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2019-05-12 11:05 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 202 references Ignore this thread
The Article Of Faith That Isn't True
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The entire world "breathlessly awaits" automated cars.

Really automated cars.  No steering wheel or pedals, get in, push a button, have your optional adult beverage or, in the states where legal, marijuana preparation of choice, kick back and relax while said vehicle automatically goes where you told it to.

In this nirvana there are no accidents because there are no stupid drivers.  While there are breakdowns they're less-frequent because the vehicles "knows" how its performing, and most of them are electric with fewer parts.  It won't try to go where it can't get to on its current charge state, for example, so it'll never "run out of gas."  Since this world also has the car connected to Google (or other similar service) all the time you won't run into "unexpected" traffic jams either; the car will know, and so will you, exactly how long it will take to reach your destination before you depart, since it will not only know what the road state is in terms of travel time now but also all the vehicles that are headed in a given direction and their routing.

The driver will be taken out of the equation for taxis, trucks and everything else.  Uber and Lyft will make a crap-ton of money and nobody will care that they are both rampantly violating anti-trust law, which is a criminal felony, at the present time.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A fare war between Uber and Lyft has led to billions of dollars in losses for both ride-hailing companies as they fight for passengers and drivers.

But in one way it has been good for investors who snatched up the newly public companies’ stock: The losses have scared off the competition, giving the leaders a duopoly in almost every American city.

It's illegal to act in concert or individually to "corner" a market -- whether it's between one entity, two or more.  It's not civilly illegal either -- it's a felony carrying 10 years in prison per count for everyone involved, plus a million dollars per count, that is, per incident, for the corporation.

But what if this nirvana is not only never going to show up -- or effectively never (e.g. 50+ years from now) as it's being promoted without evidence.  It's literally the predicate of everything that has powered all three of these firms -- Tesla, Lyft and Uber -- into the limelight and onto public markets, with the last two coming in just the last couple of weeks.

Specifically, what if the presented cost picture of the future is knowingly false?

Let's just take one example.  If I was to buy a robo-car with no pedals and no steering wheel I would never accept paying any amount for liability insurance.  I'm not driving, therefore I'm not liable.  Period, end of discussion.  I also won't accept paying for collision insurance for the same reason.  I would accept paying for comprehensive coverage (someone might steal it, a hailstorm might damage it, etc) much as I accept paying for insurance against theft or destruction due to an act of God with any other expensive piece of personal property, perhaps as a scheduled item on my homeowner's policy.

So the first piece of collateral damage here is going to be the entire auto insurance industry.  It literally disappears.  This is a roughly $200 billion per year industry that becomes a "theft, fire and Act of God" business at perhaps one tenth of its current size -- likely subsumed into homeowners and renters insurance with cars becoming scheduled personal property!  And by the way the replacement, assuming the cars are $15,000 more expensive for the hardware and software to do this, is $300 million a year -- in other words an effective zero.  A literal 1% of the economy just permanently disappeared along with all of its jobs, never to be seen again.

But the risk doesn't go away and if/when there is an accident with such a vehicle the firms that made the vehicle are going to get sued and lose every time, since "who's responsible" will be trivially determinable.  All these vehicles have today and will in the future have even more-comprehensive data logs including cameras and storage, so exactly what vehicle did what and when will be easily retrieved and thus which company gets the liability bill can be determined within minutes if not seconds.

That's just the first and most-obvious "victim" of this pie-in-the-sky fraudfest that Musk and others have foisted on people.  I say victim because if you think the insurance business will sit back and let this happen you're smoking crack.  But if you think people will buy these cars without the insurance premium disappearing at the same time since they're not driving and thus cannot legally be "at fault" in an accident you're also smoking crack.  We're to blame for this, by the way; we could have decades ago demanded an "at risk" model for travel upon public roads.  That is, you accept the inherent risk of injury or death, and damage to your property, by your mere presence on a public road. Other than for gross negligence (e.g. operating while drunk, knowingly driving a truck with no brakes past a runaway truck ramp instead of taking it, etc.) nobody could sue anyone, ever, period.  If you wanted to buy insurance against your potential losses while on or about a public road (e.g. while within the easement for same) you could, or you could choose not to, but the beneficiary of said insurance would always and only be you (or your covered family) since you couldn't be sued.

