Stay dangerous and let Peaches drive
A dust storm causes crashes in Illinois, Anthony worries about groceries becoming projectiles, Cruise and Waymo cause laughs, Tesla’s lawyers pretend Elon didn’t say what Elon said and Fred continues with the Consumer AV Bill of Rights. Plus the tank story.
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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 listeners, have you subscribed to this show yet?
Come on, do it. You can do it on Google Podcasts, on Apple iTunes, on Spotify, on something called geezer. You can do it wherever. Subscribe. It’s great. And for our patient listeners who’ve been waiting weeks now who met our challenge of becoming new monthly subscribers at the end of this episode, the one and only Fred Perkins will reveal his chase by a tank story, so sticker.
Wow. All right. So guys, I wanna start off with I, I sent the two of you an email the other day. I was in a cab. I’m in the backseat of a cab and I’ve got a guitar with me and some effects unit stuff. And I realize like I’m wearing a seatbelt. The driver’s wearing a seatbelt. But you guys have destroyed my view of safety in cars cuz I realize, oh, if we got into an accident now my guitar is a weapon and so is this bag of stuff which weighed probably 20 pounds.
These are projectiles. Wh what, how do we secure these things? Am I overthinking this? Am
Michael: I, no, we’ve had this phenomenon that’s available to us for many years now called the Trunk. I don’t know if you had one in that particular taxi cab though.
Anthony: I, I don’t think I’ve seen a trunk in a long
We know are disappearing. They’re going away slowly as sedans are being outpaced by SUVs and pickup trucks. To where I think, we were down to I think 19% or so of the vehicles purchased in America were sedans the year before last. And last year they actually bumped up again, I think to about 21%.
But I think long term we’re looking at, SUVs and pickup trucks continually to dominate the passenger vehicle market. No trunks, no trunk for you,
Fred: no trunk for you one year. You do have the alternative of a cargo net. Most of the SUVs, at least all of them that I’ve owned, have hooks in the back that you can use to secure the the cargo that’s sitting back there.
People don’t ordinarily do that. And I’ve had my engineer friends ridicule me for driving around the cargo gro net, asking if I was planning to go to the Congo, but, Nevertheless, they do exist. They’re not expensive, and they’re a good way to secure whatever’s in the back. But taxi I, you got fewer options I suppose.
But it’s good to remember that whatever is in your car will weigh 10 times as much as it comes it towards your head during an accident is about 10 Gs typical during a severe accident. So your guitar, which weigh is what, 10 pounds? Seven pounds? Six pounds? Yeah. Yeah. It becomes 60 or 70 pounds. Wow, that is the equivalent load that’s going to impact whatever is in front of it.
Michael: There’s a lot of pointy edges and things on guitars too that don’t make them very friendly.
Anthony: But I, even just groceries, I’m thinking like, I’ll regularly go to the supermarket. Yep. And that stuff’s it’s, it’s our little hatchback. It’s put in the back or it’s put in the back seat on the floor.
But, it’s not secured necessarily. Frozen Turkey,
Michael: Bro. Yeah. I buy and can of beans.
Fred: Going back to our earlier episode where we talked with your son about motorcycles and made equivalence to the height. If you wanna see the potential impact of this projectile in your car, just take it up to about the 10th floor of a building and drop it onto the pavement and see what happens.
If it’s happy, then you should be happy. If it’s not happy, then. This is really something you should secure in your car to be safer in the event of a crash.
Michael: Okay. Or go to a move to a diet of bagged salads and marshmallows.
Anthony: Oh, that sounds interesting and slightly gross. And how do you secure your pet, your love, pet dog, cat, bird, lizard?
Fred: Most of us don’t, but there are harnesses that are available for dogs that clip into the seatbelt structures. I’ve seen them. I haven’t purchased any yet, so I’m living on the edge with my little fluffies. Ah,
Michael: yeah, there’s, I always have a lot of questions about the protective structures for pets.
First of all, because pets come in, you think humans come in a lot of varieties of sizes that we talk about. Pets come in way more different sizes due to the fact there’s multiple species and birds and fish and all sorts of things going on. It’s, it’s hard to say whether some of the products that are on the market actually function as intended, or are they, like some of these booster seats that we see coming over from China via Amazon and Alibaba, I think Amazon’s cracked down on it, but booster seats that claim to protect children in the vehicle, but they found out they’re not compliant and they don’t.
So it’s a a switcheroo on consumers who buy those kind of things.
Anthony: And my last question on this, and I already know the answer, you guys are just gonna depress me. Has there been any safety testing on these cargo nets or ways to secure animals or things of that nature?
Fred: I don’t know the answer to that.
Michael: Yeah, it’s not part of, it’s not part of. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. I’m, there probably are standards that are written with the intent to keep pieces of the vehicle from becoming flying objects like that, but nothing that, that involves cargo.
Anthony: Oh so let’s move on to the dust storm story.
This is a, for somebody who lives on the East Coast, this was a surprising story where there was unfortunately seven dead, 37 hospitalized after a blinding dust storm caused pile ups on an Illinois highway. So it seemed that this storm, as they say, is a freak storm, came out of nowhere.
It was basically they had just tilled farmland. The wind blew up and basically people driving down the road, the highway, and then all of a sudden their visibility drops to zero. I’m sure Waymo would handle it very well, but but humans didn’t. How, is there not any sort of advanced notice or warnings of these things?
