Safety equals Communism!
The wheels on corporate lobbying go round and round, round and round. ‘Congress holds a hearing on how removing safety legislation on autonomous vehicles is the only way to ensure that our children won’t become Communists. Or something like that. Plus Fred explains what those black things your car sits on are.
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note: this is a machine generated transcript and may not be completely accurate. This is provided for convience and should not be used for attribution.
Anthony: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my nightmare. This is our second recording of today’s podcast. Our first one was eaten by the internet, or Zoom, or Kyle from Cruise hacked my computer. I don’t know. It’s annoying but you don’t care about that. Instead, Here’s the intro. You’re listening to their auto be a law, the center for auto safety podcast with executive director, Michael Brooks, chief engineer, Fred Perkins, and hosted by me, Anthony seminar for over 50 years, the center for auto safety has worked to make cars safer.
So welcome listeners. Good morning. Good afternoon. Guten taggen. Right now. As we record this on July 26th at noon, there’s this fascinating hearing happening in the U. S. House of Representatives about autonomous vehicles. And the nonsense being spouted by people is amazing. The number one thing that I’ve heard from pretty much everybody is China is going to take over.
There was one commentator who said it would be awful if China won this and it would change how our school children are taught. They would have to, going through the Chinese socialist systems, what it’s just…
Fred: My favorite so far was the witness who talked about all the activity that’s going on, the many companies, the huge investment, and how and then how…
Industry is is tragically threatened by the current regulations. The direct contradiction of what he had just spent ten minutes discussing about the, the vibrant economic activity that’s going on.
Anthony: Yeah, I’d always, it’s, I always feel bad for those poor giant corporations that need more help.
Because corporations such as Apple, which is worth, what, three trillion dollars, who are in the autonomous vehicle space, they need help. General Motors. They need help. They’re, they’re not in the trillions. So I guess they do need help. But These are the largest corporations on the planet.
Like they, Apple has a greater GDP than China. I just made that set up. I don’t know,
Michael: they’re not quite there, but they’re actually close. It’s definitely close. You add Waymo Google and Amazon, Zooks and GM and other manufacturers onto the pile. I think you’re certainly at or higher than China’s GDP, the whole side that the, and the arguments that industry is pushing today in the hearing are nonsense for the most part.
We just have not seen the benefits that they’re promised in actuality. Everything they’re talking about is aspirational. It’s future talk. It’s tech bro nonsense, as we would also call it. It’s. They’re making all these claims about this brighter, better future. But the vehicles, they’re testing on the roads right now, don’t really bear that out.
And we don’t know how long it’s going to be until, it’s Okay to deploy a million of these things once on America’s streets. We don’t think the time is now. It’s probably not for another decade.
Anthony: The representative from the National Federation for the Blind, Mark Riccobono, in his comments, he talked about being in, he’s ridden in autonomous vehicles a number of times, and he was even in a situation where it took him to the wrong location.
But he said, the helper people were so great in terms of… Solving this issue for me, okay Now they want to scale this up to a large amount so right now He’s one of I don’t know at any given time what six other people in these cars in San Francisco They don’t have a ton of people so I’d hope their customer service was responding Fast and critically the concern we have for people with any sort of disabilities or people who don’t have disabilities is when these cars Do not drop you off at your location or in the middle of the street, and you’re not aware of it So it’s all everything we better in the future, but for right now.
It’s garbage, so let’s you know I hopefully I’m not tiring out my two co hosts here, but since we’ve already done this morning, and I really enjoyed it Let’s play autonomous Vehicle testimony fact or fiction. Pretend like you haven’t heard this before. All right. From the Alliance for Automotive Information, which is sounds like such a great.
Name. There is Bozella and his testimony He says the whole motivating premise in developing the autonomous vehicle was one or safety was one of safety true or
Anthony: Correct. It was not it’s all about them monies We should not be 40, 000 people dying on our roads every year Agree. That’s true.
Michael: absolutely true. It’s just that the way to save all those lives right now is not AVs. It is a lot of other technology that the auto industry is actively resisting putting into cars.
Anthony: Ah, AV technologies are no longer a concept, some utopian ideal not based in reality. The technology is here and ready to scale.
True or false?
Michael: Absolutely false. It’s. Not ready to scale at all. Maybe if you scale it down to the matchbox car size, and that’s what they’re talking about. Sure, it’s ready. But if you’re scaling it out in terms of more cities, more vehicles causing havoc on streets across America, no, it’s clearly not ready to any, rational or objective observer who’s watching what’s going on in San Francisco and who’s listened to what the fire department, the police department, and the other people who are actually on the ground dealing with these problems every day are saying.
They’re being swept aside in this push to beat a fake China competitive threat and this, this very wishful and aspirational thinking by disabilities groups who may see a benefit. In the same number of decades that the rest of us will and in the meantime, we don’t think that, people should be put at risk on the roads by, the legislation that’s being proposed is essentially corporate welfare for industry giants who don’t need it.
And what they’re really seeking are, reductions in consumer protections. And they’re looking to eliminate state laws or local laws that would get in the way that would also be important to protect consumers. So what they’re looking for is a flat playing field. NHTSA and the federal government are going to take a decade or more to get rules out as they’ve proven over the past 10 years or so.
The rulemaking is so slow there that on autonomous vehicles and complex issues, I don’t see it getting much better. So the. Auto industry is virtually guaranteed a lawless regulatory environment, a regulatory vacuum while they’re deploying these unproven vehicles. So that’s what some of this legislation does.
It’s not good for consumers and, neither version of this legislation. One of them is particularly bad and turns NITSU into a trade regulator. And tries to make NHTSA the one deciding what vehicles can come from what countries in the United States, which is certainly not something they need to be doing their budget small enough already.
So essentially, what we’re seeing today is a big push for corporate welfare for companies that don’t need it, who are. ultimately going to end up, if this passes, either form of legislation passes, are going to end up putting more of these vehicles on the road, causing problems across America, and using the rest of us as test subjects while they continue to tinker and get to a place where these vehicles are actually safe and actually benefiting all of us.
