This article is from a pro SMART Cities site. I will provide critical questions and comments in CAPITALS.
The need for smart maintenance of autonomous vehicles
Though the timeline of AV development is hotly debated, every major manufacturer and a plethora of startups are involved in the race to deliver smarter, more efficient mobility options.
For years, the modern city has been built around the car, particularly privately-owned cars. Roads and parking structures take up enormous amounts of space, traffic dictates travel times, and inaccessible neighborhoods often suffer from lack of economic development. In short, modern cities are built around an inefficient, often inconvenient mode of transportation.
WHAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM: THE NUMBER OF CARS, PRIVATELY OWNED, LACK OF SPACE, TRAFFIC, LACK OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, OR POOR PLANNING GIVEN JOBS ARE AVAILABLE IN CITIES NOT SPREAD OUT REGIONALLY?
NOTE: Why not encourage regional development, smaller villages, quality of life rather than economic growth given ecological impacts?
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to solve many of these challenges. By shifting car use and encouraging more efficient ride-sharing models, AVs will reduce the need for parking structures. Ride-sharing will also reduce traffic as people use pool options rather than individual cars to commute during peak hours. Furthermore, accessible transit options will improve the economic conditions of neighborhoods that are otherwise difficult to reach.
HOW IS CAR USE SHIFTED? WILL PEOPLE RIDE SHARE GIVEN THEY ARE NOT NOW? HOW WILL THEY REDUCE NEED FOR PARKING? HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? HOW DOES THAT AFFECT THOSE ON LOW INCOMES? DECENTRALISE TO STOP CONGESTION. IS ACCESSIBILITY TO TRANSIT A PROBLEM? WHAT IF IT WAS UNDERGROUND AND FREE?
Fortunately, the auto industry has become more invested in delivering on AVs. Though the timeline of AV development is hotly debated, every major manufacturer and a plethora of startups are involved in the race to deliver smarter, more efficient mobility options.
WHY IS THE AUTO INDUSTRY INVESTING – IS IT TO ENSURE FOSSIL FUELS OR ELECTRIC CAR USE? IS IT TO ENSURE THE USE OF CARS? WHY ARE THEY USING START UPS (NON PROFITS) IS IT APPROPRIATE TO CHANGE CORPORATE STRUCTURES TO NON PROFITS HENCE REDUCING TAXATION? HOW IS THAT FAIR?
Every aspect of the modern vehicle is being questioned — from ownership (or lack thereof), to if they will even need steering wheels. But even as billions are being invested in building the autonomous, connected and environmentally-friendly car of the future, consumers are still wary of automated transportation.
WHO IS QUESTIONING? NOT THE PUBLIC. OWNERSHIP IS BEING BROUGHT UP, IS THIS PART OF A PLAN TO REMOVE ALL OWNERSHIP TO RENDER THE PUBLIC DEPENDENT ON A CITY STATE THAT IS PRIVATE NOT PUBLIC? ARE THE CARS ENVIRONMENTAL – ZERO EMISSIONS?
Assuring the public
A key challenge to public adoption of autonomous driving is the lack of trust. Getting into an unfamiliar car has only recently started becoming a “normal” activity, and safety concerns still abound for both riders and drivers.
THE LACK OF TRUST IS BECAUSE OF GREED, PROFIT OVER PEOPLE IS A PATTERN THAT HAS NOT ABATED. AN UNFAMILIAR CAR IS NOT AN ISSUE, IT IS THE COST AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS THAT IS IMPORTANT. I USED A TAXI THAT WAS A CAR IN BOLIVIA AND HAD NO ISSUE WITH SHARING IT. IT WAS A CHEAP TAXI. THE SAFETY ISSUE IS IT IS DRIVERLESS, NO CONTROL IF A SOLAR FLARE TAKES OUT COMMUNICATIONS, OR SOME RANDOM EVENT, THE AI IS NOT AS LATERAL AS HUMANS.
Though autonomous driving will eliminate some issues, others will certainly take their place. Driving is not just about steering a car from place to place; the driver’s seat is also central to ensuring that a car is functioning. Warning lights, fuel gauges and haptic feedback from the brakes and accelerator are all centered around the driver. Without a person behind the wheel, countless questions around reliability emerge.
