Lion of the Blogosphere

We can’t get self-driving cars soon enough

Mayor De Blasio hates self-driving cars. Luckily, Cuomo and De Blasio hate each other, and Cuomo gets to overrule him.

From an article in the NY Times:

Human driving is a public-health scourge. More than 37,000 Americans died in crashes last year, most from human error. In my community, the heartbreaking toll included a mother, father and their teenage son, killed when a speeding car slammed into their car on one of those busy suburban roads. Their teenage daughter survived.

The death count from cars exceeds that from guns. So if you are outraged by guns and want things to change, you should feel the same about car crashes.

Furthermore, mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas, where middle-class and upper-middle-class people are the victims, are rare. The vast majority of gun murders can be avoided by avoiding the wrong class of people.

Motor vehicle deaths hit the driving class, which includes all classes except the very poorest of the poor who can’t afford to own cars. If you drive, you can’t avoid the possibility of dying in a car accident. Of course it helps a lot to not drive while intoxicated, but most motor vehicle deaths don’t involve intoxication, and you can’t do that much about the other guy driving drunk and killing you.

We can’t get safe self-driving cars soon enough.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 23, 2017 at 9:21 am

Posted in Robots

21 Responses

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  1. It also doesn’t hit the rich who can drive when they feel like it (no work schedule deadlines).


    October 23, 2017 at 9:23 am

  2. People will be driving much less going forward, and not because of self-driving cars. You see right now the sub-prime auto loan bubble is popping and cars are getting repo’d from the lower-middle class. In many states a lot of roads are going from paved to gravel. These trends have been in place for years and they will continue to gather steam.

    Driving is economically unsustainable. We as a society can’t afford it as a lifestyle any more, especially with declining energy affordability. The future is going to involve a lot of diesel buses, not self driving cars.


    October 23, 2017 at 9:28 am

    • “Driving is economically unsustainable. We as a society can’t afford it as a lifestyle any more, especially with declining energy affordability. ”

      That is totally false.

      Gas is at $2.50 a gallon, well below the recent peak of $4.00 per gallon.

      In fact, adjusted for inflation, there is no uptrend in gasoline prices and gasoline is below the average of the last 100 years.

      Since cars are more fuel efficient than in the past, people are probably spending a lot less of their budget on gasoline than in the past. Cars get about 2x as many miles per gallon as in the 1970s.

      There is another huge improvement that is not commented on much. With Google maps (and other GPS based navigation apps) people are lost or stuck in traffic far less than just a couple of years ago. This brings further savings.

      There is another way that driving is become much cheaper. Adjusted for inflation, cars cost about what they did 50 years ago.

      But they last much longer. Cars now last twice as long as before.

      All in all, driving costs have been going down, not up, over the last 50 years.

      It is good that driving costs are coming down, because you have to drive further to live in a desirable neighborhood than before.


      October 23, 2017 at 11:34 am

      • I agree with Dan. It’s a lot more expensive to live in the city than it is to live in the suburbs with a car. Especially if you buy a small inexpensive car which doesn’t use too much gasoline. Most estimates of the cost of driving are based on the average car, and the average person buy a car that’s bigger and more expensive than he really needs.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        October 23, 2017 at 11:51 am

      • The cash costs of car operation and gasoline are not quite the issue. The key word here is *affordability*. The economy is different than it was 50 years ago, and the total number of “breadwinner” jobs isn’t increasing. Households and municipalities can no longer afford to maintain mass motoring as the default mode of transport.

        The road infrastructure in most areas has been maintained on a ponzi scheme basis, with new development subsidizing service of existing roads. This ponzi scheme is coming to an end and the townships are broke. Just as pensions were doled out that could never be paid, for decades roads and strip-malls were built that could not be affordably maintained in the long run.


        October 23, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      • A guy I know has a 1992 Volvo 740 station wagon with about 270,000 miles on it. Very similar experience to the salesman profiled in the article.

