Self driving into wet cement
Kyle from Cruise keeps telling everyone that humans are terrible drivers and that his computer cars will save humanity. In the past week his robot taxis have stopped working because they weren’t in cell phone range, crashed into a fire truck and drove into wet cement. Can someone look up Kyle’s DMV record? If these are driving better than him he must be the worst driver.
That and more plus Fred explains tire pressure.
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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: Hey, welcome new listeners. We’re really happy you’re here. And hey, let’s start the show. You’re listening to Their Auto Be A Law. The Center for Auto Safety podcast with Executive Director Michael Brooks, Chief Engineer Fred Perkins, and hosted by me, Anthony Cimino. For over 50 years, the Center for Auto Safety has worked to make cars safer.
So there’s a lot to get into. As we’ve talked about in the past, two weeks ago, as a matter of fact, this little organization called the California Public Utilities Commission had this vote, and they said, you know what? San Francisco, screw you! We approve. These self driving robo taxis have a nice day.
And of course, one of the key votes on the California Public Utilities Commission is a little man named John Reynolds. I’m just saying a little from, I don’t know, physical stature. I have no idea. But John Reynolds is a key vote on the California Public Utilities Commission. And we don’t think he’s gotten enough attention.
Because John Reynolds used to be the managing counsel for a company called General Motors Cruise. GM Cruise. And what does GM Cruise make? Bad cars. And they make self driving robo taxis. But, hey. Somehow you get to go from GM Cruise to voting to approve GM Cruise shoddy product.
Michael: Yes, so the California Public Utilities Commission has five members.
So to have a quorum, you’ve got to have three votes and that vote passed three to one. And Mr. Reynolds was frankly, basically the deciding vote, it didn’t go forward with the whole A quorum. Movement to expand these vehicles access across san francisco wouldn’t have gone forward without the vote of the former cruise attorney if that is not a conflict of interest someone, please You know send me back to law school and teach me what one really is
Anthony: It’s surprising.
So anyway, so they gm cruise and our buddy kyle, they celebrate this big victory and then the next day five gm cruise Decided to stop working in Cali in San Francisco’s North Beach area. There was a, I guess a musical concert, and these cars got overwhelmed and decided to give up the ghost.
Because they couldn’t make a cell phone call. Ha. Now, they always claim that humans are terrible drivers. I personally prefer it when humans aren’t on their cell phones. And I’ve never seen a car just stop in the middle of the road, because I don’t have cell phone service anymore. But, hey, that’s a feature of the General Motors cruise experience.
Cell phone’s down, your car doesn’t work, and it doesn’t pull over to the side. It doesn’t get safe, it just says, yeah, right here’s good.
Fred: I’ve got a little question here. Why is it that it’s illegal for human beings to be on a cell phone when driving, but it’s okay for computer driven cars to be on a cell phone when driving?
Does the, how does that make sense?
Michael: I think it’s because the cell phone in the case of the cruise vehicle is the signal is actually required to operate the car and it’s not serving as a distraction as it would in the case of a human operator.
Fred: It seems to have been distracted, doesn’t it?
Anthony: This is surprising to me because sometimes I have to I’ll use Google Maps and sometimes I go off location.
So I no longer have cell phone service, but Google Maps still works. It’s, it hasn’t been like, hey, we don’t know where you are anymore. Good luck out here in the woods. Avoid the guy with the hockey mask on.
Michael: It sounds like you’re in one of those rural areas where we don’t think we’re gonna see autonomous vehicles for many decades.
Fred: Absolutely. I have had Google Maps direct me in a circle. Has that ever happened to you?
Michael: That hasn’t happened to me. I have seen where it directed people off of boat ramps, though.
Anthony: Hey, just keep going. Just, follow the map. Then, what, two days later, after all of these cars decide to stop working in the middle of the road, what does a GM cruise do?
It avoids someone with a flag. It avoids little barricades and says, hey, I’m going to drive my car right in the wet cement.
Michael: That picture of that vehicle, the crews in wet cement, just encapsulates a lot of the things I think about those cars, they’re just a big pain in the ass right now if they’re in your city.
There’s no two ways about it.
Anthony: Kyle says that humans are terrible drivers. If humans are terrible drivers, what does that make his crappy product?
Michael: And then I think the San Francisco went back and filed a complaint or some sort of motion to have the CPUC reverse its decision. That was another thing that happened, in the past week after they started seeing even more problems continue to flood through the gate on these cars.
And when you, the. When you see that and then the next thing that happened, which was probably one of the worst things that’s happened so far in San Francisco, when the cruise vehicle apparently, was unable to detect or see a fire truck rolling down the road with its lights and engine and a siren blaring and pulled out into an intersection that, the crews had the right of way on the green, but like, All of those human drivers know if there’s a fire truck coming from the cross street, you do not proceed.
You stop and you let it go. You hear it or you see it and you stop going. That didn’t happen. The cruise vehicle just pulled out of the middle of the road and got smacked by the fire truck. Someone was injured and on the back of that happening, the California DMV then comes in and says, Hey, Cruise, you’ve got to cut your fleet in half.
We’re a little uncertain what’s what the outcome is, but it looks… From our perspective, like the public utilities commission came out one week and said, sure, you can expand all over San Francisco. And then basically the next week, the California DMV comes in and says, whoa, now you’re cutting, now you’re cutting your fleet in half.
So whether they’re going to be able to use half of their current fleet and spread out across San Francisco or, operate in new areas, we’re just not sure yet how all of that’s going to work out, but needless to say, this massive. Push that the industry has been engaged in for the last few months to try to get federal and state and more laws passed to give them an advantage and pushing this product and making their investors happy is not going very well at the moment.
And we continue to think that we need more. Evidence data, we needed to see them demonstrate that these vehicles are going to be something besides, a emergency vehicle striking traffic, bolloxing, and, all these other things, wet cement, destroying machines they’re not really adding anything positive right now for residents of the city, and they’re bringing a whole lot of negatives.
