that protect people right now? Who are using AVs as a service for hire to make sure that their personal information is protected.

Michael: There is absolutely nothing that I’m aware of.

Fred: Absolutely. That is shocking, but okay we’ll go with that. So what else can happen? Let’s see in 2020 researchers at McAfee used a piece of tape to change the speed limit sign from 35 miles per hour to 85 miles per hour. And the Tesla that was being tested immediately changed its cruise control speed from 35 to 85 miles an hour, despite the fact that was not the real speed limit in the area.

Michael: Yeah, I don’t like, I don’t like the speed limit sign recognition for that reason. It seems like you could connect a system that would know where the vehicle is. By a GPS, and know what the speed limit is, and be absolutely correct rather than having to read signs with a camera.

Anthony: I’m gonna disagree slightly because there’s so many temporary speed limit signs for work zones and whatnot, because my car’s camera does not ever see those.

But you’re right, no, because a lot of times speed limit signs are hidden behind shrubbery. But instead, the Google Maps software knows what the speed limit is.

Fred: You’re both right. Ah! Point for both! But what that shows is that the control system in the vehicle, using whatever kind of correlation system it might be using, including AI, has to figure out which is correct.

So you are, you are in that case… Substituting a machine algorithm for the human judgment that would be involved and, making the actual speed limit readily apparent to whoever the human driver is. One of the, one of the things that really is behind the FBI director’s comments. There was another instance where 2015, two cybersecurity professionals hacked into a vehicle and Andy Greenberg.

It was a reporter for Wired magazine, drove the car under their control, and as he was driving, all of a sudden though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents started blasting cold air, the radio switched to the local hip hop station, and began blaring Ski Low. I don’t know what that is, at full volume, but…

Anthony: Ski Low is a game at amusement parks, where you have this wooden ball, and you roll it up and try and get it into these hoops.

Fred: Hard to see how that would be done at a hip hop station, but I’ll go with that. That’s fine. You’re not down with it. Then the windshield wipers turned on and the wiper fluid blurred the glass.

That’s a knock. Yes. Then it got even more fun because the researchers then cut the jeep’s transmission. All of this can happen because the cars now are filled with electronic control units. Connected by what’s called the CAN bus, and that CAN bus is insecure. The electronic control units were insecure.

Another question for Michael. Michael, I’m sure at this point, since that was eight years ago. The government has leaped into action and made sure that cyber security is a fundamental requirement for any cars that are using electronic control systems and can busses and are possibly vulnerable to attack.

So what regulations apply to that?

Michael: They got right on it eight years ago and that’s why we didn’t have a rash of Hyundai and Kia thefts take place over the last two years.

Anthony: Wait a minute, what? What universe is this? What timeline?

Fred: Okay, we’ll just let that go for a second.

Michael: There was absolutely no cyber security regulations and the government, at least NHTSA and the DOT don’t seem to believe that it’s something they should be doing.

Fred: What else can happen with AAVs or autonomous vehicles? Recently… In the Ukrainian invasion, the Russians filled up a tank, a T A N K, big armored vehicle with estimated three and a half tons of TNT and five 100 kilogram bombs and put it in, pointed it towards the Ukrainian position and let it go.

So it was a self driving vehicle filled with a couple thousand pounds of TNT and it exploded. When it contacted the Ukrainian positions. This is a dramatic example, is this a real problem? That happened in a war zone. Let’s see, Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City made a 4, 800 pound bomb out of oil and ammonium nitrate.

None of which is a controlled material, by the way. And that’s about eight barrels of oil, just for your reference. Presumably you all remember what happened there. So is there any reason why that couldn’t be put in an AV? That’s biggish, but now they’re talking about highway truck AVs that have a 20 ton limit, right?

20 tons is a lot more than 8 tons. So you can see there’s jeopardy there and it is. People, there are people in the world who will take advantage of that. And we’ve shown that the bad actors can commandeer controls of an AV it’s been demonstrated.

Michael: And you don’t even really need an AV, right?