Instead we bought into the puerile belief that you're an infant, incapable of adulting, and thus you can't accept the inherent risk of being present in a public place designed for things that mass in the tons traveling at velocities high enough to trivially and reliably kill anything that gets in their way, never mind destroying property.  So we built a $200 billion a year business out of transferring the inherent risk you should have simply accepted in the presence of such things so we can whine, cry and demand to be made whole.

Now the apple cart threatens to be upset.  Boo hoo; **** you Allstate.

But more to the point is that these "cost analysis" games by Lyft and Uber, along with the pie-in-the-sky bull**** that Musk continually spews argues that getting rid of the driver in a car is a net cost reduction of enormous size.  For Musk it's about selling you convenience and panache, mostly.  But for Uber and Lyft it's a function of existential need since neither firm has a snowball's chance in Hell of ever making money without firing all the drivers.

The problem for both Uber and Lyft is that their "registration statements" and all the "thinking" by those "analysts" on the street is best devolved down into looking into a toilet bowl after someone has taken a big fat dump in terms of its intellectual honesty.

The insurance cost-shift alone, all of it which instantly lands on Uber and Lyft for every one of the vehicles in their "fleet", will kill their alleged projections of lower cost all by itself and that is not part of what they sold to investors.  Again we're talking about, in aggregate across the economy in America, $200 billion a year.

If 10% of "personal transportation" is robotaxis in 5 or 10 years that's $20 billion a year in cost that lands directly on their balance sheet.

The bigger problem is that a "clock in/out" model for these firms grossly reduces Uber's and Lyft's exposure to expense in today's world while moving to robo-taxis makes that impossible and forces 100% of that expense on the firms all of the time.  Consider the current model; "drivers" clock in when they want to and clock out when not.  Uber and Lyft pay nothing for a vehicle that a driver either owns or is leasing (conveniently, from them!) when not on the clock.  Their only "payment" is to the driver.  Demand for said services is highly variable and the clock in/out as the driver wishes is highly variable too.  Both firms use "surge pricing" to try to entice drivers to clock in during busy times and meet the demand; that it screws customers if drivers refuse (individually or worse, collusively!) is a side effect nobody seems to pay attention to.  In theory "surge pricing" should be extraordinarily short term; if you're willing to wait 15 minutes for a ride instead of having it right now enough drivers should have seen the demand, clocked in, and the surge pricing disappears.  In the world we live in today said "surges" frequently last hours or longer because they're simply not enticing enough to get a driver to clock in and try to exploit it.

Now consider a fully robotic model; Uber and Lyft own the vehicles.  The idle ones are still on their balance sheet all the time and yet they must have enough of them to go into service at peak demand or consumer satisfaction goes in the crapper instantly.  This is the "medallion" model in the cities except Lyft and Uber own all the medallions and control their supply!

How much excess supply of vehicles is required to provide the expected level of service?  A lot!  The average car today has perhaps a 5 or 10% occupancy/use ratio; that is, if you commute two hours a day the vehicle sits idle 90% of the time.  This is one reason your vehicle lasts five, six, ten years; if it was moving all 100% of the time it would wear out a hell of a lot faster and require 10x as much maintenance too!

You'd think Uber and Lyft could optimize this but it's actually the other way around in a robotaxi world.  Someone has to own the taxis for them to be available to meet the spikes in demand but the rest of the time they do nothing and earn no revenue.

Right now Uber and Lyft absorb none of that parasitic cost on a capital, maintenance and upkeep or depreciation basis -- and I haven't even gotten into whether a driver is cheaper, all-in, than a robot.  I suspect the human might well be at an equivalent level of accuracy in execution, even allowing for things like the sometimes-drunk operator.

