It’s tough to say they’re causing accidents when the majority of the accidents is them getting rear ended. Normally, when one gets rear ended it’s the rear ender not the rear endee that’s at fault.
Now I do understand that it’s because they’re not driving like humans and humans, the rear enders, are expecting the car to do something different, i.e. not slow down and stop for the yellow light or turn when there’s a certain amount of space between cars, while the self-driving car has been programmed to be more cautious or law abiding. Regardless, I would say that if you rear end someone it’s your fault for not being attentive enough, not the rear endee’s fault.
And hopefully technology will get rid of the rear end crash. I can’t find the source but I read somewhere that no Volvo with rear end crash prevention technology has ever been invovled in a rear end crash… (Ie front facing camera that stops the car before it plows into the car ahead)
Edit: maybe I’m conflating their goal of 0 with actual 0
I’m on the side of, “if you’re introducing a new technology, and crashes result, you’re doing something wrong.” I don’t think it matters that the vehicles are technically following the law when they stop short. So maybe look behind and slow down more gradually if someone’s following too close. I do that on the highway. I’ll use my flashers if I have to slow down for traffic, and definitely look behind me to see if someone’s going to run up on me.
Driving is a social activity. It’s not just following laws. You have to take into account what other road users are doing, and act accordingly.
interesting points you guys both bring up.
Traffic laws are pretty black and white on rear end crashes. It’s always the fault of the person hitting the car ahead of them. Doesn’t matter if it’s an autonomous car following the letter of the law, an autonomous car stopping short because a fire hydrant tricked it, or a human slamming on the brakes for one reason or another. That’s a bright line rule.
What isn’t know is what’s the rate per million miles driven (or whatever the metric is) of rear end crashes for autonomous vs. human piloted lead cars. That’s what we really need to know. Not every human-human crash is reported. And not every human-computer crash is reported either. So we’d need someone way above my pay grade (i.e., took an intro to stats course in college in 1993) to work on this data.
One other thought. If,say, rear end collisions have gone up with autonomous vehicles, have other, presumably less safe/higher morbidity and mortality, crash gone down, like t-bones when red lights are run. Or peds in cross wakks
Who knows? Food for thought.
Perhaps of interest: a more-technical-than-usual discussion of sensor technologies used in autonomous vehicles:
It’s more complicated than I realized. They (can) use:
- long-range radar
- short- and medium-range radar
- optical cameras
“Days before an Uber in self-driving mode struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., in March, a manager in the testing operations group told company executives and lawyers in an email that the vehicles were “routinely in accidents resulting in damage,” including in Pittsburgh. That employee, Robbie Miller, said one of Uber’s autonomous Volvo SUVs swerved from the road and onto the sidewalk, where it continued driving… Mr. Miller alleged in an email that the episode was “essentially ignored” for days.”
Fresh Air radio conversation about autonomous cars.
- AVs could be as big as a house, feel like a house inside.
- But if they stay narrow, 6 ft, car lanes could be narrowed from 12 ft to 7 ft. So narrower roads or more lanes.
- Fewer crashes.
- More cars on the road, especially in big cities & wealthy areas.
- Cars could be adopting many semi-autonomous features soon, e.g. automatic braking.
- So far ride services (Uber, Lyft) are pulling people out of public transit.
- But those services and AVs don’t obviate denser & public transit such as trains, subways, buses.
- Small autonomous buses could provide more frequent, on-demand service where bus service currently exists, and new service in outlying suburbs.
I can support the last bullet point, getting people from suburban sprawl housing to transit lines, but not to supply transit service in built-up areas. Nearly every other bullet point in that list is a bad thing, as concerns cycling. Narrowing lanes from 12 to 10 feet makes some sense, but not to add another driving lane. Instead, doing that usually involves a reduction in speed limit, which would be a good thing. It would also be a good thing for the AV, since it would only be accelerating and decelerating from 25 vs 35. But they don’t say that and don’t mean that and couldn’t sell the idea on that.
