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Mon Mar 19, 2018, 01:46 PM

 

What Uber and Tesla and Google wont tell you about self driving cars

They are now locked in a battle with public transit agencies as autonomous vehicles actually dim prospects for less congested roadways in cities.

We could soon see public money being diverted away from far more efficient people moving transit options of fixed route rail and buses in favor
Of autonomous vehicles.

I am not saying there is no place for autonomous vehicles,’but we really need to push high speed rail, light rail lines and more heavy rail
Commuter lines if we’re to make serious progress toward zero emissions.

I am saddened by the death of the woman in Arizona struck by Uber vehicle, but I hope this incident gives us pause about what we’re doing with our transportation choices.

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply What Uber and Tesla and Google wont tell you about self driving cars (Original post)
blake2012 Mar 2018 OP
brush Mar 2018 #1
LisaM Mar 2018 #2
blake2012 Mar 2018 #4
hueymahl Mar 2018 #6
LisaM Mar 2018 #7
zipplewrath Mar 2018 #3
blake2012 Mar 2018 #5
JustABozoOnThisBus Mar 2018 #22
LisaM Mar 2018 #8
rusty fender Mar 2018 #9
jmowreader Mar 2018 #25
fescuerescue Mar 2018 #30
Blue_Adept Mar 2018 #10
blake2012 Mar 2018 #14
Johnny2X2X Mar 2018 #11
LisaM Mar 2018 #12
blake2012 Mar 2018 #13
LisaM Mar 2018 #16
Glassunion Mar 2018 #15
LisaM Mar 2018 #17
FarCenter Mar 2018 #18
lindysalsagal Mar 2018 #20
mythology Mar 2018 #24
FarCenter Mar 2018 #19
blake2012 Mar 2018 #21
NCTraveler Mar 2018 #23
OhZone Mar 2018 #26
longship Mar 2018 #29
Lint Head Mar 2018 #27
braddy Mar 2018 #28

Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 01:48 PM

1. Spot on.

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 01:49 PM

2. And just buses, which are a very flexible and cost-effective means of mass transit.

Seattle is getting bogged down with light rail and streetcar construction, but not adding bus routes. Given Seattle's construction limitations (much of downtown is on landfill and the city has an hourglass figure), I don't really know why they aren't including buses as part of the package. The double buses hold a lot of people. They used to have a ride-free zone in the downtown area, which was great, but they axed it.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 01:52 PM

4. My hope is Seattle will do a bus map redesign to complement the rail thats been added

 

The rail could help in the long run. I think Trimet in Portland area has done a tremendous job, and bus lines can be used to extend the transit Network further out in the Puget Sound metropolitan area.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 01:55 PM

6. Most people hate buses

Not saying there is not a place for them, but for on-demand transport, which people who drive cars are accustomed to, busses are a poor substitute. You suffer both all the traffic of driving and all the hassle of public transportation.

Light and heavy rail at least beat traffic (usually).

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Response to hueymahl (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 02:50 PM

7. The buses in Seattle get you a lot closer to where you live than the light rail does.

They yanked a bunch of routes lately and the people who are in the most distress over it are the disabled. An extra half mile walk (especially in a town where many of the neighborhoods are still resistant to sidewalks) and mean the difference to an elderly or disabled person whether they are trapped in their house or can go anywhere.

I don't know anyone who hates buses per se, as long as the schedules are reasonably adhered to, they're not too full, and riding them doesn't involve too many transfers.

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 01:51 PM

3. Our light rail hits cars regularly.

I get the whole thing about a driverless car hitting the pedestrian. But I struggle to think of the mode of transportation that doesn't have risks. People have died on escalators. I'm not an "early adopter" of driverless cars. I'm actually a bit skeptical that they'll come to pass. I tend to think in terms of "remotely guided" or some such thing. But I actually suspect that any real movement in this direction will result in massive tie ups when the technology suddenly leaves a significant number of vehicles motionless on a roadway.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 01:54 PM

5. But at least Rail has predictable path and protected crossings in many areas

 

Autonomous cars are kind of a free for all.

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Response to blake2012 (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 07:00 AM

22. Low-tech "drive-it-yourself" cars are also a kind of free-for-all.

As are shoes.

Autonomous cars will be of great use to people who can't drive, don't live near good public transport, and don't want to move to a nursing home or other assisted-living facility.

I hope they "mature" before I'm too old to drive.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 02:51 PM

8. The reason Uber wants them is for pure greed, IMO.

They already barely pay the drivers. If they can eliminate drivers completely, they'll consider it a win.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #8)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 03:58 PM

9. This

 

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Response to LisaM (Reply #8)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 05:53 PM

25. I don't understand at all why Uber wants autonomous cars

The Uber we have now requires each driver to own his or her own car. You could probably set up a Uber "taxi company" with multiple cars and hired drivers, but in general every Uber driver has to buy a car, pay for licensing and insurance, and buy fuel. Uber handles dispatching and billing.

The Uber company will have to own autonomous cars, and they'll get stuck with all the expenses. Why would they want that?

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #25)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 07:44 PM

30. cars are cheap. People are expensive.

Even if Uber paid $30k a salary of say $30k a year. That's $30k a year, every year. Plus payroll taxes, benefits, an HR team to manage team and lawsuits/liability.

A $30k car is good for 5 to 10 years.

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 04:00 PM

10. 'we really need to push high speed rail, light rail lines and more heavy rail Commuter lines'

That's a whole other discussion than what the automated stuff is about, considering how many people don't live in dense urban areas where such things simply don't and won't ever exist.