Like how does this work? Because this is not the first
Michael: time I, when I saw that yesterday, that crash coming, if you go back and you google dust storm crash or something like that, that there have just been dozens and dozens of these things over the years. It appears to be very different than, a heavy thunderstorm or something like that.
Where visibility is significantly reduced. One of the articles I was reading, I believe it was from Noah, the government agency saying when you’re in a dust storm and you pull over to the side, you shouldn’t turn on, you should make sure your brakes aren’t on, your rear lights aren’t on because that produces taillights that other vehicles might follow, thinking that they are off the road.
That’s how bad the visibility gets in these things. And then there was also, a study from two weeks ago that came out from Noah, who seems to be doing a better job of looking at this issue than Nitsa. They found that, in previous literature, it was assumed that there was only one.
Maybe accident per year attributable to this kind of atmospheric and in this case, it’s a human phenomenon cuz it involves fields. They, ty We typically see this in Arizona and in deserts where they’re, they have big, giant dust storms that provide some warning, but we still see crashes in the ones that don’t.
And it’s. And back to the NOAA study, they found, I believe that, on average somewhere between about 15 to 30 deaths per year and dust storm crashes. And, that’s getting into the range and traffic safety where, they’re, we start looking at whether there’s a way to.
Prevent these incidents by technology. When I first saw the story, I’m thinking, how do they not know? All these farmers are tilling their fields at similar times of year. They’re about to plant right now, and they know there’s wind coming through. How do they not know that Dry conditions and, how do they not know this phenomenon is.
Likely to occur and how are there ways to predict these things and prevent them? And in Arizona, actually, there’s a 10 mile stretch of highway that they’ve, between Phoenix and Tucson, I believe, where they’ve actually in the last five years or so, installed a fairly complex system. It looks like that can detect and.
Change the speed limits on the highway from, from 70 all the way down to 35 if necessary. When a dust storm is present. Seeing some of the things that happen in dust storms is my immediate. Reaction to seeing one on the road ahead of me would be to get off the road as quickly as possible and not risk myself around some of the folks who seem to want to drive through these things at speed.
But I would probably recommend that approach to anyone who can get off the road as soon as possible if a dust storm’s around, because it just does not seem like something that the average human driver should be driving into. Certainly not something that the autonomous vehicles were seeing coming down the road are prepared for yet.
Fred: Oh, that’s going to be interesting. I think in defense of the meteorologist for no particular reason, that it’s not the wind so much as the change in a wind speed. And there’s a phenomenon called a microburst, which is over the last 30 years or so, it’s been shown to be responsible for airplane crashes near airports.
Microburst detection radar exists, but it is expensive and it has a limited range. So I think that, in order to solve this problem and have adequate warning like they do in Arizona, you would need to have something like a microburst detector deployed widely wherever these events might occur, and they’re very hard to predict.
You never know when a microburst is going to occur. You never know when a dere show is going to occur. These are very sudden and severe changes in the winds that would follow a period of a long period of just accumulating dust and crap that can blow around in the wind and then all of a sudden it’s no longer attached.
So it’s a difficult thing. Wood point out that this is related to the unexplained or unanticipated stopping due to automatic emergency braking. My daughter has experienced her Subaru suddenly stopping in response to a leaf blower by the side of the road that, or somebody who was blowing leaves.
It’s a, I think it’s a similar phenomenon.
Michael: Yeah, I could see it giving some of the sensors used for automatic emergency braking and other crash avoidance systems problems, and I’m sure they’re not testing them in dust storms.
Anthony: I imagine all of them would shut down. I had a similar experience with driving through a snowstorm where it’s hey, lane, keeping off emergency, automatic emergency braking off, automatic cruise control off, and it’s fun driving a car when you, your car’s telling you, Hey, all systems failing, disabled, all of this stuff.
At that point, I probably shouldn’t have been on the highway, I had to test all those tires.
Fred: I think that’s that’s an important perspective. People have places to go and things to do, and that’s why they’re on the highway in the first place, and they don’t like to just stop and sit by the side of the road while something passes.
Anthony: my defense, I was in New Jersey and I needed to get out of New Jersey as soon as possible.
Fred: Oh yeah. Most people want to zip right through New Jersey.
Anthony: Sure. Okay, good. Of course. As long as we’re being reasonable since I mentioned the magic of Waymo and automated vehicles, autonomous vehicles let’s jump into some fun little Waymo cruise news.
So in Arizona Central, we’ll have the link to it in the description. This is interesting where Waymo cars are frequently stalling in the middle of the road or pulling over singly random. But they’re stalling in the middle of the road and this is, they’re causing traffic jams and things like that.
And this is Waymo says this is a feature because hey, the car didn’t know what to do, so it’s safest thing to do was stop in the middle of the road. Now from the from the article, causing a traffic jam will land you in the press, causing injury or death will land you in court, says James Hodson, principal analyst with the a b I research who studies the AV industry.
If I stopped my car in the middle of the road, got out of it and just abandoned it, wouldn’t I wind up in jail?
Michael: I hope so. Especially if you kept doing it over and over again. I. Cars. Losing power in the middle of active roadways is one of the top ways, people die in crashes.
It’s been a safety defect for a vehicle to stall since Nitsa started effectively. There’ve been times where we’ve had to push a little harder to make sure that’s the case. But, vehicles can’t stall and lose power in the middle of a highway and us consider that to be a.
