NCAP update, GM goes big, AM radio frightens Fred and Operation Cave Bear
NHTSA updates their new car assessment program to take pedestrians into account. Fred explains why simulations are not enough to make Autonomous Vehicles road worthy. Nearly half of all vehicle passengers killed on U.S. roads in 2021 were not wearing a seat belt. An update on the Hyundai/Kia/TikTok car theft problem. GM thinks a massive EV Escalade is a good idea. French Canadians are charging extra if your weighs too much (see: GM EV Escalade). AM radio is still a thing… that gives Fred nightmares. Plus Recall Roundup.
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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: and speaking of human sacrifice, listener, welcome to another episode of There Auto Be A Law. Is, did we decide on that as the title, There Auto Be A Law? I think it’s good. Okay. We haven’t gotten feedback on that, but we are one monthly donor away from Fred Perkins revealing his Woodstock 1969 story.
One more monthly donor and we will reveal the story. This is not his Woodstock 1994 story, which we all witnessed on M T V where he joined the red hot chili peppers on stage wearing their customary encore on outfit that’s, we’re all upset over that, but this is his 1969 story. And please, just one more monthly donor.
Five bucks a month. And you will hear another fascinating tale in the life of Fred
Fred: Perkins. Do you have to explain what Woodstock was to many of our younger listeners? No,
Anthony: I think they they saw the movie or heard about it. I don’t think we have to explain it. Alright. Political. Yeah, there were some very unsafe cars there cause all cars back then were pretty unsafe, let’s be honest,
Michael: no matter what of really bad steering columns.
Anthony: Ah, yeah. I wish we had a stealing. Speaking of getting cars safer NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is updating their endcap, their new car assessment program. Look at this. I’ve learned some acronyms on the show that is taking in crashworthiness protection for pedestrians.
Hey, who would’ve thought we should protect people on the street? So this is neat, and they’re looking for feedback from average people like us.
Michael: It’s good. The pedestrian fatality rate is surging and has been for years. In fact, if you look at the charge for some strange reason, they appear to be surging beginning in the mid to late nineties when SUVs begin to take over America’s road.
Whatever the connection may be there, if there’s an issue with weight visibility or if people just generally are driving worse, which I’m certainly willing to accept that argument. It’s way past time for NHTSA to start something here. Vehicles, there’s some vehicles that are going to be far less able to injure and kill pedestrians.
NHTSA has basically adopted the European NCAP tests with some minor modifications here. But the problem for us is, NHTSA is not doing this comparatively. They’re not going to evaluate every vehicle on the road and then give them all scores. So the consumers can say, Hey, the GM Hummer Stakes at Pedestrian protection, and the Honda Civic is awesome and has a score of 95, and the Hummer has a score of two, they’re going to only publish the good guys that meet their criteria.
And also they’re not going to be testing all these vehicles. They’re relying on manufacturers to self-report their stores, which obviously raised a red flag for us. And it requires the public to trust the data coming from the manufacturers. Now, nits did say they’re going to Do some spot checking.
Basically, they’re going to try to verify manufacturer’s results. And it is frankly impossible for NHTSA to test every single vehicle on the market. Again, we’ll get back to their budget as far too small to be doing that. But they could if Congress would just give them a lot more money. It’s great that NHTSA is finally moving on some pedestrian things.
They had to do a little verbal gymnastics to separate this notice from their previous NCAP notice, which is adding crash avoidance tests and modifying the Monro label. In this case, what was the Monro label? The Monro label is that sticker on your car. That right. Gives you the fuel economy and has the nit NCAP five star ratings on it, but it hasn’t been updated in a long time.
And. Until that label gets updated, then whether or not vehicles are pedestrian friendly, whether or not they have good crash avoidance systems is not something you’re gonna be able to see on the vehicle at your dealership. You’ll have to visit NHTSA’s website and search through that, which probably isn’t quite as convenient for folks who are cruising dealerships and shopping.
But, it’s still, still a good thing that this is happening. I think it’s just, far too late in the, in, in the process because we’ve already seen dramatic rise in pedestrian deaths and it doesn’t look like that’s going away. And we’re piling more and more weight into bigger and bigger vehicles and there remain no visibility standards for larger vehicles.
Whether they can see pedestrians is really important in stopping for them. And also the pedestrian automatic emergency braking and the automatic emergency braking rule still hasn’t come out. We haven’t seen that, and that’s going to be a notice. And then we’re gonna have to wait for the actual rule to come out, and then we’re gonna have to wait for the manufacturer’s.
There’s a compliance date that will be even further out in the future where manufacturers will have to actually put that tech into all the vehicles they’re making. So we’re still way behind on predicting pedestrians and that in the fact that the pedestrians make up a higher percentage of fatalities in our roads than they ever have.
Anthony: Driving a Hummer and you think it’s a rumble strip, it might actually be your neighbor. Yeah.
Michael: You might not have seen it. And we’ve all seen the at least three of us have seen all the front over videos that are really looking at children in driveways and just how many people you can stack in front of a big vehicle before you can see them.
Which a little troubling in which there’s plenty of technology out there that could, not just sense those people, but provide the driver with camera images of the parts of the areas where they can’t see from the cab of the vehicle. So it’s, you got good. Like a lot of things we talk about here there’s some good and some not so good in this one.
Fred: I’ve noticed that the front ends of a lot of the SUVs and the pickup trucks on the market now look suspiciously like human sized trash compactors. They’re, you’ve just got a big plane air surface about. Perfectly sized to capture an entire human being. I don’t see how anything can possibly go wrong with this process of asking these people who are building these giant trash compactors with batteries the size of Honda Civics to self-report how good or bad their vehicles are at killing pedestrians.
