Your anti-BS station
Learn the name Kyle Vogt. He’s the CEO of GM’s autonomous vehicle company, GM Cruise. The nonsense he spouts makes Elon Musk seem almost reasonable. This week we meet his, detached from reality, views on automated vehicles. Plus more Hyundai/Kia theft news, backseat safety, EV battery repair-ability and more.
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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: Let’s start the show. Hey I wanna start off with the usual topic.
One of our reoccurring topics would be the Hyundai Kia thefts. So the a few State Attorney generals got together and were like, Hey this is really nice that you guys want to put in some sort of fix, but this is a much bigger problem than you guys are really admitting. And the state of Wisconsin sent a nice letter to the Vice President General Counsel of Kia.
And part of their letter, which blew me away, was they’re saying in Wisconsin in 2020, there were 895 th thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles in, in Milwaukee, sorry, in Milwaukee, 2020 895 thefts of Hyundai and Kia. In 2021, there were 6,970 thefts. And just to recap for listeners, this is the TikTok problem.
It’s not a TikTok problem, it’s kids get to go on the internet and when they’re not watching pornography or shopping on Amazon, they’re watching TikTok videos on how you can just basically plug in a USB cable into a Hyundai Kia and now you’ve hotwired and you can steal the car. So I it is a Kia’s response so far has been like we made the alarm going longer.
Michael: They. , they really responded slowly here. And this is a letter from it’s from 23 Attorneys General to Hyundai and to Kia saying, you’ve really rolled out fixes to this thing slow, which is, if you’ve listened to our podcast and they say basically the same thing we’re saying, you’ve rolled out, these manual locks that you, that they’ve been giving away for people to put on their steering wheel.
They’ve rolled out a. I think it was a few hundred dollars by the time you got it installed, security system that they were gonna put in your car. And then ultimately after about a year of all these, fake fixes that were ult that were gonna cost consumers money, they came out with a software update that in many ways basically fixes the original problem, which is putting an immobilization device on these cars.
So the key has to be around for them to start rather than just a U S B cable. And like we said, this, the cons, the consumer satisfaction program or whatever they’re calling this as they roll it out just isn’t good enough. This needs to be a recall. The attorney’s general site, multiple deaths and all sorts of other crimes in the letter that have been caused by this problem.
It’s pretty clear safety issue both on and off the roads. And it’s another reason why we think Nitsa needs to really. Dig in on a cybersecurity standard that’s not only gonna protect our cars from, international bad actors and potential terrorism, but also from the folks in our neighborhood who wanna steal our cars.
Anthony: So if I have one of these vehicles, what should I do?
Michael: Go get it fixed as soon as possible when they have this software update available, which I’m unclear at the moment as to whether it’s actually available for folks who pull into their Hyundai Kia dealer.
Fred: You should also check with your insurance company to verify that your car is in fact still insured because a lot of the insurance companies have been pulling their policies from certain models of Kia.
And on a related subject, Kia and Hyundai have also been charged with employing underage, undocumented people throughout Alabama and Mississippi. Through
Michael: their, through their suppliers. Through their
Fred: suppliers, yeah. And, it could be a software supplier. So I, I think there’s a coupling here because there’s really a limit on what you can expect from illegally employed teenagers in developing software.
I, I still think that’s a refuge for people who’ve had some technical training. What do you think, Anthony?
Anthony: I was told that chat, g p t writes all software now. Ooh, yeah, maybe that’s the issue. But anyway, if you have this vehicle the first thing you should do is make sure you’re subscribed to this podcast.
Cuz your car’s already been stolen, so you got a few minutes while you’re waiting for the police to show up. So go online, go on your iTunes, Spotify, whatever platform you’re using for this, and make sure you’re subscribed personally. I use Google Podcast, click a little subscribe button, go ahead and do that.
And and then call the police. And then eventually by that time you, the police will show up and you can be like, kids stole my car. Which is crazy cuz kids bu illegally built the car too. I don’t know if that part’s true. Let’s talk EV batteries. So this was a surprising article about the repairability of EV batteries.
It turns out that if your electric vehicle is in some sort of a accident or damage that the insurance companies might not be able to repair the batteries. Instead they have to scrap the entire thing. Which is which is scary. Because, we’re the idea behind buying these EVs is they make you feel good about yourself.
No, it’s for sustainability and things like that, and what I’ve read and been told and it’s seen examples of is, hey, after these batteries wear out, quote, they’re not powerful enough to power your car. You can basically send ’em off and they can be supplemented to power your home or the grid or something else.
There’s still a lot of life in them, but turns out a lot of these EV manufacturers aren’t making it possible to repair the batteries from this article from Route Reuters. The quote is, while some automakers, like Ford and GM said, they’ve made battery packs easier to repair, Tesla has taken the opposite tack with its Texas built Model Y, whose new structural battery pack has been described by experts as having zero repairability.
Tesla did not respond for comment, which isn’t surprising. .
Michael: Oh, this isn’t too surprising, to us because we’ve seen how even the smallest errors in the manufacturer of these batteries can lead to fires and other battery issues that result in, potential safety problems out there.
And the real issue here, I think even in addition to that is the manufacturers like Tesla are. , basically hiding the software, the battery management system from anyone who wants to look at it. So an insurance company has absolutely no way to evaluate after a crash whether this battery is going to continue to operate safely.
And in Tesla’s, the battery is built into the frame, so it’s going to be subject to a lot of the forces that take place in a collision. So there’s probably Good likelihood that even in some somewhat minor collisions that the battery packs making up the full battery for each Tesla could be damaged.
