Weight vs range and greedy, lazy auto companies
GM Cruise is getting the old hit and run treatment. Who do you talk to after hitting a car driving without any occupants?
How much range do we need in EV batteries? Lighter cars are safer but more range equals heavier, more dangerous, batteries.
Want a round steering wheel from Tesla? Good luck. GM says no to CarPlay and Android integration, Zoom and Tik Tock in your car, Recall Roundup and the Tao of Fred on the AV Consumer Bill of Rights.
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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. We’re ready to start, but before we start, I’m just gonna jump right into it.
Here’s the deal we have for you. We want five new monthly donors, and if we get five new monthly donors in the next week, and you just, you can give anything, you can give $5 a month, you give us that. Mr. Fred Perkins will share on our next episode the story about how he was chased by. Okay. This was not some anti-war protest.
This was nothing of the sorts at all. He was not over enemy lines. He was not, he was just in his, literally in his backyard and he was chased by a tank. Because you might enjoy our podcast, but what you don’t know, what happens when we stop recording, Fred starts sharing parts of his life That’s scare Michael and I and to entertain us.
And we figured, hey, if we can get five new monthly donors, five bucks a month, it’ll helps us predict our revenue, makes our lives much easier. Fred Perkins will share the story about how he’s chased by a tank. Have you donated yet?
Fred: No, but I’m in I That sounds like fun.
Anthony: Okay. Hey Fred, you could be one of the monthly donors.
Michael: I’m not paying to hear the story again.
Anthony: I. Anyway let’s start off with our favorite cruise news. So we’ve talked about how cruise runs over fire hoses runs into parked buses. There’s a new phenomenon now where people are crashing into cruise vehicles in San Francisco and then driving away.
They’re doing hit and runs on these autonomous vehicles. We do not support this. But it’s a strange situation that happens. And it’s interesting, and this is article will link to it, an NBC news where somebody from Cruz says, Hey, the people involved in the crash have an obligation to at least stop and exchange information.
Exchange information with an autonomous vehicle. Who are you exchanging information with? There’s no one in the car. Who are you? What are they asking for?
Michael: I don’t know anyone. How does the exchange take place? I’m assuming that what you would be doing is sitting there on scene until crews could get a human out to exchange information with you.
But what I’m trying to figure out if there’s a higher rate of the hit and run behaviors here. Obviously there’s a lot of crashes where one of the drivers just leaves the scene. We see that a lot with stolen vehicles and then other situations. But here you’ve got people hitting a car, maybe even a minor collision with no damage.
Of course these cars are very expensive with all the instrumentation they have on ’em. So minor damage is relative to, a million dollar vehicle. But there’s no, I would be confused. You’re sitting there. I’m not supposed to stand outside the car. I think maybe they have some kind of.
Microphone, the outside of the car, they could communicate with me from headquarters. I’m not really sure, but I can see where people get confused and they’re like I’m not gonna sit here all day and wait. I’m out. Especially if there’s not much not any damage. Now, when there’s a situation where you’ve actually damaged another vehicle and it’s obvious leaving the scene is just an asshole move.
Anthony: They mentioned in the article that the people can, there’s a way for crews back at their headquarters to communicate with people. There’s some sort of exterior speakers and exterior microphones. But imagine that you get in a little fender bender, there’s no one in the car and you’re having a conversation on the side of the road with nothing.
But like other people are gonna stop. They’re gonna 51 50 you cuz you look like a crazy person now having a full-blown conversation
Michael: with nothing. Not only that, but if. If you run into a vehicle with nobody in it, there’s not exactly the same moral and ethical force compelling you to remain at the scene in some ways.
And I could see people who know these vehicles don’t have a human in them hitting them and saying I’m out. There’s just, there’s no real, and it’s almost there’s a different sort of, you didn’t actually hit a human, you hit a piece of equipment. There’s a sort of somewhat different calculation I think that goes on in the human mind at that point.
That might lead more people to leave the scene
Fred: possibly. But I don’t think that’s a coincidence that we’ve all been downloaded with Gates microchips. This is a, this is an automatic mechanism that allows us to subliminally communicate with these cruise vehicles and exchange the information.
So it’s only the people who are unvaccinated. Oh, I think you really have this problem.
Anthony: Hey, look, I’ve been vaccinated. I still have it. Okay. Actually, I don’t have it anymore. It’s been cleared. I’m gonna call up Bill Gates, asking him my money back. The vaccine was free, but still, I, he’s got money to spare, but, so I wanna know Kyle from Cruz.
Kyle, we know you’re listening. We know you’re listening, so come tell us, what do you expect from people? And this is a it’s gonna be a real issue. Like what happens when two autonomous vehicles with nobody in eye of them crash into each other? H how do they communicate with each other? Is it gonna be two interns back at a, back at some remote warehouses yelling at each other over loud speakers in these cars?
Michael: I don’t get any. It’s confusing. It’s just one of many thousands of things I think that needs to be worked out before we see any real broad, full-scale deployment of this kind of technology.
Anthony: Speaking of more AV stuff. Ford officially pulled the plug on their av or did they, we talked about how Ford and Volkswagen shut down their Argo unit right.
A couple weeks ago. Yeah. And
Michael: they’re moving towards level three, they say, which is basically conditional automation. They are moving towards the idea that you, if you, I’m not sure if we discussed this last week, but the Ford c e o saying that their 2025 Ford lightnings are gonna allow drivers to go to sleep at 60 miles an hour, which is an utter crock, and I don’t think will happen, but it’s, it’s that kind of thinking that, that is just mystifies me.
But they’re, they’ve pulled out of the petition they filed while they were engaged with VW and Argo. I don’t expect they’re going anywhere. Like you’ve seen with Toyota and EVs, when the industry’s moving a certain direction it doesn’t pay to be left behind. And so Ford is never going to be the company that’s left behind here, they’re gonna figure out a way to get back into AVS one way or the other.
And I think we already saw news that they had basically taken most of the engineers and folks from Argo and are having them, work for Ford directly now in the United States. We’ll see. I don’t think Ford’s going anywhere they, that petition was, flawed in many respects anyway, so it’s probably a good thing they withdrew it.
Fred: Hey, have you ever seen, have you guys ever seen the reflective tape and reflective road signs that, you shine the headlights on ’em and it beams are right back to. I was in a meeting this week and one of the regulatory bodies, or one of the industry groups trying to develop regulations for avs.