WHAT ISSUES WILL AUTONOMOUS DRIVING ELIMINATE? WHO? HOW IS THE DRIVERS SEAT CENTRAL TO THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CAR (ENGINE?). I TRUST AND PREFER TO TALK TO A PERSON THAT A BLOODY PRETEND PERSON. IT IS DEHUMANISING AND IT IS TAKING JOBS, THE VERY SUBJECT MATTER OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES IS ANTI-HUMAN.
New technologies such as machine learning and computer vision will be able to make maintenance checks faster and more accessible, ensuring that cars without a driver monitoring their performance will be safe and reliable. Starting with the assembly line, manufacturers will need to adopt new technology to reassure consumers and pave the way for AVs.
WHAT OF MECHANICS? HOW WILL MANUFACTURERS ADOPT NEW TECHNOLOGY, WHAT? HOW WILL THEY REASSURE CONSUMERS (WHAT OF THOSE ON LOW INCOMES?). THIS CREATES A SOCIETY OF HAVES AND HAVE NOTS. THOSE WHO CAN’T AFFORD (40% UNEMPLOYMENT DUE TO AUTOMATION) WILL GROW. THIS DISRUPTION IF ANALYSED WITH A COST/BENEFIT – DOES NOT APPEAR TO BENEFIT PEOPLE OR THE ENVIRONMENT.
As the technology inside cars becomes more advanced, so will the technology needed to build them. Manufacturers need to invest in their factories to ensure AVs can enter the mainstream with sufficient safety protocols throughout the entire lifecycle of the vehicle. As recently as 2017, manufacturers recalled more vehicles than they sold, a sign of an already outdated inspection system that can only react to dangerous defects, not prevent them.
DO WE WANT MORE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY OR IS IT THE HIGH TECH INDUSTRY? WE WANT PEOPLE TO BUILD SO THEY DON’T LOSE THE EXPERTISE. DO WE WANT AV’S TO ENTER THE MAINSTREAM, I PREFER MY CAR AS ALL MY THINGS ARE IN IT, GIVEN I AM HOMELESS. IMPROVE THE INSPECTION SYSTEM, LOOK AT TRAINING, HAS THE PRIVATISATION OF TRAINING CAUSED A DECREASE IN EXPERTISE GIVEN PROFIT MOVES STUDENTS THROUGH UNIVERSITIES AND ENSURE THEY GRADUATE RATHER THAN A GOVERNMENT FUNDED SCHOOL WHERE THEY MUST BE ASSESSED PROPERLY. THIS ISSUE IS HAPPENING IN BUILDING INSPECTIONS WHERE THEY ARE SUB-STANDARD. SO THE REAL ISSUE IS QUALITY TRAINING.
HARMONY IS ABOUT BALANCE. THE PUBLIC HAVE NOT BEEN ADEQUATELY INFORMED OR FORUMS CREATED TO DEBATE THESE ISSUES AS THEY IMPACT PEOPLE’S LIVES. ALWAYS INDUSTRY GOES AHEAD OF THE PUBLIC AND DESIGNS ON THEIR BEHALF THEY DO NOT DESIGN OUT OF PUBLIC DEMAND. THIS IS THE IMBALANCE. IT IS ALL ABOUT PROFITS NOT WHAT THE REAL NEEDS OF PEOPLE ARE. THIS IS WHY THERE IS DISTRUST OF INDUSTRY. THERE MAY BE POCKETS WHO ARE INTERESTED, ENTHUSIASTIC AND EXCITED BY IT, BUT IF THIS IS FOR THE PUBLIC YO MUST EVALUATE THE WHOLE PUBLIC IMPACT – THE SOCIO IMPACTS – HOW DOES IT DIVIDE SOCIETY? COSTS? BENEFITS? POLLUTION? OR DOES IT JUST DO THE SAME THING AS BEFORE, JUST WITHOUT A DRIVER AND THE LOSS OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY.