The fundamental problem of autonomous vehicles sharing roads is that until you get to Level 5, you have a hand-off problem. The closer you get to Level 5, the worse the hand-off problem.
In testing performed in a simulator, Boeing test pilots recreated the conditions aboard Lion Air Flight 610 when it went down in the Java Sea in October, killing 189 people. The tests showed that the crew of the 737 MAX 8 would have only had 40 seconds to respond to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System’s (MCAS’s) attempts to correct a stall that wasn’t happening before the aircraft went into an unrecoverable dive, according to a report by The New York Times.Great, must-read journalism from Dominic Gates at the Seattle Times, Boeing's home-town newspaper in Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing and FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system shows that the fundamental problem with the 737 MAX was regulatory capture of the FAA by Boeing; the FAA's priority wasn't to make the 737 MAX safe, it was to get it into the market as quickly as possible because Airbus had a 9-month lead in this segment. And because Airbus' fly-by-wire planes minimize the need for expensive pilot re-training, Boeing's priority was to remove the need for it.
While the test pilots were able to correct the issue with the flip of three switches, their training on the systems far exceeded that of the Lion Air crew—and that of the similarly doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed earlier this month. The Lion Air crew was heard on cockpit voice recorders checking flight manuals in an attempt to diagnose what was going on moments before they died.
The company had promised Southwest Airlines Co. , the plane’s biggest customer, to keep pilot training to a minimum so the new jet could seamlessly slot into the carrier’s fleet of older 737s, according to regulators and industry officials.The software fix Boeing just announced is just a patch on a fundamentally flawed design, as George Leopold reports in Software Won’t Fix Boeing’s ‘Faulty’ Airframe. Boeing is gaming the regulations, and the FAA let them do it. Neither placed safety first. These revelations should completely destroy the credibility of FAA certifications.
[Former Boeing engineer Mr. [Rick] Ludtke [who worked on 737 MAX cockpit features] recalled midlevel managers telling subordinates that Boeing had committed to pay the airline $1 million per plane if its design ended up requiring pilots to spend additional simulator time. “We had never, ever seen commitments like that before,” he said.
Although Boeing's highly-trained test pilots didn't have to RTFM, they did have only 40 seconds to diagnose and remedy the problem caused by the faulty angle-of-attack sensor and the buggy MCAS software. Inadequately trained Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines pilots never stood a chance of a successful hand-off. Self-driving car advocates assume that hand-offs are initiated by the software recognizing a situation it can't handle. But in this case the MCAS software was convinced, on the basis of a faulty sensor, that it was handling the situation and refused to hand-off to the pilots 24 times in succession.
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Atrios' apt comment was:At a mobility event today I met an auto industry rep who told me "to enable AV's we need a period of increased urban law enforcement so pedestrians know what they can't do. Then they'll change behavior."— David Zipper (@DavidZipper) March 28, 2019
I was so stunned I could barely respond "I think that's a horrific idea."
It is this type of thing which makes me obsess about this issue. And I have a couple insider sources (ooooh I am a real journalist) who confirm these concerns. The self-driving car people see pedestrians as a problem. I don't really understand how you can think urban taxis are your business model and also think walking is the enemy. Cities are made of pedestrians. Well, cities other than Phoenix, anyway. I pay a dumb mortgage so I can walk to a concert, like I did last night.But no-one who matters cares about pedestrians because no-one who matters is ever on the sidewalk, let alone crossing the street. As the CDC reports:
In 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. This averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.5 hours.The casualties who don't "know what they can't do" won't add much to the deaths and injuries, so we can just go ahead and deploy the technology ASAP.
Additionally, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip.
* Tesla says the "stickers on the road" attack:
is not a realistic concern given that a driver can easily override Autopilot at any time by using the steering wheel or brakes and should always be prepared to do soWell, yes, but the technology is called "Autopilot" and Musk keeps claiming "full autonomy" is just around the corner.