'Robot Cars Can't Count on Us in an Emergency'


I suppose it depends on what kind of knowledge you would be testing for. Written test like for getting a permit? Driving test with the patrolman like in getting a license? I suppose some would like to see a behind the wheel test for everyone every five years but that still wouldn’t catch arrogance, drug use, aggressive driving, etc. listed as those things contributing to unsafe driving. Where is that little pic of a dead horse being whipped?


I’m not sure that’s true. Driving habits get pretty ingrained. If you usually drive like a total jackass, you might tone it down to only driving like a moderate jackass when the examiner’s in the right seat. :wink:


The Air France crash had very poor user interface as its cause.


Autonomous vehicles shouldn’t need much user interface…


The real problem is defining “perfectly.” It depends. I have been is situations where somebody does something that causes me to exceed the speed limit in order to avoid a crash. If every vehicle on the road is robotic, the solution is easy. The real challenge is guiding a vehicle in a (very) imperfect environment. Robots are controlled by logic machines (computer), and the logical action is not always the best solution.


That’s true, but what I meant by what I said was that robot-driven cars only have to, on average, be less dangerous than human-driven cars to make them a worthy thing to have.

If humans on average cause 10 wrecks per day in a given city, and robots would only cause 9, then that’s 365 wrecks that aren’t happening every year even though the robots are still screwing up 9 times a day.

Put another way, it’s pretty arrogant and silly for us to insist that a machine be 100% failure free before we’ll let it drive, when human drivers are drastically below that percentage. More than 35,000 people get killed in a year because humans screw up. In 2015 humans caused 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles traveled in the country. If we can drop that number with robots, then it’s a good thing even if the robots still kill people. They’re killing fewer people, and that’s better than what we have now.


Isn’t that the point of self-driving cars, that we can do all the crazy things people do while they drive, but without the risk?


Reading some of these comments, I think I see what the problem is. The fact that we think we’re all better-than-average drivers is based on a belief, and we are very resistant to changing such core beliefs.



The potential is there to save a lot of money.

. With the potential of drastically reducing accidents - insurance should be much less
. Possibly being able to eliminate one car in a two car family. The car can drive the husband or wife to work…then come back home to be used by other people in the family.
. Since the potential is there to be accident free - less chance of getting injured and missing work and tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
. Better traffic flow so gas savings. Area’s like Boston could see a major decrease in congestion.


See, that’s where I’m slightly more pessimistic than you because we are talking about an industry that continued to produce killer Pintos when Ford calculated that the wrongful death lawsuits would in the end be cheaper than a redesign.

You might want to think about being realistic.

I had a Pinto Station Wagon.

I do not feel that my car was a “Killer Pinto.”

I was rear ended and I lived.

I was hit by another car going 50 mph.


Well, it is a very controversial topic, to be honest. No way I would ever hand over the wheel to a robot but it has its perks. In the event of an emergency where you can’t drive yourself or have to tend to a wounded person, self-driving cars sound fantastic.
But even if there’s a 1% chance they might go Carmageddon on us, I’d say we should probably wait until they perfect the technology. As I am sure the engineers designing the software for these cars are aware that robots need to make a better choice than humans in order to avoid emergency situations.


That’s like saying that Gee I smoked for 20 years and never got Cancer…so smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

The Pinto was a disaster to happen. Just because your Pinto didn’t explode doesn’t mean that others didn’t. All cars had the potential to explode in a rear-end accident - but Pintos gas tank could become dislodged and rupture even at very low speeds (under 10mph). Even Ford knew there was a problem before the first Pinto was sold. And the internal memo’s actually showed that.


“Realistic” and “random anecdotes that defy established facts” rarely belong in the same thought.


If all you have is anecdote…


Well we use life experiences to make decisions on and base judgments on even though we do not have the complete set of scientific data to prove it one way or another. Sometimes its unfair but sometimes its not. That’s why there’s a bit of truth to every stereotype even though it may not be fair or accurate for the general population. I rode my bike on thin ice once and fell in. I’m not going to do it again even though I have no data on all kids that either did or did not fall in.

So a lot of unhappy Ford owners became Chevy owners and unhappy Chevy owners became happy Ford owners. And a lot of domestic car owners became foreign car owners and so on. How many of us will not own a Chrysler product because of experiences in the 1970’s. Fair or unfair today but that’s how we avoid making the same errors over and over. I kinda would like a Fiat Jeep though so maybe some of us never learn.


Pintos were determined to be no more likely to “burst into flames” in a rear end collision than similar compact cars and less likely than others by NHTSA. 27 documented rear end collision deaths by fire (NHTSA) is very few.


My 1979 CDL test was written only. I aced it and was authorized to drive up to tractor with double trailers. My only previous hands on experience was driving a tractor with single trailer about 100 feet to position it for servicing. I was able to figure it out and have no accidents.


That’s a false analogy. Just because there weren’t that many deaths doesn’t mean there wasn’t a potential problem. The Pinto was far more likely to burst then any other car built in that era or since.





My dad had a Pinto wagon and he just put a trailer hitch on it and drove on happily.


In about 1965 I got a CDL in Mississippi. A short written test and a short trip around the block in a Blue Bird school bus was all that was needed and the license I was given indicated that I could drive anything legally on the road.