Fred: you’re And if you look at the other, if you look at the other Meaning of scale, which is to remove the skin, and you peel back the skin of the AVs, and what you find is a computer at the heart of it, which is interesting, because as we demonstrated so vividly this morning, computers having to deal with the analog real world often make mistakes, often create errors in the desired output, and which is why we’re re recording this.
This podcast, if I remember right, but when people make the claim that the AVs Our computers, therefore, they don’t make mistakes. I don’t think that’s representative of any computer that I’ve ever worked with, or certainly any computer that deals with the analog world, and has to translate that into computerese, and make life and death decisions based upon that interpretation of the real world.
Yeah. So I disagree with that.
Anthony: Okay, so again, gentlemen, the rules are, this is autonomous vehicle testimony factor fiction. You’re both deducted one point for rambling. From the National Federation Oh, come on! Wait a minute,
Fred: wait a minute. Hey, look, I’ll how many points do you deduct for having to do this over?
Anthony: Aw, hey, look, I blame Zoom. Software made by humans. The National Federation of the Blind, they’re arguing for an exemption class for manufacturers. Basically the exemption being, hey, we don’t have to follow federal motor vehicle safety guidelines. I think I got that right. Was that right?
Huh? Did I get a point? No one’s responding.
Michael: Federal motor vehicle safety standards. Safety standards. Always close. Yeah, guidelines are. They’re not good. Guidelines mean anyone does anything they want. Screw the guidelines.
Anthony: That’s what they’re going for. So exempt from safety standards. And they, because they believe this exemption will create an expanded opportunity for testing that will provide manufacturers the ability to innovate, make bold choices, think hot pink cars, and think outside of the box of current vehicle designs.
Think Zooks, onto what an ideal vehicle could be for somebody with disabilities. Do manufacturers need to be exempted from federal motor vehicle safety standards in order to make a better product? Okay.
Michael: No and not particularly, you can’t, it’s, some of these arguments are problematic because they’re positing, endangering people on the road today, actual people.
Against this future aspirational view of what these vehicles may bring, there, there is no current data suggesting that there are any benefits accruing to the disabled or to any of the rest of us. But there’s a lot of evidence that a visa bringing negatives to our streets. This is just one other, way that the industry is trying to tug on the heartstrings in Congress by and they’ve been doing this for a decade now by propping disability groups up and having them tell their story about how AVs will one day enhance their independence and all of these and all these other things that we really want to happen as well.
We just don’t see it anytime soon, and we’re not willing to endanger the lives and the people on the roads now to reach this fantasy that may never actually occur.
Fred: Weren’t those same arguments, I’m sorry, weren’t those same arguments used to justify ride sharing in cities?
Michael: Yeah and to move that work out offers a lot of the advantages that many of the disability advocates site, you know, I, one that it doesn’t offer is complete independence from relying on another human, which is, something that is very important.
And, something that I certainly enjoy having and, I, in no way, hold the disability community in a bad, or try to hold them in a negative light because of that view, but the fact is we’re not there yet. I think that’s important to emphasize again and again, putting people at risk on the roads now so that we might one day reach X.
Just is an argument that, that doesn’t sit well with me.
Anthony: I’m sorry, you can’t say the word X anymore. That is currently trademarked by Elon Musk. No, X, not Y. Okay. Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Tech Association, and if you’re watching the hearing world champion eye roller states, the self driving vehicle industry offers huge economic benefits for the United States, generating up to 796 billion by 2050, according to a study by Securing America’s Future, which…
Is not interested in securing America’s futu Oh, sorry. According to a study by Securing… Let me start again. I can edit this, damn it. From the top, Gary Shapiro from the Consumer Tech Association and amateur professional eye roller. Amateur professional? Sure. Is it getting worse? Look, I haven’t eaten.
It’s getting worse. Look. The self driving industry offers huge economic benefits for the United States.
Fred: How much coffee have you had?
Anthony: Generating up to 796 billion by 2050 according to a study by Securing America’s Future Energy, which is just a lobbying group and they’re making numbers up. This is nonsense.
That’s like when I tell my son for every time he goes into the refrigerator he’s just costing me money. Okay, for everything he does just reach into my pocket this 796 billion dollars is everything will be better in the future. He continues, in the next 12 years alone, this market could create 300 to 400 billion in revenues globally.
And it could also give everyone a unicorn. And everyone will have flying cars. And it could make Elon Musk go around and hug everybody on planet earth.
Fred: Is this a yes or no question, Anthony?
Anthony: I don’t remember anymore. The answer is bullshit.
Fred: Yeah, but what he’s saying is that if this vision of the future with all of this great stuff happening, works out, they’ll create business.
That’s essentially one quarter of the value of Apple today. Why is this exciting?
Anthony: Fascinating take.
Michael: Yeah, the numbers are all somewhat pulled out of thin air. Obviously, if, look, if the perfect, or not even the perfect AV, but a very good AV comes along that’s driving as well as, say, a professional human safety driver, and it’s, saving lives and doing all these things.
Then, yes, it needs to be out there. And I think those economic predictions are actually pretty low for something that really works. But the problem is, again, we’re nowhere close to that. And, passing a massive corporate welfare bill that enables the industry to do whatever it wants is not a good idea here.
And if you have any doubts about that, feel free to look at our website and review the last 50 years of the auto industry and how they work under regulation and how much they really value safety. They talk about it a lot and you hear about it a lot of this hearing, but. Their version of safety is also a world where they’re still making, obscene profits in some cases and are advertising things to those of us who are buying cars that aren’t quite there yet.
Some of the creature features and the comfort features that are going into cars now are, and the infotainment systems just are not quite there yet. Humans are still having a lot of problems just with that technology, and we still don’t have, really good A. E. B. Emergency braking that’s coming down the road in five or six years.
And even then it’s not quite good enough. That’s a technology that needs to be continued to be developed and can play a role in saving lives and doing a lot of the things that would make those figures make sense someday. But the time is not now. And there’s really no justification to allow, every manufacturer to put 100, 000 babies on the road tomorrow to make sure that happens.
What they need to do first is make sure that the vehicles are safe. And once that’s done, then, the sky’s the limit.
Fred: The sky’s the limit, but there’s a limited budget for how much people are willing to pay for transportation. And the money that’s going into consumers purchasing the self driving vehicles is coming out of the market for people buying conventional vehicles.