Under a robotaxi model they are forced to absorb all of it -- that, is, roughly ten times what they absorb now via the imputed fare split plus all of the imputed insurance expense that will be forcibly shoved into the acquisition price of the vehicle since the manufacturer will be the one who gets sued.

Does this shift make Uber and Lyft more likely to earn a profit?  Not a snowball's chance in Hell unless they can force all personal cars off the road via some government scheme in which case the price of using an Uber or Lyft, all robotic, will be 3, 5 or 10x what it is now with a human driver in it.

Oh by the way, this is exactly why 15 USC Chapter 1 makes what they're doing now with intentional loss-making operations a felony and yet our government sits on its ass exactly as it does with the medical industry: They can only "succeed" by colluding and forcing other options out of the marketplace, either by legislation, an effective act of extortion (buy this prepaid thing from us or pay 10x more "on demand"!) -- or both.

In the medical industry this has ultimately led to you being robbed out of $25/per-person/per-day whether you're well or sick.  Uber and Lyft, never mind Tesla, seem to think they can replicate this scam in the personal transportation business.

I'll take the under on that given that the medical scam is going to collapse the finances of the nation before 2024: All three of these firms are zeros.

As an aside: I'd love to be able to personally own a robotic car at a rational price before my eyesight and physical ability deteriorates enough that I cannot safely operate a vehicle manually.  If I reach my ability's expiration date before that is possible then I may well choose to say "check please!" and become one with the worms; my ability to choose where I go and when is one of the defining elements, for me personally, that makes life worth living.  But my wishes have nothing to do with what I expect is actually going to happen, nor does it color my analysis when it comes to the fraudfest being shoved on Boobus Americanus by these firms.

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Mangymutt
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The only reason I should buy insurance of any kind is to protect myself (or family) against the possibility of an unknown event happening.

When I was younger I drove cars that could get me from point A to point B, but were paid for. If I could safely get from point A to point B the only "law" I broke was being uninsured. And if I did no harm to anyone or their property, what law did I actually break?

Even back then I did the math and it was cheaper to be pulled over and fined to the fullest extent of the WA St uninsured motorist law - Twice a year - then the cheapest yearly coverage for a cheap ass paid off car.

How many other laws are forced upon us as the end user because of insurance companies? To name just one, seat belts. There is no argument that seat belts save lives and also reduce traumatic injuries and personally I can get behind laws that make sure minors are protected. But as a full grown adult, if you want to ride unsecured in the back of a pickup truck, you assume the risk.

Who benefits the most financially when adults are forced to wear seat belts? Of course the state does, law enforcement gets the opportunity to observe you while driving to see if you are "breaking a law" and pull you over for not wearing a seat belt. Who really thinks the state patrol gives a flying **** about your "Safety". It only gives law enforcement an opportunity to find other violations to fine you for.

Because there is a higher risk of injury without a seat belt, insurance companies have the biggest financial incentive again they only care about saving money, not your safety.


Quote:
Instead we bought into the puerile belief that you're an infant, incapable of adulting, and thus you can't accept the inherent risk of being present in a public place designed for things that mass in the tons traveling at velocities high enough to trivially and reliably kill anything that gets in their way, never mind destroying property.


There are of course many more and perhaps better examples than just seat belt wearing, where the state is forcing adults to behave the way a private corporation dictates they should, but we as adults are also accepting it. While the RapeUgees and illegal invaders are being given subsided insurance at a rate far, far cheaper than an American can get. And that is only when they are forced to get insurance i.e. car loan.

The insurance companies will deny any and all claims they can, while making laws that force you to give up your rights.

Go Team Insurance.