And it was interesting because the subject of reflectivity came up, right? So you expect a human driver to look at signs that it has reflective tape on it, and you immediately read it and see that the question came up. What does that really mean? You’ve got three types of reflection that you can have, speculative reflection, diffuse reflection, and you can have retro reflection, excuse me, retro reflection.
And so how much, intensity does that have to be to associate properly with the control system on the vehicle? And they only bring this up because it is not particularly interesting, but it points out the immaturity of the regulations and the design information that’s going into these avs right now.
Something as fundamental as how well can a vehicle respond to a road sign that has reflective tape on it, announcing some, condition for the road, roads out, danger, bridge out, what have you. The, there’s no understanding at the engineering level of how to do this or even what it means. And it leads me to think that the strategy for the AV promoters right now is similar to the gun lobby and that they want to have so many of these things on the road so quickly that regulation becomes a feta plea or the, is a lack of regulation becomes a feta plea.
And they, reach the point where they say we’ve got 10 million of these on the roads right now. We, it’s simply impractical to go back and put regulations in place that are going to apply to all these vehicles. And so it really, in, in my mind, emphasized the urgency of the government getting off its, but getting out there, putting some regulations in place that are meaningful and will in fact direct how this technology is proliferating and being brought onto the streets before catastrophe happens and before it becomes, too big to regulate.
Michael: Make any sense? Yes. It makes a lot of sense, especially if you look at the way that crash avoidance systems are developing right now in front of our eyes in America where they’re, they’ve been installed in vehicles for, around 12, 15 years now, and there’s absolutely zero regulations on them, and they’re in, tens of millions of vehicles now.
So it’s, they successfully stalled automatic emer, emergency braking reg regs for years now. We’re finally hoping we’re going to get some of those in the next two years. But this is a common tactic. It’s also why they’re going out and trying to preempt localities from being able to do any type of regulation.
They’re pursuing it at a state level. And then they’re going to the federal level and trying to preempt these states from doing anything. They literally want a regulatory vacuum in which to deploy as many of the, these vehicles as they’d like. And any way they’d like, cuz that’s how they’re gonna make the most money.
And I think what we and many other people are trying to point out is, first of all I’m still not seeing a use case for this strategy. I don’t think there are that many people out there in America that want to ride around in one of these things. I don’t think they offer the disabled or other people any advantages.
In fact, they offer them less than an Uber or other rides share would offer them. And I just, I’m not a I’m not saying the technology won’t work and be great someday, maybe it will, but the way it’s being rolled out now and some of the promises that are made to support the technology and ultimately to support profits and investment in this technology is just outrageous.
Fred: And just to quickly follow up that thought, I want to reemphasize that there is no data available anywhere in the world that says automatic vehicles are as safe as human drivers under any circumstances. There’s just no data that supports that. There’s no data that says they’re better under any circumstances.
And there’s a lot of data saying. They’re simply not there. They’re not as safe as human drivers or human drivers in conventional vehicles in a lot of circumstances. I, I think that bears repeating
Anthony: Kyle Musk Trump Jr. From Cruz will disagree. He’s made up all sorts of facts around this.
Yeah. But that’s that comment
Michael: aside that’s not probably just a GM thing. Obviously we’ve seen Musk and Tesla do 20 times the bullshit that GM has done with Cruz. Cruz has been relatively careful in their introduction of this up until, some of their more recent fantastical comments which Ford seems to be joining in ‘EM as well, which is, it’s concerning when you start seeing, Ford has pushed back on Tesla a little bit in the past, but when you see them adopt some of the similar marketing strategies of saying, oh, you’re gonna be able to do this in two years when you’re not it’s disappointing.
Anthony: Yeah. So how do, how does this work? Ford and other companies, they apply for a temporary exemption from federal Motor Vehicle safety requirements, right? Like that. So they say, Hey, we don’t know if these cars are safe. Actually, they’re saying these cars probably aren’t safe. They’re not gonna pass these things, put them on.
Oh, they can’t say
Michael: that. Other industries, what I not what they’re saying is basically we’re building this car with no steering wheel, no brake pedals, yada yada, all these things that are required by your motor vehicle safety standards. We don’t need ’em anymore in these vehicles. So what we want you to do is, but, and then this is a caveat, they’re saying, but even without those pieces in the vehicle, these vehicles are as safe or safer than.
What, the a car like this that had those features
Anthony: but they’re making a bet that, hey, without these things, these cars will be safe. Yeah.
Michael: Every time a manufacturer puts a vehicle out on the market, they’re making a bet. E with recalls for instance, it’s really difficult to find a vehicle that hasn’t been recalled, that has zero recalls ever.
And that’s because, there’s a lot of little safety issues that can crop up and it’s really difficult to design, the perfectly safe vehicle if that’s been done yet.
Anthony: Do other industries get to play this game too? Can I be a food manufacturer and be like, Hey, this potato chips fat free, it discontinue.
Fred: They do. I just wanna follow up what Michael said. There were special provisions in the law for vehicles that have alternative fuel. Like batteries. Okay. So what the automobile companies will sometimes do and maybe often do, is to say we’ve got batteries, so we’re, subject to this special provision that gives priority to people with low carbon con, low carbon technology, and yada.
And oh, by the way, we’ve got this whole truckload of technology that we’re gonna bring along with it that you have to associate with it because yeah, it’s AV but it’s associated with an electric ba with a, an electric drive. So let’s just go ahead and approve the whole thing and, let’s put it out on the road because it’s got that battery.
It’s the camel’s nose under the 10 flap strategy
Michael: also. Okay. So getting your foot in the door. Yeah.
Anthony: Yeah. Back to again, my naive view that the auto industry is almost like the wild west. They’re it is. Yeah. Put cars out and say, Hey, just we’re, we beg for forgiveness, we are not asking permission kind of thing.
Michael: for sure. That’s the way, I don’t think that’s anything new in this era. That’s how they’ve operated now for, since, well before any of us were alive, even Fred. I don’t know. I it’s a tough area in AV to really regulate at this point because we just, there’s just not a lot of data.
We don’t know exactly whether these vehicles are something that we really need. And when it comes to testing on public roads right now, I just, it seems like they’re adding problems to the roads and we’ve already got enough problems. A lot of the things they’re doing could be tested, driving through a flat city street with that’s well marked, could be tested in ways that don’t involve putting innocent people at risk.