Fred: think it’s important to note that a reasonable test program would take known circumstances of failures for the vehicles and replicate them on a test track. And then run the vehicles through and improve the software until those until the vehicles are able to get through that, this is just one more critical situation to add to the list, or actually several more to add to the list, the whole distraction by the cell phone, the Blocking out the roads, the kid being hit by a fire truck at night with all the lights flashing.
There’s no reason why this can’t be put on a test track, and it should be. And it’s puzzling to me why the authorities are giving them a bye and just saying in the future everything will be better, so we’ll let them slaughter people now. It makes no sense to me.
Anthony: Fred, I think you’re missing it is the test track is San Francisco and the citizens of San Francisco have disagreed with this, but, no longer democracy, but back to learn.
Fred: I learned something every day. Thank you, Anthony.
Anthony: Sure. So back to this incident with the firetruck, Greg Dietrich. Cruise’s general manager in San Francisco, and possible future member of the California Public Utilities Commission, he defended the driverless car and said it almost immediately identified the firetruck.
It, hey, our car almost immediately would have worked, or would have… Reacted like a 16 year old behind the wheel, but it didn’t and the, it’s amazing how they’re like, we’re spinning, this is a positive. It almost would have worked. On top of that, Waymo comes out, and they’re like, yeah, this wouldn’t have happened to us, because we have external microphones, and we can hear the sirens too, so yo bro, our stuff wouldn’t have worked, because Waymo’s never had a problem with a firetruck, unless you go back to, what was it, January?
Was it the Waymo that the fire department had to smash? Or was it a cruise again? It was a cruise. Ah all right then,
Fred: hey, I just watched Barbie. There was the Barbie car self driving? I can’t remember. But she didn’t seem to be paying much attention to the wheel while she was in barbieland.
Anthony: Oh, no. Welcome to explaining movie and TV driving to Fred Perkins.
I thought it might’ve been product placement by GM cruise, but I’m not sure about that. It was a kind of Corvette looking car.
Michael: What is the deal with all of these advanced vehicles not being able to detect flashing lights? Like that just has never been a problem for me.
We’ve seen a severe problem. This is not something we’ve seen often in cruise, but it’s something we’ve seen often with Tesla running into the back of vehicles that have flashing lights or engaged in emergency response. Like now we’ve got a cruise vehicle. That’s not recognizing a firetruck. Those are some of the easiest things to see as a human, when you’re driving a car.
Where are the computers going wrong?
Fred: I’m not sure. Cause I’m not programming these things. I. But if you think of this for a moment, there’s a streetlight in the distance, and you’re driving along the road, and there are guardrails, so you’re viewing the streetlight through the guardrails, and it’s actually a flashing light as far as your eyes are concerned, but your brain says no, that’s not a flashing light.
It’s just a distant light that I’m looking at through the guardrails. Alright, so you can see circumstances where there would be a lot of flashing lights organically just because, of that, of cars moving in and out of lanes so that their rear lights appear to be flashing to you, but you, being a human being, know that it’s, that flashing light is actually a steady light that’s attached to a car that’s moving against the background.
These are the sorts of things that are very hard to differentiate by a computer because it… doesn’t have a brain. Our brains are remarkable things. And the idea that you can replace our brains by some flashing electronics has been aspirational ever since about forever. And they’re still moving in that direction, but there’s a long way to go.
Anthony: I want to see a remake of the Wizard of Oz now, if I only had a brain, starring a GM Cruise. Another opportunity for product placement. There you go. The flashing light problem, I get what you’re saying, but the… The difference is that emergency vehicles, their flashing lights are at a regular frequency.
They’re not infrequent. Whereas you’re driving down the road and there’s something blocking your vision that gives it a, an effect of a flashing light. That rate of flashing, quote unquote, is not consistent. It’s going to vary with the speed you’re driving. It’s going to vary with distance. It’s going to vary with some various angles of things, whereas a flashing emergency vehicle light, especially when you’re, your geo fence to a city.
Where your speed limit is restricted just default. Oh, flashing light. Let’s slow down. Let’s go ahead and figure out what the deal is instead of, I bet I can beat it.
Fred: Oh, there you go again. Using your brain.
Anthony: Take that scarecrow
Fred: bro. It’s just gotta be a really difficult thing for the car to figure out.
If if it were easy, they probably would have figured it out by now, but it’s just, it’s gotta be difficult. I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is.
Michael: I think the answer is a technology that we already have that could have been implemented here, which is, vehicle to vehicle and vehicle infrastructure communications, where your city’s fire trucks are, and it can tell other vehicles where those fire trucks are, then those vehicles will know when to stop, they won’t have to rely on detecting flashing lights.
They won’t have to rely on an external microphone. They will know because they’re communicating with the city’s emergency services and know exactly where those emergency vehicles are and be able to avoid them. So this isn’t something that takes, 30 years of testing and, a driverless vehicle to accomplish.
This is technology that we think can be rolled out in vehicles right now.
Fred: But wouldn’t that require, excuse me, wouldn’t that require the FCC to reserve some bandwidth for emergency vehicle use? And that bandwidth is very valuable. How would you get Congress to act on reserving the bandwidth?
That could never happen, could it?
Michael: I think you could have stopped that sentence and act and it’s just getting that to happen is difficult in this circumstance, especially in vehicle safety, where we rarely see anything get through, except for every 4 years and a massive infrastructure package, but the FCC, comp GM and Toyota and some other companies were behind and already starting to install vehicle to vehicle communications in their vehicles years ago when they were testing a wireless based system and then big phone stepped in and said, no, we want you to use 5G, which. Obviously has not been rolled out across all of the country, especially rural places and the SEC, as they tend to do when the big communications companies are involved right along with it and, functionally canceled the program that had been worked on for about a decade to try to protect people in circumstances like this.