It’s much more likely to be a net zero gain. As far as the consumers are concerned, because, prices got little to do with cost prices, what you’re willing to spend and cost is what it takes to make something. But besides the fact that, as mentioned earlier, it’s a relatively small contribution to industry overall.
What happens is that they’re really driving this because they’re of the potential for increased profit margins on the vehicles. Not because of safety, not because of anything else. So really what you’re looking at is taking the existing market and slicing it into a bigger piece for the manufacturers and a smaller piece for the consumers.
Anthony: Mr. Gary Shapiro, the factitious fact man, continues with, According to CTA research Okay. Two thirds of U. S. adults are interested in replacing their cars with self driving vehicles. One fifth of U. S. adults are willing to try crystal meth if it didn’t affect their teeth. Look, we can pull all sorts of nonsense out of our derrieres, just like Mr.
Gary Shapiro. But in order for us to do that, you should go to autosafety. org and donate. Look, of course two thirds of U. S. adults want self driving vehicles. They also want their own jet. They want their own island. They want, we want a lot of stuff. I want all of these things. Literally, I was having a conversation with my wife a week ago, and I was telling about how the the computers are terrible drivers.
A little ad thing we put together, and my wife looked at me and goes, that’s so funny. Because knuckleheads, no, I’m not, you’re not knuckleheads. I was all for self driving vehicles. I thought it was real. I thought it was a thing that we, it worked, cause some guy named Elon was saying you can get autopilot and full self driving and candy.
It was the candy that convinced me that the cars would drive themselves. Does he offer candy? I just made that up, didn’t I? God, I should eat something. He did. Alright.
Michael: In March, Advocates for Highway and Law Safety commissioned a poll that suggested, more than 80% of Americans and even higher than that in some cases were, are concerned about sharing the road with autonomous vehicles and, It’s pretty obvious that the two studies do not jive, and I’m going to trust, the advocates poll, mainly because it’s supported by a number of other polls from AAA and other groups in the past that have suggested that Americans truly are hesitant to trust these vehicles until there’s some type of showing or proof of safety.
And so far, we simply haven’t gotten that proof. It’s. something that we pointed out. In a spoof ad we did last week. It’s something that we’re going to continue to point out because the A. V. Industry continues to spout nonsense about human drivers and other data that could be interpreted in a lot of different ways.
But The one thing they have not done is show us, that they can meet what is even the standard of the worst human driver, which is, 1. 34 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
Anthony: That sounds very practiced. Have you said that before?
Michael: I have to think really hard when I stitch those long phrases together.
Fred: It’s almost like we rehearsed this, it’s amazing.
Anthony: Look, so I’m going to switch things up. The last person, our favorite person testifying today is Philip Kopman. Fan of the show, friend of the show, performer on the show. In his testimony, he puts forward, It is important to remember that there is tremendous financial and competitive pressure to deploy the technology, self driving, as fast as possible.
Given a near vacuum of regulatory requirements on the safety of the computer driver itself companies have a huge incentive to cut corners on safety and bet on getting lucky to meet their milestones for that next round of funding. He sounds so cynical.
Michael: He’s already seen that happen with Tesla, really.
They’re out there, we know they’ve killed at least a couple of dozen people when driving on autopilot or full self driving, we’re not sure of the real numbers. NITSA’s investigating about 40 of those crashes. And, that’s. A great example of a company that’s willing to take risks and, with American safety, to please its investors and to pretend that their vehicles are going to be robo taxis, which is the decade old promise from Elon Musk that’s never going to come true because the vehicles they put out simply don’t have the hardware and software that’s going to be necessary to perform, level 4 plus type driving.
Anthony: They are going to cancel your Twitter account, your X account, whatever it’s called, as soon as this airs. It’s gonna Hey, Michael looks very upset over that. Alright, so we have a new section on our site called Self Driving Car Fan Fiction. Why did I call it that instead of autonomous? Because of search engine optimization.
Okay, that’s it. Autonomous vehicles would be more correct, but most people outside of the listeners of this show wouldn’t know that. And we want more people to understand this stuff.
Michael: There’s a lot of words for it. Automated vehicle is another one that I like, and you’ll also hear a variation of that where people talk about automated vehicles and what is it, Fred?
Autonomous driving systems? Which would be the software that does the work without the vehicle involved.
Fred: Automatic driving systems assisted… There’s a lot of words. There’s no… That’s an interesting point, actually. You’re fading, too? There are so many… There are so many different words that there is actually ongoing work to develop a a vocabulary.
To discuss self driving vehicles, or autonomous vehicles, or again, whatever you want to call them. And it’s not standard yet. So we didn’t even have a way to talk about safety, much less a standard to implement safety.
Anthony: Hey look, the tech bros tell me we don’t need safety. It already works. Tech bros!
Michael: It works well.
Before we know what to call it. In other words.
Fred: It worked well for the Titanic submarine, didn’t it?
Anthony: Ohhhh. Okay, so this site this page on our site, Self Driving Car Fan Fiction, tell all of your friends. We’ve listed out a number of fictions, and the top one we list out is China is going to beat the U. S. And through today’s hearing, you will hear it’s… It is straight up racism, it is straight up Red Scare, it is, Ah, then China’s gonna take it. Oh, they’re gonna make, they’re gonna put fluoride in the water. Oh, they’re gonna make everybody eat noodles. It is the most absurd, over the top rhetoric possible.
China. It’s bizarre. Gentlemen, is China going to beat the U. S., and will it be in rugby?
Michael: The, what you’re hearing at the hearing is this… Massive creative threat about China’s competitive. Skills, they’re suggesting that China is going to beat us to a V’s and they’re going to be the big breadwinner in the end and flood our streets with their vehicles, blah, blah, blah, because they’re competitive threat.
But in actuality, we don’t think they are much of a competitive threat. To the industry that’s established in the United States between General Motors and some of the traditional manufacturers, the three of the largest software companies on earth, Google, Apple and Amazon have their fingers in the door here.
And, there’s a number of other groups, including Aurora that are involved in the trucking. And we just, there’s no comparable group. Of corporations and china working on it. We know that there’s states that the country may be involved as well in that process But the real threat from china is in no way competitive.