Now, so far the, the track record isn’t horrible. It’s not like they’re running over people and there’s a lot of deaths or injuries involved. They’re doing it somewhat carefully. So what I think I would be more worried about is if, for instance, that we keep seeing AV bills come through that start exempting vehicles up into 80,000, numbers like that over a period of years.
And when you start to add up the way that some of that legislation is drafted, you could literally see a flood of millions of these vehicles all at once. However, I’m skeptical with the cost and the, all of the engineering and things that have to go into these vehicles and the maintenance that, that reality is I think, still pushing.
I don’t think they can do it, even though that’s maybe what they want to do.
Anthony: Safely Fred muted. Fred, still
Fred: muted. Oh, sorry I was on mute. It’s okay. If the metric that you’re using is deaths per mile, remember that the standard that is, is pretty well established is of the order of one death per hundred million miles driven, if you include the numbers of deaths associated with Tesla on.
Using autopilot or Tesla using any other automatic driving technology along with the Uber experience, right along with the other vehicles. They are nowhere close to the well-established standard or highway safety relative to numbers of deaths per mile driven. There’s, there have been many deaths.
There are nowhere close to a hundred million miles. So I’m gonna differ with you a little bit on that,
Michael: Michael. I can hear the, hows coming out of Detroit that you just included Tesla in with Cruz and Ford and Waymo in this, but cuz they are probably very skeptical, as am I, that Tesla should ever have been or even be included in that category because they simply have never offered a vehicle that could even approach, you know what Waymo and Cruz are doing right now?
Fred: No. But they are offering vehicles where people. Sit back and relax and take their hands off the steering wheel and end up dead.
Anthony: Yeah. That’s cuz their marketing says, Hey, this car will drive itself. You paid 15 grand, you’re a good person. Sit back, let the car take over. Don’t worry, baby. Yeah,
Michael: it’s, that sounds like a good segue into TikTok, Anthony.
Anthony: Oh, we wanna go to TikTok. See, I was gonna go into something else. Now I gotta find where TikTok is in the No. Oh yeah. So this is the craziest thing. Car companies, I don’t understand what they’re doing. Like they, they put all these screens inside cars and I think it’s great. There’s a lot of stuff that’s really helpful.
You got maps. Really good to know. That’s really the extent of it. Okay. You got maps. Maps are really good. But now they’re like, Hey, we wanna make sure your Carl has Zoom calls and do TikTok videos. And why the hell would you do this and you can play Netflix. I understand maybe the backseat passengers wanna distract children because kids don’t wanna read anymore.
Or play I spy with my little eye. Yeah. Why, who’s asking
Michael: for this? We are asking for this just like we are asking for massive, electric SUVs with 20 million mile range. We’re consumers are asking for this stuff and throwing their money at it. That’s why it’s been put out there.
Anthony: I really, you think people who buy cars are like, I wanna make sure it has a good document.
Michael: Mercedes says their customers are demanding video conferencing. Now, th here’s the thing with this story, they, there isn’t anyone that we know of right now in America building cars. You can put ’em on the road that allow the driver to surf TikTok or to.
Do a podcast over Zoom or anything else with video conferencing. Now that’s what Mercedes is saying. Their customers are demanding. They’ve qualified for Nevada’s level three certification which supposedly allows them to in traffic situations. I think it’s like below 40 miles per hour in heavy traffic.
The driver at that point is allowed to I think that’s, it’s called like pro pilot or some experience within the Mercedes where the driver, the car basically goes into a semi-autonomous mode and the driver’s able to. Zoom, do TikTok. These are the integrations they’re building in. If you start with those two, you know that eventually anything else that you want to do is going to be put into that ecosystem, like Netflix or whatever people want to watch or do while they’re driving a car here.
So it’s, we don’t think that this is, we’re anywhere near the point where people can do a video conference and then be expected to take over control of the vehicle should a safety issue arise. There needs to be a lot more research done and the time it takes people to transition from playing video games, Netflix, all these different things.
Sleeping, like Forge says, is coming in two years to a state where they can. Take control of the vehicle and make sure that it’s avoiding whatever hazards have been since that type of thing. So it makes sense that it’s only been approved in Nevada for Mercedes in those situations. The very slow moving traffic.
I could see how that might be the first area that would work. And it’s an area where frankly, a lot of drivers are frustrated, bored, and they’re, look, they, if they have time and an opportunity to get work done, they might like to. I think if it can be done safely, that’s fine, but right now we’re not there.
Anthony: Cuz it’s that whole question, can it be done safe? And what I would like is if I want to drive my car and play a video game at the same time, but I wanna play a racing video game. I wanna play a car simulating game while driving my car. That would be the ultimate cuz Wait, is this real? Is this fake?
Michael: Ooh. Yeah. That’s just scary. I, I. I don’t know. I don’t know where this technology’s going. Frankly, I don’t know. I don’t particularly want to do any of this stuff while I’m operating a vehicle. Whether it’s controlling itself supposedly or not, even in heavy traffic, it just, it seems dangerous.
It’s, it, to me, it’s one of those things, it’s like wearing headphones while you’re out for a jog and you’re unable to hear anything around you you’re effectively putting yourself into an zone where your focus is completely removed from the driving task. And depending on how well the vehicle warns, buzzes, does whatever it does to get you back into shape.
I, i, is critical. That’s, and I just don’t think there’s been enough research done in that area for companies to put systems into play that allow humans to drift out while they’re supposed to be engaged in the driving task. I just don’t think we’re there yet.
Fred: I’m sure Mercedes has used their fancy test track out in the Alps to thoroughly put this technology through its paces in all conceivable traffic circumstances before they’d ever release it.
They’d never do anything. Mercedes unsafe or
Michael: untested, Mercedes track record on safety is fairly good when we compare them to most of the other auto companies. I think from our perspective, their cars are certainly built in a manner that’s been very crashworthy over the years.
But, they are starting to push the envelope on some of this. And, a lot, some of this adaptive cruise control technology has been out for many years and Mercedes has been at the forefront of some of it. And because they’re, they’re at the forefront of luxury and providing their drivers with a.
An experience that isn’t probably nothing like, the experience was of drivers of a stick shift pickup in the sixties with the windows rolled down. It’s a much more, it’s almost like they’re catering luxury to their customers. And so this is the next step. As we see vehicles that claim to be able to operate without human involvement sold, we’re gonna see more and more companies say, Hey, we can do this.