This is a technology that could stop, Yeah. Your car could be talking to another car. It doesn’t have to be an emergency vehicle as you’re approaching the intersection. And 1 of the vehicles. No, they’re not going to allow a collision, even if they don’t, even if the drivers don’t detect each other.
That’s the kind of technology we’re talking about, and it’s basically been pushed back 10, 15, maybe 20 years because the FCC, for whatever reason, is involved in a vehicle safety issue.
Anthony: So one of the articles that we’re going to link to in the podcast notes and I apologize, gentlemen, I don’t think I sent it around to you too.
There’s one in Forbes that I found and it has this blurb in it. They’re all, there are also multiple systems that have been tested over the years to provide electronic warning for the approach of emergency vehicles. And in fact, most new fire trucks sold or equipped with such a system and several brands of cars received the signals.
It’s a one off paragraph where it mentions this, but. Okay. What cars receive these signals though? This is what we were just talking about. I didn’t think any cars have this built in or do that.
Michael: I don’t know. They certainly could. It’s not new. That signaling technology has been around for quite some time where the, the fire trucks and the ambulances can signal to the light ahead of them, the traffic light, turn it green for them and red for the other cars.
I think it’s the same technology and they’re just using Other vehicles to pick up that signal so that the vehicles around know that emergency vehicles approaching it makes a ton of sense I don’t know if it’s a really expensive feature at the moment that’s only in luxury vehicles or not, but It’s something that ultimately is going to be a big part of vehicle to vehicle communications you’re not just talking about, emergency responses of that type you’re talking about, you know Probably saving lives of people in cars when they’re police chases and other circumstances.
And, just generally outside of the emergency context, just when my car knows that your car is approaching, that solves a ton of issues where humans don’t pick up on cues or don’t. Particularly at intersections where vehicles have bad sight lines, and you’re not really aware of a collision or potential collision until the last second, but those systems could really come in handy to prevent a lot of T bone crashes and that type of thing.
Fred: I haven’t read the article, but I do know that Georgia had been aggressively implementing this vehicle to vehicle communication and vehicle to infrastructure, which is called V2X and Toyota was. Putting this technology into some of their vehicles and what happened was the FCC in response to the interest of the the Wi Fi community.
Refused to license the the use of this bandwidth that had been reserved by Congress for this traffic safety purposes. FCC refused to license these and then they used as the rationale for giving up that frequency that had been reserved. The fact that it was underused. The reason it was underused is because they refused to license things.
So this is a perfect example of Catch 22 in modern government. And Catch 22, for those of you who are too young to remember, that was a famous book by Joseph Heller addressing bombers in World War II. Was it Heller or did I get that wrong?
Michael: No, you got that right. Heller came into my, that’s what I believe, that’s who I believe it was.
Catch 22 is basically when you’re caught between the frying pan and the fire.
Anthony: Oh. So Michael, what you were just talking about of the traffic lights changing because of emergency vehicles approaching. I might have mentioned this on, on, on an older episode, but that’s actually a very simple light sensor that in the small town where I grew up we would play games and realize if you just flash your high beams.
Rapidly, you change the traffic light signal on it. And this is back in, let’s say the early nineties. So this is not complex technology. It is just a little photovoltaic cell that says, Hey, if I get flashing strobing lights, hitting me at a certain frequency, I know there’s an emergency vehicle or teenagers who are impatient and I’ll change the light.
Yeah, there’s no excuse for these things not to be in place. There’s no excuse for one of these robo taxis to not say, Hey, I have flashing lights. Am I at a discotheque? Or did I suddenly get on the dance floor? Or hey, it’s an emergency vehicle. Maybe I should slow down. Hey, what do we know?
We’re just victims out in the test track of this simulated reality. But our good friend Kyle… He’s got a good quote for this week. Kyle Vogt former Dungeons and Dragons master. Probably. And now CEO of a self driving car company says it’s a huge milestone for the A. V. industry. Referring to the California Public Utility Commission’s and his former employee voting to approve this.
But even more importantly, a signal to the country that California prioritizes progress over our tragic status quo. He doesn’t qualify if his tragic status quo means his car’s driving into cement and ignoring the police and fire department. Kyle, come on.
Fred: To his credit, the car that was sitting there with its hubcaps in cement was not distracted, was not drunk, was alert.
It had all those good features.
Anthony: Excellent point. It wasn’t texting while driving that we’re aware of. But, Kyle from Cruise, feel free to come on and share details. What are we and, those silly citizens of San Francisco getting wrong about your… Your interesting product. Hey, let’s move on to another silly company, Tesla.
Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. So we’ve talked about this a number of times with Tesla’s criminal case about. So this was a I’ll start off. A criminal prosecution against a Tesla driver in Los Angeles County could end next month. The final step of a case, believe to the first time. In the U. S.
prosecutors that first time that U. S. prosecutors brought felony charges against a motorist who is using a partially automated driving system. Now we’ve mentioned this case before, this is a 2019 crash in Los Angeles, where the car went speeding through a stop sign, or is it an intersection? Am I right?
Michael: It yeah, came off of a freeway and ran a red light.
Anthony: Tesla. I think
Michael: it killed two people. And basically what happened was the court, found the guy guilty, but sentenced him to probation. And you’re sitting here with, Tesla on one hand, who enabled this entire thing, who put out a product that they call full silk drive and call autopilot when it’s nothing like that.
It’s not an autonomous vehicle. It requires humans to And I think what serves him right. Keep control and keep keep attention at all times. And this guy apparently had it on the freeway and left off an exit still in autopilot, full self driving, whatever system it was at the time. And went through a red light, killed two people and he’s gets probation.
