snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Non-UL Chat > Business Bytes

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 19 March 2018, 09:24 PM
Errata's Avatar
Errata Errata is online now
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 13,145
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
Are we really so obsessed with making real life like Star Trek meets The Jetsons that we need self-drivng cars like tomorrow? Maybe if we weren't in such a rush they wouldn't crash so much.
Around 90 people die in a car crash every day, just in the US, and way more than that globally. Do you read 50 different national news articles per day about each of those incidents? No, you're so used to the ongoing horror of a very familiar situation that it seems like a totally ordinary and inevitable part of life. But when a different technology is involved, suddenly it's interesting and unfamiliar again, so you get a news story every time it happens. This particular incident didn't even result in a fatality, so it falls in the much much larger category of non-fatal accidents that are constantly happening all day every day, more often than not due to human error. There's zero chance you'd see a national news article about a non-fatal accident like this without the self-driving angle.

A mature self-driving technology would save hundreds of thousands of people per year. When people lose perspective about how many people die from other people and obsess over a few that may be killed by new technology, that impulse is causing thousands more unnecessary fatalities.

I don't like the way some manufacturers are approaching their testing. They should be more open. Tesla in particular comes off as careless releasing products publicly with little transparency on the testing. And I think the whole concept of a partial autopilot where the driver is still responsible for paying attention is a flawed model. However, when you go too far and use this to attack the entire self-driving concept rather than specific practices of specific manufacturers, your reactionary impulse is helping to kill lots of people.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 19 March 2018, 09:40 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
Join Date: 29 December 2005
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 6,903
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
I don't know that it would be that different from existing liability laws. I believe most states hold that the parent of a 16 or 17 year old is still ultimately financially responsible for damages even though the child is designated to have sufficient decision making capabilities with regards to driving. An owner of a animal is responsible for any damages that that entity does, even though an animal has a great deal of autonomy and decision making capability. The manufacturer would probably be held liable only if the car did not meet whatever ends up being an industry standard for self-driving cars or if there was a defect in the car.

For example, drum brakes have long been accepted on the rear wheels of a vehicle despite the fact that disc brakes usually provide better stopping power. A car manufacturer that uses drum brakes is generally not going to be held liable even if an accident could have been avoided if the car had disc brakes. A similar standard would probably hold true with autonomous cars. If the car meets the standard for avoidance of objects traveling at oblique angles x - x`, then an accident from angle x` + 20* will probably be considered not the car manufacturer's fault.
Tell that to the makers of the Corvair. That car met every applicable standard and yet they were many millions of dollars of lawsuits.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 19 March 2018, 10:12 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is online now
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 25,940
Default

A) There will always be lawsuits, which is why I didn't state that it would never happen.
B) GM ignored their own engineers warnings' that removing designed-in components would make the car unsafe.
C) What applicable standards? There were no national vehicle safety regulations when the Corvair was designed.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 19 March 2018, 10:18 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,103
Default

Yeah, most of that post is wrong. As a general tort law proposition, parents are not responsible for their child's negligence -- you have to prove that the parent was negligent in their own actions (like through negligent entrustment).

Responsibility for animal damages varies with the situation and the law in the jurisdiction.

Product liability can apply even when a product meets all legal standards, and can depend on a variety of factors. And at least initially, the industry won't have a standard way of dealing with very many things.

If the owner of the car is literally not expected to be in control of it, then one model for dealing with crashes where there is fault in the operation of the vehicle would be through a products liability claim. (Possibly mediated through an insurance process -- you would not want to get rid of the insurance requirement, which would still be needed for specific circumstances. Negligent maintenance, e.g.)

That model might most strongly incentivize safe car design.

Another model would be to require car owners/riders to have insurance, and then have some kind of no-fault system. In that system, safe car design would be incentivized indirectly through lower insurance rates for safer cars, and insurance companies pressing for wider adoption of the safest designs.

One of my concerns about the lack of legislation accompanying autonomous car development is that without direct legislation on these issues, judges and juries will be trying to apply laws not written for these circumstances. Combine that with the fact that autonomous car accidents can look drastically different from what we are used to, and you could get results that will cause problems to the industry and its further development for a long time.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 19 March 2018, 11:18 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
Join Date: 27 March 2004
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Posts: 4,408
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Uber halts self-driving tests after pedestrian killed in Arizona

[There seems to be some confusion about if she was a pedestrian or a bicycle rider.]
CBS News just stated that the woman was walking the bicycle across a busy street and not at a marked crosswalk. There is the question of whether or not any driver could have avoided this. However, I tend to always assume other people are going to do something stupid. Comes from riding a motorcycle.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 19 March 2018, 11:52 PM
Errata's Avatar
Errata Errata is online now
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 13,145
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
However, I tend to always assume other people are going to do something stupid. Comes from riding a motorcycle.
As a pedestrian, I've definitely had a number of very human drivers try to run me over in a legal crosswalk or sidewalk where I had the right of way. Some of them see me far later than they should have, while others go by seemingly completely oblivious. A lot of people who only ever drive and never walk seem to only look in the directions that they expect other cars to come from, not the crosswalks they might be turning into (and that's not even getting into cars pulling out of unexpected driveways or jaywalkers).

Some humans might be alert and safe and anticipating hazards, but some very much are not. And even some of those who would typically consider themselves to be in the safe and alert category actually get distracted from time to time and may slip. Humans are far from perfect drivers. Better has to be the goal, not perfect.

Last edited by Errata; 19 March 2018 at 11:58 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 20 March 2018, 12:53 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,569
Driver

People can continue to claim these systems will be safer (or are safer) than human drivers but there is not even semi-decent statistical data available to make that comparison.

None of that changes the fact that we've had a system for establishing liability and safety for over a century that cannot be applied to these systems because it puts the responsibility on individual drivers. There has to be a system for liability (which can't be considered separate from the engineering) and the only way to do that is to get much much more public information about how they work, how they are being used, and then, if the comparison is relevant in some context, how they statistically compare to human drivers within that specific context. (Context includes what type of driving, what type of roads and conditions, how the system works, etc. - information these companies have not made available.)

It's my opinion we're not there and we're not going to get there because we have engineers that don't understand how society works and who consider essential and huge parts of the transportation system, such as liability, problems to solve later. If it's safer than a human driver, who can complain? Well, no, first of all, (g)you haven't shown that and second of all, that's not how it works when you make something new. (g)You don't just get to make up any comparison to previous systems and constantly claim this one's safer without laying out all the evidence.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 20 March 2018, 12:55 AM
Errata's Avatar
Errata Errata is online now
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 13,145
Default

Says the horse and buggy industry.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 20 March 2018, 12:58 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,569
Default

Yes, that's why it took the automobile industry 30 or 40 years to get those issues solved - longer if you consider that compulsory auto insurance didn't come around until later.

Yet this is, I would posit, a much larger leap. If all goes as (optimistically) expected, we will have several systems driving millions cars each in autonomous instances. That's a totally different problem than either horses and buggies or human drivers.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 20 March 2018, 01:09 PM
Psihala's Avatar
Psihala Psihala is offline
 
Join Date: 28 February 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 7,985
Default

The NTSB is going to investigate this accident. They aren't obligated to, but given that they've long expressed interest in automated systems that take the human element out of the equation*, I can see why they'd be interested.

~Psihala
(*This sentiment has come up in several NTSB board meetings over the years.)
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 20 March 2018, 01:28 PM
iskinner's Avatar
iskinner iskinner is online now
 
Join Date: 06 May 2011
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 430
Default Black Box

One of the important considerations is that being an autonomous vehicle it has all but a black box. The investigators will of lots of data to review beyond what a few humans may or may not accurately remember. This would be a big change over the current system all on its own.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 20 March 2018, 01:44 PM
ChasFink's Avatar
ChasFink ChasFink is offline
 