And at that point, the sky’s the limit. Volkswagen, even in the article we’re talking about, saying that, they basically want to turn a car into a living room, which I mean, they’re coming out and saying it so we know what’s next. All these technology, all this entertainment essentially and leisure activity is going to be, and maybe some productivity is going to be put into vehicles.
And it’s concerning. I just don’t know it. I don’t know. I don’t really know how to know, how to express what I’m thinking about it, but it’s certainly concerning.
Anthony: With auto manufacturers doing things like this, and we were just talking about with the trying to exempt regulations around autonomous vehicles.
No one would be amazing if they’re existed. A consumer advocacy organization working to make roads and cars safer. I’d call it the Center for Auto Safety. Mind blown, right? And hey, maybe it exists. If you go to auto safety.org, click on donate, and you become a monthly donor. Hey, we’re closer to getting Fred.
Talk about being chased by a tank. He was just a boy. He was just the boy, okay. He wasn’t a Vietnam protest. It wasn’t against the Korean War. It wasn’t against, world War ii. It was nothing. He was just, he wasn’t reliving a Eugene v Deb’s fantasy. Were there tanks when Deb’s was locked?
Yeah, there was tanks then. So anyway, look, I that this right here is a key reason why this organization needs to exist and why you need to continue to support us. And speaking of another reason to support us, cuz then you get to hear about crazy things like Tesla. So Tesla replaced the steering wheels in their cars.
They used to be a nice circular steering wheel, just like we’re all used to in your car right now. And they replaced it with a yolk, which is basically, imagine your steering wheel now, but cut off the top half and the bottom half. So it almost looks like an F1 steering wheel or like in a Star Wars fighter pilot thing.
And so Tesla said, Hey, this is the way to go. If you want that circular steering wheel, give us 700. Which Nick is like pretty, pretty gutsy. Hey, you want, and so what happened is all their customers said, yeah, this yolk steering wheel is stupid. We’ve been driving with circles for, I don’t know, my entire life.
I’m used to where my hands go. I would like the round steering wheel. And Tesla’s you give us 700 bucks, we’ll give it to you. But, oh, we ran out of circular steering wheels. How does that get through?
Michael: This is there’s no motor vehicle safety standard that requires you to have a round steering wheel.
And we know Tesla likes to push the limits of the motor vehicle safety standards and push nitze as buttoned. In general, I don’t think this came out of that other than just a marketing gimmick to sell more vehicles, their customers, but,
Anthony: 700 bucks for
Michael: them properly. Yo steering, it can work.
And it can work safely. But it requires a lot more vehicle design around that type of steering because you’re not, your steering wheel isn’t connected to a steering shaft where the driver has ultimate control there. A yoke steering wheel requires electronics and drive-by wire steering. And it also requires the vehicle to provide the driver with inputs about road conditions and other things because you’ve basically separated the driver from a direct connection to their steering system.
So it’s I don’t think Tesla did it right. Really. And in fact, I was watching a video yesterday. There’s a Lexus that has a yolk steering wheel and. They talk about all of the I was watching a video on it that talks about all the design that has to go into a yolk steering wheel. And there are just so many factors you have to consider because the driver we get a lot of information about the road and about the condition of our vehicle from our steering and breaking and other interactions with the vehicle that when you remove that direct connection with the steering has to be replaced.
So there’s a lot of feedback that the system has to give drivers with yolk steering to ensure that they’re receiving that information.
Anthony: Another piece of greed from auto companies is General Motors has decided in their future vehicles, they’re dropping apple and Android integration into their cars.
So now a lot of you, you connect your phone up to your car and it gets to broadcast, Google Maps or Apple Maps or whatever you have on your phone into the phone’s Ed Entertainment system. And the reason this is people love this is because cars built-in systems are awful on for example, my Toyota if I click the maps button, it’s oh, you haven’t paid for this feature.
You have to download some software, pay a monthly subscription fee, which is crazy cause I can just plug in my phone and get it for. So GM is making it so you can no longer use your phones moving forward, which is just
Michael: It’s just, it’s bizarre to me that auto companies keep thinking they can jump into these spaces and do better than Apples and Googles of the world who have put a whole lot more research and have more money, frankly, to throw at the problem than they do.
Every car I’ve owned or that I’ve seen anyone else own that has these type of systems. I know some people use the Apple CarPlay and the Android Auto. It sounds like GM is moving away from both of those in the future. I think they’re sticking with some Android applications for now, but people are pretty much married to their phones.
I can certainly see. Down the road when they’ve killed Apple CarPlay. A lot of people that are tied to Apple won’t buy GMs. It’s pretty simple. I don’t think that’s very far outside the rim of possibility at all, and I think it will happen. But this also points to, this isn’t some new thing in the industry.
Essentially everything they can build themselves and silo off and sell it a profit they’re going to. So when they see, an interface in the car that another company’s making money off of, they do not want that. I don’t know if we’ve talked about this in battery swapping, but it’s very similar.
Every brand wants to be making and manufacturing their own batteries because it’s gonna be a profit source. If, you know a third party company that made batteries that were 20 times lighter with a thousand mile range came out right now, Everybody would be trying to copy that technology and build their own version of it versus licensing that version.
That’s how the industry’s worked over the years, and it’s why a lot of cars have a hundred different computers that Intel has called dinosaurs in them because they’re just not des they’re not modern good quality com computing parts, and they don’t work as well as what could be designed by a company that manufactures computer systems.
So this is just something that’s always happening in the industry. They’re always trying to monetize something here. What they see, obviously is an opportunity to make people connect through this system and bump up their subscription numbers so that they can have a lot of money coming in each month.
Anthony: Yeah, this is okay. You want to use maps? TikTok, I guess pay us a monthly fee on top of your current financing charges that you’re doing to it. It really it’s that whole nickel and dime the consumer. Yeah I don’t, I, it’s usually becoming more dangerous because you’re gonna go back to the days of no longer having your phone hooked into the larger screen inside your car, and you’re just gonna be trying to read a map off of your small phone screen.
Fred: somebody should invent a device that could hold your phone up, within your field of view so that you could use that instead of the entertainment system that comes with the car. I think there’s a real market for that. And, I encourage anybody who’s got a, that invention in mind to think seriously about it.