Tesla gets nothing. And this is what Tesla wants really. This is the system they would love to see. They’re sitting there scot free. They don’t face any criminal prosecution for allowing and abetting this whole thing. The driver just gets probation for making a decision to be lazy and not drive the car properly and pay proper attention is just letting whatever Tesla puts out on the road drive for him, which is, it’s been made despite the marketing Tesla’s.
Also, when you get in the car, they say, hey, you’ve got to, you’ve got to pay full attention. I think everyone who gets into Tesla and wants to use one of these features needs to realize that. They have to stay focused and they’re driving that you can’t just take off. This is not an autonomous vehicle.
Fred: I want to be clear that the car never says you need to pay attention.
If you want to know why Tesla wants you to pay attention, you’ve got to dive into the fine print on your usage agreements. Isn’t that right? There’s no,
Michael: I believe that when you, I believe that when you engage those features, there’s something that flashed on the screen that says you basically you need to keep paying attention.
But it’s a trap essentially. You’re selling a car with all of this tech saying, Oh, it’s got autopilot. It’s got. Full self driving. And then when somebody gets in the car and you flash a momentary warning, it says, you really need to pay attention.
Anthony: Yeah. We’ve all clicked through things like that.
Just ignoring it. It’s
Michael: a trap. It’s a complete trap. And it’s it trapped this guy. And the fact is he’s killed two people. Because of his actions, whether they were enabled by tesla or not, and he’s getting off with probation and that’s the literally the perfect scenario for tesla and for people who aren’t, don’t want to drive their own vehicles appropriately and it’s the absolute worst possible solution for the victims.
In this case, the family members are, have lost. They’ve lost two family members and, there’s probably a lawsuit ongoing. Tesla’s going to defend it and say, it’s all this guy’s fault. And they’ll probably get off scot free doing that. And meanwhile, there’s a paper judgment against whoever the guy driving the vehicle was.
They’re not ever going to get anything out of him. The victim’s families are, in this case, functionally left with nothing. That’s a terrible outcome. Somebody needs to be either in jail or paying a lot of money when they, this is reckless behavior. It’s almost beyond negligent.
People should know that Tesla’s can’t drive themselves at this point. It’s been all over the news for years now. And, it’s there, there are no more excuses. So we’re, we were disappointed in the outcome of this case. We’ve been somewhat disappointed in the outcomes of some of the civil cases that have been brought by against Tesla.
So far they’re more coming in the next couple of months that I’m sure we’ll discuss as verdicts are reached. So this is going to remain a pretty hot topic.
Anthony: So the spouse of one of the victims in this they’re not blaming so much the driver, instead they have a quote from this AP news article we’re linking to says, they make cars that they know cause accidents and they don’t care.
Families are broken, lives are lost, and they don’t care. I think, that’s, that person should be hired to do marketing for Tesla. I think that’s a great new slogan. We’re Tesla, give us 15 grand, we don’t care. But seriously, so they sell products that are called autopilot and full self driving, and that’s one thing these are just marketing terms.
But, Boys and girls, remember, they produced that self driving car video where the car did all these amazing things, it drove itself around the block and parked and did all these wonderful things, and we found out just a few months ago that whole video was faked. That the real footage shows that car crashing into a dumpster.
This is insane. I don’t know. Hey, Federal Trade Commission. Hi. Hi. From the public.
Michael: Hi. Unfair, deceptive trade practices.
Anthony: This is like a slam dunk. Anyway. Continuing on with our lovely friends of Tesla U. S. auto safety regulators have sent a team to investigate a fatal crash in Virginia involving a Tesla suspected of running on a partially automated driving system.
The latest crash happened in July, brings the number to 35 of Tesla crashes under investigation by NHTSA since June of 2016. In all the cases, the agency suspects the Teslas were operating on a partially automated driving system such as Autopilot. At least 17 people have died. Michael, in these articles, I have to ask, why do they call things like autopilot and full self driving partially automated driving systems?
Because this Elon guy keeps saying, Hey, these cars are driving themselves. They can do it all themselves.
Michael: It’s because they’re correct. This is a partial automation. It means that, one or more features or functions of the vehicle have been automated. That’s, that goes for things like automatic emergency braking.
That’s in a lot of our cars. That is an automated feature. Partial automation includes that, but there is what also what we call a highly automated vehicle. And that’s a vehicle where, You don’t have to pay attention. The Tesla’s and anything from a Tesla through some of these Mercedes that are level three, supposedly driving around in Nevada.
Those are partially automated because the driver their conditional automation is another phrase for it, because as a driver, you have a responsibility to pay attention and be able to take over whenever requested by the vehicle or. Even if the vehicle doesn’t request it, you should be paying attention and be able to hit your brakes and steer in time.
You shouldn’t be relying on the vehicle to direct you how to drive in those cars. It is something where you have to stay focused. So that’s what a partial automation is It’s it could be a lot of things. It could be you know, something as simple as a lane keeping assist or automatic emergency braking that we see and are relatively common or it could be a vehicle that can almost drive itself fully, but not quite and requires the human to maintain some sort of control and attention while operating the vehicle.
So that’s partial automation.
Anthony: So the level three driving you’re talking about that’s happening in Nevada. So that means I can basically Punch in a destination the car will take me there. I don’t have to have my hands on the wheel I don’t have to have my feet on the pedals but I have to be paying attention and the main company behind this is Mercedes
Michael: I think they’ve only been approved so far for operation Basically, it looked it appears of operation on divided highways or interstates when There’s a speed under 40 miles per hour.
So it’s basically in traffic. So you’re not programming it and going from place to place at all yet. This is basically level three that allows the vehicle to take some of the work away from the driver when you’re sitting in a horrible traffic jam on the interstate. It’s, some vehicles already have similar capabilities with adaptive cruise control that can be used that way.
I think you’ve used it that way before, Anthony,
Anthony: I have, and my wife did not enjoy that at all in when it’s bumper to bumper traffic when we’re on highway speed, she doesn’t notice. Because she can fall asleep and the car is smooth. But, ladies and gentlemen, my hands are on the wheel. I’m providing some torque.
I’m not hanging a weight off the steering wheel. And I’m looking around because I don’t trust any other driver on the road. And that’s the proper way to drive. You want to be safe? Don’t trust anybody else on the road. They’re all out to get you. And with that, have you told you your friends to subscribe to this podcast?
Have you subscribed to this podcast? Have you gone to autosafety. org and donated? You have? Ah, you’re the greatest. This is amazing. This is what keeps Michael and Fred going. Me, it’s coffee. With that, let’s I think we’ve hit enough of this self driving nonsense this week.
There’ll always be more and more self driving nonsense because, that’s unfortunately the future.
Michael: Yeah. Teslas are going to be robo taxis next year. Did you know that?
Anthony: I just heard that. I heard that too. Yeah, I heard the the cyber cuck sorry, cyber truck was bulletproof too. I don’t think it is.
Hey, so the AAA Foundation did a safety, did a study on the safety benefits of ADAS. And I have some issues with AAA. It’s just more of I’m not a… I’m not a fan, I like the idea of it, but then I realized it’s cheaper just to pay my insurance company to come and tow my car. So hey, they did a, they’re projecting that 249, 000 lives saved and 14 million injuries prevented before 2050 with ADAS.
And how would this work? Is this, does this study look good? It sounds great.
Fred: wouldn’t first let the listeners know what a desk is a desk stands for automated driver assistance system. Okay, so anything that you’ve got that. Augments your capabilities as a driver who isn’t fully in control of the vehicle that provides automated assistance that’s called an ADAS system.
So it’s very distinct from an attempt to make a car completely self driving.
Michael: Yeah, and it’s advanced driver assistance systems, not automated. So that makes it even. That makes it even less automated sounding.
Anthony: See, I couldn’t remember what it stood for. That’s why I just kept saying ADAS. But wait, so does ADAS, what does this consist of?
Michael: lot of, it’s a lot of things. ADAS covers basically everything from blind spot warnings to, the level three type stuff we’re talking about, Mercedes or the cars. Basically, functionally controlling itself for certain periods, but still needs human to oversee the process.
Anthony: So things like, okay.
So you’re saying like lane change warnings, like the blind spot monitoring. So my car has little icons for that built in, but I guess we didn’t pay for that. So they never turn on automatic emergency braking. That’s part of this. Okay. What are other things that be in that?
Michael: Another thing that would be in there that I think, the figures that, that they, there are a lot of assumptions that are required in a study like this.
You have to make a lot of assumptions about how fast technology is going to be developed, implemented, accepted by consumers. And that’s 249, 000 lives. say, and I think it was something like 14 million injuries prevented, which is an enormous number, would be excellent. They also provided, if there’s a greater rate of uptake, even higher numbers, even better numbers, or in the case of lowered uptake, the lower numbers, but Their median number is about 10, 000 lives saved per year, which is, I think is a relatively conservative number when you consider that, driver monitoring systems, if they’re implemented, say 10 years from now and prevent drunk driving, distracted driving, medical situations, all the things that they can do.
I think those numbers could go even higher. Yeah. It’s it’s a really difficult and a really complex study to just to be able there’s a lot of factors that need to be taken. And I think they did a pretty good job. I think that’s, those are the type of numbers that I think we might expect given the fact that, industry isn’t just.
Falling over themselves to get the newest and best of this technology and cars and are having to be nudged by NHTSA and by, the public to get this into a lot of their base models that are lacking it right now.
Anthony: To put that in perspective, you’re talking 10, 000 lives saved per year.
Twenty five percent, roughly, of all fatalities that happen right now. That, so that would be an amazing change. I don’t think there’s anything else that anyone’s proposing that has anywhere near that life saving ability. Besides Kyle. Oh, that’s an incredible number.
Fred: We have, we as an organization have advocated for enhanced focus on ADAS components and capabilities within the cars rather than this Panglossian vision of a self driving future that is going to make everything better because that self driving future probably will never happen or as the ADAS features that can be put into vehicles can happen tomorrow.
Let’s start saving lives today rather than thinking about this distant future that, may never happen when the unicorns dance, we’ll have. Self driving vehicles that are safer than human beings. Okay, that’s fine. But I haven’t seen a lot of unicorns in my neighborhood.
Michael: Yeah, and I would have to say that, I think a combination of ADAS and driver, good driver monitoring features as well as vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications could drastically reduce the fatality and injury count on our roads.
And I think far more than this whole self driving proposition ever will.
Fred: The commercial aircraft, for example, have a collision warning system, right? And they alert the pilot to take over and avoid a collision. They have terrain… Avoidance systems that monitor where the aircraft is, what the local elevation is, and they warn the pilot if they’re about to crash into something.
Why is this doable in aircraft and it’s not doable in cars? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful system? Isn’t that a better way to enhance safety than, having your self driving vehicle get stuck in concrete? I just don’t get it.
Anthony: You don’t get the flow of tech bro nonsense. I’m gonna jump into a little rant, okay, on Tech Bro Nonsense.
Back in the early 2000s, there was this stupid project called One Laptop Per Child, which sounds great. Hey, we’re gonna send one laptop per child in Sub Saharan Africa, cause this will make their lives better. And my thought was… How? And people would tell me, Oh how do you use the internet? I’m like, for Amazon and pornography?
Like, how is that going to make a kid’s life better? How about we send them potable water? And they’re like no. Tech bro nonsense doesn’t really go for the simplest solution that will do the greatest good. Instead, they go, hey, here’s something shiny and flashy, and I bet I can get a bunch of money from suckers who have too much money and not enough brains.
End of rant to quote Mr. Fred Perkins.
Fred: Thank you. That puts it all into perspective for me.