You just need to hack the control system of a vehicle that’s connected. Whether it’s non, it’s self driving.

Fred: Oh, that’s right. Absolutely right. So it’s a problem that’s not unique to AVs. It’s a problem for all the connected vehicles. We should all be aware of that. Okay, no rational person would do anything stupid like that.

Maybe not. But we’ve seen many instances of people using vehicles that are not equipped with explosives to just run the vehicles into pedestrians to make that happen. Some political point or other, or to just be nasty people. But I’m sure by now that there are security requirements in place, Michael, that require vehicles to be immune from attack and I have cybersecurity protocols and

Michael: no one’s really.

Doing anything other than telling the auto industry that they need to secure their vehicles. And they’re saying, Oh, we will. This has been going on now since the Chrysler hack really in 2015 and not a lot has changed.

Fred: Interesting. On the explosive side, just as a side light, we’ve talked about bombs that weigh tons and the tank filled with explosives, Timothy McVeigh, but how little how small a piece of explosive does it really take to be a hazard?

Michael: How about, you know, what would fit in a Takata airbag inflator?

Fred: That’s one good example. A hand grenade, just for your information, contains four ounces of high explosive. So you don’t want to be anywhere near a hangar when it goes off, but that’s four ounces compared to the tons that could be put in a vehicle.

A Hummer has a load capacity of 1, 300 pounds, so a Hummer with an AV and a big battery. You can see a, a lot of things could happen, most of them bad. So it’s not just a question of people taking their hands off the steering wheel when they’re in a car that has an automatic control system.

You also have to secure the control system against both the physical hazard of the moving vehicle and whatever bad actors could put in the vehicle to, enhance the destructive energy of that vehicle. So what can be done? Okay. Our astute listeners would recognize that the AV Consumer Bill of Rights has several protocols or several requirements.

First of all is that AVs shall secure, verify, and authenticate operational commands and external communications. Now this isn’t going to protect you from bad actors, but it can protect the people. Who are not bad actors from the bad actors to make sure the vehicle cannot be compromised. Another tenant that we’ve got another requirement is that AVs must respond appropriately to emergency vehicle lights, audible signals, requirements, and manual directions from police officers.

AVs have got to be designed so that when AV. Is doing something hazardous, malicious or terrible, violating the law, trying to ram pedestrians that a third party properly equipped can intervene and stop the damn vehicle. That’s I think an absolute requirement that has been completely ignored to date and all of the.

Industry regulations that are being developed and industry standards that are being developed for AVs. And finally, another requirement that we’ve written down in the Bill of Rights is that AVs shall not sell or distribute personally identifiable information of any person to any third parties without their explicit consent.

I think these are very important. I think that, really. These requirements are not only important for the protection of your personal information, they are important for the protection of your life and the life of the people around you. I’ll end it there and listen for your comments.

Anthony: I don’t drive a car, so I don’t really care about these things.

Fred: Yeah. That’s, that’s a good approach. But you do approach, you do sit next to the highway apparently, so I do, perhaps you should think about it.

Anthony: I do. Yeah, that’s That’s the fascinating thing for me is in this article is that the is the FBI director who’s the one pushing this and he didn’t say at any point we need access to all of this data because they already have it.

Ha! But it was interesting that he’s the one pushing it. But that’s that was a change of pace for the FBI. I think.

Fred: I’m gonna get him on there. Mr. Ray, if you’re free, come on down. We’d love to have you as our guest.

Anthony: Yes, but I’ve been lying. My name is Nox.

Michael: Exactly. We’re gonna have to get Anthony cleared before that.

Anthony: Yeah,

Fred: exactly. We already know he’s French. He’s French. He likes to freak in restaurants. Yeah,

Anthony: and I like to smoke cigarettes. Let’s read the sartre. Speaking of Sartre the, our friends at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put out another report about small pickup trucks fall, fell short when it comes to rear seat safety.