There’s an innovation center I could direct you to but call it in and, if you got any ideas about how people could look at their phone while they drive, rather than use a crappy entertainment system we’d love to hear it.
Anthony: Ladies and gentlemen, Fred Perkins. All right, so I’m just jumping around all over the place on topics this week.
I apologize listeners, this has got a little d h d this week, but here’s one that that I want to get to that we’ve only just briefly discussed over email, but I think Michael had some great comments on it, and I know Fred definitely does too. This is the weight versus range debate. So there’s this whole push in the EV electric, electric cars to, we wanna have as much range as possible because there’s some myth that people want to drive their car for 500 miles while towing a truck uphill and not have to start, stop to recharge it, because, that’s how most people drive.
I think Sunday show, it’s like the average person does 20 miles, 30 miles a day or something like that instead of 500 miles. So there’s a new another battery technology using silicone, which helps reduce the weight of batteries and it improves the charge cycle, I believe.
Which is pretty neat. And we were talking about this is that, are people going to opt for the lower weight, which makes vehicles safer for everybody on the road? Or are they gonna say, no, let’s pump it up and let’s get this mythical 500 mile range that some guy claims
Michael: he wants? I think the industry and consumers are currently opting for the ladder.
I think that’s very clear. And you can see it because every time an article comes out and these batteries sound, I didn’t see anything in an article about, the fire side of these batteries, but they offer increased energy density, so it’s important. To understand that when you in, when you get better energy density, you can either use it to increase the range of the vehicle or you can use it to decrease the weight of the vehicle by downsizing the battery.
Because the battery will get more, the same range per unit of weight as or, I’ll let Fred talk about that. I can’t even put that in my head right now. But the energy density of the battery is that we make these games in the next decade, two decades, three decades. Are we going to be putting those gains into pushing vehicles that can drive, a thousand miles on one charge?
Or are we actually gonna take those gains and use them to reduce fatalities and injuries on the road? And right now, if I had to guess, I would say that it looks like everyone is more concerned about rains than they are about the weight of these vehicles and the changes that those are going to bring.
And that’s a problem. That’s a problem if the first, 10, 15 years of electrification, 20 years the next 20 years are all spent adding range to these vehicles and ultimately increasing the weights of all of them and not doing anything to reduce that weight, then I, I don’t think, I think there’s an inevitable rise in, in fatalities and injuries on our roads due, due to those added weights
Fred: I used to see.
In the parking lot of our local grocery store. A lot of SUVs that had rhu bars on the front of them, the ward off kangaroos and some of them even had snorkel so that you could drive your vehicle through flooded creeks and not stall out the engine. They’re popular for a while, but eventually sanity took over and people stopped buying stupid accessories for their vehicles after realizing that they virtually never used it.
So I, I think that this debate about range versus weight is going to follow some of the same cycle. I people will, if they have to pay extra for a battery or longer range and I think forward is doing that now. Alright. We’ve read that. I think people will start to. Consider, how much do they really need this extra range and how much, what is it really buying me and what is it really giving up?
I think the insurance companies could play a role here too, in tying the liability of damage from the, an insured vehicle to the weight of the vehicle. That’s a, that’s an easy equation to, to follow, and I don’t think there’s any reason why that couldn’t be the case. I think right now the insurance companies certainly do adjust the rate for your insurance based upon certain features you have in your current, like if you have an anti-theft mechanism or self-locking, right?
There’s the various options you can get to reduce the charge for insurance. So my guess is that over time, sanity will prevail. Unfortunately I don’t think we can expect that to come from the government on its own. I think that this is something that’s just gonna have to work itself out in time.
But I can, I agree with you, Michael. I don’t think there’s any reason why people have to go for an exorbitant range because they’ve got to spend, 15 minutes once every year to stop the car somewhere and recharge it on their way up to Lake Placid. This is, it is just part of owning an electric vehicle, I think, but it’s gonna take time for people to absorb.
Anthony: Yeah, this is interesting. Listeners I’m curious what you think what kind of range do you need? What’s convenient for you? So send us an email, contact auto safety.org. Let us know, cuz I think I’ve talked about this before, is once a year my wife and I will drive from New York to Maine and along the way we’ve to stopped one or two times.
And we stop, at least once for fuel, but we wind up going to a convenience store and getting some sort of snack or something and probably we stop another time for, a bio break or something like that. But I, we’re not stopping there racing at the pump. Like each time, each stop is at least 20, 30 minutes.
Like with modern, with the fancier batteries, that’s enough time to recharge them from 10% to 80%. And that’s, batteries that will have a 300 mile range. I don’t, do I need a 500 mile range? Are you literally gonna be in a car for five hours and not stop? I get it. If you’re wearing a diaper and you’re a NASA astronaut and you’re driving across the south to stop your boyfriend, current wife, or something like that.
But beyond that scenario, d is this how
Michael: people drive? I don’t, I, when I go about 10 hours sometimes and not straight. But I will have to stop once I believe in that time period. And I try to make it brief, but, I’m an odd duck like that. I if you’re with other people also, it’s nearly impossible not to stop.
No, I’m, yeah. But
Anthony: even you’re stopping to fuel, right? Like you’re going inside and doing something else. Like you’re there for at least what, 20
Fred: minutes? I’m an engineer. I don’t know that many normal people, so I can’t really, qualify the comment too much. But I, if you’re on keto, you’re gonna have an urgent need to get some fried pork rin somewhere, and you do have to take the break to get in there and, pull jack’s fried pork RINs off the rack and, settle down a little bit.
I don’t know. I think there’s an argument to be made for relaxing. In fact, my car begins to nag me after about that amount of time to just stop and take a break because of things I’ve been driving for too long. Yeah, I get the same. Yeah, maybe, again, but, I don’t know what normal people do.
And you guys are gonna have to fill me in on that. Jack’s
Anthony: pork rhymes available at your local Piggly Wiggly. Woohoo. How many weeks have we gone without Piggly Wiggly? Too many.
Fred: Too many?
Anthony: Yeah, too many. Alright, I’m, again, I’m jumping ahead, but. Fred how do you feel up for doing the towel of Fred?
Or you need to take a break and eat some pork? Sure. That’d
VO: be great.
