The Tesla auto pilot accident: The difference between level 2 and level 4 self drive cars is important!
Traffic Fatalities Up Nearly 8 Percent in 2015 | The Antiplanner
A turning truck apparently didn't see the auto, that, and a level 2 self drive auto pilot combined for a deadly serious collision.
"But enough ranting about Portland. A few more details have emerged about the fatal Tesla auto-pilot accident that took place in May. First, the above graphic from the accident report shows that a semi-truck/trailer turned left into the path of the Tesla. This suggests that the truck driver may have been nominally at fault for not yielding the right of way to on-coming traffic.
Second, Mobileye, the company that made the radar system used in the Tesla, said in its defense that its system was designed solely to prevent rear-end collisions with vehicles in the same direction of travel as the radar-equipped vehicle, not to detect and avoid collisions with “laterally crossing vehicles.” The company said it plans to incorporate “Lateral Turn Across Path (LTAP) detection capabilities beginning in 2018.'"
Combine one inattentive truck driver, one level 2 auto piloted auto, and one part operator overconfidence of the auto pilot system, and disaster lurks. When I was a ski patroller we saw this with avalanche forecasting. A significant portion of the AV deaths was due to highly experienced AV forecasters and wilderness skiers simply attempting to cut the risk to finely. After years of being correct, they simply believe AV forecasting is a science, not an art. Then they die in the AV. I do not know if that happened here, but it seems like a strong possibility, one which needs to be addressed.
Ultimately the point of the self drive car cannot be to eliminate all accidents, that is likely impossible, but instead to reduce the human factor to the point we are left with a radically lower number of fatalities.
Expect the politicians, and bureaucrats to attempt to muck up the process at every opportunity. They will only make things less safe, but they will certainly feel good about doing that, and believe they are SuperCongressMan coming to the rescue of distressed damsels everywhere.
We are up to our keister in White Knights saving the day with daring-do from terrifying dragons!
"Wake up Congressman, we're almost to the bar. Time to slay another dragon."
The Antiplanner also takes the time here to discuss traffic fatality data. Mostly this is about what I expected, although the data for the Northwet (sic) is disturbing, showing a 20% gain in fatalities. Back to the overall data:
"Fatalities grew most for people outside of cars. Cyclist deaths grew by 13 percent (from 726 in 2014); pedestrian by 10 percent (from 4,884); and motorcyclist by 9 percent (from 4,586). Driver deaths grew by just 6 percent and passenger by 7 percent. Rollover deaths grew by an estimated 5 percent."
This could account for the Northwet (sic) increase, since the region has been placing great emphasis on shifting to non-auto transportation modes like bike. While this is not a negative, it may place many more people at risk. I cannot tell from the data whether the Northwet (sic) fatality increase is being caused by the increase in non-auto transportation, but if so, this is a negative. We will also need to determine whether all of the bicycle amenities like bike lanes, and bike boxes are causing an increase in accidents and fatalities. If so, we really need to rethink these "amenities."