Anthony: There you go. And my life into perspective. Hey, let’s, speaking of Fred Perkins, let’s go into today’s towel. And this subject is, I have a tangential relationship to this story. Today we’re going to do spare tires.
And I had to, Fill the air in my tires recently, because the tire pressure warning light went on, and I was like okay, they were 10 psi off of what they should be, and I look inside the door jamb, it tells me the correct one, but the spare tire should be at like 60 psi, whereas my normal tire should be at 35.
Weird. But that’s probably not what you’re going to talk about. Anyway, Fred, take it away. You’ve now
entered the Tao of Fred.
Fred: Ending my pause for the intro. Oh, thank you. Yeah, you’re welcome. Spare tires Michael, question for you. Do you have a spare tire for your car?
Michael: I do not. I was sold a 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, brought it home, and looked under the flap in the trunk where the spare tire would be, and there was a gap in a can of fix a flat.
And I think my tire would have ended up costing me like an extra 300, 400 to get an actual spare.
Fred: So it’s interesting. Second question, if you tear your sidewall of your car when you’re in a dark spot, are you stuck by the side of the road or are you up the creek without a paddle?
Michael: In my case, I’m driving on three cars, three tires.
I don’t care. I’m getting out of it. But most folks might not be willing to damage their wheels and rims that way. And they might, stay there and have to wait another hour or two for emergency services.
Anthony: Please do not construe Michael’s answer as advice from the Center for Auto Safety. This is his personal opinion and his bad lifestyle choices.
If you have a broken sidewall, do not try to drive on three tires.
Fred: So the question one of the questions I wanted to ask is, do you really need a spare tire? And Michael’s here. He’s still alive. So I perhaps not, but please don’t call me a conservative, but I made my daughters learn how to change a flat tire before I turned them loose with their driver’s licenses.
I thought it was very important for them to be able to secure their own safety in the event of a equipment failure. I guess that’s old fashioned. I’m not sure. One of the rationales people are now offering for why so many electric vehicles and partially electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, have. Part of the rationale for not including a spare tire is there to is a possibility of battery intrusion into the battery or excuse me, spare tire intrusion.
What? I need more coffee. Wow. There’s a possibility of spare tire intrusion into the battery containment case in the event of a collision. I guess that’s a possibility, but it
Michael: seems like a bad sign. Isn’t that a bad sign? Yeah,
Fred: I can’t, I have a hard time seeing how that’s going to work.
Michael: The reason they don’t have top tier cars and cars has everything to do with the fuel economy standards and removing weight from vehicles.
And that’s when manufacturers started removing them from cars. Yeah it’s all about weight.
Anthony: Wait, but the spare tire weighs like nothing, it weighs, what does it weigh? A couple pounds?
Michael: 30, 40 pounds, depending on what kind of car you have. Oh, I have a tiny car. Tires are heavy. Yeah. But it’s. That’s when they started disappearing, or when NHTSA upgraded fuel economy standards.
I think it was the two, two revisions ago on those, but it’s, 40 pounds is a lot in a vehicle. If they can remove that by, taking away a spare tire, they’re saving money in the process as well. So it’s a win for the manufacturer, a lose for anyone stranded on the side of the road.
Fred: And I guess there’s no regulation that says they need to have a spare tire. One of the issues that’s come up is the size of the wheels in the cars and the People seem to like wagon wheels in their vehicles. They really like enormous tires, and some of the tires are so big that a full size spare will not fit in the trunk.
And I think that’s legitimate, but there are options. There are donut spares, which are like Anthony’s got and I’ve got. They’re relatively high pressure tires that are smaller than a normal tire that can be put onto the same hub. There are also something called, collapsible tires or expandable tires that basically blow up like a balloon when you want to put them in and then collapse.
Into a smaller package when you deflate them so you can put them back into the trunk and those seem like they’ve got a lot of Merit actually the problem is you need to have something to inflate them when you need them So you’re going to have either an air compressor in the car or you’re going to have sufficient compressed air in a can
Anthony: Good lungs.
Fred: Good lungs. Good lungs.
Michael: Really good lungs. I want to say, and I’d have to check, but I think that alongside the can of fix a flat, there was some sort of little mini air compressor that I would plug into my cigarette lighter, but I can’t be 100% sure.
Anthony: Wait, how does your car, you said it was a 2019, it doesn’t have a cigarette lighter.
Michael: No it does! It does. They still make vehicles with cigarette lighters. I didn’t even know that until a few weeks ago when I looked down and noticed it for the first time.
Fred: So the large wheels can be a problem just because of their size, but, who really needs large wheels? Monster trucks need them and military vehicles, but they are not needed for your weekly trip to Piggly Wiggly.
Trust me on that. You can use normal tires. So if you’re going to buy a trim package. That includes larger tires you may be wasting your money, but still, back when I was young and wagon wheels were still popular and vehicles on the roadway, there was a rationale for them because they could run over gophers more easily than small wheels, but I don’t think that’s there anymore.
Aren’t they just there for looks now? Mostly? I see a lot of small sedans or big tires that are clearly trying to show off their rims.
Anthony: We were behind one the other day, and it was clear they had extended the axle or something like that to fit these giant wheels on a Honda Civic type thing, and we’re like, why, what happened in your youth?
That you cause you to make this decision like there’s
Fred: some there are some cultural subtrends that seem to like customizing cars that don’t really deserve it. But you’ve seen that. Anyway, true. For our listeners, though, a little quiz for our listeners. And the first question is. What is the proper pressure, air pressure for your spare tire?
And you may not know that, but if you don’t know it, it’s because you haven’t checked your tire recently. So the second question, what is the current air pressure in your spare tire? It’s something you probably ought to address. It’s a pain in the neck, but it’s worth digging it out, making sure that you’ve got enough air in your tire, so that it can, in fact, save your life if you’re ever in a situation where you need to change the spare tire.