So they’re doing a lot of expanded tests and they’re smashing a lot of vehicles and really cool videos and Basically, if you’re in a small truck and you’re in the back seat eww, it’s not gonna do out so well. So the Ford Ranger earns a marginal rating and the Chevrolet Colorado Jeep Gladiator?

Really? What kind of person do you have to be? I’m like, I wanna buy the Jeep Gladiator. And Toyota Tacoma are all rated poor. This is a different ques No! I don’t care about rear seat safety. Really? You’re gonna You’re a grown up and you’re gonna buy a car called a Gladiator?

Fred: If you were a football player in the Washington Commanders, then I think you’ve got a consistent set of protocols.

Anthony: If I’m making football money, I am not buying that car, okay? I got a McClaren I don’t even know what that is.

Michael: No, I didn’t.

Anthony: It’s a McLaren, a high end sports car, yeah, I’ll get it. Anyway. That’s

Fred: terrible. I think you have to smoke cigarettes for McLaren drivers.

Michael: That’s a problem that I think is, it’s really good that they pointed it out, but you’ll, if you look at those.

Small pickups with the extra additional row of seating. Inevitably, you see a short bed on them, so they basically taken the normal model with the long bed and crowbarred a passenger seating area into that space. Which, you know, it. Clearly, the vehicle wasn’t designed around the the pickup was never designed around the idea that we’re going to have two rows of seating in it.

It was meant to be taking loads from place to place and seating was only really needed for a driver, maybe a passenger, but in the modern vehicle design and whatever demand there is for a giant family pickup that can haul loads and five people. Yeah. In the world we live in now, where that seems to make sense to some folks, we’ve got this problem because manufacturers or even the smaller pickups want to add passenger capacity to them, and they’re basically plopping passenger seating down where the tailgate, where the that of the pickup used to be shortening the bed.

So you had even less carry capacity and they’re selling them. It appears they need to do a lot more testing of their designs before crowbarring these things into the, into position.

Anthony: I don’t know if either of you have ever sat in the back seat, the rear seat of these vehicles. They’re not seats so much as they are posture improvement centers.

They’re, there’s, it’s a straight back, no cushion. I think we could have saved a lot of money, just not had Guantanamo Bay, sat a bunch of people in the back of those for a bit, and I would have confessed to everything.

Fred: I think there’s room back there for your I think there’s room back there for your AR 15 and your rakes and hoes and things, but I don’t think too many human beings are ending up back there.

I did want to point out that these tests they did that showed the unsafe backseats were with unloaded pickup trucks. So if you had a significant amount of weight in the back of the pickup truck, that would not help. That would make things even worse. Yeah.

Anthony: Yeah, because of this show, I’m afraid to put anything in my car.

Cause I just, anytime I put something in there, I’m like, oh, this is a projectile. So I only put cotton candy in my car from now on. Good. Recall time. Best progress. Best progress. My dentist agrees. Honda of America is recalling potentially 124, 077 vehicles. They are the 2020 2021 Honda Civics, 2020 2023 Honda Ridgeline, 2021 2023 Honda Passport.

You can read all of this some hot accurate. Mdx and the description of the defect is the brake master cylinder may have been improperly fastened to the brake booster assembly during production Resulting in loose or missing tie ride nuts We installed this on a Friday and it was Bob’s birthday and we were all really looking forward to go down to them We’re gonna get drunk and look we just messed up that night.

Okay. Okay. Look this is what happens We’re a non unionized shop. I was a lot there at once.

Michael: In this case, it’s the it’s pretty late model Hondas and a lot of them. Not an extreme amount, but 124, 000 civics Ridge lines passports from around 2020 through 2023. So the, let’s see, that’s a.

Small civic and then a pickup and an SUV. And That’s a brake failure with the I think there’s a tie rod missing a nut And honda appears to have figured out that these nuts might be missing around 2020 but they seem to be at least in the part 573 blaming the supplier a little for the problem because they are noting that they Corrected the supplier in 2020.

And yet this problem appears to have continued into the present. So it results in basically your break booster and your master cylinder. The tie rod that connects the 2 separates and you lose completely lose breaking or. Very diminished. So that is certainly something that we want our listeners to be on the lookout for because I guarantee you there are a couple that own one of these vehicles.

