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Member since: Tue Dec 20, 2016, 10:37 AM
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The Waymo v. Uber trial has shaken my confidence in self-driving cars

The Waymo v. Uber trial has shaken my confidence in self-driving cars

Trust is a two-way street


By Andrew J. Hawkins | Feb 13, 2018

Amid the avalanche of damning emails and embarrassing text messages that flowed out of the Waymo-Uber trial, what struck me the most was when ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Anthony Levandowski — Kalanick’s onetime business partner who he described in court as his “brother from another mother” — described the race to build self-driving cars as a “zero sum game.”

“We need to think through the strategy to take all the shortcuts we can,” Levandowski told Kalanick. “I just see this as a race and we need to win, second place is the first looser [sic].”

This callous attitude toward a potentially game-changing, life-saving, and paradigm-shifting technology like autonomous vehicles is extremely troubling. A pirate mentality has infected companies in the autonomous vehicle space. “Move fast and break things” may have worked as an ethos for Uber when it was trying to overcome entrenched interests like the taxi industry, but it’s exactly the opposite philosophy you want to hear from a company that wants you to ride in its driverless cars.

~ snip ~

The idea that one of the companies that has already deployed autonomous cars was actively seeking “shortcuts” and “cheat codes” should scare the shit out of everyone. These odious sentiments would never have come to light if not for the trial’s discovery process that brought so many of Uber’s underhanded tactics out into the open. Obviously, Uber’s new leadership is aware that there are trust issues and is actively seeking to claw its way back into the good graces of its users. But the company is still on a very aggressive timeline. “We will have autonomous cars on the road, I believe within the next 18 months,” new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at a recent event in Davos. “And not as a test case, as a real [use] case out there.”

~ snip ~

Autonomous vehicle safety not only impacts the voluntary passengers. It impacts the safety of everyone in the vicinity of the vehicle. The idea of shortcuts, of bean counters looking for the fast return and first mover advantage, is contrary to the public interest.

Tesla on Autopilot slams into parked fire truck on freeway

Source: The Mercury News

A Tesla Model S reportedly on “Autopilot” smashed into the back of a fire truck parked at a freeway accident scene Monday morning, authorities said.

The union representing Culver City firefighters whose truck was hit around 8:30 a.m. on Interstate 405 in Culver City tweeted that the Tesla driver said he had been using Tesla’s Autopilot system, which performs automated driving tasks.

The California Highway Patrol and Culver City Fire Department confirmed the southbound Tesla had struck the fire truck, but could not immediately confirm whether the vehicle had been on Autopilot.

The fire truck had been parked in the left emergency lane and carpool lane, blocking off the scene of a previous accident, with a CHP vehicle behind it and to the side, said Culver City Fire Department battalion chief Ken Powell.

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/22/tesla-on-autopilot-slams-into-parked-fire-truck-on-freeway/

The term "AUTOPILOT" is a misnomer that leads people into believing it has far more capabilities than it really does. Even though there are warnings that the driver should stay attentive, people are lulled into a false sense of security and begin to zone out if they are not an active participant in at least the majority of the car's operation.

Beyond that, Elon Musk wants fully autonomous operation based on visual cameras and RADAR alone (no LiDAR), which is truly inadequate for safe operation in a fairly standard range of operating conditions - never mind extremes.

Are Uber and Lyft drivers around the Valley breaking child car seat laws?

Short answer: Yes.

When I drove cab, I torqued off a few people because I would not drive a child without a car seat. When dispatching, I made a few more mad for not sending a cab without a car seat.

Very few things make me more upset than people who would place a child's life at such risk.

Trump could walk into the State Of The Union speech naked, growling, barking like a dog

Fox and Friends would call it a brilliant performance, and his supporters on social media would double down on posting "Still Your President" memes.

Once upon a time, Bob Segar made GOOD music

Are We The Baddies?

Carol Of The Bartenders

Have fun this holiday season, but PLEASE:

Jonathan Pie spreads Christmas cheer (Warning: NSFW Language)

Uber: Ex-employees claim that we hid trade secret theft was an effort to extort money

Source: CNBC

Paayal Zaveri | Deirdre Bosa | Published 3 Hours Ago

Uber's top lawyer on Wednesday denied an allegation by an ex-employee that the company deliberately used secret messaging systems in an effort to hide the theft of trade secrets -- and that the allegation was part of an effort to extort money from Uber.

Angela Padilla, deputy general counsel at the company, said in court testimony that the allegation from ex-employee Richard Jacobs that the company took steps to cover its tracks when stealing trade secrets from Alphabet's Waymo was not true. She added that Jacob's claims were an effort to extort money from the company.

The evidence in question is a letter from Jacobs' attorney alleging that Uber advised employees to use ephemeral messaging systems, like Wickr, and non-attributable devices to hide their tracks to protect the company from potential litigation.

~ snip ~

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Jacobs's lawyer — Martha Boersch — said she was surprised by Uber's statement "because Mr. Jacobs's concerns about conduct at Uber have in fact been taken seriously by Uber, which is investigating and which referred those concerns to the U.S. attorney's office." Boersch further said that "Mr. Jacobs is a an honorable and honest man who found some conduct at Uber ethically troubling and potentially illegal, and he reported it."

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/29/uber-ex-employee-was-trying-to-extort-money.html

G.M. Unveils Its Driverless Cars, Aiming to Lead the Pack

Source: New York Times

By BILL VLASIC | NOV. 29, 2017

~ snip ~

On Thursday, G.M. will demonstrate its growing fleet of computer-operated, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts in San Francisco to dozens of investment analysts, who are eager to evaluate the automaker’s advanced test vehicles.

The event represents a critical step for G.M. as it seeks to establish leadership in the hotly contested race to bring driverless cars to market.

~ snip ~

To emphasize the company’s progress, Mr. Ammann said the cars would be ready for consumer applications in “quarters, not years.”

~ snip ~

So far, the partnership between G.M. and Cruise has produced about 180 autonomous Bolts, which are constantly being tested in San Francisco, as well as in Arizona and Michigan. The company plans to begin tests in Manhattan early next year.

~ snip ~

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/business/gm-driverless-cars.html

1. Are we ready for autonomous vehicles?
2. Are autonomous vehicles ready for us?

Personally, I am torn on the issue. Saving lives is a good thing. Giving mobility to people who cannt drive, and cannot access public transportation for a variety of reasns, is a good thing.

But what is the economic impact of potentially losing millions of jobs? What is the social and psychological impact of making human input a smaller and smaller factor in daily existance?

The movie "The Matrix" got one key thing wrong. Machines will not put us into self contained pods to live virtual lives. We will put ourselves in them.
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