Refutation: Feds argue safety is the problem.

Tesla Motors Inc. Tests Self-Driving Technology

11/15/16

The worries for safety with autonomous vehicles are being heard by the U.S Secretary of Transportation, linked from here. Anthony Foxx a transportation representative stated that “We need industry to take the safety aspect of this very seriously,”. Foxx believed in implementing safety to make sure that the technology needed focuses on reducing car crashes and driver safety. The fear of having human crashes replaced by technology being the cause remains to be resolved. People believe that the technology in autonomous vehicles can be hacked and corrupted, which can cause a greater danger to the people.

Other groups are joining the fight against autonomous vehicles, linked here. The Boston Consulting Group reported that cars must be secure from cyber-attack; liability issues also must be resolved, also high-precision maps must be created. Consultants from the BCG had a question. What about snow? Researchers from the group found that the technology in the autonomous cars can be effected by the weather. Snow seemed to be able to interrupt the radars that control the cruise control, can be critical to the vehicles malfunctioning. The cruise control maintains the speed and distance of the vehicle. So, that if a vehicle gets to close the brakes would automatically stop a function that most cars already have. The radar is supposed to detect pedestrians and other cars. Snowy conditions would block the sensors and radars which would present a danger for the people.
Autonomous vehicles use Lidar, sensing technology that requires light and since snow would cause it to in operate. Even though there might be a simple solution it still seems un reliable do to technology. While using wireless communication technology between vehicles it has the chance of being hack or corrupted by hackers or other technology malfunctions. These shortcomings should be a concern for the peoples’ safety. Vehicles are already considered highly dangerous, and given up your ability to control that vehicle can be a concern for many people who sees this new technology as unsafe.

-Team APG

Refutation: Autopilot feature is misleading

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11/09/16

According to the author over at ExtremeTech.com, Germany wants Tesla Motors to rename it’s Autopilot feature to something that clarifies that it is not a full autonomous program. This has been an ongoing issue ever since Tesla’s recent fatalities, while possibly using autopilot, here, and here.

Tesla Motors has worked endlessly to debunk many of the minor accidents through each cars black box; however, when fatalities occur, a lengthy investigation into the cause is conducted.

So should Tesla rename Autopilot to something else? Maybe Semi-Autopilot? Definitely not! The automaker could name their system anything they want. It’s really  up to the consumer to understand the product he or she is using.

Unless there are patent issues, then no country should have the power to force a company to change any naming of products or features. Additionally, Tesla Motors explicitly states in the end user agreement that the Autopilot feature is in beta testing,  and that a driver should be ready to regain control of the vehicle in the event of an emergency.

So in the end, it’s the consumer that needs to understand the capabilities of Autopilot, which could vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. You know, it’s like sugar free gum… you’re not getting free sugar!

-Team APG

Refutation: Driverless cars will destroy jobs!

11/03/16

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On MarketWatch, Linked Here, the author states that driverless cars would leave thousands of drivers without jobs. Additionally, most current drivers will probably not transition to another job, such as maintaining vehicles that are running 24 hours a day.

Our economy is changing, period. It happens with every great technological feat. Let’s think back to when horse drawn carriages transitioned over to the Ford Model T cars… Guess what? Those carriage drivers probably started driving cars eventually. Maintaining a horse was time consuming, and horses are SLOW.

Ok, so the author does have a point that maybe the majority of current drivers won’t enter the maintenance industry. Well the funny thing is that while autonomous technology is increasing so is electric cars. So there will probably be less maintenance anyway; however, what other jobs would be available?

From our vantage point, we might not be able to see it yet, but like I said earlier, our economy is CHANGING. Our society will adapt, and people will be afforded new jobs. Unfortunately, a person may have to learn new skills, but that is how society becomes more productive… You know how we transitioned out of agrarian to industrial and now we’re in the post-industrial era… Today it’s our information and service, what you know and what you can do with it… tomorrow, it could very likely change to something entirely new.

Hey coalition of Uber drivers against change. Stop with your shenanigans, and just let this Autopilot Go!

-Team APG

Refutation: Moral issues of self driving cars

Transportation Sec'y Foxx Discusses Future Transportation Trends With Google CEO10/28/16

Self Driving cars are becoming more of a reality each day as companies like Tesla motors gather extensive data to program full autonomy. Unfortunately, there are many issues concerning this new technology.

Ethics and morals are concerns of engineers, drivers, and pedestrians. The Observer provided an interesting article here. How does autopilot decide who lives or dies based on the scenario that is given to the Artificial Intelligence. That is one, if not the all important question that is surrounding the new tech. Simply, the vehicle is probably going to choose whoever has the higher chance to survive an accident.

Researchers at MIT stated that they wanted, “[to] cover all the complexities of traffic laws, where pedestrians are either jaywalking or following the walk signal. That affects whether you kill more or less people”. This is important because in different parts of the country, or world for that matter. People violate all kinds of traffic laws on a regular basis. Where else do you think we got the California roll through a stop sign?

Additionally, who is going to be liable for an accident? The manufacturer, regulators, or the driver. This is a multifaceted issue, and it certainly has many levels of responsibility. We’re going to have to establish this before the masses begin to use autonomous driving. Fortunately, if everyone adopts it quicker, then the cars can just avoid having accidents.

-Team APG