Feature really? Isn’t that a pretty significant safety risk? And shouldn’t these vehicles, since they are supposedly self-driving, be able to find a safe spot to park rather than, because they’re having an identity crisis in the middle of a road just stopping right there when they’re going to delay following traffic and.
Hopefully you’re not going to see accidents occur because nobody expects cars starts to stop in the middle of active lanes unless you’re in Washington DC and there are UPS and FedEx truck drivers doing it to you.
Fred: Or snow.
Anthony: Or snow. This is not typical stalling. This isn’t a mechanical or a software failure.
This is not like you’re driving down the road and some mechanical disaster happens to your car. This is literally that the cars do this because they cannot navigate a
Michael: situation. So they designed a known safety defect into them to prevent that from happening.
Anthony: Yeah, exactly. And this is something we, that Fred’s talked about in the AV Bill of Rights, which is that they need to get off of the road into a safe place where they’re not obstructing things.
Whereas instead, I think Waymo read the first half of the sentence that we put together and said, oh, let’s just have it stall in the middle of the road. But again, I get back to it is if I’m, the fact that these things can drive on the road without taking a written test, without taking basic driver safety courses and then they can commit crimes.
They’re giving up in the middle of the road and no one’s held responsible. Drives me nuts cuz I wanna do this. Sometimes there’s sometimes where you’re like, I don’t wanna drive anymore. I’m out. Bye. But I.
Fred: But this is gonna surprise you and it’ll surprise our listeners too. But there are no regulations or requirements that avs have to do any particular thing at all.
Oh. And there’s another complicating factor here, which is that if you take your Honda Accord, put it by the side of the road and walk away from it, it will get towed. And you’ll have to go somewhere to find it. If what, so what happens with an av? You stop by the side of the road, it’s actually dangerous.
For a tow truck to approach it because there’s no way of knowing what the avs going to do. You get the AV halfway up the, up on the car and all of a sudden it decides to drive away. Excuse me. You get it halfway up onto the truck platform and the AV decides to drive away. You are in a world of hurt something, something bad’s going to happen.
So we’ve talked in the past about the need for third parties and emergency responders and secondary responders to be able to affirmatively. Immobilize the car. This is, it’s a very important aspect of what the design needs to do, needs to be built in. It’s not there right now. For some reason these factors are never considered by state regulators who are giving permission for the avs to use their regulators all seem to be having that sunshine blown up their perspective.
And they just accept that
Michael: it’s dreams and dollar signs to a lot of these states that think avs are the next thing that’s going to, help their state. I’m not sure where that’s actually happening right now because in San Francisco and Phoenix we’re mostly hearing about these things as though they’re an added burden on the transportation system rather than some.
The genius way of moving people and reducing environmental impact that the companies wants to believe.
Anthony: Yeah. There’s another article we’re linking to where the the writer talks about getting in a Chevy pu bolt named Peaches. It’s a autonomous vehicle from Cruise. They named their car peaches.
I I’m not sure why. But anyway, he gets in there and he tells it where he is going, and he says, at first it’s great. The car’s never exceeding 30 miles per hour. Feels really good. And then it’s bringing me to my destination. It, it pulls over and it starts driving away in the opposite direction.
The guy never has a chance to get out. He sees. And from the article, after seeing the dashboard display screen indicating I was now somehow an estimated 20 minutes away from my destination. Destination. I grew frantic. I asked peaches what was going on. I asked peaches. What was pow? There was no response.
No kidding. So I used the feature on cruise’s ride hailing center that enables a passenger to contact a human and a call center. The cruise representative confirmed that peaches had gotten confused, apologized, and assured me that their life is a stripper, is ending, I’m sorry. Assured me that the robo taxii had been reprogrammed to get me to my original destination.
This is frightening. And again, if they subscribe to the Center of Product Safety and they listen to the AB Bill of Rights, they would’ve heard this in what last week’s episode two weeks ago, where there always needs a safe way for the human to get out of the vehicle. Instead. This guy got driven a few blocks away.
As soon as he had a chance, he got the hell out of the car. And since he’d been to San Francisco before, he could figure it his way back,
Michael: that’s just
Fred: wild. It was an interesting article because first the car brought him to his destination and then as he was trying to get out the car said, nah, nevermind. I started and drove away for several blocks and the man was trapped in the
Hey, look, peaches is gonna do what Peaches does. Okay? I, but I love the fact that the guy I asked Peaches what was going on,
Michael: Even worse is that, I hate calling 1-800-NUMBERS and waiting for the people on the other line to figure out what my problem is. I think I would hate it even more if I wasn’t disputing phone chargers and instead was trying to get out of a vehicle that had kidnapped me.
It seems like a pretty weird situation in one in which, you should have a big red stop button or something like that.
Did Michael just
Anthony: go mute all of a sudden? He did. I’m not sure I dt know how he did that. He was, that was good. He was animated. He had such
Fred: attractive mouth motion. He really it’s interesting.
Anthony: Yeah. See if you’re paying for the premium service, you could watch the video of this. That’s not true anyway sometimes.
Fred: But I, I just wanna throw in here that I had a daughter who had an imaginary friend named Peach, who was her companion for, several years. It could be that Peach has just got a new vocation since she has grown up, a peach is gonna do what a peach is gonna do.
Anthony: Is that here first?
All right. Michael, are you back on
Michael: Mike? I thought I was on the whole time. Can you hear me? Yeah, you’re great now. Okay. All right. My internet connection is unstable. We’re all matches. Matches my life. Let’s go on.
