Proving Grounds

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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: Correct. Good morning everybody.

Good morning,

Anthony: world. Ah, look at that. I didn’t even think we were starting, but Fred said Good morning. So must time for another episode of the Center for Auto Safety Podcast. Soon to be called Knives and Sharp Edges. Man,

Michael: I don’t know. Knives and sharp edges as we’ll see later in the, and there’s a jack knife

Anthony: recall.

There is.

Fred: Okay. I still Clat and clonk. I still like clat and clunk, but in the, has that time gone? I guess that’s I’m clearly clonk,

Michael: so y’all can figure it out from there. .

Fred: I can clutter, I can do

Anthony: that. All right. And I’m Bob Barker. Okay. This week, look, and this is not the Antit Tesla show.

It really isn’t. We are very impressed with that Tesla that drove off a cliff and survived. But we’re gonna start off the show with some, negative Tesla news as happens quite often. So Tesla, their full self-driving finally recalled, I don’t know how Wyatt took so long, but finally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration knits up announced the massive recall of all Tesla’s equipped with full self driving.

Beta, which is everyone has full self-driving. So that’s right. So you went out, you’re like, I’m getting a Tesla, this is gonna be so cool. Elon’s gonna love me, I’m gonna get points on Twitter. I’m gonna give him an extra $15,000. I’m gonna fall asleep at the wheel cuz I believe him. This car will drive itself.

Turns out it doesn’t. You just gave him $15,000 and he’s cracking up. So

Michael: Michael, this recall is not that grand, it’s been pushed that way in the press, but really this is a recall that addresses four very specific modes and in Tesla’s full self-driving most having to do with intersections and how the cars.

Performing under those conditions. It doesn’t address, a number of things that we’ve talked about, which are, the automation, complacency drivers being able to retake over control after having the machine drive for them for an undesignated period of time beforehand, hitting emergency responders, motorcycles.

Any number of the larger issues that we discussed that Tesla’s posed a problem in. Th this doesn’t really address that, so it’s a little overblown. NHTSA clearly left. Room open for more action. And they alluded to the fact that more action is coming on this issue. At this point, if this was the only full self-driving recall that, that came out and they didn’t address all the other autopilot issues, we would be screaming from the mountains around DC if there are any.

But we’re, it’s a small recall and it has a lot more work to do here and a lot more work to ensure, not only that Tesla, but the other manufacturers don’t follow the same model of deploying technology on the roads using you. innocent bystanders and emergency personnel motorcyclists and others of us who aren’t choosing to hit the autopilot button as Guinea pigs.

And, setting some precedent so that this doesn’t happen again as all sorts of different automated vehicles and with all sorts of different use cases are rolled out on America’s roads in the next decade. So what

Anthony: e exactly does this mean? Let’s pretend, I’ve got full self-driving. Is this an over the air update recall?

Does it disable this beta program? What actually happening?

Michael: It looks like it was, it’s going to be an over the year update. And Tesla came back a couple of days ago. They finally posted some information on their website that basically said they’ve paused the rollout of full self-drive to I guess, customers who haven’t activated it yet.

That’s. very similar to what a manufacturer would be required to do in a traditional recall, which is you can’t sell any new vehicles with the defect while there is, un until they’ve been remedied. So until they come up with a software fix, they’re not going to roll out anymore. Full self-driving capabilities to customers.

I’m not sure, and it’s a little unclear whether or not they’ve, suspended full self-driving capability. It doesn’t seem like they have for all the other customers who are driving around the road right now with this defect in the car. So there’s still some questions around that. But generally, there’s a lot more work to be done.

on Tesla and the way they’ve introduced this technology and there needs to be a much safer way forward and some standards that manufacturers have to meet before they put these kind of thing on the road.

Anthony: Okay. So we see that Tesla, their approach is Hey, we’re calling it full self-driving.

We’re calling it autopilot and we’re throwing it out in the world. Whereas Mercedes, on the other hand, they have a very different approach. Mercedes actually does what we’ve talked about in the past, where I mentioned is all of this can’t be done in a simulation through software. They’ve updated their test tracks and their.

They’re real world testing. They’re not doing it out in the world with unsuspecting people, but I believe it was their the, their product manager project manager at Mercedes in charge of their ADAS and autonomous vehicle project Neils car. I can’t pronounce that. But basically he states that automated driving systems are increasingly achieving the status of a functioning prototypes.

And I’m pretty sure we’ve used that quote before. And we gotta repeat that. This is the guy at Mercedes saying automated driving systems are getting close enough that maybe they’ll be good enough for us to start testing. And that’s essentially what he’s saying. And he talks about how they love specifications and they need requirements.

They’re really asking for that. Hey, and Mercedes, if you’re listening our very own Fred Perkins and Michael Brooks put together an amazing list of what your AVS should

Michael: be doing. . So I think it’s Neil Korki maybe something like that you go. What really surprised me about that is, here’s a a lead employee in Mercedes saying that regulations are good.

That putting these standards into place, the minimum standards, that we keep asking NHTSA four across a variety of vehicle safety systems are good for the industry cuz it gives them a low bar, first of all, that some of. The worst manufacturers have to achieve in their vehicles, but also a bar at which the low bar for the better manufacturers to build on and improve on to make the systems even safer.

That’s not a common opinion you’ll hear coming out of the auto industry, but it was, quite frankly, a fascinating article. And the thing I think I was most fascinated by was just looking at the Mercedes test track, the Swiss Alps, which is incredible.

Anthony: Yeah. And so Mercedes is the first vehicle that has reached s a e level three automation.

Is that according

Michael: to Nevada law and how they according classify it, and if you believe that the s a e levels really are meaningful in that area. So there’s some qualifications there. .

Anthony: And the s sae, Le s SAE level three, I believe, Fred, you’ve warned us about that in the past, where it’s the car’s driving itself until it decides it isn’t.

And you have to react right now.

Fred: Yes, sir. Bob, that’s the story. I pay attention, and studies have shown that it takes anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds for a trained air airplane pilot to take over the controls of an airplane. After an autopilot decides to switch off, which they will sometimes do you can do an awful lot of damage in the car in 10 seconds of unguided.

Traffic interaction on a highway or even on any road that, might have an edge or has a finite extent. At 88 feet per second, you’re talking about 880 feet, right? That’s 60 miles an hour. So a lot can happen within that radius, but that is correct. Level three is a vehicle that is extend, that is set up for an extended period of time, of self-driving completely autonomous controls, and then potentially a very abrupt transition to human controls.

Usually when you know, things are getting bad because that’s when the automatic system’s going to fail.

Anthony: And this is an approach that others like Waymo and Cruz, they’ve just tried to skip level three entirely cuz it just seems dangerous. Is that right?

Fred: That’s my understanding. I don’t know, I don’t know what they think internally, but from what we can see of what’s going on the highways that’s actually been put on the roads and talked about, they do appear to be jumping over it into level four or even level five.

Clearly if you have no controls that a human can use in a car, you’re up in level five territory. And that’s where we’ve seen both wait a minute. What’s the funny looking one out there? Is that the Zoo?

Michael: Zoo? They’re all, yeah, they’re all funny looking

Anthony: The Waymo there. There’s what are they, there’s some sort of Ford or Toyota with a bunch of sensors on the road, so it

Michael: depends.

Yeah, on the, some of ’em have put them into vehicles that are already certified with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. So it would be a Toyota Highlander. I think Zoox is using in addition to the new funky car they just put out. also, I’m

Fred: gonna I’m gonna take advantage of this to rant just a little bit

Anthony: because , welcome to the rant of Fred

Fred: because what I’ve recently learned is that Tesla has a profit margin of about 25% for their cars.

That is extraordinarily high compared to any other manufacturer. Typically, cars work with low margins around five to 10%. So the way they do that though is to first create the illusion that an electric car is reducing the carbon footprint and there’s a lot of efficiency. But what they’re actually doing is they’re putting the burden of efficiency onto the electric generating company.

Externalizing the costs of efficiency. And if the utility company hasn’t stepped up to that, then there is no net thermodynamic gain associated with electric vehicles. But I wanna point out that is an incredibly regressive tax on the rest of us because Teslas are typically being bought by people who have, let’s say, a lot of money, right?

And then they get, so that money goes right into Tesla’s pocket, but there is then a tax rebate, right? Which comes outta the general treasury that goes into the pocket of the owner the rich owner, right? And then they’ve also externalized the cost of efficiency and efficient electro generating to the utility while everybody pays for the utility.

Everybody pays for the upgrades of the distribution system associated with the utility. Everybody does that, and a poor person pays the same electric rate as a rich person, this is an incredibly regressive tax that’s being put on everybody to defend the illusion of efficiency that allows Tesla to run at a 25% profit margin compared to every other automobile company in the world.

And there’s also

Michael: The they’re selling, at this point, I think they’re selling almost 2 billion in carbon credits to other companies as well. When some people will call them corporate welfare queens, they’re probably not too far off the mark.

Anthony: Yeah, there’s the engineering that Elon Musk has been brilliant at is not software, it’s not hardware, it’s federal regulations.

All of his companies are survived their first decade at least. , massive government subsidies and, carbon credits. That’s how Tesla survived the first decade at least. Their solar company, everything like that. That’s how the game’s set up. But,

Fred: It’s a fool’s game.

We’re all losing.

Anthony: Yeah, we are. Let’s let’s get him where we can with this autopilot and full self-driving nonsense. And I still want the electrical grid to be upgraded dramatically. Maybe he can pay for it. He’s got the money. Maybe not. Cuz Tesla’s keep crashing into firetrucks.

We don’t how’s this happened? There was a, this was just a week or so ago, A Tesla driver was killed and a passenger was critically injured in Northern California. When the car smirked into a smashed into a parked firetruck, they still haven’t released. If the driver was drunk, if autopilot was engaged.

but Tesla has just seemed to really have a in a knack for smashing into firetrucks. Does this, how often does this happen with, a non, with any other type of car? It happens

Michael: a lot. Is it Okay? Yes. And it is something that, many years ago not many, maybe 15 years ago or so, we were investigating, there was a bad fuel tank placement in crown Victoria police vehicles.

There was not to get too deep into the defect details, there were some basically issues where with the vehicle, why would you get deep

Anthony: into defect issues about cars on this show, ?

Michael: It’s a long story, but when the vehicles were hit from behind at high speeds, they had a very high rate of, exploding to flames, killing police officers, and these police vehicles were then sold on, I’m sure you see a lot of folks driving around in the fake police vehicles with little headlight.

So that they can look intimidating, that type of thing. They ha began to happen in those vehicles and also some limos in other vehicles. So it’s, it happens a lot and it’s mind boggling how often cars hit police on the side of the road with their lights flashing. It’s mind boggling how people don’t see that and often, they’re intoxicated.