It is a security threat and right now We’re not protected from it, either in the future AVs we might see on the roads, or in the cars that are coming off the line in Detroit. There’s simply not enough, not proper cyber security built into these vehicles to ensure that they aren’t taken over by a rogue state, or to ensure that, your privacy isn’t threatened by the data you’re feeding into your car.
That’s where our real concern should be, and we’re in that pickle because… The auto industry has been resisting cyber security regulations and resisting any type of meaningful vehicle security, vehicle theft regulations for decades now. They don’t want to be told what to do. They want to, build their own security in their own silo and monetize it that way.
What it really means is they’re not building enough security into vehicles. And none of that is being vetted and tested independently before these vehicles are produced. We’ve talked to many times on the show about the canvas and it’s in it and it’s inherent hackability and all of the other systems and computers that are put on cars.
Now it’s just an area where there hasn’t been enough done to ensure security. So cybersecurity regulations need to be at the top of the list. And one of the. text that’s being proposed today there. It doesn’t even make it really. Every manufacturer is required to have a cyber security plan, which is meaningless.
We’d have to have strong regulations that are created to make sure that manufacturers are meeting a certain standard. Just writing a plan and putting it in a file cabinet in Detroit is not good enough.
Anthony: Yeah. Cause who wants to go to Detroit? So is the argument that we can’t let the Chinese win because they are communist.
And if they win, we become communists like them, therefore, we have to remove all regulations like the Chinese communists.
Fred: My wife’s… My wife’s favorite Christmas movie is…
Anthony: it Die Hard?
Fred: Is Die Hard. How did you guess that? Anyway, Die Hard was made during the height of the scare that Japan was going to be taking over the world.
And it’s so interesting to look at that. In that context, and apparently Japan did not take over the world. Ever since then, they’ve been in a actually in a state of deflation. So it’s it’s interesting to try to project the future from current circumstances. But like I, I may have mentioned earlier that India is actually very aggressive in the automotive industry.
They bought a company named Tata, which is an Indian company, bought a company named Volvo. Which is a Swedish company, and they are developing additional technology, additional electric battery technology and self driving technology, which they’re putting into their Polestar offering. If I had to guess, I think that a competitive threat would be coming from India far earlier than it would be coming from China.
I also read a story today that Tesla is outselling the Chinese. electric vehicles, even though it’s cost three times as much as the competing Chinese cars. So there’s, in China, apparently the American technology is whipping the Chinese. So I’m not sure how that’s going to turn around when it crosses the Pacific and, become an omnipresent threat to American industry, but I have a lot to learn.
Okay, so I, I gotta ask again, is it, so are we trying to remove, because China doesn’t really have a lot of regulations on anything welcome to Beijing, you can eat our air but, so the argument is that, if the Chinese win, we’ll become communists, and so we have to remove all of our safety regulations that are present in our democracy and voted upon and legislated, or else we become communists?
Yeah, it will be forbidden to learn English. We’ll all have to learn Mandarin.
Michael: Yeah, I mean, that whole argument is just absurd. It’s hardly even worth addressing. It’s just patently absurd that’s something we should do in America. It was suggested, actually. By the crew CEO a number of weeks ago on an interview he did where he was basically saying, we look at China, they’re loosening regulation on the industry and they’re going to beat us.
That’s not how we do it in America. We actually tried to protect. Consumers, places like the Center for Autosafety don’t even exist in China because I would be disappeared to a cell somewhere and never heard from again. It’s not a positive to mimic a country with a history of human rights violations like that, even though obviously we have our own problems here in America.
Hey, we do not. We’re perfect. What the auto industry wants is a system like China, except they want to be in charge. They want to be the state. They don’t want anybody telling them what to do, and they don’t want any rules or regulations dictating when they can sell anything to anyone. And at the same time, they also, if one of their vehicles runs you over, they want to usher you off to a private kangaroo court where you’ll never get justice.
That’s also in consideration in this process. I would say, no, let’s not be like China. Let’s make you prove that your cars are safe before you start taking risks with American safety tech process.
Fred: No. So is this a yes or no? Was this a yes or no question? Because I’m gonna go with no if ’cause Michael just said that.
Anthony: Okay, seven points for Fred. Okay, the next fiction within, speaking of tech bros and our friend of the show Kyle, Within 10 years driving will be a hobby like riding horses is today. I have to point out I have never ridden a horse. Okay, I don’t have that kind of hobby money. So
Michael: I, I’ve ridden a few horses back before I felt like I was burdening the horse by getting on them anymore.
Fred: Piggly Wiggly. Piggly Wiggly. We gotta bring it in. .
Anthony: Maybe you should go to a Chinese labor camp. Help lose some weight. Good idea, . Okay, so this is the thing is no one will be, so his argument is that no one will be driving anymore in 10 years. Keep in mind that he works for General Motors, whose business model is to sell people cars, but in his future, no one will be buying cars.
There’s just gonna be, a few thousand autonomous vehicles.
Michael: It doesn’t make any sense to me as someone who has, grown up in Mississippi and areas where I don’t know if we’ll see an autonomous vehicle for, decades. There’s no money in the robo taxi industry in, rural America.
And that’s the company that he’s running. So it’s… It just seems like they are it’s part of this ever elastic timeline that all these AV manufacturers are playing with their, they continue to pretend this stuff is great. Now, when it won’t be for 50 years, and they also pretend that the solutions they’re proposing, which right now are primarily robo taxis selling automated vehicles to.
Consumers is a completely different ballgame and requires a whole lot more testing and rigorous safety testing to ensure that, humans can keep up with the maintenance and the sensors and the software and everything that’s involved on a vehicle sitting in their driveway. And bringing all that to rural America just sounds like a, frankly, a pipe dream at this point.
It’s got to be many decades away because. There’s not really the type of money in it that there is when, if you could deploy in the middle of large cities.
Fred: There’s a saying in the financial industry that the profitability of a business plan is inversely proportional to the amount of money the proposer has in the bank.
And when I hear these these great predictions about the wonderfulness of the future I can’t help but think about that. There’s just, there’s an empty cash register, an empty credibility register in the AV industry that’s forcing them to project all these incredible benefits in the future to counterbalance the fact that there’s no there, after all the time they’ve spent.
Developing this, there is still not even a definition of what safe enough means. There is no number that says, this is the objective we’re trying to reach. And they now want to legislate a buy so that they will never have to establish what a safe enough level is.
Anthony: Tech Bro disagrees. Humans, another fiction, humans are terrible drivers.
And listeners, I’ve searched far and wide. Okay, I put in one search on the internet, looking for a photo of Elon Musk driving a car, actively driving a car, and I cannot find a single photo of Elon Musk, proponent of autopilot, full self driving, and other fictitious terms he’s decided to use. And not a single one of him driving a car.
If you can find a photo of Elon Musk actively driving a car, it can be when he had, when he has his wig on, when he doesn’t have his wig on, whichever one please send it in, and you will be presented with a… Full self tour of the nearest Piggly Wiggly with Michael Brooks as your guide. That’s right. If you act now, Michael Brooks will gladly visit you at your local Piggly Wiggly and shop with you.
He’s not going to pay for any of these things, but he will shop for you. And, if you can buy him a sandwich, that would be great. Are humans a terrible driver or is this just what Elon Musk’s mother said to him? Said that he was a terrible driver.
Michael: Some humans certainly are terrible drivers.
But the… Fact is that the A. V. Industry has never put forth data that even suggests that their vehicles are even as good as the worst of us on the roads. Now, the figures that work out to, as I mentioned earlier, 1. 34 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. That’s not great. We want that number to be a lot lower.
But the fact is that Right now, A B’s haven’t been able to prove that they’re anywhere close to even being as good as that, much less what they continue to promise, which is this excellent driving that’s going to ultimately eliminate fatalities on our roads. That’s what they’re saying. I don’t believe that is.
It’s probably going to be here for at least a few decades. If that it’s that’s such a high bar. But that’s what they’re promising today to try to make sure that they don’t have any regulations that they consider burdensome and that kill their innovation is what you’ll hear when in fact. The innovation part comes with autonomous vehicles and, innovating the safety features of these vehicles and making sure that these vehicles can act appropriately on the streets and can behave in ways that aren’t causing problems like they are in, San Francisco and in other areas where they’re deployed right now.
There’s the bottom line is that, they haven’t shown or made any type of demonstration that any one of these models they’re deploying in America is as safe as even, human drivers are right now, much less what we would like to see in the future.
Fred: the other thing they have not shown is that known circumstances that have killed people have been recreated in a test site somewhere and that the vehicle has been put through its paces to make sure that They will never again kill a person in those circumstances.
We know what some of those are. They’ve been documented trailer trucks crossing a roadway people who were, or vehicles that have not been able to navigate an exit ramp on a highway. It’s easy to set these up on a test track somewhere. Test tracks exist. All it takes is the will to do it. And it’s inexcusable, really, that This has not been done, and it’s beyond belief that people would assert the safety of these vehicles without replicating known hazardous situations and verifying that their vehicles can navigate those situations in the future after software changes.
That were necessary to make the vehicles safer in even those limited circumstances. That’s not to say that they’re safe enough overall, but, where you know they’re not going to be safe, you really need to be responsible developers and take this information, put it in a test track in a controlled environment, and fix the damn thing so you don’t kill any more people.
You know how to do this. Needs to get done.
Anthony: You’re getting in the way of my innovation, bro. Last one we have on this page that I’m going to talk about is a fact. Autonomous vehicles never drive distracted, drowsy, or drunk. True or false? Fred Perkins.
Anthony: Michael Brooks.
Michael: It’s a true but.
Anthony: A true but, look, this is this is some liberal nonsense out of you, too. Look, we know that computers, hardware and software, they’re written by people, and people are infallible. I know this because this is the second time today we’re recording this episode.
Okay, I am not claiming human error on this. I’m claiming software. I’m not claiming myself as the human error. Damn you, Zoom.
Fred: So no human being has ever been disabled by the elimination of a seven layer printed circuit board. No human being has ever been disabled by a bad solder connection, right? No one’s ever been disabled by a faulty interpretation by a computer program of visual input from a camera.
These are, these are things that happen. These are things that happen in all sophisticated electronics. They happen all too common, and there are things you can do to minimize them, but they’re still going to happen. The frequency of this happening, compared to the frequency of a drunk driver killing somebody, has not been established.
The random faults that are going to occur in electronics, particularly as it gets more and more in the car with smaller and smaller devices. Right now, there are about 1 70th the diameter of a human hair. If I remember the if I remember the number correctly, these can be easily upset by a cosmic ray or ionizing radiation.
They’re very small, don’t need much to upset them, and any of those upsets in improperly designed software can create a critical fault. That could kill the driver or the passengers, so yeah, they don’t drive drunk, but they don’t drive perfectly either long, long way from it. And if they can develop.
Electronics that are safe enough so that they are comparable to the current standard of one vehicle failure every couple of billion miles, endangering somebody. Oh, that would be very good. We’d like to see that. They’re not there yet. And no company, by the way, has ever gotten there yet in any realm.
Of electronics, as far as I know.
Anthony: Know we’d also like to see, listeners, we’d like to see you find the nearest shoulder. That’s right, it could be a person, it could be the side of the road. Pull over and make sure that you’re subscribed to Their Auto Be A Law. That’s right, and while you’re at it, just take another minute and call up your favorite people on planet Earth.
Or planet Melmac, planet whatever, planet fitness. Give them a call and say, Hey, have you checked out this podcast? And by the way, don’t you owe me 18? But more importantly, haven’t you checked out this podcast? Because you know you have at least one friend who owes you exactly 18. Maybe it’s just me.
Okay. Continuing along the thread of AV nonsense BS, there’s a company called Tesla. Not sure if any of you have heard of it. But Tesla manages to be able to call its products things like Full Self Driving. Lie. Autopilot. Another lie. And people… Completely reasonably think, hey, these things, if they’re being sold to me as a consumer, they must be okay.
It must have been checked out. It’s the same reason you buy orange juice, it is actual orange juice. And there’s something else called orange drink. Orange drink is not orange juice. They’re very different things, and there’s regulations around these things. So you can’t say, hey, I’m orange drink, it’s 98% orange juice.
It doesn’t mean you can call it orange juice, because it’s not 100% orange juice. Okay? You can call it orange drink, even at 99%, still orange drink. Okay? But, apparently, if you’re Elon Musk, you can just say, Hey, full self driving. Heh, it’s not. Autopilot, not at all like an airplane. How does he get away with this, and how can I start doing that for my life?
Michael: He gets away with it ultimately because the Federal Trade Commission hasn’t been willing to step in and tell him he can’t use those words to describe the system and it’s inherently misleading, describing that what is a, a conditionally automated vehicle. Basically, advanced steering in many ways is all autopilot and full self driving are advanced steering and braking that the systems involved in Tesla’s don’t even begin to approach, some of the vehicles that we see Waymo and cruise putting on the roads as actual autonomous vehicles.
Tesla is not nearly that far. They’ve relied on cameras and for a lot of their Self driving in quotes operations, and we think that’s just not sufficient. They need more sensors. They need they certainly need to do a better job validating their software. And frankly, Tesla’s shouldn’t be considered an autonomous vehicle in the way that some of the other vehicles that are out there are.
But the reason we’re FTC didn’t act on those terms that are used. And also, that’s a And the Department of Transportation have some authority there because, the confusion that’s been created by Tesla’s marketing of those features has made drivers think that their cars are full self driving, we’ve seen polls that suggest that, up to.
40. I think it was 40% of Tesla owners think their vehicles are capable of driving themselves and they’re simply not. And that’s what the NHTSA continues to look into, but the problem is they haven’t done anything. And so while the FTC and NHTSA have continued to look into this issue now for almost a decade at different levels, people have continued to die.
People who don’t Or driving next to a Tesla people who are emergency responders in addition to the folks actually in the Tesla. So we’re seeing people who never had an option to choose whether or not they hit that full self driving button, die in crashes caused by that system. So it’s time and it’s way past time, frankly, for NHTSA, DOT and even Congress.
They’re pushing AV legislation now. Part of that legislation needs to be more A restriction on what V on what auto companies can call systems and features in their vehicles. That’s to make sure that consumers aren’t confused and don’t believe that their vehicles can drive themselves. So when they’re not, when they’re clearly not capable.
So that’s where that. failure came into play. It was, basically we had a lack of action by our government. And, we had, it is a new technology. Maybe it should have taken a little more time for them to add all this up and come out against Tesla. But the fact is they haven’t.
Anthony: So could I start an auto company and say, Hey, when you buy my car, it comes with a free Rolex. But instead of the watch, it’s a row of a bunch of little Lex Luce, loose third dolls. Would that work? Or I’d get in trouble for that.
Michael: You can roll the twerps.
Anthony: Or can I be like, Hey, my car comes with free, with unlimited supply of chocolate chip cookies.
Must supply your own chocolate chip cookies. That’s what he’s doing. But worse, cause people are dying. And people generally don’t die from eating chocolate chip cookies.
Fred: I don’t know. It’s like offering somebody a box of chocolate chip cookies, and then you open it and find out that it’s full of dirt.
That’s really what he’s doing.
Anthony: Look, I sent that to you once as a joke. I thought it would be nice. Okay. I’m sorry. I’ll never do that again. So NHTSA has been asking Tesla to say, Hey, give us all the data on your crashes and failures around batteries, around seatbelts, around why somebody chose white as their vehicle color.
And NHTSA and sorry, Tesla has said, Nah, I don’t know if they responded with an actual poop emoji, but they’ve just not done this. This is just amazing again of the brass ness.
Michael: NHTSA has had to file multiple information requests with Tesla. And unfortunately, we don’t know what the content of any of that those exchanges are because Tesla is routinely redacted every inch of its responses to the government, whether or not those are actually covered by the Freedom of Information Act.
Effectively are obstructing the investigation by net. So we don’t believe that they’re providing a full account of all the data they’re receiving from their vehicles. And we think there we have a lot of concerns really about Tesla’s ongoing what it seems like negotiations with the government while nothing’s being done to stop some of the software from being introduced.
So we’ve seen full self driving expand and go out to more owners and. Without any proof presented that it’s as safe as even, the worst of us on the road, a similar problem that exists in the true autonomous vehicles or what may be true autonomous vehicles one day. So it’s an ongoing problem.
And again we hope that it’s resolved soon. We know that the longer it goes on, the more people are going to be killed by full self driving and autopilot. I don’t think there’s any question about that.
Fred: We and others have advocated for independent review of the safety and operation of autonomous vehicles before they’re allowed to operate on the highways.
We’re not the only ones who have done that. This is comparable to licensing of human drivers, right? You’ve got to go through a learner’s permit and a couple of examinations before they’re allowed to drive with their, before they’re issued a driver’s license. We believe that there should be a comparable process in place.
for the autonomous vehicles, the self driving vehicles. And this could be done at the state level, it could be done at the national level. It should be done. It’s not a difficult thing to put in place. There’s certainly a lot of capability around and it would go a long way towards giving people confidence that it’s safe to use the highway.
Anthony: Oh no, Fred froze on me. But it was safe to use the highway. Looks like he’s back. Oh great, you’re back now. You froze for a second. But I think you got your point out. I don’t know how Elon Musk gets away with this stuff. My assumption is that he has a copy of Abraham Lincoln’s long form birth certificate and he’s holding it against the government.
I don’t know. But Fred, you’ve done it once today. Are you ready to do it for the second time? Are you ready for the Tao of Fred? Because I heard a rumor that you took your notes and you ripped them up after our previous recording of this. You pulled out your… Enter Donald Trump, ripped them up and ate them.
Fred: You can’t be too careful. You’ve
Michael: now entered
Anthony: the Dowel Threat. Okay, today we’re talking about tires.
Fred: Tires. What does a tire do for your car?
Anthony: Makes it look cool, man.
Fred: Cause you like those sidewalls, huh? Those white sidewalls.
Anthony: Oh, can you still get white sidewalls?
Fred: I don’t know, I haven’t seen him in a while.