Anthony: Okay, so this is a, this is my dumb question. So generally the Tire pressure warning light only comes on towards winter, where obviously I get, gas expands, gas contracts, winter, gas inside my tires, the air is contracted a little bit but we’re just out, and it’s August, and Tire pressure warning light comes on and so I get nervous and I’m feeling all the tires, they all feel fine because I can’t tell the difference in 10 PSI by squeezing a tire.
I know, I don’t work in the circus anymore. But where is that loss of pressure going? Is there some sort of slow leaks in every tire? Is this why that happened?
Fred: Now you’re getting into the second law of thermodynamics, which is the first law of thermodynamics is that you don’t get something for nothing.
And the second law basically says you can’t even break even. And what that means is that… Everything is going to leak, right? And you can never get back to where you were in the first place. So what you’re really looking at is the fact that the air pressure inside your tire sooner or later is going to leak.
And there’s a lot of reasons for that. There’s a valve, there are leaky joints, the, the… A lot of mechanical issues associated with that, but the fact is that sooner or later, every tire is going to get flat.
Anthony: Even my, sorry, even my donut spare that I’ve never even touched.
Fred: Even your donut spare, sadly enough, yes, indeed.
That’s but again, you’re talking about. You’re contention with the basic physical laws of the universe. So if you lose, don’t worry. You’re in good company. Everybody
Anthony: Look, we’ve come to learn the last few years. Those laws are you know, your laws and my laws may not be the same Okay, that’s
Michael: true You could probably spend a little more money and get a vehicle that has a spare tire pressure monitor There are a very select few vehicles that do that, but it’s generally only if you have a full size spare But they will keep track of the inflation pressure of your spare while it’s not even installed, which is a great option if you can afford it.
Fred: It is a great option, but it costs about 3 to buy a tire pressure gauge at your local auto parts store, so that’s another way to go.
Anthony: Listener, I’m gonna suggest you vote with Michael on this one and donate to the Center for Auto Safety so we can afford spare tire pressure monitoring systems as opposed to Fred and his 3 solution.
Okay? Sure, we’ll take three dollars, as long as you give it monthly. Sorry, continue. Now, there’s
Fred: Another aspect of this there’s a canard that modern tires don’t fail. So you don’t really need to do anything. There are self sealing tires, there are run flat tires those are all true. They’re run flat tires.
Are a lot heavier and a lot more expensive than the regular tires because just simply because there’s more stuff in them and a limited life associated with them when they’re flat. So something to consider if you’re going to invest in the run flat tires. And the other thing is that modern tires do in fact fail, not as often as when I was a child, and blowouts were something that were constantly on your mind as you were going down the road, but they do fail.
They do fail spontaneously, and they do fail when you run over a curb or a sharp object. Remember, the tire is the only thing that is giving you control of your vehicle, both forward and backward, and from side to side. You really need to pay attention to your tires, and when one of your tires fails, you need to pay attention to your spares, because once again, you’re putting your life on your line if you have substandard tires.
So don’t do that.
Anthony: So what do you suggest?
Fred: There’s a related issue. Before we get off of that, let me just say that there’s another issue with the highly automated vehicles we were talking about earlier today, which is that there are some vehicles that are being promoted right now. Zoox is a leading candidate that do not have any human interface controls.
They don’t have steering wheels. They don’t have Brake pedals, they don’t have any of the things that you need to control the vehicle and really you’re taking all the issues associated with the safety of a car that is does not have a spare tire and you’re elevating that. To a situation where you can’t even pull the car over to the side of the road if you have a flat tire.
So I, I, my feeling is that the manufacturers need to address that issue of what the highly automated vehicles are going to do if there’s a mechanical problem that people need to address in order to either just get the car to the curb or, to other some of the maneuver that’s required to enhance their own safety.
But we, we’ve been on record by saying that all of these cars, all of these vehicles that are intended for use by people with unattended automatic control systems need to have a readily learned Accessible human interface set of controls so that somebody in an emergency can take over and get the car into a safe place that has not been addressed by any kind of regulations.
It’s not been addressed by the manufacturers because there are no regulations to do that. But we still think it’s a idea. That’s important. Something that should be done and something that the manufacturers should not be allowed to skip over. Now, Anthony, I’m sorry. What was your question?
Anthony: I don’t remember what my original question is, but now I have a new question.
So I’m in my GM Cruise and it’s taking me cross town and the tire blows out. What does the car do? Is it just put on the low tire pressure warning?
Fred: Because it charges into wet cement, it charges into wet cement so that it’ll stop. It’s the runaway truck ramps that you’ll see on certain highways.
Anthony: It doesn’t go into the, to the Michael Brooks mode and just be like, three tires, we can do it.
Michael: Yeah, I can teach them. All you need is a few high school friends to sit on the hood and you’re good.
Anthony: That was also the name of his country album that came out in 1995, three friends sitting on the hood. Then you’re good. It it did.
Michael: I had a song about my dog too.
Anthony: Oh, okay. With that, ladies and gentlemen, if you have questions about spare tires or anything else, send an email to contactatautosafety.
org. That’s contact with a C, not with a K. Let’s do some recalls.
Kia. What is going on with Kia this week? Okay. Kia airbag warning labels may detach. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208. Ooh. A detached airbag warning label will not warn occupants about the risk of airbag deployment weight. To people, it’s… Huh? There’s a sticker? I’ve never seen this.
Like, all throughout my car, embossed through it says, airbag, SRS, airbag. Is there, the key is they just have a sticker?
Michael: Look under your usually it’s under your sun visor. Okay. Oh, and it’s basically, it’s a sticker that I don’t know how many people actually read it or if it really impacts anyone. I’ve we’ve always not really liked it because on the stickers, it says the safest.
