Today we inaugurate a new discussion podcast on the hot issues in the future of transportation, featuring self-driving, electrification, Tesla and many others.
This episode features the following topics discussed with Mario Herger, author of “The Last Driver Licence Holder has Already been Born.”
You can listen to the podcast by downloading this MP3 file from https:/robocars.com/podcast and there is a machine-generated text transcript.
1:17 Waymo and Cruise letters from San Francisco.
Discussed in the Forbes.com story below, we go into more details on the conflict between San Francisco and its two Robotaxi companies, Cruise and Waymo. What should cities tolerate and not tolerate?
9:49 Calling 911 on sleeping people and cameras in cars
A special issue from the San Francisco letters relates to complaints that Waymo and Cruise have called 911 when they can’t get a passenger to respond at the end of the ride, and the passengers have just been asleep. The paramedics time is wasted, but what if they had not been just asleep, worry the robotaxi companies. A better solution needs to be found, but one that doesn’t just involve having all our travels be in view of a surveillance camera.
18:33 Consumer Reports on drive-pilot systems (ADA)
Consumer Reports published ratings for driver assist pilot systems, to which they give the poorly chosen name ADAs. Surprising is that Tesla’s system, which pioneered the market, scores closer to the bottom of the pack, because CR faults it for not nagging you enough, not preventing you from using it on lesser roads, and less clear UI. All reasonable — but should they weight so strongly compared to the core system performance (how well it drives) in a consumer’s desires?
25:18 Mercedes S-Class Level 3 in Nevada
The new $118,000 (base price) Mercedes S class will drive you in a freeway traffic jam without you having to watch the road. Finally do your e-mails in the traffic jam, at least if you live in Las Vegas or Germany. Is this a real product or a gimmick?
33:18 The Tesla Bay Bridge pile-up
37:52 Tesla’s Safety Numbers are Back
Tesla used to publish misleading safety numbers every quarter. They stopped for a year (we had hoped it was because they had been debunked here at Forbes.com and other places ) but they are back, and people don’t understand why they don’t tell the story at all.
45:03 Waymo at the Superbowl
Waymo has promoted using their service during the Superbowl in Phoenix next week. They won’t go to the stadium — neither does transit — but what might you do to empty a giant stadium with robotaxis?
49:22 Running out of Lithium
In addition to the UC Davis paper below, Toyota’s chief researcher Gil Pratt has put out the same warning about the risks of running out of lithium – and why Toyota’s hybrids are the best answer to that problem. We talk about how a lithium shortage or battery shortage are very unlikely, though I do give some credit to BMW’s I3 Rex hybrid design.
1:01:24 Emissions from AVs
We wrong about the paper from an MIT grad student warning that robocars might cause a huge amount of emissions. Hear why that’s not right, and why more care should be taken with papers like this.
1:10:18 Layoffs at Waymo Via
Everybody’s had layoffs, but rumours suggest that Waymo cut more deeply in their trucking division. Many other companies have doubled down on trucking as a quicker path to revenue. Why would Waymo not do that?
Mario went to CES to look at self-driving. Nice fun toys, but how much was real news?