Anthony: Okay. And the next up in silly again, this is not, it’s gonna go into the silly world of Tesla.
Okay, let’s keep this going. And this is Tesla. I’m sorry for fan boys. They are not an automated vehicle, autonomous vehicle company. They do not make any autonomous vehicle products. They, their marketing may claim this, but the fine print, their lawyers say we absolutely do not. But anyway, speaking of Tesla’s lawyers, this is amazing.
Tesla’s lawyers claim that Elon Musk’s past statements about self-driving safety could just be deep fakes. So since 2012 or so, what he’s been saying, Hey, autonomous vehicles, self-driving cars coming next week. Hey, our cars can drive themselves coming next week. Apparently we all hallucinated that and it was just deep fakes,
Yeah. This is why you paid defense attorneys $2,000 an hour because that allows them to throw bullshit at the wall and see what sticks. Pretty clear that’s what’s happening here. But
Anthony: Michael, as a lawyer you took the bar exam in a number of locations. Aren’t you obligated to not just.
Do pure bullshit. Isn’t this something you
Michael: sanctioned? You are by the letter of the law, but judges across the country are incredibly hesitant to sanction people who walk into court with a line of lies, intended to either distract the court, distract the jury from the real issue at hand. It’s a terrible problem in American, has been for many years.
Judges just will not sanction behavior that’s outlandish like this. I think a good example of that is simply how many lawsuits were filed disputing the results of the last election that just completely failed in every court they went to. And yet very few SHA sanctions were produced. We hear complaints from other folks who are anti.
Products liability in the tort system saying, oh, there’s this lady who spilled coffee on herself and blah, blah, blah. But we don’t and this is the and, that’s the kind of thing that, needs to be applied across the board. Anyone coming into court with bad claims, false claims.
Should be sanctioned. And it’s, it just doesn’t happen enough. It very rarely happens. It happened to Ford a few years back because they were just pulling all sorts of shenanigans in courts across America. They probably still are. This is how. The legal system works.
There are two sides. One side, comes in and has allegations and the other side in many cases is just solely intent on confusion, obfuscating the issue, and making it really hard to move forward with the case, delaying it. We’ve seen Tesla delaying dozens of products, liability cases, and we think they’re gonna catch up with them eventually.
I think, you saw as part of this, that Elon’s going to face deposition in the case that’s, I think this is the W case from California where the guy was driving his vehicle in autopilot and the car just decided it wanted to hit a barrier in the middle of the highway. There’s a lot of problems here and, we saw last week a jury.
Decide that the driver who turned on autopilot in the city was at fault. In a case where, we weren’t really sure if, the jury fully understands what’s going on here they’re putting a system into vehicles that allows it to be turned on anywhere, and yet they’re warning you not to turn it on in certain places.
Which is odd because they have g p s, they have, this is a connected vehicle. They can limit where these features are turned on and off very simply. But Tesla chooses not to. Instead, they like to go to court and blame the drivers for turning the system on when something happens. I think that’s a backwards way of designing a vehicle, a backwards way of approaching safety.
And I hope that a a better. Case comes along and a jury gets its hands on it because, foreseeable misuse of certain vehicle technologies is a issue that’s not going away. We’ve probably talked about, we have talked about it with the Hummer WTF buttons, some of these super speed buttons on vehicles.
All these, bells and whistles they’re putting on cars that have nothing to do with getting from point A to point B. And everything to do with selling the vehicles to drivers who might want to operate them more aggressively than your average human. So it’s a concerning trend just generally.
And frankly, I think Nitsa needs to put a rule into place that geo fences technology like this, basically you cannot use some things unless you’re on a close course or you cannot get from point A to point B. With. I lost myself there. There’s another one of my brain farts, Anthony, that could be edited out or not, depending on how humorous it is and final analysis.
Fred: if we take ’em all out, there’ll be nothing. The podcast we gotta be careful about that. I wanna I do wanna bring up what Michael is talking about is, by default we’re letting the courts determine what the requirements, the engineering requirements of these vehicles should be.
And the courts will always be years and generations behind what the engineers can put into the vehicles. We really need to get ahead of this and we really need to have Nitsa put some requirements in place and we can suggest our requirements that we’ve tabulated in the AV Bill of Rights to drive the design of these vehicles so that they can be operated safely.
As long as we’re letting the courts in the liability system and torts are as familiar, it’s retrospective on that. But if we’re letting them determine what is acceptable and what’s not acceptable in the cars, They’re going to stay dangerous for a very long time. And
Michael: perhaps, and not only that it’s retrospective.
It’s, these are court cases happen after someone’s died or been injured, just like in re in the recall system. It’s why we need motor vehicle safety standards that make these things. Pass a certain minimum level of safety inspection before they can be put on the road and cause these types of issues.
So we’re we, it would be great if we know we never had to worry about some innocent person dying because someone in a, advanced vehicle wants to hit a button and go fast. But that right now, that’s not the case.
Fred: We’ve been advocating that since 2018 and we’re going to put the reference to that progressive licensing regimen that we’ve suggested up on the website this week, so that if anybody’s interested in following up on that the website will be right there and or the link will be right there and provides interesting reading.
We’d love to get your comments. So
Anthony: the case that Michael was referencing where the The jury found that the driver of the vehicle who turned on autopilot was at fault. It’s interesting, there’s a, from the MSN article that we’re linking to Tesla argued that Shu the driver of the vehicle didn’t follow instructions in the manual for her 2016 Model S, that the driver must be in control of the card all times and to not use the auto steer function on city streets.
