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Comment Re:Who gave them the money? (Score 1) 186

As long as autonomous and human driven vehicles can be on same roads...go for it.

For the immediate future, that is surely the plan. Forcing people to make the switch en masse in the immediate future would basically murder the auto industry as we know it. They're not ready to give up on private ownership of vehicles yet, because they make quite a bit of money selling people features they don't need, or overpricing the ones they actually want. But don't be surprised if every automobile is required relatively soon to carry a V2V beacon which reports on (at minimum) vehicle speed, accelerator pedal position, and brake light switch state.

Comment Re:So much for states' rights (Score 2) 186

No, this isn't testing; this is for deployment. They're allowing a fleet of up to 100,000.

When we're talking about the numbers from the major automakers, that basically amounts to the beta test. At some point you have to put vehicles in the hands of customers before you're really sure whether they're actually going to work in the real world, and that's the stage we've reached now.

Comment Re:Who gave them the money? (Score 3, Informative) 186

All the major automakers want to start producing autonomous vehicles ASAP, and I do mean all. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about commuter econoboxes or class eight trucks, there is immense customer demand for AVs. AVs are seen as the solution to reducing (some claim "eliminating") road fatalities, which is making them desirable to government. How plausible eliminating driving fatalities actually is remains to be seen, but it's difficult to imagine accomplishing it without virtually one hundred percent adoption.

Comment So much for states' rights (Score 4, Interesting) 186

Consumers Union, a public advocacy group, said the bill needs more changes and must "ensure that automakers demonstrate automated vehicles' safety and don't put consumers at greater risk in a crash." The group opposes "restricting states' safety authority without strong federal safety standards in place."

I realize that states' rights is usually used as a truncheon in the war for racist symbology (or worse) but I, for one, find it a bit chilling that anyone is contemplating forcing standards on the states in this case, especially at this time. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to do that, because in this phase (testing) there is no need to drive farther than can be accomplished within a single state. If you're testing a long-haul truck, it can just drive a loop, or if it's in some state that's so crap that they don't even have a suitable loop, it can turn around.

It's not clear that it will ever be necessary to force states to adopt self-driving vehicles, either. If their concerns are actually addressed (this is a "union", right?) then it should be possible to get them on board.

Comment Re:Fake immortality (Score 1) 108

Having a photograph of a dead person doesn't make them any less dead, but provides some comfort to those that are left. The same is true of tape recordings of their voice. This is just the next step in that.

The photograph is actually a faithful representation of how the person looked, at least from one angle. The tape recordings are a faithful representation of how they sounded. A robot stringing recordings together and maybe twitching spastically is not anything like that. It's a freakish horrorshow caricature.

Comment Re:All talk (Score 1) 687

Do you know the one thing you'll hear most often in those cities? "There's way too many people in this city." You hear that everyday, many times a day. You end up saying it yourself.

All that means is that the city needs substantial redesign. Green spaces on roofs, that kind of thing. Make more room for people to actually use, and make it possible for them to get out of town and go do stuff.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 687

the problem is cars. Your average car requires around 10m2 of land just to sit idle. Once that car moves, it needs at least another 30m2+ for safe operation. Multiple that by 10 million people in a large city and it simply does not scale.

No. The problem is people, people living in cities. The more we get rid of the less pollution we have to deal with.

I, for one, think you're both wrong, although you (AC) are more wrong. You could solve most of the problems with cities by removing the cars and replacing them with something that makes more sense in a population-dense area. I often like to talk about PRT, the current poster child for which is Skytran. It might or might not ever make sense to extend PRT lines out of cities, but it absolutely makes sense within them.

However, most of the problems with cars can be mitigated. For example, if you ban large vehicles from city centers, you can use smaller and less durable vehicles to move around within them. If the vehicles are electric then you eliminate a lot of the wasted energy. Even gasoline cars commonly don't idle any more, and if you drive them gently then you may not even notice start-stop. Mild hybrid systems are going to positively proliferate in the next few years, because suppliers have got complete packages worked out that they'd just love to sell to automakers looking for ways to meet emissions standards; not only in the US and the EU, but also in China which is actually instituting some pretty tough rules. And as batteries continue to come down in price, EVs will continue to become more common.

We should impose a 10-20% tax for living or working in cities nationwide as a disincentive.

Cities can be highly efficient, if people both live and work there. If you want them to be efficient, though, you will have to make them even more dense. There has to be enough housing at an affordable price for workers to live in the city. And you have to find some way to make it available to them, and not someone else who just thinks it would be cool to live in the city, or to have an apartment there while they're slumming.

Comment Re:Lefties hate this tax too (Score 1) 687

The $200 limit is obviously an attempt to blunt the worst effects on the poor (you can get a decent used commuter for under that) but it'll still hurt some.

Any bike less than about $400 new is garbage, and nobody who has to ride one should be punished further by being made to pay a fee. Meanwhile, the fee doesn't apply to used bikes, does it?

Comment Re:It makes sense. (Score 1) 687

We actually did that, taking a 3-lane boulevard and turning it into 2 lanes each way, a bicycle path on one side, and turning one center lane into an area where cars can sit before making a left-hand turn rather than blocking traffic.

That actually sounds like it might make some sense, but mostly because it improves the flow of traffic for the cars, and also because boulevards usually have enough space to work with.

Comment Re:It makes sense. (Score 1) 687

Cars aren't airtight, as a rule. However, some do have a carbon filter inside the cockpit, located inside the plenum someplace. In that case, they can filter out your farts. However, most older vehicles don't have this feature at all. I've owned more than a couple of dozen cars in my day, and it's only just now that I've finally got something with a carbon cabin air filter — and it actually only filters intake air.

Comment Re:Why not integrate with the locomotive? (Score 1) 135

What has that got to do with the electrical power supplies?

They've literally found it easier to install diesel gensets in the train cars than one big fat inverter (or inverter bank) in the locomotive which has to deal with the varying output voltage of the engine at different speeds, and you're sitting here asking what the simplicity of the rest of the system has to do with the electrical power supplies?

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