Anthony: Well, Fred, you us hear a giant human crushing vehicle manufacturers, you just gotta trust us. Okay? But actually, this is a reason that you should donate to the center fraud safety. This is a very clear example of why the center fraud safety exists. We are that fly in the anointment, so like NHTSA, like putting pressure on them.
To avoid this self regulation. And hey, we’re honoring ourself, folks. We are the annoying fly bothering regulators. It takes some time, but it’s worked out. We’ve got 50 years to show it works.
Michael: Yeah, we’re the mu
Fred: we’re the matzo ball in the punch bowl. The
Anthony: mat ball and the punch ball. Okay. So NHTSA has on their, what we have a link to is the announcement of this.
And they also say they have a request for public comment but hidden down. It’s very confusing for me cause I went through it and they have the, their first For listeners, if you go to this page, that first link to request for public comment, ignore it. It goes to some PDF and you need a law degree to figure it out.
Michael: That’s the actual, that’s the actual notice.
Anthony: Yeah. So that’s the actual notice. Who cares? So let’s be real. But they have as soon as it’s nit will take comments on the proposal for 60 days. Comments will be accepted on regulations.gov when the notice is posted. It’s currently not there.
Hopefully by the time you’re listening to this, you can go to regulations.gov and let everybody know how you want your s u to be higher, to see less of the road and smash more people. No, that’s not what we want. Oh, sorry. That’s a different show I work on.
Michael: Yeah, I think we, this one in that case, it may be, it may, usually it comes out about a week afterwards.
Sometimes more, sometimes less. So I’d expect it maybe next week, but there’s 60 days to comment this. I think the comment will be due sometime in late July. Okay. Will,
Fred: listeners will go to our website, be able to see the link. They
Michael: will, they’ll be able to see it on the podcast page.
Anthony: Yep. And we’ll remind people every week while this is going on, to put in comments because, we live in a democracy for now at least. And your comments actually do help. Oh. Speaking of comments that can help you guys familiar with auto autonomous vehicles? I know if you listen to this show, you’ve heard about them.
The Wall Street Journal had this article about how the engineers they’re creating to, autonomous vehicles won’t be safe until they can handle every scenario imaginable. Like in a, you’re living in a Mad Max world. Fast and furious world, and they can have make split decision, split second decisions to save your life.
It’s very absurdist and over the top. But what the interesting part of the article talks about is that, Waymo, which has been fairly open with the results as say, Hey, we’ve got 2 million miles on the road, and as Fred and Michael have pointed out to me, that means nothing. But they do, they have hundreds of millions of miles inside a simulator and simulations, which in my mind I thought, Hey, that sounds pretty impressive.
That sounds much better than testing it out in the real world with people who are not aware that you’re being test subjects. But then Fred has pointed out to me in private that, eh, that’s not that great either, Fred.
Fred: We’ll go with that. Every simulation is an abstraction, and every simulation is only good in so far as.
It is suitable for the purpose for which is intended. So what does all that word salad mean? You have to recognize when you’re developing a model or using a model that number one models are suffer from the fact that they’re going to be successful. The engineer who’s sitting there developing the model is always going to dev, develop one that seems to work.
The problem is that in the real world there’s many more degrees of freedom. And so you need to test this model and test the ground, the model in actual real world results to make sure that it is in fact suitable for the purpose that you’re trying to achieve. If you’ve got zillion models that you’ve worked on and in zillion examples, none of them are any good unless you’ve been able to anchor it in the real world.
And when you’ve got a car, something as complex as a self-driving vehicle in a real world traffic engagement it’s very hard to do. And so the number people should be suspect about the statements that we’ve tested this for zillion times in simulation and everything’s okay. Simulation can be very useful, but you need to be very narrow in the purpose that you’re trying to use the model for.
I’ll give you an example. I knew of a company out in Michigan that builds auto parts that wanted to test their computer assisted engineering to find out how good it really was, and they looked at a torsion bar, which is a component in many vehicle suspensions. They used their best modelers on it and they were trying to determine.
Exactly how strong this was and how it was going to break. And what they came to conclude is that they could not determine either where it was going to break or the load that it was going to break using the best simulations that they had. It’s simply because the real world is very complex and you cannot model the real world in every aspect.
So you’ve gotta be narrow about what you’re trying to accomplish, and you’ve got to test that in the real world to make sure that the results you’re getting are representative of what they should be in the real world. And then not assume that because you’ve tested one single point, the model is good for all points.
You’ve gotta be very careful to say only within this narrow range are we able to use the simulation results to say that, this is a reasonable approach to reality. A lot of word jumbled, but you need to be very skeptical. I’m sorry. So adding,
Michael: go ahead. Sorry. If you add, if you have a simulation that’s looking at, for instance, a torsion bar or a, tree or a stop sign and, and self-driving cars, you’re adding this an additional level of complexity, which is the human driver, which as we know in many cases is com very highly unpredictable.
And possibly, as we’ve seen, might be, using the AV’s skills against itself in a way, if you wanted to cut in front of an av, the AV is going to break in response to your vehicle cutting in front of it. I certainly think we’ve seen evidence that they’re going to be, we know people are bullies.
We know they’re bullies out there, right? We know people are bullies on the road. Even people that might not be bullies in real life because they’re protected behind a wheel and a cage and somewhat anonymous, so they act out a little sometimes in the road. How does simulation even begin to address that kind of issue?
Anthony: I also wanna point out with autonomous vehicles, what they’re doing is they’re focusing on simulations and scenarios from driving. Particularly from that, there is not a single human driver who, whose their entire worldview is limited by being inside a car and driving scenarios. The way we adapt to situations that unfold in the road that we’ve never seen before is because we have life experience, at least, in most states, at least 16 years of life experience where you can draw upon and be like, oh, this is something new that’s happening.