Now I am one of. The vast minority of people on the entire planet who’s ever read their car manual. Like no one opens us up and read, reads it, cover to cover. I do cuz that’s just who I am. So blaming this woman for not reading her car manual and having her being inundated with Tesla marketing that basically says, Hey, this thing’s called autopilot.
It’s, our cars drive themselves, Tesla producing videos where their cars drive themselves. How can you really blame this person for thinking that my car drives itself? I, that’s the part I don’t understand.
Fred: The, another part I don’t understand is when did the dealer, before delivery of the vehicle ever say, you must read this owner’s manual in order to operate the car safely.
It’s never happened to me when I’ve
Anthony: bought a car. Oh, there’s probably in that fine print cuz you know, it’s all on a screen click. Agree. You’ve just bought the car, but now you’re sitting in, there’s probably that, that, that same thing with software. Cause it’s all just software. It says, Hey, click here to agree.
If you decline, I guess you’re returning the car. I don’t know. Yeah.
Michael: Click here to agree. If you’re always going to turn the car on in perfectly safe conditions for it to operate. It’s instead of. Just simply, it just, it sounds simple to me. If anyone thinks it’s really complicated here and that I’m completely wrong, let us know.
Oh, Michael, oh,
Anthony: Michael froze again. He’s frozen the most he looks very happy right now. His hand, he’s in the middle of telling a story about how fish he once caught and how big it is. It’s amazing. I
Fred: think this I wonder, are we going to let the engineers rule the world? Michael? The, you lawyers always drop outta the wrong moment.
Anthony: video came back. It was so close to me. Screenshotting it. And that was gonna be the ad for this episode.
Michael: I’m looking I think I’m having some internet connectivity this morning, but yeah, there’s my connection is unstable notice.
Anthony: Oh. I was gonna transition into the towel Fred because since we’re talking about AVS and whatnot, we’ll just continue on that thread and then we can jump with some other topics.
But are we ready for thet of Fred? We are roll. I dunno why I said it that way. Cause here’s the sound.
VO: You’ve now entered the Dow of Fred.
Anthony: Anyway, this week is the autonomous vehicle consumer bill of rights. Number 11, liability. Hey, before we start into liability, you fall asleep cuz it’s called liability.
Did you go to auto safety.org and donate? You should. We love you more. All right, take it away, Fred. Thank you
Fred: so much. All right, I’ll read this out. AV OEMs original equipment manufacturers, their agents, representatives, and dealers shall assume legal responsibility and liability for safe AV operation. In no case shall a vehicle occupant who is not actively driving an AV be held responsible for the actions or consequences of its automated controls.
This is a little different than the other items we’ve put in the AV bill of rights cuz this is not strictly an engineering requirement. This is really a programmatic requirement that will be implemented through the engineering of course, as is everything else in the vehicle. But this is a little bit more extensive.
It’s just fairness, right? The liability for the AV operation has to lie with the entity that’s actually controlling the vehicle. This seems like a simpler requirement but it’s not obvious, and the manufacturers are not emphasizing liability by themselves in their negotiations with states about licensing AV operation.
If no occupant is directly controlling the vehicle, then the liability must be vested in those who designed, built, and introduced the vehicle into commerce. Again, it’s just fairness. You can’t ask somebody who is not operating a vehicle to be responsible for its operation. So the Corolla area, this is that no one who’s not actually controlling an a v may be held liable for its operation any more than a passenger in a taxi is responsible, excuse me, any more than a passenger.
And a taxi is responsible for its safe operation. Now there’s been an interesting. Progression on this. In 2018 the Center for Auto Safety documented our position, which is that graduated licensing for autonomous vehicles can and should be put in place. In the same way that when a human being gets a license, you start with progression.
You get your learner’s permit right, and you pass a test. You in many states, you get a provisional license that says you as a young person cannot drive between one in the morning and five in the morning or has other requirements. And it’s, some states say that you can’t have more than one passenger in the car as a lot of different requirements, but they’re all a progressive licensing requirement that assumes that.
Your ability to safely control the vehicle in all circumstances will improve as you gain experience driving that vehicle. We think the same thing should hold for autonomous vehicles and in fact a paper has recently come out by our friend Phil Cooperman and Mr. Widen titled Winning the Imitation Game, setting Safety Expectations for Automated Vehicles.
And in that article they talk about establishing what they call the legal fiction of the computer driver. Now, if there’s a computer driver as a legal entity, it can in fact go through that same progressive licensing process that any other driver goes through, and what they talk about in the paper.
Is that this computer driver should be treated by the courts and every state in exactly the same way as a human driver is treated. No difference. We agree with that. And as part of that, it should be certified to be safer operation at the different levels of operation that is intended for its use.
We will have this reference on our website as well associated with this with this episode. The other item associated with that is our article or actually it’s not article that’s a response to Nitsa previously that documents our position on the progressive licensing for automated vehicles. That link will be on our website as well.
But again, that’s been over it’s been five years now since we submitted that. We’ve seen no action from NHTSA on that. We’ve seen no action from the states on that. The we think that this is very important, and again, we don’t think any person, any human being who’s in a vehicle that’s being controlled by somebody else, can or should be held responsible for the actions of that vehicle, particularly as it relates to injury to themselves.
