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California steers toward a future of self-driving cars

Original post made on Jul 30, 2019

California is laying the groundwork for the next, slightly scary, phase in its push toward zero-emission transportation: self-driving cars packed with computers using finely tuned algorithms and other high-tech gadgetry.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 9:13 AM

Comments (10)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2019 at 10:08 am

If a car is driving around empty of people then it needs to be very apparent so that in the event of a fiery crash, no Good Samaritan, or First Responder will put their lives in danger to rescue non-existent occupants.

I have raised this point and as yet find that there is no law or gadgetry that is being looked at for this. As we find autonomous trucks in particular but any vehicle, carrying inflammables, etc. the likelihood of a fire on a highway after a crash would make it quite possible that a human rescuer would take a chance to rescue an occupant but there would not be the same need if the vehicle was empty of living beings. It should be a given that in the case of a crash it is completely obvious that the truck/vehicle can be left to burn.cJ9rY


4 people like this
Posted by crosswalk to home
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2019 at 10:34 am

My concern is more immediate than whether to attempt a rescue when answering a call to a fiery burning hulk.

When I cross University Avenue, I look at the driver to see if s/he has looked in my direction, perhaps even locking eyes, or a nod.

How do I do that now? Crossing in front of a driverless car is going to take a little more guts.


4 people like this
Posted by Welcome to WAYMO-LAND
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 30, 2019 at 11:39 am

Is this what we really want?

Roadways filled with hesitant, over-cautious, slow-moving automobiles?


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2019 at 11:51 am

I wonder how many of the engineers and programmers know system/software safety? Anybody ex-employees out there willing to comment?

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2019 at 9:54 pm

Kids during school opening and closing hours, bike across all of palo alto and many are aggressive 12 year olds who do not stop at stop signs. (That’s what 12 years olds do and it is expected). How would an autonomous vehicle “know” that it needs to have “patience” with kids?


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Posted by No problem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2019 at 6:21 am

On the situation discussed in the post above, the cars know to stop and can react faster than humans in stopping during emergency situations.
No issue.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2019 at 2:35 pm

Posted by No problem, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> On the situation discussed in the post above, the cars know to stop and can react faster than humans in stopping during emergency situations.
>> No issue.

Can you tell me if the systems have been designed and implemented using accepted system safety principles, such as you would find described in this book? Web Link

Because, if not, then, how do you know there will be "no issue"?


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Posted by Laughing so hard
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 31, 2019 at 2:51 pm

Years and years of waymos on roads that were infinitely safer than "driven" cars give me confidence
So far the evidence is showing these to be extremely safe. Not perfect, but MUCH safer than driven cars. So far.
Promises that nothing bad will ever happen won't ever happen with anything.
"What if"? how about "Been there, done that, more safely."



Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Posted by Laughing so hard, a resident of Woodside

>> Years and years of waymos on roads that were infinitely safer than "driven" cars

Years and years and miles and miles of waymo cars going up and down Middlefield in Mtn View at 25 MPH with someone's foot ready to brake are "interesting" but, statistically speaking, not relevant to a fully autonomous vehicle.

I understand your argument -- cars driven by people are so bad that computers "must" be better. But, unfortunately, a lot of people will have to die to make a statistically valid comparison. At least we can require that system safety principles be followed, which, among other things, will make it easier to fix reliably bugs that will inevitably be discovered along the way.


Like this comment
Posted by Breathe
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 31, 2019 at 4:42 pm

I think we'll be ok. If not I'll come back and say you were right.


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