Boeing’s cold-blooded risk calculation may tarnish trust in “self-driving” cars for years

Discussion in 'General' started by interestedinEV, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    A dramatic but still thought provoking article. There is a parallel between Boeing and AV development. Again, we saw some of this with Uber in my area. One person was killed as the company tried to rush technology into testing.

    At the minimum companies should be more transparent about safety issues. Better still would be to weigh decisions with safety mind and not the bottom line.

    But the pilots shouldn’t get all the credit. Commercial aircraft are only in the hands of a human for about three to six minutes of each flight—mostly during takeoff and landing. The rest of the time automated systems are in charge. For at least a decade, technology has existed for commercial aircraft to fly with little to no human assistance. The reason the.....

    Safety features were sold as expensive extras instead of standard equipment. Pilot re-raining was virtually ignored (“an iPad lesson for an hour,” one pilot told Quartz). Despite redesigning the aircraft’s airframe and engines, Boeing portrayed the changes as minimal, even though the changes altered the aircraft’s handling—a software system to prevent stalling was added for just this reason. .............. When problems did begin to emerge, Boeing dismissed critics, delivered fixes slowly, and insisted government officials not ground the fleet before the second accident. Those decisions turned a preventable technical mistake into a systematic failure that killed hundreds..........

    After Boeing, the question for self-driving cars is no longer just whether we can trust the technology on our roads—the question is whether we can trust companies and regulators developing such technologies at all. Boeing’s cold-blooded calculation when it came to risking other people’s lives hint at the problems facing certification of automated vehicles (AVs). The software for self-driving cars will be far more complicated, and untested, than those in airplanes........

    A skeptical public is now looking out for clues to the safety of AVs as car companies (and governments) race to roll them out fast as they can. So far, they’re not reassured. A 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center found less than half of Americans actually want to ride in a driverless car—42% of Americans cited a “lack of trust” as the reason. Since asking the question in 2014, there has been little shift in public attitudes.

  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    A word of caution, hindsight is always much better than foresight:
    • Boeing management made what later turned out to be a fatal design flaw
    • Underfunded FAA was unable to oversee Boeing engineering
    • Airlines were too cheap to add extra cost indicators and training
    There is more than enough blame to go around. But cast your memory back to September 11, 2001. Even after 40 years of airline hijacking, we finally got a barrier bulkhead separating the cockpit from the cabin. True, two planes were lost when the pilot in command committed murder-suicide. But that also means the airlines figured out they needed to understand flight crew 'mental issues.' One thing would be worse.

    If we let our fears freeze our ability to deal with reality, then we are doomed to technological obsolescence. We deal with what we know and then give it a try knowing some won't work. Use the lessons learned to refine and move on.

    Bob Wilson
    interestedinEV likes this.
  3. gooki

    gooki Active Member

    I still fall back to my calculations that slow walking autonomous vehicles puts 5,000,000 lives at risk.
  4. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I don't think the situation with the Boeing 737 Max is going to have much impact on whether or not the average person will trust self-driving cars.

    The situation with many or most survey respondents saying they wouldn't trust a self-driving car is, I think, just normal human psychology at work. Quite a few years ago, long before Tesla Autopilot, I read an article by a reporter who tried out a prototype self-driving car in a parking lot. The reporter said she was very anxious at first to give up control, but then after a few minutes was able to relax, and wound up finding the freedom from having to drive was exhilarating.

    I see a lot of similar sentiments expressed in comments to InsideEVs news articles, from people who swear they will never give up the control of driving a car themselves. People who have never actually tried it.

    I suspect that just like driving a BEV, being a passenger rather than a driver in a self-driving car is something that the average person will have to actually experience before they can grasp how much better it is.

    Bravo! Well said, sir.

    If we waited until a technology was shown to be perfectly safe before anybody starts using it, then we'd still be shivering in the cold most nights, and eating our food raw. That "fire" stuff is dangerous! Better leave it alone, and certainly don't ever bring it indoors!
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  5. 101101

    101101 Well-Known Member

    I've wondered if the Boeing case was intentional sabotage. Self driving cars will quicken petrol's outright death by presumably more than a decade. That means not only are much less sunk costs recouped for the stupid criminal sort of investor that put money in petrol its also a decade of unnecessary wars in jeopardy over useless petrol and that puts Boeing's mid or even short term profit at real risk. Its also a hit to the insurance industry that in an unacceptable conflict of interest undermines everything in wrongly being allowed to invest and pass the losses from that gambling habit to the insured. So through a process of interlocking boards, they could set up a situation where Boeing as interior emails showed allowed "clowns" to make the plane and blame its crashes on auto pilot tech to by association try to quell support for self driving and damage Tesla in particular through its branding. But this BS could never work because other countries aren't going to abandon this and if self driving works in any large country its spread is unstoppable because of the irresistible benefits- even if it quickens the destruction and costs criminal industries trillions of dollars in lost thieving.

    I could see the stupid thread title coming as soon as I heard of the plane crashes, I even wondered before it happened if they would try something like this in linking aviation crashes to self driving. The real question is why spread this stupid thread title its just spreading FUD and propaganda? Why keep asking FUD type troll questions in threads and why link to FUD articles?
  6. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Ignorance, rank stupidity, and sloth are more common.

    Bob Wilson
  7. Paul K

    Paul K Active Member

    While I agree that new tech will often have teething problems, Boeing was well aware that there was an issue here and suppressed information about it. The U.S. jailed a VW exec over the dieselgate scandal. Why aren't some higher ups at Boeing in jail for a known flaw that killed over 300 people? Oh wait..........Boeing is an important military contractor for the U.S. gov't.
  8. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Seriously? That someone in Boeing decided to do something like to sabotage autonomous driving? I am sorry that is nuts, unless you have some proof. There was a callousness on the part of the Boeing and it is criminal (in my opinion), but a conspiracy to smear Tesla? That is a little to far fetched, even as a conspiracy theory.

    Now while I agree that we should not read too much into the Boeing disaster, airplanes where there is a lot of autonomous driving (which actually began with cruise control in cars) will influence the discussion on AV.

    I would add criminal negligence.

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