This is how I should react. That is larger. You’re getting that information from a larger Selection of knowledge than just driving. Also, I don’t think any autonomous vehicle has microphones on the exterior of the car because all of us can hear, something when, Hey, the car next was blue. A tire, you can hear that.
You can hear when someone’s slamming on their horn and whatnot. I don’t, I, it’s surprising. I’ve gotta
Michael: think they’ve got that capability. Yeah,
Anthony: but I don’t, none of them have mentioned that. I don’t know if I’ve missed this,
Michael: but how are you gonna respond? May, maybe they don’t. Maybe that’s why they’re not responding appropriately to police standing in front of cars saying, stop in San Francisco before they hit a fire hose.
But you’ve gotta think, with the capabilities you have on Alexa or your Hey Google machine at home, oh my God, I, my Alexa just turned on when I said that the capabil capabilities you have there, you would think it wouldn’t be that hard to pop that in a vehicle so a police officer could say, Hey, Vehicle stop.
I guess the problem there is that then anyone could go up to the vehicle and say something similar and cause problems. So maybe there’s a verification of command issue there, like we’ve talked about in reference to occupants. So who knows?
Fred: This is gonna come up later, but nobody put in place a requirement for the engineering designers to say, recognize, stop for and obey police officers.
Nobody ever did that. And expecting the vehicle, which doesn’t care about anything to understand implicit commands that were never put into the design spectrum or design requirements is a fool’s mission. It’s just not going to happen. Yeah. So you need to care the, and the AV does not care.
And the reason why you’re such a safe driver is because you care. You care about yourself, and you care about the others. And you do the things that are required to be a good person. There’s not a Navy yet built that has a requirement to say it’s a good person. I think we’ll be waiting a long time for that.
Anthony: So I think what you just said was perfect, Fred, whereas like it hasn’t been programmed to stop for a police officer, it missed that. And so what we saw in the, in this, we have a link to it in the podcast description to the San Francisco police. Video is a police officer open cracks, open a road flare, puts that on the street, and the car still wants to move forward because the car wasn’t programmed to avoid road flare or something like that.
As a driver, say I’m a 16 year old, I may have never seen a road flare before in my life, but I can see. Fire shouldn’t drive over fire and I can use my previous life experience to move outta the way. None of these autonomous vehicles have previous life experience to recognize that. And fire, as we know, can appear in countless forms and whatnot.
It’s the billion how fire problem that these AV’s have.
Michael: So yeah, I would suggest that fire’s even more difficult when you talk about, forest fires and avoiding going into areas like that. And, it’s,
Anthony: that reflects off of lenses of these cameras.
Michael: Yeah. Fire comes in way more forms than cows, right?
Fred: camera doesn’t see fire. The camera sees a red spot. Okay? It doesn’t, you perceive fire because you know that there’s a high temperature associated with that. You can see the sparkles. You’ve got incredible visual acuity built into your eyeballs, and you’ve got incredible interpretive capability built into your brain.
The AV doesn’t have that. The AV’s got very limited dynamic range for its sensors compared to any human being, and it has very limited processing capability, again, compared with any human being. So you gotta recognize that, if you’re using artificial intelligence to drive the car, you would’ve had to have looked at or included in your database thousands or maybe tens of thousands of images of police officers holding flares in front of your car, and all the different positions people can take, right when they’re doing that and they’re unplanned.
So there’s a lot of unusual features. It’s just, a huge database of police officers holding a flare that you need to have in your background in order for the A, the artificial intelligence to recognize this situation. For what I was. Every edge case is like that, right? You’re just not going to have a huge database that you can rely on to train the artificial intelligence that you rely on to drive your damn car.
Anthony: So take that Kyle at Cruise. Ah, you’ve got a long way to go, buddy. Some something much simpler than autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence listeners I know of. Look, if you listen to this show, you wear your seatbelt. Unfortunately, nearly half of all vehicle passengers killed on US roads in 2021.
Were not wearing a seatbelt. This is insane. NHTSA said, of the 26,325 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes during 2021, 11,813 were on restrained. I don’t understand how that many people are not wearing seat belts. And keep in mind, you’re like I got an airbag. Your airbag, as we’ve pointed out in previous shows, Only works if you have a seatbelt on.
Cause if not, you have this giant bag of air punching you in the face, throwing you, because it’s a supplemental restraint system. So how is this going on, Michael?
Michael: I don’t know. It, this was NHTSA announced this in advance or as part of their, the clicker ticket campaign that they do every year.
And, every year, regardless of all this we’ve seen seatbelt rates rise incredibly obviously in the last 50 years. But there remains a significant percentage of the population that despite. All the warnings that are available in vehicles and annoying warnings at that refused to wear their seat belts.
NHTSA had the chance to improve these numbers over the years and not taking it or not taking it. They had a seat rear seatbelt reminder regulation that Congress told them they had to get out years and years ago. And what seems like something really simple has taken them, and by the time it’s wrapped up and actually going into vehicles, it’s going to be well over a decade.
And it’s an area where they could have really put something in quickly. Six years ago, seven years ago, we took them to court seven years ago, I believe, on this issue. And they said, oh, we’re working on, we’re gonna have that at any time. Guess what they don’t?
Anthony: Boom again, assume
Michael: again. Yeah I think we’ve exhausted that option and they’re supposedly coming out with it.
Soon we will see it’s basically right now in our roads, we’re seeing, a third of the deaths are coming to pedestrians. Not quite a third, but somewhere in there we’ve got a lot of the seatbelt problem is huge. And it I don’t know if there’s a specific demographic.
I don’t know if younger people or older people are less likely wear their seat belts, but, it, it almost makes me want to go back to the days of one of the worst decisions ever made, which was to put, half manufacturers put the automatic seat belts in vehicles, which consumers roundly rebelled against.