Tickerguy
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@Mangymutt -
Quote:
Who benefits the most financially when adults are forced to wear seat belts? Of course the state does, law enforcement gets the opportunity to observe you while driving to see if you are "breaking a law" and pull you over for not wearing a seat belt. Who really thinks the state patrol gives a flying **** about your "Safety". It only gives law enforcement an opportunity to find other violations to fine you for.

Because there is a higher risk of injury without a seat belt, insurance companies have the biggest financial incentive again they only care about saving money, not your safety.

Oh no, it's the other way around.

Insurance is a regulated business as to profit margin. The only way to get bigger and make more money is to run more money through your company.

This means you need more and bigger losses.

Seatbelts enhance this. Airbags enhance it EVEN MORE!

Why?

Because a wreck without a seatbelt on has a high probability of ejecting and killing you, or killing you through kinetic impact with the vehicle structure. If you die you never buy car insurance again.

Ditto for airbags; they turn lethal accidents into survivable ones.

BOTH also reduce the PERCEIVED risk of various acts while driving (e.g. drinking) and thus encourage them by lowering the driver's and passengers believed risk of winding up dead if they are in a vehicle while such acts are taking place.

You could RADICALLY increase the care that drivers took if you mandated (1) no seatbelts or airbags AND (2) a 6" spike mounted in the center of the steering wheel. A collision would almost-invariably be fatal and you'd be damned careful about not getting into one as a consequence!

Again, the insurance company wants you to keep buying insurance and they really like it if you're at-fault (thus they can justify jacking your rates to the moon) and still buy insurance.

Statistically-speaking the not-seatbelt-wearing or not-airbag-having driver is at fault half the time. The insurance company thus wins in all respects by "insisting" on laws mandating both.

First, the car costs more, since seatbelts and airbags cost money; the latter costs quite a bit of money, and both are reliably destroyed beyond usable condition in a collision. This increases the revenue that flows through the insurance company.

But, and much more-importantly to them, you keep buying insurance if you live but not if you die in a collision.

Therefore they will do their level best to mandate anything that both (1) is more likely to keep you alive in a wreck and (2) increases the cost of said wrecks.

If you're an insurance company do you wish to make 10% of $100,000 or 10% of $100,000,000?

Duh.

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Winding it down.

Mangymutt
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Quote:
Insurance is a regulated business as to profit margin. The only way to get bigger and make more money is to run more money through your company.


This I knew/know...

Quote:
This means you need more and bigger losses.


Which makes since...

Quote:
Because a wreck without a seatbelt on has a high probability of ejecting and killing you, or killing you through kinetic impact with the vehicle structure. If you die you never buy car insurance again.


NEVER considered it from that angle...

As disgusting as the thought that insurance companies only want us alive to harvest the green surrounding our surviving an illness. I have however NEVER considered certain "safety" laws i.e. seat belts, from that angle...

I know what you say is true, but it will take me a little bit to get my brain wrapped around that.

Thanks.
Tickerguy
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@Mangymutt -- Business exists for the purpose of attempting to make a profit. Period.

All other claims are subservient to the first, because without the first there is no second. If the first is not true over any material period of time the firm ceases to exist.

Therefore to the extent the second or subsequent claim conflicts with the first said other claim is a lie.

No insurance company ever wants the amount of money that passes through them to drop, and no insurance company will ever promote a policy that will cause the amount of money that passes through them to drop. Ever. To do so is to conflict with their prime directive, since in regulated environment with a capped margin the ONLY way for the firm to get bigger (make more money) IS FOR THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT GOES THROUGH THEM TO INCREASE.

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Emupaul
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I don't want an automated car. I like driving. I want an automated lawn mower. Too difficult? Well, figure that out before you expect me to get into an automated car running down the highway at 70MPH.
Peterm99
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Emupaul wrote..
. . . automated lawn mower.
That won't happen for quite a while for at least two reasons:

First, there is no gov't subsidy (formal or just de facto) for anyone to perfect an automated lawn mower. Since some gov't agencies (e.g., military, LE, probably others) are interested in automated vehicles for various reasons, there is probably a lot of direct and indirect gov't money available for the development of this technology for cars, but gov't doesn't care about automated lawn mowers. Without such subsidies, it is unlikely to be a significant money-maker for a company to do so.

