[LINK] Will humans be banned from driving?

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Wed Jun 1 23:11:33 AEST 2016

On 1/06/2016 6:01 PM, Frank O'Connor wrote:
> And I take your comments regarding your engineering expertise advisedly, but am at a loss for your refusal to admit that over time vehicle safety and controllability has been improved by previous incremental engineering, automation and technological improvements, and your averral that future incremental technological improvements are not likely to occur or be of benefit.

You are missing my point. Yes technology has improved many things, yes
automation is fantastic and can do things humans can and will never do,
yes there will be more developments, yes there will be benefits.

However three things.

1. The problem autonomous vehicles might solve (whatever that is, I'm
not sure it's been fully stated and/or been ranked against other
problems), may actually be better solved some other way.

2. An end goal of all vehicles being fully autonomous may not be
technologically possible and/or cost effective.

3. They may not be socially acceptable.
> Bottom line: To what extent is your position a function of your engineering expertise,

>  and to what extent is it a function of your bias toward direct personal control of whatever technology you use. (I’m assuming you enjoy driving and cars.)

I use whatever technology best suits my needs. I use public transport,
cycle, walk, taxis and my own car, whichever makes sense.

> Finally, as I said … I see the whole fazing humans out of the equation as an incremental development, over decades, rather than anything that’s gonna happen overnight. But with the road toll pretty much stymied (for the last 20 years)

Table 1
1970-1982 road deaths were over 1000/year peaking in 1978 at 1384
The latest year reported, 2014 was 303.

Deaths per 1000 persons
1978   0.27 (population 5,054,000)
2014   0.04 (population 7,517,000)

Total crashes
1974 128,842 (Peak)
2014   36,981

Crashes per 1000 persons
1978   26.3 (population 4,894,000)
2014     4.9 (population 7,517,000)

The pdf has a range of other statistics, all of which show a reduction
to approximately one tenth of those in 1970 and to a third of those in
the early 1990s 


> at the same level, and more people and more vehicles and more traffic, and hence more traffic jams, and less money for more roads and infrastructure … the accident rate and transport problems generally are likely to increase without technological developments to forestall it.
> And a natural development or use of all those developments and improvements, will be autonomous robotic cars.

IMHO, just not full autonomous.

> Just my 2 cents worth, Bernard … but it does seem to run against type when you, of all people, come up with a Luddite position like this on pretty weak grounds.

Ha! Luddite position? I think not. My view is that incremental changes
will take us only so far. Look out for black swans and disruptive
technologies - not a natural development.

> Sorry, but you’re pissing against the wind on this one, Mate  …

Maybe, but I've seen too many technology predictions go seriously wrong.
In fact I study the subject. If you are interested, you could do worse
than read Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended
Consequences by Edward Tenner
> Feel free to continue disagreeing though.         :)

You're too kind.




Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Sydney Australia
email: brd at iimetro.com.au
web:   www.drbrd.com
web:   www.problemsfirst.com
Blog:  www.problemsfirst.com/blog

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