Anthony: Our friends at Mercedes Benz are recalling a little more than 8, 000 vehicles for the 2022 2023 Mercedes Benz C300. A M G C 43. And in this case, the transmission wiring harness could chafe on the front drive shaft, which could potentially damage the wiring harness in a loss of vehicle propulsion.

Propulsion due to a production deviation at a supplier, the length of a certain batch of wiring harnesses might be outside the spec specified tolerance range. Hey, blame your supplier.

Michael: It’s hard to tell whether the design was running the wiring harness too close to the front drive axle in the first place.

But that wiring harness appears to be pretty important because it’s controlling your transmission function. And, it’ll fire off an engine light. Who knows what else it will do? There’s so many connected electrical components in these vehicles. Don’t run your wiring harnesses near your drive axle.

How about that?

Anthony: That’s a good idea. And lastly, Ford Motor Company 2020 to 2021, Ford Escapes. Estimated over 300, 000 vehicles affected. The spot welds and the check arm attachment points in the door assembly, who writes these things, may may fail causing the door not to operate as intended. Basically.

The door might pop open

Michael: or any number of things bad. You won’t be able to close it, and anytime your door isn’t in the position that it’s supposed to be in a crash, that vehicle is not going to perform as it did in crash tests and other things. In addition to possibility of you being ejected and falling out while driving a number of different scenarios.

That’s a, a good number. A lot of consumer complaints coming into Nitzel on that specific issue, and I, that makes me wonder why Nitzel has to conduct an investigation. That seems to be A pretty serious problem that Ford would have addressed prior to it. So maybe they’re resisting because, they don’t want to pay for new doors for all these folks.

But that’s looks like a recall coming in the future on that one.

Anthony: And I want to end with one more thing,

Michael: On recalls. We have a yesterday NHTSA put out. Do not drive warning on some of the Takata vehicles. Let’s see. These are the 2000. It was the first This is the first known explosion of a passenger side airbag.

They’ve been, we’ve recalled both driver and passenger side airbags on Takata. And this is the first known passenger side airbag explosion. And it killed someone. It was a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500. These are the vehicles that are now 20 plus years old. They have to be fixed. The rate of these things failing is incredibly high.

I believe that’s at one point, but then was high, at least in the Hondas as a 50% chance. If you’re in a crash that the airbag inflator will explode and shoot shrapnel at you. I don’t know if any of our listeners on vehicles this old, if you have a family member, anyone else, that has 1 of these older Dodge.

Pickups tell them not to drive it, tell them they need to get it fixed. Make sure that they’ve got it fixed.

Anthony: Yeah again, this is the whole Takata airbag recall thing. It’s a free fix. Please just do it. Do it. Do it. I think let’s just end the episode there on always a high note of Takata airbags exploding in people’s faces. Listeners, thank you for listening. Again, please subscribe, tell all your friends.

Donate once, not once, but twice. No three times. Donate three times. And the Tim of Fred the Fred of Tau we’ll come to your hometown and perform at your local Elks Club. Yeah. or your local pig Wiggly. Yes.

Fred: How much of a, how much of a donation is does a listener have to put in before we give them a free traffic cone?

Anthony: Alright, thanks for tuning in.

Michael: Not gonna go there, huh?

Anthony: Alright. No, how much is the traffic? Come on, the logistics on this? We’re mailing people traffic cones? Are you out of your mind? Just go outside, steal a traffic cone. Figure that out.

Michael: I’m driving a long way starting tomorrow.

Anthony: I’m not encouraging you to something traffic cones right outside my building. All labeled Con Ed. It’s a

Fred: little, but there you go. we’ve got the first 20 listeners

Anthony: covered. Yeah. Branded brought to you by Con, Consolidated Edison. Hey, we’ll be back next week with more exciting news and I’ll get to that jalopnik story, which is a interesting, and thanks everybody

Fred: for listening.


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