Second, the development cost for an automated lawnmower can be spread over a much smaller number sold, making the cost to a potential purchaser rather significant. A large fraction of the population lives in apartments and wouldn't buy a lawnmower, automated or not. Also, a significant fraction of homeowners who do have lawns choose to use a lawn service to take care of mowing rather than buying their own mower. Damn near everyone has (and/or wants) a car - not so for lawnmowers.

Once the technology is developed for cars, etc., it'll probably trickle down to lots of other things like lawnmowers, etc. at a fairly reasonable cost, but developing it for lawnmowers first and then "trickling up" the technology to cars is unlikely, IMO.

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". . . the Constitution has died, the economy welters in irreversible decline, we have perpetual war, all power lies in the hands of the executive, the police are supreme, and a surveillance beyond Orwells imaginings falls into place." - Fred Reed
Emg
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The peak demand problem is even worse than it first appears, because the peak demand is going in one direction. Pretty much every time a robo-car picks someone up at home and drops them off at work, it then has to drive empty to another residential area to pick up the next passenger.

Off-peak, travel will be more balanced, but most of the cars will be idle because most people will be at work. But peak times it's inevitable that they won't just need enough cars to transport much of the city's population in an hour or two, but for about half of that time those cars will be empty.

I should be astonished that the 'self-driving utopia' advocates I meet online can't understand something this simple... but, sadly, nothing about human behaviour really astonishes me any more.

And, yes, I've been looking at robo-mowers, but they're still not good enough to justify buying one. The day I can just drop a mower in the yard and it can run around cutting the grass, not cutting the flowers, avoiding any pets in the yard and returning to the power outlet to recharge is the day I'll believe self-driving cars aren't too far off.
Mangymutt
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Emupaul - Automated lawn mower. I can do that in my sleep.


Dig hole in center of lawn, impale a pole at least 3 feet above ground level and fill in whole. Run a rope, chain, cord, whatever from your newly installed pole to the outer most corner of you lawn. Tether the pole and lawnmower using your rope and start lawnmower and engaged auto drive.

Make sure that every time the lawnmower goes around the pole the rope gets wrapped around the pole. This will automatically bring the lawnmower in closer to the pole with every pass.

Grab a box of beers and a lawn chair, sit back enjoy your beers while your newly automated lawnmower works it's way to the pole.

Eazy Peazy.

Hmmmm I think I am going to fill out a resume for Tesla.
Orionrising
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In other news about industries about to be shot in the head and Musk...

Spacex is going to be launching 60 LEO starlink data sats at once this month..

Hope no one is invested in Hughes net...

since Hughes last launch was 600 times more expensive per satellite assuming musks cost at a planed million a piece to orbit ( which is probably optimistic... but with that order of magnitude difference in cost, is does it really matter)?

and how much testing, redundancy and reliability cost can you drop in satellite production when it cost you 600 times less, and you have redundancy... and you plan on making like 10 thousand vs a couple? and how many times can you risk reusing a rocket when what you are launching costs a order of magnitude less?


I have a henry ford vs ye old blackmith feeling about this one. Its a lot easier to take an industry of oneoff production and change to mass production to make a fortune, then fight your way into a crowded highly regulated market (tesla)
Tickerguy
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I have plenty to say about that one ticker coming soon

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Emg
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Starlink is likely to take out much of the home geostationary Internet market, but it's not likely to kill the overall geostationary business any time soon. Even at SpaceX's very low cost point, putting up a full constellation of these satellites may cost as much as a full constellation of geostationary satellites (typically 3 or 4 for global coverage).

The downside of geostationary satellites is that they're about 40,000km away, so you have a very high lag for Internet services. Or any other service that requires bidirectional communication.