I think that’s it’s a problem, for all manufacturers. I don’t think, we’ve seen, recently we saw, and we’ll probably talk about this later, the Ford Lightning recall, where these manufacturers are having to be incredibly careful about the manufacturing installation of batteries.
Because they’re, a hot topic politically, a lot of people want to buy them. And any potential danger is often, talked about a lot and the media and it can put off potential buyers. So it’s important for them to get it right. And what we’re seeing in this article is that even if they’re getting that part right if these batteries are being destroyed and having to be salvaged in minor collisions and replaced with new batteries, then we’ve screwed up the entire environmental promise of EVs.
Fred: Oh, yes. And we’ve discussed in the past that environmental pro environmental promise is a promise that has yet to be fulfilled. But I also wanna point out that this is a part of a long tradition of American corporations privatizing profit and socializing the cost. Because what, basically, what, what we’re seeing is a Tesla.
With the integrated design, it’s probably lighter and less expensive because it uses somewhat less material than a design that would properly make it easy and economical to replace batteries if damage. But what Tesla has done is they’ve effectively thrown this whole problem over to the insurance companies.
Now, as the insurance companies raised their rates to cover this egregious example of bad design, all of us have to pay for that because we’re all. paying our insurance premiums. And this goes into the pool of insurance risks that they have to cover. This is very little different than a major company dumping their affluence into the river and letting the government worry about cleaning it up rather than taking responsibility for it themselves.
So I, I don’t know if that was their intention, but that is in fact the result. They’re privatizing the cash flow and the profits socializing the serious costs associated with this.
Anthony: So is this similar to like our cell phones, for example, where a lot of them you can’t replace the battery because everything’s glued in there tight.
So if your phone dies or there’s some scratch on it, you need to replace the entire phone instead of just the component. If my battery dies, the rest of my phone works fine, I’m out of phone.
Fred: But it’s Yeah, it is similar to that. It’s it’s the same design concept. . Okay, your phone is lighter and cheaper because instead of making it repairable, they just glued into place.
Michael: And I’ll also point out that this is also an issue because of the way in which the batteries are being developed and put into cars. We’re putting, big batteries, capable of long ranges, permanently affixed into vehicles versus doing what some companies are doing in America and in China and all over the world in Europe as well, swapping out batteries that are capable of taking you to and from your destination.
These are batteries that aren’t built into the frame. They won’t be they won’t result in the vehicle being totaled if there is a minor collision. They, so it’s a, it’s in many ways a better alternative, but it’s not one that most manufacturers are choosing to pursue in the United States.
Fred: I have a flashlight in my house that has a lovely modular design. And when the battery wears down, I open up the case and pop in a new battery. And of course I environmentally securely dispose of the used battery. But that’s a lovely modular design. There’s a long precedent for that. And it’s not obvious at all why that same precedent hasn’t been adopted by the electric vehicle manufacturers.
Anthony: Okay. So I think I’ve read about this before where, so I have an ev in this kind of scenario, and instead of worrying about range, I’m I don’t know, maybe I’ll subscribe to a service and instead of pulling into a place to get charged, I pull into a bay or something like that and they drop my battery out, put a new fresh battery in, and I’m on my way.
Fred: Yeah, there’s a Chinese company that is in that trying to develop that business. They are actually, have opened a facility in Europe, probably maybe a couple of facilities to do that. I think the name of the company is Neo, if I remember right. That
Anthony: right. Okay. And no one in the US is doing this?
Michael: actually is, there was a battery swapping company. I saw announcement from the United States just a couple of weeks ago. But I don’t remember their name. Is there any, maybe it’s
Anthony: ample. Okay. Was there any safety concerns around this approach or design or is this, we don’t know.
Fred: Oh, sure. There were safety concerns.
There are always safety concerns. , there’s
Michael: Go ahead. Let’s talk about that. think our safety concerns there with the replacement batteries are. They reduce a lot of our safety concerns around the added weight of EV batteries that are going into vehicles. If we’re putting a battery that gets you, to work and back on your commute, say a 50 mile range battery in your car, it’s gonna weigh a lot less than the 250 mile range battery.
And if you are in a crash, then there’s going to be less weight transfer between your car, the other vehicle or whatever object you hit. There’s going to be, less catastrophic results simply based on lower weight involved. So that’s really where I think battery swapping contributes to a safety benefit here.
There may be safety concerns we haven’t even considered around battery swapping. I know that with lithium ion batteries there is going to be some concern over, potential fires in these facilities that are storing. dozens or hundreds of batteries at the same time. That seems like a, something that where there’re going to have to be a lot of safeguards and systems put in place to manage the the, the inventory of batteries.
But other than that, I think the weight reduction that could be accomplished by battery swapping itself could reduce a, a lot of the potential problems we’re seeing with some of the heavier EVs and very large pickups and SUVs that are hitting the roads in the next year or
I’m with you on that. And one of the reasons why I’m a fan of efficient hybrid vehicles is because the overall weight comes way down. You’ve got a smaller battery in it and you have much higher thermodynamic efficiency than you’ve got in a conventionally powered car. Thermodynamic efficiency is ultimately what’s going to drive the.
environmental consequences of the vehicle that you’re in. And the other thing about swapping the batteries that you gotta recognize is that these are really big. They weigh over a ton, sometimes a couple tons. They’ve got a lot of energy stored in them. If they are installed improperly, they’re gonna fall off of the car and it’s gonna have a lot of consequences as well.