But there’s a number of other reasons, particularly now that we’ve got cell phones and other things involved. But yes, it happens a lot. So in this case, we are definitely, waiting for the experts and the reports and the data to come out to say, whether or not an A D a S system or a full self-driving autopilot system was involved here.

Whether it was, clearly a driver issue or something else. We have no idea at this point. .

Anthony: It’s So maybe Tesla isn’t doing worse than others. I’m not apologizing for Tesla because you only hear about it.

Michael: Other vehicles aren’t, claiming themselves Yes. During, into emergency responders on their own.

So there’s that going for other vehicles, but in this case, we just don’t know enough. .

Anthony: Okay. An update, and since we’ve already mentioned Zoox Zoox is the, they have a system where it’s a very strange looking, fun Pixar type vehicle that they’re Amazon’s using and they’re allowing their employees to go ahead and use them.

And this is one that I think I brought up two weeks ago where I said, Hey, how do these guys pass the crash test? Cuz it doesn’t, and. , both the two of you laughed at me and said, hahaha. All the manufacturers get to self-certify and say, yeah, it’s good. And just, they beg forgiveness. Don’t ask permission.

Apparently NHTSA, they’re listening to our show, as we can tell. So they’re looking to whether or not these these actually meet the requirements to travel on public roads, which is good because a quick glance just at the shape of these things shows I, they’re not there, there’s no way.

Their tires look like something. Off of a kid’s toy. The I don’t see how this survives anything. Ha More than half of the vehicle looks like it’s some sort of glass or polycarbonate. And the color choices come on. Actually, I really like the sea film green. It’s nice, but

Michael: You’re being really tough on the zoox car.

It’s only traveling a mile around a campus there at the moment. So I’m sure it’s operating at low speed. It’s not intended to probably have a full crashworthiness suite of things that are available on other vehicles. But the fact is, if they’re gonna operate on public roads, they’re gonna have to have, they’re gonna have to meet every federal motor vehicle safety standard.


Anthony: so this is one of these things, if I’m just driving it around my enclosed campus, I don’t have to meet safety standards of any kind.

Michael: NI’s authority wouldn’t extend to that. You could build anything you want and operate it on your farm. , who told you my phone? People do. And, but there’s a limit to what, we allow on the public roads and what NHTSA can regulate.

It’s an issue we run to often with issues like crashes occurring off public roads. We see this in the front overs and back overs and a lot of the child safety areas.

Anthony: It’s, so this is what, like what you guys taught me last week, whereas my car stops being a car when it’s on my driveway.

Michael: Yeah. ,

Fred: Remember Zoox is an unusual design in that it has no front and rear.

It’s is, it is symmetric that way. So all the FM VSS standards that relate to front seat and backseat have no meaning for zoos because it doesn’t have front seat and backseat. So it’s very difficult to understand even at that, fundamental level, how this could be compatible with compliant.

with the FM v s that are applicable to cars. So yeah, it, it certainly bears a look. So

Anthony: their goal is to get this out on public

Fred: roads, I don’t know what their goal is, they spent a lot of money on it, so they probably want to get some money back.

Anthony: Cuz it’s design, they advertise it as a robo taxii service and it’s not gonna be just a robo taxi service through their parking lot, I wouldn’t think.

No. Okay. So you just hit on the point that I never even thought about. There’s no front, there’s no back. How does, yeah, how do you crash? Test that? Just throw the, put it against the

Fred: wall. I’m not sure. I, the inquiry mines would like to know.

Michael: Oh, and at this point with these autonomous vehicles, you’ve got to understand too that crash testing one of those things.

cost you millions of dollars more than it would a regular vehicle. So is it feasible to do that or are they doing a whole lot more simulation and other type of work to predict predictive type analysis which isn’t going to be as accurate as an actual crash test.

Fred: So there’s a lot. We don’t, there’s a lot we don’t know.

And it’s all wrapped under the proprietary labels of Amazon. Amazon owns Zoox. There’s just a lot we don’t know. And I think this is at the heart of this a looking into this particular vehicle configuration. They have ways of finding things out that we do.

Anthony: All right, boys and girls, those listening at home you can go ahead and create any kind of vehicle you want.

Just don’t put it on the public highway, but, invite your friends and family over and let’s just see what happens. Speaking of crash avoidance, safety driving, we have the Insurance Institute for highway safeties. Talking about, and I think we’ve touched on this briefly in the past, where cars with eight ass systems and radar systems and automatic emergency braking are a lot more expensive to repair when you get into an accident.

So in an article, we’ll put a link to for example, a simple windshield replacement can cost as little as $250, but a separate study found that vehicles equipped with front crash prevent. we’re more, much more likely to have glass cams of class claims of a thousand dollars or more. And much the more likely the cl I can’t speak this

Michael: morning.

Basically the higher costs are related to calibrating those systems to make sure they’re performing reliably when they go back out on the road. So yeah, it’s not a windshield anymore. I guess it’s a windshield that’s embedded with crash avoidance tech, so it’s gonna be a little more expensive. But I think we see this in bumpers.

There’s sensors and doors and all over the cars depending on the make and model that have to be calibrated to make sure they’re functioning correctly. This is also one of my pet peeves about this idea that everyone’s gonna have an autonomous vehicle in their driveway. The sensors required for those and the maintenance required I think, is going to be beyond your normal owner’s capability.

Fred: It’s well beyond owner’s capability, and it’s well beyond most dealer’s capability calibration of these sensors. And safety devices requires facilities and skills that are far beyond what you’re typically find even in a dealership. I think what we will probably happen is that there’ll be some metropolitan areas that have one focal point for calibration of these sensors.