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Response to Blue_Adept (Reply #10)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 05:21 PM

14. The point is-we as a society need to build environments allowing for denser lower carbon footprint

 

What is the point of driverless automated car in a town of 2000. Just curious. I would then no the business case for driverless cars is in exactly the dense areas I’m referring to.

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 04:02 PM

11. Um, why can't buses be driverless?

And driver less cars have a massive potential to reduce traffic and emissions. First, most people who use driverless cars in the future won't own them, they'll belong to a ride share group, where a fleet of driverless cars allows them to share rides and costs.

And let's not forget that automated systems for acceleration and breaking will always be able to be more fuel efficient than humans can. We see this with Air travel right now, the airlines save $Billions in fuel by using automated flight management systems.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 04:40 PM

12. But they still have pilots. Sometimes someone needs to make a decision.

I like my bus drivers. I would have missed my bus the other day if the driver hadn't seen me running down the bus tunnel to try and catch it. It was only 10 or 15 seconds of the bus's time, but it meant I didn't have to stand there half an hour waiting for the next one (and in fact, yet another person made it because she held it for me).

Sometimes in bad weather, bus drivers will make special stops so people don't have to climb over big banks of snow. I didn't know exactly which stop to take a few weeks ago, and the driver saw the street I wanted to be on (which wasn't a stop) and stopped the bus and let me off. I read a story about bus drivers here where once someone got on at Thanksgiving carrying a pie and the driver checked to see if anyone else minded, then drove the person right to the house where she was going for Thanksgiving. Once I was on a bus where a guy pinched my friend in the ass when she walked by and someone told the driver and she stopped the bus right then and there and told the guy "your ride is over!" and kicked him off the bus. Would a driverless bus do any of those things? Those are the little things that can make life bearable at the end of the day.

And yes, I ride the bus a lot, so I have strong opinions about it.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #12)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 05:14 PM

13. Thank you for your first hand accounts

 

Very important stuff people probably haven’t thought much about

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Response to blake2012 (Reply #13)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 07:39 PM

16. I admit that driving someone door to door with a pie is probably not that important

however, having a driver to kick off the person who was pinching my friend WAS a big deal. I think women riders are more attuned to things like being harassed and assaulted on buses in general, and we depend on the drivers to maintain a safe environment.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #12)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 06:19 PM

15. Reminds my of when I used to live in Sacramento

There was a person in a wheelchair who was on the same route, and the driver would always help them get situated in the bus before leaving the stop. Then help them off at their stop.

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Response to Glassunion (Reply #15)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 07:40 PM

17. The routes that they cut and re-routed in Seattle are affecting the disabled disproportionately.

The problem is, no one seems to care. It's just about trucking Amazon workers around at this point.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 07:41 PM

18. Driverless buses would be vandalized to uselessness within days.

 

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #18)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 07:45 PM

20. I never thought of that. Probably, the cars would be, too.

The driverless lobby will probably say that they are safer than human-driven cars, and that might be true.

Honestly, I have no idea. But it gives me the creeps, nevertheless.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 07:52 AM

24. Would driverless cars reduce traffic?

 

The problem isn't that the infrastructure can't handle the number of cars in total, it's that the infrastructure can't handle the number of cars at 5 pm. If the traffic patterns are still the same, how does that meaningfully reduce traffic? Yes automated cars might be a bit more efficient in terms of merging, but I don't see how it is really a game changer in the larger traffic picture.

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 07:43 PM

19. People want to go point to point, not making 2 transfers and having a walk at both ends.

 

I used to drive to the station, take the train, wait for the light rail and then walk to the office. It's a major time waster, even when you catch the express train and don't have to make more than a few stops on that segment.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #19)

Mon Mar 19, 2018, 07:49 PM

21. And this is why we are an overweight and sprawl-affected country

 

Emitting most of the green house emissions. Because we can’t be troubled to take a few more minutes walking to get to work.

I’m not suggesting we don’t have cars are ride sharing services. I am saying we would benefit as a society—especially in urban areas—from more investment in transit and wean ourselves off of cars other than in exceptions.

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 07:15 AM

23. Automonous vehicles could seriously limit road congestion.

 

Be far more environmentally friendly, can play a huge an positive role on public transport, play almost no role on impacting fixed rail.

Arguments are simply being thrown around in opposition to the fear of something new. How many people died yesterday due to driver error? How much unnecessary carbon was emitted yesterday due to inefficient breaking, acceleration and route path? How many autonomous fixed rail transports with human back-up did just fine?

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 06:04 PM

26. Driverless vehicles

Keep them away from me!

I will never trust them.

THey could be hacked or have a glitch or just lock up like any OS.

Like the death of the woman in Arizona struck by the Uber vehicle.

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Response to OhZone (Reply #26)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 07:39 PM

29. Yup!

Keep them off my roads.

Plus, it snows in winter where I live. Isn't it funny that they never test autonomous vehicles in the snow or on Tejon pass in SoCal? Why? Because there'd be mayhem.

I feel strongly that we're going to find out how utterly full of shit those claiming how much safer autonomous vehicles are.

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 06:06 PM

27. The automotive industry wants to keep building cars.

I think they see their salvation as self-driving cars come to fruition. I think it's a way for them to combat the fact that the internal combustion engine will eventually die a natural death are an unnatural death.

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Response to blake2012 (Original post)

Tue Mar 20, 2018, 06:06 PM

28. BBQs and parties may become fun again in the near future.

 

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