'Americans are right not to trust self-driving cars'


You do not understand what I said, @shadofax.


What are the chances that a digital control system would have taken over USAir 1549 and resulted in everyone going home safe? I prefer an experienced, cool head to have ultimate control.


Yep, I don’t mind self driving planes and cars but there should be a driver present the same as there is a pilot present. The ultimate responsibility is with the pilot or driver and not the software or manufacturer.


That concept works for planes, but not cars. You don’t have 1,000 airliners flying in 2 rows, with 2 feet of separation between each plane. With cars, that’s just rush hour. The time to react if autodrive can’t handle a problem is on the order of seconds, or less. You can do it if you’re plugged in and paying attention to your driving, but you can’t do it if the computer is driving while you’re not.


I probably disagree with your vision of how this will/may work. I see the self driving potential more for long haul driving where the driver can rest a little while letting the car move along at a constant speed rather than in bumper to bumper traffic conditions. Really if you don’t buy the idea that these devices will solve traffic congestion, what’s to be gained in bumper to bumper traffic except the strain on you brake and accelerator feet. I get cramps in mine after a long period of stop and go, but other than that I don’t see much benefit unless they can also fly.


The major disadvantage of M/T. Sometimes I can creep in first gear. If I have to stop I shift to neutral.


Exactly. My National Guard aviation unit had an annual safety stand down day. No Flights except for emergency and a full day of safety awareness presentations. I was fortunate to attend two presentations by Rod Machado an aviation safety “Guru”. They usually concerned pilots becoming fixated with a mechanical problem and forgetting to fly the airplane. (running out of fuel)! He did address emerging technology. It sums up my distrust of current self driving car technology. “Technology should never be used as a substitute for the acquisition of the basic skills replaced by that technology". He was addressing GPS navigation.


Machado’s great. Very good speaker and very knowledgeable.

Yeah, you doubtless know about the L1011 crash that happened because the pilots were paying so much attention to what turned out to be a burned out light bulb that they forgot to look outside and make sure the ground was staying far away from the plane like it should.

Now here’s another one that doesn’t apply to cars, because Machado is talking about pilots, who get the proper training and then have to keep practicing what they’re trained in or they lose their currency and aren’t allowed to do it anymore. Cars on the other hand… My last driving test was when I was 16. I keep myself current, but the state doesn’t seem to care if I do, and there are lots of drivers out there who don’t. Their skills are, to be understated, crap, and that’s before they start texting their friends while tooling down the road.

And that’s not going to get any better because the first politician that stands up and says “I’m gonna push forward legislation that requires drivers to be trained to a proficient level of skills, and re-certify themselves periodically, and have proof that they’re getting regular practice of what they’re supposed to know” isn’t going to be able to win an election for dogcatcher.

People in this country view driving as an absolute right, and anyone who tries to add layers of effort to being allowed to drive is going to be sent packing.

So, in the absence of even the possibility of a solution to the fact that people by and large drive incompetently, we’re going to have to go for a technological solution.

More than 30,000 people die in car crashes every year. Even if the computer killed as many as 20,000 people, we’d still be ahead of the game.


Yeah…well I was “built” first–1951, so I guess I go first!


How do you propose we do that? Voluntarily? Or with legislation?


But I wish to continue to be left off that annual number of traffic fatalities and toward that goal I will use my own good judgement regarding the condition of my car, the condition of the road and weather and my acute attention to those around me. I doubt that a week goes by that I don’t find myself sitting after the light turns green due to someone running a red, moving onto the shoulder to avoid someone straying into my lane, even running a red light myself to avoid being hit from the rear.

If it’s an all or nothing choice with autopilots I’d go without it. But if the computer systems can be managed to tip me off to situations before I recognize them and even allow me to turn over control for a few seconds while cruising along on an open stretch of highway to manage the HVAC or clean my glasses I would consider the cost and possibly go for it.

If drunks, texters and chronic reckless drivers were eliminated I wonder what the annual highway death toll would be?


Provided we legislate how self-driving cars are built (the don’t-kill-people stuff from above) we can just sit back and let it happen. Autodrive cars are already being developed without any laws mandating them.

I think that’s how it will be at first. You’ll still be able to take over manually whenever you want.