And, especially trained personal to do that, but it’s just, and I’m guessing here, it’s beyond the financial capabilities of smaller dealerships and any independent, private repair shop to have that calibration capability in hand and calibrating ’em, running them without calibration is chancey.

doing the calibration wrong is a really bad idea. So this is something that’s got to be addressed carefully and seriously. And it’s gonna require a lot of investment and ongoing cost for any facility that’s going to maintain an up-to-date calibration capability.

Michael: And part of that problem is very similar to the problem we see with emergency responders and firemen and stuff with electric vehicles.

There’s just not there’s not a lot of information out there. Basically there’s a lot of different systems that are made. There’s different sensor systems and different crash avoidance systems on every make and sometimes every model vehicle within a manufacturer’s lines. And so if you are. An independent facility, you have to learn everybody’s stuff and how to calibrate it.

Before you can work on the vehicle. If you’re showing up at a crash and as an emergency responder, you have a lot of boxes you need to check before you can approach the vehicles and do certain things. Because there’s so many different, there’s very little standardization and there’s so many different ways where batteries are cut off and then that sort of thing.

So it’s a it’s a complicated area and that’s probably why it’s going to raise the price, of these types of repairs up significantly.

Anthony: So we’re gonna play a little game called Anthony asks a bunch of naive questions,

Michael: so that’s every week .

Anthony: Exactly. So right now, , how often do I need to get like my front end aligned?

Like I can tell if my car is pulling to the right that’s obvious to me or pulling to the left and I can go, oh, I need to get this fixed. And I imagine like when I get like oil change done and they like, Hey, time to change an air filter, they can probably spot to see if there’s something misaligned.

Is that fair enough? Is that Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Fred: There are visual checks you can take on tire wear and what have

Anthony: you. Okay. How often do I need my radar system aligned?

Michael: How many bumps did you hit yesterday? .

Anthony: See that’s the que like, seriously, is that, cuz I got a small car, it’s got small tires and some of these potholes feel like, oh, I, I really hit that one.

Good. Is that knocking radar systems and ultrasonic systems out of alignment?

Fred: Probably not so much because they have a. Squishy field of view requirement, but for optical systems many cars do anything to use as a camera, it becomes much more critical and they’re much more susceptible to vibration.

I think the same would be true for any lidar system, cuz you gotta have very careful pointing so that you know where you are relative to the objects that the lidar is determining or the optical systems is determining. But the radar and the sonar they don’t have that same kind of resolution.

So I suspect that they’re more resistant to vibration. But, somebody crashes into your car, somebody kicks your fender, and a lot of things can happen. They may need calibration. What that really leads to though is that cars have a lot of, or especially cars with an A D a S or an ad or an AV system.

Have lots of safety critical and life critical capabilities that are completely hidden to the owner and the user. What do you mean? If you’re driving down the road, you have an ADAS system, right? You put on adaptive cruise control, right? , and you sit back fat, dumb, and happy your car’s doing what it’s supposed to do.

There’s a safety critical function in there because if it fails, you’re gonna go crashing into another car, right? So let’s say that you’re coming up on another car and the part of the logic that says I’m close enough. Now what if that fails? Or you’re screwed, you’re gonna rent into another car because you’ve been reading Moby Dick while you’re driving the car, rather than paying attention to the car, right?

So that’s a hidden, logical feature that is safety critical. There is no way for you to know. That safety critical, logical feature has failed until you crash into something. Okay? So what we should be seeing is we should be seeing built-in diagnostics and built-in test procedures in all of these ADA systems so that the hidden logic and the hidden features that are received, the critical, that can kill you if they fail, are monitored and reported.

And so you have advanced notice if something doesn’t work, right? So right when you turn on your cruise control, you would wanna know that cruise control is working there should be built in diagnostics, in there, the tests, all the different features to say, yeah, this is good enough to go. And it’s.

Conversely, you should be notified if some part of that logical chain, whether it’s the computer or the sensor, or an adaptive control or who knows what isn’t working properly and you’re endangering yourself. This is one of the issues we talked about in relation to safety inspections of cars. It used to be that all of the safety critical features on the car were visually inspectable, right?

Because you didn’t have any logical stuff. So the inspection comes in, your tires look good, your windshield wipers work a hawk the horn. Thank you, . Everything works right, that’s not the case for cars that have a lot of this capability hidden inside of a computer. So we need to, the industry of the world needs to find some way of reporting the status and capability of these hidden functions that are, can kill you before they do kill you.

Alright. A lot of things can happen. Cosmic Ray can hit your computer and Cosmo’s called a single event upset and ruin the memory. You should know, you, the user, you the occupants of the car should know that this single event upset has happened, that the memory is corrupted, and that whatever systems rely on that memory are no longer working properly.

Anthony: All right wrap your car in tinfoil. Avoid cosmic rays.

Michael: Yeah. Next time. I have a brain fart on the podcast. I’m blaming a cosmic

Anthony: gray. I figure that’s why you’re wearing that calendar on your head right now.

Fred: Really thick aluminum foil, by the way, is what you need. Hey, have you, maybe several meters thick

Anthony: Okay. So again, we need industry to come up with some basic regulations here and some basic standards. Sounds I

Fred: don’t think industry’s gonna come up with those regulations. I think that comes from somewhere else. No, mitsa. , have you heard of this co concept called government?

Anthony: Hey man, hit Get them off my Medicare okay.

In different news, Honda Kia. Let’s go back to those fun folks. We’ve talked about this a number of times. The TikTok generation is not only come up with some fun dance moves, I’ve never been on TikTok. I don’t what’s there. But they’ve come up with ways to steal your Honda in Kia. Kia. And thankfully they it got so bad to the point where insurance companies are like, yeah, we’re no longer insuring these cars cuz anyone with a USB cable can steal it.

And so now they’ve come up with theft deterrent software for millions of their vehicles that lacking a mobilizer. And, oh, they’re so kind. They provided this fix, free of charge to vehicle owners. The software updates, the theft alarm software logic to extend the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.

What though? I, I started this thinking they had a good solution. This is ridiculous. .

Michael: The alarm is, the alarm part is probably ridiculous. It’s not as ridiculous as them charging owners $500 over the last few months to, to prevent this issue by installing alarm systems and things that really didn’t work.

So now at least they’re developing and are introducing this software that’s functionally creating kind of a software mobilizer for these vehicles and is gonna prevent them from being started with a SB cable. But the problem here is, if. , I don’t think there’s any denying that, car theft and relating consequences on our roads is a public safety issue that, that’s dangerous to a lot of people on the roads and that this should have been conducted as a recall.

It’s just a consumer satisfaction program, which means it, owners aren’t required to be notified and bugged about it until they, they get the fix performed. Although in this case, they have a little more motivation to do so because if you do get the fixed performed, you get a sticker that you can put on your windshield that lets wood be thieves, know that you’ve been protected against the TikTok hack.

So the through it , it’s a much better, it’s probably what they should have done a few months ago in response to this. And they wouldn’t have gotten heat from NHTSA and the insurance industry. Now that they have, it’s. It’s not being rolled out in a way that ensures that all consumers are going to get notified about it and get the fix.

Fred: I think the sticker’s a great idea. I think that McCarthys generally inspect a signage on a car very carefully before they try to break into it. So this is gonna be very beneficial. But I also wanna mention something about over the air updates. It used to be, and all of our listeners I’m sure have gone to our website, put in the VIN for their car, and have found out whether or not there are any open recalls that are applicable to their car.

One of the problems with over the air updates, and this applies to Tesla as well, is that those updates don’t confirm that your individual vehicle has gotten the update installed. What used to be unambiguous about whether or not there were any open recalls on your car as now being destroyed or invalidated by the use of over the year recalls and informal over the year recalls to enhance the safety of your car, to affect the safety of your car.

It’s no longer true that you can go to the NHTSA website, put in your VIN and find out exactly what the open recalls are on your vehicle. They may be installed, they may not be installed, they’re, one of the consequences of this over the air update is that they may be destroying available resource for consumers to find out if their car is in fact, in need of a safety

Michael: Yeah.

And you saw this last week with I, Elon once again coming out and saying, this shouldn’t be a recall. He seems to think that a recall is somehow only limited to physical repairs of a vehicle where you bring it into a shop and pick something and send it back out. That’s not what a recall is.

A recall is anytime there is a unreasonable risk to safety and there is any type of repair software over the air, otherwise that is applied to it. Even though NHTSA has been incredibly slow updating their recall regulations, there’s still no real. Impetus right now to, there’s no reason for us to stop calling things, recalls if they’re only going to apply to over the year updates and software type issues.

NHTSA needs to update its standards to take into account the fact that cars are computer on, we computers on wheels, and we’ve got more software going into them every day. The regulations need to be rewritten here. And on that point, I think that Tesla is correct in some ways. They do need to take account for this new way of repairing vehicles and alerting owners.

But the fundamentals need to stay the same. People need to be alerted to these recalls. They need to know if there’s a safety issue with their vehicle without question, and they have to be told about these issue. .

Anthony: So if you wanna find out, you can go to auto, go to the vehicle safety check, find your make meet year model, and you can find those, what recalls are happening right now in your car.

And you can subscribe for updates. It’s great. Forget your VIN number. I don’t think there’s a way to search for VIN number on our site. I know there isn’t.

Michael: There, there is, there’s a, there’s an area where we’re tied into the Carfax NHTSA. The same search that, that NHTSA uses on your van. Okay,

Anthony: There go your ways.

Vehicle safety check, I promise. Yeah. , go there. That’s much easier. Find your, make your model. And you’d know if you brought your vehicle in and had something replaced. So yeah, do that. And I think with that, I think it’s time for recall Roundup

Fred: strap in time for the recall roundup.

Anthony: Speaking of Hyundai Kia Hyundai, exploding seatbelt pretensioners.

Oh my god. This is thousands, over 65,000 vehicles. The subject vehicles are equipped with driver slash passenger pyrotechnic type seat. No. What is happening? They have exploding things inside my car that will tighten the seatbelt for me. And this is for the 2021 to 23 Genesis G eighties, the GV sixties.

The GV 70 gv. Basically you got a genesis. Congratulations. They look very nice. But they’re gonna explode on you. Nah, they’re not gonna explode on you. But there’s problem with the seatbelt pretensioners. Is that correct?

Michael: That’s right. They, they are exploding. And this. One in a series of recalls on this issue by Hyundai.

They started recalling these vehicles last year, I think, and they’ve continued to do recall after recall. I think this is the seventh in the series. And this one was, I think, influenced by NHTSA pretty clearly because NHTSA opened up a recall query into the problem.

Anthony: And so this, they’re not exploding like toccata airbags where you’re gonna get shrapnel in you, or is it that dangerous?