Join Date: 09 December 2015
Location: Mineola, NY
Posts: 826
Borg

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
CBS News just stated that the woman was walking the bicycle across a busy street and not at a marked crosswalk. There is the question of whether or not any driver could have avoided this. However, I tend to always assume other people are going to do something stupid. Comes from riding a motorcycle.
And I think this is the crux of the issue: are self-driving cars aware enough to anticipate the same level of stupidity from pedestrians and human drivers that skilled human drivers do? I tend to doubt it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
As a pedestrian, I've definitely had a number of very human drivers try to run me over in a legal crosswalk or sidewalk where I had the right of way. Some of them see me far later than they should have, while others go by seemingly completely oblivious. A lot of people who only ever drive and never walk seem to only look in the directions that they expect other cars to come from, not the crosswalks they might be turning into (and that's not even getting into cars pulling out of unexpected driveways or jaywalkers).
And again, do these cars really know how to do that better than people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
There has to be a system for liability (which can't be considered separate from the engineering) and the only way to do that is to get much much more public information about how they work, how they are being used, and then, if the comparison is relevant in some context, how they statistically compare to human drivers within that specific context....
It's my opinion we're not there and we're not going to get there because we have engineers that don't understand how society works and who consider essential and huge parts of the transportation system, such as liability, problems to solve later.
There seems to be a real cart-before-the-horse thinking here, and the fact that most people don't really know how the technology works (logically, not technically), don't really want to know, probably aren't allowed to know, and will believe any fantasy story the marketroids and engineers who think like them tell us won't make this any easier.

Consider Sophia, the robot who was granted Saudi citizenship (and apparently "joked" about destroying humans). In public appearances and on talk shows (there's plenty of video out there) it's painfully obvious she's been programmed for the occasion, and always talks about how she feels or what she wants to do. These "feelings", and even the general flow of her statements, do not represent anything much more sophisticated than a text-based computer game from the 1980s. Yet the company who made her seems very content to let the media coverage portray her as an independent entity of near-human intelligence. This kind of chicanery is fine with a silly social robot whose primary purpose is to bridge the uncanny valley, but not with heavy, fast-moving vehicles that can easily kill you.

At the national or global level, we need a long-term and cautious plan to test these cars and establish rules for things like liability, and it has to include honest, open exchange of information - free from baseless bragging - on how these systems work and what their limitations and dangers are. I'm not holding my breath. The genie is out of the bottle, and only more accidents - and needless suffering - will eventually work out the kinks.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 20 March 2018, 02:51 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is online now
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 25,940
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
And I think this is the crux of the issue: are self-driving cars aware enough to anticipate the same level of stupidity from pedestrians and human drivers that skilled human drivers do? I tend to doubt it.
But do they need to be better or even as good at anticipating? Anticipation in driving is used to concentrate our very limited attention on more likely threats and to better prepare ourselves to react. When we see a pedestrian very close to the sidewalk, we make sure to look at them more frequently, we prefigure out what we will do (brake or swerve based on distance and other traffic) and we precondition our brain that them stepping out may be a possibility. An automated system doesn't need to do any of those things. It is constantly scanning everything all the time so it doesn't need to pay more attention to any one thing. Since it would know where other vehicles are, calculating stop vs swerve would be near instantaneous. And an automated system wouldn't have a reaction system slowed by even a fraction of a second by "wait, is this happening?"
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 20 March 2018, 03:53 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is online now
 
Join Date: 22 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,477
Default

Looking at the pictures and videos of the scene of the accident, it looks like she stepped right from the sidewalk into the path of the car. Either that or the car failed to 'notice' her walk all the way in front of it before hitting her.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 20 March 2018, 03:57 PM
ChasFink's Avatar
ChasFink ChasFink is offline
 
Join Date: 09 December 2015
Location: Mineola, NY
Posts: 826
Driver

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
But do they need to be better or even as good at anticipating?
I would argue that everything a self-driving car does - aside from the actual act of moving forward - is based on anticipation. It looks all around and makes certain assumptions about what's there: will each of these objects speed up, slow down, swerve left or right, etc. based on the current trajectory, speed, and acceleration? Some things an ideal human would do is 1.factor in certain behaviors of individuals: that red Lexus keeps driving up everyone's butt in a dangerous way, and is likely to do the same behind any vehicle 2. avoid hitting a pedestrian at the expense of hitting a vehicle, assuming that's likely to cause less human damage. Some automated systems might be able to do these things well, others might not do them at all. And there would certainly be differences in they way they do them. That's why we should have the type of testing and planning I suggested.