So were awful. As mu and some of the AV’s and the autonomous vehicles that are coming out will not even start or go anywhere until every passenger is buckled. Welcome to your future. People that don’t want, that don’t like wearing seat belts. If you’re going to let a vehicle drive for you, you’re gonna have to wear one.
Anthony: I’m on board with that. It’s a very simple solution. Buckle up people, eh, save yourself, save the people in your vehicle. Let’s give an update on the Hyundai Kia situation. We’ve all heard about the Hyundai Kia TikTok kids stealing your car for fun and enjoyment. That lawsuit is now settled and if you own one of the affected Hyundai Kia vehicles, you can get some money back.
But this is weird. The lead law firm representing impacted owner says there’ll be 145 million available for compensation for out-of-pocket damages, which sounds like a lot, but the firm notes that damages would include total loss of vehicles up to $6,125.
These cars cost more than $6,125. So my car was stolen. It’s not like a 1997 Kia where you could get buy one, get two that cost about $6,000 at that time. So they failed in basic. Security for these cars. My car was taken in totaled and they’re gonna gimme six grand for a car that costs 20 grand.
Michael: Yeah, I haven’t seen all of the details in here, but that, that obviously sounds low. I’m not sure if that payment could go to owners in addition to what they’ve already claimed and received for insurance, in which case it might make a lot of sense. Because, 145 million spread out over 9 million vehicles affected, obviously doesn’t sound like a lot, not everyone who has these vehicles had it stolen, they’re only a small percentage of these vehicles. Even though that small percentage is a lot of vehicles and a lot of vehicle thefts, it’s a small percentage of the overall number of these vehicles that are produced that would qualify for this class action. So we are, recommending that owners who have been affected reach out and I believe under the settlement, every owner of these vehicles that has a vehicle that’s not going to be able to be updated with the immobilizer software.
Qualifies for a $300 payment to upgrade their vehicle security system. Which is something that Hyundai and Kia were making people pay for a year ago. So that’s a good step for people who don’t have another don’t have the possibility of the software mobilizer being installed. We will have a link to the form for owners who have been affected on our podcast page.
For people who want to visit that site and who have been affected and want to, there’s the form that you can send your information in, see if you qualify for the class action. You can also use that to object to being included in the settlement if you so choose. So that’s something we’re recommending that everyone that’s, that owns a Kia Hyundai built in the last decade or so.
Anthony: what if I stole one of these cars and then someone stole it from me? Do I get any compensation?
Michael: I don’t know. That sounds like one of those weird police situations where a guy goes into the police station and wants the officers to go after someone who sold them bad weed. You know what I mean? Yeah.
You’re exposing your own criminality to try to catch another guy. So I don’t know if it works.
Anthony: Fred, did you steal any of these cars? Not yet. Okay. It was a little too easy to steal. If he, if anyone can download instructions, you’re like, this isn’t an engineering challenge.
Fred: A challenge is always good.
Anthony: Okay. Let’s go to the update on the Tesla Cliff crash. Now, we mentioned this story a couple months ago where it was horrific sounding, whereas a a family of four drove off a cliff on in California, landed 200 feet below amazingly all survive. So the engineering of the structure of the Tesla model, they had, I don’t remember if it was a model three or not unbelievable that all of these people die survived after coming down.
Now unfortunately the driver of the car, his defense lawyer was saying, Hey you weren’t trying to kill everybody in your family. Just say you were trying to check the tire pressure, and that’s their argument. And so he’s yeah, I was trying to check the tire pressure. And then oops. It kept, I, it’s insane.
And of course, his wife said, no, he was not trying to do that.
Michael: Yeah. But the witness statements just don’t match up at all with that scenario. They see the vehicle accelerating before it goes off the cliff. So I’m not sure what they were thinking. It looks like a situation where the guy basically had to no defense and is just throwing things at the wall to see if they stick.
But again, we would love it if every car was built to survive 250 foot drops off
Anthony: cliffs. Yeah. Onto rocks at the side of the ocean. Yeah. We beat up Tesla a lot on the show cause they deserve it. But the structure of that car, I think brilliant. None of us will disagree with that.
Fred: I, it’s interesting that the battery did not catch on fire in that case.
Didn’t punctu, in so many other cases. It does. I was well. There’s a little bit of ambiguity here cause the family was incredibly lucky that they survived, but they were only incredibly lucky that they survived because they were unlucky to have somebody drive off a cliff.
Anthony: It’s fascinating and I’m very happy that all of them survived.
If you need to check your tire pressure don’t drive off a cliff. Just, I dunno, this one.
Fred: No, I think that’s good advice. I really do think people can adhere to that.
Anthony: And the thing is about the tire pressure. So when the car landed, cause it landed on the wheels, did the tires explode or were they good?
We don’t know. They haven’t told us.
Fred: He never did check the pressure apparently.
Anthony: Oh. Cause if they survived, yeah.
Michael: You have lights and whistles in your car that I think in Tuss can tell you your exact tire pressure. So I wonder if they even checked that. Out before they put that defense up.
Anthony: Speaking of another company that we love to beat up on, General Motors I don’t know what is going on with them. They first, they come out with a General Motors, Hummer, which is a 9,000 pound just human killer and planet killer. They canceled the Chevy Bolt, which was incredibly popular small electric vehicle that, from the reviews and everything I’ve seen, people were like, this is actually a really good car.
Which, hey, that’s a rarity for General Motors to make a really good car. And now they’re making the electric Escalade as I, why do they keep making these giant electric vehicles?
Michael: Why do you think. Money. It’s because we keep buying them. They’re in business to make money. If we’re not buying ’em, they’re not selling ’em.
And the Escalade was one of the original tanks right on the road. They’re hard to miss. They’re very large. And now once again, you’re sticking a, maybe a 2000 pound battery or more into these things. And, one person is gonna use it to drive 40 miles back and forth to work every day which doesn’t make a lot of sense unless they’re carrying, a petting zoo in the back of it.
So it’s, it’s just more of the same from, we’ve seen this from, we’re seeing this from Ford, we’re seeing this from gm, we’re seeing this from everybody because Americans wanna buy these big cars. And I, maybe there’s a way around it. Maybe, like we will talk about next, maybe the French Canadians have it right here.
Can we charge more for these things to park? They’re taking up more space on our streets. How can we harass these giant vehicles into not, into people wanting to demand them less, I think is one, one approach to it. Because obviously the rising pedestrian death rate and the fact that, giant SUVs don’t really make a great case at all for the environmental benefits of electric vehicles.
We’re hoping that someday people will turn around and start driving smaller cars and cars that, actually have a use case for commuting versus hauling massive loads. But right now Americans just don’t seem to care
Anthony: what’s wrong with us Listener. Tell us, how big is your car? My car is tiny.
I could literally fit my car inside another car and people try to drive into my car, which is strange. But yeah, I think we should charge more for weight and size. You got a big car that you’re tearing up the roads more, you gotta pay for it. And I think as Michael just alluded to the French Canadians they’ve got an idea for this, where it’s a small is out of Montreal, that a part of the city that drivers of larger, heavy, heavier cars will pay more for residential parking permits.
Owners of the more efficient cars will pay just $115 so long as their cars weigh less than 3000 pounds owners of any car. And if you’re, if you weigh a, if you got a big old heavy car, you’re paying more money, which. I think sounds fair. Big cars, like I see them out in front of my building. Some of these cars, they take up two parking spots and it’s not just cause they can’t park part partly that but they’re taking up tons of space and they are destroying the roads.
There’s a sign right outside my window, it says maximum road capacity. I think it’s 7,000 pounds. And I’ve seen a Rivian drive on this road.
Michael: I think there’s that’s a good way to, it makes sense from just simply a matter of space allocation. You could charge people by the foot and it would make, might make even more sense.
But in that case you might capture some of the, you may capture a longer, lighter vehicle and not the SUVs that are the heavier ones. So the weight also makes sense, but since parking is literally a matter of space and availability is a matter of how many feet are available to parking on a given block, smaller cars, you’re gonna be able to fit more in there.
And it. It makes sense just from a municipal perspective of trying to raise that money that you need from parking on your streets. If cars are getting bigger and longer and heavier over time, then charging, more for those vehicles basically is going to allow you to keep up with the revenue that you’ve been getting in the past by charging that, those fees on smaller vehicles.
So it makes sense from a municipal financial perspective and, anything that annoys people into not buying massive vehicles when they don’t need them is good. In our book,
Fred: I wanna point out, there’s a technology that’s available that allows cars to be lighter and have very high mileage and way a lot less.
It’s called the plugin hybrid, which gives you, The electric range for most people to get back and forth to work or back and forth to the Piggly Wiggly, we gotta give them credit. For routine tasks, but also gives you essentially unlimited range. I do think that the EVs in general are being oversold as some kind of moral imperative that you’ve got to do that.
People should be looking at the overall thermodynamic efficiency, which is difficult for people to do. Granted, it takes a little bit of calculation, but take it from me folks. Get a plugin hybrid. You’ll be saving the world as best you can and you won’t have any range anxiety. So it’s a good way to relax.
Good way to be safe, good way to save the environment.
Anthony: Welcome to Fred’s Virtue singling. I don’t know why I’m not even sure what virtue singling is, but I know that’s what some right-wingers would say right now. It’s his virtue. Singling. I don’t have to plug in my car. You can’t tell me what to do.
I want a bigger car. French Canadians are dumb. I apologize. Canadians, I’m sure they’re lovely people with their free healthcare and free education.
Fred: I’m very good. Have good, pretty good beer too. Do they Labatts? I recommend Labatts when you’re up
Anthony: there. Okay. If visiting French Canada drink labatts, but don’t drink and drive, and if you’re gonna drink and drive no,
Fred: you’re not going to.
No, you’re not going to
Michael: no. Not go
Anthony: there. Yeah. So I love this idea. How do we get something like this to move forward? I think, the feet and the fat charge on vehicles, it’s like property taxes. People who own smaller properties pay less in property taxes.
People who own big properties pay more in property
Michael: taxes. Yeah. We already, in Fairfax County, Virginia, we already pay an obscene amount for our vehicles, and it’s based on every year. And it’s based on the Kelly Blue Book value, which, could work here too, because the biggest trucks and the biggest SUVs are inevitably going to cost a lot more than the smaller cars.
Anthony: I have no idea what my registration fee is.
Michael: It must not be a lot. It’s certainly not as high as ours is here.
Anthony: No, I don’t think it is. But speaking of things that don’t cost a lot, I don’t know why I keep transitioning. Each thing is speaking of, and also it’s I’m annoying myself AM radio, remember that thing still around?
And car manufacturers wanna remove it from their vehicles and some legislators are saying, no, we need this as a way to communicate emergency information to drivers. All seven of them who are still trying to listen to AM radio and find Rush Limbaugh on it. Sorry that I think that time has passed.
I don’t I, I don’t understand like I understand removing this feature because I don’t get it. And we all have cell phones and all cell phones have the emergency response information that they’re required to have. Sure, there’s some dead zones, but. Maybe there’s some AM radio dead. I help me understand what I’m missing here on the AM radio.
Fred: you’re not missing much. I’ve listened to it about once a year just to find out what’s on there and it’s pretty scary. Some people like to be scared. Some people jump out of airplanes. Some, maybe there’s a good reason to put it in there. But looking at the technology, all of these radios now are software controlled, right?