Michael: I think the main fear here is possible fire. . But yes, if you have an exploding pretension to near you, let’s, I haven’t looked at the consequence ceremony summary to see what’s happening.

Fred: Gimme one second. The prete pretensioners are typically not right in front of your face. So even if they do rupture, they’re unlikely to have the same kind of consequence.

But you don’t wanna get your foot near it. You don’t wanna get any body part near it if it’s going to rupture due to excess pressure.

Anthony: And again, these pretensioners, they can use whatever explosive they want. There’s no regulations around that. That’s correct. America, actually, that’s in worldwide folks.

Explosions all around you.

Fred: Nissans. So to be clear, they don’t call it explosive. They call it energetic

Anthony: material. Oh, Nitza called it pyrotechnics. And yes. pyrotechnics. I expect Laser Floyd at the same time. . I don’t want pyrotechnics in my car. It’s crazy. Nissan is recalling more than 700,000 SUVs over a concern that a defect with the keys can cause them to shut off while driving.

That sounds like fun. Nissan is recalling oh 712,000, over 700,000 cars. These are the rogue sports, the rogues. And the problem is with Michael. He hinted earlier a Jacknife key set.

Michael: Yeah. So these are the, I’ve got a jack knife key for a Volkswagen Jetta from 2019. It’s basically the switch blade is what it, I would more accurately describe it as when you click a button, then your key pops out.

Oh, okay. And what appears to be happening with these keys over time is that the mechanism that holds the switch blade directly straight against a weaken. And so I don’t know if there’s a spring or whatever there is in there. And so the key starts to hang down near, where your knee or other parts of the driver might come in contact with it.

And they’re, it’s. Turning off the car when the driver’s making contact. It’s very similar to some of the issues we saw with the GM ignition switches, where people were either putting a lot of things on their key chain and it was causing the ignition to turn off, or, keys were being bumped by passengers.

All sorts of different circumstances contribute to that problem, but the results are the same. Here, you’re driving and your car cuts off all of a sudden, and depending on the kind of vehicle you have, in this case, it’s the Nissan Rogue, certain vehicle systems are going to turn off. You’re losing power, you’re losing power steering, you might lose the ability for your airbags to deploy.

There are a lot of things that can happen when the vehicle loses power like that. So it’s a big recall about 700,000 vehicles and a pretty significant concern. It’s one of those recalls that’s really important that people monitor and get fixed as soon as possible.

Anthony: And again, the recall fixed is free.

Fred: Yeah. It’s, it is interesting that cars have been using keys for over a hundred years. It’s interesting to me that it’s taking this long to work out the kinks and how to put a key into a car. Is oh, what does that tell us about the advancement of technology into AAVs? It’s, it is gonna be a while before these things, all these technical issue just settled down.

If it takes a hundred years plus to figure out how to put a ignition key in a car I, I don’t think that bodes well for how long it’s gonna take to work the keys out of kinks, out of a brand new, very complex system.

Michael: And I would even suggest here that maybe they figured out the whole key system many years ago, but they’ve been trying to make it.

Cost less over time. And so these issues have arisen because of, the trying to make the price of the key system go down while also at the same time, keys look a lot cooler than they used to. So there’s a lot of design that goes into them, but keeping the costs down and installing when, in this case it looks like a bad mechanism to keep the key in a safe position you see where that cost cutting approach can have negative effects on vehicle safety.

It was the same thing in the gym ignition switch. They were doing a, there was a small spring in the ignition switch system that was for pennies was not replaced with something that could have been a lot stronger and that resulted in, 200 or minimum deaths and a lot of injuries.

Fred: Well, metal springs are vedo been used for about 500 years, so I can see why it’s still a development item. .

Anthony: Hey, it takes time to get things right.

Michael: We get to get things cheap. . Yeah.

Anthony: Speaking of Fred, working out some kinks, it’s time for the towel of Fred.

Fred: You’ve now entered the Dow of Fred

Good morning. Good morning again.

Anthony: Going back to the AV Bill of Rights,

Fred: so we’re going back to the AV Bill of Rights and the third article in that is AVS Shall Not Prejudice for or against any Group of Living Persons With respect to any other group this has a few different aspects to it.

but first is that we’ve all heard how avs are going to make it possible for people with any kind of mobility challenge to get around, right? You’re gonna put your three year old in it to go to her violin lesson across town and everything’s gonna be fine. People who are in wheelchairs will be able to use these people who have difficulties driving no problem for them because they’ll be able to just get in and tell the car where to go and everything will be fine.

Okay, let’s take these claims at face value and make sure that the AVS in fact do not discriminate against persons with physical or mental disabilities that might otherwise restrict their ability to travel. There’s another aspect to this too, though, that the logic in the vehicles. Could potentially prejudice one group of people against another.

So how would this work? Let’s say that you’ve got a, an AV that is designed for traveling in an urban environment, and you’ve designed it somehow so that it works perfectly well for almost everybody, but it works really poorly for somebody else. For example, in any emergency situation, it looks for a blonde-haired child and heads towards that blonde-haired child, rather than heading towards a large group of people or people with indetermined hair color.

That would not be acceptable even though. , the overall safety profile of the vehicle might be an enhancement compared to a conventional vehicle in that same environment. So you can’t, these should not be allowed to prejudice any one group against any other group, even if it results in an overall reduction in the hazard associated with the vehicle.

Does that make any sense? Is that clear?

Anthony: It was very specific against blonde-haired children, but I think in, in, in what we’ve seen a lot with AI systems and whatnot is they’ve they have a racial prejudice problem now, whereas they have a tough time identifying black skin or darker-skinned people.