Relevant to all cars, not just autonomous, last year I wondered here “Will cars of the future enforce the speed limit?“. https://www.bikepgh.org/message-board/topic/car-less-drivers/page/3/#post-342797 . The technology is called speed governors or speed limiters.
The technology is becoming feasible now, but at least in the UK, if not also in the US, the car lobby is blocking it.
Given this, is everybody still optimistic that autonomous cars will obey the speed limit?
Year in review: The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018
self-driving tesla hits robot
This says the “killing” of the robot was a publicity stunt by Russian company Promobot. Which might explain why most of the comments on their youtube are in Russian and why the tipping motion of the “struck” robot was so gradual. We should ignore the story. https://www.wired.com/story/tesla-promobot-pave-self-driving-education/
BikePGH says “TAKE OUR 2019 SURVEY ABOUT SHARING THE ROAD WITH AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES”.
It's been two years: We want to hear about your thoughts and experiences sharing the road with Autonomous Vehicles. Take BikePGH's 2019 AV Survey: https://t.co/wrAH9Jbgmp????????? #AutomousVehicles #Pittsburgh pic.twitter.com/OrINmyKgtg
— BikePGH (@BikePGH) January 16, 2019
Platooning autonomous buses and trucks coming to selected PA higgways as soon as this spring .
Self driving car lidar may ruin camera sensors.
"Autonomous-vehicle developers are generally struggling with a multitude of basic scenarios, from making unprotected left-hand turns to judging whether an idling car is double-parked." And don't even get them started on how to handle bikes and peds https://t.co/uJj0SpsJZ8
— Eric Boerer (@ErokEric) January 17, 2019
Self-driving cars will drive around instead of parking to save owners $$.
The family of the woman who was killed by the Uber autonomous car in Tempe is suing the city for bad road design.
Eric Boerer of Bike Pittsburgh and Erin Potts of Healthy Ride discussed cycling near autonomous vehicles on The Confluence radio show. (Synopsis: cyclists would like AVs to drive at under 25mph, cycling in Pittsburgh is up, protected bike lanes are good, people are more suspicious of Uber since their AV killed a pedestrian). Listen from 22:30 to 33:20
I just read an article about the Bike PGH AV Opinion survey. I wrote a letter to BikePGH in 2017 after the first one to point out that this is not a survey, but an online poll. I’m writing both as a grumpy old timer as well as someone who is genuinely concerned that BikePGH may be missleading the public on the opinions of bicyclists. A survey is a scientfic tool which weighs the actual demographics of the survey pool and asks questions from randomized participants, it is reflective of the opinions or behaviors of the population surveyed. While a poll is the collection of data of self-selected participants, as the data you collected shows, these folks are not representative of the bicycling public -so neither are their opinions! Surveys are hard and costly, but you get what you pay for.
Thanks for listening.
Totally agree. I thought the same thing when I was reading it. They really need to put in a limitations part including the fact that this isn’t a representative sample of anything other than those motivated to take the online poll. The data and results are still valuable but it needs to be presented the right way.
What they did may not be statistically meaningful or good science, but it fits one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of the word “survey”:”to query (someone) in order to collect data for the analysis of some aspect of a group or area”. There’s no requirement that the analysis must be done in a certain way or that the result must be presented accurately. Even an online poll is still a kind of survey, as long as it involves collecting data for some kind of analysis. Here they analysed the professed opinions of people who felt like taking a certain online survey.
I agree that a disclaimer would have been appropriate. But most readers really should know enough not to need one.
This argues that Google is making the same mistake with Waymo that Xerox made with PARCs GUI.
Europe is moving ahead with speed limiters. It’s sad how the US is falling behind on regulation of technology.
All New Cars To Have Speed Limiters Fitted, Rules European Parliament
Here’s a related article about Volvo deciding that their newer cars should be speed limited to 112 mph worldwide and perhaps use geofencing to limit it either further in sensitive areas such as hospitals, schools, etc. The car company is talking about this in terms of morality. They also feel that a car can be going fast enough that the safety equipment in the car can’t compensate. Very thought provoking.
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