So yeah, there’s a lot of safety issues associated with this, in addition to the normal consequential safety implications of the electric battery powered cars.
Anthony: Hey, listener, have the police arrived yet? Have you started filling out the report on your Hyundai Kia that a 14 year old just stole? Have you subscribed to the podcast?
Have you started becoming a monthly donor? No. You’re waiting for that to happen. Here’s some news since you’re the driver. Good thing you’re not sitting in the backseat. If you can try never to sit in the backseat of a car, mainly an S U V. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety came out with a good report saying that rear passenger protection falls short in most mid-size SUVs.
And the federal government is doing nothing about it. Hope you don’t like your kids that
Michael: much. Yeah, so the I H S, this is their regular round of crash testing of mid-size SUVs and only a small handful of them. I’ll mention also that this is part of the Insurance Institute. Push to do more testing on rear seat passengers.
Because, it’s something that we’ve identified and another number of or other organizations have identified as a long-term problem in vehicle safety is that we’ve, the majority of drive, the majority of people in vehicles are drivers or passengers and have been throughout most of history, and now more people are sitting in the back.
But also for years we’ve been seeing a lot of issues involving children, particularly who are being put in the backseat. And some of the safety problems that happen when, the design of vehicles is, and the testing that goes on at nitsa, at the INCAP testing is really focused on those front seat passengers and, NHTSA’s, incap and NHTSA’s.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standard testing and certification don’t require, dummies in the back seats. They’re not testing for damage to potential occupants in the rear seats. And that’s something that is critical that for the federal government to do and for manufacturers to start doing.
So we’re, we’re very happy that i h s has really started looking at the rear seats and, I believe Consumer Reports is also doing something similar in their ratings. But, basically it’s been, 50 years in some cases since some rear seat problems that have been identified have set there and not been fixed.
The one that we have worked on most often is the problem with front. Collapse. So the front seats collapse into the back seat, which results frequently in the driver or passenger in the front seats head. Making contact with children in rear seats. They can be in car seats or sitting in the passenger seat or booster seat which is a terrible and devastating.
Tragedy. I It happens a lot. There are children who are killed and there are many children who are left permanently injured. And this has been happening now for 50 years plus. And it’s, the data is hard to collect and it’s a standard that’s a little more difficult to write than a lot of, and it’s making, cause you have to balance the protection to the front seat passengers or the driver as well against some of the backseat stuff.
So there, there’s some modifications that we think can be made to front seats that would prevent this problem and nits just hasn’t shown any interest in doing that. NZ is also very late on rear seatbelt reminder. And some of the other things we’ve been pushing on, like hot cars to protect children in your rear seats.
So basically rear seat passengers in the history of auto safety regulations are like Rodney Dangerfield. They don’t get a lot of respect.
Fred: It is also the, to some extent, proof of the maxim that no good deed goes unpunished. The, as despite all these horrific injuries that have been going on for a long time in the backseat, the seat back collapse, and the other items Michael has talked about, there are no, there’s no evidence that they’re more dangerous now than they’ve been in the past.
Part of what we’re seeing is that the front seats have been getting a lot safer. So in absolute terms, the rear seats aren’t necessarily any worse than they’ve ever been, but in comparison with the safety improvements that have been made in the front seats, in relative terms, they’re getting to be much worse than they were before.
They don’t have the same safety features that are available in the front seat, and simply they don’t have the attention from the regulators that’s needed to make them as safe as the front seat passengers are, now benefiting from that technology. ,
Anthony: is there anyone doing a good job or an acceptable job?
Fred: Yes. According to the same study i h s, they had some good ratings for I think three of the SUVs. They tested, I think it was
Michael: four two, there were two fours. I think they explore maybe the mock E and the Tesla model Y, which,
Fred: well, and they had, the Subaru Ascent was in there, in, in a good category too.
Okay. And yeah, there were some
Anthony: good ones. Who are the ones that are just, a room full of knives and sharp edges in the backseat? ?
Michael: There were some mar, there were some poor ratings. So the poor ones were the Honda Pilot, Honda Hyundai, Palisade Jeep, grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX nine, and Nissan Murano.
So that’s something to consider if you’re buying one of those vehicles and you plan on putting anyone in the back seat. .
Anthony: Yeah. So if you’re looking to replace your Hyundai Kia that was just stolen by a 12 year old, the kids keep getting younger. It’s crazy as time goes on maybe avoid those cars or, put your enemies in the back seat.
I don’t know. I think it’s time to go on our toy, our special guest this week. We’re, I don’t know how to describe what’s gonna happen next, but and I don’t think General Motors can explain it either. General Motors decided to put in charge of their automated vehicle manufacturer cruise.
Somebody who has no experience in the automotive industry and previously created a video gaming streaming site, and possibly the most brilliant person I’ve ever come across in my life. There was an interview with him in the last week in Fortune, and so what I would like to do now is. is have both Michael and Fred just asked me questions as this Kyle Vogt person, and I will just use the exact quotes he puts in this interview that he knew was being recorded.
And again, he managed to graduate from m i t, which I do not in think in his case, stood for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It might have been the Miami Init something. I got nothing. Look, I’m want
Michael: give up, Anthony, give up. You really have been triggered by Mr. I think it’s vote,
Anthony: It’s the American fantasy of failing upwards.
Michael: Anthony, I had, just a general first off question, please. Yeah. How far are we from seeing self-driving cars, taking people to and fro.
Anthony: Look, there’s no point in driving yourself today, even though we all do , within 10 years, driving will be a hobby like riding horses is today.
And I wanna remind the listener, these are exact quotes from the c e o of General Motors automated driving
Michael: systems. And you did skip over in that where he, I skipped, mischaracterized, gigantically the number of deaths due to distracted driving e every year, which would not feel fill any football stadium of significant size.
It is a huge problem and there are thousands of Americans that die every year due to distracted driving, but there aren’t nearly as many as is being suggested here to promote robot car driving over humans.
Anthony: But let’s just start up. There’s his exact quote is, there’s no point in driving yourself today.
What world does he live in? Does he, it’s
Michael: obviously not one in, in rural America. He’s
Fred: nowhere close to me. I’ll tell you that right now.
Anthony: He doesn’t live in a world where his paycheck’s signed by General Motors, a company that sells cars.
Fred: It’s hard for people to understand something when their paycheck depends and they’re not understanding it.
Anthony: Yes. But I was also happy to hear that within 10 years, driving will be hobby, like riding horses, which makes me feel really good since I have the end of my auto leases up. And ,
Fred: may I point out, please, that there is no empirical data, zero known nine ntta, nothing that shows that self-driving vehicles are even as good at humans under benign circumstances.
And there is empirical data. This shows that. self-driving vehicles based upon the latest data released from our friends at Waymo is at least 1,500 times as hazardous as human drivers. In terms of the critical factors in a crash deriving from a defect in the vehicle, that’s a critical parameter. That factor of 1500 and relative safety is something that I think people need to address rather than the fantasy that in 10 years we’ll all be in the Jetson family.
Anthony: Yeah. Kyle goes on to say that a lot of congestion problems are because of how humans drive. Basically he thinks that humans are really bad at driving. He’s clearly never been in a GM cruise where it decides just to stop working. .
Michael: Yeah that’s an odd statement to make when you know your vehicles can’t figure out what a fire hose is and whether or not to run over it.
It’s to me, saying that it’s, this is just the mantra that, that the lobbyists and the manufacturers have been putting out over and over again. We see it with that 94% human error study that’s tatted over and over again, which is very flawed. They’re trying to pretend that all drivers out on the roads are somehow terrible in creating all these problems.
That’s not even true. There’s a pretty small subset of super aggressive speeding drivers who aren’t wearing seat belts, who are distracted, who are drunk, who are creating a lot of the mayhem on our roads. And I would say there’s probably. , 50 million drivers in America right now who can drive a whole hell of a lot better than one of the cruise vehicles that keeps stopping the middle of San Francisco roads.
So I’m not really sure what the hell he’s talking about here. Driverless cars have a long way to go before they’re gonna catch up to, just how I can drive or how any of us three can drive. Right now they’re plotting along in perfect conditions, they can’t recognize a lot of the things that humans can with hand signals and other things.
We know that they’re not tested fully and their software isn’t fully vetted and validated so that it can be proven to be safe when it goes out on the road. So there’s just, I don’t know, I don’t really see this article as conveying anything other than. The, the bullshit we’ve been hearing for 10 years now about avs and how they’re gonna take over the world and solve all our problems.
Meanwhile, we’re sitting here and we haven’t seen any evidence of that whatsoever and
Fred: we have seen evidence to the contrary, I wanna point out Nope, you’re
Anthony: both wrong cuz Kyle says, I think the best majority of people will get around major cities and autonomous vehicles instead of driving in five years.
Is he referring to the subway system?
Michael: I don’t think you could build enough autonomous cars in five years to even make that claim come true.
Anthony: No, he’s the c e O GM cruise. He said it. It’s true.
Michael: I don’t buy it. And I’m, and talk to me in five years. And, he’ll probably this interview in five or 10 years will probably make him look a lot like the interviews of Elon Musk from 2012.
Make him look now, which is silly, really genius .
Fred: He will have moved on to another position by then. I’m quite sure, but, I wanna remind our readers that our listeners, excuse me, is this in print yet? I wanna remind
Anthony: our there’s a bad machine generated transcript,
Fred: Our listeners.
That the way you sell something, the way you sell it a complex technical product is you first erect the straw man, and then you tear it down by showing the virtues of your offering to address those mythical issues. And, this is a great example of that. In the future, everything will be better.
So we need to do everything we can. To make that future happen. And that future will include, of course, the self-driving cars and the Jetson jet ports for your, oh, what, Rosie, is that her name? The uh, ? ? Yeah, Rosie, the ro the robotics servant to show up on time in the morning. Hi. There’s just a lot of fantasy here and once you substitute aspirational statements for the data that’s relative to the system, you’ve entered the world of pure bullshit.
Now some people are, some people buy it, some people don’t. This is your anti bullshit station folks, and just keep on coming. .
Anthony: Oh, thank you for giving me the title of this episode, the Anti Bullshit Station Storing Kyle Vo Vogt, I dunno how to pronounce his name. It doesn’t matter. I wanna sit in the next GM board meeting cuz all those executives who read this are like, oh God, what did we do?
This guy just said there’s no reason to own cars. No.
Michael: Yeah. Also, some other thing I, another thing that kind of caught my attention was, saying younger people, especially college kids, love this. , they have the what the lowest ability to assess risks of probably any segment of the population.
And they’re running around drinking all the time. So of course they love it. But that doesn’t prove anything really. That may, that must have been the same study. They, they did when they were trying to figure out whether or not to put the WTF button on the Hummers. Let’s find a population of people that just loves this stuff and touted it to them even though it’s pretty clearly not ready for the big time.
Anthony: Look, our biggest compe competitive obsession is not other people building avs, but people taking human driven rides. How dare you get into a car driven by a meat bag?
Michael: And that’s one of the, one of the more absurd things about the push for AVS that continues to crop up is how autonomous vehicles are somehow going to assist the disabled with access to transportation in a way that already available services that don’t involve million dollar cars due through ride share or taxis in other ways.
So that’s, you’ll continue to hear us talk about the use case for these vehicles because there may be a use case for autonomous trucks. There’re, there’s certainly a use case probably for off-road autonomy and a lot of the, and a lot of construction and mining and other heavy equipment trades.
Whether or not there’s a use case for passenger vehicles that can drive themselves autonomously, there certainly isn’t at the cost. They are right now, maybe in 10 to 20 years when some of the cost of the tech and the software and hardware design have gone down significantly. This is something that, that might be a plausible use case, but five to 10 years not gonna happen.
Anthony: And hey look, when this becomes just a hobby like horseback riding, this will be a future Olympic event. howling a cab with a human in it.
Fred: Maybe like horseback riding and they could establish races for cars to have human drivers. That would be an innovation that, a lot of people would like to see.
Anthony: fun. Speaking of, is there a use case for this? I think it was C N B C had a great video this week talking about how all of businesses not video game streaming services, but actual businesses, Ford and Volkswagen and Uber and Lyft, they’ve all scaled back their automated vehicle expenditures and whatnot because they realized there’s no way to make money at this.
There’s, it turns out there, there just isn’t a use case to have a fleet of robo taxis in the video. They, which we have a link to they post, they basically sat down and did the math. They’d have to have something like about half of all of the taxis cabs that run in New York City. All of those would have to be robo taxis, like in full use 10 hours a day.
And that would be break even. That’s a lot of cabs and that’s 5,000 robo taxis and that would just be just for New York City. So it’s fascinating cause I assume there would actually be a business model, but these guys would spend billions of dollars and said we’re not gonna waste our money on this.
Fred: a lot of mature companies have a professional called a risk manager who looks at the technical and business risks associated with any new business venture and their existing business ventures and says, yeah, this is a good idea. Or No, that’s not a good idea. These tend to be green eye shade people who have a very clear vision inventory companies tend to not have risk managers because everybody knows that whatever they’re doing is the future and that’s just the way it’s gonna be.
So my guess is that crews doesn’t have a risk manager very high up in the management chain.
Anthony: So this green eye shaded people, is this like they’re doing advanced mathematics? Do you need to go someplace like m i t or is this you need to finish the eighth grade level of math.
Fred: I think they’re using something called algebra from time to time,
Anthony: okay. Eighth grade education.
Fred: There you go. They can come in handy. Yeah. .
Anthony: Ah. I gotta take a break and just a little breath and just get the stupidity out of my brain. But while doing that, you should donate.
Fred: Thank you for your advocacy of the GM cruise point of view, though. We appreciate
It’s like they wanted, Hey, Elon Musk. Sounds like he’s a lunatic. Let’s get our own lunatic. . Okay. Michael, tell us about this wild story about driver monitoring. What’s ? That’s all I got for the intro.
Michael: Yeah, it was a, it was a good kind of a deepish dive into driver monitoring and.
They were, when we think about driver monitoring, we’re hoping it can be something that detects when people are distracted, people have a medical condition, people are drunk, people are on drugs. People, frankly, I wish it would apply when people are operating recklessly or speeding to prevent that kind of behavior.
I’m not sure if that’s something the majority of Americans are willing to accept yet since people love their speeding. But the, the way this article casted in is in a different way is it was talking about driver monitoring and its ability to support drivers in making proper decisions while they’re driving.
Now, that would include things like the distraction in others, but also probably in, in other situations that we haven’t even imagined yet. So it was an interesting article. And then it also looked at, the title of the article I think was something along the lines of, Here comes driver monitoring and there’s gonna be a camera looking at you while it’s in your car the whole time.
And that’s a good thing. Now there are probably going, and then there have been a lot of objections to this type of technology over privacy issues and. The fear that there’s going to be a video camera constantly recording the actions of drivers in their vehicle and transmitting that somewhere where it could be used, for nefarious purposes used against you in court.
Number of other reasons. I There, a privacy advocate could probably come up with a thousand reasons why they wouldn’t want that type of thing working that way. In, in our world, driver monitoring is not going to be something where there’s going to be video preserved. It’s an active system that’s basically continually evaluating the driver, kicking out the old inputs, bringing in the new, and basically making vehicles safer.
We hope it’s got a long way to go. And it’s probably going to be five to 10 years before NHTSA is even able to think about putting some type of regulations around it. , but it’s something that ultimately may help in this giant move to these level three vehicles that are being advertised in some pretty crazy ways.
Really, as giving drivers the opportunity to take some time off while you’re driving and focus on your coffee and your movie and your newspaper, and you’ll, you’ve, we’ve started to see those messages and they’re a little troubling because we know that there’s probably not a good enough driver monitoring system being installed in vehicles right now to allow for that type of behavior.
And it’s an area that we’re a lot more research and a, and, a lot more investment is needed by automakers.
Anthony: Wrong five to 10 years, no drivers. It’s all robo taxis. Eliminate the driver monitoring system. ,
Michael: unfortunately, for the folks that are advocating that point of view, the vast majority of manufacturers that have been involved in this move towards self-driving vehicles have been.
Jumping back and are now focusing on conditional automation, what some people call level three type stuff.