Or to anyone else in the vicinity of the vehicle. Michael,
Michael: did I no, you did great. And I think, you know what we’re, we’re concerned not only. For a passenger or the non-driver who might be the person who purchased the ride in an autonomous vehicle being blamed somehow, we’re concerned that, one of these cars is going to hit someone and there’s no one to sue.
But functionally, if you don’t have a mechanism that puts blame on some party or puts the burden of Proving that the vehicle was negligent or not, or reckless or not, and these type of things, if you don’t have a party you can take to court then there is no, there’s not going to be any retribution or anything for victims of these incidents to seek after they’ve been injured or for their family to seek after someone’s been killed.
And that’s. Bad because if manufacturers aren’t incentivized to be safe by courts and by trial attorneys, then Mitz is the only thing left. And Mitz is obviously not doing a good enough job in this area to prevent these things from happening. Right now, they only really have recall authority in this area and they.
It, that exercising that is great, but that means that events have already occurred. And, exercising the threat of civil suits is something that manufacturers are very careful to avoid. And it carries a little more weight in that area as an incentive for them to, make these things safer and.
If you lose a computer driver, you lose the ability to go after a manufacturer of these things. Then you really don’t have any incentive for them to make them safe before they introduce
Anthony: them. Let’s pretend I get into a vehicle that will call peaches. So I get into peaches and I say, peaches. I need to get to the airport really fast.
And peaches during my saying, Hey, get to the airport really fast. Runs a red light. Now Peaches gets pulled over, responds. Who’s the officer gonna talk to? Because Peaches all of a sudden peaches got shy and I’m sitting in the back and the officer’s like, where are you going? And I’m like peaches and I are going to the airport.
And I said, peaches, get at the airport really fast. Peaches interpreted that to run a red light. How long is a cop keeping me there talking to me in peaches? And what’s happening here. And the reason, and then what happens with the kind of chain of evidence around Peach’s programming that had it run a red light.
Because our previous case where peaches would not drop off their occupant a person, let’s call them Kyle from Cruz said, Hey, we fixed that bug and we released software to do that. So if that person was trapped in that car for a longer period of time and was essentially kidnapped, Kyle from Cruz said, Hey, you know what?
That evidence is gone. We’ve just overwritten that software. Have a nice day. It’s quote unquote fixed. Ha, there seems like there’s a whole, you could drive a self-driving truck through all of these things that seem wide open. Hey, as the I, I know I’ve just asked four different questions at once, but I’m pulled over for peaches going, violating a traffic law.
How long is this gonna suck for my life as they try and figure that out Yeah.
Fred: First of all, you’re going to miss your flight. Yeah. You’re,
Michael: you’ve already missed flood. Yeah. Don’t worry about that. Also, you violated yeah. The vehicle’s already violated one of the consumer Bill of Rights tenants, which is that it has to follow local laws.
It could, it, it shouldn’t be able to run a red light in the first place, regardless of how late you are to the airport. Glare
Anthony: lands at misread things. There was a glitch,
Fred: Peaches should have ignored you. Yeah. And Peaches is gonna do what Peaches is gonna do, but she should have ignored you. Another consideration here is that the officer who is inquiring about this traffic event will be unable to get any data out of the vehicle unless they get the cooperation from the original equipment manufacturer as things currently stand.
So one of the, one of the tenants that we’re putting forward is that the public has to have access to, or appropriate people have to have access to the data that’s stored in the vehicle without the intervention of the original equipment manufacturer or the vehicle manufacturer. The cop isn’t gonna do that.
And so depending on how the day is going you may be there for a very long time unless the manufacturer has in fact provided some way. For the cop to inspect the vehicle’s safety, it’s operating system, it’s safety critical systems. Maybe there was something that failed in the car, maybe there wasn’t.
There’s a long list of technical items that need to be satisfied bef for the, before the officer can make the simple observation that Y yes, this happened, or no, this didn’t happen, and get the data associated with the event. None of the technical requirements that would support this very simple procedure are yet in place or required on any EV by any state as far as we know, because right
Anthony: now, I get pulled over the COP license, registration, we’ll have a conversation.
We’ll get that information from me. With an autonomous vehicle, is it filing a warrant to get that information now because there’s no. One there, like, how does that proceed? Because I can easily see them running through traffic lights. Of course, there’s a glitch in their camera systems. They’re seeing their colors wrong.
Something happens and they violate some law. Or they, they go speeding in a school speed zone because their cameras didn’t read the sign or, cause it was obfuscated or something like that. Like how does. How does that work? I pull you over. The cop pulls this car over. I can’t imagine a cop actually wanting to ever pull these things over, cuz they’re gonna be like, that’s six hours of my day now for a minor traffic infraction.
Fred: Remember we had Chief Mason on a few weeks ago and he was talking about the human aspect of being a cop, where you stop enforcing laws if it becomes overly burdensome to enforce the laws and if every time a police officer pulls over an av, they have to go through a complete investigation that brings, brings out warrants and gets you back to the manufacturer and has a huge burden on them in their day to simply do what’s required to record this very common and hopefully benign traffic violation it, they’re not gonna do it.
And maybe that’s one of the objectives of the licensing procedures, people who are advocating right now. I don’t know. I can only speculate about that. Michael, what do you think is going on?
Michael: I think that there’s most of these situations, most times that, that I think we’re not gonna run into this issue of warrants and things being required to prove out, whether someone ran a red light and that type of thing.