Place for a child is in the back seat. And in many circumstances, that’s simply not correct. Those stickers came out when there were overpowered airbags in front seats. There weren’t sensors in front seats to prevent airbags from being deployed. Into children and it says basically at that point said, okay we’ll just put kids in the backseat, which as we know, does not have any, or even close to the number of crash worthiness protections and tests and everything associated with it.
And we’ve seen safety in the backseat kind of get ignored. We’ve also seen seat collapses, and something we worked on diligently over the years to try to get a federal standard. That’s going to protect children in rear seats who are. Or being collided with by people in front seats when the seat collapses.
We’ve seen, hundreds of deaths and many more injuries from that issue. And we even petitioned the government to get new language because frankly, we don’t believe that the backseat is always the safest place for children. There’s. Some significant issues there that the label doesn’t really take into account.
I think they made to be need to be monitored Excuse me. They may need to be modernized and in kia’s place In Kia’s case, they just need some, better glue or something because their problem isn’t they forgot to put the labels in the cars in the first place, but they just didn’t stick them to the sun visor well enough.
Anthony: Oh, they’re using the George Costanza glue, huh? Moving on, we’ve got one from Nissan of North America. Tyrod may bend. Oh, this is a scary one. A bent tyrod can break and cause loss of steering control, increasing the risk of crash. Potentially 236, 000 plus vehicles. Nissans are calling certain 2020 to 2022 Sentras.
The left and or right tyrod may bend. Now, I’m not a metallurgist, or really know anything about metal. Tie rods are generally thick pieces of steel, right? Or aluminum? Something?
Fred: Tie rods are generally threaded pieces of steel that attach the, ultimately, steering wheel to the wheel itself, so that when you turn the steering wheel, there’s some kind of mechanism that pushes on the tie rod, or pulls on the tie rod, and that causes the front wheel to move left or right.
Okay. So that’s what the tie rod does. So it also has a bushing at the end and it has a metal part that sticks through the bushing. So that connects to the wheel itself and then you thread it onto the attachment to the steering mechanism so that you can adjust, basically do the front end alignment, right?
So you got to make sure that the wheels are pointed where they’re supposed to be and that’s how they do it. They adjust the tie rod length. So that they’ve got the wheels aligned. So it’s a more complex thing than just a plain piece of steel.
Anthony: Sure, but it’s like the tie rod is not something that, it’s a pretty standard piece of equipment.
It’s not something they’re re engineering constantly. It’s not like an F1 car.
Fred: No, you’re right. Yeah, they’ve only been in cars for about a hundred years, so still a lot to learn,
Anthony: Yeah, so that’s the scary part for me. For listeners, this recall replaces and expands a previous recall. If your vehicle is repaired under that previous one, you have to have the new one done too.
But they won’t know. What the remedy is because they don’t have parts of this expect interim letters to be mailed on October 5th, but then,
Michael: yeah, this one had a it looks like. This one starts when your vehicle hits a pothole or a curb or something, and it bends the tie rod, which basically prevents your steering from operating correctly.
And what they’re going to do is tell everyone to come in, and they’re going to inspect the vehicles and put in kind of a interim tie rod. And then they’re going to have everyone come back in the winter for the full repair once they get the new part ready to go.
Anthony: Yeah, surprising because, again, Nissan’s been around for a couple hours.
They should have this problem solved. Last one we’ll do today is Ford Mustang. The electric Mustang is having loss of power due to overheating of electrics. Ford issued a safety recall on 48, 000, almost 49, 000 model year 2021 2022 Mach E’s. It, this recall addressed high voltage battery main.
Connectors, contactors that may overheat from direct current during fast charging and repeated wide open pedal events. Ooh, wide open pedal event. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds fun. Come in and find out if Ford has recently fixed this. It’s a, there’s a technical service bulletin associated with that.
And if you don’t know what a technical service bulletin is, you haven’t been to autosafety. org and looked up your make, model, and year. Basically, there are hidden little notes that… The manufacturers give to the dealers be like, Hey, here’s some things we broke. We don’t have to tell anybody yet. Keep it on the DL.
Somebody comes in and then fix it. I got that right.
Michael: In this case. Yeah. It’s a lot like that because this is a really odd one. They issued this recall and said, okay, we’re going to do this recall remedy. But if you continue to have problems after the recall, we’re going to do this TSB on your vehicle as well, which to me suggests that procedure should have been part of the original recall and that Ford is trying to skirt the recall regulations here, the TSB, something that’s probably not outside the realm of their capabilities as we’ve seen in the past.
So it’s a little shady. I think, if you have a recall And then you put a TSB out that addresses the problems with the recall fix. Why isn’t that technical service bulletin also a recall? It’s clearly a safety issue. Come on Ford.
Anthony: Come on Ford. Hey, with that listeners, that’s our show. Next week we’ve got a lot of fun, exciting updates such as the Massachusetts right to repair.
We’ve got some more recalls like the Nicole, Nicolai semi trucks Nicola we’ve got Yeah, nickel and nickel yeah, it’s some pedestrian safety updates whatever else GM Cruise manages to crash into some 40 cents or stuff. And this is, one of the rare things I can tell you the future of what we’ll talk about next week.
Fred: quick question for you, Anthony. Sure. Where did the name Nicola come from?
Anthony: It was a a Swiss cough drop company. They originally called and they
Michael: don’t even, lemme me answer Michael. Isn’t that Tesla’s first name?
Anthony: Yes! Oh, it’s Elon. Elon Tesla. God, you guys are so dumb.
Fred: He could be. Revisionist history. Nikola Tesla, so it’s an interesting competition between the two companies and the two names.
Anthony: I’m waiting for one of them to electrocute an elephant. Ah! Hey, listeners, thank you so much for joining us. Again subscribe, tell all your friends, donate and till next time.
Bye bye. Bye
Fred: bye. All right. For more information, visit
Michael: www. autosafety. org.