Fred: You guys can recharge batter while I’m doing this,
Anthony: I just want to go cough for a while. Hey, welcome to the towel of Fred this week, back to the consumer AV bill of Rights. Number seven. Number
Fred: seven, AVS shall safely transition between political boundaries without increasing the risk of injury or death.
Excuse me. So right now there are no national regulations. Every AV regulation comes either from a state or a city or some municipality. There’s no reason to expect them to all be the same. So how, how would this manifest itself? An obvious example is if you’re driving from Ireland to France, right?
You put your car in a ferry and when you go from Ireland to France, you find out that people are driving on the other side of the road. You’re going from right hand drive to left hand drive. Is your car gonna be able to do this? Clearly? If your car, if your AV is only set up for right hand drive, you’re gonna have a problem at one end of that trip or the other.
So that’s a, that’s the most obvious example. There are some other examples. Cities may have different map requirements for avs that are operated within the city. They re, regulate the resolution of the maps and how often they have to be updated and all those kinds of things. So if you’re living in Cincinnati and you drive over to Louisville, are the MAP requirements going to be the same?
Hard to know. There’s no regulation that does that. And if you don’t have the right map regulations in place, you could be violating the law. You also could be endangering the people around you. Another example is intersection designs, right? Many of us have driven through New Jersey and have experienced the famous New Jersey jug handle intersections, completely different construction and operation from almost any other state.
Is your AV going to be programmed to understand the jug handles in New Jersey as well as it handles the normal four corner intersection that you’re gonna find in other states? This is a consequential decision because if you’re trying to make a left turn from a a road that has a jug handle on it and your car doesn’t understand that you’re gonna be smashing into oncoming traffic, that is that is unregulate.
Anthony: Just real quickly, I’m curious because I’m thinking of New Jersey, on and off ramps, and when you come switch from one highway to another, sometimes they’re, it’s very short between you getting out of your lane or else you’re stuck in that loop again. And human drivers, sometimes they’re jerks and don’t allow you out of that lane.
What are they gonna do with autonomous vehicles? Do they, autonomous vehicles, are they stopping on the road to wait for enough time? Because I’m thinking in my head as a human driver, you have to drive pretty aggressively and the only way to safely merge sometimes is to go well above the speed limit.
Yeah, no, that’s
Fred: a great point. Just aside particularly if your AV is designed to never violate motor vehicle laws, so that could be a problem. We’ve heard reports from Arizona where people are running some avs and test tracks are actually on city streets. That some people are making a sport out of harassing the avs because they know there’s no human driver in it.
So they’ll, bump into it, harass it get close to it, do all kinds of things to interrupt the AV operation. So I, so that’s a real issue. Another issue. One state may not require sensible technology that enables law enforcement to interdict out of control avs, right? So this brings up a lot of issues, but if, think of it, let’s say an AV is speeding down the road at 80 miles an hour and the driver is asleep, the police have to interdict that, right?
Somehow, some way. Right now, they’re only option is to block it by putting their own bodies in front of it. But let’s just pause it. That one state may require the technology that allows the police to stop that remotely, but another state does not. How is your AV going to respond when it crosses the state line?
Are you going to have to as the EV developer designed for the maximum interdiction by police for all 50 states and foreign countries? Or you just gonna punt on that one and, decide to do nothing?
Anthony: That’s interesting. I like, are they gonna be required to have state specific software? Yeah. And is that,
Michael: I assume there will have to be some state specific, at least maybe not entire software packages, but in the code they have to distinguish between, say in one state you have to pull over a lane and slow down to 25 miles per hour.
If there’s an emergency vehicle on the shoulder and other states, you may only have to slow down, you may not have to move over to another lane. There’s going to be, thousands of these different scenarios, I think where state laws have diverged that have to be accounted for.
Anthony: Is it gonna be set up?
So it’s gonna prevent me from driving from to a different state? Cause I don’t have the software question. That’s
Fred: the question. We don’t know. It should be
Michael: Anthony. There’s Yeah, specifically
Fred: me. Nobody in a position of authorities addressed that. This is another one of those huge issues that’s just been left lying on the road.
And the AV developers are probably hoping to just overwhelm the world with, in compliant or non-compliant cars before people address it. Another example, and this is where we’ve seen this in San Francisco, right? The AVS don’t do very well in areas where there’s emergency action going on, particularly firefighting, right?
They’re running over hoses, they’re not stopping. So it would seem that at some point in the future, a city would require some kind of signal or some kind of way of interacting with the avs that. Forces them to avoid areas where there’s a police action going on or firefighting action going on. That’s probably going to happen at the state level if it ever happens, or the city level, but it’s inconsistent with probably other cities that don’t go to the trouble of doing that.
A national standard would be good. But both of these issues this one and the law enforcement interdiction bring up a lot of civil rights issues. They bring up a lot of equity issues associated with police being able to stop vehicles. If a, if the police can stop a vehicle without any interaction from, or awareness of the people inside the vehicle, is that probable cause?
What, what how does that work? It’s an interesting situation. One other example I will throw in here is that a lot of municipalities are connected by ferries. Some states are connected by ferries. So if you want to cross that political boundary, you also must address the physical limitations and the safety limitations of the ferry or the bridge that are joining those two municipalities.
There’s no reason to expect them to be different, and you may have to have special behavior when you cross the binder route between those two. For example, if you’re gonna get on a ferry there’s, it’s not easy to do. You’ve got a lot of hand signals. People tell you where to come and what to do, where to park the car, get out of the car, all these kinds of things.
It’s very complex operation. People do it pretty well. People, they respond to the hand signals burn. Av, this is going to be a huge challenge. It’s just not right for the companies to leave all these issues lying on the roadside as they push these vehicles out for people to come familiar with ’em.
The companies themselves should get behind the idea of legislation that protects people as well as they’re trying to protect their own markets for the AV development. My opinion, end of rent, back to you.
Anthony: So listener, I think this is what I love about our discussions on the consumer AV Bill of Rights.
That a lot of things that we discuss here are reactive. We’ll talk about recall roundups and these are bad things that happened. These are things that we’re trying to point out as dangerous or problematic that happened already with the autonomous vehicle consumer Bill of Rights we’re talking about as something that’s going to happen.
So this is something that we really want your input and your actions on because we’re helping. We’re right now, as far as I can tell, we’re the only ones pushing against industry even in a small amount to say, Hey, here are a list of things that you guys are not even thinking about. Or if you are, you’re not telling owner about it.
