Not a useful observation
Full EV’s or hybrids? That’s the question we start of this week with. NHTSA and Congress are starting to, maybe, kinda, sorta work on outdated legislation and rules around self driving cars, Kyle from GM Cruise releases an ad that would have him be failed by Fred’s 8th grade teacher and a couple of recalls.
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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.
Fred: Hey, we’ve been doing this podcast for over 50 years now, or is that something else? No, we’ve
Michael: just been working on it for 50 years. What’s the longer than I’ve been around? It goes way back.
Anthony: Yeah, this is a long one. Somebody’s really got to edit that audio. It gets really loud there at the end. Fire your audio engineer.
Oh wait, that’s me. All right. So welcome listeners or as Fred would say, good morning to another episode of their auto be a law. This week, we’re going to start off with an op ed from the New York Times. This is an interesting piece where it basically talks about, hey, jumping right to EVs, probably not the best solution for climate change and for the grid and things of that nature.
And instead, they’re saying, hey, maybe Toyota’s right with pushing hybrids and hybrid electric vehicles. I know both of you gentlemen have thoughts.
Michael: Yeah, my thoughts initially are that, I just took a two week trip through the American Southeast and I encountered a lot of people who don’t really see electric vehicles as the solution and, are saying similar things this.
Obviously they want to keep their Work truck as a vehicle they can operate all day You know putting a couple hundred miles on it towing things and right now the offerings from the industry Don’t come anywhere near something that can do that. So You know if there’s still a long way to go I think to get batteries and electric vehicles to a place where they make sense for a lot of americans And some of the timelines that have been proposed Seem to us to be a little unrealistic.
And, I thought Toyota was pursuing a sensible path rather than just jumping on electric vehicle bandwagon and doing that solely, but to continue to look at alternative sources of clean fuels. And, as they point out in the article, hybrids, the data may be.
Maybe is not has been fully vetted. But, it appears that hybrids, are doing pretty good on the scale of, the environmental scale, at least what, their impact is not that bad compared to electric vehicles. And, maybe they’re a good alternative to get us through the next 15, 10, 15, 20 years as we further develop better electric vehicle batteries that are going to do the kind of things we expect out of our cars.
Fred: Electric vehicles basically are being driven by profit margin. Automobile companies for a long time have looked at profit margins of the order of five or six or maybe 7% for every vehicle they put out. Tesla came along and all of a sudden they discovered that an automobile company can get margins of 25 to 30% on their cars.
If they sell electric vehicles with, Jetsons features and whiz bang and people willing to spend that kind of money. So that’s the real push behind electric vehicles. Most of the rest of it is nonsense. So Toyota’s come out and said, Gosh, here’s a solution that will save people money.
It’ll save weight. It’ll reduce wear and tear on our highways. It’ll reduce the energy in collisions. And it has benign environmental. Impact or as benign as you can imagine for an electric vehicle in almost all cases because people generally drive a few miles per day. They don’t drive 500 miles every day.
The plug in hybrid satisfies a lot of these criteria and has exceptional mileage. Particularly now with Toyota coming out with as they’ve discussed, as they’ve advertised, very high energy density solid state batteries, which makes their hybrid vehicles even lighter and even better than they were before.
So I, I’m all in with this particular article. I may not completely agree with the rationale. For every sentence, but overall it’s right on. And it’s the same thing that I’ve been saying here in the lonely dollar Fred for a long time, that this is something that the world really needs and it’s a much better way to go than jumping into electric vehicles.
Also, by the way, it talks about the energy debt associated with the batteries. And how the pure electric vehicles repay that debt after about 60 miles and climb out of the hole. for net net carbon burden associated with the car. And simplify that you have to put a lot of energy into building a car, particularly if it has all electric capability and a very large battery.
After a long time, you may have a less net carbon footprint than a conventional car. But by then you need to get a new battery. Because you’ve exceeded the life of the writer. So you really never climb out of that energy hole. Sorry, end of rant over
Anthony: Okay. I’m going to disagree slightly with your rant there.
Cause in the the op ed it says so EVs have to travel between 28, 000 miles before they have an admissions advantage over someone who’s size and equipped ice vehicles, according to this guy from the breakthrough Institute. Aside the breakthrough Institute. I was like, this sounds great. I looked into them and they’re A weird little pro nuke, techno utopia organization that is like an apologist for the oil and gas industry.
But with that aside, he says between 28, miles which we’re not going to disagree with, but he says that may take 10 years or more if the EV isn’t driven much. Okay, that’s where, hey, let’s fudge some numbers, because the average mileage driven per year from the Federal Highway Administration is 14, 263 miles on average.
We’re talking on average, using that 28,000 to 68,000 miles. I learned to do math from watching Fred. Is it on average two years to a little less than five years, which sounds okay. Now, the batteries in these things, there’s, aren’t they supposed to last 200,000 miles, 150,000 miles,
Fred: or, I don’t think so.
The last guarantee I heard was for around a hundred thousand miles. So when you’re up at 60, 70,000 miles you’re pushing the ragged edge. So you got a couple more years, okay. Yeah So if you sell that car to somebody else, remember people use cars for now, what, 10, 12, 15 years? The next owner of that car is going to have to buy a new battery, and that new battery is an enormous energy sink.
There’s an enormous amount of energy required to build that new battery. Ship it, install it, all those kind of things, and you’re then left with an old battery for which there’s no commercial recycling ability currently around. So you’ve got to… Big hunk of metal, manganese, lithium, cobalt. It’s just gonna sit somewhere and rot.
There’s a lot of issues. A lot of issues. But overall, I agree with the article.
Anthony: Okay. There are some tests. I think they’re actually out of the test phase of battery recycling companies. There’s one, I think, in California where they’re managing to pull stuff out. But very early days, everything will be better in the future.
As you’ve said a hundred times. Okay, good. I’m still, I’m excited to see what Toyota actually does with its claim of solid state batteries. That could change the conversation dramatically. But it’s an interesting article, I think definitely worth reading. I wish they had put a note on who the Breakthrough Institute was, because then you’d be a little more skeptical because they’re funny.
They’re, when you look into them, they’re very pro nukes and pro. Desalinization, which is just hey, we love two, two two technologies that produce endless waste that we can’t do anything with. End of rant. Ah, pretty good, huh? Come on.
Fred: Pretty good, yeah. Yep, sometimes facts come to the fore, though. So that’s good.
Anthony: Absolutely. This this past week or so Michael has been really busy and swamped, not just from driving around the South but from getting people to go to autosafety. org and donate. Have you done it? More and more of you are doing it, but that’s not what he’s been busy with. Instead Congress has been really heating up on autonomous vehicles.
NHTSA starting their AV rulemaking and the automated autonomous vehicle. I don’t know why I always say automated. The autonomous vehicle industry, your GM Cruisee, your Waymo’s, your whatever Apple calls their car, that Zoox thing. They’re all like, Hey, get rid of rules. We don’t need no stinking rules.
Rules? No. That was a really bad play on The Treasures of Sierra Madre, a lovely film with, man, what was the guy’s name, Henry Bogart? What was his name, Sam Bogart? What was his name? Bogart. Humphrey. Humphrey! Humphrey Bogart, there we go. Anyway, so Michael, tell us about how busy you’ve been.
Michael: There’s a, I think everything’s heating up around the autonomous vehicle issue, and you can see that it’s, there’s something being pushed since GM’s cruise A. V. division put out a full page ad and a number of large papers last week telling the world that. Their cars drive better than humans or that humans are terrible drivers, and I’m gonna let Fred cover that later. But a big piece of news that, it’s something akin to what we’ve been looking for from years from that.
But we still don’t have all the details on it is the announcement by nets that they’re going to, take up this program. They’re calling a V step, and it seems like it’s going to be the first real rulemaking proposal around a V’s for those of us. Or for those of you who haven’t really followed this, there have been, as most of us know.
Companies have been coming out and promising autonomous vehicles for over a decade now. And they continue to say, Oh, they’re coming next year. They’re coming next year. It’s not just Elon Musk, Google and Waymo have been doing this and a number of other players. And, if you’ve listened to our podcast, I think you’re aware by now that the timelines for when this stuff is actually going to be safe.
Actually helping disabled actually really contributing a net benefit on our roads. It’s still far into the future. Right now they’re causing an absolute mess on San Francisco streets and in other cities. And, instead of Going back and trying to rectify those issues. The industry continues just to push forward with this idea that a these are the future and they’re going to save us from ourselves and we need to get them on our roads replacing humans right now, but we don’t.
And that also ignores a lot of other issues like, rural. Autonomy is something that is, probably 30 to 50 years away. And it’s really. It’s just really a mess right now. There’s a lot of things going on. NHTSA has come out with this proposal to essentially give manufacturers a higher cap on the current number of vehicles they can put out on the road under exemptions.
Right now, that number is around 2, 500 vehicles total. If you’re GM Cruise and you’re operating in Austin, L. A. San Francisco and you’re trying to spread to other places. It’s inevitably going to cap the number of vehicles you could have operating in those areas. Given the problems they’re having right now in San Francisco, I think that numbers sounds pretty sensible.
Fix what you’re doing wrong, driving at low speeds in good weather, It happens pretty rare in San Francisco, and then we’ll talk about expanding your cap. So we’re interested to see what comes out of this proposal. It was just announced, the actual rulemaking proposal. We don’t expect until the fall at the earliest or so, so it doesn’t, right now, there’s not a lot of guidance on what it’s going to look like.
We think that In exchange for additional vehicles allowed on the road testing, NHTSA is going to, in return, get good data on how these vehicles are performing and operating and gives them something to track, both on for future rulemaking efforts as well as to, if there are safety issues that arise that can be dealt with via recall or NHTSA’s enforcement arm that’s something that data could help provide.
But, as yet, we don’t really have an opinion on one way or another, because we haven’t seen any, real details on the program, but it’s a good step for NHTSA to take after essentially ignoring this issue and putting out voluntary guidance that’s meaningless for the last decade or so.
Anthony: So Michael, I want to clarify, you started off claiming that Kyle from Cruise is a liar, that he placed an ad that was misleading. Are you saying he’s a liar?
Michael: He’s saying a lot of things that, that conflict with reality.
Fred: Hey, don’t go stealing my thunder.
Michael: I’m going to let Fred take care of some of that later in the Tao, but…
Beyond the human driver issue saying things that we’re going to highlight on a new page on our website this week called AV fan fiction. The first one of those or one of those is that, he says that the current vehicles on the road are going the way of the horse and buggy. And he believes that they’re going to be, in the five years, just five years from now.
Autonomous vehicles are going to dominate our city streets.
Anthony: Okay let’s leave all that excitement to Fred later on in the Tao. So with NHTSA here so I don’t fully understand this. So NHTSA wants to make this negotiation or it seems they do. It says, hey, we’ll give you more AV slots on the road and more.
pedestrians as human guinea pigs and other car drivers on the road as human guinea pigs on Weddingly. And exchange the autonomous vehicle companies will share data with them. Don’t car companies already have to share data with NHTSA? If they get, oh, so like I get into a crash, like that doesn’t get shared.
Michael: The only thing they have to share now would be if there’s a crash, They there’s early warning reporting and there’s the standing general order and those require some level of reporting to NHTSA on, fatal crashes and crashes with injuries and in some cases crashes with property damage, but they don’t include a lot of information.
Certainly not enough for NHTSA to. figure out anything without conducting their own investigation of the matter. So there are some data sharing provisions. I think what Nets is looking for here is actual data on the entire operation of these companies proving that these vehicles are safe. That’s a really important part of, the current process that the government has for exemptions.
They essentially, it’s a lot of. There are a lot of factors, but essentially what you’re trying to show as a vehicle manufacturer is that even if you exempt these vehicles from motor vehicle safety standards around the roads, they’re still just as safe as vehicles that meet the federal motor vehicle safety standards, and that’s what You know, that’s a difficult bar, and it’s a difficult decision for NHTSA to make.
How do you determine prospectively whether this vehicle is going to be safe on the road? That’s very hard. What I, I hope there is a better some better regulation that comes out of this process that clarifies, how do we define what safe, going back to some of our discussions about safety cases and, what it really takes to ensure the safety of an autonomous vehicle over its lifetime.
There needs to be a better evaluation method deployed here and whether that’s a, a UL type standard or another process that, makes the determination when it’s safe enough to deploy these vehicles. That would be really good. There’s some funny stuff going on here. The auto industry and the AV industry are really claiming at the moment that NHTSA needs this process because there’s so much regulatory red tape here, and I don’t think it’s red tape so much as they can’t prove yet that their vehicles are safe and NHTSA is very aware of that.
Perhaps if the industry hadn’t been lobbying for many years to keep NHTSAA’s budget down and to prevent them from hiring technical staff that are savvy enough to make these types of evaluations and gather this type of data and write these rules at an earlier date, that’s part of the problem.
They’ve been, the, There’s just not enough data coming into the agency that is being evaluated to make a determination of whether or not these vehicles are safe. If you look at the petitions that have been filed so far by, Waymo, Ford, and GM, there’s a lot of aspirate Aspirational language, a lot of discussion of the benefits of AVs, but there’s not really a lot of discussion about how they’re performing, what their plans are when it comes to safety.
And when we get down to the nuts and bolts of, some of the issues we’ve seen taking place at San Francisco, where there haven’t been, deadly crashes, but the vehicles are putting. All sorts of people at risk, blocking emergency response, and, generally creating mayhem that makes most of us cringe at the thought of that coming to our city.
There’s a long way to go on that issue.
Anthony: Why is NHTSA seemingly arguing from a point of weakness? Saying, okay, if you give us this data, then we’ll give you these slots. Shouldn’t they just be like, give us this data, and then we’ll get back to you? That seems to make the most sense to me.
Why approach it from such a losing proposition?
Michael: In order to… Acquire that data. There’s a in order for a federal agency to acquire data like that. They have to go through a rulemaking process and that rulemaking process has process also has to comport with paperwork reduction requirements that are that that are federal law.
And so it’s a difficult process Any time you want to do a mass request from data from an industry that doesn’t really want you to have that data. And so that’s has, Like many rulemakings this is one that, we asked many years ago, I think it was five, six years ago for NHTSA to go ahead and we petitioned them for a rulemaking to make manufacturers of AVs put out safety assessments of their vehicles and mandate it instead of this voluntary process that NHTSA envisions where manufacturers submit them these glossy pamphlets, they, it’s not really good hard data on safety that they’re submitting to NHTSA right now.
There’s a lot, again, there’s a lot of aspirational language, talk about benefits that haven’t really been realized. And it’s, it’s, NHTSA basically needs to get Real world data on how these vehicles are performing on America’s roads. Now they don’t and using that data, they need to go forward and make rules so that we can ensure that as these vehicles go.
all over the country. If you look around there, they’re introducing autonomous operations and, in buses, city buses and in commercial vehicles and all sorts of areas around the country right now. So there’s not really, to us, it’s never seemed that there’s a huge problem.
Getting out and testing these vehicles. That’s allowed under the law. Our problem is when you start deploying them on mass without a proof of safety before you do that, because if you, if If that happens, and we start to see problems all over America, like we’re seeing in San Francisco, it’s going to ultimately delay consumer acceptance and use of these vehicles.
Nobody’s going to want them around, and it would kill any chance of some of those aspirational things coming true. Something Fred’s going to talk about. The computer saving us from ourselves on the road. That’s never going to happen if people are so disenchanted with these vehicles tomorrow that they’re not willing to accept them in the future.
Anthony: So let me just real quickly. So NHTSA allowed at the federal level, they allowed AVs to be Tested on roads and then it’s states and cities that said states in California said, yes, you can test them on the streets of San Francisco. The municipal government of San Francisco said, no, you can’t test these on our roads.
The state of California said, suck it. And the Fed. Oversees this. I’m just trying to just very quickly. We don’t have to get too deep into the weeds. I’m just trying to understand
Michael: the San Francisco I think was initially more amenable to the testing. I think they’ve seen a lot more problems as things have gone on.
And they’re not saying you can’t test here anymore. They’re saying we don’t think you should expand your operational areas and hours and bring the problems we’re seeing over here to the rest of the city. And the state of California, which I believe pushed the hearing back again last week, we still don’t have a definitive answer there.
The state of California is the, I think it’s the I forget which division of the state it is, the public works or something like that. They have control under California law over. What San Francisco can do in this regard. It’s the Public Utilities Commission. Yeah, they have control over what the city can do in that circumstance.
And, that’s something that Autonomous Vehicle manufacturers and their lobby have been pushing. They don’t want local control. That complicates things greatly for them, particularly when we, when you see a lot of concerns from citizens like you do in this case. And meanwhile, while they’re going out to states to.
Try to get states to take over control and preempt local governments from acting on their own in this area. They’re running to the federal government and asking for the federal government to preempt state action. So they’re ultimately pulling a sleight of hand that would result in, all the authority being vested in the federal government.
Around the design, construction and performance of autonomous vehicles, which would eliminate any potential state actions to regulate these vehicles on their roads. So it’s, it’s a great idea from if you’re a manufacturer, because you know that you essentially, NHTSA is going to take years to do rule makings here.
the state governments and the local governments will be, preempted out of the ability to act. And it’s, at that point, it’s an open field. You can do anything you want, and there’s no one telling you what to do, which I think is ultimately their goal.
Anthony: So the other argument you always hear about is, hey, we need to get rid of regulations because China is gonna own this industry.
China is going to take everything. So we need to eliminate all regulations so we can compete with the China. Is this is just nonsense or is
Fred: this, when I was a younger man, I was involved in the lobbying for the space station and in Washington. And we had a group that would meet every week, the Harris group.
To talk about who we’d lobbied this week and how we’d made the argument. And one of the powerful arguments that people were making is that the Russians were already there. The Russians had launched the Mir space station. And shouldn’t we be there too? And oh my God, the Russians are going to take over space.
We ended up with a 200 billion boondoggle that has been up in space for a long time now called the space station. That is nothing except a self licking NASA ice cream cone. Has had no useful purpose at all, except for NASA to say gee, we’re doing this because someday we’re going to go to Mars. It’s just such nonsense.
It’s unbelievable. The Chinese are not going to take over the world. The Chinese are not going to populate our public highways with rogue autonomous vehicles. American companies are perfectly capable of doing that themselves. This is just, it just harkens back to that entire.
Regrettable lobbying performance and I was not that good a lobbyist, but sadly, other people were and that 200 billion boondoggle is up there today, threatening every congressman who refuses to fund it by saying congressman, I certainly hope this doesn’t come down in your district. Anyway back to you.
Michael: The China issues continue to crop up everywhere since the beginning of this debate. And, There’s kind of a shift in tactics on it at the moment. We’ve continually seen the industry claim Oh China’s gonna out compete us. Oh China’s gonna put these vehicles on their roads and then, take over our industry Blah blah blah.
That’s a competitive threat that frankly I don’t see out there. I don’t think it exists. You know The folks behind Autonomous Vehicles in America are the giant domestic auto manufacturers, some other non Chinese manufacturers, and a, a tech industry that’s backed, by some of the biggest names in the business, Google, Apple, Amazon, are all in on this.
There is no way that the United States is behind China at this point. I think that’s nonsense. The threat from China in my opinion, is a security threat. We, we’ve seen examples where Chinese firms have been taking secrets from autonomous trucking companies. We know that our vehicles that are made and on the road today and that AVs for all we know.
Aren’t protected from a cyber security standpoint and that’s where the real threat comes in The problem is that the av lobby is claiming that this china competitive threat Means that we need to loosen regulations in America and let them do whatever they want so we can beat China That’s a terrible idea.
What we really need to do is get good cyber security regulations on the book to Ensure that avs are secure, but not just that to ensure that the vehicles on our roads now That are selling by the millions are secure, you know hearkening back to The hyundai kia theft issues we’ve been talking about and you know There are a million other cyber security issues that we could get into if we really wanted to bore our listeners But they’re out there and they’re coming And there needs to be cyber security regulation that applies to vehicles.
Right now, the proposals that have been made in Congress and by NHTSA seem to suggest that the industry can regulate itself on this issue. And I just don’t think that’s possible. And it’s, I don’t think that’s going to work out. But the threat from China is not a competitive threat. It is a security threat, and the way to solve it isn’t by loosening the strings on American A. V. Manufacturers. They’re doing a fine job testing out their vehicles right now. But what we need to do is, dial down on cyber security from a transportation perspective from, if you really want to prevent that, the Chinese from taking over the A. V. industry in America, just, get a trade regulation in place that, that bans Chinese A. V. operators in America. That should do it. You don’t need to loosen the strings on an unproven A. V. industry in America and let them deploy their vehicles to every city and cause havoc with every fire and police department in America.
Fred: You mentioned industry self regulation, and there are several organizations that lead that lead that parade.
The SAE International is one. The International Standards Organization is another. The IEEE Institute for Electronics and something is another. None of them has yet developed a set of recommended practices for testing AVs on the highway. This push by AVs by AV manufacturers to get free rain on the highways should, as a minimum, wait for industry standards to be developed to which they can conform.
There’s just nothing out there right now. It’s just a huge void. People look back to one that has been well established, the SAE J3016, which has been used by the government to define autonomous vehicles and does not contain any criteria for safe operation of AVs. On public highways or anywhere else for that matter only very recently have they even come up with a set of recommendations for testing on private test tracks, not and it’s important to note that this is not a requirement.
These are just recommended. Nice to do. They’re not a
group called the A. V. S. C. For developing what they call consensus standards. None of those are quantitative. None of them have a single number attached to him. There’s just a huge void right now. There’s, and for anybody to say that industry standards are adequate for the safety of A. V.
Testing only reflects their profound ignorance of how that how that process works and what the standards developments Maturity is right now.
Anthony: So what happens next with these proposed bills?
Michael: What’s happened is, we’re expecting a hearing on autonomous vehicles to occur in the house next week.
And as part of that, we expect there to be some, proposed bill language. We know that the majority or the Republican. Republicans on the committee are essentially proposing a bill that is six years old and was passed by the House, but never made it through the Senate a long time ago.
And if you’ve… Follow this area at all, you know that a lot has changed in 6 years and the idea that bill could appropriately set in place, the regulations and things that are needed for autonomous vehicles is a joke. Plus, the bill that’s being proposed leaves out some incredibly important consumer protections.
The 1st is simply defining what happens, when. An autonomous vehicle hits you, are you going to be able to take the manufacturer to court? Is there going to be insurance? Who is to blame is an issue that it’s left wide open and that proposed legislation,
Anthony: when I was clearly to blame because I’m the human and I made a human error, right?
Michael: That’s the argument that Tesla is making on people that turn on autopilot. But in, In this instance, the human doesn’t, in the autonomous vehicles, the level four and above, there’s no human way to control the vehicle in those circumstances, and blaming the human would be equivalent to blaming the passenger in a taxi or an Uber.
So it’s. It’s unclear in that legislation who is at fault. And we think that the manufacturer should be to blame the manufacturer of the vehicle or the automated driving system is the responsible party there. That needs to be clarified plus, some of the folks who are, pursuing autonomous vehicles are tech giants and tech giants rely on a tactic to avoid court called forced arbitration or binding arbitration where you sign an agreement that you click on your phone and none of us ever read that says you’re going to be going to arbitration before you take us to court.
Even if someone dies, you saw Uber use uses this a lot. They use it pretty zealously. They even try to use it against sexual assault victims in their vehicles to prevent their cases from going to court. They’re definitely going to attempt to use it when there are crashes and other things that could be blamed on the technology.
And, as we’ve seen recently, Waymo or Google’s driverless car operation and Uber have reached an agreement to work together on ride share and Waymo’s already using binding arbitration agreements as well. So the tech folks in involved in the autonomous vehicle industry, have a long history.
of basically preventing people who have been harmed by their product from taking their case to court. And that’s not something that has traditionally been part of the automobile industry, although they have their own little special legal tactics to prevent justice from occurring. And so it’s a huge problem that is not banned.
We should, we think that any autonomous vehicle bill, one of the first things that needs to be done is to simply ban the act of binding consumers to arbitration that basically takes them to a kangaroo court where they won’t have adequate discovery and, none of the tools that are typically available to a plaintiff would be available to them.
And arbitration court and where the decisions are almost inevitably going to be slanted towards the manufacturer. That’s a huge problem in the bill. Yeah, who’s to blame? And there’s a number of other things.
Anthony: Yeah who’s to blame? We don’t know, but are you a subscriber to this show? Because if you are, you can tell us who’s to blame.
And then you can donate and tell us who’s to blame. Fred, are you think you’re ready for your telling us who’s to blame?
Fred: Yeah, but first, I have a question for you, Anthony. Isn’t there a… Public interest organization that has put together a set of requirements that A. V. should conform to before they can be safely tested on the highway.
Anthony: Yes, there is. And it’s the Center for Auto Safety. And there’s a link to that Consumer A. V. Bill of Rights in this podcast description. As well as, hopefully, a link to our A. V. Fanboy Fiction… page. I don’t remember what we called it, but basically it lays out all this stuff in kind of colloquial language and you’ll see who’s to blame.
And my buddy Kyle at Cruise say it’s the humans. The humans are to blame, but Fred Perkins will let us know. You’ve now entered the Dow of Fred.
Fred: Thank you. Here we are. Kyle Vogt. We were on a first name basis with Kyle Vogt. He’s the CEO of Cruise and Michael. He said earlier that he’s been quoted as saying five years from now, we’ll all be driving autonomous vehicles and people will be looking at the conventional cars, the way people look at horses and mules.
I looked up his history and he apparently hasn’t worked anywhere for more than five years. So that’s, I think that’s just his planning horizon. It’s interesting. But he’s, they’ve just taken out an ad in several leading publications, including the New York Times full page ad, titled, Humans are Terrible Drivers.
Question for you, Anthony, do you think that Cruise would always put their best foot forward in a New York Times full page ad?
Anthony: Why would GM, Cruise, and Kyle ever mislead us or lie to us?
Fred: It’s hard to know, but he tweeted alongside the ad, Human drivers aren’t good enough. America can do better, and it’s time we fully embrace AVs.
This is pure and eloquent salesmanship to conflate two unrelated phenomenon as though that they are somehow causally related. So it’s clear that he’s never passed the LSAT because they have a lot of logical questions on there. And when I looked up his resume, it confirmed that he is definitely not a lawyer.
There’s no logical connection between America can doing better and it’s time to fully embrace AVs. The ad starts by saying people cause millions of accidents every year in the U. S. Yes, that’s certainly true, but it’s completely tautological, too, because an accident is defined as an unfortunate interaction between humans and vehicles.
Tautology doesn’t really do a lot to add to the discussion, so this is not in any sense a useful observation. It should also be clear to people, it should be clarified here, that in other parts of the world, The accident and fatality rate is steadily declining. The U. S. is an outlier. So clearly the fact that the rate of accidents and fatalities in the U. S. is increasing has not got anything to do with the Evolution of technology that’s in these cars. It’s got to do with other factors, most of them having to do with infrastructure, separation of vehicles, high speed vehicles from pedestrians, things like that have been accomplished in the widespread in Europe.
But are simply rare in the United States. There’s really looking at the wrong end of the horse on this by Kyle. And good for him. He can look at whichever end of the horse he likes, he then goes on to say, he then goes on to say, Cruise driverless cars are designed to save lives.
Okay, that’s fine. But, design without validation is just a fantasy. I have a design for a ladder that will take me to the moon. And I can show it to you.
Anthony: How much money would you like me to invest?
Fred: There’s a problem there. It’s a great design, but it hasn’t been validated yet. So more money? More money.
Just keep on sending it. Just keep on sending it. I’ll be happy to take it. But what we know from the experience in San Francisco… And all the places is a cruise vehicles are apparently not designed and certainly have not demonstrated the capability to respond properly or to be remotely controlled by law enforcement when the violating the law, blocking traffic or interfering with emergency responses to fires and mass shootings.
A question for Kyle, if cruise driverless cars are designed to save lives. Isn’t it also important to save the lives of people who are involved in an emergency and the law enforcement and firefighters who are trying to solve that problem? What do you think, Michael? Does Mike does, do you think that law enforcement needs some way to control rogue AVs?
Michael: Oh, they need a way to control rogue AVs and, honestly, every other rogue vehicle on our streets. I think we talked about that with the chief of police about, how he would like to have some type of remote immobilizer to prevent, vehicle thefts and people fleeing police and causing, carnage on the roads.
Fred: Given the hazard that these present to pedestrians and others, I don’t know, I don’t know how you could in good conscience put one of these on the road without having some way to, to control it when it’s out of control.
Michael: How about a safety driver? You mean a human being? If the vehicle was stalled in the middle of the road and disobeying human commands, wouldn’t a human be the best thing for it?
Anthony: Michael, there’s no steering wheel in this car, or pedals, or anything like that. What’s a human gonna do? You want me to put steering wheels and pedals back in?
Fred: The Jetsons had Rosie. Remember? The Jetsons had Rosie. She could do all that stuff.
Anthony: Oh, that’s a good point. Let’s get rosy. Okay. Robots. Nothing will go wrong there.
Fred: So then Kyle goes on to say, Our cars were involved in 92% fewer collisions as the primary contributor. What the hell does that mean? The only thing it really means is that poor Kyle is clearly out of his depth. The question is fewer than what? Fewer than zombies? Fewer than underage car thieves?
This is a completely meaningless statement. Where the hell did this come from? No operational data is presented. Just the fantasy. Just the Jetsons. But, if you go back to the source of this nonsense, there’s a NISA study called Critical Reasons for Crashes Investigated in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, where this 92% or 94%, 92% number comes from.
That study is very interesting because if you take it apart and look at what the data really says, it says that vehicle induced critical factors and fatal crashes occur about once every 2. 5 billion, that’s billion with a B, every 2. 5 billion miles driven. Now, the Washington Post reports that cruise in its first million miles in San Francisco has been involved in at least 66 instances of interference with emergency responses.
For Never mind other accidents. Sorry? So they’re doing better. Never mind other accidents and traffic problems. This is about one instance of interfering with emergency responses every 15, 000 miles. Granted, no fatalities yet, but this is a rate of potentially hazardous vehicle failures 167, 000 times higher than the standard set by current vehicles.
Is that better or worse?
Anthony: That’s 166, 000 times better? Duh!
Fred: 167, please. Oh,
Anthony: Sorry. 167, 000 times better.
Fred: Anthony, you drive, right? You drive maybe 15, 000 miles every year or so. No. Do you interfere with emergency firefighter responses once per year? I… Because according to the crews, that’s okay.
Anthony: I don’t, but my wife has a, an attraction to NY, New York firefighters, so she might. I don’t know.
Fred: Michael, how about you? Every 15, 000 miles, do you get cited for interfering with an emergency response of firefighters?
Michael: Not yet.
Fred: So you say you have a different standard than Kyle and Cruise.
Michael: I try to avoid fire hoses and I also try to recognize red and blue lights, which some of these vehicles also don’t seem to be able to do.
Fred: That is such a cute human response.
Anthony: He’s like a boy scout.
Fred: You’re definitely a human, Michael. That’s great. Okay. So anyway, They closed the ad with a killer argument. They also never drive distracted, drowsy, or drunk. Wow, what a powerful statement. Okay, but nobody has yet shown that any AV can drive as safely as a human who is distracted, drowsy, or even legally drunk.
Lots of distracted, drowsy, and drunk drivers. Get home safely and don’t get into collisions. It’s still a bad idea for our listeners. The fact is that nobody’s demonstrated that an A. V. Is even as good as a drunk driver. There’s just no data to support that. The cruise data showing interference with emergency responders every 15, 000 miles is not very promising.
Also, you shouldn’t note that A. V. S. Mhm. Do not have a conscience, and they simply never care what the hell is happening, because they don’t know how to care.
Anthony: Can we set this up on a, sorry, can we set this up on a test track, drunk driver versus autonomous vehicle? I’d love to see it. Ah, that would be so much fun.
Fred: I would love to see it. In any rational development program, when you find a problem, You go ahead and you set up a test case to replicate the problem, and then you work on the system that you’re developing until it can fix the problem, right? So how, so I’m sure by now the crews is set up at the GM test track, a system that replicates a fire scene where they have hoses and personnel running around.
And that they’ve taken their cruise vehicle and they’ve put it through the paces so that they know that it properly responds to all of those situations. I’m sure they’ve done that because they’re such responsible people, right? And it’s surprising to me they haven’t published the results of that. I don’t
Anthony: I think they’re probably focused on scenarios what they’re used to, which is, driving from one end of Pacific Heights in San Francisco to another end of Pacific Heights in San Francisco, and then to the private airport to get on their jet.
Fred: We’ll just stipulate that there’s no firefighters in the way, so why not?
But anyway, they also never drive distracted, drowsy, or drunk. That’s fine. But no human driver has ever been disabled by a cyber breach. There are many examples of connected vehicles being disabled or taken over by cyber breaches. Fun stuff. Disconnecting the transmission, turning on the windshield wipers.
No human beings ever has ever had that problem. And no human has ever been disabled by a software defect. Or a traffic cone. No, traffic cones, right? No human driver has ever been the victim of a single event. Upset, a short circuit, a software defect, data bus timing error, or artificial intelligence training error.
So when people make this brave statement that they never drive distracted, drowsy, or drunk, they never address The downside, a lot of this digital circuitry and electronic components and networks and all this gizmostic that goes into a software driven vehicle. Finally, the computer driver should be able to learn from fatal events that they experience.
So by now, I’m sure that Tesla’s set up tests of its FSD and AP. The autopilot responses to white trucks crossing highways that have killed multiple people and to highway goers. Michael, have you seen the results of NASA of Tesla’s safety tests replicating those known fatal situations published and verification that they’ve solved that problem?
Michael: Tesla submissions to NHTSA are completely redacted with no hope for the public to see them.
Fred: Oh so they haven’t done it. Oh, okay. All right, so anyway, I’m getting close to the end of my rant, so I just have to say sorry, Kyle. If this is the best you’ve got, then you haven’t got much. I cannot give you a passing grade.
My eighth grade teacher would have failed you on your appreciation of algebra. This is really an embarrassment. And I’m awfully surprised that your overseers at GM let this out, but hey, what the hell, right? It’s just money spent, and maybe it can sway public opinion. That’s all I got for today folks.
Anthony: That was great. I love it. I love, my favorite part of your rants lately are when you ask us questions. What we’re linking to in the description is an article from Slate slate. com, and there’s a great quote in it. It talks about saying, The website of Safer Roads for All, an AV funded lobbying group, bluntly declares that autonomous vehicles will take human error off the road, reduce crashes, and save lives.
Huh? Cause, cause autonomous vehicles, they’re a combination of software and hardware, that were written and developed by humans. Humans also developed credit reports. I don’t know if you realize this, but humans are massively error prone. Just because it’s in a computer doesn’t mean it’s right.
People have to understand that.
Fred: Humans also develop legislation and humans run NHTSA. There’s some circular logic at work here.
Anthony: So let’s get rid of the hu Wait! That’s what they’re trying to do! They’re trying to get Oh my god, GM Cruise. They’re trying to get rid of the humans. It’s part of the vaccine!
NOOOOO! Alright, enough of that nonsense. But, ladies and gentlemen, sitting at home, or in your car, just because something’s on a computer doesn’t mean it’s true.
Fred: That was a quote from Abraham Lincoln, right?
Anthony: It was. And that was what I once said to somebody at a credit card agency who Claimed I was born 10 years after I was.
And I was like, wait, what? What decade was I born in? No, they’re like, it says it right here, sir. And I’m like, it says it where? On the computer in front of me. Oh, you silly person. But hey How about a little recall roundup and we’ll call it a day. Recall roundup, three recall roundups.
This week we’re gonna start off with a defect information report from Toyota. And this is for their RAV4 Prime Model year 2021 to 2022. Their Lexus NX 4 5 0 H plus. Who names these cars? Why the NX four 50 H plus? Are people sitting there going, oh, you only have the four 50 H?
I have the h plus it comes with the chrome labeled cup holder. I don’t know what’s any of these cars anyway. The issue effects only vehicles equipped with a DC to DC converter containing a current rectifying module with the specific design described in this report. I can’t read this whole thing, Michael.
Are you talking about the DC converter? The
Anthony: DC converter. Yeah. Now, while Michael’s figuring that out, Fred, as an engineer, why would you ever want to convert from direct current to direct current?
Fred: Because you need a different voltage setting for different electronics.
Anthony: Okay, so you’re stepping up or stepping down.
Fred: Stepping up or stepping down, yeah. And you can’t really step up directly. So you’ve got to have a a an oscillator and a transformer in it to step up the voltage. So there’s a few components, analog components, that need to be included and step up.
Step up converters, step down converters. You can do it a little bit more easily.
Michael: Anyhow, this one was an interesting one because it’s the first time I’ve seen a specific type of warning to consumers, which was do not charge in low temperatures. There’s a Warning to consumers that if you do charge these vehicles in low temperature, I believe one of the incidents that occurred.
That’s the base of this was in Canada and cooler temperature. So that’s something that everyone who owns these vehicles needs to know. Maybe not right now because it’s really hot. But certainly, as we approach fall and winter 1st of all, go get the repair that you don’t have to worry about it. But 2nd don’t charge the vehicles and low temperatures.
Anthony: Alright, the next one we have is another Toyota one, and it’s a whole collection of Toyotas, pages upon pages of things like Lexus NX 350, the NX 250, oh you’re just poor, you can only have the 250, oh my god, so lame, the NX 350 hybrid, oh aren’t you better than me, you got the hybrid, this is a cable sub assembly spiral in mid, May 2023, the spiral cable assembly supplier notified Toyota of a manufacturing process investigation.
I I just
Michael: can’t read all that, Anthony. What do folks, what the listeners really need to know here is that this is, these are very new 2023 Toyota vehicles, and this is an airbag non deployment issue. What that spiral yada cable Anthony was talking about is. It controls airbag deployment in some way or interferes with airbag deployment.
And so if you’re in a crash in one of these vehicles, there’s a chance that you will not be protected by your airbag. So you definitely need to get that checked. I don’t believe the remedy has been announced yet, but we will bring it back up when it’s available.
Anthony: All right. And the last one we have is Ford and, just my brain not working so well on this.
Michael: I’ll do, there was another one that just came out this morning on Mazdas and it’s, goes with our general theme. We’ve heard a lot of these in the last two years, but it’s the rear view camera assembly again on about 250, 000 Mazdas that will be, we’ll have that. In our wrap up on the website.
If anybody wants to click through and see that the Mazda is involved. I believe our vehicles going back to 2000 and 16, 18, 2013. so we’re looking at, older models to think they’re all pre 2020s that they’re having this problem when you see vehicles that all being recalled Probably pretty serious issue.
We would encourage everyone that owns a mazda to check their van on that’s his website and make sure that you don’t qualify for one of these recalls
Anthony: And lastly Ford Motor had the most recalls of any automaker in the first half of 2023. So big round of applause to Ford for having the most cars they had to recall compared to everybody else, beating Stellantis even.
Michael: We, we never know when you see numbers of recalls, whether it’s A manufacturer that’s having a lot of quality or design problems, or whether it’s a manufacturer that’s taking its safety responsibility very seriously. So it’s hard to parse those numbers without inside information that Ford’s probably not going to give us, but they are leading and recalls.
I think this is the 2nd year, maybe more in a row. They were the leader last year as well. Yeah. So there’s also trends that in the first six months of this year, we’ve seen that are similar to last year. For instance, last year, there was a record number of rear view camera recalls.
There were over 30, I believe maybe even approaching 40. And this year we’re on track. Thanks to Mazda now with about 16 or 17. To come near to that number again. So once again, we’re posing the question. What is wrong with the rear view camera systems? And also 1 thing that we’ve seen this year as well.
Last year, there was a record number of electric recalls or recalls involving vehicle electronic systems. 150 out of 1000 or so recalls were related to electronics. And this year, just through the first six months, we’ve already seen 110 recalls related to electronics. So as your car becomes a computer, it looks like you are going to be in for more electronics problems.
And I think that’s pretty well borne out by the consumer complaints and other things we’ve been seeing in the last few years.
Fred: But wait, Kyle tells us that in the future, everything will be better. And as soon as the computers completely take over. There’ll be no more traffic accidents.
Do we see a disconnect here?
Anthony: Will my AV recall itself?
Michael: Whoa. Yeah, I think there’s a huge disconnect there between reality and some of the things coming out of Detroit and California.
Fred: Oh, that’s another issue, actually. Computers are incapable of extending themselves beyond their capabilities. Which sounds dumb, it sounds tautological, but humans can do that.
Humans have judgment, humans have reason, humans can project beyond their current capabilities. This is an important part of driving safety something that AVs simply do not and never will have. When confronted by a situation for which they’ve never been trained, they tend to stop on the street and wait for an engineer to drive up a half hour later and relieve the traffic problems.
Anthony: A half hour later. I’m waiting for this will be the cheesiest jokes in the next few years. Some comedian being like, you only had to wait a half hour for your engineer to show up to fix your car. I’ve been waiting for three months. Heck, I had this gig here a week ago. I’m still waiting. Oh my god, I’m not even a comedian.
Fred: And my arms are really tired.
Michael: That’s not a bad Rodney Dangerfield, you should work on it.
Anthony: No, Rodney was funny. Hey listeners, what did we learn this week? We learned that, maybe don’t buy a car or listen to bullshit from somebody named Kyle. We learned that NHTSA is arguing from a point of weakness.
We, those are the main things we’ve learned. That’s more or less what we’ve learned this week. And Hey, thank you for spending another quality hour or so with us this week. And we’ll be back next week.
Fred: Just one more thing. One more thing. Michael, did you go to Piggly Wiggly when you were down in mississippi?
Michael: went to a Piggly Wiggly. Twice, I believe I went to one in Mont Eagle, Tennessee, where they had recently rearranged the entire parking lot to build a big line of Tesla superchargers, which I thought was cool and it’s going to give the people traveling on I 24 in Tennessee some charging options next year, even the ones in Ford and GM.
So Piggly Wiggly is getting with the times and helping America build its electric. vehicle infrastructure.
Wonderful. Thank you for listening folks.
For more information visit www. autosafety. org