So I, I would guess that. If we figure out the problem that some law enforcement folks seem to be having, just in pulling these things over, how do you issue a ticket, that type of thing. I’m pretty sure GM’s gonna happily pay all the tickets they get. I doubt they’ll be going to traffic court and disputing them and causing, An overwhelmingly large amount of red tape and, it, it’s just, I don’t think it’s quite that complicated when it comes to issuing tickets.
I think that when it comes to accidents or not accidents, crashes and other. In incidents like that, maybe it becomes a little more complicated in that regard for law enforcement and for collecting crash data. And they’ll probably need, subpoenas in some cases if the manufacturer’s not divulging the data from the vehicle and that sort of thing.
So there’s still, a lot that states and law enforcement and the manufacturers need to do to communicate and catch up in this area. So
Fred: let’s say fundamentally I’m sorry. Fundamentally, they need a way to pull the AV over. There is no way to pull an AV over right now except physically blocking its path as far as I can tell.
Anthony: I’m thinking is, so right now, if you get traffic tickets, parking tickets, whatever, moving violations there are attached to you as an individual, not to you as a vehicle. And so now I’m an autonomous vehicle company and I’m essentially having. A hundred clones of me out there driving. And so if each day, let’s say like maybe once a week, each of my cars gets one ticket like that’s 700 tickets a week.
At what point are they gonna revoke your license? Because if you did this as an individual, you’re gonna, you would lose your license after I imagine you’d very least you’d lose your insurance coverage. Right?
Michael: Yeah. Maybe you should, if you keep violating motor vehicle traffic and maybe even laws that aren’t related to safety, parking and all sorts of things, maybe you shouldn’t be operating.
We saw, I saw a report in DC this week where they’ve got, I think it’s something insane, like 6 million unpaid. Camera speed, camera enforcement tickets, and they have cars that have racked up 40, $50,000 in tickets. They’re not booting them. One of them killed two, two people on the Rock Creek Parkway a few weeks back when it fled from a park police cruiser that pulled them over.
And there’s no disincentive to speeding if no one’s having to pay. Frankly, you want you want these citations going out and there needs to be a way to make that happen. And when you talk about a computer driver, are we tracking each individual vehicle when we’re talking about this or are we tracking it as a fleet?
That, I don’t know how that works and I, or how that will work in cities. I would imagine that they would be treating these as individual vehicles. Consistent with how it’s been done over time versus, treating the crews fleet as one computer driver.
Fred: We’ve advocated that the fleet software is the entity that is driving the vehicles and should be considered the computer driver.
That’s what the progressive licensing process is all about. To establish that your technological base. We’ll provide safe operations and all of the circumstances for which the vehicle is licensed to operate. We think it’s a very simple concept.
Anthony: Hey, listeners, you’re still here and we’re just a few minutes away from the Fred Perkins and the Tank story, but now we’re gonna go into something called Vision Zero.
Vision Zero. We’ve all heard this where it’s like, Hey, we’re gonna get street safety pedestrian deaths down to nothing, which. I think we all agree that would be amazing to go ahead and do that if they could redesign streets. In New York City where I live, they’ve put in a bunch more speed bumps. I think speed humps is technically the word for them cuz they’re not really bumps to try and slow down traffic.
I’ve requested them on my street and they’ve denied even though I’m like, they’re doing donuts right outside my window and they’re driving 50 miles per hour on a street that has a traffic light and a stop sign right after it. But so Michael, you have some thoughts on Vision Zero? Yeah,
Michael: I keep seeing articles that seem to suggest that Vision Zero is somehow failing or it’s flawed or this type of thing, which is basically, arising from people, pushing back on some of the things that we’ve seen in Vision Zero, some bike lanes, neighborhood speed bumps, all these type of things that are.
Vision Zero is based on a concept that came, I believe it was it Norway? Finland, somewhere in Scandinavia where, I think it was Oslo, where the basic principle is, you never put. A pedestrian or any a bike checklist or anyone like that in a situation where they could be hit by a car going more than 20 miles per hour.
And they reduced, I believe, the fatalities and Oslo one year to zero by redesigning streets and doing all these patterns to do that now. You’ll see cities in America adopt this vision zero slang, but they’re not implementing Vision Zero like you would see in Norway. They are putting some things into place and really not doing all the work necessary to put an entire functioning system into place.
And the city the size of New York, that would be an unbelievably large investment of infrastructure dollars. Vision Zero in America right now I would say none of the cities that are putting into play are actually putting Vision Zero into play. They’re putting little laws, little fixes here and there that might be based on Vision Zero into play, but no one has truly committed to the full meal deal on Vision Zero.
And so every time I see an article that’s saying, oh, vision Zero is wrong, or it’s screwy, or it’s never gonna work, I say no one’s tried it yet, really in America, and, beyond the fact that it’s. Ultimately just an aspirational goal. The, to think about all of the transportation accidents we see in America every year and to imagine those being reduced to zero is something I think is, hundreds of years away maybe, versus something that we see in our lifetimes.
But, getting all of these systems into place, even if it’s piecemeal can work. But, an overall commitment, I would love to see a city or A town even put this into effect as in, in the way that they’ve done it in Norway. And it’s harder to do, I think, in America because there’s so many different competing concerns involved.
But it’s simply, basically, long story short, the criticisms of Vision Zero are they’re mis based. They’re not really that powerful because we don’t really have any cities in America that have fully implemented it.
Anthony: Bro, it’s just, autonomous vehicles, there’s, let’s get rid of the humans driving.
That’s all the mistakes. It just comes down to humans are bad.