So this is something where we can all get involved and actually make a difference before they flood the market with these things. End of my role. Thank you.
Fred: And I also think it’s really useful for legislators to have this as a reference because right now the entire discussion is dominated by the developers and the legislators.
And the regulators are all, they respond to the information that they have at hand, because they’re reasonable people. So I think the new row that we’re plowing here with this AV Bill of Rights is we’re giving them a counterpoint intellectually from what they’ve been seeing already from the developers and at least allowing them to raise questions about whether or not they’ve got a competent set of regulations before they let these things on the road.
Anthony: Yeah. Cuz we sat through a autonomous vehicle. Phone call last week or so and the question was asked, what kind of regulations do you want from the government around these things? And all the participants from the major automatic manufacturers just kinda looked at each other
Michael: Yeah, I think that most of them said, they want something that’s technology neutral, which basically means the government is not specifying how you’re gonna solve some of these issues.
We talk about what exact technology you’re gonna use. But what the government can do is specify, for instance with automatic emergency braking, right now we’re seeing phantom breaking incidents. The government could, and it’s a e b rule, specify that all these systems have to meet certain tolerances where phantom breaking reactions are virtually eliminated.
Can they do that? I don’t know. Is that possible? I don’t know. But the in, in the AV space that’s a way of making sure that totally lost my brain there.
Fred: I just wanna follow up that with that and say that the AV consumer bill of riots that you can find on our website is technology neutral.
We’re not saying that you have to do things in a certain way, right? We’re just saying that in order to protect the public, these are the things that you need to consider. And you need to demonstrate that you’re able to accomplish these safety functions before it’s safe to allow these massive, dangerous hand grenades out on the highway without protections, without adequate protections for consumers.
We’re all consumers, folks
Anthony: exact. Even if you’re not in the car, you’re a pedestrian. We wanna make sure it’s safe for you, or you’re a policeman and you’re guiding traffic. It’s gotta be safe for you. But hey, let’s jump into a, our reactive mode and go into recall roundup
VO: strap in time for the recall
We’ve got a bunch of good ones this week. I’m gonna start off with Volkswagen has a recall for a faulty front passenger detection system. This is for their model year 2018 to 2021 Atlas and 2020 Atlas Cross Sport where the faulty occupant detection system doesn’t know that anyone’s there.
And I guess it won’t fire off an airbag. I skimm it. Yep, that’s it. Okay, great. Got it.
Michael: Yeah, and this recall is it’s an extension and you’re gonna see, I think we have three recalls this week. And they’re like this. And it’s where a manufacturer sees an issue. Or it’s reported to NHTSA, NHTSA reaches out to the manufacturer and they go to NHTSA.
They talk to them and say we’ve identified that, the one that we gotta report on is from this batch. And so we’re gonna recall that batch and we’re gonna make everybody safe in that. And then they walk at of nits and then, a couple of months later, oh, they got a complaint from another batch.
And this is something that is happen. And it’s happened over and over again just hundreds of times since NHTSA came into being. And the whole recall system came into being because what manufacturers are doing here, they know full well there’s a potential that the component or the part that’s failing is failing and or will fail in all of their vehicles.
But the longer they can prevent themselves from having to recall all those vehicles, then more of those vehicles are gonna be off the road, the less repairs they’re gonna have to perform. And there’s a chance there may not be any more incidents and they’ll get off scottfree here. So we’ve seen this, if with the major airbag problems like toccata, these small recalls turn into larger recalls, turn into big recalls.
We’ve seen, even as long as 20 years ago, Ford did a very similar thing with its. Cruise controlled deactivation switches that were catching on firewall vehicles were parked in garages. They just continued to put out these little recalls and ultimately ended up call recalling, I think 15 million vehicles or more in the end.
It’s the only way to stop that is for NHTSA to be more proactive on the front end and to make these manufacturers do their due diligence in, in looking at these recalls I can give you a really big example right now of where this is happening is in the ARC airbag situation where General Motors, and I believe another manufacturer to who have arc airbags installing their vehicles.
These are the ones that can ex can explode in a similar but not same way as the toccata airbags. Every time there has been one of these incidents with an ARC airbag, the company has come in and said, oh, this is just a bad batch. We had a bad week, it was a bad Friday, whatever. And that. It looks like it’s turning out not to be the case.
This, these things are starting to explode in all sorts of batches, which shows that there’s not a production issue, but a design problem or, a longstanding production issue that happens in a lot of different batches. In this case, the odd thing on the vw is that the airbag’s not deploying and NHTSA put out a warning saying that, no one should sit in that seat.
Which interested me mainly from the perspective of how do you know that the rear seat in the VW atlas is safer than a front seat without an airbag? We’ve talked a lot about The differences in protection in the front seat and back seats. For instance, in the front seat of that VW at, listen, you’re probably gonna have a pretension or, and a locking mechanisms, other things on your seatbelt that you won’t have in the rear seat.
So are you truly safer moving out of that seat where the airbag’s not deploying? What kind of data was used to base that warning on? I’m still haven’t figured that one out, but that’s, that, that was an interesting recall expansion to say the least.
Anthony: Lucid has a recall and for all of you lucid owners just return the vehicle.
Michael: Anthony doesn’t like Lucid. Lucid.
Anthony: No. I love the idea of Lucid. I think it’s very cool, but it’s, it’s $110,000 car that I think at this point they’ve recalled every single one. It’s just, it’s the, it’s a hun. If I have $110,000 to spend on a car, buy a house okay, it’s a house not in the us, but it’s a, or maybe it is just, somewhere anyway, lucid 637 vehicles where this is reading through the recall.
This is something with part of the electric motors will fail, that power will no longer happen there. And this may lead to loss of propulsion without pre-warning and may increase the risk of a right crash. What, this was a very dense one. What does
Michael: actually happen? There’s something weird went on here that I still can’t figure out, which is that lucid escaped some of the news cycle on this.
Apparently they. Filed, these are my air quotes people, you can’t see them. They filed a recall in February that never appeared on the Nitza website. We didn’t pick it up in our various recall, roundups online on air. And then a couple of weeks ago, in March, this second document actually became available saying that there was a recall and the recall was added to MIT’s list in a manner that dated it in February.