So this would be the similar type of thing that the AVS have to be able to recognize. This is a human versus, a not a human. And humans come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and you wanna do some, they do system to aim from blonde hair,

Fred: children, but specifically you should not be able to Increase the hazard to any one group of people by reducing the hazard to any other group of people.

Got it. And I u I use blonde haired children just to make sure that everybody was outraged by the whole idea that might be our problem. just

Anthony: Blonde hair, children, oh, sorry. His just moment

Fred: avs should not discriminate between acceptable users on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, age, or national origin.

So if there’s a an AV taxi right, roaming the streets of New York City looking for passengers, it should not be allowed to determine which passengers it will pick up based upon any observable characteristic of those passengers. It should be open to everybody.

Anthony: Unlike current cab drivers in New York City,

Fred: As they’re required to do. And my understanding is that is not a perfect system, and it will occasionally happen that prejudices do creep in. But AV should be designed to not let any prejudices creep in. And a corollary to that is that the optical identification of humans as users or vulnerable road users may not provide different results based on skin color, height, weight, or any other observable characteristics.

So somebody cross somebody in a crosswalk should not be put at comparative risk relative to everybody else just because of how they look or what their characteristics are. And finally the final point I’ve got here is that AVS must assure safe ingress and egress of pastures, people getting in and out of the car without regard to their ability or disability.

So let’s say that somebody has a mobility problem. They’re trying to get into the av, but the AV has a time limit on how long the door can stay open because, they’ve got profit incentives, they’ve got like places to go and people to meet, right? Avs should not be allowed, must not be allowed to prejudice the safety of any person because they’re trying to get in or out of the car safely.

And similarly, they should in fact make sure that everybody who is using the vehicle within reason is able to stop the vehicle on demand for any reason and safely egress the car, safely get out of the car. There can be lots and lots of reasons why somebody might want to do that. They see the, they see the vehicle getting into a hazard situation as a fire down the road.

Now trees are on fire. They don’t want to go there. , it’s gotta be really clear and really evident and really easy for somebody to say, stop. I want to get out and have the vehicle respond appropriately so that they can in fact get out safely. What does safely mean? That’s, that’s open to a lot of interpretation, but again, somebody with authority should define what it means to get out of a car safely.

I will. You don’t drop it. Authority. , you don’t drop a three year old on the edge of an interstate highway. You don’t, you don’t stop at the top of a bridge that has no breakdown lane and tell people, okay, this is where you go. There’s, this is a, perhaps a subtle, but a very important issue associated with the avs.

How do you assure the agency of the people who have not been trained extensively in using this vehicle? How do you enable the agency of these people to stay safe and to not suffer from false imprisonment by a car that is not properly configured? .

Anthony: Th this last point is great because it makes me think of airlines, whereas the passengers aren’t trained to deal with emergency landings and whatnot, but the, everyone knows, hey, find where your exit lane is and what have you.

And they test systems to make sure everyone can get outta the plane within 90 seconds. But you also have trained staff on board ensuring and helping guide people. So what you’re saying here with the must be able to safe ingress and egress, is this for an AV taxi service? Because that I can understand and I think that makes a very cool argument for some designs.

Cuz if I’m in a wheelchair, for example, I, these things would have to have some sort of ramp or lift gate for media in and out of easily. But what if I just, I’m buying the new, company X, y and z a super AV at home. Would you require those to have that type of service to.

Fred: I think so the AV shouldn’t prejudice against, we’ll say blind people, right? Yeah. You’d say the obvious thing to do is have a big red stop button somewhere in the car, and any idiot can smash the stop button. Maybe you can’t see it. Maybe they’re, maybe everybody would say you need to have a push button on the floor that you can just stamp on and that’ll, get people out of the car in a hurry.

That’s great. Unless you happen to have no use of your legs and you’re in a wheelchair. So I think this issue requires some careful thought about how to implement it and how extensively to implement it. Certainly in the case of ride share. Yeah. You’d want that. What do they do in zoo? I’ve got no idea.

Wouldn’t it? It’d be interesting to know. But there is no FM v s requirement for. on demand emergency egress. I think there should be. Yeah.

Anthony: Cause it’s the, so the first part of this where we’re talking about not discriminating against people on the outside, so that’s the external facing cameras and sensors, being able to identify humans in every different shape, form, color posture, clothing and whatnot.

And I think that’s one technical issue, which is probably more software and hardware. Whereas this last one is almost a fundamental redesign in some sense of how cars are designed. I think. I think it’s I think it’s really interesting and I think, yeah, making it so anybody can easily get in and out of the car is great.

I know manufacturers will hate that, but,

Michael: Yeah. I, and I think there’s going to be, more of a dedicated system for people who have particular disabilities, I don’t know if it makes sense to design every AV in America if we’re intending them to be deployed for private use, particularly in that way from an efficiency standpoint.

But what we do want to guarantee is that, I don’t think that AVS are gonna be privately owned by anyone for an incredibly long time. I won’t be around, so I’ll just go ahead and say that this, when avs do come in the next 20 years, they’re going to be owned by a company and parked in that company’s garage.

They’re not gonna be in your driveway, and they’re not, they’re going to need to make enough vehicles part of their fleet that can serve disabled communities well and give them the same level of service that everyone else gets in, in, in autonomous vehicles. And until they can do that we’re gonna still have a lot of questions about avs.