I suspect at some point auto-drive on the freeways will be mandatory, and few will care because who really wants to stare at the windshield for hours on end while crossing Texas? :wink:

At some point auto drive will be mandatory everywhere except recreational roads like racetracks. Why? Because humans are proving every year that they either aren’t capable of, or aren’t willing to make themselves capable of driving well.


Email saves about 2,400 trees a day. I’d say that’s significant.

I take it you’ve never seen an Apple Watch. I own one…and I’ve made and received several calls on my watch.


I do not think the manditory imperitive will need to come into play, I was never a self driving car afficionado, now we have a car with minimal lane guidance, cruise slows for the car in front if it is going slower, auto stop if I miss something in the road, and I am all for it, laziness and debauchery will trump mandatory imhop.


When I was a kid, I knew the technology would be there someday. I haven’t read Dick Tracy for about 60 years though. So yeah I know about the watches.


As has been the case with every safety item ever installed in cars, nearly every safety item was invented and installed on cars before regulators decided they should be mandatory. (I say nearly just in case there is one out there, I can’t think of any) Collapsible steering columns were patented in the 1930’s and standard on GM cars in '67 before being mandated in '68. Seatbelts, airbags, ABS, Stability Control, TPMS and more were all optional on cars long before being mandated. Self driving cars have been in development for far longer than most realize - the 1990’s;

I think that would be a sad day, not for cars, but for society in general. I do not agree with forcing people to do things because government legislators think they are too stupid/inept/incompetent to decide for themselves.


On principle, neither do I. But they’ve already proven themselves to be too stupid/inept/incompetent/lazy to decide for themselves in this case. A fundamental requirement of freedom is that people be responsible in their use of it. If people at liberty harm society, then they need to be reigned in.

People are steadfastly refusing to be responsible about driving. They don’t demand good training, they don’t push themselves to become better once they’ve passed the (stupidly easy) driving test, and then, with their skills already on the bottom rung, they apply makeup, play with their phones, and drink alcohol while driving.

That’s what happens under driving freedom. If the people don’t want the government to lock driving down more than it is, they need to be grownups in their approach to it, and they’re steadfastly refusing to do so, and that’s killing more than 30,000 people per year.

We Americans are great at demanding freedom, but we stumble when it comes to demanding that society be adults when exercising it. That’s got to change, not just with driving, but with society in general.


I am not trying to be overly harsh, but a country defined on the idea Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness should not do this. This paragraph pretty much encompasses the definition of fascism as defined by Mussolini, the creator of the ideology.


Have you looked around at the state of the country lately? Something needs re-thinking.

We do not have a constitutional right to drive. We have a constitutional right to travel. As long as we’re allowed to go from A to B, the “rights” question is satisfied, whether it’s us or a machine at the controls.

As to your dictionary, I don’t generally source my understanding of terminology from crowd-sourced internet slang dictionaries. The Webster definition is:

a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

I’ll point out that none of what I said was racist or nationalist, and did not advocate for a dictatorship. It simply pointed out that if people operating dangerous machinery refuse to do it responsibly and kill more than 30,000 people per year, someone somewhere has to step in and deal with the problem.

I actually advocate for laws requiring stricter driver training and licensure, something more akin to what pilots have to do in order to be allowed to fly. But I also recognize that that’s never going to happen because at least today’s crop of politicians are too afraid of losing votes to propose something like that.

In the absence of the ability to prevent 30,000+ deaths per year through better driver training, automation is going to be the default solution.

And I stand by the idea that “liberty” does not mean “abdication of responsibility to self and others.” If you want the freedom to operate your own 2,000 pound death machine, then you need to display the responsibility necessary to operate it safely or the freedom should be taken away from you because you’ve shown you can’t or aren’t willing to handle it like a grownup.


Of course this will be misinterpreted but I am very wary of anyone that uses safety and injury prevention as a means to move their agenda forward. “We need to do this to save 10,000 lives a year”. Protect us from ourselves because of the stupid public that just can’t seem to learn to drive responsibly like I do. There are those that prefer that we live in a safe bubble with no risk at all. The body is wonderfully self-healing for a reason, and band aids are pretty cheap. No risk, no gain. Helicopter parents to the rescue. 1984 here we come with helmets and padding on and inside a climate controlled antiseptic safe space drawing pictures with our non-toxic crayons.