You’ve got your touch panel, you’ve got all the stations on it, you’ve able to listen to Sirius or a AM radio, broadcast, radio, amm fm. I don’t understand the imperative to take out AM radio because it’s just a software module that you’ve got in there and you’ve already written it. Actually have to spend money and make an investment to take it out of there.
It seems to make no sense to me to leave it in there again, if you’re courageous enough to listen to AM Radio and wade through all the nonsenses on there, I don’t know how it benefits the car companies to take it out and I don’t know. Actually, maybe it’s part of keeping people alert in the driver’s seat.
I think am radio scares the hell outta me and maybe that’s a good way to keep people attuned.
Anthony: Does AM Radio require like a special antenna or can I keep using my coat hangar jammed in the front of the car?
Fred: No, the coat hanger’s good. Coat hanger’s good. Most most cars these days have fractal antennas, which are embedded in the radio or excuse me, in the window, and you’ll see it there that cover the entire.
Broadcast span. Back in the old days, we had analog antennas. We talked about analog versus digital, and practical antennas now are built into your phone and that’s why you don’t have to pull out the antenna anymore, right?
Anthony: So why are we getting rid of am? What’s the earlier,
Michael: I think the reason that I’ve heard most, it doesn’t seem to be an exorbitant cost.
It must not be, since Ford is going to fix this via software update, it’s not, Ford’s saying, We’re, we were gonna take AM radio out. But now that as diverse, a group of politicians as Senator Ed Markey and Ted Cruz have come out in support of legislation to keep AM radios and vehicles, we’re gonna, we’re gonna put it back into these cars that it’s not in, and we’re gonna do that with a software update.
Which sounds odd, right? How does that happen? Did you not already have the AM radio capability in the car and then you just turned it off and, that’s what it looks like was happening? They were, a lot of people have reported. There’s interference between electric vehicles and AM radio signals that causes degradation of the AM radio signal.
Makes it sound worse. Oh, and it sounds like they were just removing this, the AM radio feature from vehicles so that they didn’t have to get consumer complaints that their AM radio sounded terrible. I can’t think of any other reason why they would want to do this, and it, I’ve been trying to figure out scenarios where I would need AM radio.
I’m not sure that a lot of them exist, it is something that people, for instance in rural Iowa where, you might not have an FM radio station it’s something that people rely on for tornado warnings and things like that. So it certainly serves an important purpose. And, in your vehicle, if your power’s out and you can’t turn a radio, you can turn your vehicle on and get it through your radio.
That’s a convoluted argument towards keeping AM radios and cars. And combined with the fact that probably, only about 5% of Americans actually use AM radio. It’s a kind of an easy target for removal from vehicles. But, it appeared that this turned into kind of a lobbying battle between the broadcast industry, which, obviously wants AM radio in every vehicle because that’s, their market and the vehicle manufacturers who for whatever reason decided to cut it out of their cars, I
Anthony: have no idea how to access the AM radio or FM radio in my car or serious radio, which I don’t pay for.
I, so I don’t, I’m not the right target market for this. Listeners, if you are an AM radio fanatic, cause you like listening to hate speech and sports radio let us know. No I joke, but if there’s, there’s something we’re missing I wanna know what’s it? I think Michael probably hit it on the head with the EV manufacturers don’t wanna get complaints from people who are irate that they can’t listen to Rush Limba and Clear sound.
Isn’t Rush Limba dead?
Michael: Yes, he is. Anthony. So your clear example only gets worse.
Anthony: I know the future’s gonna be better. He still dead. Yeah. The future is, everything will be better in the future. Horrible. All right, let’s go to code name Cave Bear. This is the towel, Fred, where he’s going to do the consumer autonomous vehicle Bill of Rights wrap up frosting on the cake.
What have we learned over these past 13 weeks and how soon will Fred Perkins purchase an autonomous vehicle?
You’ve now entered the Tao of Fred.
Fred: We will purchase an autonomous vehicle. Maybe I’m not gonna live long enough. I’m not sure about that. We’ve had these AV Bill of rights that we’ve been talking about, and so I just wanna explain why it’s important to do it this way.
If you don’t design safety into a vehicle, you only get it by accident, right? So there’s, there are standards that are around or being developed that talk about things like a third party audit, underwriters laboratory 4,600, for example. Excuse me, which is a great idea. There’s also discussion of defining a computer driver for law enforcement purposes, which would be the equivalent of a human driver, but would allow litigation and law enforcement to have a good legal entity that they can challenge.
The problem is these are only put in after the fact, right? So if you, unless you’ve designed in the principle that you’re trying to find you, you’re going to have not very good luck finding it on the output of the process. So the best way to make sure that you’ve got the output that you want is to define the input in the way that we’ll direct the output.
Okay? So what we’ve done with the cave board, you’re calling it now, the AB Consumer Bill of Rights is Has set up some minimal principles that are needed for any self-driving vehicle to embrace as high level requirements so that as the designers, as the engineers get ahold of these requirements, turn them into the software and hardware that are going to become the car, it’ll be an intrinsic part of the design.
Now, we’re not saying that these will make autonomous vehicles perfect or wonderful. Other people will try to do that. We’re just saying that in order to make them no worse than the current fleet of vehicles on the road, these are the minimum standards you have to embrace. So give you one example.
The failure induced critical factors, vehicle failure induced critical factors according to nhtsa are. Our principle factor in a crash about once every two and a half billion miles driven. So the vehicle induced failures of AV’s. If you look at any of the many videos on YouTube or, any of the source show that there are many more critical failures associated with the autonomous vehicles in a very short period of time.
And just single miles driven or tens of miles driven and very scary stuff happens and the operators have to intervene. So we know that they’re just a long way from accomplishing what’s needed for this one critical parameter. All the other things that can happen in the vehicle, they need to accommodate that as well.