Anthony: They’re weak. They will lose GM cruise sw, crush them . Thanks Kyle. With
Michael: more bs. You were supposed to go out of character after that
Anthony: segment. I couldn’t hold it again. It’s the Covid brain happening.
It’s my bill Gates microchips are failing or they’re overacting, I’m not sure. I, let’s let’s jump into the tower. Fred. There’s another article we can touch on, but that will just take me away for hours, . Let’s do the tower, Fred, and he’s gonna talk about AVS like we do all the time.
Take it away. Mr.
VO: Perkin, you’ve now entered the Dow of Fred.
Fred: Thank you so much. So we’re still talking about the AV Bill of Rights and still waiting for your comments by the way, listeners. So we’re eager to have you chime in. This week the basic principle is AVS shall expedite first responders safety and safe recovery of persons injured or killed after a crash, including providing means to readily render vehicles safe for first responders, second responders, and bystanders.
So that’s a mouthful. What does all that mean? Avs need to be designed so that they don’t kill people after a crash. People assume, and I think rightly, that there will be crashes associated with avs. Avs have a lot of complex design features. We talked earlier today about some of them having integrated battery designs, some of them having modular battery designs.
All of these have their own way of connecting to the vehicle electrical system. All of these have to be somehow effectively disabled or neutralized in order to make the post crash vehicle safe to work around. And in a crash, there are typically a lot of emergency personnel in the vicinity of the crash.
There are police officers, there are firefighters, there are probably e m s frequently around them. And all these people need to be protected. So how does, what have you got to do? My opinion is that what you’ve gotta do is you need to include and conspicuously display markers and instructions that allow first responders to expeditious, to immobilize and render the AV safe.
It’s not ever going to be appropriate for. Firefighter to have to carry 1500 pages of reference material that they need to look at before they get into a vehicle and try to save somebody’s life. If the vehicle’s on fire, they’ve gotta act very quickly. So there should be a standardized approach that marks these vehicles and says, pull this lever to break the electrical contact.
Or, don’t cut here because you have a power cable. There’s a lot of hazards associated with EVs that need to be covered, need to be readily visible to the emergency responders so that they don’t get killed, and so that they can effectively save the people who are inside the vehicle. So the corollary of that is the EVs must provide easily understood markings and instructions to render the vehicle and air and safe for towing or carriage and or storage after a crash.
Many EVs and many electric vehicles have reignited after a crash, or, first of all, they have ignited after a crash because of the battery contents. We’ve talked about ev fires in the past. Many of these vehicles will reignite hours or days after a crash due to some defect that takes a while to build up, or a short circuit or something happening in the batteries.
Sometimes these batteries will be spread all over the crash scene after an EV crash. There’s a lot to this. Somebody’s got to step up and say, okay, we’re gonna make it easier for people to save the lives of the people in the car and make sure that these vehicles don’t burst into flames when they are towed to a storage lot, or if they are going to store into flame burst into flames.
We need to make sure that the people towing them understand that. And can effectively sequester them so that they don’t cause a conflagration. So AVS must also be designed to protect the first responders, the injured persons, and the bystanders against unintended vehicle operation or emission of toxic products after a crash.
So I think the protection against unintended vehicle operation is obvious to most people. We have, again, going back to our forensic crews, the experience of an ev trying to run away from police who are approaching the vehicle. That’s of run countered to this principle. But one of the lesser known parts of this, the whole situation is that a burning lithium phos or a burning lithium ion battery emits chemicals that are in the same chemical company, assin nerve gas called organo phosphates, and.
This is a, potential hazard not only for the people in the car where the battery is burning, but also to the people around the car who are trying to save the people who are inside the burning car. There’s been no discussion in the public that I know of, and certainly nothing by NHTSA concerning the chemistry of batteries and the emission of toxic products as the battery burns.
I think this is an area that’s ripe for investigation. Finally, the final point I’ve got, and it’s probably a much longer list that we could go through, but this is an interesting one because it runs counter to all of the libertarian beliefs that people are talking about for electric vehicles, how they, save you and make you independent and do all this, but avs have to include a mechanism for remote emergency disablement by law enforcement.
If you’ve got an AV that’s running down a highway at excessive speed, or there’s an emergency, the operator or the occupant of the AV is having a medical emergency, but the AV just wants to keep on driving or whatever, law enforcement has to have some way of stopping the vehicle. Right now, their only option is to physically put a barrier in front of the vehicle that the EV’s going to crash into.
There’s gotta be a better approach. There’s got to be some way for law enforcement to be able to intervene and stop the operation of a self-driving vehicle in order to save the lives of the people who are inside the vehicle or to save the lives of the motorists or bystanders. These, remember this, there’s a lot of energy in these things.
They’re like hand grenades walking around with the pin poles. . How I think the question needs to be asked is how is law enforcement going to enforce the law where you have a machine operating this massive, dangerous vehicle rather than a human being that you can alert and asked to stop the car?
What happens when the police stops the car, the lights go on, the siren comes on. There’s a lot of ways of contacting the driver. Is the ev going to respond somehow to the flashing blue lights or the officer, or the loudspeaker on top of the officer’s car? I think this is the huge sleeper issue that really needs to be addressed.
How is law enforcement going to do its job? Even going beyond that a little bit, how is law enforcement going to verify that the hidden safety critical factors inside the control system of the vehicle are all operating properly? Whether this is part of a safety inspection or a spot inspection of, a highway semi tractor, the Triller, right?