The upside is that they're in a (just about) fixed spot in the sky, so they can use a simple antenna system, whereas SpaceX require a phased-array antenna that's constantly tracking the different satellites. That makes it a non-starter in many markets, until SpaceX can produce a low-cost, small and simple antenna that's able to work with mobile devices.

One of the devices I work with now and again is about the size of a carton of cigarettes, including the antenna. That's maybe 1/10 the space that a Starlink antenna will require.
Vernonb
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Mangy said:
Quote:
There is no argument that seat belts save lives and also reduce traumatic injuries and personally I can get behind laws that make sure minors are protected. But as a full grown adult, if you want to ride unsecured in the back of a pickup truck, you assume the risk.


Sorry but no. I'm not going to force such a law on any human being especially when that decision can cost them their life. If a teen is responsible enough to drive then they should be able to make that decision themselves. If they are not responsible enough to drive then why are they driving?

In 1982 I was involved in an accident that would have killed me if I had been wearing a seat belt. When these people wish to pretend omniscience that's when things get deadly. Even the probalities that they save lives are likely skewed stats. The seat belt may have not really been a factor in a survival accident to start. They driver simply had it on during the accident.

I survived with some minor bruises only because I was able to react and roll underneath the dash before the collision. The seatbelt and shoulder harness would have limited my mobility. The headrest was removed during that collision after a braking system lockup when the car slid beneath a tanker truck. This was a low speed crash at 35 mph. No airbags in the car I was inside.

At higher speeds they can ACTUALLY play a more active role. At these speeds I'm sure my reaction time would be greatly reduced. Even the stuff with kid's seats has gotten ridiculous in the nanny/police state.

Seat belts can most assuredly CAUSE people to die in accidents. They aren't some magical shield against every situation. I am more aware of my current situation than any bureaucrat.





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"Mass intelligence does not mean intelligent masses."
Asimov
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The big robot vacuum cleaner company (don't recall the name) has a robot mower now.

I think a few other brands are around too, but that one is out front of lowes right now. My kids got a kick out of it.

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Orionrising
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theres already a bunch of robotic lawnmowers on the market down to around 1k, you have to install a perimeter wire.
Asimov
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No wire on this one. It's like the vacuum. It "learns."

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Attilahooper
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New York, by way of Montreal Canada.
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I mow my lawn because I can feel the height of the grass, and I dont want wet backs on my property.

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I've retired and bought Shecky's - Welcome, have fun, **** **** up, let's get this party started
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykZbxFub....

Mangymutt
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Vernonb - I too was in an accident that would have taken my life had I been wearing a seat belt, and believe it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure the safety of their vehicle. No adult should be required by law to don safety equipment for their own personal use. Although it would be a smart idea for the end user to do, the state should never be allowed to force a person working at home to have to wear safety goggles when using a table saw. The same stands true for their personal vehicle and wearing a seat belt.

Especially given the light shined upon this issue where insurance companies know a dead person pays no premiums, but a severely injured person's medical bills are greatly increased and the insurance can skim 10% of that cost off the top.

However from the stand point that a minor child has no say in accompanying mom and dad in the car, I personally can get behind the argument of the child's safety. Above I said "I can get behind laws that make sure minors are protected"

But to Karl's point above if a child in a car seat or safety restraint can obtain greater injury do to those safety measures of course it would be foolish, even evil to pass laws that force the child into injury traps.

And to be perfectly honest until earlier today, I never once considered the extent insurance companies would stoop to pad their bottom line even at the expense of harming children.

That is truly evil!
Fumei
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Vernon, you are right. I would not want to be wearing a seat belt whilst in a car as it is sinking in a deep body of water.
Hot-dog-guy
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A young activist I know, to protect his anonymity I won't tell you his initials but his name is Adam Kokesh (wink), applauds driverless cars for one reason: If nobody drives, nobody gets a DWI and thus a major apparatus of state control and enrichment is neutralized. This also applies to Karl's example of grey haired oldsters that can't pass a field sobriety test on a Sunday simply due to age related cognition factors.