The problem that we’ve got now is everybody’s driving down this slope saying yeah, they’re terrible, but in the future they’re gonna be better. So we have to accept the terrible. Now to get to the, to get to the good in the future. What we are saying on the other hand is, no, we don’t need to do that.
These are the requirements you need to build into the vehicle. If it’s difficult to accomplish these requirements, that’s just too damn bad. Then you’re not good at designing the cars. But here they are. These are the principles you should be embracing. And if you cannot embrace them really don’t put the cars on the highway because you can’t establish that they’re safe.
So that’s, this is actually a very modest request that people design in the safety, which will make the autonomous vehicles at least as safe as the current fleet that’s out there. We’re, this is, goes back to the first principle, which is do no harm. We don’t want to have a fleet of vehicles on the highway that’s any worse than the fleet that’s out there now.
And if you can’t establish this analytically, you can’t establish this experimentally. If you cannot validate the efficacy of the requirements that’s used to design the vehicle, it should not be on the road. It simply is not demonstrably safe. And you can dance around it as much as you want and try to be as paramedic as you want.
But the fact is that you’re putting something on the road that’s going to degrade the road safety, unless you have designed in the safety parameters and the requirements that are needed to make these cars safe. That’s what the requirements are all about, and we haven’t seen that anywhere else. We’ve seen a lot of reactive requirements that say when you audit, if you can audit, if you look at this we may find that this is lacking.
If it’s lacking, we need to take it to court. If you try to identify, if you only try to identify. A defect in a design at the end of the development process, correcting that is very expensive and very risky. It’s very difficult to do that. The industry is much better off and we’re all better off if you take this set of requirements to put them in at the front end of your design process.
Right now, the AV’s are being treated as engineering experiments, so you know, the engineers will do the best they can then put it out on the highway and see what happens. But the
Anthony: being advertised as engineering miracles.
Fred: Engineering miracles. Yeah, I, I guess every graduate engineers an engineering a miracle in a sense to go back to, the fact that we’re all product of exploded stars, and I don’t know how far you’ll want to go back with that, but.
We think, this AV consumer Bill of Rights or cave bear as Anthony is at that
Anthony: Michael’s the construction. Michael coined it. I’m just doing cave bear.
Fred: I don’t shift the blame however you wanna look at that. We really think that these are the minimum requirements needed to get to the point where you can say, yes I’ve designed a vehicle that will do no harm.
Maybe I can make it a lot better. Maybe I can make it so that we’ll actually get down towards that utopian vision of 94% reduction in highway deaths. But in order to make that utopian vision actually work, you’ve gotta do the quotidian work of putting the requirements in bending, getting down, doing the hard work of making this happen.
That’s it. That’s the whole thing. And thank you for the support for the AV Consumer Bill of Rights. Give us any comments that you’ve got. We’ve gone through a couple of iterations now. This will continue to evolve in the future, but we do really appreciate your thoughts on
Anthony: this. You can go to autosafety.org you can click on Donate.
You don’t have to do that to see the AV Bill of Rights, but up on the navigation is AV Bill of Rights. You can read it. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s not incredibly technical. It’s it’s a light read. You can you can just scroll right through the headlines and go, oh, I get this. It’s not gonna You’re not gonna be breaking out a mathematics textbook or anything like that, but seriously let us know what you think.
I know both Fred and Michael have solicited a number of feed quite a bit of feedback from people in the industry, and the feedback so far has been pretty positive. Please give us your feedback cause we want it not just from people in the industry. We want it from actual consumers for Operation Cave Bear.
All right, let’s go to the recall roundup. I’m to the recall roundup. We’ve got some fun ones this week. Let’s start off with General Motors, potentially 668,000, blah, blah, blah. Videos of the Chevrolet Equinox. Excessive powder coating could, in rare cases, prevent the installation of a child seat using latch Anchorage bars.
So it, it sounds like Friday afternoon talking about going to the game and someone sprays a little too much powder coating. Next thing you can’t put your child seat in there. Is that what I’m reading?
Michael: I can’t tell if it’s a, let’s see, a manufacturing defect, which would be the Friday afternoon kind of situation, or if the it’s basically an attachment bracket that you snap your car seat straps into, if you’ve ever seen one of these.
And they’re typically hidden somewhat right at the base of your rear seats. And so they stick out a little and you have to paint them, which is what powder coating is. You have to paint them to make them match the vehicle’s interior. So what it looked like happens here was that the original.
Bars that were used were either too thick or the powder coating being put on them as paint was too thick, and it takes them out of compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle safety standard for the latch child seat securing devices. Basically too much paint, it appears and everybody needs to go to their dealer.
I believe they’re going to take the old paint off and make them comply. I don’t know if they’re going to reinstall new latch systems in each vehicle, but I let’s see here. They’re just gonna take, what is the Remedy? The Remedy Refinish latch bars. They’re gonna refinish them. So they’re gonna inspect them, maybe measure them to see if they are non-compliant, and then they’re going to basically, Take the paint off and put new paint on that’s thinner and then the latch system should work.
Anthony: Now I’m betting they just take some sandpaper to it. That’s all they’re gonna do.
Michael: It’s gotta match, right? You’re gonna get complaints. Ah,
Anthony: Timmy in the backseat anyway. He’s always dropping Cheerios everywhere. So anyway, if you got one of these vehicles, go and you got kids and you won’t actually clip them in.
Definitely get this fixed. And now we’re gonna move on to Ford and rear view camera. I don’t understand rear view cameras. Again, how many times we talk about rear view cameras on this co this show more than we talk about Ferrari’s. And we talk about Ferrari way too much, considering how many are on the road.