        Lewis Medlock

        October 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    • I’m interested in your contention that auto repo’s are up just now. How do we know this? Presumably this would mean used car prices going down, but I’m not seeing it.


      October 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm

  3. My fear is that “youths” will jump in front of and/or surround driverless cars as a form of sport.

    I also fear that my car will be programmed to swerve off the road and get me killed to avoid hitting some drunk pedestrian who has staggered onto the highway, safe in the knowledge that cars will avoid him.

    I also fear that terrorists will use driverless cars to deliver bombs.

    I also fear that elites will lobby car manufacturers to program the cars to further their agenda. For example you can be that feminists will lobby to make it so cars don’t drive down streets with a battered woman shelter, resulting in increased traffic and travel times for the rest of us.


    October 23, 2017 at 10:39 am

    • “Fahrvergnügen” is a German word that means “driving enjoyment”.

      On Friday morning I drove 200 kmph in a rental on the Austrian autobahn.

      Self driving cars will be slow and boring.

      Also, the comparison with gun deaths is dumb. The average person spends an hour a day driving cars. Almost nobody on Earth spends an hour a day shooting guns.

      Deaths per billion miles traveled by car has gone from 240 to 10 over the last century.


      October 23, 2017 at 11:55 am

      • People who love (or even like) to drive are not looking forward to self-driving cars.

        Lewis Medlock

        October 23, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      • I’m more worried about the cows. Lion has been very silent about the cows. They are up to something. Mark my words they are about to take us out to pasture.

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

        October 24, 2017 at 12:04 am

  4. “Motor vehicle deaths hit the driving class, which includes all classes except the very poorest of the poor who can’t afford to own cars. If you drive, you can’t avoid the possibility of dying in a car accident.”



    October 23, 2017 at 11:09 am

  5. Road fatalities are hardly evenly distributed across the country, i.e., some groups are much more accident prone than others:

    More Maps of the American Nations


    October 23, 2017 at 11:25 am

  6. I heard a rumor that the Chrys!er 300 was specifically designed to appeal to blacks. If true, it’s a tremendous achievement in marketing psychology.

    Explainer 21

    October 23, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    • Yes, it was designed to resemble the big British and German sedans but for the lower end of the market.


      October 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm

  7. The premise that driverless vehicles will reduce traffic fatalities rests on an assumption that human input always causes and never prevents accidents. How many deaths are prevented by human intervention that wouldn’t be if a car was automated? You hear the same thing in aviation – automation would prevent crashes, which are usually the result of human error – without consideration of how common minor glitches (failure to capture course/altitude, loss of reliable position data, etc) are, many of which would be deadly in a fully automated airplane, but just a minor nuisance with a human at the controls. What didn’t happen isn’t news.


    October 23, 2017 at 5:58 pm

  8. The article reads like an advertisement, and in the NYT that means it reads like propaganda. From the article title to the quote in Lion’s blog post, the NYT’s ability to disguise its propaganda is becoming lazy to the point of satire. From the fake reasons for illegal wars, to being stenographers of the democrats, to self driving cars, to articles apologizing for communism, their agendas check all of the international warmongering utopianist boxes.


    October 23, 2017 at 10:13 pm

  9. You will loose de facto first and de jure later your freedom in movement when all your travelling will be monitored (ranked and validated) by government . It is the same business as chips in people or losing guns: full domestication of humans. Even the loss of sexual traits , between male and female, is related to domestication.


    October 24, 2017 at 5:44 am

  10. I for one, welcome our self driving car masters. My elderly parents could sure use one now. My father can no longer drive and for my mother, it’s just a matter of time. Having access to a self driving car could stretch out their years of independence by quite a bit. When I’m that age, I’ll have one. I’ve no doubt the AI on the car will be a better driver than an elderly me.

    Mike Street Station

    October 24, 2017 at 6:09 am

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