Q: I share Wes Christensen’s enthusiasm for the potential of AVs. As a retired programmer, though, I have some pessimism.
For AVs to truly work, they must talk to one another in real time, and the infrastructure must be smarter. Programming autonomous behavior is very difficult.
Doing this will require standards. The government is pretty good at getting technology companies to agree upon standards, but it is not a rapid process.
A: Yours was one of many points of view on his thought-provoking comments.
Q: I don’t know if we’ll ever see 100 percent autonomous vehicles, but Wes’ prediction of no traffic lights might rankle some non-autonomous pedestrians. The mix of human-driven cars and AV’s is a dangerous one, and hard on AV designers
A big issue with interacting with driverless vehicles is not being able to make eye contact. Many collisions are avoided when someone realizes that evasive action is needed, or when someone catches a driver’s attention and stops them from screwing up.
David Russel, Mountain View
A: And …
Q: I laughed at Wes Christensen’s ideal roadways, filled with AVs. His assessment that all driving woes would then be banished forever is unrealistic.
AVs have a place in the transportation system, but that should not be decided by for-profit companies who do not have everyone’s best interests in mind.
Tom Gray, Livermore
A: And …
Q: I met you when you were a panelist about a decade ago at the Progress Seminar, a retreat of San Mateo County elected officials and business people, hosted by the San Mateo Chamber of Commerce. I shared a paper with you describing an environment where a network of shared, electric, autonomous vehicles provided universal, point-to-point public transit.
Wes Christensen’s letter highlighted some of the many reasons I believe this is the critically-needed future of transportation.
Alan Sarver, Belmont
A: And …
Q: I once thought robotaxis would be great, but now, I doubt it. I’m handicapped. When I call for a ride, the driver helps me get into the vehicle, and puts my walker in the trunk. An AV would not help in those ways.
Marcia Citta, Saratoga
A: Still more AV thoughts …
Q: Many issues with AVs could be resolved by requiring them to pass a DMV-administered AV Driving Test, which I think should be required before self-driving cars are permitted to roam freely. Here’s more about that:
A Better Way to Validate Autonomous Vehicle Safety: http://www.nae.edu/19579/19582/21020/290850/290906/OpEd-A-Better-Way-to-Validate-Autonomous-Vehicle-Safety
A: Finally …
Q: I can’t imagine anything worse, unless it’s all EVs.
Allan MacLaren, San Jose
A: I knew his comments would get people thinking, pro and con.