For some reason society has forgotten the idea of patience for safety's sake. In the 1960s, the Apollo program had separate missions test the command module in Earth orbit, then in lunar orbit, than the lander at Earth, then at the Moon, then they landed. Today Elon Musk wants to send people to Mars next year, with a very good chance that they will die.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 20 March 2018, 04:10 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,111
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Yes, that's why it took the automobile industry 30 or 40 years to get those issues solved - longer if you consider that compulsory auto insurance didn't come around until later.
And part of that - at least in the States - was apparently to establish jaywalking laws in order to help push blame for accidents involving pedestrians back onto pedestrians, rather than on the people who were suddenly driving fast, heavy, difficult-to-control vehicles around in areas that had previously been open to a wide variety of traffic including foot traffic.

I wonder to what extent the autonomous car industry will try to push liability off like that? There's a fairly obvious route they could take: "We already know that these vehicles are much safer than human drivers, so it stands to reason that if there's an accident, it will most likely be the fault of any nearby humans, rather than this vehicle!"
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 20 March 2018, 04:20 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is online now
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 25,940
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
I would argue that everything a self-driving car does - aside from the actual act of moving forward - is based on anticipation. It looks all around and makes certain assumptions about what's there: will each of these objects speed up, slow down, swerve left or right, etc. based on the current trajectory, speed, and acceleration?
Those are necessary things and I agree that a system would need to do such things. But they are quite different from a system that can anticipate the stupidity of pedestrians and other drivers.

Quote:
Some things an ideal human would do is 1.factor in certain behaviors of individuals: that red Lexus keeps driving up everyone's butt in a dangerous way, and is likely to do the same behind any vehicle 2. avoid hitting a pedestrian at the expense of hitting a vehicle, assuming that's likely to cause less human damage.
There's not much either automated or human drivers can do in your first case except increase their following distance from a car ahead or change lanes. Such a change doesn't require any AI level of anticipation. And critical decisions like what/who to hit would be based on what decisions were fed into the system, not the results of the "is that pedestrian going to step into traffic?" algorithm.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 20 March 2018, 04:30 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,111
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Those are necessary things and I agree that a system would need to do such things. But they are quite different from a system that can anticipate the stupidity of pedestrians and other drivers.
(Addendum to my post above) I see people are already phrasing this in terms of "stupid humans" getting in the way of the robots, in fact.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 20 March 2018, 04:38 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,103
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
Looking at the pictures and videos of the scene of the accident, it looks like she stepped right from the sidewalk into the path of the car. Either that or the car failed to 'notice' her walk all the way in front of it before hitting her.
What pictures or videos are you looking at? Are you suggesting that she stepped into the path of the car under conditions that prevented it from stopping in time? If so, what is that based on?
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 20 March 2018, 04:47 PM
iskinner's Avatar
iskinner iskinner is online now
 
Join Date: 06 May 2011
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 430
Default Exclusive: Tempe police chief says early probe shows no fault by Uber

According to the San Francisco Chronicle she came from the median.

Quote:
Pushing a bicycle laden with plastic shopping bags, a woman abruptly walked from a center median into a lane of traffic and was struck by a self-driving Uber operating in autonomous mode.
Article

I'm a bit concerned about this being released so quickly. It would be more persuasive if there was more analysis given.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Christy Natsis gets 5-year sentence for impaired, dangerous driving in 2011 crash Sue Moot Court 7 10 May 2018 05:49 PM
Sigma Nu Fraternity suspends ODU chapter after display of offensive banners TallGeekyGirl Social Studies 5 25 August 2015 09:57 PM
Daycare suspends 2-year-old girl over cheese sandwich Sue Social Studies 19 07 March 2014 09:45 PM
Southwest suspends pilots who flew plane to wrong airport WildaBeast Crash and Burn 0 13 January 2014 09:22 PM
NY Suspends Driver's Licenses for Tax Delinquents snopes Police Blotter 1 06 August 2013 05:08 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.