Some behind the scenes tech at how a Waymo computer system can process the world around it in full 360 degrees. With so many eyes on the road, and each item's location and speed being tracked and predicted, how could there be any doubt that this is not just almost equivalent to what a human could do, but is actually two or three orders of magnitude more than a human could accomplish. This tech knows how fast all the cars and peds are moving, simultaneously, on a very busy street! It even knows if a car is about to run a red light and slows down to just miss it, and then continue. This will save lives. AV will save lives and should be embraced sooner, not later. PRISM Engineering is supportive of a full adoption of implementing AV tech in Smart Cities that can take advantage of Vision AV0, where autonomous vehicles and grade separations are the answer to reducing vehicle fatalities. We need this sooner than later.
Bike and Pedestrian Fatalities Higher than Ever in USA. Current Methods of Safety Not Working to Reduce Fatalities
If there are 37,000+ vehicle related deaths each year in the USA, and Pedestrians account for 15% of these, and they used to be only 11%, then this 4% increase represents 1,500 MORE pedestrian deaths each year compare to just 10 years ago. The 37,000+ number is also at a peak.
Obviously, whatever is the mainstream safety push for transportation is not working to even bring down the number of fatalities each year in the USA, in fact, it is going the opposite direction. Current methods are clearly not working and should be reconsidered as a whole. Nobody quite understands this counter-intuitive result, but the Governor's Highway safety Association is aware of it. Here is what they are saying:
"IT IS ALARMING," says GHSA* executive director Jonathan Adkins, "and it's counter-intuitive." (*Governor's Highway safety Association).
We need to pay attention to the facts, the accident history. "There's been an assumption that, because of increased safety of vehicles as we move toward semi-autonomous vehicles, that traffic deaths were going to go down," Adkins says. "We're seeing just the opposite, unfortunately, with a particular spike as it relates to pedestrians and cyclists."
from NPR's Pedestrian Fatalities Remain At 25-Year High For Second Year In A Row:
New traffic methods for PEDS/Bikes have not moved the needle. They LOOK good, but... Cycle Tracks and XWalks are not solving it. PED bridges are not cutting the fatalities (UP! to 40k / year in USA) ...no improvements! "Vision Zero" as currently envisioned seems beyond reach. We need new Engineered & real solutions that will eliminate mixing of vulnerable travel modes with vehicles. J-Walkers, PEDS crossing paths with vehicles, cyclists mixing with cars/trucks assuming safety, while traveling along side some incompetent or risk-taking drivers: HUMAN factors... and not Improving.
The assumption that any kind of "new and improved" traffic control device specifically for PEDS or BIKES will make them safer needs to be questioned, since the accident fatality data does not bear this out. The needle has been moving in just the opposite direction, and we can no longer assume that more striping, different striping, or even complete streets will make pedestrians safer. What needs to happen is a realization that MORE pedestrians mingled with Vehicles on roadways where cars/trucks can hit people directly, is turning out to be a dangerous thing.
The USA is once again Leading the World on the forefront of auto-technology!
It is possible, NOW, to have a car get around without any lights and so the cameras on board are not really cameras at all. They are LIDAR devices, a kind of radar that many engineering firms use to survey terrain, buildings, and all conditions of the environment.
It's not just Google doing this stuff.
Ford is testing dozens of these vehicles all over. So are other car companies. This phenomenon is happening all over the world. The auto makers know it is coming, and being pushed by Google they are moving quick to implement.
Google is also expanding its self-driving car test program, but Google lacks the car manufacturing capability, for now.
FORD / GOOGLE ALLIANCE last week
a week ago... Ford and Google Teamed Up (alliance) to Support Driverless Cars!
The nation’s top auto safety regulator, Mark Rosekind, said the federal government wants to reduce the death toll in auto accidents, and thinks driverless technology could help reduce the annual death toll from traffic accidents: 32,675 people died in auto accidents in 2014! He said 90 percent of vehicle accidents are human error.
It seems like a no-brainer that computers can do a better job at reducing these mistakes, many of which are from distracted driving, something a computer has no problem with.
Grant Johnson, registered Traffic Engineer, shares insights and experiences from around the world.