So none of the news typical folks who pick up on this kind of thing pick up on in the news. That was just an odd situation. I still haven’t figured that out. But this does address something that appeared in our New Year’s resolutions episode and a couple other times last year, which are these lucid dying and stalling at highway speed in the middle of roads.
Lucid is saying that it’s occurring. Because of switches that are double dipping, there’s a double dipping problem going on here. I don’t know if many of you have seen that sign filled episode, but if you haven’t, it’s probably worth a look. And they’re saying that it’s, there’s a limited number of vehicles that are having this problem occurring, but ultimately what it does is it shuts the vehicle’s drive power down and you can’t drive the vehicle.
This seems to be an explanation to some of the loss of power events that we’ve seen in Lucid. I’m not sure if it covers all of them. We know that in some of these events, entire batteries were replaced. This, they weren’t just contactors, double dipping contactors or connections in the electric system.
We’re keeping an eye on this one and on Lucid generally because of some of the, odd things we’ve seen come out of there.
Anthony: All right. So we’ve taken a lot of time. I’m just gonna do one last recall. All right. Push the other ones to next week, and we’re gonna go to our friends at Hyundai Kia trailer hitch fires.
They using Michael’s air quotes. They found half a million defective trailer hitches that were on known last August when this happened. When we first discussed I think, no, we weren’t doing this. Yeah, we might have been. Yeah, we, this is one, an early one we discussed. I think this is, might be like episode two or three.
I don’t understand how, I don’t understand why these guys, they know there’s a problem and they just let’s just sweep it under the rug.
Michael: It’s, there’s no one, there’s no one putting their feet to the fire. L. Some of the things that over the trail, Mitz is supposed to be putting their feet to the fire here, but when it comes to doing, looking into recalls that have already been conducted and deciding whether the remedies correct, whether they did it in time it’s not something that Mitz is always fully engaged on from my opinion.
You see some of the remedies that manufacturers propose, and we’ve probably noted this in a number of episodes, and we talk about free calls where a remedy is a very cheap software air quote fix that doesn’t that, that might address the safety issue, but it doesn’t really fix the car, it doesn’t put it into a state where it doesn’t have a defect.
It’s simply mitigating what the defect is. This is the big problem with the Hyundai Kia Fire recalls where they have the knock sensor software update that. Really just cut your engine off, puts you into a limp home mode at a very low speed, and forces you to drive down the side of the highway, if at all, or to park your vehicle to prevent the image engine from being damaged and from the fire from occurring.
It doesn’t, that recall did nothing for Kia and Hyundai owners other than prevent, the rare chance that they would have a fire in their cars. But what it did was it forces them into this limp home mode, which is frankly a safety issue. And when you see other manufacturers consider a vehicle in limp mo limp home mode to be a safety issue.
So it’s a very questionable practice. And, Limiting recalls like this when you know there’s a real chance of a larger problem is it shouldn’t require NHTSA to have to do what they do here and to have monthly meetings and to babysit Hyundai and Kia into doing this. Recall. They know they’ve distributed a lot of these trailer ki trailer hitch kits to their dealers.
They know they’re probably going to have this problem and they’re essentially trying to guarantee that they’re gonna have less replacements, that they’re gonna save money through the recall process, which is somewhat des.
Anthony: The last one, another Hyundai Kia is a Hyundai windshield wipers potentially 167,085 vehicles.
The 2021 to 2023 Hyundai Palisades. The the windshield wipers may function intermittently or stop functioning when impeded by accumulation of snow and or ice. Now I remember, I grew up in the northeast and you’d snowed heavy snow. You removed the snow because you didn’t wanna burn out the motor that the windshield wipers used.
So is there some sort of guideline of how much snow these things are supposed to
Michael: move? I think there may be a compliance standard on that. I’m not up to speed on my recall. My windshield wiper motor vehicle safety center, but there is a motor vehicle safety center that applies to windshield wipers.
This case, it doesn’t look like it was a non-compliance it was an actual recall. Now this is yet another example where they did a small recall many months ago. NHTSA has actually opened a recall query on this one to look into it and to make sure that they’re recalling all of the vehicles that are involved.
Today is, the day of recalls where there are, many more components that are dangerous than the companies are initially willing to admit. We’re seeing a lot of examples of those today. So may maybe NHTSA has started to figure this out and is getting on top of them, or maybe it’s just a chance occurrence.
Anthony: Yeah. Just to give a little more information on this, cuz my first read of it was like how much snow is this thing supposed to move is from the recall notice accumulation of snow under ice between the driver’s side, wiper arm and cow can cause circuit breaker activation within the wiper motor.
So now I get it. It is actually a poor design on our part. It was the circuit breaker will kick in because too much snow got in one spot. Now
Michael: I get it now. They put a redesigned wiper arm into production in November of 2022. And it took ’em a few more months to actually recall the vehicles that had the crappy one, the go
But again, I wanna know wipers, like these little things we see, wipers, backup cameras, these things have been around for a couple of weeks. Like the design should be duh. Especially wipers. Like how the
Michael: thing is, if you’re always trying to reduce your costs on every part that you have on your vehicle, then you’re basically constantly redesigning the vehicle.
Anthony: Interesting. That’s why I got out of the auto manufacturing. Alright gentlemen, anything up else before we bid our listeners ado? Just one
Fred: quick thing. We used a lot of acronyms and we forget that our newer listeners may not understand on those acronyms. I wanna refer people back to some of the earliest podcasts that we did where we went through acronyms.
For example, NHTSA means National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To us, we, this is like breathing, we understand that. But for our new listeners, if you want to go back to the early episodes, you’ll find a lot of the acronyms that we routinely use, explained and defined in those and we’ll,
Anthony: and if we get a sixth monthly donor, and not only will Fred tell you the tank story, but he will also define a few other acronyms in rapid fire succession.
Fred: And I also wanna point out that I was not a Tiananmen Square, so I’m not that guy.
Anthony: That is true. All right. Hey, thanks listeners. Please send us your feedback. Especially you’re on the consumer AV Bill of Rights. We’ll make it more prominent on the website once we find whoever runs the website, we will we’re looking for monthly donors, please. We just need five. And you get an amazing story.
Six, you get acronyms explained. Seven Michael comes over to your house and takes you shopping to a Piggly Wiggly.
Michael: I’m down with that, so there’s a long way to the Piggly Wiggly from here,
Fred: but it’s worth
Anthony: it. All right hey, thanks everybody. Until next week.