Michael, you got white sidewalls on your,
Michael: No, but I do like that, I do that look on the antique vehicle. The white sidewalls can really be sharp.
Anthony: Fortunately, Do they keep the car on the road? Say again? They keep the car on the road.
Fred: They do keep the car on the road.
Oh, on a good day, they do. Yeah they make it possible to keep the car on the road. They provide You’re the only contact between your car and the road is through the tires, so you have everything I drive Upside down you use the roof a lot in the sunroof So the tires provide propulsive force they provide braking force they provide lateral force so I can go left and right And the way they do this is, of course, to capture air inside and have rubber outside that contacts the road.
There’s a lot of complexity to the tires and the way they’re designed. They’ve got a steel bead that fits around the rim and holds them in place. They’ve got air airtight rubber on the inside leak proof rubber to hold the air in place. They’ve got fabric. Around the rubber to provide structural stability.
The fabric can be wrapped either around it in a radial pattern or a bias pattern, gives you different characteristics of the tires. And then of course, there’s rubber on the outside that grips the road provides traction and dry pavement on wet pavement. And if you have a snow tire and snow tires are in the snow, I should say.
So there’s a lot to this actually, but fundamental to safety of the tires is keeping them properly inflated and Anthony, you passed this earlier. Where do you find the numbers for the Desired pressure on the tires?
Anthony: I asked the guy down at the tire shop, and he tells me.
Fred: Anthony Michael, your answer?
Michael: That’s on the inside of your driver’s side door.
Anthony: No, come on, look, ladies and gentlemen, earlier I said that one correctly. Fred had a number of questions, I got most of them wrong. And Michael’s just copying off my answers at this point.
Fred: Ah, you’re collecting points, Anthony, you’re collecting points. So why is it important to keep your car tires inflated properly?
Anthony: Fuel economy. Look at this, you didn’t even say that one last time around. Fuel economy, stability, lateral movement. The wear and tear. Braking. Acceleration, gripping yeah.
Michael: So aren’t all of those things basically a function of applying the appropriate amount of friction to the road?
Anthony: Oh, look at you, oh, yeah, huh.
Fred: Both right, and your command of buzzwords is admirable. What happens if you have too much air in the tires? What happens is it gets over round, and so it reduces the amount of tire. That’s actually in contact with the road. So that reduces the friction, which in turn reduces the amount of control that you’re able to exercise through your tires.
Anthony: So I should be able to go faster?
Fred: You should be able to you can always go faster for a while. But you can go faster, yes, if you want to do that, but it’ll wear out your tires much more quickly too, because you have too much pressure, so they bulge out and you then wear a strip down the center of your tires.
The other thing it does is that it does increase your mileage if you want to do that. But you mileage increase comes at the expense of safety and at the expense of your ability to control the car more important if it’s tires underinflated. A lot of things happen, and basically all of them are bad.
You increase the amount of rubber that’s in contact with the road, but you also increase the amount of flexing that the tire goes through as it rotates. And when you increase the amount of flexing, you increase the amount of heat that’s generated internally in the tire. And something you can try at home, you’ve probably done this already, Anthony, because we did this earlier today, is take a paper clip and put it in your hand, straighten it out, then bend it again at the same point, straighten it out, do that rapidly several times, and after just a few seconds, you’ll find that the joint starts getting visibly warm, and if you do it a lot, What’s going to happen is that it’s going to break at that point.
The reason it breaks is because of excess heat and damage to the structure that’s caused by the overflexing. That’s the same thing that happens in your tire. And you may have noticed that you find a lot of pieces of rubber on the highway on the first hot day of summer. It’s because a lot of tires have been underinflated all winter, but because of the colder temperatures, they haven’t overheated.
But as soon as the temperature warms up, they cross that threshold and the tread starts to come off. Now there’s a lot of information on the side of the tires for people who want to take a look at that. There is for example, the size. The example I’m looking at here is called 245 slash. 40 r 18. So taking that apart, it’s odd because it includes both metric and English units.
But the 2 45 is the width of the tire in millimeters. And This is another quiz, Anthony. You failed it earlier today. Oh, goddammit. How many millimeters per inch? 24. 5! Oh, close, except for dyslexia. Oh,
Michael: 54. 2. 25. 4, Anthony. Come on.
Anthony: No, come on. 7.
Michael: I, I said 30 earlier, so I was dead wrong.
Anthony: All the torque.
Fred: And that was actually a legislative accomplishment of the Congress, so anybody who says they can’t do anything is completely wrong. There’s
Anthony: China oh, wait, what?
Fred: The next number, 245 slash 40. The 40 means that’s the ratio of the sidewall height to the width of the tire. So if you have really thin tires.
Of course, that’ll be a low number. After that, there’s a letter. R, in this case, which stands for radial. And it’d be a different letter for a bias by tire. It would be a B for a belted tire. Almost all cars now have radial tires because of their advantages, both in terms of mileage and handling capability.
Anthony: In terms of wall height that on a lot of high end cars, they have very thin walls. Yep. Is there some sort of benefit to this? Is this purely aesthetic?
Fred: There is a benefit to it. It makes you feel better.
Anthony: It’s about time something did.
Fred: So I guess that’s good, right? People want to do that.
Anthony: Cause you see that in like Corvettes and whatnot, like all sports cars. They’ve it’s super tiny.
Fred: It means that it actually makes the tire a little bit lighter than it would be otherwise. Okay. A small benefit. I don’t think you could actually measure the difference in performance, but it does that.
It makes you much more susceptible, though, to damage of the wheel because there simply isn’t as much room when you hit a pothole or hit a stone or something like that. There just is not as much room for the tire to flex and absorb that impact. That’s, of course, another thing that tires do is make your ride smoother.
So I want the impact.
Anthony: One more question. So when you’re buying a car, like you go online and you choose the stuff out, it gives you an option of oh, do you want the 18 inch wheels or the 20 inch wheels? And again I just want wheels. I don’t care. Like, why would it give me, like, why would I as a consumer want one over the other?