Michael: Oh, that’s, I think that’s because last year there was a record number of rearview camera recalls, and that’s, we’ve, there’s two three of our recalls this week are rearview cameras. Yeah. So it’s not as though there’s problems going away. And I think a lot of these have to do with the integration of the big video screens and some of the newer stuff that’s coming into vehicles, not quite being designed to a very high standard before it’s deployed.
Anthony: So this is 2020 to 2023 Ford Explorers. It’s 422,000 of them. It affects certain ones equipped with 306 degree camera units. And basically the camera may experience, the customers may experience intermittent blue image or full blue or black image on the sync screen sync being Ford’s operating system for their cars when the vehicle’s placed in reversed or when the 360 degree view is selected and available.
Basically the rear view camera gives you the blue screen of death.
Michael: And you get it’s a little something that owners need to be aware of. You have a 20. 20 to 2023 Ford Explorer or Lincoln Navigator. If you don’t have the 360 degree vision feature, this recall doesn’t apply to you.
If you just have a normal backup camera you’re okay. I think according to this notice, right? This. It’s only when you have the 360 degree camera in your vehicle where basically the video frames that are coming from the cameras are being lost. And so the driver’s unable to see what’s behind the vehicle.
And if you have one of those vehicles that does have the 360 degree camera and you have this problem, you might be waiting a while. You need to be careful backing up in the next few months because Ford has not even identified a root cause for this, even though they’ve recalled it. So that means without a root cause, there may not be a remedy for quite some time.
It’s, it would pay for owners of these vehicles to, to keep track of this issue. And boards should be notifying you soon that there is a recall. And that they have a remedy coming that they will notify you about in the next few months. So keep an eye on your mail and, follow it at the mitz website.
Using your VIN as well.
Anthony: Yeah, but for now, you just your car is recalled. We don’t know what the fix is, but your car has a recall on it, so you can’t sell it. Keep looking over your shoulder.
Michael: Unfortunately, as a private owner, you can sell a vehicle Yeah. With a recall on it and a used vehicle at that, which, pretty much anyone can sell a used vehicle with a recall.
Most major manufacturers don’t, they repair them, but, independent used car dealers and, private party sales aren’t regulated in that fashion, and they don’t typically, or ever get the recalls repaired before they’re willing to sell you a vehicle.
Anthony: Oh, that’s a good reason to.
Isn’t that great? Buy a car. Our last recall is, Hey, it’s gonna be an out there one. Never heard of this one before. Backup cameras. Mitsubishi Motors 89,907 Potential vehicles. They’re recalling certain 2022 to 2023 Outlander and 2023 Outlander plug-in hybrid vehicles. So how great are they now? Fred?
Huh? Due to a software error in the in-vehicle infotainment system. Basically the pack camera, rev, rear view image may not appear on the display. Violating federal motor vehicle safety Standard number one. One rear visibility. But you guys knew that if you’re playing at home, so on your bingo card, you add Feder Federal Motor Safety Vehicle Standard number 1 1 1.
Michael: what? You’ve won, got another vehicle that has an infotainment system that’s connected to a safety system. What the hell’s going on there? It’s something we’ve talked about in the past. The I don’t like the idea of inve entertainment and stuff that doesn’t matter, being connected to systems that do matter.
In this case it looks like Mitsubishi, implemented this fix into their builds on their assembly lines back in February. So it also makes me wonder, while they knew what the problem was then, and they implemented it into their assembly, why are we sitting here, three and a half months later and consumers are just getting notified about these issues?
Fred: Both of these are interesting because they’re both software issues apparently. And aren’t they testing these things before they put ’em on the road? You know this, if it’s, if it’s a hardware issue and they’re degrading over time, I can understand why they might be surprised by it because it takes time for some things to develop.
But the software issues there are there, when they push the car out at the factory, are they, how are they testing the these so poorly? And why do we expect them to be able to validate all of their requirements, even if they do have their requirements, if there’s such obvious things that are slipping through their grasp.
Anthony: If I’m hearing you correctly, I, if you think if they can’t get a backup camera software correctly, that they probably can’t create an autonomous vehicle. Correct. I think that’s
Fred: a big jump to take, Anton. Oh, come on.
Michael: I don’t know. It’s not that big of a jump if you’re not able to properly test and verify your vehicles to a incredibly limited number of vehicle safety standards that exist.
If you just compare the number of federal motor vehicle safety standards that exist to the number of standards that are put out by the society of Automotive Engineers, now known as S ae, where they have hundreds upon hundreds of different types of standards that apply to vehicles. And I know that, cause I used to have to copy everyone down in the nit a library by hand about 20 years ago.
It’s, it suggests that, meeting the Federal Motor Vehicle safety standards really isn’t that hard when you look at what all the other things you have to do when building a car and, meeting the additional standards that are gonna be required to replace an actual driver. Is, when you see little things like these backup cameras slipping through the cracks, it really makes you wonder how some of these same executives and engineers at automobile companies are going to handle the bigger questions involved with autonomous vehicles.
Fred: Yes. But Michael, I think that your legal education has prohibited you from appreciating subtle, ironic humor.
Michael: That’s certainly
Fred: possible. You have a very literal profession there, Michael. I think
Michael: I love sarcasm, but I don’t always pick it up.
Anthony: And with that, thank you listeners for joining us for another exciting episode of their Auto Villa Law and thank you. Tell us what you think of that title. They’re Autobi Law or we’ll call it Operation Cave bear.
Fred: I like it. Operation. Maybe we can put those two together. But thank you listeners. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks
Michael: to everyone.
Fred: For more information, visit www.auto
Michael: safety.org. Operation Cave. It should be Cave Bore. I get it. Is there like an umlaut or something we can put above the O to make it the O Sound like a a.
Anthony: Is that what umlaut’s do?
Fred: Cave Boar sounds like a paleontologist. You met at a cocktail party.
Anthony: This is definitely going in after the exit music.