They’ve really been pushing their ability to help disabled community with this. In in, in the, their entire lobbying approach across the states and the federal government. But I’m still looking for a use case where an autonomous vehicle is better for a disabled person than having an Uber or a taxi driver who can assist you in and out of the vehicle and possibly even to your door.

I haven’t seen that yet, and so I’m not completely convinced by a lot of the arguments made by the industry around this right now. I think that they’re using the disabled community as a shield and as a boost to their lobbying

Fred: abilities. No, I completely agree with you. And consider the simple case of somebody who doesn’t have use of their legs, who is trying to get to the airport to take a flight to some other place, they may have luggage. So how does the AV handle the lugg? , is it just gonna leave you by the side of the road? Or, oh, how do you do that? So there’s a lot of considerations and there’ll be a lot of pragmatic considerations and discussions between here and there about how to do it, how extensively to do it do it for whom.

But I think that as a principle, I think it’s very clear that the AVS shall not prejudice for or against any group of living persons with respect to any other group.

Anthony: Yeah. This is fascinating. Listeners, go to auto g search for our AV bill of Rights. Read through all of it. Send us your feedback on it.

This is a living document that’s evolving. You can hear just from our discussion here, we’re looking for your input and feedback. This would be this is fascinating stuff, and again, we’re trying to get way ahead of the curve, so your input now really helps the future of how these things will get rolled out.

Fred: And if you need some incentive, don’t forget this could save your life or your child’s life five years down the road.

Anthony: And while you’re there, click that big red button that says Donate become a monthly donor. Anyway we’re gonna, let’s I’m gonna, I think we’re gonna have time for one more thing and I’m gonna choose I’m gonna choose what I want cuz I’m talking.

So we’ve talked a lot about EVs and ev battery technology and how much mining goes into it. And Fred’s made the point numerous times that, Hey, this isn’t really as clean as we think it is. And I’ve taken the view a, it’s early days, things are gonna get better and this is we’re gonna do a little foreshadowing to future guests that we’ll have on in a couple weeks.


Michael: there’s a I take the view by the way that I don’t care how you make ’em, just make ’em

Anthony: lighter. That, that’s part of it. They’re making ’em lighter. Battery technology keeps evolving and there’s, we’ve mentioned briefly in the past, solid state batteries that will be less fire prone because as we’ve discussed to put out a ev battery fire requires 30 or so firetruck.

Now there’s a company that they’re working on lithium sulfur batteries using graphene. And so this is higher energy density, that they’re lighter and safer than current chemistries. So there’s a lot of work still evolving in there. And from our perspective, we want it to not only be, less environmentally negative than current mining practices, which is probably better than the oil industry.

But what do I know? And lighter and safer and less fire prone is probably our. Biggest thing that we can push. Fred, I imagine you’ve read through this article and do you have positive feelings for the future of battery technology

Fred: in the future? Everything will be better.

we know that. Why we’ve established that. Here’s the problem with batteries, right? Everything that isn’t grown is mined and you can’t grow batteries. So somewhere there’s a hole in the ground that’s associated with any battery. Now in my mind, it makes sense to use materials that come from sources that have already been destroyed rather than move into pristine wilderness areas to get new materials.

And this is a, a. That has to be made. The more we go after lithium, cobalt and nickel, the more we’re going to degrade previously pristine areas. So moving towards something like iron and sulfur, which is readily available from a lot of existing sources and really don’t need to degrade any additional wilderness areas would be a wonderful thing.

Graphene is made from carbon, so there’s a lot of carbon in the world and we can hope that they’re going to, that we’ll have suitable energy density and specific gravity and all those good things that are associated with better batteries in the future. I like it from the perspective that.

it looks like it’s not going to cause any great environmental degradation compared to the current situation, which by the way, is bad enough. I’m not saying everything’s benign now, but at least let’s not make it any worse. Going back to our first principle, which is do no harm. And so I think there’s a lot of that.

There’s also iron sulfur batteries that are being worked on a lot of different battery technologies many of which stay away from exotic materials. A lot of them are heavier than what we’ve gotta know. People use the batteries, the lithium ion batteries because they’re light and is the best technology that’s available.

Hard to know what five years down the road we might be saying about batteries.

Anthony: All right. Fair enough. I think unless anybody wants to discuss Piggly Wiggly, I think we’ve wrapped up another show.

Fred: Piggly Wigley. We should. There’s gotta be some way to bring Piggly Wigley back in. Michael. .

Michael: I’d wear the t-shirt, but no one would see it

Anthony: no, we can just tell people he has a giant Piggly wiggly tattoo over his forehead.

His next board meeting’s gonna be very interesting. No,

Michael: it’s Hannah. I’m gonna, it’s gonna be gone by then. .

Anthony: Okay. Okay. It was just made out of Hannah. Yeah. Yeah. . All right. Hey listeners. Thanks again for tuning in. Please subscribe, go on to iTunes podcast, give it five stars. Go to Stitcher Radio, give it.

20 stitches. I don’t know how they do things there. Please, thanks. Tell your friends. We’ve got a bunch of listeners. We keep growing. It’s very exciting. And make sure to donate, become a monthly donor, 10 bucks a month, you do that. You save my, my, my childish life.

Nah, that’s cheaper than,

Michael: that’s cheaper than Disney plus,

Anthony: exactly. Much cheaper than Disney. Plus, it’s roughly the same price as the F1 subscriber series which we haven’t talked about. F1. Oh, I like f1. It’s so much fun. All right, thanks, listeners. Stick. Thank you very much.

Michael: Thank you. Bye.

Fred: We love you.

Bye-bye. For more information, visit


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