Fred: It’s good that you want wheels. It’s important to have wheels on your car. Why would you as a consumer want one over another? It’s hard to say. This example I’m looking at with the 18 means that there’s an 18 inch wheel inside for the car. If you have an 18 inch wheel, it’s going to turn a little bit slower than a 17 inch wheel at the same speed.
And it will go over bumps a little bit more smoothly just because it’s, it has a larger diameter. Whether or not you can actually feel that or notice that difference in a car’s performance. I suspect you probably cannot. I think it’s mostly for ego reasons that you would do that.
Anthony: For what, I’m sorry, for what reasons?
Fred: Ego. Ego. It’s a psychological term, Anthony, but I know this is technical. If you use your vehicle off road a lot, of course, that extra diameter will give you a little bit of extra road clearance, so you’d be able to avoid a few rocks you might otherwise. But for daily use on a highway, going back and forth through the Piggly Wiggly, I don’t think that’s a meaningful difference.
Now there’s another number on here, which is the speed capacity of your tire. And there’s different… Different numbers going from L, which means 75 miles per hour. Up to a Y and Z, which are 186 miles per hour. A Z is anything over 145, 149. So it includes both the W and the Y. W is 160, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Anyway, there’s a letter. I looked it up earlier. There’s a letter on the side of your car. The thing for consumers to be aware of is that you can buy. It’s possible to buy a tire for your car in the right size with the wrong speed rating, and so you should be a little bit careful if you’re buying a less expensive tire that it does have the speed rating appropriate for your vehicle, whatever it’s going to be.
Michael, there are instances of companies putting the wrong tires on vehicles, right? We talked about this earlier. You’re still there, Michael.
Michael: I’m here. I was on mute. There was a circumstance involving Goodyear G 1 59 tires that were originally designed for use in the, I don’t think it was in the 90s on.
City transit delivery vans and that type of thing. And then Goodyear decided to start selling them for use on recreational vehicles that are traveling across the country on highways and the. The fundamental problem was that they did not test them properly to ensure that at highway speeds for long times that the heat would remain low enough for the tire not to delaminate and cause crashes.
And so what we saw was a rash of crashes with a number of deaths and injuries involving those tires. And in fact, the rate of. Death and injury, I believe was far exceeded the recall of Ford and Firestone tires that was going on at the same time. But this one went unnoticed for another 15 years or more.
But before recently, that’s finally told Goodyear they need to conduct a recall, by which point, I’m not even sure. I haven’t looked at the completion reports yet. But the last we looked, there were just completion reports. Out of the 40, 000 or so tires that were sold, I think they replaced under 20, because that’s all that are left on the roads now.
So that was a sad story. And in the history of tire safety,
Fred: delamination occurs when the components in the vehicle or the components in the tire come apart. For example, when a tread leaves the car and goes to the side of the road, that’s one example of delamination. But it can occur between any of the different layers in the car, between the Airproof rubber or the airtight rubber and the fabric and or the external tread.
So the other information that’s on the car on the tires includes whether or not it is a winter tire. You can see a symbol on there that looks like three mountain peaks with a snowflake on it. There’s a code that talks about when the tire was manufactured. There’s an identification of the company or the actual facility in which it was made.
These were all for tracking purposes, if the company ever has to have a recall of the tires, so that they can trace it back to your individual vehicle. Some tires carry an M and S marking, which stands for mud and snow, has special tread separations more, and more space between the tread nubbins so that mud and snow can, leave the tire and.
The snow tires typically would have an M and S rating on them and what else? A couple of the details that probably are of no interest to our consumers, but everyone does, everyone does have some numbers that are required by the Department of Transportation and a lot of other numbers that are put there to allow you to pick the exactly right tire for your vehicle.
Most important thing you can do for your car though, for your tires, is to check your tire pressure frequency frequently and make sure that you’ve got the right amount of air in your tires because that will make sure that you’ve got the maximum control over the car and maximum safety.
Anthony: And if you want to make your car lighter, don’t use air, use helium.
It’ll make, I saw it in a cartoon once, your car starts floating. It’s awesome. Okay, tire and AVs, I’m combining them as one, ready. So my, I’m in my autonomous vehicle here. There’s no driver, there’s no steering wheel, there’s no pedals, there’s nothing. And autonomous vehicles, true or false, do have tires.
Fred: I think, I don’t know. I’ve never seen an autonomous vehicle, so I’m going to project.
Anthony: The answer’s true. They probably do. Okay, so these tires are no different than the tires on our vehicles now. True or false?
Fred: True. I’m going with true, yeah.
Anthony: Okay, so again, the three of us, we’re passengers in some autonomous vehicle.
It’s the future where everything’s better. Tire breaks. Tire pops. Deflates. What do we do?
Fred: Clearly a robot’s going to pop out of the car and replace the tire.
Anthony: Of course the robot will stop serving us drinks.
Fred: You remember Rosie from the Jetsons?
Anthony: Yeah where is this extra tire?
Fred: Oh, extra tire. I think it’s in the trunk with Rosie.
Anthony: Oh we should let her out. She’s a nice lady. She’s a robot who wore pants. Doot. Alright, folks, since this is the second time we’ve recorded this today, we’re just gonna wrap up here. I think we’ve learned today that tires, good. Autonomous vehicle lobbyists, bad.
I’m not sure if there’s anything else we really learned from this today. I, we appreciate you subscribing. If you haven’t subscribed, you’re going to subscribe. If you haven’t donated, you’re going to donate. You’re going to tell your friends to donate. You’re going to get that 18 back from Todd. Things will be good.
And you’ll realize that, hey, Tesla what they… Selling, you shouldn’t be buying. I
think we’ve, I think we’ve learned that we should try to do this on the first take. It seemed to go a lot better. What do you think, Michael?
Michael: I I have mixed feelings about the process. I think it’s hard to make an identical podcast twice in a row.
It’s a lot of things going on and some ad lib and other things, unless you nail it down from the start, so we produced a different product, I don’t know if it’s necessarily worse or better but either way, it’s. It’s safer than any AV on the road. Ha
Great segue, I love
Anthony: that. Alright, thanks listeners, goodbye.
Fred: Thank you, bye
Anthony: Now Michael, you say goodbye too. Goodbye everyone. Alright.
Fred: For more information, visit
Michael: www. autosafety. org.