The idea did get my brain to function in a non-linear manner for a second or two. But then I said Adam my man that's the greatest stupid idea I've heard in a long time.

A driverless car is an ownerless car. Or more precisely, it's a car that you will never own insofar as getting to do what you want with it. Like rip donuts through your local representative's front lawn. Or even just like an automatic transmission rather than standard: you just don't have the control you might want when you want it.

Sorry that sounds simplistic as compared to your guys' discussion but does anybody want to imagine a world where Zuckerberg controls your car's operation? Great, we'll start selling conservative bicycles and horses. And we thought Tesla software updates are threatening?

All else aside, this response to VW is just a flight to credibility. Musk already lost same, the GM/China car thing is a no-show, but Volkswagon? It has to be viable right?

Upshot? Tesla is TUH TUH TUH TOAST! Stick a fork in Elon's butt and see if you can wake him up from whatever factory floor desk he's sleeping under these days.

I still admire him for taking the shot when he had it but...well he took his shot.
Robc
Posts: 43
Incept: 2009-09-10

Cincinnati
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What if the insurance industry demise is tempered by much higher payouts? If a human has an accident they have to pay damages. If the product of a company kills a bunch of people in a way a 5 year old or your average jury member could easily avoid then you might end up with 100x less accidents with 100x the payout.
Fumei
Posts: 24
Incept: 2019-01-08

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Karl, does the everything else in "the driver will be taken out of the equation for taxis, trucks and everything else," include bicycles, motorcycles, plumbers' and electricians' work trucks and vans, tow trucks, ambulances, police cars, bank armoured cars, and military vehicles? I hope "unexpected" traffic jams would increase due to newly unemployed neo-luddites retaliating by having slip and fall accidents at crowded crossroads and increasingly old and fragile infrastructure failing.
Elkad
Posts: 572
Incept: 2009-09-04

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Asimov, it has to have some sort of guide, or it'll go mow the neighbor's flower bed.
Flappingeagle
Posts: 3071
Incept: 2011-04-14

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Just a random thought.

What is the chance that we end up with more of a "programmed driving" system than a "self-driving" system?

By programmed driving I mean that all of the roads and intersections are programmed into the computer complete with information like, the intersection ahead has 4 lanes the left lane starts in 500' and is used for a left turn, the two center lanes go straight, and a right turn lane starts in 400'.

What I am suggesting is that the car "knows" which lane to get into long before it gets to the intersection thanks to a database not only of the intersection but of what to do at the intersection. The car, while having some smart characteristics is essentially a robot following programming.

The information for cars in a given area could be stored in memory or even updated off of the cell tower in that area.

Flap

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Here are my predictions for everyone to see:
S&P 500 at 320, DOW at 2200, Gold $300/oz, and Corn $2/bu.
No sign that housing, equities, or farmland are in a bubble- Yellen 11/14/13
Trying to leave the Rat Race to the rats...
Snowman
Posts: 1944
Incept: 2009-03-09

avoiding yellow snow
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Asimov, Mangymutt, Peterm99,

I have a robotic mower. 2 years now and love it. It's very simple. You lay wires on the lawn, ie where you want the robot to NOT to go (e.g., flower beds) and a "go home" wire. The robot comes out (at night, for me at least), it is almost soundless and the blades are designed to mulch the grass. When it's done, it goes back to it's little home and plugs itself in. If there is an obstacle in the way (e.g soccer ball etc) it will just go around it, remember the position and take it next time. Got GPS and app etc. Even measures ground and grass humidity so it can sense how fast the grass grows. My yard is about 13k sqft and the model I have could probably do double that size.

The robo-mower is very simple and can't compare it to "auto-driving". There is no "traffic" (except for the dog) and it follows very simple rules. And, so far, hasn't killed anyone.

Downside is the cost. Good old fashioned reel mower and elbow grease is far far cheaper.
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