Michael: Look, I drove to, I drove 45 minutes to an appointment the other morning. And when I got there, it was during rush hour traffic in the morning when I got there, they tested my blood pressure and it was just through the freaking roof, right?
And then they tested it a few minutes later and it was perfect. And I, as that made me think, I think I’d rather have been driven here. Than have had to, go through this, experience on I 44, 4 95 and beltway traffic in the morning where you’re constantly looking, checking rear views, everything.
Watching the speedsters zoom past, everyone weaving in and out, and trying not to be hit by them versus, it’s stressful, right? And so I think all of us would love to be able to kick back. Take a snooze on our way to our appointment in the morning. Catch up on some of that sleep we missed.
It’d be great. Alright,
Anthony: so listeners, I’ve come up with a lot of brilliant ideas on this show from replacing airbags with just marshmallow fluff that encapsulates people during crashes to the actual really good idea, the the augmented reality glasses for first responders to find out where cables are inside cars.
Here’s my next. Brilliant idea. It is a therapist for autonomous vehicles because sure, us humans, we’re ignoring the stresses of driving. But these autonomous vehicles, they’re gonna have to do with it. They’re gonna be having suffering a lot of anxiety. They’re gonna be anxiety medication, software for cars.
Look at this. Thank you listeners for, for putting up with this nonsense. And speaking of nonsense listeners, you’ve waited long enough. We’ve been teasing this for weeks. Okay. I know you’ve clicked on donate. If you haven’t clicked on donate, still do it, cuz technically, if you don’t click on donate, you can’t listen to this.
If you haven’t donated, stick your fingers deep into your ears. Not too deep, don’t cause an injury. But here it comes. It’s time for Fred Perkins to explain how when he was 16 years old, he was chased by a tank.
Fred: It was a warm day and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I lived across the street from a wooded area, and it being 1969, what would a young boy do except go grow some marijuana?
Those of you who are not familiar with the sixties, it was pretty illegal then. And if you were an enthusiast for marijuana, it automatically tagged you as a hippie or something. And of course, this is a label that most of us aspired to, particularly around the time of Woodstock, but that’s a separate story
Nuclear engineer, crime, nuclear. You work on nuclear missile systems. Slater. Sorry, hippie, sorry. Continue.
Fred: These life is full of surprises, isn’t it? So I took my body down to the local creek and pulled out a bunch of golden rod and put some marijuana seeds in the ground. And lovingly came down to inspect them every so often to see how they were going.
And they reached about six inches high and. I was concerned that, somebody might take them or a deer might eat them. So I was checking on ’em fairly often. So one day I was down there and checking on them, and of course my blood pressure was up too because 4 95, I, I thought I was in constant p.
Other than predator mode, and a lot of people could jump out of the bushes and do bad things to me, most of them wearing badges. So as I was there inspecting my marijuana plants, all of a sudden they hear this. I thought, that’s an odd sound. That’s not a woodpecker. And I’m getting a little nervous. I’m starting to croach down, gets louder and louder.
A freaking tank is coming at me. Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. He’s going about 30 or 40 miles an hour down the road, the gun is looking right at me. I said, oh, man I really pissed off the police this time. They’re not even here. They’re bringing a freaking tank to get me. Naturally, I did what any human being would do.
I got as small as possible, which given my frame is not all that small, but crouched in the weeds. Happily the tank goes by, did not swing around and stop me. So I came out of there, checked my underwear and needed replacement of, or at least cleaning, and went on my way years later as after I had joined the military industrial complex.
I figured out what was going on the facility in Pitfield, Massachusetts that was near my house. Was owned by General Electric and they were making a fire control system for something called the M one A one tank several copies of which are now on their way to Ukraine. And there was a target up on the mountain and GEs was responsible for the fire control system.
So they had set up a test track down in the middle of the woods. That included many speed bumps. So they didn’t really slow the truck down, slow the tank down. They were trying to see how well they could hold their target focus on this target that was up in the up in the middle of a mountain several miles away.
Anyway, that’s it. That’s my whole story. And the bad news is that something got to the marijuana pour I did, and I never did. Received the benefit of any of that. Years later, I realized that I didn’t even like to smoke marijuana and that I was only, I was doing it solely because of the panache they gave me as a hippie.
I never wore that badge as well as I wanted to, but time goes by and you learn interesting things about life, don’t
Anthony: you? Okay. We learn interesting things about you in our segment called Fred’s Felonies. Hey, if you live in field mass today, nice. You don’t have to grow your own marijuana. That is dispensary every 500 yards.
Fred: that’s true. Those defense attorneys are really $2,000 an hour worth. Yeah, they’re approaching
Michael: that. I don’t think they’re approaching that. It depends how much you want them to lie, Fred.
Anthony: This was all this deep fake Fred. Ooh, fake Fred. Love it. Thanks. Listeners, don’t do drugs while driving vehicles.
There you go. When you’re not driving a vehicle, I don’t care what you’re doing cause you’re not gonna bother me. Thanks for listening to another episode, please. Subscribe. I’m sure you have subscribed. Tell your friends about this weird podcast. You know how much you love it. Go on to iTunes, click five stars.
I don’t know if Spotify let you rate things cause I don’t have Spotify, but rate it there. Go on to geezer, Weezer geezer, subscribe everywhere. And until then, we’ll we’ll be back next week with another exciting episode of the Felonies of Fred.
Fred: everybody. Thank you folks. Thank you very much.