Police will stop tractor, the trailers and they’ll do a safety inspection. They’ll look at the tires, they’ll look at the records, they’ll look at how long the driver’s been driving the logbook, all those things. How is it, how is law enforcement going to look at the status of the safety systems in an EV when a lot of those safety critical features are hidden and not visible, not visually inspectable and other issue that I think deserves demands a lot of attention.
That’s a bit of a speech. What do you think?
Anthony: I think avs are great because you have one less person in the car, one less person to save passengers, jet packs. , all of them have jet backs on. That’s how they get out. In
Fred: your role as in your role as c e o of cruise what is the applicable quote that we can come to
Anthony: I closed the article. Just having it open was making me dumber. , the applicable quote was look, co cops don’t pull over avs. Why would they do it, man?
Michael: Yeah. They drive perfect. Cops will never touch ’em. Exactly. They don’t need to pull them over. And,
Anthony: and that GM cruise that was driving away from the police cop was wrong.
Michael: In fact, the cops will be riding in avs.
Anthony: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Michael: Oh, look,
Fred: in the Jetson world, there are still police in the Jetson vehicles flashing lights. So is that the Jetson standard that we need to apply? But they’re
Anthony: robot cops,
Fred: aren’t they? And I noticed in your comments as c e o of Cruz that you say, some of the sensing technology we put in these vehicles can already see through snow, fog and rain.
That’s interesting, but it’s apparent that some of them cannot see through fog, rain. And of course, since you no longer need to have a car, I guess you don’t have to consider fog and rain and all those. But nevermind, I digress. I, I think these are really serious issues that are down the road, but I think there really need some attention from the regulators as well as the people designing these vehicles.
We need to address these instead of simply the aspirational comments that in the future everything will be better. Everything will be better if you address these problems that we can see today.
Anthony: I don’t know. And I’ve seen some movies that in the future everything is not better. Really, like you ever see the movie Brazil?
Anyway, . Speaking of someone who believes that the everything in the future, everything outta their mouth makes everything better the Washington Post had this hilarious great article on the head of Tesla, a guy named Elon Musk. And they had a bunch of interviews with engineers working there and talking about how self-driving has failed.
And one of the things, and we’ve talked about this before, is that Elon Musk says, Hey, I wanna save costs. Great idea. So sales driving cars, let’s get rid of radar systems. Cuz there’s cameras on cars and, hey, my eyeballs work. Why shouldn’t cameras work? Granted, anybody who’s ever used a backup camera and it’s dirty and you realize it’s inoperable, would know the answer to this question.
But, Elon Musk lives in a dirt free world. , we can only just imagine what it’s like to live there.
Fred: I can’t imagine that’s true with all the children he’s got from several households.
Michael: Hey, ah, oh the thing about the article that I was interested in was the, obviously the disbelief that just a camera is going to be able to accomplish the entire task of figuring out whether objects in its environment are, I lost my complete train of thought there, Anthony
Anthony: Yeah, I did nothing. I wasn’t even looking at you.
Michael: The But it’s the reliance on this, we’ve talked about sensor fusion on the podcast and how having more than one sensor looking at the external environment to determine what’s there is critical and raises the reliability and the ability of vehicles to recognize things in their environment to much better lever levels than just one sensor or one camera alone could ever hope to do.
Anthony: fusion is that? Like when I’m driving down the road and I can hear things and I can. Feel the road conditions Am
Michael: using? Yes, you’re, you are a, you have multiple sensors that you’re fusing in your mind to produce good outcomes for you while you’re driving. Ah, and the Teslas are just going based on visual information and based on what we continue to talk about this promise of some type of ai, God that’s gonna make everything better.
That’s basically with a vision that must rolled out when they remove the radar from these cars saying, oh, these cameras can, we take all the inputs and roll them through our machine learning process and boom, we’ve got safety coming out the other end. That’s just not how it works. And it’s not how, it’s an aspiration.
To, we hope that one Day cars will be able to learn and create their own rules and make us all safer without us having to do anything. But I don’t know if that’s ever going to become a reality. It’s a matter of using more sensors and making sure that the inputs these vehicles are getting as are correct.
It is what’s gonna make the difference in the end and not all this hype and this reliance on technology where there may not be a solution there.
Fred: And I noticed Anthony, as in your role as c e o of Cruise, that you are quoted as saying, we are working on a next generation vehicle with a necessary technology to handle bad winter weather.
Maybe they’re looking at expanding their sensor suite too, to make this sensor fusion something that you can actually use. That’s something that actually works bad winter weather characterizes where I live.
Anthony: That’s not what we’re doing. What we mean by that is we’re removing winter.
Fred: That’s an alternative approach. That’s
Anthony: what we’re doing.
Fred: war, global warming is invented to promote EV sales, is that what you’re saying?
Anthony: General Motors. Okay. This is what we’re trying to do. You got it? We can burn it. .
Michael: All right.
Anthony: Okay. Aha. Okay. Let’s go into recall Roundup, cuz then I know we have a hard out, Michael’s gotta run away.
He’s gotta go save the world instead of contribute to our nonsense
VO: strap in time for the recall roundup.
Anthony: So this week Ford Lightning they put out a an announcement, a chronology. I don’t know exactly how Nitsa classifies this, where they discovered some problems in, from February 6th through February 9th, their engineering team de-energized the high voltage battery packs on a handful of F-150 Lightnings.
