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Home JackpineRadical Rooms JPR Reading Room Can Sully Transform the World of Self-Driving Cars?

  • Koko (4560 posts)
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    Can Sully Transform the World of Self-Driving Cars?

    The Drive interviews Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger about autonomous cars, driver distraction and a certain Hudson River water landing.
    By Alex RoyMarch 14, 2017

    Lost in the putrid cloud of self-driving car clickbait, the Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation held its first meeting on January 16th, 2017. One look at its members is all it takes to know whose lobbying dollars hold sway in Washington. The largest constituency? A bloc including Apple, Amazon, Lyft, Uber, Waymo and Zoox, all of whom profit from you losing your steering wheel as soon as possible. They may cite safety, but there is only one objective voice on the panel, a man with true life and death experience at the intersection of human skill and automation:

    Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

    In a world where political hacks and “experts” are increasingly replacing those with real-world experience, Sully’s inclusion on the panel is a revelation. Best known for The Miracle on the Hudson, Sully’s entire career has been devoted to safety. Look past the mythology, and his is the story of the opportunity, danger and cost inherent to sacrificing skilled humans on the altar of automation. Sully has written and spoken extensively on the criticality of training and compensation for airline pilots, and his insights have clear applications to the future of the trucking industry.

    In a recent interview, Sully made clear three simple messages: 1) we need real standards for self-driving cars, 2) the industry needs to reboot its approach to semi-autonomous cars, and 3) drivers education “is a national disgrace.”

    Sully also ends his interview with a singularly authoritative message about human driving. TL:DR? If you love driving, read this to the end.

    One more critical point. For those unfamiliar with the term, “flight protection envelopes” automatically prevent pilots from exceeding a plane’s operational limits, akin to a car limiting how far you can turn the steering wheel, or push the gas pedal. Such systems are standard on all Airbus aircraft, but not Boeing. Debate has raged for decades over whether Airbus’s higher level of automation is actually safer than Boeing’s more human-centric approach. Although Sully’s miracle landing was in an Airbus, he’s experienced in both. Neither are capable of going gate-to-gate without human operators. Their differences highlight the lack of consensus not only in aviation, but on the ground, where Tesla differs with traditional automakers over the safe implementation of semi-autonomous features.

    Interesting long read at:

    xynthee, ThouArtThat like this

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  • ThouArtThat (6172 posts)
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    1. Sully's Inclusion Makes Sense – In Aviation – Safety And Safety Training Is

    Mission Critical.

    To reach broad user adoption and regulatory approval, including those from an industry that has pioneered best practices is prudent and wise.

    "In America Today, Power Corrupts and Money Corrupts Absolutely" - Anonymous  
  • leveymg (3845 posts)
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    2. To Tesla and Uber, human lives and careers are just costs to cut

    Why are murderers jailed but those who destroy people’s lives and livelihoods so richly rewarded?  The rush to automate transportation is about profit and nothing else.  It doesn’t maximize human welfare it just further redistributed incomes upward while destroying jobs below.

    • FanBoy (7983 posts)
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      3. it's pretty much the same as most of the 'advances' being touted by

      corporate America today, though.

      none of them really advance anything except corporate control, corporate consolidation and corporate profit.


      • leveymg (3845 posts)
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        5. Driverless cars aren't exactly up there with electric lights. The 21st Century

        isn’t exactly up there with the 20th, in terms of technological advances that actually created industries and consumer goods that benefited ordinary people.  It seems that recent changes in technology are coming without the same sort of tangible and widespread social benefits that we have come to expect.

        Sorry, the Internet isn’t up there with radio and television.  Driverless cars isn’t like the mass adoption of automobiles.   Robotics isn’t even as much benefit as washing machines to the average American family, much less an advance like the wide availability of passenger air travel.

        In classical Ricardian economic theory, both capital and automation can separately or together serve as a substitute for labor, with a net efficiency benefit that comes with comparative advantage.  This promotes the efficient allocation of resources, economic growth and increased income.  But, in the 21st Century, they seem to be altogether replacing labor, but the net benefit and advantage is only to the capitalists.

  • NV Wino (5940 posts)
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    4. Sully's third point should be his first.

    I’m not sure there even is driver education anymore.

    Resist-sm_zpswfchkz8t “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee