Supposedly the motivation for fast-tracking the driverless vehicle is an increase in highway deaths last year. It may be a very convenient statistic to throw out there, but the biggest tech companies and manufacturers didn’t simply see that information, decide to leap into action and put a driverless vehicle industry together in a few months.
Driverless cars have been in the works for a long time, at least ten years, in the period since the launch of Google maps in February of 2005. Now there’s a new urgency based upon highway deaths in 2015? How long until all cars are mandated to be driverless, “in the interest of public safety” and government control.
Although they attribute the highway deaths overwhelmingly to driver error, the machines won’t be perfect. They won’t be able to handle some situations the way a person driving could. There will still be deaths with driverless vehicles, quite possibly many more than with people behind the wheel.
Adding to the absurdity of their claims is the premise that all of these self-absorbed politicians decided at the same time to act on a single year’s statistic. They’re likely being provided other motivations and instructions by the lobbyists who represent the auto industry or those affiliated with them.
The U.S. House unanimously approved a broad proposal on Wednesday for the deployment of self-driving cars that contain no human controls. It also prohibits states from blocking autonomous vehicles. It now moves on to the Senate. The bill provides automakers with from existing safety standards for 25,000 vehicles their first year and 100,000 vehicles per year over the next three years. Human guinea pig families of America, how do you like involuntarily being part of a very high stakes rushed-through beta test without any voice in the decision?
Who benefits from this “hurry up and get it done legislation” that sailed through when tax reform and Obamacare replacement can’t? Automakers and technology companies, for starters, General Motors Co and Alphabet Inc‘s self-driving unit Waymo. They’ve been lobbying heavily for new federal regulations to make the deployment possible.
While the House bill doesn’t include driverless big rigs, the Senate version, once the initial shock has been absorbed by the House version, may. Automakers have been bringing driverless vehicles to DC for lawmakers to take for a spin as an occupant. It’s possible the topic of donations to their campaigns came up in the “idle chit chat.”
The lobbyists are pushing the statistic that US road deaths rose 7.7 percent in 2015. They blame that on human error but they fail to factor in the increase in the number of illegal aliens they’ve put behind the wheel, many who can’t read signs and have a third world thought process. That is the change in the metric they’re ignoring as they fault American drivers.
Driverless cars offer one other major attraction to a big brother government, they come with a kill switch. If no mapping information is sent to them, a kill switch flipped, or a driver exceeds his allotment of miles they can be remotely disabled. They can tax us based on the mile, with higher rates for larger numbers, encouraging people to move into the urban stack and packs of UN Agenda 2030 and making driving a luxury reserved for the rich.
There’s also the possibility of including a real kill switch, one that forces the vehicle to behave like that belonging to Obama critic Michael Hastings in June of 2013. His Mercedes C250 Coupe inexplicably accelerated to a high rate of speed, leaving behind a trail of sparks and flames, before hitting a palm tree and bursting into flames. A car cyber attack is one of the theorized explanations for the crash. How much easier would it be without driver controls?
Presently federal rules prohibit self-driving cars that do not have human controls from operating on our roadways. Automakers also have a problem with state rules in California, which they find too restrictive. the measures would require that safety “assessment” reports be submitted to regulators but would not require pre-market approval. The technologies could be deployed on our roadways while the assessments are being reviewed, crafted, or rejected independently.
Reuters reports, “Consumer advocates have sought more changes, including giving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration quicker access to crash data and more funding to oversee self-driving cars.”
The NHTSA issued a statement saying, “The autonomous vehicle bill just passed by the House leaves a wild west without adequate safety protections for consumers. It pre-empts any state safety standards, but there are none at the national level.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is slated to reveal the revised self-driving guidelines at an event in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Tuesday. General Motors said that, “while more work is needed,” the House bill is “good progress toward a law that will facilitate realization of the safety, mobility, and environmental benefits of self-driving vehicles.”
Of course if Congress backs something we can be certain that their masters at the US Chamber of Commerce do as well. Reuters reports, “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Consumer Technology Association, and coalitions of groups backing automated vehicles, including vehicle and auto parts trade associations, and groups representing the blind, praised passage.”
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