During pre-delivery, pre-delivery quality checked, which I like that they found this before they actually delivered it to customers. So this seems like it was a limited problem or this is not gonna become the Chevy Bolt
Michael: problem. Yeah, this looks it looks like it’s a limited problem that happened due to a, some type of manufacturing issue that was ongoing from early February for a few days it appears they.
Caught these vehicles before they were, I think there were something like 18 vehicles that had actually been shipped out to dealerships that have to be recalled. So it’s a very small recall in that sense. Obviously there’s a lot more vehicles, I believe that were on their lot that need to be remedied before they can sell those.
But this is a couple things. I This is a, it’s good that Ford is figuring these things out while the vehicles are, are in the teens that have been delivered and, before this becomes something that kills someone. But it also, it at points to. , the fact that they are very concerned about the battery quality that’s going into these vehicles.
And that’s because of the problems that GM saw with the bull. It’s because of some of the problems we’ve seen in LG batteries that have been put on a number of different vehicles. There have been some problematic batteries put out there that required, massive recalls that might have damaged consumer confidence in these vehicles.
And Ford is doing everything they can to avoid that. There’s more than just safety going on here. They wanna make sure that their number one selling pickup truck when it’s electrified continues to be that. But it is, overall a pretty good job by forwarding getting this recalled quickly to prevent, bad.
Anthony: So was this actually a recall? Cause it never made it to consumers. Okay. Okay.
Michael: Yeah, this was actually a recall. That’s why they only had to recall 18. They identified, I think that most of the vehicles that were affected were still sitting on their
Anthony: lot. They said it was only pre-delivery vehicles.
Yeah. All right. The next one we have is another Ford. And this is interesting. It’s 1.2 million vehicles cuz of brake hose ruptures. And in the non-compliance determination, it says Ford approved service actions for specific populations of edge vehicles in China and South America based on certain unique road parking conditions and driving habited habits that contributed to elevated rates of.
Ba front brake jounce hose ruptures. Wait I’ve never heard of the word jounce before. I like it. I’m gonna use it as often as possible.
Michael: Great. Just don’t ask me what it means. .
Anthony: Okay. .
Fred: So I know I looked it up . The jounce hose is the rubber hose. It goes between the chassis of the car and the suspension components.
The suspension moves up and down relative to the frame, at least on a good day. So the jounce hose connects those moving parts with the fixed parts on the car. And so I think what they’re talking about in terms of the special conditions is really bouncy roads, rudded roads tough road conditions, sounds that will just cause a
Michael: lot more vibration.
That sounds like old town Alexandria at the end of the winter.
Fred: Absolutely. And Detroit have you’ve ever driven in Detroit? It’s its own test range. ,
Michael: but, so this was like, this recall is the. opposite of the lightning recall, which happened quickly and expeditiously here. Ford has known about this problem in China and South Americas for 4, 5, 5 years now, and they’ve approved service actions for those folks.
But everyone in Americas had this problem, hasn’t really gotten anything yet. Effectively what this has done, These vehicles are now five years older than they would’ve been when Fort, if Ford had issued a recall or a service accident at the same time they did in China and South America. And a lot of those vehicles are now off the roads and Ford isn’t going to have to repair them.
They’re going to save a lot of money on a recall. So I would suggest that this is an example of Ford not doing as good of a job as they are doing on their really popular and very highly advertised lightning F-150.
Anthony: This is an interesting recall in that they blame not themselves, but they blame the road and the
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Kyle ?
Anthony: See, if we didn’t have drivers in those cars, know, hey, I want,
Fred: I want to point out in fairness to Ford and we like fairness that something what, 30 years ago? , all automotive manufacturers are forced to put in place a dual to agonal braking system, which means that if you lose one system completely, the other system will stop the car safely.
And so Ford noted that, yes, this is something they’ve got to fix, but there have been no fatalities or crashes associated with this because of the existence of the dual diagonal breaking system. So I want to point out again, the efficacy of federal standards for vehicle safety. The fact that the federal standard requires the dual diagonal breaking system is what has saved all of the people who would otherwise been subject to a failed breaking system in the Fords.
Michael: And redundancy is good .
Anthony: It sounds like a, don’t get your jounce hose in a twist. I think that’s what we have cuz the other the other recall, we’ve already covered that one.
Michael: Yeah. That’s the Honda Seatbelt recall. So yeah. Honda Seatbelt, anybody who has a Honda out there, make sure you check to see what, if that recall applies to you, because it’s
You can find that out by going to auto safety.org, going to our vehicle safety check and choosing your make modeling year. And you’ll find all that out. And while you’re there, you’re like, Hey, I wanna give you guys five bucks a month by five bucks a month. 50 bucks a month. Hey, if you’re the c e O of GM cruise, just hand over all of your money.
Because you’re too smart to have money. What good could you do with your money?
Fred: And you could thank us for all of our careful comments about your
Anthony: Yes. Your quotations. It’s, I would love to have you on as a guest so I could just laugh for an hour straight . Oh hey, the American Dream failing upwards.
And speaking of failing upwards, that’s an entire hour of your life. Close to it. Maybe a little bit more, a little bit less. Thanks, listeners. Thank you for subscribing. I hope the police are gonna recover your Honda Kia. Automated vehicles are not ready this week or next week, and we learn to the term jounce house.
Michael: And thanks. Thanks everyone. And join us next week for a deep dive on defects.
Anthony: Ooh, you mean the CEO of GM Cruise? No,
Michael: no. Oh,
Fred: He’s not a defect. He’s an institution. .
Anthony: All right. Thanks everybody. Bye-bye.
Michael: Byebye. Bye.